Elaine Duigenan’s series ‘Blossfeldt’s Apprentice’ – hand-made recreations of Karl Blossfeldt’s iconic images of botanical specimens in an attempt to show human’s imperfection in imitating the original forms of nature. Yet in these limitations, there is a momentary state of alignment with its perfection in the reflection of the idea of creative process and giving a life to new objects.
Abelardo Morell’s series ‘Flowers for Lisa’ – a delirium of floral still life with all sorts of influences—painting, music, design, fashion, philosophy, started as a birthday gift for his wife instead of a bouquet of actual flowers.
“However, something in the making of that first photograph gave me a newly found spark to experiment in ways I had not done before.
I chose the subject of flowers because they are lovely things – often exchanged between lovers – and they are part of the long tradition of still life in art. Precisely because flowers are such a conventional subject, I felt a strong desire to describe them in new, inventive ways.
Abelardo Morell – Flowers for Lisa
I love the way Jan Brueghel, Edouard Manet, Georgia O’Keefe, Giorgio Morandi, Irving Penn and Joan Mitchell, reworked the look of common flowers to show unexpected versions of them. The subject of the photographs in my work may be flowers, but they are also pictures about perspective, love, jealousy, hate, geometry, sex, life, the passage of time and death. I love how in choosing to limit myself to one discrete subject I was able to open doors into a world where I felt inventive, improvisational and fresh.”
Lola Montserrat’s series ‘Fràgils’ – capturing the aura of flowers old, wise, vivid in collodion portraits to transcend the viewer into the memory of a nature.
“Passage of time. Life and death. The eternal future and the inevitable transformation that allows us to live. Extracted from time brief moments of existence become eternal in these images and invites us to contemplate the beauty of the flowers and their secret that we can never possess.
Playing with abstraction and negative space, Simon Chaput creates a series of dynamic compositions with the striking combinations of geometrical forms of the stone observatory ‘Jantar Mantar’ in Jaipur. Through dramatic angles and close-ups, the artists revives human’s quest for unveiling celestial mysteries and the eternal longing for a cosmic connection with the universe.
Simon Chaput – Jantar Mantar
Built in the 18th century for the study of astronomy, there are five Jantar Mantars in India, all with an eccentric design, of which the largest is in Jaipur.
Jantar Mantar in Jaipur was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. It consists of 19 instruments including Vrihat Samrat Yantra, which is the Biggest Sun Clock in the World. Relying primarily on Indian astronomy, the purpose of the complex was to give reading of the trajectory of the planets and stars, predict eclipses, measure local time and other cosmic events. The monument is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage.
Simon Chaput – Jantar Mantar
The series is published in a book by Nazraeli Press with a short story by the renowned author Salman Rushdie, written specifically to accompany Chaput’s dramatically beautiful photographs.
Tom Jacobi’s series ‘Into the Light’ – breathtaking landscapes that unfold a timeless power of the white color on our visual and psychological perception as fundamental, magical and symbolic, to offer space for contemplation and encourage us to look to the future.
Tom Jacobi – Into the Light
The work presents Part Two of the trilogy Awakening started in 2014 with the project Grey Matter(s). Whilst the Part One illustrates, by means of a reduction to an almost colourless world, the way man emerged from the darkness, the current series focus is on the white, dazzling as a colour of light.
“White occupies a particular position in the spectrum of colours. White is, like black and grey, an achromatic colour. Ultimately, it is not a colour at all – or to put it differently: white is the sum of all colours, the sum of all wavelengths within the visible range. It thus arouses the same impression of colour as sunlight. There is almost no context in which white is seen as negative. This results not least from the fact that white is often regarded as the antithesis of its opposite, black. We experience white as the positive gaze into brightness, whereas black is seen as negative, like gazing into darkness. White is affirmation; black is negation. White has echoes of purity and spotlessness. It is the symbol of transparency and transcendence… White is associated with divine light and is used in practically all religions for the representation of the superordinate, the divine. Man needs white, the brightest of all colours, for survival, because it provides support in a world without stability.”
