Sunday, 26 February 2012

Esko Männikkö

Esko Männikkö (b. 1959, Finland) has been nominted for his retrospective Cocktails 1990-2007 shown at Millesgarden, Stockholm, Sweden (1 September - 4 November 2007).
Born in the small town of Pudasjarvi in the northern part of Finland between the forests of Lapland and rural eastern Bothnia, Esko Männikkö documents the lives of those who inhabit the periphery. Initially a hunter, his passion developed from this to taking photographs in the early 1980’s. When Time Stops Still (1982), his first project, was a series of black and white portraits of a family continuing to survive without electricity on the outskirts of his village.
Männikkö then became widely known for The Female pike (!990-1995), which featured colour photographs of bachelors living isolated lives in the Finnish countryside - forestry workers, hunters, fishermen and the jobless - alongside still-life studies, panoramic landscapes and portraits. In this series, as well as the more recent work Mexas (1999), produced on the border between Mexico and Texas, his sitters are depicted in an informal manner within their personal domestic settings. Often surrounded by home-made objects, they are quiet and reserved, each photograph instilled with the peculiarities and unique characteristics of the individual,
Other projects include Organized Freedom (1999-2005), where Männikkö focuses in detail on the battered front doors and porches of abandoned country cottages marking their slow corrosion by the forces of nature. This melancholic but beautiful sense of deterioration returns in series such as Flora & Fauna (2002), and his most recent and ongoing series, Harmony Sisters (2005-), taken in farms and zoos around the world, where abstract photographs of animals are rendered as still-lifes.
Männikkö presents his photographs in assorted found or hand-made wooden frames, weather and aged by time, butted up closely together - his trademark style of exhibiting his work. The faded glamour of the frames acts as a stark contrast to the boldness and immediacy of his photographs but also lends them a timeless, almost painterly quality.
“I am a photographer of fish, dogs and old men”, Esko Männikkö once said. Interested in bringing to attention small stories which might carry a more universal poignancy, Männikkö shows us a world where animals, objects and people are all portrayed and treated with the same mutual respect and childlike wonder. 
In 1995, Esko Männikkö was awarded The Young Artist of the Year Award by Tampere Art Museum, Finland. His books have included Mexas - Esko Männikkö (1999), The Female Pike (2000, to be republished in 2008) and 100% Cashmere (2003). Solo exhibitions include Portikus, Frankurt am Main (1996); White Cube, London (19997); Kursaal, San Sebastian (2006) and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York (2006). His retrospective Cocktails 1990-2007 is currently touring across Europe. Esko Männikkö’s work is included in numerous museum collections. He lives and works in Oulu.
Extract taken from Deutsche Börse photography prize, Published London : Photographers' Gallery 2008

Photographs by Esko Männikkö, from the Deutsche Börse photography prize book, Published London : Photographers' Gallery 2008

Saturday, 18 February 2012

JH Engström

My current obsession comes from the work of JH Engström. Engström, who was born in Sweden has brought to my attention through a discussion with a tutor, and since then I have slowly been working my way through his archive of work. 
I select these photographs to show you. There were loads more I wanted to select that have more of a direct link to me but I will probably do that later! These photographs however, come from the book From Back Home, 2009. It begins with this quote from Engström
Maybe you can’t really go back home.
But this is where I’m from.
These images pay homage,
to the people and landscapes that are my origins.
I’ve returned to something my body and emotions recognize.
The images are photographed in Värmland between 2001 and 2008.
JH Engström, 2009

Staggered across the book these photographs capture this moment, you can feel sentimental values in the facial expressions, I particularly like that they are shot in black and white (the book conveys both colour and black and white) which enforces this nostalgic feeling that Engström already has and it reaches the viewers. The subjects in the photographs who are slow dancing also embrace this theme of thinking back to a earlier period in their lives within their faces.

Photographs by JH Engstrom

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Currently trying to make sense of my ideas with the reality, dealing with not so long ago scanned negatives of a supposedly completed set.
The editing process is by far the most tedious. Tedious and you over think your work in general, not the best of times. Contact sheets of the shoots to follow.

Andrew in January

The third week of January was pretty hectic; in fact now that we are out of January I can say it was a long and busy one. Anyway, I managed to get friends of mine Andrew Gott and Nicholas Gellnar into the studio to shoot their individual portraits. As I said it was incredibly busy, while trying to master the tricky print that was Monika’s photograph I was setting up in the studio.
I think this is where I allowed myself to make mistakes I shouldn’t have. Mistakes where I will probably have to reshoot Andrew again.
With the Mamiya 67 series and many other medium format cameras, you have the option to rotate the back, changing your image from portrait to landscape and vice-versa. Unfortunately, I was too distracted to flip my frame from landscape to portrait. I also believe I didn’t get the light angles correct as well, so that has the colour balance more than off, especially in comparison to Monika’s shoot. It will now look out of place with the rest of the images, so a reshoot is likely to be on the cards. Nevertheless, here are the images.

Tea and Cake

I only got around to developing a roll of Black and White Ilford I had since early November last week. It didn’t really have much on there, because I had loaded the camera with any film available for some event or another and then had to waste it fairly quickly because en-route to Paris and wanted to shoot colour.
What did come off the film was a little tea and cake with Dimitri before I headed toward Liverpool Airport. 

Romance, Paris, 2010

Back to my previous post on submitting a print for the Salon Hang taking place in the amazing Holden Tea Room, I have revised the image. 
Romance, Paris, 2010 is the image of I have chosen, it is apart of a future planned book entitled Travelogue (I will talk about this soon). It makes me laugh a little looking at because they so removed from the fact they are in Paris, perhaps they had been walking around all day and just about had enough! I have always wanted to see it printed up quite big either way. So I did, I printed it and managed to pinch a frame that had been laying around the photography area, and with my new found framing skills~ I was able to submit the frame for the Salon Hang.

The Holden Tea Room Cafe is amazing by the way, and I think everyone should visit it before it comes down, excellently executed.