New African Photography III

22.04.2018 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Following the success of previous collaborations between Nataal and Red Hook Labs, Nataal curates an exhibition of some of most exciting image-makers documenting modern Africa in a new exhibition. New African Photography III opens at the Brooklyn space in May.

The new exhibition will showcase the work of six female artists: Fatoumata Diabaté (Mali), Rahima Gambo (Nigeria), Keyezua (Angola), Alice Mann (South Africa), Ronan McKenzie (UK) and Ruth Ossai (UK/Nigeria).

Together these works celebrate female identity and diversity, offering an empowered and positive vision. A sense of energy is conveyed through the celebration of movement and the use of powerful juxtapositions – both in terms of colour and of form.

The event also coincides with the launch of Nataal’s first print issue. The website and magazine work as a platform to champion creativity and culture in Africa. You can find out more here.

Alice Mann, Dr Van Der Ross Drummies, Delft, South Africa, 2017, from the series Drummies

Ruth Ossai X Mowalao

Fatoumata Diabaté, Kara et ses oreilles, 2012, from the series L_homme en Animal

Sailing Back to Africa as a Dutch Woman, 2017, from the series Fortia

Nataal: New African Photography III, 4th – 13th May, Red Hook Labs, 133 Imlay St, Brooklyn, New York. Opening times: 10am-6pm daily. 

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Posturing

14.04.2018 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Following the wildly successful exhibition last year, Holly Hay and Shonagh Marshall are releasing Posturing as a book this month.

The beautiful tome brings together 21 iconic image makers in contemporary fashion. These photographers explore, respond to and propose new ways of using the body as a tool in the way clothing is depicted. Viewers are invited to look beyond the clothes though, at the entire art of composition and structure of each photograph. The careful curation of images allows viewers to examine fashion photography in new ways. The book portrays the spectrum of the fashion canon, from hyper-sexualised to the hyper-abstracted body. It is a celebration of the new era of strangeness in fashion, and the photographers central to leading the way.

Read our interview with Shonagh Marshall about co-curating the exhibition with Twin contributor Holly Hay here.

Johnny Dufort for AnOther Magazine, ‘Go Fish’ Autumn:Winter 2017

Charlie Engman for AnOther Magazine, ‘A Nod And A Glance A Gesture For One Word’ Autumn:Winter 2015

Lena C Emery for The Gentlewoman, ‘Practise’ Spring:Summer 2014

Pascal Gambarte for Marfa Journal, ‘Being Michael Rothstein’ March 2017

Reto Schmid for Under the Influence Magazine, ‘Relative Transparency’ Spring:Summer 2016

‘Posturing’ is available to buy via SPBH Editions from April 23rd 2018. 

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There is a lot more fun to be had: Twin Meets Alexander Coggin

20.02.2018 | Art , Culture | BY:

Absurd and a little bit off, but always funny. Alexander Coggin excels in the art of tender parody. This February he shows a broad range of photographs in his largest exhibition yet.

Whether it’s spending 48 hours with Gigi Hadid, snapping pictures of the supermodel being hand fed b12 drops by her mother, taking photos of Frieze art fair visitors’ clavicles, or documenting the colourful country club lives of his midwestern inlaws; Alexander Coggin always finds the absurdity in every situation. With warmth and curiosity he unveils the soft underbelly of any desirable lifestyle.“That image of Gigi with the drops is more telling than anything that you’re going to get from a staged photograph,” Coggin explains, “it says a lot about the relationship between her and her mom, Yolanda. It’s beautiful and funny and bizarre and tender in a way.”

The current exhibition, “Yeah, Magic” at Ninasagt Galerie in Düsseldorf is vast, over a 100 photographs framed and unframed in all shapes and sizes. There are images printed on mugs, clocks, sweatshirts – and on a delightfully ridiculous pair of flip flops.

Over the years Coggin has become known for his personal mix between street and still life photography, a colourful aesthetic and his unique sense of humour. His pictures capture the moments in-between perfection, and they almost exaggerate the flaws and quirks of each subject. But instead of being exploitative or down right mean – a not uncommon thing in the world of street photography – the pictures are loving and relatable. And a great way to ward off any incipient social media depression.


There is something very liberating with an old lady arm purposefully hovering over a large plate of shrimp or the low key eroticism of a gear shift. Most of all it is fun. I think my most successful images incorporate the full human-ness that live art and theatre give you. It takes the character, the specificity of the situation, the personas we see and don’t see about ourselves and filters all of that into a single still image. At best, my work is very much alive.”

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin


Every article ever written (this might not be entirely true) about Alexander Coggin mentions theatre in some way – you have to. It it his one main influence and his educational background. It is also, in an unexpected way, the reason he found and fell in love with photography. Coggin and his husband  moved to Berlin in 2011 to take part of the then booming theatre and performance scene. But the complexity of making and acting in theatre became overwhelming.

– After leaving the structure of school I realised that making theatre is such a collaborative process. You need to find a production, a director, a piece of work, a house that can mount the production. My creativity became stagnant. I got into photography as a way to release this pent up creativity in a solo way, beholden to none other. I really started to enjoy Photography when I realised that I could bring the things I love about theatre into the work. It was an antidote, a therapeutic transformation.

Do you think you’re going to go back to the theatre at some point?

– I think so. I still enjoy the binary of live arts vs. still imagery – it’s either one or the other. I think that ultimately, they’ll both come together in filmmaking. That’s the natural progression, but I don’t want to rush this because I want to do it in a way that feels authentic to my eye and my interests.

Your images are often quite raw and people show sides of themselves that you usually don’t see. How do you make the subject feel so comfortable?  

– There are a couple of ways to get these authentically voyeuristic shots. The work I’ve done with my husband’s family [Brothers and Others], for instance:  Because they are my family, I’m comfortable around them and they don’t change their behaviour when I shoot. It took years to get to that point. When I spend a couple of weeks with them I take thousands and thousands of images, that’s all edited into a finite body of work. I get lucky in terms of numbers. And time.

And when you do a project like the one with Gigi, when you only had a certain amount of time?

