New blood (part II)

Benjamin Freedman

Statement about the project: In November 2014 I began a two month residency in northern Iceland where I became interested in the countries unique topographic features. Its low mountains and fascinating geological specimens inspired this sci-fi photo book that is meant to playfully illustrate a fictional story about a lunar phenomenon taking place in a sleepy little town. As a medium that boasts power and authority, photography remains a complex tool that inherently elicits the truth while simultaneously hinting at the possibility of fiction. These images, constructed using rocks found from the surrounding landscape, are playfully rearranged and photographed within the context of a scientifically ambiguous narrative. Like images mined from forgotten archives, the photographs borrow reoccurring elements from space and forensic photography. Collectively, the work creates a mosaic that re-presents situations from a research project performed in a remote town. Weaving together photographs of possible lunar samples, scientific machinery and cosmic landscapes, the book forms an eclectic visual journal of a man and his relationship with the cosmos.

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© Benjamin Freedman, selected works from the project OFORT(Observation of Foreign Objects in a Remote town) More can be seen here.

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Jordanna Kalman

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© Jordanna Kalman, selected works from the project The Hole Sea. More can be seen here.

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Anna Snyder

Statement about the project: ‘Symbiosis’ .

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© Anna Synder, selected works from the projects 1000 Islands (first three photographs) and The Gatherer (last three photographs). More can be seen here.

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Mara Gajic

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© Mara Gajic, selected works from the different projects. More can be seen here.

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Rachelle Bussières

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© Rachelle Bussières, selected works from different years. All unique gelatin silver prints. More can be seen here.

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Imagine you’re a tree

'Platan', from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d)
‘Platan’, from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
'Cherry Tree' from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
‘Cherry Tree’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
Weeping WillowLight box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d)
‘Weeping Willow’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
'Weeping Willow' from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
‘Pollard Willow’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
'Weeping Willow' from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
‘Oak Tree’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
'Weeping Willow' from the project 'Temporary Trees'. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).
‘Poplar’ from the project ‘Temporary Trees’. Light box – Oak wood, acrylic, lambda-trans, 128,5 x 87 x 20 cm (h x w x d).

Temporary Trees is a collaboration between Make a Forest (founded by Joanna van der Zanden and Anne van der Zwaag), Raw Color (design studio by Daniera ter Haar and Christoph Brach) and Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters‘ studio.

This series was presented during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven in 2011.

More about Temporary Trees and Raw Color here.

New blood (part I)

Richard Gosnold

Statement about the project: ‘Voices’ conveys a tale of traumatic events, questioning how the perception of reality, for a mentally ill person, is influenced by past experiences. Based on the theory that we invent reality to suit our emotional state, I have considered how photographs may be viewed, re-contextualized and reconstructed, to fit within a personal narrative. Photographs made during my youth act as a metaphor for the fragility of memories from adolescence, which continue to influence how we perceive reality in adulthood. Found images signify how events, witnessed outside our immediate sphere, find their way into our memories, as if they actually happened to us. These images, contrasted with photographs made recently, suggest that earlier life experiences influence our understanding of the world.

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© Richard Gosnold, selected works from the project Voices. More can be seen here.

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Benedetta Casagrande

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© Benedetta Casagrande, selected works from the project Wet Dream. More can be seen here.

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Samuel Kaye

Statement about the project: ‘Symbiosis’ is an exploration of the relationship between bacteria and the human body. Though invisible to the naked eye these microorganisms make up about 90% of the cells in our body. Bacteria carries out many vital takes without which we would find it much harder to function, from digesting food to protecting our skin. Every image is the result of allowing each subjects own bacteria to grow on, and chemically interact with, their portrait.

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© Samuel Kaye, selected works from the project Symbiosis. More can be seen here.

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Matt Glover

Statement: This body of work explores the space between maturity and immaturity. It is an ongoing documentation of the current situation of a group of teenagers/young adults living in the UK today.

