Archive for the PHOTOGRAPHY Category

Happy Birthday Eadweard Muybridge!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2012 by echostains

Today is the birthday of English photographer Eadweard Muybridge (b.1830 – 1904)  and it is being commemorated on Google.  Muybridge used multiple camera work to capture motion, using what he called his zoopraxiscope which projected motion pictures. He was doing this before the perforated film strip was invented.

He was actually born Edward James Muggeridge and was of Dutch extraction but he changed his name quite a few times in his American career.  He went under the pseudonym Helios, the Greek sun God) on many of his photos.  He named his studio Helios and his son bore this middle name.

Born in Kingston on Thames in 1830, he was to emigrate to the US in 1855 where he started his career as an agent for a publisher and  bookseller.  In 1850 he was involved in a stagecoach accident  in San Francisco and sustained severe head injuries.  He returned to England for a few years after this to recuperate, taking up photography between 1861 – 1866 and using the early photographic process of the wet collodion which was introduced in the 1850s

In 1866  he went back in San Francisco where  he became a successful photographer using mainly architectural and landscape as his subject matter.  He built his reputation with photos of San Francisco and the Yosemite  He quickly became noted for his grand photos of the West and in  1873 he was commissioned to photograph the Madoc War, a US Army’s expedition against the West Coast Indians.

Muybridge is famous for answering a much debated question of the day: do all four of a horses hooves move off the ground at the same time? Former Californian Governor, race horse owner and business Leland Stanford asserted that horses showed their front legs extended forward and their hind legs extended at the rear – as shown in paintings at the time.  This was called ‘unsupported transit’ and in 1872 Leland set out to prove it scientifically  by hiring Muybridge to document it.

Muybridge and Stanford fell out regarding Muybridge’s research on equine locomotion as Stanford published a book called ‘The Horse in Motion’ giving no credit to Muybridge whose photos and research it contained.  This resulted in the Royal Society withdrawing an offer to fund his stop-motion photography.  Muybridge filed a lawsuit against Stanford but lost.

Muybridge’s troubles spilled over into his personal life.  In 1874 he discovered that his wife had taken a Major Harry Larkyns as her lover.  Muybridge got even by shooting him.  He was sent to trial, his defence being the injury he had sustained in the stagecoach accident which had caused him much injury.  Friends even testified that Muybridge’s character dramatically changed from pleasant and genial to erratic and unstable after the accident.  Although the jury dismissed his ‘insanity’ plea, he was acquitted for ‘justifiable homicide’ Stanford stood by him and paid for his criminal defence.

He left the Untied States after his acquittal, taking photographs in Central America and had his son Florado ‘Helios’ Muybridge put in an orphanage, believing Larkyns to be his true father even though in later life the boy bore a strong resemblance to Muybridge.

Muybridge lectured to a sell out audience in 1882 at the Royal institution in London.  Member included the Royal family and the future King Edward V11.  He returned to England for good in 1894, where he published two further books of his work.  He died on 8th of May 1904 in Kingston on Thames.Nude descending staircase by Duchamp Muybridge has inspired a lot of artists as well as making a major contribution to photography.  Thomas Eakins, an American artist who had worked with Muybridge continued the motion studies, incorporating some of his findings into his own artwork.  Thomas Edison owned patents for motion pictures and Surrealist Marcel Duchamp was inspired to paint ‘Nude descending the Staircase No.2’ by Muybridge.  Francis Bacon was a huge fan of Muybridge and a lot of his work was influenced by Muybridge’s photographs.

Eadwaerd Muybridge portrait and more info from here

Muybridge horses and lots of info and images from the EadweardMuybridge site

muybridge_handkerchief image here

Thanks to  for the informative video

Leland pony image here

Nude descending Staircase image from here

PS Update; Happy Birthday Keith Haring!  http://www.haring.com/

PS Happy Birthday Salvador Dali May 11th

Happy Christmas and New Year!

Posted in Architecture, ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, BEHIND THE PAINT, CHRISTMAS, DESIGN, exhibitions, PHOTOGRAPHY, POLLS, SCULPTURE, WEIRD AND WACKY DESIGN with tags , , , , on December 24, 2011 by echostains

In my usual tradition, here is the round up of featured posts for 2011.  It’s been a pretty tubulent year personally for me and I haven’t blogged as much as I usually do – but my New Year resolution is to do so, so get ready for more eclectic mixes of art, design and quirkyness!  I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a bright New Year!

Art I LOVE Andreas Gursky

Posted in ART, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , , on July 18, 2011 by echostains

 

99 per cent

I have always been a fan of abstract photography.  I particularly admire the work of German visual artist Andreas Gursky (b. Jan 15 1955 Leipzig)   Primarily he is a photographer – but it’s what he does with these photographs which makes his art so visually arresting.  His landscape colour photography is huge in scale and can be a little disorienting, whilst the vibrant colours of the photographs make his work alive and immediate.

Gursky was taught at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf by German artists by Hilla and Bernd Becher –  well-known for their collaboration on photographic images of industrial buildings and machinery.  Gorsky’s photographs are big, colourful and dynamic and his subject matter includes offices, industrial plants, high-rise buildings, hotels and warehouses. The artist began digitally manipulating and editing his images after 1990, bringing out particular aspects and controlling perspective.