– If I have a commissioned piece like that I find that the most effective way is to be a fly on the wall. Which I’m not good at. A flash is very telling. If I wasn’t shooting with flash I could be more voyeuristic, but since I like to mediate images with flash – I stick out. I have to be a little bit more sneaky about it. It’s not a natural place for me to be at all. I like to be engaged, part of the conversation and making people feel at ease with me. But when I don’t have the luxury of time, I have to be a bit more sneaky, a bit more pushy. Again, not at all a natural state for me.

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin

Let’s talk a little more about your husbands family, how do they react to your images?

– Well, it shifted with them. I was always very nervous, kind of looking at the images and feeling like I was taking advantage of them. Especially the British Journal of Photography story that ran. They used the word privileged so many times. I was fine with it, and I know it was a necessary and an honest framing, but I felt nervous about how my husband’s family was going to perceive that frame. I called all of them, and surprisingly, no one cared. I think partly that’s because I have conversations with them when I’m shooting. We talk about how we can amplify their character, or how to take the character into something that is beyond them. Just to kind of satirise themselves, letting them explore what they represent too.

They’re part of the project?

– Definitely. If something lovely happens that is authentic, but I didn’t quite get it right in the camera, I’ll just ask them to do it again and they’ll do it. It’s great. They are part of the image making process, it gives them ownership.

Interesting. Because it can be a tricky relationship, that with your in laws.

– We have had long theoretical conversations about some great quotes by Garry Winogrand. He talks about how when you put four corners on an image you change the truth of it and create a ‘new fact’. The way they are represented is not as they are, but it is as they appear in that moment. And that moment could change from shot to shot; this isn’t the reality of who they are. I think they are comfortable with that persona play. I got lucky with them. We have the safety of our relationship, but I have had a hard time translating that element to commissioned work. Then it’s more difficult, I just don’t have the time, so, as I said, I have to be sneaky.

Have they ever vetoed anything that you’ve done?

–  I’ve given them the option to veto anything. Sometimes I don’t feel comfortable shooting stuff, but they’re like “Oh get that!”.

Yeah Magic © Alexander Coggin

Are you ever afraid of going to far, of being “mean”?

– If I shot ‘mean’, if I shot in a way that was disrespectful, inconsiderate, or in a way that the subject wasn’t okay with; I wouldn’t even be able to look at that image. I would not want that in my repertoire of imagery, it would make me feel shitty. So I feel like I have pretty good internal awareness of how the subject is feeling when I shoot. As I’m interested in candid moments and character it can be a little bit dangerous. There is one shot that I still feel conflicted about. It’s my friend Susan, and she said it was fine, but she doesn’t look great at all. Still it’s very telling, my favourite part of the picture is the alcohol and the caffein. You can see her displacement. There is something discontented about her, but it’s not a flattering picture.

I feel like art made by millenials often has humour. Do you think there is some reason for that?

– It could just be as easy as a response to the hard times we live in. As a millennial, as an American millennial, I’ve just been handed a shit plate for my entire adult life. But if you look hard enough there is a lot more fun to be had, a lot more life around you. I feel like I have a little more control if I can find humour in it. It’s just how I see the world.

You can see “Yeah, Magic” at Ninasagt Galerie in Düsseldorf from February 16th until March 18th. 

 

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The best of 2017: highlights from Twin Issue XVII

29.12.2017 | Blog , Twin Book | BY:

For fall, Issue 17 took a closer look at the expectations and realities of self-reflection. We met the young, African artist Kudzanai-Violet Hwami on the eve of her inaugural solo show, and discussed shedding the weight of self-doubt in order to soar. Elsewhere, sisters Nancy and Lotte Andersen discussed their shared childhood and creative pursuits, while actress Joanne Froggatt questioned the limitations facing woman who dare to age on screen. Patrick Demarchelier took us behind the scenes at the Musée du Louvre exclusively for Louis Vuitton, before we embarked on a Californian road trip with Chanel. Meanwhile, as Browns East — the latest bricks and mortar retail innovation to hit London — opened, we discussed the vital fostering of raw talent with Browns CEO Holli Rogers and Farfetch’s Chief Consultant of Augmented Retail Susanne Tide-Frater. Speaking of raw talent, musician Cosima revealed her most uncomfortable self under the lens of Francesca Allen, while model and artist Larissa Hofmann turned the camera on herself for a self portrait redux. Here’s looking at you, kid.

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Remember me when I’m gone

08.12.2017 | Art | BY:

Alex Franco’s exhibition, “Remember me when I’m gone” debuted on Friday 1st December at Crea Center Polivalent in Barcelona, with a second showing at Unit 10 Gallery on Tuesday the 5th of December.

The works are a response to the refugee crisis, and were taken at The Jungle in Calais across several trips over a period of eighteen months. The images explore the context of displacement, while striving to shine a light on a problem that remains unresolved.

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You may have seen pictures from The Jungle in the news. The shabby, temporary constructions became a place of refuge for those who had fled their homes, arriving in Calais only to be displaced again, and shoved to the margins of our system. After The Jungle expanded to house almost 10,000 inhabitants in a period of eighteen months, the French government destroyed it and expelled the refugees, forcing them to leave, separate and relocate. The interest in this problem has dwindled, given less and less media attention, as onlookers delude themselves that the problem no longer exists as the structure has been dismantled. But despite its changing physicality, The Jungle continues to exist just as it did before its demise, only in a different, dispersed form. Through his photos, Alex Franco encourages his audience to consider where all these refugees are now, and whether they have been given the chance at a new home and life that they deserve.

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All work is for sale and proceeds will be donated to Help Refugees.

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Mel Bles, Islands

25.10.2017 | Blog | BY:

Rhythmic and undulating, Mel Bles’ Islands series of photographs captures the soulful connection between the body and nature. This new exhibition sees the fruition of what began as a mediation on the image as a two-dimensional object, evolving into a powerful sequence of bodies and landscapes connected by rich, inky lines.

Throughout the photographs, Bles captures the softness and intimacy of the female form; bodies are juxtaposed and composed against landscapes, holding the two in perfect tension without falling into traditional sexual or romantic tropes.

