‘Nobody Believes That I Am Alive’

19.05.2016 | Art | BY:

Growing up in Minsk, now Belarus, before moving to the United States and later France, Alexandra Catiere learned early on to immerse herself in a universe of her own. This is a skill Catiere has taken with her into her photography, where she documents intimate moments that all make a passing comment on the transient nature of time and the ephemerality of life.

Through her distinct visual language and exploration of both sensation and atmosphere, she manages to avoid the cliches of naked young people shot with flash on a 35mm point and shoot camera. Instead, her inspiration and style aligns itself more closely to that of the legendary Irving Penn, who she worked alongside in 2005 shortly after graduating from the International Centre of Photography (ICP). Her works are in the same nature of Penn’s—classical black and white images, begging the audience to study the world in which they are taken without a preconceived notion of context.


A new exhibition – Photo London – which has just opened in London at Somerset House, explores Catiere’s work in the form of a three-part series: ‘Here, Beyond the Mists’, ‘Land without Shadows’, and ‘Nobody Believes That I Am Alive’. The exhibition deals with themes such as time, realisation, life and death in a way that underscores Catiere’s own belief system “that death does not and can not truly exist, while memory still remains”.

When asked to describe the photographers work Nathalie Herschdorfer, the curator of this exhibition says: “Catiere’s photography is of an intimate and independent nature. It deals with the passing of time, outside of the narrative realisation. Time stands still. The beings and places that she depicts seem to come from a distant past but nonetheless seem to be anchored in the present. Catiere’s photographs enthral us, they seduce us and call us into question.”

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The exhibition is on now, and runs until 22nd May 2016 at Somerset House, London, Booth F7.

Alexandracatiere.com // Somersethouse.org.uk

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Smoke and Mirrors

28.06.2012 | Art , Blog | BY:

This summer, Irving Penn’s masterful Cigarettes series will be displayed in its entirety for the first time ever at Hamiltons Gallery, London. Although Penn is probably most renowned for his photographs of famous fashion models and iconic figures, he was also equally as accustomed to shooting various forms of still life – in this case, discarded cigarette butts found on the streets of New York in the early Seventies. By printing the Cigarettes using the Platinum palladium process, an extremely difficult and costly photographic technique, Penn advanced the status of these objects from unwanted garbage to treasured rarities.

Either arranged as singular objects or clustered in groups, the image composition remains relatively minimal, however the depth and density of the tone applied to these black and white shots highlight subtle details, features and textures which otherwise would go a miss.

All of Penn’s pictures are created with a great attention to detail and the extreme magnification applied here means this series is no exception; every burnt edge, rip and fold in the delicate paper is meticulously captured as are the stray strands of loose tobacco that sprout out at the butt ends like wiry whiskers.

Another focus is the branding that is stamped onto each cigarette; even after being smoked, stubbed out, stepped on and subsequently weathered in Manhattan’s gutters, the marks of Tobacco industry giants such as Marlboro, Camel and Chesterfield are still evidently fulfilling their intended commercial purpose.

All 26 photographs from the Cigarettes series are available to view now until 17 August at Hamiltons Gallery, 13 Carlos Place, London.


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