Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sylvie Zijlmans

Smoke, flooding, menace and mystery - all part of the work of Dutch photographer Sylvie Zijlmans and her husband and sometime-collaborator Hewald Jongenelis. Destroying sets and drenching her models, Zijlmans creates large scale environments in which she can experiment, capturing the consequences with technical precision. The resulting images are often shown as huge backlit transparencies, dwarfing the viewer and showing the destruction in minute detail. She also creates more intimate, strange series using her family, the sequence with her son and husband wearing many layers of suiting being both playful and disconcerting, since her son is reduced to tears by the experience in one shot. Demanding parents eh?

Friday, 5 October 2012

Michael Jang

How great are these?! In 1983, Bay Area-based photographer Michael Jang was asked to take head shots of contestants who entered a competition at a local TV station to present the weather forecast. Presumed lost for around 25 years, Jang only recently found the negatives and printed the images up for the very first time. The resulting series is an incredible social study, and with its great fashions and hair styles, something that could easily be a project shot recently by Inez & Vinoodh for V magazine. Jang admits that he isn’t always thinking about documenting the historical significance of his subjects while he is shooting. It is only after the passing of time that he is able to look back at his photographs from the 70s and 80s and see their humor and significance within their social and historical context. 
The series, titled 'Summer Weather' has recently been published as a book. If you like the selection shown here, seek it out.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Letha Wilson

Starting with images of idealised American landscapes – Yellowstone, Yosemite, Utah – Letha Wilson transforms and alters her photographs by various physical means. In some works careful cutting, folding and curling of the paper creates enigmatic but immersive environments. In other more extreme (and for us more interesting) work she treats the prints more brutally, crumpling and crunching them up and pouring concrete on them in rough lines and pools. When set solid the prints have a heavy, almost sculptural, physical presence to them, as if Letha had managed to transport a cross-section of a national park into a gallery space. It’s a really interesting approach because giving the prints this physicality invites the viewer to interact with and interpret the pieces in their own way, instead of simply being presented with a landscape to look at.
Whilst her work would no doubt upset Carelton Watkins or Ansel Adams, when you see it in person it has a real visceral power to it, and takes landscape photography in a new direction.