Mel Bles, Islands

Mel Bles, Islands

The process of making the images themselves are also a study in texture. Some photographs are presented in the ‘purest form’, while others are offered in stages of alteration – revisited, reprinted, rephotographed on an iPhone, taken to a scanner, or upturned. The result is to offer miniature landscapes in and of themselves, which lure the viewer in individually as well as forming a powerful series in all.

Mel Bles, Islands

Mel Bles, Islands

Mel Bles, Islands is on at the Webber Gallery, London: 20 October – 25 November 2017

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Looking at Women, by Sophie Davis

25.09.2017 | Art | BY:

Photographer Sophie Davis talks to Twin about her series of work, ‘The Unresolved’.

I began this series nearly two years ago, having been constantly exposed to images of beauty ideals from a young age through media and popular culture. Starting this series felt like a necessary step for me to try and understand my fascination with beauty and the female form.

‘The Unresolved’ is a growing body of work and the girls I photograph start out as strangers to me. I ‘collect’ my subjects around London, they are just normal women who I feel instantly drawn to because of their physical appearance. I ask them to sit for me if they are interested. These sittings are mostly done nude.

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

Surprisingly, through the many girls I have photographed I have only ever had one no, which I think speaks volumes about how we as women are curious about seeing ourselves laid bare. It could be seen as searching for validation, wanting to feel beautiful in a world that makes us constantly insecure.

The images have become part of a growing archive, a collection of female flesh, both a celebration of the magnetising allure of the woman but also an exploration into the limits of objectification.

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

The method of my work has been described as predatory in nature, more ‘male gaze’ than ‘female’ (which I can’t help but see as reductive, as women have the ability to desire just as much as men). But alongside the seemingly callous ‘pick ups’ there is a tenderness to the photographs that remove them from an objectifying, colder viewpoint – it is down to the close ups. The details in the folds of skin and stray hairs, the remnants of another human being.  There is the intimacy and closeness you would assume exist between lovers. I am always amazed at the level of trust each girl puts in me, and the friendships that come out of some encounters.

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

‘The Unresolved ‘is an exploration of the limits of the female gaze and the ‘trap of beauty’ and our constant hunt for it. In exploring with such issues with this body of work, it has given me further insight into our conditioning, and the confusion that surrounds the self in relation to images of the  ‘ideal’. There is a hunger in the images, both from myself as photographer and from the subjects themselves, it’s a desire to be seen, to be looked at to be the one do the looking.

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

© Sophie Davis

Follow Sophie on Instagram: @sophiexzx and Skin and Blister collective on @skin.and.blister

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Rosaline Shahnavaz: Friendship through a Photograph

20.08.2017 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

The relationship of a photographer and a model has long been documented to live beyond the flash. Love affairs, marriages, betrayals and betrothals have long been mapped out, but what about the friendship of a photographer to her subject?

Rosaline Shahnavaz is a photographer whose work holds a unique elegance in its informality, often capturing her subjects in a limbo between self-reflection and personal expression.  Her clients range from Coca-Cola to Urban Outfitters, her youth-centric approach editorially gracing the pages of i-D to ES Magazine.

The women she has photographed appear aware of their own elements, basking in a modern innocence – not so much picnics on the lawn, but more playing with their environments through a decided void of limitations and playful potential. Toothy smiles, cowboy stances, sunlight squints and legs akimbo. The women Rosaline has photographed feel like they own the frame she has caught them in: their selves and spirit bigger than their own image.

Rosaline has just published her first photo-book: an out-of-hours report with the model Fern that steps Rosaline’s photographic approach further. The result is a publication that pulls into question the relationship between the vision and the voyeur, and what happens when a friendship is formed on both sides of the camera. A lesson in capturing a two-sided relationship when only one side is visible.

Fern is the first photography book that you have released, how did the project come about?

I first met Fern after I casted her for an ad campaign I was shooting. We had this spark immediately and I loved photographing her. I kept casting her for everything when I decided to step away from fashion and spend some time photographing just her. She was thrilled and so it began. I had initiated the project however there was a role reversal and Fern would get in touch with me to shoot whenever she was in my area too. We got to know each other a lot during the process, and as our friendship bloomed the photographs did too.

© Rosaline Shahnavaz

© Rosaline Shahnavaz

What sparked the idea to make this project into a book?

The photographs are really personal, and I think the tactile nature of the book suits perfectly. You physically look closer and the narrative woven into the sequencing reveals a lot about Fern and our relationship. I love the editing process, I always print out all of my images and plaster my studio with them before I start to make the book. It’s a laborious process and I’ll go away and come back to it numerous times until I’ve got it.

Why did you choose one year to document Fern?

I didn’t. I honestly think I could continue to shoot the project forever. I don’t think the book marks the end and I’d like to revisit Fern with my camera further down the line.

© Rosaline Shahnavaz

© Rosaline Shahnavaz

How would you describe the resulting book? A documentation, an exploration, a study?

All of the above! I’d say it’s also a celebration of femininity, friendship and coming of age.

What are your thoughts on the concept of muses? What does ‘muse’ mean to you?

I think the concept of the muse has shifted, and that’s happened with the emergence in female photographers. I am more drawn to the sensibility of a woman depicting another woman.

© Rosaline Shahnavaz

© Rosaline Shahnavaz

Would you consider Fern a muse to you?

She could be a muse, but I found that photographing Fern wasn’t just about her, but more about our relationship and the connection we shared as photographer and subject.

Fern was 17 when you started photographing her – do you feel the images capture Fern the young woman at a turning point in her life?

Fern was at a particularly pivotal time in her life. It doesn’t stop with age but I recall the extremity of it as a teenager. She’d described being in a limbo state between girlhood/ womanhood, her sense of home/place and the shift between education / career. Over the duration of the book we both went through changes and found solace in each other.

© Rosaline Shahnavaz

© Rosaline Shahnavaz

Do you feel it is important to gain a connection with the subjects you photograph?

