≡ The art of portraiture, by Marina Rosso ≡


56_mg4971© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series Elephant, 2010-12.

56_56mg3284© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series Elephant, 2010-12.

56_mg4136© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series Elephant, 2010-12.

56_mg7704© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series Elephant, 2010-12.


64_marinarosso03© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series Mutants, 2014.

64_marinarosso01© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series Mutants, 2014.

64_marinarosso08© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series Mutants, 2014.

64_marinarosso07© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series Mutants, 2014.

Marina’s Stetement:

In 1965 Lake Chagan, often referenced as “Atomic Lake”, was created during a nuclear test in the modern state of Kazakhstan. Craft, energy, explosive anger are the tools used to deconstruct nature and therefore, its representation in our society.

Born from waste paper through the printing process of my latest book “The Beautiful Gene” composed of clean and duly classified portraits, these images are the direct consequence of the uncontrolled energy that we are handling with. This canny result offers in a silent and fortuitous outcome a new deformed and deconstructed interpretation of our modern thinking.”


62_spk5915© Marina Rosso, from the book The Beautiful Gene, 2014.

bgmarinarosso1© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series The Beautiful Gene, 2014.

bgmarinarosso2© Marina Rosso, Untitled, from the series The Beautiful Gene, 2014.

Marina’s Stetement:

In September 2011 the world’s biggest sperm bank, stopped accepting red haired donors for a period: demand for them was too low compared to the supply.

Single women, who currently represent half of the customer base, tend to select donors based on the search for a “dream prince”. Increasingly, new lives are engineered in an attempt to reach a sort of personal ideal, what philosophers call individual or new eugenics. And personal ideals rarely feature red hair. After being scorned, persecuted and marginalized for centuries, could redheads now begin to be eliminated in a conspiracy of online questionnaires, aseptic clinics and frozen sperm?

As a provocation to this system, I decided to act as a conservation geneticist who would classify the genetic variation of a species in the first step to preserve its diversity and components. I started by creating a matrix that would represent the red hair gene through 48 categories, each uniquely combining this feature with five more physical traits (gender, height, build, eye color and hair type). Then I set out on a journey looking for real people who could literally embody these categories.”

≡ The Hyères School of Photography ≡

My love for the Hyères Festival is known. I’ve written about it and have featured a great deal of the authors shortlisted each year. The judging panel has been responsible for issuing a statement about what they want to see in contemporary photography and it has been bold and exciting, for Hyères always awards an experimental attitude towards the medium itself, as well as valuing innovation and creativity. Amidst the past festival judges “we can randomly mention Urs Stahel (Fotomuseum Winterthur), Marloes Krijnen (FOAM, Amsterdam), Dennis Freedman (W, New York), Charlotte Cotton, Glenn O’Brien, Marta Gili (Jeu de Paume, Paris), Jörg Koch (032C, Berlin), James Reid (Wallpaper*, London), Frits Gierstberg (Nederlands Fotomuseum, Rotterdam), Kathy Ryan (New York Times, New York), David Campany (London), Joerg Colberg (Conscientious), Charles Fréger (photographer, France), Erik Kessels (KesselsKramer, Amsterdam), Brett Rogers (The Photographer’s Gallery, London), Karen Langley (Dazed, London), Winfried Heininger (Kodoji Press, Switzerland), Damien Poulain (Oodee, London), Jason Evans (photographer, United Kingdom), Mutsuko Ota (IMA, Tokyo), etc.

What follows is my selection of work from the 10 authors shortlisted for Hyères 2015.

I – Oezden Yorulmaz

5© Oezden Yorulmaz, Untitled, from the series Ed Meets Jack, 2013.

6© Oezden Yorulmaz, Untitled, from the series Ed Meets Jack, 2013.

excerpt from Hyères’ press release:

Oezden Yorulmaz is interested in how photographical images play an important aspect of self-definition within the western society he cohabits. He plays in his work with the borders and the limitations of photography’s try to represent reality. He often uses himself as the main protagonist and creates male performs that is acting a narrative or mental state within the space of images or locations.
In Ed Meets Jack he created a fictional story, told through a series of photographs, which resemble a sequence of film stills. By using props or costumes he is trying to create a persona or situation that is aiming to reproduce an authentic atmosphere that only exists within in the space of the image. The photograph acts as a springboard between his performance and the observer and is limited to each one own presumption and experience.

II – Filippo Patrese

patrese_filippo-3© Filippo Patrese, Settembre 1977, from the series Corrections, 2014.

patrese_filippo-1© Filippo Patrese, Febbraio 1983, from the series Corrections, 2014.

