Wendy McMurdo (Doppelgängers)

Wendy McMurdo is a British artist from Edinburgh, Scotland specialized in photography and digital media.  In her work “Doppelgängers”, McMurdo creates photographs of children who seem alienated from their environment by the use of multiple images of the same sitter.  She explains the idea of Doppelgängers in an interview with Sheila Lawson (April/May 1995):

“Freud’s text on the uncanny, written in 1919, is useful here. He attempts to describe the uncanny, defining it as arising from a number of fears or anxieties. In the case of these images, there are perhaps three major fears which result in a feeling of the uncanny. First, he states that the uncanny is aroused when we have ‘Doubts as to whether an apparently inanimate being is really alive’ (an anxiety as to the relationship between animism and mechanism — fear of the automaton); second, we fear the loss of sight (implied when we fear that only one of the real sitters is present, hence the rest must be sightless); and thirdly, we harbour a fear of what Freud describes as one of the most prominent themes of uncanniness, that is the idea of the double or Doppelgänger”.  __ Wendy McMurdo

Gilda Williams explains the meaning of a Doppelgänger:  “A Doppelgänger is a mythical monster of German folklore who randomly chooses an innocent person and pursues them in their shadows, observing their habits, appearances, expressions and idiosyncrasies.  As time passes the Doppelgängerstarts to look like his selected victim, behave like them, and eventually becomes and even replaces that person, without anyone noticing.  The word itself is made of two, derived from the German doppel (double) + ganger (a modification of gehen, ‘to go’)”. –  Gilda Williams – Identity Twins, The work of Wendy McMurdo.

 

 

 

I have been comparing my photographs of my assignment to these photographs of Wendy McMurdo especially the one tutor Jayne referred to as a promotional shot for IKEA see below:

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My work sometimes ends up superficially commercial although I do not intend for it to be so because of the excessive garishness.  McMurdo’s work is more concerned about the space that surrounds her figure not the figure itself.  The gaze of her subject’s are never met which adds mystery to her work and the theatrical lighting used adds extra impact to her photographs.

 


Bibliography / References:

Lawson, S. (April/May 1995).  Dopplegangers  [online].   Wendy McMurdo. Available from: http://wendymcmurdo.com/text/dopplegangers/ [Accessed 3 September, 2017].

Williams, G.  Identity Twins, The work of Wendy McMurdo [online]. Available from:  http://wendymcmurdo.com/mothership/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/7aa.Wendy-McMurdo-Salamanca-monograph-essay.pdf   [Accessed 3 September, 2017].

 

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Hellen Van Meene

Hellen Van Meene a Dutch photographer known for her portraits of girls of imperfect faces and flowed bodies.  Her work has so much resemblance to paintings.

Van Meene’s photographs of her models looks spontaneous but she actually takes care of every detail in the photograph from the exceptional use of light and composition to the model’s clothes.  Her portraits have inherent grace, vulnerability and hidden secrets that can be noticed from the models’ postures and facial expressions.

When asked what makes a great portrait’ Van Meene said the first thing is to concentrate on what’s in front of you, that includes perfect lighting, models and all.  The second thing is to keep a balance between how much you reveal and how much you hide.  The photographer must love his/her subjects to be able to give and get back.

 

 

Van Meene’s models seem very disconnected from the scenario they are in, they gaze somewhere else other than at the camera, usually downcast, their expressions are distant which makes you wonder.

 


Bibliography / References:

Bubich, O.  Hellen Van Meene:”In Photography Everything Has Already Been Done But Never By Me  [online].  Bleek Magazine. Available from: http://bleek-magazine.com/interviews/hellen-van-meene/  [Accessed 6 August, 2017].

Vroons, E.  Love, Focus and Dutch Light: Portraits of Adolescence [online]. LensCulture. Available from: https://www.lensculture.com/articles/hellen-van-meene-love-focus-and-dutch-light-portraits-of-adolescence [Accessed 6 August, 2017].

 

 

William Eggleston

William Eggleston is known for his very saturated coloured photographs using dye-transfer process.  He likes to depict everyday objects and scenes with his lens.

John Szarkowski liked his work and Eggleston was given a show at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) but the show was called “The most hated show of the year”!  The reason was because it was always hard to read into Eggleston’s photographs.  He takes photos of things that people doesn’t find a substantial importance to them but to Eggleston his job is to do the work and leaves it to us to figure out the meaning of it.  “I am at war with the obvious” he said.

