Tag Archives: self-portrait

New Conceptual Self-Portraits Tap Into Photographer Kylli Sparre’s Fantastical Imagination 

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Tapping into unlived memories, Kylli Sparre (previously here and here) produces conceptual photographs that seem to be pulled from dark fairytales and otherworldly settings. The images are always focused on a lone woman in a dramatically staged pose, a reference to her past as a professionally trained ballet dancer. The environment surrounding the women is often hazy— barren landscapes that seem to isolate the women in both space and time.

Sparre’s work was featured at this year’s Art The Hague art fair in Amsterdam by Qlick Editions. You can see more of the Estonia-based artist’s thoughtfully composed images on her Facebook and portfolio site.

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Photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen Seamlessly Integrates His Body with the Natural World 

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Fosters Pond II, 1989. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

Finnish-American photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen has been capturing self-portraits of his nude body in natural surroundings for the better part of five decades. More than just existing in these scenic locations, Minkkinen fully merges his limbs and torso like a chameleon, blurring the lines between where the world ends and his body begins.

The methods used to create these bold and uninhibited shots pre-date the use of Photoshop by decades, instead relying on a simple 9-second shutter release that allows Minkkinen to quickly pose for each shot. He usually works completely alone, and won’t let anyone else look through his camera’s viewfinder, lest they instead be labeled ‘the photographer.’ What may appear as a simply composed photo with fortuitous timing, is often the result of Minkkinen taking dangerous risks as he submerges himself in strong currents, buries himself in ice, or balances precariously on the edge of a cliff. He shares from an article How to Work the Way I Work:

Many of my photographs are difficult to make. Some can even be dangerous. I do not want to have someone else coming in harm’s way taking the risks I need to take: to lean out off a cliff or stay underwater for the sake of my picture. We control how much pain we can tolerate; such information is unknowable by anyone else. Some of my pictures might look simple, but in reality they can test the limits of what a human body is capable of or willing to risk. Thus I title them self-portraits, so the viewer knows who is in the picture and who took it.

At the age of 70, Minkkinen was just awarded the 2015 Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and is currently finishing work on his 8th book. The photographer opens his first-ever solo show in Chicago tomorrow evening at Catherine Edelman Gallery titled 7 8 9 0 1, featuring a range of both old and new portraits. You can see more from the exhibition here.

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Hands and Feet, White Sands, NM, 2000. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Väisälänsaari, Finland, 1998. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Oulujärvi Afternoon, Paltaniemi, Finland, 2009. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Mouth of the River, Fosters Pond, 2014. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Asikkala, Finland, 1992. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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10.10.10, Fosters Pond, 2010. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Fosters Pond, 2000. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Le Bouquet d’Arbres, Malmö, Sweden, 2007. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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Beach Pond, Connecticut, 1974. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery.

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New Black and White Surrealist Self-Portraits by Noell Oszvald 

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Visual artist Noell Osvald (previously) creates startlingly bold works through simple gestures all performed in black and white. The self-portraits rarely show the 25-year-old artist’s face, instead expressing emotion through the way she tilts her head or slightly crooks her neck. Emphasizing line, her works incorporate a strict horizon or eliminate it altogether, segmenting the image from left to right. In one particularly powerful image the back of her head faces the camera and her hair is completely down. Her hair is gently separated over her shoulders and her part continues upward from the nape of her neck and meets with the corner of the wall above. She stands directly in the center of this division, making it seem as if her environment is splitting her in two.

The self-taught artist’s works are mostly composites that only allude to being photographs. She explains that she does not pre-visualize any of her works, all are completely spontaneous. “I find post-processing the most enjoyable part of creating,” she told Lines magazine. “I build my pictures up from several different ones, much like a jigsaw puzzle.”

You can see more images by Osvald on her Flickr and Instagram.

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Animated Graphite Self-Portrait by T.S. Abe 

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UK-based fashion illustrator and artist T.S. Abe created this fantastic animated self-portrait from a series 15 individual graphite drawings. Abe says this is the first in a series of moving portraits she intends to draw and also mentions this is her first foray into animation. You can follower her most recent work on Tumblr.

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In Her ‘Self-Portraits with Men & Women’ Photographer Dita Pepe Seamlessly Integrates into the Lives of Others 

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When meeting somebody for the first time, or maybe just viewing a portrait, the brain goes into overdrive for a few seconds to quickly form a first impression. Whether we like it or not, rapid assumptions are made based on age, gender, race, culture, physical appearance, the surrounding environment, and especially other people present—all things that help form who we are, real or perceived. Since 1999, Czech photographer Dita Pepe has explored this idea of identity and environment in two photographic series titled Self-Portraits with Men and Self-Portraits with Women, where the photographer seeks to completely assimilate into the lives of other people.

In the beginning, Pepe first posed with people she knew, but now works with people from all walks of life with vastly different backgrounds and family structures, often incorporating her own daughters into the portraits. Each photograph is shot on location where a family or person lives, or engages in their hobbies or daily life. Pepe goes to great length to appear as if she belongs in each portrait, a chameleonlike quality that some compare to the works of Cindy Sherman; however, unlike Sherman’s studio portraits, Pepe’s images appear more like hasty snapshots, bringing a strange level of believability and authenticity to each portrait.

Pepe most recently collaborated with writer Bara Baronova on a new book of photography titled Love Yourself, and you can see more portraits with both women and men on Feature Shoot and at Lens Culture.

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Dreamlike Conceptual Self-Portraits Fused with Dance by Kylli Sparre 

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Fine art photographer Kylli Sparre (previously) has continued to create her dance-inspired photographs, almost all of which depict the artist herself in various dreamlike states and situations. Working with outdoor landscapes, and bodies of water or ice, Sparre fuses years of formal ballet training with these dramatic and performative photographs. The artist has a show in Amsterdam next month at Qlickeditions, and you can follow her work more on Facebook.

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