Definitely. I first got into photography by documenting my friends like a ‘fly on the wall’. It was naive and I didn’t really have an intention. The intimacy and closeness of those relationships enabled me to photograph the way I did. This approach marked my interest and subject matter. I’d love to spend a sustained period of time getting to know and photographing all of my subjects. I never give much direction, I would rather share an experience with my subject and capture them candidly. I don’t want to take ‘perfect’ photographs, I am more compelled to the in-between moments.

Fern will be available in a selection of bookstores in New York and London from the end of August – check @rosaline_s for announcements. Fern is currently available online: http://rosalineshahnavaz.bigcartel.com/product/fern-by-rosaline-shahnavaz

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Keep on Moving: An Interview with Linus Ricard

17.01.2017 | Art , Fashion | BY:

Paris based, Swedish artist Linus Ricard uses film and photography to capture and explore the relationship between the human body and the space it occupies. By focussing on the ordinary, unseen moments of the everyday, Ricard invites audiences to re-examine their surroundings and their position within the environment. Twin caught up with Linus to find out more.

How did you get into photography?

Studying styling at the Marangoni in Milan I collaborated with photographers and quickly realised I wanted to hold the camera.I still loved the clothes but the magic and interaction with the subject was stronger.

Your photographs & films are pre-occupied with movement – what is it about motion that interests you?

Motion creates emotion. My first, unanswered, teenage love was with a dancer. I used to go watch all her performances. She completely rejected me but my love for dance and movement stayed.

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What’s your process when you’re working?

I keep the subject moving, I love to catch that in-between moment, that you can never pose or control.

Do you have a favourite photograph, that you’ve taken?

No, it tends to be more and more about the process than the result, enjoying the moment and the making.

What are your influences?

Anything. At the moment I’m into going for long walks, I find it very inspiring and zen. I think Kierkegaard was onto something – “If one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

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Ben Rayner’s Stolen Moments

07.01.2017 | Art , Blog , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Ben Rayner first made a name for himself photographing artists and musicians for Dazed & Confused and VICE, before transitioning into fashion photography. He has since become a regular fixture of magazines like Wonderland and Vogue. His talents have united him with the likes of Bella Hadid, ASAP Rocky and Alexa Chung, but he has always maintained an interest in producing his own personal work. Ben has published numerous zines and several monographs in the past. His latest project is a book made up of casually shot photographs that realise his aims of producing a photo diary of his day. Aptly named ‘Half Day’, the images have been shot in multiple locations and use an array of different formats, capturing fleeting and intimate snapshots of Ben’s life. Twin spoke to Ben about stealing moments, living in New York and the future. 

Tell us about your new book.

The book is a monograph of moments photographed during 2014 and 2015. It’s made up of abstractions, portraits and landscapes. It’s a snapshot of the world as I saw it in those moments. I’m always taking pictures, so after I amass a collection of work I try to put it together in a somewhat coherent way. The book kind of has a fluid narrative of stolen moments in time.

Why did you decide to name the book ‘Half Day’?

I wanted to call the book ‘Half Day’ because it sounded optimistic and is a reminder that you still have half a day left.

A lot of your work has maintained a focus on fashion in the past. How does ‘Half Day’ divert from that?

I shoot a lot of fashion, but have always photographed everything around me. This is my fourth monograph and first hard cover book. I have also published countless zines. To me all my work is a reflection of my view of the world. I think some fashion images could have been dropped into the sequence of this book and still would have made sense. I like to steal moments from people and from the world.

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Your photos have been described as ‘stopping time’ as opposed to capturing it. Why do you think that is?

I think sometimes I see things that other people don’t see, like a person’s fleeting expression. My aim is to connect with whoever and whatever I am shooting. I love photographing everyone, from famous models like Alice Dellal and Bella Hadid to actors and chefs.

You made the transition from London to New York. Do you think the change is reflected in your work? If so, how?

I don’t think so really. The images in this book are not very New York heavy. I tend to photograph things more where I don’t live. Although, I have been photographing my personal work in New York a lot more in the last few months. 

What’s next for you? 

I would like to do some still life photography, and more fashion stories, portraits and personal books. I have lots of ideas. I would also like to do a lot more video work in the future.

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Half Day is available to order now.

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Lena C. Emery’s ‘Rie 理絵’ Investigates Feminine Truth

16.12.2016 | Art , Culture , Fashion | BY:

Twin contributor Lena C. Emery’s new monograph Rie 理絵 (pr. Rhea) is a product of an continuing exploration of how women are intimately depicted. Rie, both the title and main subject of the book, literally means ‘truth’, a theme that permeates each image. The book depicts Emery’s poetic renderings of women who repeatedly pose, rest and move while in various states of dress – and undress. Playing with ideas of the female gaze, the women in the photographers are both aware and vulnerable; tangible and mysterious. Of the new launch, Emery explained:

“Within Rie 理絵 I wanted to embark on an inherently female dialogue on the subject of revealing. I was interested in understanding at what point when we reveal our bodies as women to a potential other, does the apparent vulnerability cross over into the  appreciation of the powerful notion of being naked and being oneself without an inner or outer surveyor present, without being on display. Watching Rie and the other nine women that I photographed, all of which were strangers to me and each other at the time and who had never been photographed in this way before, come to life as they slowly shed each layer of artifice, felt incredibly reassuring.”

Published by Kominek, Rie 理絵 is available from 16th December and can be bought here. 

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Twin Issue XV

08.12.2016 | Blog , Twin Book | BY:

For Issue 15 it’s all about the pursuit of the personal, and deconstructing the concept of perfection. Photographer Thomas Giddings turns his lens on the kids of Amsterdam in homage to the Dutch Masters, while fearless artist Rachel Maclean presents the unashamed power of pink. We see Dree Hemingway cavorting with Chanel’s Cruise 2017 collection in Upstate New York, and explore the fluidity of gender in modern-day Tel Aviv. Yves Saint Laurent presents a study in beauty through the ages, artfully reworked to be the very definition of now, and we meet LA-based model-turned-musician Kacy Hill, who has recently caught the eye of Kanye West. In addition to this, Francesca Gavin takes us on a visceral MDMA trip with artist Geoffrey Farmer, and we sit down with Jane Moseley, the sex-boot wearing model who piqued Demna Gvasalia’s interest.

