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”.
Ryuijie‘s series ‘Black & White Ice Forms’ – collection of photographs featuring flowers frozen in blocks of ice in exploring the Japanese principle of wabi-sabi – beauty in nature in all of its imperfections, the acceptance of transience and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.
“The ice is as important as the flowers it encases, providing an element of the unexpected and unpredictable.”
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.
“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.
Alicja Brodowicz’s series ‘Learning to Swim’ – “explores the mother and daughter relationship; it is about the physical and the emotional distance that increases as the child grows and gains independence. It is about the feeling of immense pride and also great pain. It is a story about “the challenges of feeling in between — youth and adulthood, the nest and the world, the comfortable water and the firm earth that we all must learn to walk on, someday.”
Toshio Enomoto’s series ‘Sakura’ – “It is my rule to use film in sakura photography. I’ve photographed sakura for nearly thirty years, at dawn or sunset, always in pursuit of that momentary tension between the darkness of the night sky and the bright flowers, but it’s a real challenge. The sakura show different faces every year, and sometimes I wonder how many more chances I’ll get to chase them. The coming of spring always makes me restless.”
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.