“The place of bamboo in the minds of East Asian people goes far beyond our imagination. Because Bamboo grows tall and straight by emptying its body and creating voids within, so it has been praised as a representative of uprightness and emptiness. Especially, Korea, Japan and China all placed bamboo in the first rank of evergreens, even surpassing the pine tree, and gave bamboo the first place for its nobility of soul. Scholars believed that the scent of bamboo expresses a world of pure ideal, and thought they would enter a pure spiritual world when they went into a bamboo forest because of the scent of spirit represented by bamboo.” Jin Dongsun
From 1989 to 1994 Danish photographer Joakim Eskildsen travelled through Norway, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland and the Faroe Islands in searching of those elements that define the mystic atmosphere of the land and its relationship with those who inhabit it.
“I think that I managed to capture here the meaning of the Nordic Signs, something that is at the same time wild yet livable, and profoundly shaped by the climate, the wind, and destiny.”
Joakim Eskildsen – Nordic Signs
The photographs were self-published in a book ‘Nordic Signs’ in 1995, but now it is out of print and sought after.
Tessa Traeger’s series ‘The calligraphy of dance’ – combining arcane calligraphy with family portraits from the Boughton House in Northamptonshire to express aspects of a music collection in visual terms.
In 2011 renowned British photographer Tessa Traeger was appointed to give visual expression to a rare collection of many little known works by English and French composers, discovered recently at Boughton by musicologist Paull Boucher.
At first she looked through the exquisite books and manuscripts but nothing seemed to inspire her. Then she started to study the family portraits in the House and there she found her interest.
Hands and feet are an essential part of music making and by taking away the face from the paintings, which is usually the most compelling element, the details become much more vivid. Next she photographed tiny dance symbols in extreme close up and reversed them so that they were white on black, as are most of the backgrounds of the paintings. Finally she combined all these appropriations, using the dance notation very freely and even playfully.
Tessa Traeger – The calligraphy of dance
“My idea was to try to show the symbiotic nature of the French and English influences in the House. I tried to combine the French love of dance and fashion, as seen in such details as the red high heeled shoes for the men… an innovation of Louis XIV … with the existing English tradition.”
Dressed with their mothers’ and grandmothers’ ornamented clothing, they reveal legacy, inheritance. The lineage is continuous. Resilient is a force drawing strength from the Earth.
Joana Choumali – Resilients
RESILIENTS (by Joana Choumali)
O Abyssinian Woman, O Black Woman
Her skin of shades that a sun-zenith shimmers
With incandescent kisses is the flame
Of her negritude revealed with glows…
Her skin crepuscle gleams
Her skin, of honey-dew nights,
Studded with eloquent tones
O Cinnabar Amaranth
O Abyssinian Helianthus
O Ethiopic Woman, O Black Woman,
Her lips Mangoustan, Fruits of Miracle,
Tell the fierce crimson of her mystery
And the fire of the souls incarnated in her flesh
In her flesh draped with richly coloured cloths
With the richly coloured cloths of her lost memories
Of her lost memories that she needs to be woven
O Blazing Flower-Chili
O Ethiopian Woman-Curcuma
O African Woman, O Black Woman
Dressed in the sets of the foremother, of the mother
Is inhabited with spirits aged of centenaries
Her face-halo, then, of Ivorian Aphrodite
Gives her appearances of a Uranian statue
An angel-sphinx, a venus-pity
Who plunges her eyes of Oracle into eternity
Bravery. As a Nubian Pythia, she is transfigured
Of the City Spirit exorcised, at last she is rooted…
O Mambo, O Prophetess
O Slender Massai, O Callipygian Hottentot
O Ebony Korê in her matrilineal ornaments
A sculptural bronze, a chiselled jewel
O Queen of Humility
O Emperess of Posterity
‘Between Blossoms is inspired by my dreams of the unknown and by the mysteries that fascinate me. And I find these fantasies hinted at the reality that surrounds me; a touch of melodrama here, a hint of seduction there, that enhance the everyday with an elusive enchanting beauty. My choice of these subjects reflects my passion for the unfamiliar and the fantastical, balanced with the preference for the natural and an optimistic perspective’
In this series of Sharon Core again the subject are classical still life paintings but this time as the name suggests ‘1606-1907‘ she has not focused on a specific artist or a time period, but explored three centuries of flower painting.
“It is intriguing for me to do this because the genre of flower painting is really dead now.”
When sparks draw whirring patterns against the sky … When water droplets form motionless constellations in the air… When stars hang ember-like in nebulous fields … When spiderwebs’ gleams allure to transfer into a mysterious dimension.
When our eyes and ears adjust to the unfamiliar world of darkness and in a state of intensity we prepare to encounter it.
Coley Brown – Deeper Than Night
Available as a photo book published by Silent Sound in edition of 600 copies. Click here to watch the video
For the ‘Forest’ project Tuori photographed the same place, from the same spot, over and over again at different times and seasons, sometimes years apart. Multiple images, both black and white and colour, are then superimposed. Likewise, the moving images from the ‘Forest’ series are the result of layering: colour video with black and white photographs. This gives the films the clarity and richness of a photograph combined with the movement and time of a video.(Purdy Hicks Gallery review)
Santeri Tuori – Forest
Moved by the sensory force and elegance of ‘Forest’ are we actually in a forest? The forest is meticulously brought to the viewer and the forest is made to disappear; the forest is powerfully present and radically absent. Surplus forest, reduced forest. We are and we are not in the forest (Jan-Erik Lundström)
Ken Hermann‘s series ‘Flower Men‘ – portraits of flower sellers in India created as dreamlike visions of everyday people.
“Flowers are a hugely important part of Indian culture, used in everything from temple rituals to festivals and parties. Two thousand sellers gather daily to peddle their blooms. The streets are lined with bowls and knots of flowers. Every colour, species and fragrance fused together, overwhelming the senses.
The flower sellers take pride in protecting and maintaining every stem. They wander through the market, carefully avoiding collision while draped in hundreds of flowers. Their silhouettes mutated into a shape shifting mass of foliage. Bringing a soft sensuality to these hardworking, stoic men.”
Steve Harries personal project ‘Studio Botanical‘ – a modern interpretation of vintage botanical encyclopedia with a deeper insight into the studio photographic process.
“Traditional botanical journals were an obvious inspiration, and it’s hard to not find yourself simply recording the delicate beauty of a flower. However, it was important that the series should be a modern interpretation – a book which does more to inform of the photographic process in the studio than the botanical one in the field.”