III – Thomas Rousset

hyeres_01_news© Thomas Rousset, Untitled.

1074720© Thomas Rousset, Untitled.

1074713© Thomas Rousset, Untitled.

IV – Jeannie Abert

1jeannieabert-champ-de-bataille© Jeannie Abert, RÉVOLUTIONS, 2011. Collages sur papier.

c2_624© Jeannie Abert, COVER. Collages sur papier, incrustations diverses et brou de noix.

4-x_800© Jeannie Abert, COMPILE POUR UN AMNESIQUE, 2015 (en cours).

Jeannie’s statement:

I take photography as my starting point as a database of experimental research which I see as a raw material that I then manipulate. I search in pre-existing iconographic banks and appropriate the images. Thumbing my nose at the screen, a paradigm of the contemporary view, I question the images by bringing them back to a materialstate. There are so many axes and interpenetrations which define a genetically hybrid operation – contact photography, scanned, printed, photocopied images, reproduced so much so as to lose their definition – material – grain – frame photography which can meet up with drawing – painting – textiles. My intention is to stimulate the regard by changing the points of view. I play with the production and diffusion processes of the image. I question the medium of photography by trying to build a “play area” which could open new visual preoccupations.

V – Sjoerd Knibbeler

sjoerd-knibbeler-003© Sjoerd Knibbeler, Current Study # 3, 2013.

sjoerd-knibbeler-018© Sjoerd Knibbeler, Skyline, videostill, 2013.

sjoerd-knibbeler-010© Sjoerd Knibbeler, FW-42, from the series The Paper Planes, 2014.

excerpt from press release @ Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam:

Knibbeler is working independently again, on a quest to capture wind. He tries to make the impossible possible by simulating tornados, folding model airplanes and trying – literally – to capture air. The model airplanes, all of which are based on designs that were never airborne, provide a context insinuating the impossibility of his quest. But parallel to these experiments he created video work showing an aerobatics pilot practicing his flight patterns on ground. In this work the complexity of the matter becomes tangible and the research of the contemporary experience of nature suddenly reappears. In November, LhGWR will present Knibbeler’s first solo show.

VI – Sushant Chhabria

ILMtext-637x800© Sushant Chhabria.

ilm_exhbit-1000x730© Sushant Chhabria, installation view, 2015.

chhabria_sushant-1© Sushant Chhabria, Untitled, 2015.

ilm_13-584x800© Sushant Chhabria, Untitled, 2015.

VII – Wawrzyniec Kolbusz

12-833x1024© Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Untitled, from the series Sacred Defense.
wawrzyniec_kolbusz_sacred-defense_14-834x1024© Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Untitled, from the series Sacred Defense.

wawrzyniec_kolbusz_sacred-defense_07-1024x834© Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, Untitled, from the series Sacred Defense.

Installation-View-of-Sacred-Defense-by-Wawrzyniec-Kolbusz-Wroclaw-SEP-2014-f1-1024x683© Wawrzyniec Kolbusz, installation view from the series Sacred Defense.

excerpt from Kolbusz’s statement @ Format Festival:

Sacred Defence, embedded in the Iranian post-war reality of the Iraq-Iran war (1980– 1988), is a story of producing artificial war images and reconstructing historical events to create a group memory. It is questioning whether reconstructed evidence is still evidence. It not only traces the existing modes of construction of fake war narrations. It also creates new war-related simulacra in digitally amended satellite images of nuclear installations. Hence, testing further the notion and limits of artificial evidence.

Sacred Defence is a game, in which images make us believe we see the war. We are looking at illusions, however. We follow how the war simulacra of social and political importance are being created within different spaces. A cinema city, constructed only for the purpose of shooting war movies, is a self-referencing space, created not to be experienced itself, but to become an image of war. Museums mimic the wartime reality in the smallest detail; wax figures of particular martyrs allow a meeting with fallen heroes again; and plastic replicas of antipersonnel mines sold as souvenirs.

From a play between the evident and the non-evident, author leads us to the point where he creates new simulation. He amends satellite images of Iranian nuclear installations with mutually exclusive versions of air strike destruction. Buildings destroyed in some images stand intact in others – parallel versions of the same event are presented on a single satellite map. Author is producing a ‘proof’ of an event that never happened despite being discussed in media.

VIII – Polly Tootal

picture_054print30x24c© Polly Tootal, #20406, 2014.

cf013534r44x59insq© Polly Tootal, #43534, 2014.

bcf013839_1r© Polly Tootal, #43839, 2014.

excerpt from an essay by Matthew Parker about Tootal’s work:

Polly Tootal is a photographer of British landscapes, yet the landscapes she registers are not likely to be found in any popular chronicle of the land, rejecting as they do the obvious beauty or grandeur of things and instead existing in the spaces in-between, the ones that are passed through every day, so nameless as to be embedded deeply into our consciousness and then forgotten. Perhaps this is why then, despite their surface anonymity, they all seem so uncannily familiar to me.


