Anni Hanén’s series ‘Trace’ – cyanotype and digital collages of archival materials and staged photographs as layers of poetic forms to uncover different traces of memory and emotions in order to understand universal feelings.
Anni Hanén – Trace
“The process finds its beginning in daily life, by hearing, seeing, reading or experiencing the things that draw my attention… The archives range from old family albums to mobile snapshots. Although my starting points are notes from daily life, it is the power of the imagination that allows this work to touch upon universal experiences.”
Leila Jeffreys’ ‘Birds’ – fascinating large-scale close-up portraits of birds abstracted from their accustomed context to reveal their beauty, complexity and majesty, and to bring into focus the striking and diverse character of Australia’s native wildlife.
Leila Jeffreys – Birds
“I thought of them as people. You can’t get a good portrait unless the bird is comfortable, so you talk to them. They don’t speak the same language back, but they look at you intensely, they listen to you. If they’re not so sure, they move away, and if they’re kind of curious they get a bit closer. They might turn their back on you… I want people to form an emotional connection with the work and develop an interest in wildlife.”
Viviane Sassen’s series ‘Umbra’ – capturing the darkest part of the shadows in coloured images of shapes and patterns as a juxtaposition of different perspectives. Inspired by the Surrealism these works, on the verge of the abstract, emphasize the play of light and shadow as metaphors of the human psyche.
“I find it difficult to conform to the idea of definitive truths; there are always two sides to the coin so everything should be allowed to exist at the same time.”
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.
Mandy Barker’s series ‘Penalty’ – football debris and the punishing term from the game in aesthetic images to illustrate the scale of plastic pollution and focus on the cost we all have to pay if we do not look after our oceans.
Faithful to her principals to raise awareness with her works about environmental problems of global concern, this project again “aims to highlight the harmful effect on marine life and ultimately ourselves”. In the occasion of the FIFA World Cup 2014, the artist chose the football as a single plastic object and global symbol that could reach and engage an international audience.
Mandy Barker – Penalty
“The project involved the collaboration with members of the public from around the world after a call via social media for people to collect and post footballs they found in the sea or on the shoreline. In total 992 marine debris balls were recovered from the world’s oceans in just 4 months. 769 footballs and pieces of, with 223 other types of balls were collected from 41 different countries and islands and from 144 different beaches, by 89 members of the public.”
Tanya Marcuse’s series ‘Woven’ – weaving, allegorically and aesthetically, lush flora and fauna, both living and dead, in large scale photographs like medieval millefleurs* tapestries, to introduce time, decay and beauty of life and death.
Tanya Marcuse – Woven
“The 5 x 10 foot photographs sometimes take weeks to compose, and during this process of composition, of collecting, arranging, burning, painting, and transplanting, there is change. Flowers wither, spiders build webs, new shoots emerge, and corpses decay. Influenced both by the Dutch vanitas tradition and the allover graphic compositions of Jackson Pollock, I intend the photographs to be experienced as exquisitely detailed still lives when viewed from up close, but to hold together as an immersive, more abstract composition from further away.”
Inspired by the ancient Greek myth that lives of human beings were threads in the hands of three weaving women, the Fates (the Moirai), the artist elaborately assembled tableaux of creatures and plants, and stitched approximately 30 frames together to make a single image.
*Literally ‘thousand flowers’. Refers to a background style of many different small flowers and plants. It differs from many other styles of floral decoration in that many different sorts of individual plants are shown, and there is no regular pattern. The plants fill the field without connecting or significantly overlapping.
Katrin Korfmann’s project ‘Count for Nothing’ – a flat colored background as a stage set, in capturing the memory of a place like an invisible voyeur fascinated with observing people in motion from above.
Katrin Korfmann – Count for Nothing, Waiting for Julia
“My final image is a total fiction, involving dislocation, recombination and redirection. By using many impressions of one location merged into the final photograph, I want to recreate the experience that I have in my mind. The photograph is no longer a single moment but a river of accumulated images. This way, I propose an objective essence from a subjective experience that, in turn, can replace a memory in someone else’s mind… I intend to focus all attention on the people, without being preoccupied by the specifics of cultural background or location. The aerial perspective allows me to exclude the surroundings: architecture and any reference to a specific location.”
Tom Chambers’ series ‘Dreaming in reverse’ – surreal photomontages to a colourful journey through time to illustrate a dream of what has remained from the heart and beauty of Mexican landscape, and the authenticity of the lifestyle, culture, spirituality and magic.
Tom Chambers – Dreaming In Reverse
The artist’s return to Mexico after a twenty-five years visit and “experienced a country teetering on the brink of change created by increasing political and economic challenges, and exacerbated by the trappings of global consumerism. The Mexican people appeared handcuffed by demands largely outside of their control and threatened by the potential loss of their cultural richness. Employing magic realism, an art genre used in the early 20th century in Mexico, I have created images of Mexico which seem true and believable, but also perhaps improbable”.
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.