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Suken City, Kate Englemen

No Strings Attached

01.12.2016 | Art , Blog | BY:

A casual, transient and less committed mindset typically pervades the actions of the millennial generation. And it’s a theme that has formed the basis of the latest issue of STEREOSCOPE, a St Andrews based photography magazine. Under the title No Strings Attached the magazine explores how this flippant and laissez faire attitude within youth culture has translated into the relationship with the camera. Throughout the issue, the tensions of trying to develop a serious dialogue with photography as a medium in an age where everybody has access to a camera are explored, and subjects range from hot new Brooklyn band ‘The Britanys’ to off-kilter self portraits and stylised tableaus.

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Jake, Lallie

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Greece, Lauren Santucci

Entering its sixth year as a publication, STEREOSCOPE was founded as a means to celebrate the history of photography in St. Andrews by aligning the famous Special Collections of Photography and current St. Andrews photographer’s work. In a post-depression era where creative drive has become stunted by mounting student loans, the magazine has provided a platform for students in St. Andrews to showcase their work and discuss the current nature of photography.

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Days and nights in Kolkata, Meleah Moore

STEREOSCOPE are guest curating the London Photography Diary’s new exhibition, No Strings Attached on December 15th. 

First photograph: Sunken City, Kate Englemen

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Poem Baker

Poem Baker’s Hymns From The Bedroom

03.06.2016 | Culture | BY:

“Most of the kids I photograph all know each other, either from the clubs or are personal friends, or have been partners at one point… They’re all intertwined in one way or another. If you look at the portraits, you see some of the same faces again and again, connecting everyone together.”

Photographer Poem Baker‘s Hymns From The Bedroom is a series of portraits featuring a selection of friends and acquaintances, who exist on the brink of creative success and in a haze of twenty-something wonder. Raw, real and refreshingly diverse in its content, here Poem exclusively tells Twin how some of her favourite shots came about, and who the subjects are.

Stef & Jacq, 2011 (main)

“This was taken in a hotel room in San Francisco. Stef is a waitress from Sydney and Jacq a stripper from Brooklyn. I’ve known Stef for some time, and we all ended up going on a road trip together in the USA. I think they were going through quite a difficult time when I made this portrait, they had been together for about a year and were having to split up because of visa issues… They were hanging out in their hotel room and they called me to come around with my camera, they wanted an intimate portrait… This was a very candid shot: no set-ups. I walked in, had a glass of wine with them, and got this in about four or five frames!”

Daniel

Daniel, 2012

“This was taken in Hackney. Daniel and I met while wandering the streets at London Gay Pride in 2012. I recall seeing him walk down the street and I was immediately struck by his uninhibited persona. He’s a performance artist. We began to collaborate on portraits that explore an alternative concept of gender… I’ve been shooting with Daniel for about five years now. This portrait was set up, more so than usual, he had a clear idea of how he wanted to be photographed and I just tweaked it a little. But no big set-ups… Just me, him and my flash gun!”

After Party

After party – Harry and friends, 2015

“This was taken at an after party in east London. I got called by Harry, who is in this particular picture, to come and photograph him and his friends. I turned up at about 5am, when everyone was chilling, smoking and playing music. Again it’s another candid shot. In situations like these you really don’t want to set stuff up, I just like people to do their own thing… The photographs are there, you just have to blend in and get everyone relaxed around your camera.”

James

James, 2011

“I met James at a friend’s 21st birthday, my eye caught his tattoo on his chest that read ‘Sunday Morning’. Being a huge fan of Lou Reed and Andy Warhol we struck up conversations and met the next day. At the time he was living in Walthamstow. We walked around his neighbourhood as it was a lovely sunny day and somehow ended up in the graveyard! That’s where we took this picture!”

Vera

Vera , Sam & Elise, 2014

“Sam is a hairdresser, and this is a candid moment of him hanging out with his friends doing their hair before a big night out clubbing in London! I’ve been photographing Sam since the start of this project, he was living at home with his parents and dating James (who is in the previous picture) when I first met with him.”

Poembaker.co.uk

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Sophia-Skloss

Sarah Louise Stedeford’s Suburban Youth

26.05.2016 | Culture | BY:

Sarah Louise Stedeford, 25, currently lives in north London – but she hasn’t always done. The photographer – who’s currently splitting her time between casting for a zine and shooting fashion editorial and commercial – has produced a haunting personal project called Suburban Youth, which brings to mind heady memories of running for the last train while high, Tommy Girl eau de toilette and White Lightening.

Here, in a short essay, Sarah explains her own relationship with one of the most important – yet overlooked – cornerstones of British adolescence:

“I spent my teenage years between west London and the south west suburbs. I think this demonstrated the differences between the two from quite early on. Home kind of became both or neither places. I guess this allowed me to see the suburbs from both an insider’s and an outsider’s perspective.

“Travelling on the long suburban trains every day, I would always sit near the window and watch the suburban towns pass by. I shot most of the landscapes in this series from the window of the train, it felt quite true to the subject. Anyone from these areas will be very familiar with the train journeys. The train was moving too quickly for me to have much time to compose or focus on something specifically. This was quite interesting to me, to see what I had captured and that when editing, one of the images would speak to me in some way, reminding me of something, even though I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was.”

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Hounslow

“The project as a whole does feel like a series of blurred memories to me, and I feel like this when I visit these areas. It’s not something specific that I remember…it’s a feeling. Lots of memories all tied together and kind of blurred.

“I think this is true for the suburbs itself. There is a different feeling in this area. But I don’t think it has a very clear identity.

“Whenever I would say where I was from, to someone who didn’t know the area, the only way to explain was to say where it was between. These areas feel busy, with trains, planes and cars running through, round and over, all leaving a sheet of grey dust behind them. But there is also a feeling of calm, like the dust has settled. This feels quite surreal too. Its not busy on the streets, but there is a sense of movement. Its like a pit stop place, only used in order to get to somewhere else. I guess this is its strange identity in a way.”

