Another Visual Feast
It’s been a while since I’ve offered up a banquet of beautiful photography for you, so here you go — gorge without guilt.
I saw her exhibition River of No Return last year at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and was blown away by stark mix of realism and surrealism she purposely attempts to inject into her work. She states in the program:
While I draw on the language of the nineteenth-century sublime, I am simultaneously presenting twenty-first century conundrums.
What she means here is that she uses the template of 19th c. landscape painting and photography — large canvases, natural light, huge, open skies (think Cornelius Krieghoff) — to tell contemporary stories. Obviously it’s impossible to impress on you the scale of these pictures — some of them took up entire walls. I think I circled the gallery about three times, viewing everything from afar and up close — there’s so much both grand and subtle detail in each one you find yourself mesmerized by them for a while.
And then there are the pictures with the young girl and the birds, which are off in their own world entirely.
I was browsing around on Wikipedia recently and happened to scroll down on the main page to where they have their ‘Featured Picture’ of the day and was hit with the below image; it was one of those great moments when you’re so struck with the beauty of something you actually gasp.
Frissell started her career as a fashion photographer for such magazines as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, but upon the U.S.’ entry into WWII in 1941 she volunteered with the American Red Cross and spent time both in the U.S. and at the European front documenting the war. After the war she used her notoriety to informally photograph many powerful political figures, including Winston Churchill and the Kennedys, and in 1953 became the first woman on staff at Sports Illustrated where she worked for decades, often focusing on women in sport.
Click on the image for a full-size version.
Baptiste is a fashion photographer who’s commercial work is high-end, high-gloss, high-brow. Seemingly as a counter to this, he has produced his fourth book of nudes which takes the exact opposite approach — soft, natural light, his subjects not studio-bound but in casual, intimate settings and their expressions warm and gracious as opposed to the contrived confrontational look you often see in fashion spreads. Some are posed, but others look more like a casual shot of the fleeting moments of a dying summer afternoon, and they are all quite lovely.