Mark Leibowitz’s Backstage

Mark Leibowitz is an LA photographer whose portfolio blends fashion, portraiture, reportage and travel. But the photos that caught me eye are his “backstage” images taken from  coverage of fashion shows. I’ve never been backstage at a fashion event, I’d like to but haven’t. I imagine these photos, however, are the next best thing. He manages to capture the pure energy of the night. Garments flying by creating color fields, faces blurring into nothing but shades of skin tone, melding together both to create a collective memory. Almost as if you’re seeing several peoples perspective on the moment at once.

It’s also New Years Eve, so I need to get off the computer and bid you farewell until next year. If your night manages to come anywhere close to the energy and love coming through these images I think you’ll have brought in the new year with success. Cheers and happy New Year!

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Maria Kallin: Day dreaming a Christmas walk

Maria Kallin is a photographer out of Sweden who has the ability to make everything she shoots look delicious. With the exception of the birds above, I want to eat all that she photographs knowing full well it may not be edible, yet still hoping a taste would transport me into the color field dream world she captures around her subjects. I chose these photos from among her rather large portfolio because they so nicely embody this time of year, at least here in the Midwest. They seize a certain chill in the air but manage to leave you with a warmth scarcely felt outside the holidays. Looking at this sequence of images I imagine a Christmas Day walk along the edge of the woods, snow crunching below taking special care to freeze these memories in time. Perhaps I’m idealizing these a bit much but as I’ve said before, I love to day dream, and these made me forget what I was doing for 20 minutes, and to me that’s a successful photograph. And a successful 20 minutes at that.

You can also check out her etsy shop where Maria has a number of prints for sale. Found via designworklife.

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At the Hour of Our Death

There are few things in life that we as a culture tend to shy away from, death is one of them. Talking about it is rarely done and thinking about it, even, seems to have such a negative connotation attached to it. I personally try not to dwell on it as there is too much good in life to experience, but understanding it and accepting it as part of life I think is important. It helps take some of there fear out of it. That’s part of what photographer Sarah Sudhoff is trying to do with her work. Looking at her images of death stains above at the very least confronts you. And hopefully makes you stop for a moment and think. There can be beauty in all things, even death. It depends entirely on how you choose to look at it.

Death, like birth, is part of a process. However, the processes of death –- the events leading up to the end of life, the moment of one’s last breath, and the aftermath of death — are often shielded from view. Today in Western society most families leave to a complete stranger the responsibility of preparing a loved one’s body for its final resting place. Traditional mourning practices, which allowed for the creation of Victorian hair jewelry or other memento mori items, have fallen out of fashion. Now the stain of death is quickly removed, and the scene where a death occurs is cleaned and normalized. As Phillipe Aries writes, “Society no longer observes a pause; the disappearance of an individual no longer affects its continuity”. The modern means of dealing with death promises to shield mourners from the most graphic aspects of death, yet the emotional and psychological impact of such loss lingers long after any physical evidence of this process has been erased.

You can see/read more from her series At the Hour of Our Death here.

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Wanderlust: Get out there and live

Inspired by Stefan Sagmeister’s TED talk, Wanderlust, is four minutes of beauty captured by a couple as they traveled through South America, Europe, and New Zealand. I must admit I’m entirely jealous of their experience yet grateful they shared it with the world in such a beautifully edited way. I know I’ve been severely slacking on the posts here lately and I wish I could say its because I’ve been off exploring the world. While I have done a little traveling, much of my time has been spent in front of a computer screen either working or living vicariously through others. However, I think the latter needs to change.

I’ve recently begun reading Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature on a complete whim and to my delight, it’s absolutely amazing. I find myself in awe of nearly every passage and have to constantly set it aside to process his well composed thoughts. The quotation below is from the introduction and I happened to read it around the same day as viewing Wanderlust. Both seem to be poignant reminders that I/we shouldn’t allow life to simply pass by. There are too many beautiful things to experience.

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.

-Introduction to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature

While I realize that reading Emerson now is contradictory to his own ideas, I still find it inspiring. So I think I’ll consider it supplemental to my own life and not seeing it through his eyes. That’s my rationale, but you’re of course entitled to your own.

The sun shines to-day also, so get out there and live.

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Patrick Winfield’s Polaroid Composites

It should be no secret by now that I’m a fan of polaroids. Their ability to take an subject matter and apply to it a distinct nostalgia is unmatched. I’m also a pretty huge fan of nature and collage which made me instantly drawn to these polaroid composites by New York artist Patrick Winfield. He’s been working with polaroids, grids and other mixed media to create collages for a few years now, but out of his current portfolio the composited landscapes, for me, stand apart. I feel like I’m privileged enough to glimpse into someone’s memory of an afternoon’s stroll, each image acting as an instant of time. A glance at the sky, a cloud, a quick look at a pond, a moss speckled boulder, all make up the whole of someone’s experience. In his interview with Dazed Digital, he speaks of a push/pull effect these have on a viewer, which is exactly how I take them in, as memory snippets versus the collective experience. Thats the beauty of art, you get to think of it however you like.. to quote Winfield, it’s “about the journey.”

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Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010