Eggleston photographs are of everyday objects such as an inside of a freezer or a rusted tricycle in a bleak suburban landscape.  It is all about finding beauty in an uninteresting or dull moments.

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

©William Eggleston

Eggleston photographs has no people in them but his great choice of color combination, density and the tonal range throughout the photographs add harmony and beauty to his photos.  What matters to him is what the photographer gets out of the photos and how the viewers connect to it.  It is how a photograph affects you emotionally.  He basically Emphasizes emptiness and isolation by not explaining what’s going on in the picture and that creates an atmosphere of anxiety or that something had happened or will happen.


 

Bibliography / References:

Faded and Blurred.  Perfectly Banal: William Eggleston [online]. Faded and Blurred. Available from: http://fadedandblurred.com/william-eggleston/ [Accessed 11 June, 2017].

Kim E.  10 Lessons William Eggleston Has Taught Me About Street Photography [online]. Erick Kim Photography. Available from: http://erickimphotography.com/blog/2013/04/01/10-lessons-william-eggleston-has-taught-me-about-street-photography/ [Accessed 11 June, 2017].

Maher, J. (2016). Photographing the ‘Ugly,’ the History and Photography of William Eggleston [online]. James Maher Photography. Available from: https://www.jamesmaherphotography.com/historical-photography-articles/photographing-the-ugly-the-history-and-photography-of-william-eggleston/ [Accessed 11 June, 2017].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masahisa Fukase

(25 February 1934 – 9 June 2012)

Masahisa Fukase is a Japanese photographer who is best known for his 1986 book Karasu (Ravens or The Solitude of Ravens).  In 2010 the book was selected by the British Journal of Photography as the best photobook published between 1986 and 2009.

Fukase’s first photobook “Yugi” contains photographs of his first wife Yukiyo Kawakami, and his second wife, Yoko Wanibe.  His next photobook “Yoko” was a project devoted solely to images of his second wife Yoko.  Yoko dresses up and poses for Fukase’s shots:

Yoko

©Masahisa Fukase

Yoko

©Masahisa Fukase

However, after 13 years of marriage; Yoko left Fukase describing her life with him as moments of “suffocating dullness interspersed by violent and near suicidal flashes of excitement””.  Perhaps being the subject in all his photographs for 13 years was part of her decision to leave.  By the time of his divorce from Yoko and during the early period of his marriage to the writer Rika Mikanagi his third wife, Fukase started photographing ravens. His divorce from Yoko left him depressed and he started drinking heavily and it all shows in his dark grainy photographs of the ravens.

The main thing that drew me to this Japanese photographer is his raven photographs.  It is how he translated his emotions and depression using these disruptive creatures that in his culture represent the unlucky and unpromising love.  It is the lost of his love Yoko.  Fukase became so obsessed with the ravens photographing them mostly through the train’s window.  He captured them in flight, blurred, alive and dead.  The images are dark and mysterious.  They seem like a nightmare yet they speak of loss, loneliness, and personal emotions.

©Masahisa Fukase

After Fukase was done from the raven project; he claimed he became a raven himself.  Fukase died in 2012 after falling down the stairs at his favourite bar and being in a coma for 20 years.  During those years, Yoko used to visit him but sadly he was unaware of her presence.

masahisa fukase, the solitude of ravens
Wik roggeveen


Bibliography / References:

O’Hagan, S. (2010). Masahisa Fukase’s Ravens: The Best Photobook of the Past 25 Years?  [online].  The Guardian. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/may/24/masahisa-fukase-ravens-photobook [Accessed 27 March, 2017].

O’Hagan, S. (2015). Masahisa Fukase: The Man Who Photographed Nothing but his Wife [online].  The Guardian. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jul/13/masahisa-fukase-photographed-nothing-but-his-wife#img-1 [Accessed 27 March, 2017].

 

Francesca Woodman

(April 3, 1958 – Jan 19,1981)

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©Francesca Woodman

Francesca Woodman is an American photographer born in April 3, 1958.  Woodman was famous for her black and white photographs of herself or female models.  Her work is rich of expressions and mystery.  Most of her photographs are taken using slow shutter speed and her models are young and nude.  Woodman came from an artistic family.  Her father works in painting, mother in ceramics and her brother in video.

