Through the Lens of Polly Penrose

From Andy Warhol’s little known Torsos and Sex Parts series to Robert Mapplethorpe’s explicit work, using the medium of photography to explore the limits and nature of the human body shapes an ongoing and fast evolving subject of research. And yet, the photographer Polly Penrose brings a new and unmediated touch to this body of work, with her soft exploration of female identity. Part of an ongoing series titled “A Body of Work”, “I Was Never Good at Yoga”, shown here, was shot in a yoga studio over a limited period of time as an examination of how the human body can be at once material, raw and unbearably present, while at the same time result almost transient, immaterial and in perpetual transformation.

Images courtesy of Polly Penrose 
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Through the Lens of Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed Talents

Established in 2008, the annual exhibition and competition FreshFaced+WildEyed gives emerging talent the opportunity to exhibit their work at The Photographers’ Gallery. Showcasing the quality and breadth of graduate work from visual arts courses across the UK, the exhibition and relating programmes celebrate the innovative practices from a range of photographic fields. Selected by a panel of photographic experts from different backgrounds, artist/photographers have the opportunity to work closely with the exhibitions team to develop their presentation within the exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery (16 June – 5 July 2015) as well as participate in talks and events. This year’s panel of judges are Kate Cooper, Autoitalia, Damien Poulain, Oodee Books, AK Dolven, artist and photographer and Brett Rogers, Director The Photographers’ Gallery.

Images top to bottom: Jocelyn Allen, Dominic Hawgood, Signe Emma & Theodoulos Polyviou, Coco Capitan, Jonathan Simpson, Francesca Allen, Sian Davey, Craig Gibson

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of The Photographers’ Gallery 
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Masters of Art Through the Lens of Gianfranco Gorgoni

During the late 1960s, Gianfranco Gorgoni was commissioned by the Italian weekly L’Espresso to create a photo story on the vibrant New York City art scene. Through his close contact with legendary art dealer Leo Castelli, Gorgoni was introduced to all the key artists of the day including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Jean­‐Michel Basquiat. Gorgoni created a series of candid and telling portraits of artists who would become leading figures in the art world for decades to come. He captured his sitters in a variety of manners, both in posed and spontaneous settings. The intensity with which the artists showed his sitters resonated through the art world and captured the attention of world-leading publications, resulting in a highly successful career as an international photojournalist. An exhibition of Gianfranco Gorgoni’s work closes today at Contini gallery in London.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of ContiniArtUK 
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Thomas Struth: The Act of Journeying

Traveling is an act of meditation and transformation; it is a way of coming to terms with reality and with different shapes and twists it can take; it is as much a process as it is a final goal. For contemporary photographer Thomas Struth, the ‘act of journeying’ is a vital part of his production process, through which combines a personal analysis of an instinctive sense and narrative of a place with a formal topological view, to create a composition that elucidates something revelatory. In his recent exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery in London – coming to a close on June 6th – Struth takes us to two completely different journeys – one through Israel and Palestine and the other to spaces of scientific research in California. Both places are scrutinized by Struth’s photography, returning images that present two different dimensions of the human existence, that easily coexist not only for their singular outline, but because they both envision a view of what our society might or should be.

Images courtesy of Thomas Struth and Marian Goodman Gallery 
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Frederik Vercruysse: Tempo Polveroso

Mystic imagery and out-of-time landscapes populate Frederik Vercruysse’s photographs. Taken in Carrara, Italy, they depict an apparently un-romantic world of marble caves. And yet, “Tempo Polveroso” manages to capture that otherworldly spirit, hidden beneath layers of precious stone. “Tempo Polveroso” is now an exhibition currently running at Graanmarkt 13 in Antwerp, Belgium, showing the series of 16 unique still lifes that came to life during an artist in residency project in Villa Lena, Tuscany.

Images courtesy of Frederik Vercruysse 
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Through the Lens of Elmer Batters at Taschen LA

Elmer Batters was dubbed the Dean of Leg Art for his unique approach to photographing women’s legs and feet, but while his work brought solace to legions of foot fetishists, the courts called it dangerously perverse and hounded him his whole life. “I felt that people almost saw me as un-American for not mooning over large mammaries,” he said. Elmer Batters (1919 – 1997) served aboard a submarine in World War II where he became aware that his sexual tastes were different from his shipmates. Following his discharge he married his first leg model, settled in Rancho Palas Verdes, and made a career photographing women with an emphasis on legs and feet.

Featuring over 200 original works, an exhibition at Taschen Gallery in LA, showcases the work of Batters together with Eric Stanton. Curated by Dian Hanson and Benedikt Taschen, Bizarre Life – The Art of Elmer Batters & Eric Stanton brings these artists together for the first time, creating a forum to explore the origins of our current sexual autonomy while raising questions of power and dominance, sexual freedom and sexual repression, and examines their far reaching effects on contemporary art.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Taschen 
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Through the Lens of Sjoerd Knibbeler, Evangelia Kranioti and Polly Tootal

Thirty years after its first edition, the International Festival of Fashion and Photography returns to Hyères, at the villa Noailles, for a showcase of contemporary creativity. As usual, this year’s selection of young photographers presented an eclectic mix of vocabularies and narratives, posing in front of an international jury presided by Eric Pfrunder, Image Director of Chanel, a difficult task. The final winners of the competition are Sjoerd Knibbeler – the winner of the jury’s Grand Prinx, Evangelia Kranioti – the winner of a special prize given in the occasion of the Festival’s 30th anniversary, and Polly Tootal – the winner of the prize awarded by the public.

