portraits

Posts tagged
with portraits



Art Photography

Betta Fish Imitate Elegantly Posed Dancers in New Portraits by Visarute Angkatavanich

August 10, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Thai photographer Visarute Angkatavanich (previously) creates richly hued portraits that appear more like staged dance images than animal photography. It is only when staring directly at the bug-eyed expressions of his subjects that one understands they are staring at a fish and not a costumed ballerina. Angkatavanich photographs domesticated betta fish against white and black backgrounds to isolate their natural shades and present the illusion that they are moving through space. Late last year he released a book of Siamese fighting fish portraits titled Betta Paradiso. You can view more of his recent fish photography on 500px.

 

 



Photography

Nigerian Hair Culture Documented in Rainbow-Hued Portraits by Medina Dugger

August 9, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Purple Kinky Calabar. All photographs © Medina Dugger

Lagos-based photographer Medina Dugger documents colorful hair culture in the coastal Nigerian city with her ongoing series Chroma. The collection of portraits pays homage to J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, a renowned African photographer who documented women’s hairstyles in Nigeria for over 50 years, starting in the mid-20th century.

Prior to decolinization, Dugger explains, wigs and straightening had replaced much of the indigenous hair culture, and ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s documentations sought to celebrate traditional hairdos. She continues, “African hair braiding methods date back thousands of years and Nigerian hair culture is a rich and often extensive process which begins in childhood. The methods and variations have been influenced by social/cultural patterns, historical events and globalization. Hairdos range from being purely decorative to conveying deeper, more symbolic understandings, revealing social status, age and tribal/family traditions.”

While ‘Okhai Ojeikere’ images were in black and white, Dugger updates the documentary style with brightly colored backgrounds, a diverse array of vibrant contemporary fashion, and rainbow hues integrated into the hairstyles with thread, beads, and dyed extensions. You can see more of Dugger’s colorful editorial photography on her website and Instagram.

Blue Coiling Penny Penny

Blue Beri Beri

Golden Eggs

Left: Purple Irun Kiko / Right: Pink Buns

Yellow Tip Twist

Emerald Abebe

Aqua Suku

Left: Violet Irun Kiko / Right: Yellow Monocle

Pink Didi with Cowry Shell

Blue Star Koroba

Calabar Bun Trio

 

 



Art

Colorfully Eroded Busts Explore Abstract Perceptions of Interiority by Christina West

July 26, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Christina West sculpts eroded portraits of anonymous faces which reveal colorful patches existing just below the surface. Segments of the subject’s face are worn away or chopped off, focusing the viewer’s attention on the layered interior of the busts, rather than their exterior features. The work is an investigation into the complexity of one’s own interiority, and suggests that what lies within is more important than surface-level aesthetics.

“I use the portrait bust format because I’m interested in the expectation we place on portraiture to reveal something about an individual’s interiority,” explains West in an artist statement. “I have always felt that making inferences about a person’s psychology or personality from physical likeness is a highly flawed practice, though we make such inferences instinctively. In the Unmet series, I create portrait busts that disrupt the impulse to read into facial features or expression by removing much of the figure’s likeness.”

The busts are each solid casts, with multiple colors layered in the interior. The removal of specific facial elements happens after the objects are cast, when West excavates swatches of color in unpredictable patterns. The Atlanta-based sculptor has an upcoming exhibition at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh from September 21, 2018 to April 8, 2019 as a part of her residency at the institution. You can see more of her sculptural portraits on her website and Instagram.

 

 



History Photography

Hole Punched Voids Transform Rejected Photographs From the Great Depression

July 23, 2018

Anna Marks

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mr Tronson, a farmer near Wheelock, North Dakota, August 1937, Photograph: Library of Congress

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mr Tronson, a farmer near Wheelock, North Dakota, August 1937, Photograph: Library of Congress

In an untitled photograph from 1937, a black disc surreally floats upon the subject’s face, obscuring the features hidden beneath the circular void. In another, a black circle hovers next to a tilted house, creating an eerie scene pulled straight from science fiction. At first glance, you might think a contemporary artist had altered the images, drawing jet-black voids as an intervention with photographs from rural Depression-era America. In reality, these images are discarded photographs from a bygone project that produced a pictorial record of American life between 1935-1944. The photographs, which are currently exhibited in The Killed Negatives: Unseen Images of 1930s America at Whitechapel Gallery in London, produce a snapshot of the crippling poverty and backbreaking jobs lower class Americans faced during the Great Depression

Paul Carter, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Tobacco fields devastated by the Connecticut River near Northampton, Massachusetts, March 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

Ben Shahn, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Family of rehabilitation client, Boone County, Arkansas, October 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

The story of these photographs begins in 1935, when Roy E Stryker, the head of the Information Division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), undertook a photographic project that commissioned famous American photographers such as Russell Lee, Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans to photograph farmers and farmland during the Great Depression. The FSA aimed to encourage poverty-stricken Americans to partake in self-sustaining programs where they could gain farm loans to buy seeds, equipment, livestock, and partake in homestead schemes which provided both education and healthcare. The project was to demonstrate the results of financial assistance that the FSA offered, in addition to outsourcing images of America life during this time.

Each photographer was given specific directives, for example, “farmer dumping milk at home,” “worried farmer,” or “federal government shot.” Over 270,000 photographs were produced during the project, yet only a few were picked to be part of the final collection. This included imagery featuring transient families, the unemployed, and drought-stricken fields. One of the most famous images was Lange’s 1936 Migrant Mother, which became a popular portrait long after the project’s conclusion.

