In more than 100 stunning ambrotype portraits of farmers and chefs accompanied by brief honest answers, Francesco Mastalia captured in his project ‘Organic‘ their beautiful, powerful, sensual stories and philosophy.
“Organic is working with nature, not telling it what to do, not demanding of things it can’t do.”
The archaic photographic technique is in refined harmony with the passion of these 21st century women and men who re-embraced the old ways of producing and preparing food. “Organic is the old, ancient, natural way that was predestined from all eternity for us to grow our own food.”
The project ‘Organic’ spotlights New York State’s Hudson Valley but opens a global dialogue about our future in living organically and sustainably in respect to the Earth. “Organic” is not just about growing and producing food, it is about the life of the planet.”
Pilar Pequeño’s series ‘Submerged Plants’ (Plantas Sumergidas) – serene still lifes of underwater flowers, embraced by tiny bubbles, to capture a piece of nebulous consciousness in portraying the architecture of universal beauty, and exploring certain aspects of the diverse manifestations of the natural world.
Pilar Pequeño – Submerged Plants
“I think it’s an inside look, trying to express my feelings with images. I always use natural light and I think that the same subject can have different images depending on the moment of light. What I’m trying to do is to imitate the human eye, with all its nuances that it manages to capture in its vision.”
François Halard’s series ‘Casa Ghirri’ – photographs where the sense of the artist’s presence, the objects that had surrounded him and the place itself are the main protagonists in a play, weaving their roles and create one intimate portrait of the great Italian photographer and the spirit of his house.
The idea for creating such an album was born after an encounter with Luigi Ghirri’s wife, Paula, in 2011. An album not only as separate silent notes about the decoration but as a poetic nostalgic story, told masterfully by François Halard, reflecting with the same palette the life and the energy of the artist.
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.”