Giada Ripa’s ‘The Yokohama Project: 1867-2016’ – an imaginary conversation about Japan going back to the 19th century, between the artist and her ancestor Mathilde Ruinart de Brimont, along with the visual narrative of Felice Beato, as a part of exploring her family story and the western vision of this enigmatic country through the years.
Giada Ripa – The Yokohama Project 1867-2016
The project is composed around 53 hand-coloured old photographs, views and historical notes about the city of Yokohama, its surroundings, Japan and the Japanese society. Their author is Felice Beato, an Italian, who in 1860 settled in Japan when it had just opened its doors to the western world. For over fifty years, until the early 20th century, Beato’s photographs were one of the principal source of collective imagery of the Far East. They were published into many travel books and newspapers, and ‘helped’ to shape the standard ‘Western’ notion about Asian society.
A few months later, the artist discovered “an unpublished manuscript of Mathilde Ruinart, and ancestor of mine, an artist and muse to several intellectuals, who left for the Orient in 1867, along with her diplomat husband, providing a vivid description of it. From her “Carnets de Voyage” and “Voyage au Japon” emerges the friendship with Felice Beato explaining how the album ended up in the house.”
With these two treasures in hand, Ripa decided to fly to Japan and go back in time making the same photographs “acting as the link between Beato’s images and the figure of Mathilde, following their respective footsteps and attempting, through my western prism, to identify local contemporary analogies, and convey 150 years later, the transformations of society and landscape in Yokohama and its surroundings.”
“I focus on going beyond environmental or cultural values, focused on the essential structure of the landscape and of the textile. Regarding my perception, it is not simply a translation of the other, but instead one can be found in the other — the tree behaves the same in the forest as it does in the textile. In a similar way the mind finds comfort in the distant horizon as in woven memories of here and there. Perhaps I found a meshwork of myth and memory that connects and interweaves a parallel universe not of deserts, glaciers, jungle and dense forests, not of way finding or the exoticness of the other sense, but a place that is constructed by a million trillion threads that are witness of human perception.”
Philip J Brittan’s series ‘Last Garden’ – an intimate collection of impressions, inspired by his mother’s positive vision about life, symbolized by her pride and delight – her beautiful garden, and marked by the physical contact with it.
Philip J Brittan – Last Garden
“She was a dedicated gardener who gained immense pleasure from the many hours she spent working in the garden that she maintained for sixty years. The results were magnificent, combining a wide variety of plants in ways that enticed complimentary comments from visitors and from strangers passing by. Being in the garden always raised my mother’s spirits, lifting her out of the restrictions and pressing concerns of the now… ‘Last Garden’ is a series I made in my mother’s beautiful garden that she became too frail to maintain in the last months of her life… The prints are painted with various media and then buried in the garden for extended periods of time, allowing the place to connect with them in a very direct way and influence the finished work.”
Mariana Cook’s series ‘Close at Hand’ – the powerful silent presence of every day through objects, forms, and light abstractions in black and white photographs made between the years 1999 and 2015. That period the artist needed some quiet and made a deal with herself to make at least one photograph a day of whatever moved her and printed it the same day.
Farrah Karapetian’s series ‘Relief’ – vibrant photograms where luscious liquid colors perform in an abstract motion an emotional connection with the uncertainty.
The series is the artist’s own creative observation to the migration crises and a personal research of her family history in similar times. Elements of ‘safety’ like life vests or boats are implemented in the images produced using constructed negatives, or handmade props, both as a visual language and a sculptural art.
“I’ve had bad insomnia most of my life, so I’ve learned to really appreciate the time between 3 am and 6 am. Over the past sixteen years I’ve spent the majority of my late nights and early mornings in Hotel Lobbies throughout Manhattan. Throughout those sleepless nights I was always taken by how that environment seemed to exist in a constant – no past, no present, no future state. When the guests retired I was left alone to experience the intimate nature of these places. This portfolio documents those long nights. All of the images were captured using 5″x7″ and 4″x5″ view cameras. I hand make the final prints as toned silver gelatin prints and platinum prints.”
Michael Massaia – No Past, No Present, No Future
The artist is the sole craftsman from the instant the negative is exposed to the moment the final print is made. To learn more about him, watch this short video.
Carolyn Marks Blackwood’s series ‘Ice’ – capturing in abstract fragments the crashing drama of the ice to emphasize the energy of natural environment and ephemeral state of being.
Born in Alaska, the artist has always been fascinated with winter and ice. Though this is a familiar theme, she redefines their beauty in a metaphoric sense, showing ice jagged edges look dangerous as broken glass, and yet there is an enigma, and poetry, in these geometric shapes and palette of delicate colours created as a result of miracle of light.
“One loses one’s balance, and one’s breath simply looking at them.” (Alan Klotz)
Friederike von Rauch’s series ‘In Secret’ – partial compositions of interior spaces with a subtle artistic aesthetic and carefully chosen framing, evocative of abstract paintings, to express her admiration to the silent beauty of insignificant details and focus on hints to their secrets .
William Miller’s series ‘Ruined Polaroids’ – “an unintended exploration into the three-dimensional physical character of an antiquated photographic medium that touches on subjects from the artistic value of chance, to questions of what constitutes a photograph. I say unintended because what I’m focusing on here is a technological anomaly. The failure of a process.”
William Miller – Ruined Polaroids
These pictures are taken with a broken old Polaroid SX-70 camera bought for just $18 at a garage sale. When he started using, it “spills out two pictures at a time and the film often gets stuck in the gears, exposing and mangling the images in unpredictable ways.” They were an abstract mess that could hardly be called photographs. At first, he tried to repair it but since nothing helped, over time, he liked this unpredictability and enjoyed the surprise that the distortion could create. “So much about all this is just chance.”
Yosuke Takeda’s series ‘Digital Flare’ – like abstract paintings “where light sparkles in all the colors of the rainbow inside the frames”.
Yosuke Takeda – Digital Flare
“Takeda’s concern is with light, and the color in his photographs is by no means pictorial color; rather, it is prism color that seeps out from the light nurtured within the frame. Although at a glance they look like aesthetic, pictorial images of the flickering of rays of sunshine filtering through the branches of trees, the images in the series “Digital Flare” are in fact photographs of strong light being drawn into the camera and the area within the frame being turned into what might be called a supersaturated state. This is the pure model for Takeda’s photography. Photographed in high resolution, the details are filled with light textures that undulate in an almost chaotic manner.” (text by Minoru Shimizu)