Carl Mydans, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mud bath, Prince George’s County, Maryland, August 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

Theodor Jung, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Rehabilitation client worrying over his accounts, Jackson County, Ohio, April 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

Arthur Rothstein, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Sharecropper’s wife and children, Arkansas, August 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

Stryker deployed a specific editing process where himself and his assistants would choose photographs they believed were true to the brief; the other images were rendered unsuitable and punctuated with a hole puncher. These ruthlessly “killed” photographs were left unpublishable. Today the found works appear to have black discs floating upon them, a visual mark of rejection which accidentally focus the viewer’s attention.

Killed Negatives at the Whitechapel Gallery runs up until August 26, 2018 and exhibits some of the photographs, photographers’ personal records, and FSA administration documents associated with the project. You can learn more about the exhibition, including information about associated events, on the gallery’s website

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Surrealistic, window display, Bergdorf Goodman, New York City, January 1938, Photograph: Library of Congress

Walker Evans, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Lily Rogers Fields and children. Hale County, Alabama, Summer 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

 

 



Art

Swaths of Old-Fashioned Fabric Obscure Faces and Bodies in Unsettling Portraits by Markus Åkesson

July 13, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

“Now You See Me” (2018), oil on canvas, 180 x 140cm

In his paintings, Swedish artist Markus Åkesson depicts ornately patterned fabrics like toile, chintz, and silks wrapped around female subjects. Instead of using the old-fashioned textiles simply as signifiers of wealth and tradition, he uses the materials to take on a more sinister tone. In some of the paintings you can see expressions of sadness in the subject’s faces, while in others, the textiles completely overtake the figures beneath, obscuring their identity and emotions.

“As a child, I often sat and looked at the different patterns in textiles and tapestries,” Åkesson shares with Colossal. “I would find my own images in them, my own world, and I would dream away. For me, the pattern as a concept has a built in feeling of safety and stability, because it repeats itself over and over again. I think the use of patterns in images that depicts more melancholic or even disturbing scenes makes a interesting feeling of duality.”

The artist is represented by Galerie Da-End in Paris and VIDA Museum in Öland, Sweden, where he recently had a solo show. You can see more of Åkesson’s work on Instagram. (via I Need A Guide)

“Now You See Me (Opium)” (2018), oil on canvas, 180 x 140cm

“No One Can See You (Dysmorphia)” (2017), oil on canvas, 50 x 60cm

“No One Can See You (Dysmorphia II)” (2017), oil on canvas, 50 x 60cm

“Palmistry” (2016), oil on canvas, 100 x 120cm

“I Never Wanted You To Leave” (2016), oil on canvas, 210 x 180cm

“The Unicorn Hunt ll” (2017), oil on canvas, 200 x 170cm

 

 



Amazing Photography

French Bookstore Invites its Instagram Followers to Judge Books by Their Covers

July 2, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

In addition to laying claim to the title of France’s first independent bookstore, Librairie Mollat has carved a unique niche on Instagram with its #bookface portraits. The Bordeaux-based bookstore regularly features photographs of book covers held up in front of perfectly scaled, dressed, and nose-shaped people (presumably, some are customers, though some repeated faces seem to indicate a few photogenic employees). You can see more from Mollat—and perhaps even get your next book recommendation—on Instagram. If you enjoy this, also check out Album Plus Art. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 

 



Art

Meticulous Acrylic Paintings by Shawn Huckins Erase Historic Works from the White House Art Collection

June 26, 2018

Andrew LaSane

“My Button Is Bigger Than Your Button” (Marquis De Lafayette, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 7)

At first glance, Colorado-based artist Shawn Huckins’ “Erasure” series looks like a collection of images that have been altered using a digital eraser tool to reveal the empty checkered pattern layer beneath. A closer look reveals that the works are actually meticulously detailed acrylic paintings, recreations selected from the White House Art Collection. Superimposed on the works are hand-painted erasure marks that serve as a commentary on the ideas of history, legacy, and whether or not those things can be wiped away in the present.

While the patterned marks range from measured and uniform to seemingly haphazard flourishes, for Huckins the resulting “obliteration” of history is the same. “The underlying works chosen for this series originally served as testaments of those who came before us and the indelible mark they left on the world, in a very short time, not so long ago,” the artist said in a statement. “In an era where the internet makes everyone a publisher, and digital editing tools bestow the power to create realities out of pixels, The Erasures forces us to examine our assumptions regarding the longevity of individual influence and institutions, thus raising enormous questions concerning the fragility of legacy.”

Huckins shares with Colossal that the collection of paintings are his “response to the current US administration’s policies and ethics surrounding a divisive country.” In his statement he poses several questions to the viewer about one person’s ability to “erase the impact of another,” whether or not longstanding ideals are more easily erased than recent progress, and how the events of today will be “recorded, judged and preserved when anyone can create, or re-create, his or her own reality with a keystroke, or a mouse-swipe, or a dead-of-night tweet?”

Shawn Huckins will debut 18 paintings from the Erasure series as a part of an upcoming solo exhibition titled Fool’s Gold, which opens at Modernism Gallery’s new space in San Francisco on July 11, 2018.

“Nothing Rhymes With Orange” (George Washington, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 5)

“If Only I Could Remember Your Name” (Mary Elizabeth Woodbury, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 8)

“The Most Beautiful Place Is Far From Here” (Rocky Mountain Scene, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 16)

“Loneliness Of Leaker” (John Adams, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 20)

“He Said. She Said. She Said.” (Julia Gardiner Tyler, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 18)

“Tell It Like It Was” (First Lady Caroline Harrison, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 3)

“Planet B” (Pastoral Landscape, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 6)

“Me, Myself, And Hypocrisy” (George Washington, White House Art Collection Erasure No. 13)

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite