German photographer Bartholot appreciates the unexplained. Bartholot is not looking to copy a kind of reality or life; his photos celebrate artificiality and design. His digital images merge his own sense of fashion with surrealism and usually start with a single thought or mood. They have been described as a combination of sculpture and photography, also reflecting his interest in colors and textures. For his latest collaboration with the Spanish creative studio Serial Cut, he created a series of photographs of draped unmasked characters.
Toronto based photographer Robyn Cumming often uses the figure as her canvas, rather than main subject, in her experimental imagery. Her subjects’ personalities come through in their poses and the unexpected elements that she mixes into the picture. In her “Lady Things” (2008) series, for example, she completely obscures their faces with things like flowering shrubs, birds, and smoke. While simultaneously unsettling and seductive, there is a compelling mystery in the obscurity of Cumming’s work. It leaves the viewer to reconsider how we collect information about each other visually and use that to define a person’s character.
Lebanon remains at the heart of fierce conflict, which makes toy photographer Brian McCarty’s “War Toys” project an ongoing effort. The project is currently focused on representing the perspectives of Iraqi, Syrian, Kurdish, Palestinian, and Lebanese child refugees as a result of continuous war. Covered here, he has also visited West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel, Ukraine, Sudan and Colombia. Today, there are over 1 million refugees alone – out of a total population of 4.8 million in Lebanon. Since 2014, McCarty has been working throughout the region to gather various accounts from Lebanese and Syrian children in cooperation with the Kayany Foundation and his team, including art therapist Myra Saad.
Doug Fogelson does not use cameras of any kind to create his colorful, x-ray like images of animal and plant specimens. His artwork consists of photograms, made by a method where the artist places an object directly onto film and exposes it to colored light. The final image is a shadow of the original form, which can appear either opaque or having a ghostly translucence depending on the transparency of the subject. The transparency film that is used needs to be exposed in a space with total darkness, a process Fogelson makes repeatedly, and with a high attention to detail.
Austrian photographer Andreas Franke combines his two passions for the camera and scuba diving in his images of a ghostly sinking world. His digital montages combine the artist’s own photographs of sunken ships with carefully orchestrated sets, built above the surface at his studio. In his statement, Franke writes, “With my photographs of sunken shipwrecks, I want to pull the spectators into unreal and strange worlds. Mystified scenes of the past play within a fictional space. Dreamworlds you can get lost in or you can identify with. This creates a new and unexpected atmosphere. This work shows a lot of myself, since I am always on the lookout for stunning themes to create new images never seen before.”
Korean-American multimedia artist Debbie Han tackles the standard of beauty in her photographs of Neoclassical women. Using photographic manipulation, she combines Greek sculpture with her own subjects to make this parallel. The resulting images bring to life familiar figures to any museum-goer, but bubbling with their own personalities and a special bond, like close girlfriends. Han’s work not only makes us think twice about the perception of beauty, but also explores issues of race, culture and identity.