9-Suburban

Olly @ Milk

10-Suburban

5-6-Suburban

Poppy @ Select

Main: Sophia Skoss @ Premier

Sarahstedeford.com

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athensgeorgia1997

Mark Steinmetz: An Unforced Narrative

10.05.2016 | Art , Culture | BY:

His subject is one that has been much documented across the arts, but photographer Mark Steinmetz lends a unique eye to the chronicles of contemporary American life. Whether capturing everyday happenings within a Cleveland school or the natural environment of Sandy Creek, the photographer’s ability to imbue images with unforced narrative consistently delights.

This capacity to scrutinise the idiosyncrasies of daily life whilst remaining aloof from the frame allows Mark Steinmetz’s photographs to both transcend and embody their moments in time, rendering his images powerful historical documents as well as works of art. With a ninth monograph, Angel City West out on Nazraeli Press, we asked the photographer to lend insight into his work, inspiration and future projects.

When did you first start photographing? 
I started very early on. My parents gave me my first camera around the age of six. I have many clear memories of photographing when I was a child. I remember that framing a scene was always a pleasure for me; I liked making the decision of whether I needed to stay standing up or whether I should scrunch down or move in closer in order to make the best picture. I had set up my first darkroom in my home at the age of 12.

ancienttigers2007

Ancient Tigers, 2007

Can you talk a little about the Angel City West series as a whole – how did they come about, what camera were you working with and what were you looking for when taking these pictures?
I was 22 and restless. I had moved to Los Angeles after having left the Yale School of Art after my first semester. In LA, I met the great photographer Garry Winogrand and was able to photograph with him on several occasions. I used a Leica primarily but also dragged around with me a twin lens reflex. My impulse was just to make interesting pictures that were realistic but still had an independence from (and weren’t exactly responsible to) anything that might really be going on. I was exploring the fictional strangeness that’s intrinsic to photography when you extract an image from the flow of life and I was trying in my youthful way to match or supersede what photographers such as Winogrand or Robert Frank had done.

What is it about black and white that you’re drawn to?
Black and white is what I was looking at when I started to photograph and it’s the medium of the great masters I admire most. There’s a removal from the world with black and white; it strips away one of the levels of illusion from the world. It seems to concern itself more purely and strictly with structure and light. Colour photography needs to be primarily about colour, and to me it seems rare that it can be controlled in any coherent way since the relationships between the colours take over and can too easily overwhelm what’s really of interest and importance. But then again we see in colour and that’s what most everyone in photography has been up to lately.

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Atlanta Airport, 2015

How important is a sense of place to your portraits of people? 
I tend not to have less interest in photographs of people where they are placed against a neutral background. The subjects then seem like butterflies pinned in a collection. Richard Avedon’s group of portraits in the American West are strong but it makes little sense to me that he puts the people he’s photographing against a white backdrop instead of leaving the gas station or the road behind them as background. I much prefer placing subjects within a context. The scenes are less sterile that way and more convincing. That’s how life is.

You often photograph people in motion, or seemingly unaware. How did you develop this style?
I prefer photographs where it feels like something is happening or about to happen, where a moment is suggested. Walker Evans photographed people surreptitiously in his series of subway photographs for the reason that “the mask is down” when people don’t think anyone is watching them. I’ve always been a quiet person. I don’t make waves and I don’t startle people. Many of my portraits seem natural as if they are not aware of being photographed, but I’ve had to talk to them and gain their permission in order to position my fairly large camera exactly where I want it to be in order to make the picture I want.

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Berlin, 2014

In general do you see the role of a photographer as a watcher as opposed to someone that is present in the picture? 
Koudelka is a great photographer but in his book, The Gypsies, the subjects are looking at him and responding to his presence. It’s up to each photographer to define photography on his/her own terms. In my case, my mother was French and I’ve spent a lot of time in France where people sit in cafés a lot and people watch. That’s how I photograph for the most part. I don’t intervene.

The Angel City West series was taken in the ’80s, are you still interested in the city and the people when you look around at Los Angeles today?
Yes, very much so. I’d like to spend more time there to photograph. Los Angeles remains a very interesting and unique place. Like Paris, it is a terrain that has been explored a good deal in cinema, photography, and literature, so there’s an audience that already has an understanding of the place. That means you can plunge right in. You don’t have to start at zero to establish a context for your body of work as a context already exists.

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Knoxville, 1991

I love your Sandy Creek series, did you find it challenging to capture the natural world in the same spontaneous way? 
Thank you for loving the series. Like most people I need a break from time to time and photographing in nature allows me to unwind and to photograph without any of the stress of photographing in the cities. The trees don’t talk back to you. It’s a very different problem. I think nature has a lot to teach us and particularly anyone interested in the design fields needs to take a serious look at what nature has come up with. Robert Adams and Atget have been helpful to look at.

Generally speaking, what are your influences?
Anything in life can be an influence. Some things stick to you, some things don’t. In photography, Atget, Evans, and Winogrand are the great influences but there are so many.

What are your projects for 2016 / 2017? 
Right now I’m working on a commission from the High Museum in Atlanta to photograph at the Atlanta airport – that will be a show in 2017. I’ve also been photographing in Europe a good deal and in particular in busy public areas in Paris, Berlin, and Milan. I should have a book on summer camps come out next year and possibly one later this year of unpublished photographs from the American South (no titles for the books yet).

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Knoxville, 1993

LosAngeles1983-1

Los Angeles, 1983

LosAngeles1983-2

Los Angeles, 1983

Paris2014

Paris, 2014

Sandy Creek

Sandy Creek

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Summer Camp, 1997

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Summer Camp, 1997

Marksteinmetz.net

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FLORIDA

Yoshiyuki Matsumura’s America

03.05.2016 | Culture | BY:

Photographer Yoshiyuki Matsumura may have grown up in Osaka, Japan, but his lens if firmly trained on the people and landscapes of deepest America.

With his American Samples project “strongly influenced” by the work of Robert Frank (The Americans), Stephen Shore (American Surfaces and Uncommon Places) and Joel Sternfeld (American Prospects), his nostalgic portrayals of different towns and their inhabitants are both striking yet familiar.