It’s no surprise to discover the Bechers are an influence, but compared to their typological surveys, her project is loose, deceptively objective, varying from image to image. Not concerned with the repetition of specific elements. Not so narrow in its vision. Instead, with each unique image, there’s a subtle vein of drama, an eye open to the strange and the exotic, the mundane and the obscure. Not limiting herself to specialised projects or adhering to restrictive formal rules, she instead takes an interest in atmosphere, humour, light and tone, looking to craft a delicate mood or declare a truth about a place. The ultimate goal is of a complex story, a vast and wide-ranging index of the British landscape and a store of unrelated yet connected images.

Common elements hold the project together. The images often lie upon thresholds and boundaries, liminal zones, between urban and rural, leisure and industry, lived in and discarded. Polly is interested in “places where abandoned industry mixes with functioning architecture and development, spaces left awaiting completion or areas of recent renewal.” Whether suburban, urban or rural, the subjects have, for the most part, been seen from the road; discovered and observed from the inside of a car. This might be another reason for the strange familiarity the images possess, their sometimes-disturbing déjà vu. I think to myself, how many times have I passed this place? Unknowingly drinking it in and storing it inside. Warehouses, business parks, shopping centers, waste-ground, motor- ways, car parks: the non-places that quietly fill up our lives, the sites of transience. Maybe I’ve seen none of them, but I am certain that I know the Little Chef, this stretch of motorway, that patch of industry, this housing estate.


And what has been left outside? Well, people, of course. There are no people in these landscapes. There are no moving objects either. There are no bustling, vibrant markets. And there are no stunning vistas that haven’t been touched by the modern world. If there is woodland there is a motorway bridge towering behind it in monumental silence, if there is a valley there happens to be a cement factory, if there is a quarry there is a housing estate it seems to be at war with. But for all these things it’s the absence of people that I find most interesting. Despite these being landscapes I feel as if they should be there. I find myself yearning for them. But I admire the fact that they will not come. Human portraits are not needed. If you know how to look, these rigorously poetic landscapes tell a story enough.

IX – Evangelia Kranioti

695ff4d5c22e8242ba64d8ee85bfd28b© Evangelia KraniotiFrom Lagos to Rio – end of sea passage, 2010, from the series Exotica, Erotica, etc.

502d1520ef9b8689e48a48d7deb1f9ff© Evangelia Kranioti, Buddha of the main engine, 2012, from the series Exotica, Erotica, etc.

7e2f10d380416ee7b341cec930747b2b© Evangelia Kranioti, Desert on board, 2011, from the series Exotica, Erotica, etc.

excerpt from press release @ Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève:

At the heart of Evangelia Kranioti’s research are the notions of desire, wandering, and return to one’s origins. Inspired by the work of the Greek writer Nikos Kavvadias, Kranioti questions the male-female relationship through the fleeting loves of sailors in ports, terrae incognitae where the magic of wandering still operates.
The documentary essay Exotica, Erotica, etc. is the culmination of a long-term project undertaken over four years, during which she followed the crews of the Greek navy worldwide and spent months in the company of the women they frequent.
Through the stories of Sandy, former Chilean prostitute and those of these souls in perpetual homelessness, Kranioti poetically depicts the romantic imaginary of the sea, its tragic heroes and its forgotten loves.

X – David Magnusson

Purity-DM-028-560x700© David MagnussonJamie & David Clampitt, Shreveport, Louisiana, from the series Purita.

Purity-DM-005-560x700© David Magnusson, Will & Nicole Roosma, Tucson, Arizona, from the series Purita.

Purity-DM-027-560x700© David MagnussonJenna & Jeff Clark, Chandler, Arizona, from the series Purita.

excerpt from Jessica Valenti’s article Purity balls, Plan B and bad sex policy: inside America’s virginity obsession:

«The men and girls in the photos hold hands and embrace – the young women are in long white dresses, the men in suits or military regalia. If some of the girls in the pictures weren’t so young – Laila and Maya Sa up there are seven and five years old, respectively – the portraits could be mistaken for wedding or prom pictures. What they actually capture, though, are images of those who participate in purity balls – father-daughter dances featuring girls who pledge to remain virgins until marriage and fathers who promise to protect their daughters’ chastity.

