Transforming the way we see the everyday, this year’s new photography talents bring a fresh new focus to their field
‘I really enjoy intertwining art and commerce so that my work can exist simultaneously within the two worlds,’ says Australian photographer Rebecca Scheinberg. Her project Tohu va Bohu takes the glossy sheen of commercial photography, slick with exaggerated consumer desire, and then subverts it with a ‘trace of something more sinister, a hint that behind the veil of commercial charm, there is something darker at play.’
Transforming the way we see the everyday, our selection of photography talents each use their intriguing and sometimes unsettling compositions to explore themes of modern life.
Writers: Jonathan Bell and Ali Morris
Iris Aleluia’s photography is traditional in many respects, in that the master’s student’s approach is steeped in the assemblage of light, time and form. ‘I try to catch hold of these intangible moving shadows by drawing them while they are growing,’ she says. The results are mysterious and abstract, mixing drawing with long- exposure imagery. She cites both Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray’s experimental approach, as well as Sugimoto, Jan Groover and Barbara Kasten, as inspiration.
A series of monotone photographs of dystopian urban landscapes make up Felicity Hammond's Restore to Factory settings project, which sets out to explore the paradoxical meanings associated with the colour blue. From the colour of an error screen to a blueprint for future planning, the contradiction of blue is amplified in the sapphire-saturated urban landscapes where past and present collide and human intervention is 'reabsorbed into the landscape'. Hammond says, 'This work stands for both progression and error.'
Hannah Farrell’s meticulously composed series of still lives, Close Your Eyes and Think of England, ‘investigates the notion of self in the context of femininity’ by juxtaposing everyday items and 1970s softcore. ‘I’m interested in the surreal, the uncanny; anything that unsettles ever so slightly,’ explains Farrell.
Balázs Máté’s recent work was commissioned by The Room, a Budapest-based fashion magazine, and conjures up a surrealist pageant of imagery thanks to the use of mannequins and reflective material. His Parallax images are visual puzzles assembled with a raft of experimental techniques, including UV light and fluorescent paint.
Ben Langford’s work around his apartment in Providence, Rhode Island, transforms the mundane patina of suburbia into a strange, uncanny landscape. Subtle digital manipulations ‘complicate’ his imagery. ‘Overt manipulations obstruct the reading of the photograph as a visual record; others hope to blur the line between manipulation and what occurs naturally,’ he says, describing his approach as more akin to painting than conventional photography.
Danila Tkachenko's project Restricted Areas is a series of haunting images that reveal abandoned buildings across Russia. Captured by the young photographer on a journey across his home country, his architectural subjects are set against a stark white backdrop of snow where the sky and landscape merge into one. 'I traveled through Russia in search of places which used to have great importance and now are deserted,' he explains. 'Secret cities, which cannot be found on maps, forgotten scientific triumphs, abandoned buildings of almost inhuman complexity. The perfect future that never came.'
Swen Renault’s project Killing Becher slays one of the new photography’s most sacred cows by reducing Bernd and Hilla Becher’s ruthlessly functional objectivism into a series of wayward, post-romantic ruins. Having trained as a graphic designer, Renault has translated his love of minimalism into a portfolio of starkly considered images of everyday life. ‘Killing Becher questions the photographic medium,’ he says, ‘and the endless recycling from the internet image stream.’
For her project L'Invitation, Swiss photographer Jeanne Tullen took the unusual step of inviting herself to dinner with strangers and then photographing the encounter. The results, in some of which Tullen herself features, range from relaxed and candid to more formal and staged. ‘By inviting myself to eat at stranger's place, I enter their private and intimate world,’ says Tullen. ‘The camera stands in front of us, as the pretext for this unusual closure. For the time of one dinner - of one picture - I belong with them, I enlarge the border between intimacy and privacy and I become a member of their families.’