Thursday 28 January 2010

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Päivi Paakinaho

All images © Päivi Paakinaho

Päivi Paakinaho is an artist who currently lives and works in Oulu, Finland. She describes her work as being "strongly affected by the perception of space and light living in North of Finland."

Recently she has had a solo exhibition in Rovaniemi, Finland and will exhibit there and in Oulu again in 2010. She has particpated in several group shows in Finland and abroad for example at the Sotiri international prize for young photographers at The National Museum of Arts in Tirana, Albania. Päivi graduated with BA (Hons) Photography from Camberwell College of Arts, the University of the Arts London, and is currently undertaking a MA Fine Arts, in the University of Lapland's mediaculture programme in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Outlining her project, from which the images above are taken, she says, "Resort explores the nature of recreational public spaces through aspirations and assumptions projected onto them. It focuses on the character and on the experience of a space when presented offseason decontextualized in a two dimensional photographic form. Public spaces in the northern parts of Finland function on their assigned use only a couple of months a year during the summer months (and at times a few more in the winter) but the remainder of the year these places remain vacant. I am investigating these spaces in this transitional phase during which their function and nature is in transformation alongside with the season. By looking at these vacant spaces I am exploring the notion of subjectivity in viewing them. How the gaze of the viewer is being influenced by the physical experience, when they are being asked to view a space in a certain way at a certain time. How an individual’s experience of a place is dependent upon their personal relationship with it (intended `use´ of it) and does this relationship change when their attention is drawn to the places' ambiguous nature."

Monday 25 January 2010

Amanda James

All images © Amanda James

Not for the squeamish this one, but still brilliant work nonetheless. In The Land of Adam and Eve, as it is called, is a documentation of photographer Amanda James´ trip throughout Africa. Of the project, she says, "While I was travelling in Africa, I found myself photographing my own personal experiences with the continent instead of focusing on other people’s perceptions. I found the land very raw and filled with life and death. In the photograph, Fallen Calf, of the head of a dead calf was taken after I witnessed the still birth. I felt a sadness and sympathy for the animal that never got chance at life. This is the cycle of Africa. Life and Death, joy and sadness.I wanted to document my relationship and experience with this very raw and inhibited continent."

"`Photo Journaling´ is a way of remembering events and details about my life. I like photographing weird moments in time that are only a moment, and that will eventually disappear with time. Decay and death are reoccurring themes seen in many of my photographs. I'm very interested in the ability to preserve things. My style tends to be odd and disturbing, but also very feminine. I am drawn to more muted desaturated colors, thus making the photograph very raw and real. My main influences come from the photographers Diane Arbus, William Eggleston, and Stephen Shore."

Amanda James is a graduate from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She says she plans on receiving her M.F.A. in photography in the next couple of years and is now working on projects that focus on her grandmother and other older people in their homes. James has had shows exhibiting her work in galleries in Las Vegas, NV, Salt Lake City, UT, and Atlanta, GA. She has been featured in several art blogs as well as the City Weekly Newspaper in Salt Lake City, UT.

Friday 22 January 2010

Andrew Bevington

All images from A Clean Well-Lighted Place © Andrew Bevington

"It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanliness and order. Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was nada y pues nada y pues nada. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee." – Ernest Hemingway

The above passage, the principal source for Andrew Bevington´s inventive body of work, is the climax of Hemingway’s story A Clean Well-Lighted Place.

"The story presents with stark realism the existential crisis that is the search for meaning all human beings face within an indifferent universe. In the story, Hemingway’s protagonist rejects the view of death through old religious structures and implies that the rigid ceremonies of the church are only a distraction from the real task facing humanity– how to come to terms with the fact that there is no proof of god’s existence and live a life with courage and meaning based on one’s individual experience. The series is highly symbolic and incorporates many of the literary symbols found within Hemingway’s text to expand and extend the conceptual value of the images. I have not illustrated the story or even linked specific features of the characters to individual photographs; instead, the work explores well-lighted places that hold a heightened sense of the nothingness faced by Hemingway's characters. The text is a catalyst that has led me to explore the related themes of isolation, time and its passing, and mortality within a modern, urban context."

I have really enjoyed looking at such eerie and enigmatic work, more of which can be seen on his website here.

Eric Perriard

All images © Eric Perriard

"This work started with the aim of investigating a global shift that has fascinated me," says Perriard of his Urban Souls project.

"Since 2008, for the first time in world history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. I was excited to be able to examine artistically one of the defining steps in the evolution of our civilization, even though this statistic only made official a trend which began long before. Within this context of an accelerating urban setting, I developed a photographic essay about people living in a cosmopolitan environment (I created this series of images in Seoul, South Korea, during 2008 and 2009). While wandering the city, I was looking to catch the instant when an isolated character encounters a moment of self-realisation. I tried to capture their individuality, thoughts, and feelings such as loneliness or introspection."

Perriard continues:

"By keeping a certain distance from the subject, I could preserve the tension between the city and its inhabitants in order to start thinking about the human condition in a megalopolis. However, as I embarked upon this work, I realised that I was photographing my own perception of these situations. I wanted to describe a moment of stillness in a hasty daily life. Then I mixed techniques (random walks and staging) during the process in order to illustrate a personal vision of a human being in an urban environment, as a generic entity filled with deep emotions and interrogations."