Over the last two years, Sjoerd Knibbeler has been developing a project in which he challenged himself to photograph wind. The invisibility and motility of wind constitute the primary parameters of his research. Everything he photographs is real, yet he loves to create a tension which doubts that. Current studies is an ongoing series of short-lived experiments he conducts in his studio. Using basic DIY materials he constructs sets in which he tries to shape, surround and capture air currents. His aim with each Current study is to question the relationship between the flat, silent and still surface of the photograph and the movement and expansiveness of the space it is evoking. The paper planes series consists of 16 paper models of aircrafts that have never made it past the drawing board. Sjoerd Knibbeler was able to recreate these models based on information, technical drawings and “artist impressions”.

As a Greek native, Evangelia Kranioti has always considered the sea as her motherland, generating a series of concepts strongly linked to the theme of desire. Thus in 2005, she decided to pursue an ambitious artistic and anthropologic research, focusing on the life, travels and intimacy of sailors across the world. Prostitutes of the ports form an archetypical couple with sailors, offering an exciting metaphor on wandering, desire and man’s elementary relationship with the Other. In order to better understand what drives these Ulysses’ journey and Penelope’s waiting, Evangelia Kranioti decided to embark as a sailor. Only woman during her numerous crossings on board of tankerships, cargos and containers of the Greek merchant navy, she travelled in the ports of 20 countries. The works she has produced over this period include a vast photographic corpus and 450 hours of footage which lead to her first documentary feature, released in 2015.

Polly Tootal is a photographer of British landscapes, she travels on journeys through cities, towns and villages, passing suburbs and countryside along rivers and following coastlines. The landscapes she registers are not likely to be found in any popular chronicle of the land, rejecting as they do the obvious beauty or grandeur of things and instead existing in the spaces in-between, the ones that are passed through every day, so nameless as to be embedded deeply into our consciousness and then forgotten. They are spaces marked with the richness of human activity, yet bereft of human presence. The images often lie upon thresholds and boundaries, liminal zones, between urban and rural, leisure and industry, lived-in and discarded. Warehouses, business parks, shopping centers, waste-ground, motor- ways, car parks: the non-places that quietly fill up our lives, the sites of transience. The universal anonymity of these photos tells another story of modern Britain.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Hyères Festival and respective authors 
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Through the Lens of Farah Al Qasimi

Farah Al Qasimi is a young photographer based between Dubai, UAE and New York. Set between two cultures, two modes of living and ways of understanding the world, Al Qasimi’s photographs are focussed on uncovering a sense of displacement – what are its material traces and how it shifts our perception of the reality. With her project “The World is Sinking”, centered around ‘back alleys’ of Dubai, Al Qasimi takes a look at hidden aspects of the ordinary, of her own past and relationship to the city itself. Capturing the overlooked aspects of the mundane in Dubai – forgotten halls, abandoned commercial sights, debris – Al Qasimi reveals less glamourous, unknown aspects of the city with a subtle and careful poetics, that reveals as much about the metropolis’ secret life as much as it speaks about the author herself.

The Blogazine – Images courtesy of Farah Al Qasimi 
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Through the Lens of Barbara Rossi

“The Inventory of Via Emilia” is a project by Italian photographer Barbara Rossi. In her words, “via Emilia is the great roman artery built in 187 a.C. to connect Rimini and Milan that crosses Emilia Romagna, a region in North Italy. The inventory is an attempt to catalog signs and changes left by man in that section of Italian landscape. Most of the time these changes don’t improve our lifestyle, but are just traces, contradictory traces of our intervention in the landscape. In the complexity of these particular Italian territories we can recognize and classify specimens, dividing reality into taxonomies. This process allows us to mitigate the conflict between rules and chaos and to understand the transformation of the landscape. Traveling along Via Emilia, I left out city centers in favor of suburban areas, the ones apparently devoid of a common logic where people seem to claim a right to creative expression that modifies the landscape. SS9 describes a fragmented landscape, the result of a trip back-and-forth (between Rimini and Milano) undertaken not only with the aim to describe the landscape’s “life cycle”, but also to trigger questions, reflections and future projects.”

Images and text by Barbara Rossi 
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Down The Long Driveway, You’ll See It

“Down The Long Driveway, You’ll See It” is a book of photographs of modernist New Zealand homes, developed by photographer Mary Gaudin. These houses aren’t new, they’re old and lived in. They can be a little dusty, slightly worn around the edges and all have what antique dealers like to call “patina”. But they’re perfect in the minds of the people who live in them because of what they represent, which when designed, was a better way of living.

The Blogazine 
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