B&W

Gianluca Micheletti – ‘Lifepod’

Gianluca Micheletti – series ‘Lifepod‘: An Ark of Noah without Noah.

“My project consists of inserting some primates – they share with humans up to almost 99% of the DNA-in safety capsules that will regenerate a form of primordial life, a future day, after the extinction of the breed human.”

Gianluca Micheletti, Lifepod, photography, anima

Gianluca Micheletti – Lifepod

 

Thomas Subtil – ‘Hakuna Matata’

Thomas Subtil‘s “Hakuna Matata“ funny and surreal animal “photographic reality”

“Since I remember I always imagined extraordinary stories and adventures. Today things didn’t changed. I kept my kid mind and released it on my work…I think every body loves humour, in many different ways. Which one is yours? To me, is when there is very serious situation in a complet crazy world. When a elephant do very serious tightrope walk in a world where it can happen… so, please relax, take off your shoes, forgot your daily problem and escape in an another world.” 

Thomas Subtil - Hakuna Matata

Thomas Subtil – Hakuna Matata

 

 

Tommy Ingberg – ‘Reality Rearranged’

Tommy Ingberg‘s stories about human nature in surrealistic photo montages.

“This is a series of black and white, surrealistic photo montages. The pictures start off with a feeling, a story, a riddle for the viewer to think about. I strive for simple, scaled back compositions with few elements, where every part adds to the story, but where there are still gaps for the viewer to fill.”

Tommy Ingberg - Reality Rearranged

Tommy Ingberg – Reality Rearranged

 

“For me, surrealism is about trying to explain something abstract like a feeling or a thought, expressing the subconscious with a picture. The Reality Rearranged series is my first try at describing reality trough surrealism. During the five years I have worked on the series I have used my own inner life, thoughts and feelings as seeds to my pictures. In that sense the work is very personal, almost like a visual diary.
Despite this subjectiveness in the process I hope that the work can engage the viewer in her or his own terms. I want the viewers to produce their own questions and answers when looking at the pictures, my own interpretations are really irrelevant in this context.”

 

Philippe Halsman – ‘Jumps’

Philippe Halsman‘s series ‘Jumps‘ – “Starting in the early 1950s I asked every famous or important person I photographed to jump for me. I was motivated by a genuine curiosity. After all, life has taught us to control and disguise our facial expressions, but it has not taught us to control our jumps. I wanted to see famous people reveal in a jump their ambition or their lack of it, their self-importance or their insecurity, and many other traits.”

Philippe Halsman - Jumps

Philippe Halsman – Jumps

 

Eugene de Salignac (1861–1943) – the municipal photographer who captured the transformation of New York

Eugene de Salignac was employed as the single official photographer by the New York City Department of Bridges/ Plants & Structures* from 1906 to 1934. During that period using a large-format camera he captured the transformation of New York from a town to a city. Shooting mainly its changing architecture, growing infrastructure and those who built it, he left quite an impressive archive of 12,500 8″ x 10″ gelatin-silver and cyanotype prints and 20,000 8″ x 10″ glass plate and acetate negatives. Not only his prolific work but also his unique vision worth a few words about him. As Michael Lorenzini mentioned ‘A lot of other photographers who worked for the city were pretty talented but did not produce such a large body of work or a distinct body of work.’

Mr. Lorenzini, the senior photographer for the New York City Municipal Archives, is actually the man who rediscovered the talent of Eugene de Salignac in 1999. He explains that as he was spooling through microfilm of the city’s vast Department of Bridges photography collection, he realized that many of the images shared a common sophisticated aesthetic. Besides, he noticed that there were consecutive numbers scratched into the negatives. And then he realized that they had all been shot by a single unknown photographer. But who was he?

Trying to find the answer, Mr Lorenzini started a research. It took him many months and uncounted hours of trolling through archives storerooms, the Social Security index, Census reports and city records on births, deaths and employment, and finally discovered the photographer: Eugene de Salignac.

Though Michael Lorenzini unearthed primary sources to reconstruct de Salignac’s biography, still a lot about him remains unknown.

The basic facts of his life are that he was born in Boston in 1861 into an eccentric family of exiled French nobility. He got married, had two children and, after separating from his wife in 1903, at the age of 42 he started working for the City of New York. It was his brother-in-law who found him the job as an assistant to the photographer for the Department of Bridges, Joseph Palmer. After 3 years of apprenticeship, Palmer suddenly died, and in October 1906, de Salignac assumed his duties until 1934. Though he turned 70, he was still climbing bridges and actively working, but was forced to retire in 1934 despite a petition to Mayor La Guardia. Eugene de Salignac died in 1943, at 82.

De Salignac was not a typical municipal photograph. His job was to provide a record of the changing New York: the construction of bridges, municipal building, subway, tunnels, trolley lines, buses, ferries, street scenes, construction laborers, office workers, panoramas and etc. And he did it, but more as an artist than as an ordinary municipal worker. Some of his most compelling images reveal that he had an eye for composition, form and light. A real piece of art is his iconic photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge painters.

Obviously with such a huge amount, it is not possible that all of his photographs possess the high quality of an art work, but still they are great images from historical point of view. Moreover, it seems that de Salignac liked his job and these newly-built constructions became a continual source of his inspiration. He captured these symbols of the industrial progress in their unusual beauty.

Now since his name has emerged, he deserves all the merits for his work. In his lifetime de Salignac’s work was little seen outside of New York City government, and his name was forgotten after his death in 1943. Not however his images. They have been used in books and films but since their author was unknown, it was no possible to give them the correct credit.