Ultimately, Perriard´s particular focus on cities posits the following question: Has living in cities truly become part of human nature, or are we still adapting ourselves in order to survive?

Born in South Korea in 1980, Eric Perriard was adopted at the age of six and raised in France. After graduating in Engineering and working for a multinational, he quit his job to become a freelance photographer in 2006. Being self-taught led him to "assign himself for personal series," he tells me. Emotions, instinct and reality are key components in his photography. However, his work never depicts spectacular scenes, but rather very still tableaux in which he can retranscribe his interrogations. Perriard’s work has been awarded by the French Ministry of Youth, exhibited and published internationally (recent shows in 2009: National Gallery of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Museum of Photography Metenkov House in Yekaterinburg - Russia, Museum of Fine Arts in Orleans – France, Galerie Municipale du Rutebeuf in Clichy - France).

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Manjari S Sharma

All images © Manjari S Sharma

Above are a few choice images from Manjari S Sharma´s lovely project The Shower Series. She recently emailed me the work and this is what she said:

"For the last few months I have been inviting people to visit me and allow me to photograph them in a very intimate space; my bathroom. I have also been inviting them to take a shower as I continue to shoot them. The warm water running over my subjects bodies often seemed to relieve them of any awkwardness the camera brought about. The bathroom, formerly a beauty parlour became a confessional and I the hair dresser, with my subjects divulging intimate details of their life. This project has thus far given rise to some of the most disarming relationships I have formed. I look forward to these images leading the way as the project continues."

"I was born and raised in Mumbai, India, A terrific country, but I guess you have to go away to love again," says Manjari. Chasing photography is what brought Manjari to the US in 2001; She graduated in 2004 but moved back to India to reconnect with her roots. Manjari moved to New York City in late 2007 and some of her recent achievements include 8 honourable mentions at the Lucie awards. Manjari was recognized as a winner for the NYC Strand Photo contest in 2009. Manjari's work has been included in Centre for Fine Art photography, NYC Slideluck Potshow 2009 and her image was selected for the PDN photo of the day bog in Nov '09. Manjari was one of six people selected for an exclusive workshop with Jorg Colberg and Robert Lyons in fall 2009 and her work is scheduled to be featured on NYMphoto blog and Burn magazine in early 2010. Manjari's on going shower series will be spotlighted as a feature for PDN.EDU for their spring 2010 issue and her current selected clients include AOL, American baby, Penguin Books and AARP. Manjari currently lives and freelances in New York.

John Darwell

All images © John Darwell from the series Discarded Dog Shit Bags

"Over the past two years I have observed with increasing fascination the growing number of discarded dog shit bags I encounter whilst out walking in both open countryside, urban parklands and even suburban streets," says John Darwell by way of introduction to his project. He goes on to explain:

"This has led to a great deal of speculative thought on my part as to why this situation has developed. I can fully understand dog owners simply ignoring their dogs output (unpleasant as it is for anyone who encounters it with all its negative health associations) as it will in a relatively short time biodegrade and essentially disappear. I can also appreciate dog owners who scoop and bag dog mess and place it in a bin for disposal. What I fail to understand is the increasing number of dog owners who bag their dog’s mess and then discard in bushes or hang on fences/tree branches or leave in the middle of pathways and playing fields. Is this purely about not wishing to be fined and thereby picking the right moment to surreptitiously dispose of the offending article? Whatever the reasoning the ddsb has very quickly become a feature of our environment."

He adds: "The images presented here become typologies that reflect on the nature of function and style and confront the viewer with the (often unseen) contents of the bags leading to a mixture of amusement, bemusement, curiosity and revulsion."

John Darwell is an independent photographer working on long-term projects that reflect his interest in social and industrial change, concern for the environment and issues around the depiction of mental health.

To date he has had seven books of his work published, of which the most recent are Dark Days (Dewi Lewis Publishing 2007) documenting the impact of foot and mouth disease around his home in north Cumbria, and a twenty five year retrospective ‘Committed to Memory’ (Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery 2007). Previous books include Legacy (Dewi Lewis 2001) an exploration of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, and Jimmy Jock, Albert & the Six Sided Clock on the Port of Liverpool (Cornerhouse 1993).

His work has been exhibited, and published, widely both nationally and internationally, including numerous exhibitions in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, the USA, (Houston, New York and San Francisco) Mexico, South America and the Canary Islands, and is featured in a number of important collections including the National Museum of Media/Sun Life Collection, Bradford; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

John gained his PhD in 2008 for his research A Black Dog Came Calling and currently lectures in photography on both BA and MA courses at the University of Cumbria in Carlisle.

Further examples of John’s work and additional background information can be found at: and

Saturday 9 January 2010

Happy fortieth birthday, Alec

Unless you have been living under a stone for the last month or so you will have noticed that the mighty Alec Soth is back blogging over at The Little Brown Mushroom Blog. Here is a cracking slideshow he made to celebrate his fortieth birthday. Many happy returns, Alec.