Sunday, 28 November 2010

Collection 100 Research: Annie Leibovitz.

Annie Leibovitz is an American portrait photographer, often contributing to high fashion magazines. Always a creative, she became interested in art at a young age, dabbling in many different mediums, and developed her photography interests and skills alongside this.

Like many photographers, she began her career as a staff photographer, working for the Rolling Stone magazine, and just three years later, in 1973, becoming chief photographer- a job she would go on to hold for ten strong years, creating a style for the magazine, an identity, inspired by photographers such as Avedon, Frank and Cartier-Bresson, and was notably the bery last person to professionally photograph John Lennon (alongside Yoko Ono for a Rolling Stone cover)- whom was sadly shot and died just five hours after the photoshoot.

One of my all-time favourite shoots by Leibovitz include the images I have showcased in this blog, featured in Vogue magazine, in which Russian model Natalia Vodianova models as Alice from Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland', in a surrealist and high-fashion style, surrounded by "characters" from the story- "characters" of the fashion world- Donatella Versace, Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Tom Ford...the list goes on.
The line up is "to die for" for any lover of fashion and photography.

Like so many photographers, almost unfortunately, Annie Lebovitz, as a photographer, is relatively unknown to me, but her images are among some of my favourites (sad in terms of the lack of recognition, perhaps?), her range of versatility and playful charm really captures my imagination, and never fails to bring a smile to my face.
A favourite, for sure.

Collection 100 Research: Alexander Rodchenko.

Alexander Rodchenko was a Russian multi-talented artist whom specialised in fields including sculpture, photography, and graphic design, along with being one of the founders of the constructivism movement during the Modernist era of communist Russia.

His work (and particularly his photography) was based around political and social issues, often documentary, but with his added imagination for composition and aesthetic detail, often experimenting with obscure and fascinating angles to shoot his subjects.

Collection 100 Research: Richard Billingham.

Billingham is a British Photographer originally trained as a painter, though developed his photographic practice through a series of his images of his father and mother in Cradley Heath. The photographs were distinctive for their cheap quality with poor technicality- whereupon the subjects and the story behind the images were the main focus of the images of his alcoholic father, Ray, and his obese smoking mother, Liz.

Although seemingly grotesque and often violent in imagery, the emotion behind the images was what Billingham really wanted to portray- a deeper understanding of love, troubled relationships and hostility towards those we care about most.

In 1997, Billingham was included in the Royal Academy's Sensation show of YBA's in the Saatchi collection, also winning the Citigroup Photography Prize that year, and in 2001, his Ikon Gallery solo show (Birmingham) was shortlisted for the Turner Prize.

Whilst on a University Visit in my first term at college, I first encountered Billingham's work whilst on a photography workshop, and I was really fascinated and touched by his work- like many of the YBA's- the style is often intruigingly grotesque- art that might initially digust you or shock you, but you just can't help but to give it a second glance. Although, of course his work isn't intended to be aesthetically perfect, or beautiful, the humanist quality gives it a really warming feel, something that one can relate to, and be touched by.

Collection 100 Research: Richard Avedon.

Richard Avedon started photography after a brief attendance at Columbia University- taking pictures of the crew of the Merchant Marines in 1942, going onto work as an advertising photographer for a department store, and quickly discovered by the art director for fashion magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Alexey Brodovitch.

Avedon soon gained recognition as a fahsion photographer due to his unique, and playful style, with models smiling, laughing, and occasionally posed in "action" shots, soon becoming the lead photographer of Vogue, with many of his portraits depicting social trends and influences.

Avdeon's portraits are notable for their minamilist black and white style, subject in front of a solid white background- focusing on the expressions posed by the models- often awaiting a candid moment mid-conversation.

I really love Avedon's style as I find he captures the true beauty and character of each of his models in such a unique and an almost perfect way- focusing the audience's complete attention on the subject, not littering the scene with uneccesary props, truly inspiring work.

Collection 100 Research: Mike Bailey-Gates.

Mike Bailey-Gates is a New England based teenage photographer, whom developed a personal fascination with portriature and landscapes to be one of the most talented young photographers in America, with a spread in FIASCO magazine, and being noted on the Urban Outfitters blog.

When you truly find it difficult to chose a small selection of a photographer's work to publish on your blog, you know that they have something promising!
Much like Lissy Elle, I have been following Mike's work for around a year or two on flickr, and have been truly inspired and even excited whenever he would upload a photo- truly delighted to see what he would come up with next.

For someone so young, Mike shows such a varied, professional portfolio of work, ranging in fantastical design to fashion spreads- always experimental, always stunning.

Mike Bailey-Gates, I assure you, is definately one to watch.

Collection 100 Research: Sabastio Salgado.

