Bastienne Schmidt‘s photographs from ‘Topography of Quiet’ are only part of a series that explore the nature of travel on both a physical and metaphysical level. It’s an ongoing narrative in which Schmidt attempts to articulate her journey through film, paint and graphite.
Brigette Bloom‘s photographs from ‘Kaya’ take us into the Nevada desert on a psychedelic trip that seeks to connect us with a primal energy, a oneness, an emotional cataclysm that uses technology to capture the sacred. Each image an experiment, an attempt to manipulate the photographic process in order to create an impression that leaves a lasting touch, taste, of the desert.
James Tebbutt‘s paintings are a bubblegum reflection of a plastic universe, a world of consumerist folly, a breakdown in traditional forms and a merging of new ones. This is art as mash up; American and Japanese comics, Art wrapped up in an advertisement aesthetic, internet images seen through news filters. It’s an art rooted in now, in pictures that already have life, that zing and spit, subdue and comfort, throw magic dust in our eyes and seduce us in like a materialist siren on the edges of a consumerist bliss.
Elizabeth Weinberg‘s photographs from ‘Of Recklessness and Water’ maybe of people swimming on the beaches and lakes of New York state but they bring me back to west Mayo, Ireland. To the wild beaches I spent a week on only a few short weeks ago; swimming, surfing, diving. Her pictures have the same energy and enthusiasm I experienced as I jumped into the Atlantic. The waters cool and inviting, the light nuanced, the submersive play all encompassing, invigorating.
Adrian Storey‘s photographs from ‘No Ghost In The Machine’ give us a different look at the land of the rising sun, a glimpse at the fringes of organised society that lies beneath the politeness we associate with Japan. Going by the moniker of Uchujin – which means alien – Storey has lived for many years in Tokyo plying his trade as a photographer and film maker, his status as an expatriate, as an outsider, feeding his work.
In these pictures, some of which are bizarre, we hover on the edge of a society that is tightly ordered, we see the hidden moments, the private scream of those that are desperately hanging on in a megalopolis in which the individual is totally consumed by the capitalist machine and the weight of its own history, a country that’s in turmoil, is trying to pull itself out of an economic slump and seeking to regain its position as an eastern tiger, a powerhouse in Asia. This constant documenting of aliens, of outsiders that live on the edge of accepted norms are a reflection of Storeys own life, of living in a foreign land that is both familiar and utterly strange. Here’s what he has to say about the series:
[It's] a reaction to the ‘sugar coated Hello Kitty fantasy land, samurai, geisha, the most polite people in the world with a special love and care for nature and its uniquely unique’ school of thought on the land of the rising sun
Chase Langford‘s paintings are born in cartography, in a lifetime obsession with maps, in the geometrical reinterpretation of the world we inhabit; the cities, roads, mountains, rivers and oceans that we traverse, the planet as a two dimensional surface of symbols, motifs, colours and abstract lines.
Werner Amann‘s photographs from ‘Techno Nineties’ bring me back to my youth, to a decade of great change, when the sun was finally rising after the dour 1980′s. To a revolution in music, fashion and art. To the cusp of a digital age. A moment before time got colonised by the internet, mobile phones, search engines and digital technology.
Nathalie Detsch Southworth’s paintings are mythical pictures that seek to connect us back to our origins, to the beginning of civilisation and the cradle of humanity, each image a commingling of calligraphic markings, symbols and flat bold colours that are reminiscent of tiles, mosaics and religious murals on the walls of ancient temples.
Megan C Ledbetter‘s photographs from ‘Loveland/Hateland’ represent a journey through a fleeting and tenuous relationship. Not with real people or an actual place but rather an imagined landscape in which she encounters objects and people who represent her loves and hates, desires and fears. It’s a diary about her. And how she relates to the world around her.
Erin Morrison‘s paintings eschew the form and embrace the plasticity of making pictures, her work a series of experiments using materials as disparate as plaster, quilt making, printmaking and paint. Each rooted in classical art history yet wholly new and informed by a deep interest in the physicality and limitations of the material.
Daryl Peveto‘s photographs from ‘American Nomads’ take us into the Salton Sea in Southern California and a place called the Slabs – an abandoned World War II Marine barracks called Camp Dunlap and named after the concrete slabs that remain there – where the photographer Erin Hoffstetter visited a number of years ago. Both Peveto and Hoffstetter were searching for the quintessential American ideal, the founding dream of the millions of migrants who have traversed this great continent in the hope of finding a new life in a new world. An America of freedom, possibility and self determination.
Guido Gazzilli‘s photographs from ‘Fisnik’ take us into Kosovo a year after its independence from Serbia in 2009. The country remains a partially recognised state in Southeastern Europe – Serbia continues to regard it as an autonomous province – and has been deeply scarred by the bloodshed and ethnic cleansing of its muslim minorities by the Serbian army under Milosevic during the Kosovo war between 1998 – 1999. It is was a conflict in which many war crimes were committed. The largest atrocities since WWII. The mass killings still being investigated 15 years later. My father was there in 1999 with NATO. He will never forget it.
Emi Anrakuji‘s photographs from ‘Chasm – Sakeme’ force us to peek through a tear in space at a faceless sensual woman undergoing a series of mundane tasks; undressing, washing her hair, examining her own body. It’s both erotic and lyrical. It’s demanding. We feel we’re intruding, looking at a woman in her most private moment, undergoing a self examination, opening herself up to experience an emotional state that can only be achieved in the peace and quiet of solitude.
Diana Roig‘s paintings are exuberant pictures that celebrate life, that confound, demand we jump in, dive into her pools of rich colours and arabesque lines that intertwine, merge, mutate, grow and die before our very eyes.
I rarely show travel photography here but Manuel Tanner really has a talent. The pictures not so much about the place as the how we inhabit space, how the light, time and place affect our relationship to the environment around us whether it be in Iran, Norway, Ireland, America or Germany.
Tanner is a technically accomplished photographer. He is a master of natural light, intuitively understands the emotional quality of his subjects and creates wonderful compositions that are rich in narrative and substance. He’s been taking pictures all over the world and while the scenarios are undoubtedly beautiful it is their commonality that brings them together, each image is taken on a human level, it is of a world devoid of extremism, opposites, enmity. Instead he gives us a small space, a moment to reflect on the joy of being alive and seeing the beauty of the our little planet for what it is. And as an Irish man I’m delighted to see our small island featured. He does it justice. Here’s what he has to say about his travelogues:
Travel photography for me is not so much about documenting mountains or churches or something like that but about exploring myself and my companions in a new and fresh environment.