December 29, 2012

Lewis Hine - Child labor

"Lewis Wickes Hine (September 26, 1874 Oshkosh, Wisconsin– November 3, 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer. Hine used his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States". That's the lines opening the wikipedia notice about this photographer. But today, the emotions we feel looking at these images are much more complex than this historical and sociologist approach. I don't have the necessary lexicon to describe them so I leave it to fluent English writers. What's sure is that once seen, most of these pictures never leave our memory and some of them will stayed as some talisman of what is humanity. Among this complexity, there's this strange sensation that these children are still alive, that we don't look at images of the long time gone past but children of today. This is never the case with adults who belong tightly to the period the image was taken (and we'll belong to ours too). But children have no temporal fixation, they travel through time and civilisations without being altered. And least but not last, many of these pictures are also great pictures by their own. Not only historical documents or "reportages" but art for sure. But of course, the fact that from 1906 to 1912, he did all these essential shots of children working in the most incredibly miserable conditions in a country supposed to be the quintessence of progress and democracy has to be considered as the pivotal axe of this work. He pursued his work with adult workers all his life until his death in 1940 at 66. His name should never been forgotten. Note that a writer called Joe Manning is doing a totally crazy project, trying to recompose the biography of the children photographed by Lewis Hine. Crazy but wonderful idea. Here the site of this project. Some of the children above have now a part of their lives reconstructed. For example, the 7 yr old boy of the first picture of the series, called Byron Hamilton, had his life reconstructed by Joe Manning (read here). I used yesterday 2 pictures of this series to create a (virtual) cover sleeve for a compilation of all the singles and EPs released by Television Personalities between 1989 and 1999. For the front cover sleeve, I took the one with Byron showing his finger. You can find it here. These songs deserve to be heard as these pictures to be seen.

Dotted Stripes - Her and Him

More and more couples use photography to add some excitation to their love story, or only to leave a concrete trace of their relation, or when "he" wants to celebrate "she", her beauty, the fascination exerted by the body of a woman who offers herself to a man. But most often, the quality is poor, even on a non-artistic plan, even by pure sexual standards. Here's one interesting series, published under the name of Dotted Stripes. I found more pictures some days ago than there's now on their flickr blog (here). They may have removed them recently I don't know. I'll post some more couple series by other male-female love cells.

December 23, 2012

Igor Mukhin - Moscow

Igor Mukhin is russian photographer who shares his work between black and white street reportage pictures and colour intimate pictures (to be honest, some are in B&W too). It's the latter that pleases me most as usual visitors of this blog may have guessed. I like this (so russian) way not to try to make any poetry about skin, flesh and sex. Or more correctly, not to feel the need to put any aesthetic poetry and leaves the flesh creates it. You can see much more either on his flickr gallery here or his site there. Here above is my subjective selection. As I always do.

December 19, 2012

Cristina Nunez - Higher self

Born in Spain in 1962, Cristina Nunez is a great photographer. Without any arty effect she reaches this elevation of spirit that offers us a visual equivalent of the human condition facing his/her pain (her project is converting pain into art), suffering, fear, age, degradation, end. This series, actually self-portraits so she's not per se the photographer, where she aslo features as a model (pictures 9 and 10) is totally stunning and is a mix between Caravagio and Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. I don't know why but sometimes I think that painting is no more strong enough to give us such powerful sensations. Surely my passion for reality. A site about this great woman here and her site there. More to be posted from her on Scoptophilia soon. Below a video where she does a very impressive and moving statement about this series and more largely self-portraits, my favorite genre whatever art.