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© Matt Glover, selected works from the project.

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Singto Gauvain

Statement: The Thai phrase for ‘I don’t understand’, is ไม่เข้าใจ (pronounced: mai kao jai). When fragmented into individual words, the phrase literally translates to ‘doesn’t go into heart.’ ‘Doesn’t Go Into Heart’ is a book of photographs compiled from an ever expanding archive by Singto Gauvain. The images range from everyday snapshots to meticulously staged homages. The arrangement of the photographs uses signs and symbols ambiguously. The consequence of Gauvain’s frustration in attempting to accurately communicate concepts has resulted in this body of work. This body of work bases itself on two conditions of contemporary photographic practice (As discussed by Charlotte Cotton and Bjarne Bare in Objectiv #10, ‘Post-Photography’): the culture of dissemination and the failure of information in the field..

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© Singto Gauvain, selected works from the project mai kao jai. More can be seen here.

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≡ ‘Normcore’: it’s all about adaptability ≡

YOUTH_Page_08page from the K-Hole report.

The end of authenticity is near. Apparently, the post-authenticity movement is coming and it seems to have found its motto: embrace the fake. To quit the rhetoric of authenticity, a discourse that argues for the importance of being different and unique, and to embrace this new attitude would presuppose the understanding of the following rules: 1) all reality is constructed by the individual understanding of cultural signs; 2) copies are what values originals, i.e., the bigger the number of multiples the higher the value of the #1; 3) the promotion of a given tendency is what kills it, though it also triggers the birth of a new one

In an article about Hipsters, fashion editor Morwenna Ferrier mentions a new term, Normcore, created by K-Hole, a trend forecasting group based in New York. Released in their 2013 report called Youth Mode: A Report on Freedom, normcore would then stand for the sort of youngster who is no longer motivated by the idea that being cool is about being different, and being different is being authentic, and now is motivated by an idea of sameness. But the idea of coolness is a fragile one and as often happens “the more commonplace a trend – in one instance, beards – the less attractive they are perceived to be.” (Ferrier, 2014)

YOUTH_Page_17page from the K-Hole report.

In the aforementioned report, other trends are identified, as “The Death of Age” and “The Youth Mode”, but is the Normcore definition that grabs my attention. Normcore is defined as situational, adaptable, non-deterministic, unconcerned with authenticity, and post-aspirational:

“Once upon a time people were born into communities and had to find their individuality. Today people are born individuals and have to find their communities. (…) It’s about adaptability, not exclusivity. (…) Normcore doesn’t want the freedom to become someone. Normcore wants the freedom to be with anyone. (…) Normcore moves away from a coolness that relies on difference to a post-authenticity coolness that opts in to sameness.” (pp. 27-8)

YOUTH_Page_30 copypages from the K-Hole report.

Although normcore is promoting itself as an innovative trend, and the report in itself creatively addresses questions related to identity in adolescence, this so-called trend for adaptability is passé. It reveals both a tendency for revitalization and a tendency to conform to things, both being a retraction from the “empire of authenticity”. The normcore discourse exposes the wear of the search for an identity, a wear that associated that effort with loneliness. It is a disclaimer on the values of youth: individuality and coolness. Given the tragidy, K-Hole suggests we look for “the freedom that comes with non-exclusivity” and the feeling of liberation, understood as relief, that comes from “being nothing special”, one amongst the crowd. By the end they claim: “Normcore is a path to a more peaceful life.” (p. 36)

The rhetoric of authenticity in the context of media culture tends to be reduced to the exploitation of the hazards of public figures who struggle to keep “faithful to themselves” when faced with the violence of the industry that forces dreams and promises of happiness upon them. On the other hand, the rhetoric of post-authenticity exploits precisely the artificiality and the relevance of aesthetic choices, taking advantage of the youngsters’ sense of urgency.

YOUTH_Page_37page from the K-Hole report.

