In pictures: visual inspiration from the W* photography desk

In pictures: visual inspiration from the W* photography desk

Self-portrait by French painter Fabienne Verdier

Benjamin McMahon began lending his camera to his subjects to capture themselves after a shoot, questioning portraiture’s authenticity and the photographer’s influence. Actors, politicians, musicians and artists, including French painter Fabienne Verdier (pictured) have all revealed a potentially more ‘honest’ portrait of themselves for McMahon. As the portrait photographer explains, ‘This is my set of self-portraits, none of myself.’ The exhibition ‘Not Myself’ is on view until 17 November at Elephant West, a disused petrol station in London’s White City that has been repurposed as a gallery.

Writer: Sophie Gladstone

Sofie Middernacht and Maarten Alexander’s ‘Between You and Me’

Ever a worthy fascination of contemporary culture, ‘the self’ is interrogated by Sofie Middernacht and Maarten Alexander in the exhibition ‘Between You and Me’, on view until 4 November at London’s Eccleston Project Space. The Belgian-Dutch artist duo have used industrial materials to create obscured and burred portraits of their subjects’ gazes, while chemically treated mirrors disrupt our experience of reflection – you’ll never see yourself, only your fellow visitors. Presented alongside is an installation conceived by Middernacht & Alexander for Leo Gabin’s webcam videos of young women performing. Watching them clean, test beauty products and dance as forms of self-expression becomes a mind-bending take on intimacy versus voyeurism.

Writer: Sophie Gladstone

Photograpm from Polar Night by Mark Mahaney

Mark Mahaney explores an otherworldly landscape, blanketed in snow and complete darkness in his latest book, Polar Night, named after the natural phenomenon occuring within the polar circles. In Alaska’s northernmost town of Utqiagvik, artificial lights punctuate this strangely isolated world, while cars and houses are muffled by dense snow, creating sculptural lunar-like forms. Seemingly inhabited by more dogs than humans, Mahaney’s images are a testament to the beauty and endurance of the town, particularly when viewed through the lens of climate change.

Polar Night, $40, published by Trespasser

Writer: Sophie Gladstone

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