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
Danielle van Zadelhoff‘s portraits – inspired by the Renaissance masters, a painterly use of chiaroscuro in search of the human psyche.
“I am searching for a feeling, for something that touches me deeply. It presses the button inside me and I want to express that emotion with my photographs. I use chiaroscuro because I like the shadows and the darkness. In the darkness you see the subconscience of people. It is in the dark side where we discover more of ourselves. I use children often in my photographs as in the Renaissance because their faces show more direct emotions.”
Danielle Van Zadelhoff
“I am inspired by the big themes in life, loneliness, vulnerability, the raw pure emotions in daily life. I want to capture this in the image, something that is almost invisible, but always present.”
Zoe Kimpton‘s ‘They and Theirs‘ is a series of illustrative portraits that depict the subjects as imagined characters. Matched to particular objects they pose within a constructed environment. In a painterly fashion the portraits a styled according to a delicate pastel palette. Surreal elements and a sense of the bizarre blur the edge between fantasy and reality. Quirky aesthetic and subtle humour also come into play throughout the series.
Pierre Gonnord‘s ‘Portraits (Retratos)‘ – inspired by the great masters of portrait genre of the 17th and 18th century, diving with a deep compassion into the soul of people from social groups disregarded by the society and depicting them with grace, respect and elegance to make us remember they are humans too.
“I choose my contemporaries in the anonymity of the big cities because their faces, under the skin, narrate unique, remarkable stories about our era. Sometimes hostile or distant, almost always fragile behind the opacity of their masks, they represent specific social realities and another concept of beauty. I also try to approach the unclassifiable, timeless individual, to suggest things that have been repeated over and over since time began.”
Pierre Gonnord – Portraits
More than 100 portraits made between 1999 and 2012 are collected in a new spectacular book published by ‘La fabrica” .
Pierre Gonnord is a French self-taught photographer who since 1988 resides in Madrid.
To learn more about the artist’s thoughts behind the series, watch his interview on the occasion of an exhibition in New York
Dutch photographer was inspired by a studio portrait of a dog from the 1920s, she found in 2010, and realized that “Back then, people only made one photo each year in their best dress… for some people, dogs are one of the family.”
In her personal beautiful project of children’s still life portraits called ‘Marine Life‘, Dutch photographer Shemara has caught a whole array of their honest expressions, pose and gestures leaving no question what they think about the sea creatures. As she has mentioned on her site “You cannot force them and you have to catch the moment that they give you”. The series was created in 2014 when her son was 5 years old and all the children are his friends at the same age. Shemara explained that she had let them to choose on their own what to hold in their hands and then photographed them with their choice.