Ashley Kolodner, Gay Face, March 2013
Project explanation: Gay Face, a photo series completed earlier this year by Ashley Kolodner, seeks to represent queer culture and put an end to prejudice against members of the LGBTQ community. Each photograph in the series has another it’s paired up with. The photograph on the left shows a LGBTQ member with their eyes closed, displaying the model’s vulnerability. On the right their eyes are open and they look directly into the camera, striking whatever pose they are most comfortable with. The backgrounds, according to Kolodner, are supposed to represent different landscapes and buildings all over the New York area, though most of them just seem to be colorful and fun, striking no resemblance to the New York scene (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing).
A couple weeks ago in class we talked about the artistic self in our second reading, and how most of us don’t seem to have a self that is reflective in all of our work (at least, not yet). Kolodner’s self, however, is incredibly reflective in her Gay Face project. In an interview with Buzzfeed, Kolodner said, “As a gay woman and an artist, I felt it was of the utmost importance to give the LGBTQ Community a platform to express their voice and their truth. I want to show the many faces of this community, the diversity and the strength it takes to be who they are each day. The LGBTQ community are not second class citizens in this great nation, and they deserve the same rights as everyone else." While maybe her personal sexuality is not of as much importance in other projects she’s pursued, it is definitely the self she relates and reflects most in this project.
Kirsty Mitchell, Wonderland, 2008 through 2012
Project explanation: Kirsty Mitchell set about creating her Wonderland series back in 2009, after losing her mother to a brain tumor in 2008, which quickly became a three year long photography project. Mitchell took the feelings she was going through at that time and, instead of being negative, decided to make something positive: art. “Real life became a difficult place to deal with,” she has said, “and I found myself retreating further into an alternative existence through the portal of my camera." Mitchell has a background in fashion and costume design, which helped her bring these magnificent images to life (with the help of Elbie Van Eeden, who did the hair and makeup for each image).
Mitchell claims that each image has come to her in a dream since she began this project. The photographs are taken in the woodlands on the border of her town, Surrey. Each image is supposed to bring about a sense of a fairytale-esque world, like the ones in the stories Mitchell’s mother read to her as a child. The pictures are all strikingly beautiful, and it looks almost as if Mitchell has traveled the entire planet just to find these locations instead of just locating them outside of Surrey. There are many parallels to classic fairytales that can be found in her images, such as Briar Rose from Sleeping Beauty, the Lady of the Lake from the tales of King Arthur, and, of course, the White Queen from Alice in Wonderland. All in all, the finished project is strikingly beautiful.
Nacho Ormaechea, Untitled Series, Ongoing
Project explanation: Nacho Ormaechea is a Spanish photographer and digital artist who currently resides in Paris. Ormaechea’s current project, and untitled photo series, which employs the use of photoshop as well as taking pictures, is ongoing and is an interesting study of people. He photographs people all around Paris and then, using photoshop, replaces their silhouette with visual portals to other images. Sometimes these images can be places, such as the beach or a train station, and sometimes these images are objects, such as a coil of rope or a gumball machine.
Ormaechea’s use of juxtaposition of color makes this project particularly striking. Most of the people are photographed on the street with dull, gray backgrounds behind them, but with the addition of the images placed over them, a whole new world of color is inserted. Ormaechea has not said much about this project yet, so it is unclear if he thinks these images represent an inner aspect of these people or if he chooses the images because of what his models are wearing/what they’re doing. Or if he thinks it just looks cool. Nonetheless, the visual elements found in these manipulated photographs are rewarding in the way they bring the pictures to life, and the series as a whole works incredibly well.
Anje Bridge + Becky Zeller + Brooke Schwab + Dera Frances + Isabel Furie + Jessica Kraus + Kati Dimoff + Kelsey Gerhard + Klodjana Dervishi + Meaghan Curry + Rebecca Conway + Ryan Marshall + Shelby Brakken + Tara Whitney, You Are My Wild, Ongoing
Project explanation: Photo collaborations are pretty rare as is. On occasion we’ll find series that are taken by a couple people who put their brains together, but that’s often the extent of it. However, the series You Are My Wild is exceptionally peculiar, as the photographs taken in this ongoing photo series have fourteen photographers working behind it.
You Are My Wild is a portrait series that documents childhood. The photo series’ word press describes the process as “a weekly portrait project that brings together 14 photographers to document how they see their children." These photographers come from all over the United States; from Portland, Oregon, to Boston, Massachusetts. Each photographer shares one picture per week of their kids, so that at the end of each week only fourteen portraits are shared on their site.
The series as a whole works splendidly. Each photograph focuses on the child(ren) of the particular photographer. Most seem to have the same style of photography when it comes to their framing and coloring. The photographs have a nostalgic feel that takes the viewers back to their own childhood in remembering what it was like to be that age. Each picture consists of the children doing just about everything a child would do: playing with toys, dressing up, swimming, making faces, shoving a hose in a dog’s mouth, you get the gist. Most of the photographs feel very natural - the parent probably catching the child in a real moment - however, some do seem staged, although even the staged pictures work incredibly well. It’s an interesting series all together, and one I would definitely recommend people check out.
This is the second ongoing series I’ve come across for our Tumblr Tuesday projects that I fully intend on keeping up with (the other being the instagram project I wrote about two weeks ago), because I think the photographs are beautiful and I’d love to see how long the series goes on for. It’d be interesting if it went on for years, so we truly get to see how the children slowly age.