Pieter de Vos’s series ‘Mandalas of Sand’ – telling the history of Nicaragua through stories of patterns created by sand: the birthplace of volcanoes, the serpent and the tree of life, the origin of language, the arrival of the conquistadores, the Somoza dynasty…
Pieter de Vos – Mandalas of Sand
“While walking along a stretch of beach in Aposentillo, Nicaragua, I was struck by the unique images left behind by retreating waves. It occurred to me that the layers of light and dark volcanic particles convey deeper meanings. There is a dialogue between the land and the ocean: a visual communication transmitted by the perpetual movement of water and sand. In this case, the writing in sand reveals the origin of Nicaragua and its tumultuous past. The mandalas also reveal what might happen as traditional ways of life are disrupted by the arrival of tourism and the increased investment of foreign capital.”
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
“These images have become self-reflections. They speak more of who I am than I can find with my own words. These can also be reflections in a more general way representing the shy ones, the introverts. We are present in our own way. Not always so visible but taking part in our own quite way.”
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.”
“I began this ongoing series of my daughter fifteen years ago. These particular images work as narratives. Alone, or in combination, they have a story to tell. As metaphorical portraits, they suggest the essence of a person, rather than offer any literal interpretation. I like to think of these as visual vignettes that suggest half-remembered, fragmented dream worlds. They borrow from the past, my ever-changing and skewed memories of that past, and fleeting moments in time.”
Diana H. Bloomfield – Figurative
“The images are printed in historic processes (e.g., gum bichromate; platinum/palladium; cyanotype, and sometimes a cross combination of those processes). The layers are hand-applied (brushed) on watercolor paper, exposed to UV light, and developed“.
Read in details about the process on Diana H. Bloomfield’s page ‘How it Works’
Alex Timmermans’s ‘Storytelling’ – using the 19th century collodion wet plate process to create a series of narrative about magic, mystery and imagination, told with a subtle humour and unexpected ends.
Alex Timmermans – Storytelling
“I always have been fascinated by photography. But with the introduction of the digital camera it all became too easy, too predictable …to me. So I forced myself to go back to the roots of real analog photography. Not just by making the photograph itself, but by controlling the entire photographic process. It may sound strange, but the amount of work it takes to make just a single picture returned the joy of photography to me.”
The photographs are collected in a photo book and to learn more about the artist and his workflow, watch this video.
Luis Gonzalez Palma‘s series ‘Möbius’ – through portraits of indigenous Guatemalans establishing a relationship “between the emotional, figurative portraiture and the abstracted, geometric imagery. These two systems represent our craving to understand the mystery of life from different perspectives.”
Luis González Palma – Möbius
“From the beginning, my work has been a reflection on the look. How do we construct our internal experience of a couple of eyes fixedly staring at us? How are the shadows, brilliance and all implicit geography within each photograph interpreted and elaborated inside of us? If the way we look is concocted from the social and cultural, we may conclude that all looks are political and all artistic production is subject to this kind of judgment. The glance as power. From this point of view, I feel that the work of art is a possibility of evidencing this, of questioning the way in which we look, of interrogating the history that has produced these “glance grades” and, therefore, the ways in which we react to the world. In my artistic process I have tried to create images that invite the observer to examine by means of what I call “emotional contemplation”; assigning, through the beauty in them, the meaning of their shape. I have constructed scenarios and I have modified certain countenances through the years in order to create images that would permit other perceptions of the world, other ways of understanding and modifying it internally.”
Carol Inez Charney’s series ‘After Painting‘ – reinterpreting the work of classic iconic paintings, refracted by water to reassemble a new point of view about these paintings through photography.
“For me the water is the veil that allows the past and the present to collide. Initially I was working with the camera’s ability to selectively focus, though this has now led me to working with the idea of taking details out of context from the whole and then reassembling them to create a new visual conversation about a particular painting.”
The paintings the artist was inspired are works by Leonardo, Van Eyck, Van Gogh, Monet, Matisse, Chagall and Picasso.
Carol Inez Charney – After Painting
“The ‘After’ designation refers to the art-historian’s way of labeling copies of old artworks made by admiring younger artists, a common practice before the advent of photography, and a way of paying homage to and learning from the past: Van Gogh copied Rubens, and Rubens copied Leonardo, and so on.” (An essay by Dewitt Cheng)
“A country named after a desert. One of the least densely populated places on earth. Defined by its rich variety of colors—yet in a forever changing, yet completely barren landscape. Namibia’s landscape draws you in, through a vast brown plain of scorched earth, and steers you over the white surface of a salt pan to finally arrive in the gold tones of the sand dunes. Patience is required to discover the wide range of Namibia’s subtle scenery.
It literally takes you hours, driving though nothing, to at long last arrive at…more of nothing. The sight of other people is rare and only the strategically located gas stations are a reminder of the world beyond. This country is in another time zone—time seems to move slower but it feels more logical, somehow. Captivated by these washed out yet delicately colored landscapes, you can drive for hours. Chaperoned by herds of giraffes or zebras, shadowed by flocks of flamingos, suddenly stumbling upon a family of elephants. The animals look up curiously, but soon forget about you and slowly continue their journey, unhurried by your presence, at their own pace.”
“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.