Photos by Mary Kapajeva. These linked images are from her website: http://www.mariakapajeva.com Maria Kapajeva is an Eastern European artist living and working in London. I find her work very interesting and she has a unique style. Being a female artist she naturally brings in some feminine topics to her work but she combines them with cultural and modern influences that make these topics interesting. I like her style. The above image taken from her project ‘Family’ I particularly liked, as I liked the idea of two linking images.
Photo by Nigel Shafran, Titled, 4th January 2004. Three bean soup, cauliflower vegetable cheese. Morning coffee and croissants. From the series Washing-up. Available to view online: http://nigelshafran.com
Nigel Shafran is a photographer who has come from the fashion-world and moved across to Art Photography and has successfully exhibited his work at the Tate. His style is of the typical banal imagery popular with postmodernist thinking. My personal take on this style is, nice, but for me, a little goes along way.
Tracey Moffatt has used self-portraiture to dress up as famous personalities that share her brithsign and acted out poses to mimic these individuals. In the example above Moffatt has used self-portraiture in a style of old Victorian lantern shows of a scene from a melodrama. This project considered historical issues of colonialism, slavery, class, sexuality and addiction. The image above is called Laudanum and below is called ‘The Darkness Below’.
Francesca Woodman’s images I find both a little erotic and disturbing. Woodman clearly a lot of pent up sexual-tension with an artistic voice wanting to be heard. If I was to say that there was an element of narcissism in Woodman’s photos I think I would be wrong. I think that she was probably insecure about herself and her looks, yes she was very self-indulgent which may sadly have lead her to her death. I believe there are indications of her moods of depression in her images. We all sometime feel that we could just disappear and I think that Woodman acts out some of these wished imaginings in her photos. I personally, think that Woodman’s images don’t need accompanying text for the images to be appreciated. However, they communicate best as set.
Woodman clearly had mental-health issues and I wonder that perhaps the wider issue here is the stigma attached to this form of health-issue and the lack of understanding and help available for sufferers. Many artist suffer from depression as many artists by there nature are bipolar in some degree and perhaps educational institutions such as schools and colleges / universities should also watch for this and offer counselling and support. Woodman committed suicide in 1981 and over 30 years later we are still loosing talent through our lack of understanding of how to help.
Brotherus has used her naked body to put ‘a spotlight’ on herself. I think that her nakedness not only reflects her sense of vulnerability but also her lock of power and sense of naked honesty. She uses nakedness to grab the attention of the audience / viewer in order to pass on her intended message.
For me Brotherus images instil mixed feelings of sympathy and admiration for both her struggle and sadness and her honesty and dignified strength.
Some may interpret Brotherus’s work as a little self-indulgent; but I would disagree. Brotherus has used herself as a subject to bring to peoples attention issues that are often hidden. These issues she has experienced for herself and therefore can tell the story from the inside. By using herself as the model and subject she enforces the truth and her own honesty.
I don’t believe that this style of images can be imitated purely for image sake by ‘outsiders’. These images come from the heart and therefore if mimicked would lack the context that these images were created to represent. These images have been made to represent the artist own feelings and emotions and whilst the images can be replicated the emotional message the originals carry can not without some honest intent from the new artist. In this way only another artist going through similar experiences can produce similar work and would then have his or her own style and signature. Anything else would be a false facsimile.
As mentioned above, I believe that the motivation of these artist are to raise awareness of issues, that are often hidden from public-sight. Naturally these issues have to be close and personal to the artist in order for the artist to be able to be an insider and produce honest and truthful images.
Tierney Gearon has used her family as subjects for her art. I particularly like the multi-image montages that she has created. Her career path is similar to Corinne Day in so much as she began as a fashion model and moved in to photography.
Richard Billingham as a young student artist Billingham lived with his alcoholic father, frustrated that he could not get his father to sit still for his model he started taking photos to paint from. He and his father later moved back with his mother continuing to use his camera for his art-work, as a result he has made some very interesting candid images that would not normally be photographed seen or seen. These images that were not originally intended for use in themselves launched Billingham as an photographer and artist and were published in a successful book ‘Rays a laugh’.
Sally Mann has used family portraiture and attracted controversy by publishing images of her naked children. Her pictures are in black and white and by always having a camera by her side has caught some interesting images.
Elina Brotherus has used self-portraiture in some interesting and creative ways, I like this image of her reflection in the mirror held in front of the face of the model. Brotherus has a good website illustrating a lot of her work. Brotherus has also studied ideas of self-portraiture in connection with landscape and her environment and how they relate.