Thanks to lighting and shadow, the fire escape stair of a school building in Rome makes a perfect architectural nonsense like those marvellously invented by Dutch graphic artist Maurits Cornelis Escher.
This is not the first time a portfolio of my images is featured by a photography magazine, either on paper or online. Nonetheless I'm particularly happy to point this one to PhotoGraphia readers' attention since it's a relatively newborn one, it's 99% focused on photographs (text is reduced to a few introductory lines), it's beautifully designed and it's totally free (and advertising-free too!). And, most importantly, the selected authors -despite their different subjects and techniques- have a lot in common. Click on the link below to get the pdf file or visit dodho's website. Enjoy.
Alexandr Deineka, "The Skiers", 1926 Despite the obviousness of this painting, I don't see a group of seven people skiing. What I see is the strict geometrical organization of parallel and diagonal lines.
For those who live in Rome or happen to be in Rome until the 1st of May, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni showcases an exhibition not to be missed: ALEXANDR DEINEKA, the Soviet Master of Modernity. I confess my ignorance: I hadn't even heard about him until now, but seeing his paintings today has been a marking experience to me. Born in Kursk, Russia, in 1899, Deineka crossed the Russian/Soviet history until his death in 1969. Since the beginning of his career he shows a sublime ability in setting up the space within the canvas, based on a strict and simple geometrical organization. No matter the situations he depicts, Deineka strikes the viewer with the power of composition and the tension of the lines of force connecting all elements to each other. Although his paintings, like Cartier Bresson's photographs, are loaded with a clear and true narration, whose characters are pushed and pulled around the canvas by the composition's strenght, geometry is their real subject. Just as in Cartier Bresson's photographs. For photographers there is a lot to learn from Deineka's work. It's not what we see through the viewfinder of our cameras: it's all about the way we look at it, the way we analyze it, the way we compose it before releasing the shutter and, consequently, the way we make viewers see at it in our photographs. Deineka also demonstrates that geometry and chromatism (or gray value) are strictly connected. The way we perceive the size, proportion and relationship between, say, two rectangles inevitably depends on their color. Changing or simply switching colors will deeply subvert the overall result. I think every photographer should know the work of this Russian master, whose greatness can be compared to Edward Hopper's. A wide selection of Deineka's paintings can be seen here. Enjoy.
Factories are one of my favourite subjects. Have always been. They bear an ethic value, as they symbolize work, creativity, and the power of man to transform raw materials into manufactured artifacts. And an aesthetic value, as their shape is curved out of function instead of style. Photography started getting familiar with the industrial landscape since Charles Sheeler, the Philadelphia-born painter and photographer who co-founded the American Modernism. His works can be seen here. Born in 1885, two years after Sheeler, the Italian painter Mario Sironi is the poet of the then newborn industrial landscape of his country. When I was a child the outskirts of Milan, my native city, still looked like Sironi depicted them in the Twenties. Realizing that I shared the same feelings as a renowned artist was a marking experience for me. Sironi's works can be seen here. Enjoy.
As I already stated in previous posts, I owe some painters more than most photographers. Among those painters there is one most photographers owe a lot. And owing a lot to photography himself. Edward Hopper's (Nyack, NY, 1882 - New York City, 1967) canvas is a silent theater where bright sunlight, thick shadows, brick walls and thoughtful human figures are the performers. Some of his works are considered among the most important icons of the 20th Century Western culture. And not only under a visual point of view. Hopper' artistic life is the subject of an interesting exhibition currently open in Rome. We learn that he found his deepest inspiration only in his fourty, after a long and inconsistent pursuit. Just the opposite of the precocious-prodigy-genius romantic cliché. Which is a breath of fresh air in a world where young photographers start their careers knowing that some two hundred billion pictures are shot every year in our planet. It takes time to find one's way. But it's worth a try. Even Edward Hopper didn't know he was bound to become Edward Hopper in the beginning.
Though I work in video postproduction, I'm a little bothered by the convergence of stills and video in the most recent cameras. I love photography because its a silent, two-dimension art. Moreover, I don't like having one more button (and a couple more menus to fiddle with) on my cameras. Yet I had the chance, thanks to Mike Johnston's THE ONLINE PHOTOGRAPHER blog, to discover ALEX ROMAN's THE THIRD & THE SEVENTH, a little gem of CG in motion. I would call it a visual poem. It's about photography and architecture and the beauty of man-made artifacts. Imaging, imagery and imagination. A must-see. An interesting interview with the author can be read here. Enjoy.
The photo blogosphere is crowded of people constantly troubled by such issues as image resolution, lines-per-millimeter, border sharpness and 100% detail. If driving a car was technically as worrying as taking a photograph, we wouldn't have to deal with traffic and pollution. So it is very refreshing to find an author whose work swims against the tide. In this fourth installment of the BOUNDARIES series, let me introduce the German-born, US-based Jörg M. Colberg, whose fascinating portfolio AMERICAN PIXELS can be seen here. An interesting statement about those images can be read here. Enjoy.
I already confessed how much I owe to French (but Hungarian born) photographer Lucien Hervé. Another artist I am indebted to is Russian El Lissitzky, who influenced the Bauhausand Constructivistmovements. His works can be seen here.
“To quote out of context is the essence of the photographer’s craft. His central problem is: what shall he include, what shall he reject? [...] The photographer edits the meanings and patterns of the world through an imaginary frame. This frame is the beginning of his picture’s geometry. It is to the photograph as the cushion is to the billiard table.” John Szarkowski, The Photographer’s Eye