Most of his collection now is held by the New York City Municipal Archives.

In 2007, they have published (publisher Aperture) the monograph ‘New York Rises: Photographs by Eugene de Salignac’ with authors Michael Lorenzini and Kevin Moore.

Among many of his photographic duties was also the task of taking portraits for licenses. He often shot two men at a time but it is not yet clear why.

*Bridges/Plant & Structures, 1901-1939. With consolidation of the Greater City of New York in 1898, all bridges over waterways were placed under jurisdiction of the newly-formed Department of Bridges. In 1916, Bridges merged with Public Works and became the Department of Plant & Structures with responsibility for streetcar lines, ferryboats, sewers, waste disposal facilities, homeless shelters, and bridges.

Fan Ho – the unique eye at Hong Kong during the 1950’s and 1960’s

“At the beginning you must find the ideal location. Then you must be patient to find the right subject that arouses your interest, even if it’s just a cat . You must have the precise moment to catch the spirit, the essence, the soul of the person… If you don’t have the exact moment, you have to wait for the right feeling. It’s real creative work because you have to have the feeling inside.”

These words regarding his technique belong to the photographer Fan Ho and his works undoubtedly confirm them.

Fan Ho, Hong Kong, photography, art, fine art photography, photo books, photography books, black and white photography

Fan Ho

 

Fan Ho was born in Shanghai in 1937, but in 1949 his family immigrated to Hong Kong and that was the place where he started to discover the magic of the painting with light. Still in his youth, with his father’s Rolleiflex camera in hand, he began to explore the everyday life of the crowded metropolis and archive it with the help of the lenses. However, his goal was not just to document the bustle of the urban life. Like an invisible observer, he was looking out to capture the solitary moments we have with ourselves to unveil the beauty of the internal world. And by carefully mastering of the light, he succeeded to present the drama of the daily routine but through a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

In 1980, Fan Ho moved to San Jose, California, and tried his skills also as a film director, and even acted in several movies, but it is his photography that assigns him a place among the greatest masters.

Due to health problems, nowadays he has devoted his professional time mostly organizing his rich heritage and up to now he has published three books – ‘Hong Kong Yesterday’,’ The Living Theatre’ and ‘A Hong Kong Memoir

Fan Ho is represented by Modern Book Gallery.

 

Josef Hoflehner – Jet Airliner

Josef Hoflehner’s Jet Airliner series comprises of high key photographs of low-flying planes over the heads of sunbathers at Maho Beach on the Dutch/French island of St. Maarten / St. Martin in the Caribbean Sea.  The beach is directly adjacent to the relatively short runway of the airport, therefore passenger jets roar as low as four meters above the holiday-makers.

The photographs were taken over a period  between early 2009 and late 2011 and 86 of them are published in the book ” Jet Airliner: The Complete Works

Josef Hoflehner - Jet Airliner

Josef Hoflehner – Jet Airliner

 

The Botanical Anthology of KARL BLOSSFELDT (1865-1932) – part 2

What was so unique in the works of Blossfeldt?

Karl Blossfeldt

Karl Blossfeldt

 

Obviously he had adopted the Meurer’s conception and was inspired by the artistic structure and architectural elegance of the plants. He was intrigued with every component of the plant – flowers, buds, seed capsules, roots, tendrils, pods, twigs.

“The plant never lapses into mere arid functionalism; it fashions and shapes according to logic and suitability, and with its primeval force compels everything to attain the highest artistic form,” he said.

But reviewing the diverse art movements at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th the use of botanical motifs was not something innovative. Actually they were very popular, especially in the Art Nouveau designs.

Karl Blossfeldt

Karl Blossfeldt

 

The uniqueness is in the original way he captured them: magnification, sharp focus, balanced arrangement, neutral background, high contrast and diffused lightening with only slightest grey shadows beneath the objects.

With his homemade camera he could reach a magnification up to 30x times of the genuine size; an amplification common for what is called now macro photography. This along with the sharp focus reveal extraordinary details of a plant natural structure and shape and provides a visual access to its beauty and lucidity. The trend in photography that time was for elaborate backgrounds, but Blossfeldt’s compositions distinguished with centered plants against a plain monochromatic ground. The viewer should not have to be destructed in his investigation of the object. Showing the finest features of a plant in an isolated contest emphasize their inwardness and expose the individuality and the character of each of them.

Karl Blossfeldt

Karl Blossfeldt

 

After the success of his 1st book in 1928, Blossfeldt was persuaded by Nierendorf to collect another 120 of his photos and in 1932 was published his 2nd book – Wundergarten der Natur (Magic Garden of Nature), again making a phenomenal impact as the previous one and winning him a recognition as one of the key photographers of the 20th century.

Karl Blossfeldt

Karl Blossfeldt

 

Returning to that student exhibition we started… Through the eyes of the past years what else we could add to ‘captivating, outstanding, breathtaking’ when describing the Blossfeldt’s works? Surely a lot, but only one stands out – ‘classical’. Though almost a century has been passed, these graphic black and white photos continue to excite and impress the public. They remain unique and at the same time modern as if they were created nowadays. And apart of their artistic value, they haven’t lost their main purpose and still could be used as teaching materials. Something that probably for Blossfeldt would be the greatest reward.

Karl Blossfeldt

Karl Blossfeldt

 

Karl Blossfeld’s photographs nowadays are published in many photo books.