Woodman committed suicide in the age of 22 by throwing herself out of the window of her New York flat.  Woodman’s work was often compared to surrealist such as HansBellmer and Man Ray and she was one of Cindy Sherman’s influences.

Woodman liked to work in old buildings with dusty floorboards which gave her photographs a scary gothic feel.  The space Woodman use for her photographs have rooms with uncovered windows, peeled wallpapers and crumbling paint. She appears in her photos as a ghost or an angel.  I here see why my tutor advised me to explore her work for assignment 3, I just wish I knew about her before submitting the assignment.

©Francesca Woodman

It is hard to understand Woodman’s art.  Her work is rich in symbolism yet it’s creative and gives the viewer the chance to get lost in imagination.  I see ghosts and death in her photographs and I feel it came from her dark side where she perhaps wanted to express it in her photos.

©Francesca Woodman

I find Woodman’s work haunting and inspiring.  She took her life early but her fame was reborn after her death through her photos.

The Woodmans [2010] Legendado [PT-BR]
Jordana Lee


Bibliography / References:
Elizabeth Gumport. The Long Exposure of Francesca Woodman [online]. NYR Daily. Available from: http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2011/01/24/long-exposure-francesca-woodman/ [Accessed 14 March, 2017].

Jillian Steinhauer. Finding Francesca Woodman [online]. The Paris Review. Available from: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2012/05/23/finding-francesca-woodman/ [Accessed 14 March, 2017].

Kate Salter. Blurred Genius: The Photographs of Francesca Woodman.  [online]. The Telegraph. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/9279676/Blurred-genius-the-photographs-of-Francesca-Woodman.html [Accessed 14 March, 2017].

Nicole Williams. The Art of Francesca Woodman: Haunting, Evocative, Personal. [online]. The Artifice. Available from: http://the-artifice.com/the-art-of-francesca-woodman-haunting-evocative-personal/[Accessed 14 March, 2017].

 

Memories: David Favrod

David Takashi Favrod born in Kobe, Japan 1982 from a Japanese mother and a Swiss father.  Lives and works in Switzerland and Spain.

Favrod created his photographic work using memories of his journeys as a child, his mother’s stories and grandparents war narratives:

“I borrowed their memories.  I use their stories as source of inspiration for my own testimony” – David Favrod.

Favrod created his series “Gaijin”, a Japanese word meaning “The Foreigner” after the Japanese embassy refused to give him a double nationality as its only given to Japanese women who wish to obtain their husband’s nationality.

Click on images for more information 

“Hikari” is another of Favrod’s series created again from memory and specially stories of war that his grandparents told him about once.

Click on images for more information

“As if my grandparents gave me their memories as a whisper through the air before allowing it to disappear from their minds” – David Favrod.

Such photographic work inspires me, it makes you want to know more about the photograph, it gives you the pleasure of being lost.  There is a coded message in every single photograph.  Each one of them have meanings and contexts to them.

Favrod also presented sound in his work as a lot of his borrowed memories were sounds such as the sounds of explosions, people crying, sounds of planes etc. in WWII.  To present sound; he used onomatopoeia that were found in manga/comic and he painted them on his prints such as his work (BAOUMMM) from the series “Hikari”.

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BAOUMMM, 2013 – ©David Favrod

“A lot of the memories of my grandparents during WWII were sounds . During the bombings they went to underground shelters. It was dark. The memories they remain from their events are the sound of explosions, the sound of planes, people crying, … So, my question was : How can I introduce sound in my picture? It’s why I decided to use onomatopoeias (that were found in manga/comic) and to paint them on the prints”. – David Favrod

It was interesting to read Favrod’s process in how he comes up with an individual imagery.  I tried to list them down here as points:

  1. Thinks about what he wants to show and talk about.
  2. Writes down the general idea.
  3. Constructs his series by drawing on a sketchbook and that allows him to balance the series from the different types of photographs such as landscapes, portraits etc.
  4. Thinks about the best solution to introduce the story behind the image.
  5. Thinks about how the images work together in the series.

Favrod’s work is fascinating.  It contains multiple levels of meaning and he tells his stories with photographs in a very captivating way using mixed media such as painting, drawing, video etc.  His work pushes boundaries and inspires for new ideas.

