Kenro Izu’s series ‘Bhutan’ – black and white hand-printed platinum prints of portraits and landscapes shot between 2002-2007 reveal the beauty of a real place full with life, traditions and spiritual values as a fairy tale frozen in time and space.
Kenro Izu – Bhutan
“Traveling many years, I have not yet seen a place as peaceful as Bhutan, or a place affecting such peacefulness within myself. If there is a place indeed named Utopia, this place may come the closest to it… Seemingly, an existence of the precious culture in the edge of Himalayan itself is the fantasy of the 21st century, and I can’t help having a fear of its delicate fragility, which may easily dissolve into surrounding enormous clouds and fogs”
“The moon within these images links our understanding of time in terms of a monthly calendar with a celestial realm where time is measured in light years. Long exposures of stars used in some of the images further explore time. The exposures combine an understanding of time embedded within photography— a four-hour exposure of a star renders on film as a line of light so many inches long—with the fact that the starlight hitting the film is light years old. These images are an attempt to record a realm we can hardly fathom, but within a framework of time we can readily understand, bringing the human scale into relationship with the cosmic”.
Beth Moon’s series ‘Portraits of Time’ – powerful portraits of the world’s most ancient trees as priceless living wonders and magnificent guardians of our planet to inspire for saving them from the danger of destruction.
Beth Moon – Portraits of Time
“Standing as the earth’s largest and oldest living monuments, I believe these symbolic trees will take on a greater significance, especially at a time when our focus is directed at finding better ways to live with the environment, celebrating the wonders of nature that have survived throughout the centuries. By feeling a larger sense of time, developing a relationship with the natural world, we carry that awareness with us as it becomes a part of who we are.”
“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” Hermann Hesse
Robert Voit‘s series ‘The Alphabet of New Plants’ – a beautiful way of presenting man’s eternal desire to conquer the nature – either by borrowing forms through imitation or to substitute it in the 21st-century.
Robert Voit – The Alphabet of New Plants
Inspired by the great work of Karl Blossfeld from 1928 “Urformen der Kunst“, the series resembles at first glance a photo album of gorgeous plants photographed in a neutral background. On closer look though it reveals that actually they are artificial. Plastic plants produced for mass consumption for decorative purposes.
The photographs have not been retouched or artificially manipulated and are collected in a photo book published by Hatje Cantz
Laura Letinsky’s series ‘Time’s Assignation’ – a collection of black and white still lifes Polaroid made between 1997 and 2007 to question the danger of “the act of looking back”.
Inspired by the story of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt just because she looked back “is this a lack of trust or a punishment for nostalgia? Punishing a person who expressed fondness for what she’d had, as flawed as it might have been? … Here I am, a human. Really, is there any way to not look back? Even if not consciously, our past directs us in the here-and-now, and into the future. So why the imperative to not look back, even if it means being calcified, dissolved into the elements?”
Laura Letinsky – Time’s Assignation
“My book, Time’s Assignation, is an important set of images for me, and it’s been interesting to return to that work… When the photograph was an analog process, it used light sensitive salts, and I love this material connection between Lot’s wife and the photograph.”
“Nebula” is a series of portraits about time. Time passed. Time elapsed. Time suspended. Time ahead or behind us… These portraits required long exposures which eased the sitters into detaching themselves from their immediate surrounds, as if suspended in time and in space. The individuals in these portraits are neither children, nor adolescents. I wanted their portraits to emerge from that state of limbo to evoke the transitional stage that they are going through. “Nebula”, Latin for mist, reflects on the turmoil of growing up with all its relational, sychological and emotional changes.
The series is made using the old photographic technique wet plate collodion because making wet plates goes beyond the photographic process itself. It is a sort of inner journey. A state of mind.”
Nebula in astronomy is a cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter. They are a window into the life cycle of the universe and often called “stellar nurseries” – i.e. the place where stars are born. Even some are the remains of dead or dying stars, in the end, the same raw material that is left behind when star dies, form in turn new stars and the cycle begins again.
‘Exposure‘ by Kazuma Obara – abstract images telling the story of people who live with invisible health problems following the sudden release of atomic energy caused by the Chernobyl explosion (April 1986). Diseases, still doctors can’t explain and cure.
Kazuma Obara – Exposure
“The series is about the life of Mariya. She was born 5 months after the accident happened, in Kiev, which is located 100 km south of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Since her early age she was constantly sick and spent many years in hospital without receiving a diagnosis. Growing up other symptoms appeared like severe fatigue, insomnia, panic attacks, her hair began to fall out … Following doctors’ advice she removed thyroid gland. Currently she has taken around 10 to 20 pills every day to maintain her hormone balance and will continue to take them until she will die. A harsh life for a 30 years old girl.”
Kazuma Obara – Exposure
“All pictures were taken by old Ukrainian colour negative films (expired day of films are 1991 and 1992) and exposed. While my film was only recently ‘exposed’ in the conventional sense, it seems to be receiving exposure to radiation from the nuclear accident for the past years. Just like Mariya, who had been exposed before birth, before visibility, and before volition, my use of this film, with its unruly and visually confusing character refuses the apparent instantaneity of the photographic image, instead calling the viewer to consider that our present lives bear the traces of a life-long and prenatal exposure to the world.”
To learn more about the artist’s thoughts behind the series watch this video.
The series is available as a self-published photo book.
Susan Burnstine’s ‘Absence of Being’ – exploring of the subconscious world. “Does something/somebody ceases to exist because they no longer have a physical presence?”
After the death of her father the artist questioned the limitations of our senses, beliefs and the collective (un)consciousness. “A plane disappears into the clouds. We can’t see it, hear it or touch it, but we know it’s there. Our senses can give us no tangible evidence it continues to exist. But still, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s there.”
Susan Burnstine – Absence of Being
In the series, she portrays her dream-like visions from a higher perspective reflecting the vision of her father, looking down upon her. Retaining her signature dark and dramatic, blurred effect the images “capture fleeting memories, spotted from the corner of an eye that vanish the moment we turn to really look. And yet they remain, for the imprint remains with us. We are living in the present, but the past reminds us that it is part of us, too, as is the future, and we of them.”
The photographs were taken along the Rhine on the verge of the absence of light – in twilight, just before dawn, shortly after sunset, in the fog, in the late fall and winter season – to convey that gloomy romantic mood and giving them the sense of generic atmosphere of any lazily flowing river in the world.
“To lose myself in situations and images, to indulge in the longing for stillness, is a major element of my artistic work. My works are intimate encounters. Emotion and ephemerality become manifested in them.”
“River” is a consistent sequel to the “Wald” series confirming that in Michael Lange’s images the dark beauty of nature is magical.
Mårten Lange’s ‘Chicxulub’ – a story of a journey to a lost world as a part of the cycle of creation, evolution and destruction.
Mårten Lange – Chicxulub
Located at the Yucatán coast in Mexico, near a small fishing village called Chicxulub, the Earth was hit by an asteroid about 66 million years ago. The impact led to the extinction of the dinosaurs along with more than 75% of all species on the planet. The crater is half a mile underground now, so there are no obvious visual traces left of this dramatic event.
“I’ve been fascinated by dinosaurs and prehistory since I was a child. The Chicxulub impact event has become something mythic in my mind… But how can I make a story about something that is so far in the past, something invisible, beyond the reach of photographic observation? By creating photographs of flora, fauna and ruins that had something violent, apocalyptic, ancient or cataclysmic to unfold the themes of evolution, extinction and exploration.”