Sabastio Salgado first applied photographic techniques and skill to his work relatively late in life, when working as an economist for the Iternational Coffee Organization, travelling on behalf of the World Bank, until 1973, when he abandoned his career to persue his love for photography, eventually travelling to over 100 countries in persute of photographic projects.
Salgado's work has always attempted and focused on the wellbeing and support of others.

In 2004, he began a project named "genesis", which aimed to present a realistic overview of nature and humanity, which was followed by his series of coffee workers (from India, Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Brazil) in 2007 to raise awareness of the origins of the drink, and promoting fairtrade business.

Again, Salgado's work is new to me, and I am very pleasantly surprised by this new discovery.
For me, photojournalism seems to come under a whole new genre to photography- being so diverse and varied, but Salgado's style is so distinctive and crisp that it really does stand out from so many images- strikingly emotive and real, his work, I believe is a real credit to the struggles that many face the world-over.

Collection 100 Research: Steven Pippin.

 Steven Pippin is an English artist whom specialisies in kinetic sculpture and photography.

The vast majority of Pippin's work takes influence from a youth spent around his father, constantly constructing and wiring electric equiptement, thus resulting in his work having an industrial aesthetic, created with industrious and creative techniques- often handmaking many makeshift cameras from various bizarre objects, taking influence from the birth of technological advances in photography.

In 1999, he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize, with his work 'Laundromat-Locomotion' (below), which showcased a row of 12 washing machines inside a laundromat into a series, photographed by cameras triggered to trip wires, inspired by Eadweard Muybridge's 'The Horse in Motion'.

Never before coming across Pippin's work, at first glance I assumed that it was photography of Muybridge's era- the early days of 35mm experimentation, and therefore, was completely delighted to discover just how well he had replicated this style, in such a charmingly persued and crafted way.

Whilst this style is not typically a favourite of mine, I really love the way he has set about creating it, and now feel really inspired to attempt some of these pinhole style images for myself.

Collection 100 Research: Andy Goldsworthy.

Andy Goldsworthy is an enviromental sculptor and photographer, credited for his application of sculpture and land in natural and urban settings, used to emphasise and highlight beauty points and character of the area- on both green and brownsites.

Growing up in rural Leeds (Harrogate), Goldsworthy was bought up surrounded by nature, working on farms and manual labour- which certainly helped him to develop his eye for environment and natural form, in his later years stating:

 "A lot of my work is like picking potatoes; you have to get into the rhythm of it".

Goldsworthy works in numerous mediums- not determined by personal taste and experience, but more about the locations in which he choses to work with, thus having a back-catalogue of material use including: icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, twigs, and thorns.

Goldsworthy's bold, organic style reminds me of a local artist (local to my home in Shropshire, that is!), Ruth Gibson, whom manipulated enviromental materials to create sculptures, therefore, I have some pre-conceptions of this style of work, and a deal of admiration.

Whilst sculpture is a particular art form I would not really experiement with (for intimidation for the amount of patience and skill required, largely!), I think that what artists like Ruth Gibson and Goldsworthy set out to achieve is wonderful- creating a piece of art, for everyone, enhancing what is already around us, taking nothing away, and making what we already have even more memorable.

Collection 100 Research: Roni Horn.

Roni Horn is a visual artist whom explores a variety of different art mediums including sculpture, illustration, photography and publishing, often closely linked with themes of humanism and relationships, creating tension and emotive language between the viewer and the subject of her works- often over a series to show change through time and sequence.

Through the past thirty years, Horn has taken particular muse from her visits and connections with the country, Iceland, and, thus, is reflected in a lot of her work- often showcased through weather and light.

Although I do like the meaning and thought-process of Horn's work, I don't really like how linear her work is- I find myself, in my personal taste, always proving fondest of artists and photographers with a very distinct style, yet also a very different thought process for each creation- each with it's own thought process and deep, often complex meaning and message behind each one.
Whilst I like the visual outcomes of her work, I feel that the emotive effect isn't as powerful as I would hope.

Collection 100 Research: "Lissy Elle".

"I am someone who likes to pretend that I don't care what other people think of me. I like to pretend that I make my art for ME and no one else. But there comes a point in every artist's life that they crave recognition. Admit it. Be not ashamed. This is only human.

The overwhelming support I've recieved from the online community may be the only reason I've been able to get this far. Whenever someone says I have inspited them, I realize I can never stop. If anyone creates anything that wouldn't exist if it wern't for me, I feel likeI can change the world. When I don't have that rush for a while, I need that feeling back. My images are half for me, and half for you.

The more views I got on a photo I'd post on Flickr, the more offers I got. For book covers for album covers for magazines for ads, and I feel insanely blessed to do something I love because a few people took a liking to whta  teenage girl posted on the internet."

