Daniel Arsham is a multi-disciplinary contemporary artist who alternates between design, film, sculpture and photography.
The above image highlights Arsham’s signature concept of ‘fictional archaeology’ which sees devices such as boom boxes or cameras decayed with geological material, creating an eery and somewhat alien impression.
His newest venture is Film the Future, a production company which produces immersive short films and advertisements for the likes of Usher and Calvin Klein. The fourth instalment of his Future Relic short film can be seen here.
The latest exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, Vogue 100: A Century of Style, was not what I expected. I usually tend to avoid Vogue and other fashion magazines, simply for the reason that fashion doesn’t feature high on my list of priorities. I do, however, have a secret passion for the creativity and escapism of fashion photography and Vogue, without doubt, features some of the most daring and outlandish photographs in the world of fashion. The exhibition is a treat. It is beautifully staged, wonderfully designed and features endless pictures from Vogue’s early days in 1892 to its transformation throughout the glitz and glamor of the 20s right up to the present day. I was pleasantly surprised that Vogue covered political and cultural affairs, including Matisse hard at work making his famous cut-outs in bed. It’s definitely an exhibition not to be missed.
Image: National Portrait Gallery
Having recently started a photography course, i felt inspired to delve a bit deeper into the history of photography…
This piece of work is by the Scottish photographer, George Washington Wilson (1823-1893).
First training as an artist in Edinburgh and London, Wilson established a successful career as a photographer in the 1850s. He perfected his own method of ‘instantaneous’ photography, enabling him to take images in one fifth of a second and capture movement where previous photographers had only been able to capture a blur, such as a street scene [See Daguerre’s 1838 photograph of Boulevard du Temple]
His recognition as a skilled photographer came in 1853 when he became the first person to photograph the Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Balmoral. He later received many more commissions to photograph the Royal family and went on to build up a substantial portfolio of topographic photos of Scotland. This success was in part due to Wilson’s skill at marketing his photography. He took advantage of the rise in the printed press to show case his work and appeal to public demand, making him a very well-known and sought after photographer.
The above photograph is of Fingal’s Cave, located on the uninhabited island of Staffa in the Outer Hebrides. Fingal’s Cave had become a popular tourist destination in the 1830s after Felix Mendelssohn, at the age of 20, visited the island in 1829 and composed The Hebrides. Even Queen Victoria visited the island.
In this stereoscopic photograph, Wilson captures the awe-inspiring, atmospheric scenery of the cave perfectly. By setting up the camera deep inside the cave, the bold contrast in light draws attention to the lone figure standing at the entrance of the cave. The ragged edges and distinctive shape of the rocks can also be clearly identified. All of this in turn adds to the mystical quality the caves were said to imbue. It would have made a perfect keep-sake for anyone who travelled to the island and would have encouraged many more to make the journey.
As this was a stereoscopic photograph, it was intended to be viewed through a stereo viewer, making the 2 slightly offset images into a 3 dimensional image. For those who did not have the means to travel to the Outer Hebrides, this was next best thing for the Victorian public to feel like they were in the cave.
I can’t quite remember how I came across Morteza Herati’s pictures of Afghanistan but I love every single one. Alternating between his mobile phone and a Kiev88, Herati takes striking pictures which capture the lives of ordinary Afghanis.
Wishing you all a relaxing weekend…
Sleep Elevations, Maia Flore, 2011
“I have tried to show the sadness and humour in a gentle madness that prevails in people.”
Tony Ray-Jones (1941-1972) is often regarded as the person who shaped a generation of British photographers. Although his career spanned only a decade, he succesfully promoted photgraphy as an art form whilst capturing the quintessential eccentricies of English society in the 1960s.
In 1968, Ray-Jones wrote: “My aim is to communicate something of the spirit and the mentality of the English, their habits and their way of life, the ironies that exist in the way they do things, partly through tradition and partly through the nature of their environment and mentality… For me there is something very special and rather humorous about the “English way of life” and I wish to record it from my particular point of view.”
Image: Blackpool, 1968
Only in England: Photographs by Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr
21 September 2013 – 16 March 2014
Science Museum, London
Mary Sibande is an artist living and working in Johannesburg who combines sculpture and photography to explore post-colonial South African identity.
A particular focus of her work is the portrayal of women within contemporary, South African society and the stereotypical positions which females are often still believed to inhabit. In basing her models on black, female domestic workers dressed in Victorian garb, Sibande not only explores past roles in a politically charged and once racially divided society but her personal feelings as a woman in present day South Africa.
“My work is not about complaining about apartheid, or an invitation to feel sorry for me because I am black and my mothers were maids [her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were maids]. It is about celebrating what we are as women in South Africa today and for us to celebrate, we need to go back, to see what are we are celebrating. To celebrate, I needed to bring this maid.” – Mary Sibande.
Image: They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To (2008)