Alison Hillhouse, vice-president of the MTV trends research team that helps shape MTV programming, has been interested in the phenomenon of authenticity amidst young people. Hillhouse suggests that we think of post-authenticity in the context of a generation that, faced with the huge impact of an out-of-control circulation of imagery, and faced with the impossible task to chose an identity for her/himself, quits the idea of being original and sincere, and opts for the fake, the staged and the artificial, as part of the search for difference. She concludes:

“Some of the most heated conversations we see around social media involve teens complaining about who is “trying too hard” to seem like they are not trying. For example, the “no-makeup selfie” phenomenon was once respected, now teens question whether there is something inauthentic about trying too hard to be authentic.” (2014, s.p.)

┐ Mark Peckmezian’s youth on “youth” └

stream6_07© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled,

Mark Peckmezian Two Day 46© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled, chromogenic print

Mark Peckmezian Two Day 18>© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled, fiber gelatin silver print

4776579979_b60b1cc73d_b>© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled, @ G20, fiber gelatin silver print

5210098664_1c789b9e41_z© Mark Peckmezian, Untitled, fiber gelatin silver print

“I was thinking that the “straight” or naive approach to the theme would be to just play to popular conceptions or idealizations of youth — and I certainly have photos that do that. I used to make a lot of work like this. But in the past few years, I don’t know….I don’t really buy it anymore, I guess. I think a lot of what we see in such photos, by myself or others, is to some degree performance: all these kids, my peers, are hyper self-conscious and incredibly media-savvy. All too often I’ll be out shooting snapshots and hear someone whisper that the photo just taken of them would make a good Facebook profile pic, or some such comment. Once I heard someone, who was running around with some friends on an golf course at night, shout out “why isn’t this being photographed?!”

I think that I now try to approach this subject in a more clear-eyed and honest way — showing the good and bad, wonderful and absurd. I have started an informal project to document this culture more critically (I think there is so much vanity and superficiality among this generation) but also, if I am to actually transcend that at all, with more empathy as well (not pretending that the vanity undermines all the good that also exists, and also understanding that vanity as something woefully, and sort of beautifully, human). The photo of the “kids in the grass” plays to this (Heather says: come to the show to see what image he’s referring to…) – I love that you said “kids,” that’s exactly what I was going for, I wanted to render them (these over-the-top hipster friends of mine, these peacocks, so highly decorated) as children playing in grass, stripped of their affect, innocent.

Finding a good balance is hard though, because I still want to document it relatively straight. I think I’m still working out the kinks, refining my understanding and expression. It’s been a big undercurrent in my work these past few years, I’m sort of on a mission to do this right.” via HMAb

More of Mark’s work here

┐ John Lake └

© John Lake, from Crude Futures, 2010

© John Lake, from Crude Futures, 2010

If surrealism is all about the subjective nature of reality, then photography is a surprisingly apt medium with which to explore this – photo stills can be thought of as “quasi-mystical”, recording both objective fact and the stuff of imagination.(…)

“What I’m looking for in my subjects is some element that transcends the surface reality of the image itself in order to speak about bigger social themes, like mortality or utopian fantasy”

excerpt from article by Caroline Sturgess, in Pulp Magazine 66, 2010

John’s work here

Mona Kuhn

© Mona Kuhn
© Mona Kuhn

 

In a subject frequently used by artists, the nude has become a sort of “rite of passage” to those who observe human body in its most basic form. Mona Kuhn’s approach to this classic theme, while acknowledging her predecessors, creates work that is culturally anonymous with rare references to art historical precedents. Her subjects are members of a nudist colony in Southern France, not professional models trained to suppress emotion and personal self. The result is an intimate glimpse into a being’s reality, stunningly sensual but never overtly sexual. Kuhn’s camera captures something beyond gender, race, age, and beauty.

From Charles Cowles gallery press release.

http://www.monakuhn.com