As in a Japanese screen by Hasegawa Tohaku, or as in the poems about idleness by the poet Kenko, the photographs of MarenKlemp (1984) – a Norwegian photographer living in Oslo – are enveloped in a light mist that crystallises her subjects in a temporal dimension alien to reality, rendering them ethereal. The female faces in the series entitled Botanica attempt to emerge from a thick fog, which gives the composition an aura of mystery and delicacy. Compared to the face that remains trapped by the fog, the flowers recurring in all the photographs in the series emerge with greater prominence, managing to emerge completely from the mist. The floral element prevails over the face in intensity and sharpness, almost becoming the main subject. The choice of placing female faces in dialogue with floral elements stems from the photographer Maren Klemp’s passion for botany, who considers the flower to be the bearer of strong symbolism and capable of telling stories.
The flowers chosen by Maren are all in the pink and red palette, with the intention of communicating femininity and sensuality. Peonies, roses, cherry blossoms, poppies and geraniums adorn the faces of the women portrayed, superimposing themselves on them and becoming one with their features. The flowers give the subjects a soul and subjectivity of which they have been deprived, portrayed closed or completely overlaid by the petals of the flowers. The contrast between the immobility of the face and the dynamism of the flowers creates a game of depth that leads the spectator to immerse himself in the fog, trying to solve the mystery that Maren Klemp proposes, investigating the history and feelings of the woman protagonist.
Maren Klemp’s photographs will be exhibited at the group exhibition ImageNation in New York, 10-12 March 2023, curated by Martin Vegas.
Between Athens and Leros, after studies in photography that also touched on Bologna, AlexisVasilikosmakes shots that have in their calm a meditative power for the artist. Vasilikos’ photos revolve around spiritual experiences and appear in many cases as abstract compositions, or in others they visually represent metaphors and concepts from peripatetic philosophy, the philosophy associated with Greece and the birth of Western culture. Alexis Vasilikos brings back to his works that idea of slow life that seems to live in the provinces or only in summer, with the subjects standing motionless in the sun meditating toward points lost in nothingness. The black and white that unifies many of Alexis’ works fosters this suspension of time and the sense of not wanting to define the landscape, a mechanism broken at times by the insertion of chromatic spikes or objects that seem to live by surprise among rocks and asphalt. The shots are an ongoing attempt to break the expectation, but not with eccentricity, rather with subjects that placed in the foreground suggest to the viewer the need to meditate, to go deep with respect to something they do not yet know.
Photographer AmélieChopinetin her shots depicts a world enveloped in femininity, which is reflected in the subjects and in the delicacy of the settings, which describe a melancholically fantastic everyday life. This fantasy is precisely understood as an almost magical product, in which the subjects of find themselves naked in contact with nature or create surreal solutions and scenes with it, a surrealism that the artist defines as “do-it-yourself.” Amélie Chopinet’s shots demonstrate the artist’s extraordinary work and sensitivity especially in the use of color, as well as in the choice of compositions. There is theatricality and a direct relationship between the photograph and the viewer, this wall in particular is broken by the choices of the protagonists of the works, who stare into the camera in a way that is sometimes gentle, in other cases almost investigating, and in still others staring into a void that is even beyond who is observing them at that moment. The Parisian artist’s photographs will be exhibited at the group exhibition ImageNation in New York, March 10-12, 2023 and curated by Martin Vegas.
One Shot is Collater.al’s column that delves into the work of a photographer starting with a single shot that can describe his or her style and imagery. This episode’s guest is PaoloPettigiani, photographer and art director who aims to make the invisible visible through his investigation, expanding the limits of perception through a graphic and visual exploration of the territory. His images, taken with a converted full spectrum infrared camera, offer a perfect dialogue between science and creativity, capturing the electromagnetic spectrum of light which are the not visible to the human eye wavelengths. “Infraland” is the name of the ongoing project he started in 2014 that turns ordinary places into surreal landscapes detached from human perception: the invitation is to question reality as it is seen, to explore everyday life with new enthusiasm, with the aim of telling the process of contemporary perception of nature and the connection of the photographic medium with the stylization of the landscape. His works have been exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions in New York City, Paris, Milan, Berlin and were presented in a variety of digital publications, including The Guardian, The Washington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and Vogue.
Infrared photography is your hallmark, and in this shot we have a wonderful example of it. Exactly, how does infrared photography work? How has it changed with the arrival of digital?
Many thanks Laura, I started shooting in infrared in 2014 and I can confirm that, year after year, this technique has become increasingly central in my personal projects. Infrared photography is a glimpse into the world of the invisible. But how is it possible to show what is invisible? To answer this question we must first understand what colors are and how we see them. The phenomenon of color originates through electromagnetic radiation emitted by sunlight and measured in nanometers. The visible light, that is what our eye perceives, consists of emissions with a wavelength between 400 and 720 nm, where there are the light waves responsible for the visual sensations of the seven colors, or those of the classic rainbow.