“It was shot in many different places in the States because I wanted to capture the whole of America,” Yoshiyuki told us, “I crossed America six times by train from New York to LA, stopping along the way.”

Using kit like a Pentax 67, Ricoh GR1v and Konica Big Mini, and having “endurance in the dark room” all contribute towards the resulting hazy finish of Yoshiyuki’s style. A self-declared fondness for the film Stand By Me as a child also may have played a part.

SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina

Despite having met and photographed a multitude of characters throughout his travels, there are some that stick with Yoshiyuki: such as the kids seen here in South Carolina. “The young boy and girl are meeting at the corner on the street,” he told us. “She lives in the house near the corner. She is not wearing any shoes. I think they will go out soon. I love their distance.”

Someone once told Yoshiyuki: “You know more about America than Americans.” And by the looks of these images, we think they may just be right. Take a trip with us now.

80_94 OREGON copy

Oregon

28_31 WEST VIRGINIA copy

West Virginia

21_24 IOWA copy

Iowa

17_20 ALABAMA copy

Alabama

08_10 NEW MEXICO copy

New Mexico

05_5 MISSISSIPPI copy

Missisippi

Yokiyushi Matsumura is represented by Quadriga; quadriga.fr

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Laura McCluskey In Focus

04.03.2016 | Culture , Fashion | BY:

Kent-born photographer Laura McCluskey, 29, has been living and working in and around Hackney for the past seven years, enjoying playing with the “feeling of creative freedom it brings.” Her work – which she describes as “honest and relaxed” – is a mixture of conceptual fashion imagery, documentary and pared-back freshness, with a focus on character and personality as opposed to a highly stylised ‘set’.

“I walk a lot and find the clash of cultures inspiring,” she says. “As a visual person, I think it helps to really engage in my surroundings and often ideas are sparked by people and scenarios I see on the street or stories I hear on the bus. I often do street castings for different projects and enjoy shooting portraits of people I find interesting. I enjoy the sense of community, the busy feeling often ignites my imagination.”

Here we asked Laura to chronicle some of her favourite projects to date, and explain how and why they came about.

LauraMcCluskey_4

Bronte

I photographed Bronte at Next models for a story for Pylot magazine. I found a pop­up restaurant with an Abigail’s Party ’70s themed event, I contacted set designer Alice Hodge who had created the scene. I was working with my stylist friend Issie Gibbons on this and we shot the story within part of the set and surrounding rooms within the community centre it was being held. I loved shooting this story as I am a big fan of finding beauty within the everyday and the location really worked well. Bronte had a really great energy and a real timeless feel that worked so nicely for this story.

LauraMcCluskey_10

Meilyr Jones

I recently shot musician Meilyr Jones. We met at the V&A and took some photos inside on the marble steps. The light was really great that day and we chatted and took some photos. I like these portraits because they feel quite peaceful.

LauraMcCluskey_1

Dreamy Days

A few years ago I was shooting a series of new faces for The Ones 2 Watch. Harry and Leomie were outside in the hallway and I found out they were a couple at the time. We shot some simple portraits of them together and it just worked.

LauraMcCluskey_7

Liam Hodges

I’ve worked with menswear designer Liam Hodges for a couple of seasons. Most recently for his AW15 campaign for his collection ‘Totally Safe Classics’ which explored the everyday reimagined, taking inspiration from the market stall traders in Walthamstow near Liam’s studio. I did a street casting for this and found Jyrrel in Shoreditch. We worked with stylist Harry Lambert and built a set within the studio with tarps and sandwich boards from the show.

LauraMcCluskey_8

Forever my Dreamland: ­Troy and Chaos

I’ve been shooting a series ‘Forever my Dreamland’ since 2009 in the places I grew up around Kent. I was in Margate shooting some stuff and was just heading back to the train when I walked past this guy and stopped to asked to shoot his portrait. He was walking his dog and just had a really happy face. I found out he was called Troy and his dog was called Chaos. Pretty amazing names. They had such a great connection between them and as I started shooting the dog jumped up for his portrait.

LauraMcCluskey_2

Teeth magazine: ­Nothing Fits

This story was a collaboration with my stylist friend Helen McGuckin. We’ve worked together on a few projects and we wanted to shoot a story that explored androgyny, shape and form. I think the starting point for this series was seeing Dilara Findikoglu’s graduate collection, we loved the carpet look. We shot Aggy at Next, she really brought a great spirit to the shoot and definitely conveyed the right feeling.

LauraMcCluskey_11

My favourite picture in the whole world

So many artists inspire me, but if I had to pick one of my photographs, then it’d be from from a series I have been working on for the past few years: My sister Grace. I started out taking some photos whenever I visited my mum and youngest sister Grace at home in Kent. After a while I kept looking at my contact sheets and could see her changing and growing up and the series just came together. I took some portraits of her last year on her 13th birthday. This is one of my most favourite and treasured photos, it says so much about her personality and of growing up.

See more of Laura’s work at lauramccluskey.com

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Joost

Joost Vandebrug: Tales Of Innocence And Of Experience

16.02.2016 | Art , Culture , Film | BY:

Photographer and filmmaker Joost Vandebrug does with apparent ease what many struggle with for years: he let’s his intuition guide his art. But not just his art, also his passion, his productivity and ultimately – his success.

He is a man that wears many hats, but each of them seem to fit just fine. A Dutch art director, turned fashion photographer, who then became a documentary photographer and filmmaker, music video director and now kids’ clothing designer – he appears to weave between creative practices seamlessly.

Joost

All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug

One of Joost’s most successful projects to date – which is still ongoing – is the Lost Boys series. For half a decade he has been following and documenting the lives of a gang of children who call the streets and tunnels of post-communist Bucharest their home. Over 6,000 photographs turned into a book, Cinci Lei, (which he gutsily got off the ground thanks to a Kickstarter campaign) and more than 120 hours of footage is becoming film-shaped as we speak.

Here, we catch up with Joost to find out how – and why – one man makes all that happen.

