Artists That Inspire

Some artists whose work / aesthetic / style / subject / ethos may feed into my own project

Wim Wenders circa 1984

Wim Wenders Picture Haiku ‘Written In The West’ project. Images taken to precede his Paris, Texas movie
Banal spaces shot in super high colour. Natural domestic portraits shot in cinematic style and lighting. The lighting and consideration give more weight to the importance of these passed-over & passed-through spaces. If photography gives something importance & (as Sontag says) photography beautifies then cinematic lighting adds more intensity still. It brings to mind a frozen frame of a film – you are waiting for something to happen and are unsure in mood whether this will be calming, comical or shocking or possibly like David Lynch, so bizarre it brings in that feeling of Das Unheimlich.
Consider ‘Wings of desire’ with Nick Cave bearing in mind how much I rely on Cave’s music to influence and reflect my mood.

Gary Schneider Vincent 2002

Gary Schneider Nudes – laying his models down he uses long exposures and paints their body with a flashlight to create eerie full-body portraits. There is something very sensual about this concept and mirrors what I do sometimes with my camera when shooting bodyscapes looking for interesting curves and textures to create abstract body forms. And of course from my viewpoint it represents the sensual touch that my fingers are barred from experiencing.

Katy Grannan Untitled from Poughkeepsie Journal 1998

Katy Grannan Model America inviting ordinary people to pose nude she highlights the artifice in the ‘Art’ nude genre (and classical photography & painting nudes) as the sitters pose themselves in what they consider an artistic pose to be. Grannan’s framing, lighting and composition then highlight their awkwardness. Obviously something I wish to avoid in my work, but it is a fascinating viewpoint and comment on the genre.

Catherine Opie Bedside Table, from the 700 Nimes Road monograph (2010–11)

Catherine Opie
Social commentary; relationship to community and identity (both minority queer community & judgemental hetereronormative (inclusion vs exclusion)) disjointed compositions and subjects in parallel. “A Portrait Of Our Time”. Empathy with her subjects. Domestic (1995-98) – documentary portraits of lesbian families. Normalising the ‘other’
Self-Portrait/Pervert (1994) with S&M hood, arms studded with hyperdermic needles & ‘pervert’ incised into her bare chest. A rection to societies stereotypical / non-stereotypcal vision of the queer community as well as the calls by some politicians to have HIV positivie people tattoed so they could show their disease (although Opie isn’t HIV+ a lot of lesbians were very pro-active & supportive of PWA’s
700 Nimes Road – given access to Liz Taylor’s home, but rather than photographing her she looked for the ‘portrait’ in her home & posessions
“treating her camera as an extension of her hands” – don’t we all do this to some extent? I certainly allow my camera to caress what my fingers are forbidden to touch.

Tom Hunter – The Death of Coltelli 2009

Tom Hunter
The use of arc lights and colour saturation brings a rich colour palette which is both cinematic in style and evokes the feelings of the Grand Master’s oil painting which his tableax emulate and reference. As with Wim Wenders banal spaces this is an aesthetic I may wish to explore to see if it suits the narrative thread my work is following.

Beatrix Reinhardt University Club St Paul MN 2007

Beatrix Reinhardt
The interiors of private member’s clubs (invariably gentlemen’s) – the spaces where only a select few ever get to witness. Shot with a calm, detached & calculating eye. Rich with detail, our eyes can wander over and analyse objects the members probably take for granted and may even be unaware of; after all it often takes a tourist to let you see your home town with fresh eyes and appreciation. The low vantage point could be something I adopt as it flattens the space turning the photograph into something akin to a painting and leaves out any chance of emotive character.

Lynne Cohen – Living room Racine Wisconsin, 1971-72

Lynne Cohen
Domestic spaces flat-lit  – Living room Racine Wisconsin, 1971-72

Kaylynn Deveney The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings 2001

Kaylynn Deveney
The Day-to-Day Life of Albert Hastings. Painfully poignant domestic portraits that canonise the mundane with dignity and honour. The Personal may be Political, but it is also significant and noble.

Soap arranged in colour order, 2010
Christopher Nunn Soap – Falling Into The Day 2010

Christopher Nunn
Falling Into The Day – about his friend David’s slow degeneration through Alzheimer’s. Gives a similar feeling to Deveney’s project with a similar angle and treatment. These are gentle poignant vignettes into a very humdrum little existence yet with a great humanity that makes us realise how precious every life and every moment spent on this earth can be. With muted colour tones that speak of melancholy.

Self-Portrait (Back with Arms Above) 1984 by John Coplans 1920-2003
John Coplans Self-Portrait (Back with Arms Above) 1984

John Coplans
Gentle sculptural nudes that play against the cult of youth (see separate review of Coplans work)

Rinko Kawauchi Untitled 2007-11

Rinko Kawauchi
Medium format still life’s capture the serene beauty of the exquisite delicacy that can be found in everyday life. Her native oriental culture is evident in the spirituality of her images.
“If it doesn’t move my heart, it won’t move anyone else’s heart.”

Eva Stenram pornography/forest_pic_12 2004

Eva Stenram
pornography/forest_pic project. Took hard-core porn pictures from the internet & digitally removed the sex so that the landscape returned to innocence. Leaving aside the indexical nature of photography the project is about absence rather than representation.

Erwin-Blumenfeld Nude In A Broken Mirror 1944

Erwin Blumenfeld
Known for his fashion work, but he also had a fascination for the surreal. His Nude With a Broken Mirror has a particular resonance for me. You can read it semantically about the fracturing of the objectified female from, but for my fascination it speaks of the unrealistic ideals we are subjected to as well as the connotations of otherly worlds we often think inhabit the sliver of silver that gives us this reflection. The fear we have for what confronts us in the mirror where we fixate upon our flaws. And the unheimlich doppleganger feeling where we fear what would happen if the mirror entity escaped from the frame.

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