  His work has been called ‘vast’ ‘Splashy’, ‘entertaining and ‘unbelievable’ by art critic Peter Schjeldahl.  But the images compositional and formal considerations have also been likened to paintings. This is what the artist himself had to say about his own work at the Gagosian Gallery USA last year;-

   Space is very important for me but in a more abstract way. Maybe to try to understand not just that we are living in a certain building or in a certain location, but to become aware that we are living on a planet that is going at enormous speed through the universe. I read a picture not for what’s really going on there, I read it more for what is going on in our world generally.
–Andreas Gursky

Kuwait Stock Exchange II

My personal favourite work by Gorsky is 99 Per Cent.  The work started out in a 99 cent discount store. Splashes of colour are separated by columns.  The work is meant to convey the aesthetics and the structures of materialism, so it seems almost ironic that the work (a diptych), sold at auction at Sotheby’s in 2007 for a price of US$3.34 million, making it famous as the most expensive photograph in the world.  Scale plays a part in which way Gursky’s photo’s are exhibited and viewed.  For example 99 Per Cent measures 6 ‘ 9 1/2″ x 11’ (207 x 337 cm) 

Shanghai

These fictional photographs are based on fact (his original photographs), and he has collaged these images, focusing in certain colours, altering and ordering.   We in turn participate in Gursky’s art by translating these facts.  Though his photographs convey consumerism and may have political connotations, these images are still open for us, the viewer to interpret.

Pyongyang

 

More about Gursky here

Gursky quote and Ocean 11 image from here 

Shanghai. 2000 image Kuwait Stock Exchange image from here Pyongyang 1 2007  image from here

other images from here and here

More great photos can be found here

Happy Birthday Cindy Sherman!

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, ART VIDEOS, ARTISTS BIRTHDAYS, PHOTOGRAPHY with tags , , , on January 19, 2011 by echostains

Today is the birthday of conceptual portrait photographer and film director Cindy Sherman.  Sherman was born in New Jersey USA 1954.   She received the MacArthur award in 1995 and currently lives and works in New York.  She studied visual art at Buffalo State college, abandoning  painting for photography.

“I didn’t want to make ‘high’ art, I had no interest in using paint, I wanted to find something that anyone could relate to without knowing about contemporary art. I wasn’t thinking in terms of precious prints or archival quality; I didn’t want the work to seem like a commodity.”

Although a lot Sherman’s work involve the use of stereotyping women in advertising, media  and film, she does not stereotype her work,  she does say this about her work:-

“The work is what it is and hopefully it’s seen as feminist work, or feminist-advised work, but I’m not going to go around espousing theoretical bullshit about feminist stuff.”

 
 
 
 
 

Cindy Sherman Clowns series

 

 Her work involves taking series of photographs of herself in costume.  For example in 2003 her series consisted of photographs of herself as clown.  In 1981 an early series ‘Centrefolds’ considered women’s roles in film magazine and television;-

“In content I wanted a man opening up the magazine suddenly look at it with an expectation of something lascivious and then feel like the violator that they would be. Looking at this woman who is perhaps a victim. I didn’t think of them as victims at the time… But I suppose… Obviously I’m trying to make someone feel bad for having a certain expectation”

 
 
 
 
 

Centrefolds

 

Sherman’s narrative work always has dark or sad undertones within it.  She always maintains that her photographs are not self portraits, even though the pictures are all of herself.  Sherman always plays a ‘type’ – a fictional type;- a housewife, socialite, – B movie actresses.  She  both hides herself within her work, yet reveals herself at the same time.  It is a game of hide and seek where she sometimes disappears:-

“I feel I’m anonymous in my work. When I look at the pictures, I never see myself; they aren’t self-portraits. Sometimes I disappear”

 
 
 
 
 

Cindy Sherman 1990

 

Her work is both thought-provoking and evocative.  As well as directing and modeling, she has also collaborated on advertisements with designer Marc Jacobs and designed album covers for the band American Babes in Toyland.

If I knew what the picture was going to be like I wouldn’t make it. It was almost like it was made already.. the challenge is more about trying to make what you can’t think of.”  

Cindy Sherman

Information about Sherman and her work can be found here and on her website here

images are from here, here here and here

video by innertubevideo with thanks!

Also born on this day Paul Cezannne – read my post here

Don’t forget the Hepworth Echo Poetry challenge which is still going strong over on my Bookstains!

And

Discovered and Uncovered – Underwater artist Zena Holloway

Posted in ART, ART DISCOVERED AND UNCOVERED, ART VIDEOS, PHOTOGRAPHY, WATCHED with tags , , , on March 26, 2010 by echostains

Beautiful underwater photography by Zena Holloway

I’m coming across some very unusual and amazing artists  in the course of research for my blog.  Yes. you’ve guessed it – it’s time for yet another category!  Some of these may not be new artists to you – but they are to me, hense the title ‘Discovered and Uncovered’.  It is not my intention to go into the artist’s life story – just to give a glimpse into their work and hopefully inspire someone.

a water baby by Zena Holloway

Zena Holloway b. 1973 Bahrain now lives and works in London.  She started off as a scuba diving instructor and eveloped an interest in underwater photography.  Her work has appeared on adverts, in films and magazines.  She recently completed a two year project based on Charles Kingsley’s ‘Water Babies’ which featured real babies swimming underwater.

the queen of the fairies by Warwick Goble

Who doesn’t love the tale of young Tom the chimney sweep who falls into a river and becomes a Water baby.  The illustrations of this 1863 by several illustrators are beautiful – no wonder Holloway was inspired by them!

Swan Songs

Watch some of her work here in this short video – so beautiful, graceful and poetical.  There are a few of her videos on Youtube which feature lots of her work – including the Water babies.

Zena Holloway’s website here

Beautiful illustrations of the WaterBabies by several illustrators here

PS  My latest poem  is called ‘Acrostic Alphabet-ish’ here