The images from Swedish photographer David Magnusson’s new book, Purity, are beautiful, disturbing and tell a distinctly American story – a story wherein a girl’s virginity is held up as a moral ideal above all else, a story in which the most important characteristic of a young woman is whether or not she is sexually active. This narrative of good girls and bad girls, pure girls and dirty girls, is one that follows young women throughout their lives. Purity balls simply lay that dichotomy bare.


Magnusson says he hopes his pictures elicit empathy,not judgment: “As I learnt more, I understood that the fathers, like all parents, simply wanted to protect the ones that they love – in the best way they know how.”

I have no doubt that families who participate in purity balls are doing what they think is best for their children – but that doesn’t make them any less wrong. When we teach girls that their virginity makes them special and valuable, we’re sending the simultaneous message that without their virginity they are tainted and damaged.»

┐ one little, two little, three little fingers, how many do we need to pull? └

You people who read this blog know that it is unusual for me to make a post about something that I don’t like or to make a negative and/or non constructive criticism (even if by sublimation) about something that I first choose to display. I will, for once (?), use this author’s images in order to make a point: that hyper-formal-aesthetic-overlyexplicit-inyourface-photography is not the way to go, unless you’re in a reality show. This really is what I find pornographic in a lot of phtography-based works today – there is no punctum!



all photographs © Mustafa Sabbagh

Mustafa’s site is here

┐ Davide Monteleone – Northern Caucasus └

© David Monteleone, Daghestan, Russia, 2009. Ghimri, during a bull sacrifice

© David Monteleone, Republic of Ingushetia, 2010. Nazran, during a wedding

© David Monteleone, Republic of Chechnya, 2010. Old portrait of Sheik Mansur and Sheik Artzanov

“At first there was the Russian Empire, Saint Petersburg’s splendour, nobles’ dynasties set against commons far and distant, scattered on an unlimited country. Later on came communism’s turn, with its pyramidal hierarchy, its ideology imposed without any discussion for a “superior common good” that revealed itself utopian and elusive. Walls and curtains finally fell down, but renewal’s winds were broken off by the chill of something more indefinite and creeping. Something nobody talks about, but nobody can dispute. A dictatorship replaced by another, worst.

Therefore time passed over counts and masters, hierarchs and politicians, arms of the law and armed arms. And all the past reflects itself in people’s eyes. A population that becomes silent and fierce, strong and proud, persons for whom an endearment never last long, family’s ceremonial is reduced to the least, men and women live suspended in a time space different from that one of the rest of the world. Places where blood has flown too much, where too often it is forbidden to mourn one’s own dead, where screams become mute, and hiding turned into habit. Caucasus’ regions.

The Caucasus is a concentrate of stereotypes as well as surprises. For centuries it has been land of political, religious, military and expansionistic rivalry, cruel struggle between opposing States and also between allied states. Ever since the beginning of the 19th century this region has been part of the tsarist Russian Empire, later absorbed by the Soviet Bloc.

The 1991 radical transformations involving the entire Warsaw Pact coalition, and the storm caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, got new and ancient disputes resurfaced, and in some cases worsen, and revived political and economic aims of supremacy in the area.

This project takes into account the countries in which disputes and struggles are not over yet or only apparently seem concluded, as intermittent fires under the political rhetoric of “normalization” and “pacification”. I began to investigate the daily life of people living in the Northern Caucasus, who are still divided between the claim for independence and the pride for their diversity, economic subordination, the historical-political and mental affiliation, condemned to an eternal geographic position in an oblivion, the elaboration of a new post-soviet identity.”

David’s statement

More of his work here

┐ Christian Niccoli └

© Christian Niccoli

© Christian Niccoli

“As I was previously saying I am very interested in human needs and our will and necessity to relate to others. This is on one hand a more-than-finished issue, because it has repeated itself since humans have existed. On the other hand, each era and culture has dealt with it in it’s own way and this makes it unfinished.”

source: Whitehot Magazine

Christian’s work here

┐ Alessandro Nassiri Tabibzadeh └

© Alessandro Nassiri Tabibzadeh, la verità non esiste (the truth does not exist), 2005

© Alessandro Nassiri Tabibzadeh, I won’t change the world

If a man die
it is because death
has first
possessed his imagination.
But if he refuse death–
no greater evil
can befall him
unless it be the death of love
meet him
in full career.
Then indeed
for him
the light has gone out.
But love and the imagination
are of a piece,
swift as the light
to avoid destruction.
So we come to watch time’s flight
as we might watch
summer lightning
or fireflies, secure,
by grace of the imagination,
safe in its care.