 


Bibliography / References:

Burn Magazine (2013). David Favrod GAIJIN [online]. Burn.  Available from: http://www.burnmagazine.org/essays/2013/07/david-favrod-gaijin/#comment-173186 [Accessed 26 February, 2017].

Clemency Newman. Looking Back and Forward Interviews #6: David Favrod [online]. GUP Magazine.  Available from: http://www.gupmagazine.com/articles/looking-back-and-forward-interviews-number-6-david-favrod [Accessed 26 February, 2017].

David Favrod. David Favrod Homepage [online]. Available from: http://www.davidfavrod.com [Accessed 26 February, 2017].

Sharon Boothroyd (2014).  David Favrod [online]. Photoparley. Available from: https://photoparley.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/david-favrod/ [Accessed 26 February, 2017].

 

Hans Eijkelboom

Hans Eijkelboom is a Dutch artist who uses photography to explore identity.  It first started about examining his own identity then it was more about identity of the society in general.  His series is a mirror in which he sees himself.

In one of his series called “With My Family“; Eijkelboom played surrogate dad in other people’s family portraits.  He went to people’s houses, rang their doorbells when the husbands are absent and convinced the wives to take family photos with him in place of the dad.  The results show him with the wives and children where he convincingly fit right.  He never looked out of place.

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©Hans Eijkelboom

Another project of his called “In de Krant” which means “being in the newspaper”; Eijkelboom managed to appear in the newspaper for ten consecutive days.  He would show in the background of every photo main news in his local newspaper.  Eijkelboom would track a local press photographer and manage to get himself into the frame whenever he photograph.  The funny artist would look puzzled and curious in every photo.  It was a performance by a person who did not know what’s going on!

©Hans Eijkelboom


Bibliography / References:

Aperture.  Eric Kessels on Hans Eijkelboom [online].  Photobook Review.  Available from:  http://aperture.org/blog/erik-kessels-hans-eijkelboom/  [Accessed 3 December, 2016].

Phaidon.  Ten questions for photographer Hans Eijkelboom [online].  Phaidon.  Available from:  http://uk.phaidon.com/agenda/photography/articles/2014/october/02/ten-questions-for-photographer-hans-eijkelboom/  [Accessed 3 December, 2016].

The Guardian.  Arles 2014: Hans Eijkelboom and the unbearable Dutchness of being [online].  The Guardian.  Available from:  https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2014/jul/11/arles-2014-hans-eijkelboom-dutch-group-show  [Accessed 3 December, 2016].

 

Elina Brotherus: Suites françaises

 

©Elina Brotherus 

Elina Brotherus a Finnish artist born in Helsinki in 1972.  Brotherus spends her time between Finland and France.  She used self-portraiture in her series to mark moments of her life.  Her series “Suite Françaises 1” and “Suite Françaises 2” explore migration and her own reflection and experience as an outsider.  She came to France and was faced with the language obstacle and this is when the series Suites françaises was created.  She would put post-it notes on objects and things with the French name for them as a way to learn the language.

“Language is a way of creating order out of chaos. We give names to objects, classify and categorize things, analyse phenomena. Language makes thinking possible” – Elina Brotherus.

Brotherus started her series when she was 27 years old then returned to the same place (where she did the series) for a workshop job at the age of 40 and revisited the series photographically.  Her first approach in series “Suite Française 1” was abstract, she captured deserted landscapes which she likes to refer to as commas or breathing spaces.

In her revisited series “Suite Française 2” she was not an outsider anymore and France became her second home.  She explains that she was not lost like she was at the age of 27, she knew what she wants and was able to explore the classical themes of photography.  Her work includes portraiture, landscape, still life, interiors and the study of human figure.

The series works as a mirror to her own experience and self identity but at the same time it is a window to all those who had experienced the same problem with migration and language barrier.

Her talk to the OCA can be found here.


Bibliography / References:

Boothroyd Sharon (2013).  Elina Brotherus Interview [online].  Photoparley.  Available from:  https://photoparley.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/elina-brotherus/  [Accessed 27 November, 2016].

Brotherus, Elina (2015).  Elina Brotherus Talk from open College of the Arts [online].  Available from:  http://www.oca-student.com/content/photographers-talking?page=1#comment-72335  [Accessed 27 November, 2016].

