Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Vintage Blonde"

One of my favorite blogs as an aspiring photographer is the Ben Trovato blog. It shows different photographers around the world and does a little blurb about them showing some of their best work.

As I was scrolling through the blog one day I came across this photographer named Michael Dengler. I was instantly captivated by his photos. The work, titled "Vintage Blonde,"  displayed a group of "vintage art nouveau photographs with a modern feel." As I looked through his portfolio on his website, I knew instantly I wanted to reach out to him.
I asked him how he got started in photography and he told me he went to school in 2008 to study interior design. He was "asked to be a guest in a photography class and it instantly sparked his interest in photography. He bought his first camera and two years later left school to work as a photographer."

I noticed that Michael's work on his website was not all the same in terms of genre or style and was interested in his thoughts.

He said..
"I'm always interested in creating frames with people. But in the end it is all about the creation; you can make a great photo with or without people. But I can't deny that my greatest influence comes from fashion photography. I always try to put this aesthetic into my pictures, even if I want to photograph a building."

Lastly, I wanted to know what inspired him. He told me every moment inspires him.
"At the moment I'm working a lot with old pictures from the 12th til the 18th century and their hidden meaning."

Photographers like him inspire me so much and are worth sharing with all of you! Check out his website!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Alleys & Ruins

Last Friday I travelled over to 18th and Halsted for the second Friday art walk. Before even entering a studio or gallery, I was confronted with the photographs of Xavier Nuez. His large-scale photographs of alleys and ruins from cities around the country, occupy many of the abandoned storefronts. These photos have a great presence on this street because of the juxtaposition they create. The photos glorify the decay of urban places while the neighborhood is in the process of trying to rebuild. Together, the elements create a romantic dialogue about the lives of cities.

            After looking around in a few galleries and studios, I made my way to Xavier’s studio on the fourth floor of 1932 S. Halsted. Looking at the photographs and talking to the artist made me appreciate them even more. All his photographs are taken at night with extremely long exposures and he lights them by walking around the picture frame holding lights. He wears all black and the exposure is long enough that the photo captures the light but not him. It is as if he is creating a painting with light. The resulting photographs contain colors even more vivid than what could be seen in the light of day.  
Xavier with one of his photographs

Miami Stadium

St. Louis Bridge

Monday, January 16, 2012

Light Years

About a week ago I was visiting The Art Institute of Chicago and was almost done looking through the museum when I arrived at “Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph 1964-1977”. I ended up staying another two hours and still felt like I needed more time. I gave myself a week to digest it all and then went back yesterday to have another look.
The exhibit is an impressive survey of photography’s place in conceptual art. Although it focuses on photography, it is not limited to that. Both installations and text play a big role in the presentation. The show is broken down into five sections including: Camera Work, Misunderstandings, Invisibility, Painting Photography Film and Material Properties. These sections are accompanied by text that groups the pieces together in very interesting ways. For me some of the highlights were the four different pieces by Bruce Nauman, “Human Dust” by Agnes Denes and “Misunderstandings” by Mel Bochner.
The exhibit, which includes over 140 pieces by 57 different artists, contains enough material for a whole college course. Actually, there are a couple things that make it feel like it was designed for a class. Since it is a survey on conceptual art and photography, many of the artists and ideas are presented without going into too much depth and grouped together in a way a textbook would. To further this, the last room is transformed into a sort of library, with tables to sit at and books you can flip through. While this is a weird feeling to get from an art exhibit, it is actually pretty fitting. Conceptual art is extremely academic in its nature so viewing it in an academic way comes quite naturally.
The location of this show in a museum also may seem a bit odd but ends up working perfectly. Despite the fact that many of these artists were anti- museum, the museum becomes the perfect setting for them. At The Art Institute, they can be viewed in the context of the works they quote, reference and react against. 
I would encourage everyone to see “Light Years” especially if you are someone who is fascinated by the trajectory of art history. Just make sure you have enough time and energy to appreciate all of the pieces.