excerpt from the poem “Asphodel, That Greeny Flower“, by William Carlos Williams

More of Alessandro’s work here

┐ Simone Donati └

© Simone Donati, Angela, Angelo and their 3 daughters having breakfast in the kitchen-living room made from an old stall. This is a temporary place before their new house will be ready, from the project Valley of Angels

© Simone Donati, The three sisters, Hybla, Lua and Siria, outside the new house, from the project Valley of Angels

© Simone Donati, Angelo setting up a cartoon on the computer for Hybla to watch, from the project Valley of Angels

“Angelo and Angela have lived together in South-Eastern Sicily with their daughters Hybla, Lua and Siria, since 2005.
They chose this place to build their home and their life. A simple life.
They chose to be careful about the food they eat and the education they give their children who were all born at home.
With the same convictions, they use alternative energy sources (such as wind turbines and solar panels) that allow them to live independently of a mains electricity supply. They only buy organic and locally grown food.
Getting to know them on a daily basis turned into a genuine co-existence, and I was immersed in their strong dedication to this life project and their daily commitment to it.
The awareness of living a revolution is transformed into deeds and actions of hard work.”

More of Simone’s work here

║ Giorgio Barrera ║

© Giorgio Barrera, Untitled, from the series Through the window, 2009

© Giorgio Barrera, Untitled, from the series Through the window, 2009

© Giorgio Barrera, Window # 37-2, from the series Through the window, 2009

“There is something in photographs taken by Giorgio Barrera that irresistibly attracts our attention. The aesthetics are neat; the framing structure is clear, respecting emblematic models of architectures and landscapes we know well; the subject is clear and rich in details that are pleasant to linger on. These aspects however mislead us regards to the images easy interpretations, while without noticing what we see, it generates a series of doubts and starts an interpretative process in which things no longer seem as obvious as we thought.

The presence of a window through which we are allowed to look inside a home from the exterior is an apparently simple stratagem, but one resulting in a network of various psychological mechanisms that render the meaning of the image more complex.

This element plays a fundamental role in the way in which the image is perceived by the person on the other side and who is the real receiver: the viewer. The viewer s perspective, now analogous to that of a person standing at a window, either opposite or on the other side of the street   which is totally plausible   acquires greater credibility. According to Barrera, it is in fact important to leave the viewer with the feeling that he himself is the one looking through his own eyes, with no mediation, and this impression of enjoying a privileged, protected position results in identification with the situation.

It is obvious that by placing the viewer in this situation, the photographer s intentions are specific. He knows that at this point the viewer wants to understand something; he want to understand what he is being shown and why. Above all the viewer would like an interpretative key, one that Barrera instead plays with and keeps in his pocket.

The thin line that separates fact and fiction gets thinner and thinner. Barrera in fact generates expectations that he intentionally disappoints, and he creates doubts without worrying about settling them, simply because at that point he has already achieved his objective.

In their succeeding one another the images become irresistibly more enigmatic and we feel that each window may potentially hide a story. Even the most ordinary scenes, in which all seems to be uncovered, can suddenly become suspicious.

This continuous questioning the  why  of an image, the reformulation of interpretative codes, satisfying and disappointing the disorientated viewer, is the conceptual principle that inspires Barrera s work.”

Daniele de Luigi

More of Giorgio’s work can be seen here

║ Valentina Bonizzi ║

© Valentina Bonizzi, Untitled, from the series Work and Intimacy, 2009

© Valentina Bonizzi, Untitled, from the series Work and Intimacy, 2009

“This project is about Italian women who emmigrated to Scotland. The photography research presents the way they view their job as the bridge which connects them to Scottish society. It explores the intimacy within their own houses. A space where objects and colours travelled with them, giving a foundation to their identity.”

║ Tobias & Joseph Feltus ║

2 11citz

© Tobias & Joseph Feltus, Two Gentlemen, 2.11.2008

2 4

© Tobias & Joseph Feltus, Two Gentlemen, 2.4.2008


© Tobias & Joseph Feltus, Imaginary Film Still (6.15-4.18), 2006

To see more of the Feltus’ work click here

║ Jocelyn Lee ║

© Jocelyn Lee, Untitled (Kara standing), 2005, from the series Portraits

© Jocelyn Lee, Untitled (Michelle and Lisa), 2006, from the series Portraits

“I photograph portraits because I am curious about people, and our tenacious attempts to find meaning and direction in the world. I am particularly interested in how we reveal our vulnerability, which is not something our culture reinforces or encourages.
My portraits are about the things people consider when they are alone or in between moments of inactivity and reflection: aging, illness, sex, the body, states of transition, our desire for connection, and the search for personal identity.”
Jocelyn Lee

More of Jocelyn’s work can be seen here