Brotherus, Elina.  Elina Brotherus Official Website [online].  Available from:  http://www.elinabrotherus.com [Accessed 28 November, 2016]

Lacavalla Rosa (2014).  Elina Brotherus  [online]. Available from: https://lacavallarosa.wordpress.com/tag/elina-brotherus/ [Accessed 28 November, 2016].

Yeh, Diana (2005).  Elina Brotherus [online].  Culturebase.net.  Available from:  http://www.culturebase.net/artist.php?735. [Accessed 28 November, 2016].

John Szarkowski: Mirrors and Windows

John Szarkowski, head of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) assigned two types of labels to photographs.  Photographs as mirrors and photographs as windows.  According to Szarkowski the photographs classified as mirrors are those that contain information about the artist’s intentions, self discovery and signs of identity whereas the ones classified as windows explore the reality and presence of the world (see press release Mirrors and Windows).

Photographers work that can be seen in Mirrors and Windows are Diane Arbus, Paul Caponigro, Mark Cohen, Judy Dater, Bruce Davidson, William Eggleston, Elliott Erwitt, Lee Friedlander, Ernst Haas, Robert Heinecken, Les Krims, Ray Metzker, Joel Meyerowitz, Tod Papa- george, Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Stephen Shore, George Tice, Jerry Uelsmann, and Garry Winogrand.

Practioners of the “mirror” approach are Paul Caponi- gro; Jerry N. Uelsmann, Robert Heinecken; and painter Robert Rauschenberg while those of the “windows” approach are Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, Diane Arbus, Ray Metzker, and Ed Ruscha, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore, and Joel Meyerowitz.

Szarkowski States that although those photographers’ work are classified as two different types; what unites them is their common pursuit of beauty.


Bibliography / References:

Press Release (1978). Mirrors and Windows American Photography since 1960 [online]. Available from: https://www.moma.org/momaorg/shared/pdfs/docs/press_archives/5624/releases/MOMA_1978_0060_56.pdf?2010 [Accessed 27 November, 2016]

Rafael Roja.  Monthly Essay: Windows and Mirrors [online].  Outdoor Photographers. Available from: http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/monthly-essay-windows-and-mirrors/ [Accessed 27 November, 2016].

Slade George. The Window or the Mirror [online].  Fotoblog. Available at: http://www.hatjecantz.de/fotoblog/?p=5158 [Accessed 27 November, 2016].

Stockdale Doug (2008).  Windows and Mirrors by John Szarkowski [online].  The Photobook.  Available from:  https://thephotobook.wordpress.com/2008/10/16/windows-and-mirrors-by-john-szarkowski/ [Accessed 27 November, 2016].

Part Two (Studio): Adrian Paci (Back Home)

Adrian Paci born in 1969 in Shkodar, Albania, now works and lives in Milan, Italy.  His work is inspired by stories and characters in his everyday life.  Stories relating to immigration, political transformation, loss, nostalgia and cultural identity.  Something he went through himself while escaping violence in Albania.

His series (Back Home) are photographs of immigrant Albanians posing in front of a reproductions of their former houses in Albania.  Those families now live in Italy.  Paci took photos of their abandoned houses then he reproduced them on painted backdrops.  I chose to write about Paci because of the creative way he used to take photographs in his studio.  It wasn’t just a backdrop but a re-staging of a background that tells a story and explores how people are shaped by their environmental boundaries.  The photographs mimic the past decades of studio photographs, Paci deliberately chosen the tones of beige and grey of the background to give the feeling of fading memories.

Below are photographs from his series (Back Home):

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©Adrian Paci

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©Adrian Paci

 

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©Adrian Paci

 

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©Adrian Paci

 


Bibliography / References:

Pomeranz Collection.  Adrian Paci [online]. News Collection. Available from: http://pomeranz-collection.com/?q=node/82#flou [Accessed 24 October, 2016].

Deutsche Bank Art Works.  Adrian Paci Frozen Time  [online].  Available from: http://db-artmag.de/en/66/feature/adrian-paci-frozen-time/ [Accessed 24 October, 2016].

Albania Art News.  Adrian Paci / “Back Home” [online]. News Collection. Available from: https://albaniartnews.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/adrian-paci-back-home/ [Accessed 24 October, 2016].