The wise, humble, and charming words of Canadian teenage photographer, Lissy Lariccha, undoubtedly one of my favourite photographers of all time, of whom I have followed online through the flickr website (, truly inspired by her fantastical, and often morose imagery, immaculately edited to create breathtaking dreamscapes.

To me, Lissy is the perfect example of what hard work and determination can achieve, and I am sure, without her work inspiring me each day, I would never have developed my own passion for photography half as much as I have done.

Collection 100 Research: Henri Cartier- Bresson.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, the French Photographer and Photojournalist is created for inspiring photographers for generations to come, an early adopter of the 35mm film format, and the photographer whom introuduced candid portraiture to the masses, developing "street" and "real life" photography.

Thanks to the family's high income, Cartier-Bresson was able to develop his interests in photography from a young age, owning a Box Brownie and other cameras, which grew through his art studies in schooling and his education.

With the development of photographic technology, and tastes in the format, schools of photographic realism began emerging all over Europe in the 1920's- each unique and experimental, opening up people's views to the world of photography and visual communication, and, along with the Surrealist movement four years later, Cartier-Bresson involved himself with this culture, learning and gaining social status.

After an initial stint in painting, his focus shifted to his main love of photography, and exhibited his work in the United States in 1935 with fellow photographers such as Walker Evans, with his photojournalism first published in 1927 as he covered the coronation of King George VI.

In spring 1947, Cartier-Bresson, along with Robert Capa, David Seymour, and George Rodger formed the cooperative picture agency 'Magnum Photos', a group of photojournalists who set about projects to inform the masses of subjects of humanity by providing captivating, arresting, and often dramatic images to be viewed by the masses.

Cartier-Bresson first truly gained international acclaim for his coverage of Gandhi's funeral, which was held in 1948, and the last stage of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, developing his style of "the decisive moment".

In technical terms, Cartier-Bresson exclusively used Lecia 35mm rangefinder cameras with 50mm lenses, or, occasionally, wide angle lenses for landscapes.

Despite his great success, Cartier-Bresson was consider to be one of art's most unassuming and humble personalities- disliking publicity with a great deal of reserved shyness, the portraits he took being one of the few reflections in the world of his true personality.

I, along with people the world-over, I'm sure, will agree, that Cartier-Bresson really is a force to be reckoned with, and few really compare in terms of his revolution with technology- and I feel that all aspiring photographers could learn a great deal from his candid, often touchingly sentimental works.

Collection 100 Research: Tim Noble & Sue Webster.

Tim Noble and Sue Webster are England-based artists, whom were associated with the contreversial post-YBA generation of artists (emerging after the original Young British Artists), and have had career-long support from art collector and curator, Charles Saatchi.

The collaborative team's work typically depicts piles of rubbish upon which a light is projected, creating a shadow (usually of the artists), which is completely contrary to the shape the rubbish makes- making a metaphorical comparison between the two.

As with a lot of the YBA's work, I'm afraid, although I appreciate the meaning and messages behind the work, I cannot really appreciate the visual construction of the art work. Fine Art is a subject area which is very hit-and-miss in my mind, and although, as aforementioned, there are a few circumstances within the YBA's work that I actually quite like, the crude, brash style and portfolio of Tim Noble and Sue Webster's, unforutnately isn't a particular favourite.

Collection 100 Research: (John) Rankin (Waddell).

Rankin's career began after dropping out of Brighton Polytechnic whilst studying accounting, aged 21, when he realised that photography was his "true calling", transferring to study photography at London College of Printing. It was at this time that he networked, and made connections that would cement his future prospects- befriending Jefferson Hack, of whom had a keen passion for magazine journalism (later going on to be romantically linked to model, Kate Moss, and to be the co-editor of Dazed & Confused with Rankin).

Rankin has a very impressive portfolio of models and celebrities he has photographed, thanks to the global success of Dazed& Confused, including: Britney Spears, Kate Moss, The Spice Girls, Bjork, David Bowie, Juliette Binoche, The Rolling Stones, Vivienne Westwood, Damien Hirst, Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth II.

Influenced by his roots in fashion photography and magazine publication, Rankin has been noted for his interaction and introduction of the general public to his work- famously bringing a museum scale retrospective of the last twenty-two years of his life, together with 1500 portraits of the British public, emphasising British eccentricity, enthusiasm and originality. The participants involved were invited to the exhibition to sit for their personal shoot, with the images produced on the day, and hung as part of the ever-changing exhibition.

Including his work with endless celebrities, Rankin has worked with many brand companies for advertising, including Nike, Marks and Spencer's, Rimmel, Dove, and Coca Cola- as well as working personally with musicians in their music videos and promo for artists including: Nelly Furtardo 'Say It Right', Marina and the Diamonds 'I Am Not A Robot' etc...