Posts Tagged ‘portraiture’

Jamie Daughters

Published April 26, 2010 by Molly

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Jamie Daughters takes pictures that absorb broad vistas and condense them for maximum visual impact. The subject matter ranges from midnight waffle houses to haunting portraits to broad swaths of farmland. All of it is imbued with a tranquility and solemnity that’s uncommon in photography these days. Take in the views here.

Backyard Bill

Published November 9, 2009 by Graham

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In a refreshing departure from both contrived celebrity fashion shoots and impersonal street safari style sites, Backyard Bill is a blog that showcases the personal predilictions of regular ol’ chic people. Choosing one subject for each post and then shooting them in beautiful real-world environments wearing their own clothes, photographer William Gentle creates delicate, naturalistic images that elevate to an art the seemingly simple genre of fashion portraiture.

Following each beguiling photo essay with a brief interview, Gentle’s work teases us with brief, yet somehow intimately revealing glimpses into the lives of these dapper New York denizens. Backyard Bill draws easy comparisons to stunning interior decoration documentary blog The Selby, whose eponymous creator, Todd Selby, has his own photo shoot on Backyard Bill.

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Ben Aqua

Published August 31, 2009 by Graham

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Photographer and video artist Ben Aqua’s work is about beguiling costumes, duplicitous environments, and charming charlatans. Photographing a wide range of brightly-colored individuals in their home environments, Aqua is at once an anthropological wild-life observer and a subversive puppetmaster. His detached sense of geometric beauty amplifies the theatricality of his subjects to the same level as his more consciously constructed and brilliantly creepy large-scale still lifes.

Check out his blog, Auquabotic, for a mouth-watering assortment of mysterious found web ephemera mixed in with the artist’s own elusive imagery.

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Monster Maker & Rail Rider: Swampdonkey

Published August 17, 2009 by Graham

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Oakland artist Swampdonkey is best known for his charming illustrations of wooly glass-eyed beasts boasting snarling tusks and jagged teeth. But those unshakable images, tagged on the walls of abandoned buildings and scrawled across yellowed paperback pages represent only one side of Swampy’s creative output. He’s also an extremely talented photographer, documenting his thrilling train-hopping travels through frantically captured breathtaking vistas and sublime portraits of crusty characters.

Perhaps most remarkable about Swampdonkey’s multidisciplinary body of work is just how comfortably his photographic aesthetic fits in with his illustrated one. Flipping through the images on his Flickr page, you get the impression that, while we know little about the man behind the moniker, he has an intimate understanding of himself, depicting his world with whatever tools are handy but always leaving an unmistakable signature of passionate autonomy.

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Erik Sandberg’s Endearingly Creepy Kids

Published August 10, 2009 by Graham

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Pop culture and the beauty industry’s tendency to turn childhood into a commodity is the concept that inspired Erik Mark Sandberg’s series of unsettling paintings, Hairy Children Portraits– but they can be enjoyed just fine if they’re simply taken as weird for weirdness’ sake.

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Kirk Demarais’ Family Portraits

Published July 29, 2009 by Graham

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Kirk Demarais‘ series of eerie and ingenious paintings portray cinematic family units coming together for traditional portrait sessions, from There Will Be Blood’s loosely bonded Plainviews to the plucky, hapless Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Portrait studio photography on its own is already captivating enough as a genre to inspire dense archives of cyber-entertainment, but Demarais takes the obsession a step further, embellishing these “studies in pure affectation” (as he refers to them) with subtle undercurrents of emotion. Because we already share a preternaturally intimate understanding of these fictional families’ delicate dynamics, Demarais makes the viewer a voyeur, allowing us to gaze through each image’s “transparent veneer.” I think my favorite might be Demarais’ spin on The Lost Boys:

I count The Lost Boys among the top five most influential films of my youth. (Incidentally, the others are Pump Up the Volume, The Karate Kid, Footloose, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.) I wanted to see what it might look like if mom would have talked to the boys into a photo shoot in an effort to redefine their post-divorce family unit. I could see Sam (Corey Haim) getting into it (he may have had some say in the cheesy curtain backdrop) while Michael (Jason Patrick) would have had to struggle to tolerate such an outing. Keifer Sutherland’s character David might have provided more visual interest, but the notion that he and his dad would ever get together for a photograph was too far fetched.

Check out the whole series through August 8th at Gallery 1988’s current show, a love letter to cult films entitled Crazy 4 Cult.

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Tanyth Berkeley’s Girls

Published July 23, 2009 by Graham

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Photographer Tanyth Berkeley’s work revels in the kinds of feminine beauty that are often overlooked, embracing the awkward and producing tremendously beautiful portraits that manage to step delicately into the private worlds of her enchanting subjects. Doug Rickard of AmericanSuburb X puts it best:

Tanyth Berkeley likes the special ones. She likes the pale ones, the large headed types, the big bodies and the long giraffe necks. She likes the Robert Crumb shapes and the vampire faces, the glowing white skin and the men-in-dresses with womanly laces. She likes the eyes set back in the skull or the shoulders holding up those big heads that are smashed in like a pretty pumpkin in certain places. Her specialty is the awkward, the rare flower, the big cheek boned and special feminine shells and large sizes and different races.

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