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Art Photo Collector

Posts tagged nudes:

"What’s left after what ‘one isn’t’ is taken away—is what one is.”—Diane Arbus

If the “selfie" reflects the current zeitgeist, then hard-working artists like Austrian photographer, Flora P., show us beyond its possibilities. A professional model and self-taught photographer, Flora P. has amassed a considerable body of self-portraiture work (and media attention) exploring her body’s relationship with light, nature, and her camera.

What impresses me about Flora P. is her commitment to doing the work. It takes energy and fearlessness to create, to expose oneself and to put your efforts/art/passion out for public consumption. Say what you will about the quality of her photography—and I think it’s fair to critique—but in the end, I always agree with the writer Brendan Behan: "Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done everyday, but they are unable to do it themselves."—Lane Nevares 

"It only takes a second for an impression to become a vision."—Bill Viola

Like you, I am fascinated by artists who help us see things differently. Beautiful, engaging work is always easy on the eyes, but sometimes a bit of guile and deception can take you somewhere new. 

Danish artist, Asger Carlsen’s, manipulated images contort and distort bodies, while Roger Ballen’s drawings and cut-outs touch the psyche in a disarmingly simple and unsettling way. Last July, as part of their annual photography issue, Vice magazine commissioned these artists. The result, Place of the Inside Out, is a potent collaboration—albeit separated by continents—of one artist riffing on the work of another. This video tells the tale. For my part, I like not knowing if I like it. —Lane Nevares

"Photography is one of the channels through which the present penetrates into the future, just as the art of the past got inside us. For me photography is a means to express systems of opinions and values, the author’s ideology."—Nikolay Bakharev 

The Siberian-born photographer, Nikolay Bakharev, isn’t particularly well-known in the States, but the Julie Saul Gallery and Dashwood Books in New York want to change that. Reared in an orphanage and largely self-taught, Bakharev began taking photographs in the early 1970’s and through the final days of the former Soviet Union. At at time when the State controlled everything, it was actually illegal to photograph the nude, much less engage in private commercial enterprise creating and selling one’s photographs. These photographs, therefore, were never meant for public consumption. They were intimate (even illicit) private photographic sessions between sitter and artist.

Bakharev’s single-minded approach to his work differed greatly from his clients’ expectations of their portrait session. While the sitters hoped for photographs that made them look beautiful or special, Bakharev states, "From my point of view, I expose the nature which people do not want to admit to, if it does not fit their notions of themselves." This tension between Bakharev and his clients is what makes these images simmer.

Dashwood Books has recently published a soft cover monograph of his work, Amateurs & Lovers, (here’s a video preview), and on the 10th, the Julie Saul Gallery will open Bakharev’s first US solo show also titled, “Amateurs & Lovers.” It will be interesting to see how an American 21st Century audience, with disparate recollections of the Soviet Union and its legacy, responds to this work—Lane Nevares

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” Oscar Wilde

I suppose that an exhibit of contemporary nude photography curated by an artist well known for her work with the nude, can’t really go wrong. Tomorrow, the Flowers Gallery here in New York will open a show curated by the Brazilian-born photographer Mona Kuhn. The list of artists selected by Kuhn is an eclectic gathering of some major players along with some up-and-comings on the contemporary scene.

The show is an exploration, based on Kuhn’s own scholarly research and photographic ambitions, of our relationship to the canon of the nude in fine art. With our 21st Century attention spans and an unending stream of imagery put before us, I think the conversation is worth having. As we adapt, so do our ideas.

“Under my Skin: Nudes in Contemporary Photography” will be on exhibit at the Flowers Gallery until August 24th. —Lane Nevares

“I believe the power of seeing the world as fresh and strange lies hidden in every human being.”—Bill Brandt (b.1904-d.1983)

Bill Brandt is rightly regarded as one of the most important photographers of the 20th Century. On the 6th, the Museum of Modern Art in New York opened a major exhibit, ”Bill Brandt: Shadow & Light,” as an opportunity for us to reevaluate Brandt’s legacy and to retrace his artistic journey.

More than 150 works are divided into six distinct sections, offering a tight and cohesive survey of Brandt’s artistic development: including his work in WWII London, Northern England, landscapes, portraits and of course his famed nudes. Many of the prints in the exhibition are stunning to behold, the best of their kind, and reveal the work of a superb craftsman. The opportunity to see these prints, first-hand, is a must for anyone who appreciates Brandt’s work.

Along with MoMA’s adjacent (and excellent) exhibit “The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook,” there’s no finer way to spend an afternoon in the city enveloped in a “sense of wonder.” —Lane Nevares

"The world makes up my pictures, not me." —Lee Friedlander 

Until December 22nd, the Pace/MacGill Gallery on E. 57th St. is hosting a double-shot of Lee Friedlander.  Two exhibits, “Lee Friedlander: Nudes” and “Lee Friedlander: Mannequin” take us into the past and back to the present.  On the second floor, we get to re-visit Friedlander’s acclaimed nudes from the late 70’s and 80’s, while on the 9th, we encounter the first New York presentation of his latest body of work, “Mannequin.” 

Both shows revel in the power of the 35mm camera. Friedlander’s nudes are evocative and immediate.  His hand-held camera work still feels loose and confident. In this new series, “Mannequin” it’s all about composition, perspective, and layers of shadow and light. While past masters like Eugene Atget and Berenice Abbott have successfully pursued a similar motif of reflections in a shop window, a modern master like Friedlander leaves his own scent behind. I found that the complexity of these images stirred my mind in many directions—the closer I looked the deeper I got.  Lee Friedlander is approaching his 80’s, yet how many younger photographers can consistently match this caliber of work?  —Lane Nevares


 "Everything is a subject. Every subject has a rhythm. To feel it is the raison d’etre. The photograph is a fixed moment of such a raison d’etre, which lives on in itself.” André Kertész

     Tomorrow the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit, "Naked before the Camera" opens.  This exploration of photography’s depiction of the human body doesn’t seem ambitious, but rather a thoughtful treatment of how the human body has been depicted and what this means in the context of the respective times.  Cultural mores, governmental censorship, and varying artistic sensibilities, as we know, all weave their way into artistic expression at any given moment, challenging artists to create work that may or may not meet with approval.

     The Curator’s notes tell us that: "Naked before the Camera surveys the history of this subject (the human body) and examines some of the motivations and meanings that underlie its expression.”  With the vast collection at The Met’s disposal, I hope the exhibit exceeds its own ambitions.  Stay tuned.  —Lane Nevares
"Everything is a subject. Every subject has a rhythm. To feel it is the raison d’etre. The photograph is a fixed moment of such a raison d’etre, which lives on in itself.” André Kertész
     Tomorrow the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit, "Naked before the Camera" opens.  This exploration of photography’s depiction of the human body doesn’t seem ambitious, but rather a thoughtful treatment of how the human body has been depicted and what this means in the context of the respective times.  Cultural mores, governmental censorship, and varying artistic sensibilities, as we know, all weave their way into artistic expression at any given moment, challenging artists to create work that may or may not meet with approval.
     The Curator’s notes tell us that: "Naked before the Camera surveys the history of this subject (the human body) and examines some of the motivations and meanings that underlie its expression.”  With the vast collection at The Met’s disposal, I hope the exhibit exceeds its own ambitions.  Stay tuned.  —Lane Nevares

“I love it most when I manage to surprise myself. I don’t like to tell the viewer what they should see in the images either. I think one of the beautiful things about photography is that every viewer can find their own story in the picture.”  Lina Scheynius 

The Swedish photographer Lina Scheynius is better known for her fashion/commercial work than her personal images, but I think this is an oversight. There is an easy grace, a spiritual freedom in her work that shines consistently through.  I came across her work last month, and have come back to it a few times since, especially this series on “Alba.” 

Because she’s largely self-taught and has developed her craft outside of any formal/academic milieu, her work radiates with authenticity and independence.  I sense that her work is true to herself.  Her attention to light, in particular, is lovely and intimate.  Call me a fan, and one who looks forward to receiving her latest book and to following her future projects.  —Lane Nevares