Firstly, when and why did you realise that you wanted to make pictures and films?
Although my mum and dad are both photographers, I never really considered it as an option while growing up. I was too busy playing in punk bands and wanting to become a rock star. I guess when that failed, I enrolled into art school, but even there I hardy ever worked through the medium of photography and film. It was only after my internship with Erwin Olaf and a year break from Amsterdam (where I lived at the time), that I came back and made a somewhat conscious decision to ‘be a photographer’.

Joost

All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug

You’re described as both a photographer and filmmaker – how does your approach to each differ, if at all? And if you could only proceed with one of them for the remainder of your career, which would it be and why?
My approach in both film and photography is virtually the same, very intuitive. But lets take my Lost Boys series as an example: I have followed this group of street children and their leader Bruce Lee for over five years, and last year I published a book. In the book I have laid out the pictures, carefully of course, protecting the protagonists, and telling the story of how I see the kids, and what it was like for me being with them for all this time. Though choices are predominately made on visual aesthetic.

Now that we are making a feature documentary about the same group, there is much less that I can – and want – to leave to be interpreted by the viewer. I am compelled for it to be an honest, real and correct document of their lives. Although it will still be a poetic film, the choices that I make are not just from a visual perspective but above all they have to drive the story forwards. The devices available to tell the story are also on a completely different level. And although because of my use of small camera’s for example, which resulted in me being an unadulterated part of the story, the film is in the hands of the protagonists. Which is very exciting, but also difficult as I want to protect the protagonists at the same time.

Joost

All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug

Can you describe your first serious photographic and film projects, respectively? Can you recall what were you trying to convey with them?
Quite early on, in 2007, I was offered a solo exhibition in FOAM Amsterdam (the photography museum). The exhibition was during fashion week, so they wanted me to make a fashion connection in the work. This work became my first step to combine fashion and documentary. And still today I love to shoot fashion on real people. This can be a documentary project, but also a portrait series with a great artist or musician.

How do you think your work has progressed over the years?
On all levels I got calmer. I used to rush from project to project, making huge leaps from personal work to commercial work. I guess it was important to experiment, so it wasn’t all bad, though nowadays its all come together. My commercial work goes hand in hand with my personal work and I allow myself to dive into my projects much deeper.

Joost

All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug

What kind of journeys does your work take you on?
The Lost Boys project opened a whole new world. I am visiting and documenting the lives of young, aberrant and sometimes lost youths everywhere I go. And also, now that I have set up an NGO for the protagonists of the book and film, I am visiting many befriended charities and organisations. It is like an ongoing research and very inspiring to visit all these places where other NGO’s are dealing with similar issues as I went through with the Lost Boys.

Where would you love to shoot, that you haven’t already?
If I think of a place, I usually try and go pretty quickly. But, apart from those kind of research trips, I always go back for longer times to follow up on the people that I have met. Documenting them over longer periods of time. I have no interest in shooting little stories all over the place for the sake of it.

Joost

All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug

How did you segue into music videos? Was it something you’d always wanted to do?
The great thing about making music videos is to collaborate with great musicians. So its important for me to feel a strong connection with the artist. My work has always had a connection with music, so once i started using video as a technique, it made sense to shoot music videos.

Is there a music video that you wish you’d shot?
The first that springs to mind is Pink Floyd, Another Brick In The Wall.

Joost

All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug

What are you working on right now and in the year ahead?
The biggest ongoing project is of course the feature documentary about Bruce lee and the Lost boys. I have found an amazing supporting team at Grain media who are very dedicated to making this a beautiful film. Its in very safe hands with Katie Bryer (she edited the Oscar-nominated documentary Virunga) who is working on the film full time, so I am able to walk in and out the editing room and thus work on my regular photography and film work as well.

Also, my husband [Tom Eerebout] and I have just launched a kids’ wear label, Jumping Dog which is super exciting. All the pieces are inspired on adventure and interactiveness with the wearer, but best of all with the profits we are 100% funding the Cinci Lei project.

To find out more about Cinci Lei, Joost’s documentary or Jumping Dog visit joostvandebrug.com

All images from Cinci Lei by Joost Vandebrug – buy it HERE

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Photo50

Highlights of London Art Fair 2016

20.01.2016 | Art | BY:

The London Art Fair, or righteously self-referred to as ‘the UK’s premiere Modern British and contemporary art fair’, has returned for its annual take-over at the Business Design Centre from 20th-24th January 2016.

Recognised as the ultimate hub of support for collectors of all levels, the 28th edition of the Fair is set to bring together 126 galleries from the UK and overseas. Ranging from museum-quality Modern British art to work by top contemporary artists – both emerging and established – this superb occasion provides a sound retrospective into the early 20th century and to this present day. Alongside galleries exhibiting for the first time in 2016 – such as Beetles + Huxley (London), Omer Tiroche Contemporary Art (London), and Galerie BART (Amsterdam) – this year’s Photo50 and Photoworks’ latest editions delve commendably into the love triangle of women, sex and art.

As such, the London Art Fair is dedicating part of its exhibition space to photography, and this year’s Photo50 presents a carefully curated exhibition from London-based photography critic, editor and curator Federica Chioccetti. The exhibition, titled ‘Feminine Masculine: On the Struggle and Fascination of Dealing with the Other Sex’ has truly emancipated the theme of femininity, as it endeavours to depict both genders in its relation to one another rather two separate entities. This selection of images is set to confront the mysterious dynamics that operate between men and women, and will serve as a fascinating insight into the ways in which we deal with the opposite sex.

Additionally, Photoworks Annual’s latest edition takes a look at women, specifically, and their roles in photography. Whether the woman stands as the subject, creator or consumer, this panel talk aims to explore the themes raised around the changing landscape of gender and photography with references to the ’70s, ’80s and the modern day. This inspirational discussion will present guest speakers Catherine Grant, Liz Heron, Oliver Richon, Natasha Caruana and Max Houghton…it’s definitely one not to miss.

The London Art Fair is on now at the Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, N1 0QH. More information and bookings can be found at londonartfair.co.uk

Main image by Ekaterina Anokhina (Russia), from the series 25 Weeks of Winter (2)

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