Tom Jacobi – Into the Light
It took the artist two years to complete this work. He travelled back and forth across the world, “searching once more for archaic landscapes which either dominate by virtue of their light or open up to the light in unique moments.”
The two parts of the trilogy provide opportunities for contemplation on the opposite ends of light – its presence and absence around us. The third and final part examines the state of ‘The Light Within’, to illustrate the artist’s skills of reducing to the essential and to conclude that the real light is within us.
Douglas Capron’s series ‘Hydrology’ – exploring “the concept of ‘Material Expressivity’ as advocated by Manuel DeLanda, which suggests a deliberate use of melody and rhythm in existing matter. This is a study of natural patterns, which occurs progressively as water transforms into ice during the prelude to winter. My intention was to express the ephemeral mystery of these impressions that were gradually morphing into solid ice on an urban park lake… The resulting formations are surprisingly dynamic, organically expressive and complex, and pose more questions than are revealed beyond an aesthetic perspective in our relationship with the most basic element that sustains us all.”
Jamey Stillings’ series ‘The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar’ – a three-and-a-half year aerial exploration of transformative interactions between natural forms and human activity, questioning our perceptions of land and resource use, and our uncertain path toward a sustainable future.
The Ivanpah Solar is one of the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant built in the Mojave Desert of California and the artist caught in striking graphic black-and-white photographs all the stages before the construction works commenced in October 2010 until its finish in February 2014.
Jamey Stillings – The Evolution of Ivanpah Solar
The series is published in a photo book by Steidl and is a part of a larger long-term documentary work titled “Changing Perspectives,” focusing on the global state of renewable energy development.
“It is the “invisible world”, hidden behind the “visible” that I have been working to capture…
One day in early autumn in 2001, just as twilight was setting in, I had lost track of the mountain paths. I happened to wander into a shady forest, where I found myself suddenly seized with a strong desire to take photographs. The following day, I set out once again, carrying my camera with me this time, and searched for the same forest. This experience made me realize that I was not taking photographs of the forest out of my own will, but that the forest was inducing me to take its photographs.”
“From the zealous geometry of the garden at Versailles to the cloud-pruning of trees and shrubs in traditional Japanese gardens, these various forms of cultivation reveals a delicate equilibrium, collaboration, and occasionally a collision of culture and nature. Many formal gardens in the U.S. and their stylistic precedents in Europe and Asia exhibit strong design qualities including clipped shrubs, ordered paths and controlled views using natural materials to communicate a cultural message. While these traditions grew out of a particular cultural context, their styles have been embraced by people in vastly different times and places. This practice of designing, domesticating and improving upon nature reveals simultaneously our distance from and longing for the natural, depending on the cultural lens from which it is viewed”.
Jennifer Schlesinger‘s ‘Utopia’ – a series of constructed imaginary landscapes as the artist’s response to “the philosophical question of whether a perfect place can exist, bringing together life’s dualities into a perfect union of beauty.”
Jennifer Schlesinger – Utopia
The word ‘Utopia’ was first mentioned in Plato’s Socratic dialogue ‘Republic’ describing an idea of how citizens could go about creating the ideal state, designed so there are no problems. It was Sir Thomas More in the 16th century who went further using it for a fictional island possessing a seemingly perfect socio-politico-legal system, and thus creating the notion of ideal society under the same name in which everything and everyone works in perfect harmony.
However, over the years the actual definition of ‘Utopia’ has been confused due to the different meanings of the prefix – as ‘no place’ (from Greek: οὐ = not and τόπος = place, hence “no-place”, strictly describing any non-existent society) and as ‘good place’ (from Greek εὖ = good or well and τόπος = place, hence “good place”, strictly speaking about a positive utopia). The marriage of these two definitions assumes that the definition for Utopia is an idyllic place that does not exist.
Examining this definition for Utopia, the artist’s intention is “to create a physical landscape, which does exist, if only in the paper-imaged form”.