Infrared is an electromagnetic radiation that is reflected by chlorophyll with a higher frequency than visible light, between 720 and 1200nm. Under visible light, however, we find ultraviolet light. Both infrared and ultraviolet radiation can impress the sensor of digital cameras going to alter the colors we are used to see. To prevent these waves from reaching the sensor, camera manufacturers mount a filter called low-pass or IR CUT (band pass filter) in front of the sensor so as to block almost completely these radiations and allow the camera to capture only the colors that are perceived by our eyes.
Infrared and visible radiation are often reflected and transmitted by objects in a completely different way: the chlorophyll present in the foliage absorbs a large amount of visible radiation while absorbing only a small amount of IR, reflecting most of it. It is for this reason that shooting infrared we will see the color of most organic elements such as leaves and grass change. The skin is quite transparent to infrared radiation and for this reason it will appear clearer and there are many other types of materials that have a high power of infrared reflection and it is therefore possible that in some cases we will see other shades change elements such as: clothing, wood, rocks or sand.
Today with the advent of digital I can not say that it has become easier to shoot or immediate shooting in infrared. If before, through the use of Kodak Aerochrome it was enough to develop the film in a particular bathroom, now with the digital to get results with a high quality must make a change to the camera sensor making it full-spectrum, that is sensitive to all types of light: UV, visible and IR. Using different types of external filters, the camera can take photos of normal light, infrared light, UV light or any other combination of these. The use of these external filters, specially designed for infrared, allows you to decide the cut of light that you want to capture. On the market there are different types of filters with various cuts of light for infrared photography: with the filters from 720nm to 950nm you have the opportunity to enter the full world of the invisible with low saturated images where the vegetation is slightly colored up to a very intense black and white. There are also filters below the threshold of 720nm that also pass some spectrum of the visible returning images in which both the sky and vegetation are more charged and saturated with colors. The Chrome IR filter has also been recently designed: This filter has been designed to simulate in the most faithful way possible the colors of the famous Kodak Aerochrome film returning directly in the room the image with the color of the red vegetation without having to swap channel in photoshop. The latter is the filter I used to make this shot.
Not all of your photos are made through this technique. In this, for example, what led to the choice to modify it in an infrared image? Is your vision, even before the shot, already set on the possibility of an infrared alteration?In this case, moreover, we are faced with an aerial shot: how did you realize it? Are there any assistants to help you?
Actually this photo was also made using the infrared technique because, in addition to the Canon EOS R, I made the full spectrum modification also on the camera of a DJI drone and through the use of a set of its small filters I can use it to shoot in infrared. In this case I used the Chrome IR filter.
I can say that with years of experience I have developed such a sensitivity to invisible infrared colors that I can in my mind to pre visualize the shot I want to do. Looking at the materials that characterize the landscape I can get an idea of which composition to use to make the most of this technique and, in this case, I was in the Dolomites. It was a long time that I would have liked to take an aerial view of a beautiful mountain road immersed in the woods and I was sure that in this case the contrast between the color of the asphalt and the red of the foliage of the trees would have returned a strong aesthetic to the image. It was enough to wait a moment to make sure that a car passed that helps us understand the real extension of this magnificent road nicknamed “Snake Road”.
The travels in Europe that photographer Francesco Saverio Lopazio (Ascoli Piceno, 1993) makes in recent years stimulate him to work on a language focused on street and urban photography, with a conceptual twist. Lopazio’s shots focus on documenting the life of a place and human emotions, such as one of his first works with a photojournalistic slant titled Estrangement (2017) in which he documents the condition of migrants in the Marche’s reception centers. His research then focused more and more on the analysis of the relationship between man and territory.
His photographs present a harmonious composition, in which organized research and attention to detail are evident. In Francesco Saverio Lopazio’s works, the subject is easily recognizable but at the same time does not dominate the composition, dialoguing in accordance with the surrounding environment. An example of this is the mise-en-scene photograph in which the protagonists are two bare legs emerging from a series of red velvet armchairs. The atypical situation makes the work almost surreal, but the balance of the shot creates a visual normalization.
A defining element of Francesco Saverio Lopazio’s photographs is the search for essence, most evident in his more dynamic shots, which presuppose movement of the subject, the environment or the artist himself. Geese taking flight at sunset, the shepherd Giorgio is at work with his sheep, mountains sprout from a car window.
“In every photo, essentially, there are two different parts, reality and truth, the essence. The reality is the elements that make up a photograph such as roads, subjects, urban or natural elements, but the essence is what engages and affects me in an image. And this feeling is different for everyone, but it provokes emotions because it works on memories, life experiences and identities.” – says the photographer.
The same essence can be perceived in the shots of the Souls in Isolation series, where he investigates the sense of isolation and bewilderment caused by the pandemic, with a style that approaches film photography. Francesco Saverio Lopazio’s photographs will be exhibited at the group exhibition ImageNation in New York, March 10-12, 2023 and curated by Martin Vegas.