Ken Rosenthal’s series ‘The Forest’ – dark landscapes as metaphor for an internal physical and psychological state.
Ken Rosenthal – The Forest
“The Forest is probably the most complicated and personal series I’ve undertaken. I photographed for this series from 2011 through 2016. All of the imagery has been photographed in the Selkirk Mountains, in NE Washington State… As beautiful a place as it is, however, there is a very palpable sense of mystery and darkness…Fallen trees and jagged branches litter the forest floor. Majestic pines give way to a more gnarled mass of decayed and fallen trees, dense thickets of overgrowth, and clusters of anthropomorphic trees… The images are interwoven with thoughts on mortality, discovery, loss and renewal.”
Chris McCaw’s series ‘Sunburn’ – painted by the sun Zen landscapes in black and white, produced on paper negatives with handmade cameras.
Chris McCaw – Sunburn
“In this process the sun burns its path onto the light sensitive negative. After hours of exposure, the sky, as a result of the extremely intense light exposure, reacts in an effect called solarization- a natural reversal of tonality through over exposure. The resulting negative literally has a burnt hole in it with the landscape in complete reversal. The subject of the photograph (the sun) has transcended the idea that a photograph is simple a representation of reality, and has physically come through the lens and put its hand onto the final piece. This is a process of creation and destruction, all happening within the camera.”
Tom Hegen’s ‘The Botanical Series’ – aerial view of trees like dots and dashes of Morse code messages written by humans recording stories about our presence on earth and the relationship between man and nature.
“One third of Germany’s surface is covered with forests. Compared to other countries forests in Germany are growing. Most forests are made by man since they have an important commercial value. For successful reforestation tree nurseries contribute by cultivating young plants to then rehouse them in nature.”
Tom Hegen – The Botanical Series
The series is included in a photo book ‘HABITAT‘ which will be published around autumn 2018.
Patricia A. Bender’s series ‘Euclidean Pursuits’ – photograms of experiments with objects, lines, papers, shapes, light, shadow, texture in constructing a geometric abstract reality with infinite possibilities of conversations between art and emotion.
“For me, photography is nonverbal; words are for ideas, images are for emotions. I hope my images touch a positive emotional chord in the viewer, that viewers somehow connect their lives to my work in a meaningful and powerful way. I am not trying to educate or provoke intellectual rumination or represent reality or inform. I simply want to celebrate life, and the environments we live it in, and to move you”
Brittany Nelson’s ongoing project ‘Mordançage’ – experimenting with toxic chemicals, misusing old photographic alternative techniques and her own process called ‘analog Photoshop filter’ to create bizarre and beautiful abstractions with fascinating textures and patterns.
“Every tool is completely rooted in the history of photography, but I’m trying to cause a sort of implosion on the tradition… I’m taking these processes and removed them from the representational imagery to see if they have any integrity on their own as surface…The abstraction is the easiest thing and the hardest thing to create. It is easy to create abstractions but it is very hard to create effective or relevant ones.”
Brittany Nelson – Mordancage
Mordançage is 19th century film negative reversal process known as etch-bleach but when Jean-Pierre Sudre during the 1960s applied the technique to photographic paper instead of film, he coined the new name. Copper chloride, acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide are mixed together in a dangerous solution. Soaked in it, the silver gelatin paper oxidizes, giving it a degraded effect.
Learn more about Brittany Nelson’s working process at her Creative Capital Retreat’s talk .
Noémie Goudal’s series ‘Observatoires’ – architectural constructed imagery into an abstract landscape between the earth and the heaven as symbols of humankind’s eternal obsession with time and space or monumental sculptures transporting to a different dimension? By creating a stage where several moments come together, the artist gives to the viewer the possibility to create his own story and compose his own visual impression of a shared reality and an enigmatic world.
In more than 100 stunning ambrotype portraits of farmers and chefs accompanied by brief honest answers, Francesco Mastalia captured in his project ‘Organic‘ their beautiful, powerful, sensual stories and philosophy.
“Organic is working with nature, not telling it what to do, not demanding of things it can’t do.”
The archaic photographic technique is in refined harmony with the passion of these 21st century women and men who re-embraced the old ways of producing and preparing food. “Organic is the old, ancient, natural way that was predestined from all eternity for us to grow our own food.”
The project ‘Organic’ spotlights New York State’s Hudson Valley but opens a global dialogue about our future in living organically and sustainably in respect to the Earth. “Organic” is not just about growing and producing food, it is about the life of the planet.”
Alfred Ehrhardt (1901 -1984) ‘Mussels and Snails’ – a fascination with laws of nature: structural forms, beauty and mathematical precision as timeless cosmic symbols existing beyond the material realm.
Alfred Ehrhardt – Mussels and Snails
“What technical laws nature follows in its creation of forms and what a model of an architectonic and motoric spirit governs these organisms when they develop the shape of their bodies, leaves or shells?”
Through photographic studies of natural marine artifacts as corals, sponges, mussels, snails, sea urchins, and starfish, the artist expressed his great respect to the wealth of nature as an eternal force.
The first photo book ‘Mussels and Snails’ (‘Muscheln und Schnecken’) was published by Heinrich Ellermann Verlag in 1941 and in 1968 a new edition followed.
Kacper Kowalski’s series ‘Over’ – abstract aerial perspective as a personal response to emotions of emptiness, fear and the sense of inevitable doom, and exploring the relationship between man and nature as a futuristic vision of the end of the world.
Kacper Kowalski – Over
“I am tired of man and his behaviours. When watched for 20 years from an aerial, although amazing, they become predictable. What would happen if mankind vanished? What would be left behind? What would the predicted end of the Human Era look like? What will happen tomorrow, in a year, in a generation, in a thousand years? I know by now that the whole landscape has been processed and marked with human presence. We feel as if we are the hosts and the owners of the entire world. But just one volcano eruption, hurricane or virus is enough to prove that our omnipotence is an illusion. One tiny error can make all we have worked so hard to achieve disappear.”
Dornith Doherty’s project ‘Archiving Eden’ (2008 – ongoing) – the extraordinary visual power of x-rays photographs and collages of seeds and tissue samples stored in crucial world collections as poetic questions about life, time and our future, and the tension between stillness and change.
“I am struck by the power of these tiny plantlets and seeds (many are the size of a grain of sand) to generate life and to endure the time span central to the process of seed banking, which seeks to make these sparks last for two hundred years or more.”
Dornith Doherty – Archiving Eden
The project started in a collaboration with seed banks to document their preservation efforts in the face of climate change and the extinction of natural species – a kind of Noah’s arks of planet’s botanical diversity. There are 1.400 such banks in the world and they range from small private to massive governmental institutions. They serve as a global botanical backup system to assure the opportunity for reintroduction of species in case of a catastrophic event or civil strife affect a key ecosystem somewhere in the world.
“Photographs are a trace of something that was recorded in the past and when you look at them in the present, there is that tension between the past and the present that makes the passage of time an underpinning element of all photography. These collections, these libraries of life preserve the present for the future that is so distant that can’t even be known… The use of the color delft/indigo blue evokes references not only to the process of cryogenic preservation, central to the methodology of saving seeds, but also to the intersection of east and west, trade, cultural exchange, and migration.
Dornith Doherty – Archiving Eden
To learn more about the project and the seed banks, there is an interesting and inspiring talk given by the artist at TED and a book published in 2017 with some of the photographs made by then.