portraits

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Photography

Hens and Roosters Fly the Coop and Strut Into the Spotlight in Alex ten Napel's Portraits

March 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Alex ten Napel, shared with permission

“Hens and roosters can’t be directed,” says photographer Alex ten Napel. No matter the situation, the red-faced birds are wholly themselves, lurching from one spot to the next, burying themselves within masses of feathers, and spreading their wings as if they’ll finally lift off the ground despite being notoriously poor fliers. Chickens are known for their awkward gaits and distinct attitudes and are also the latest subjects of ten Napel’s portraiture.

Having focused his lens on people for about 25 years, the Amsterdam-based photographer realized that documenting the fowl occupying his henhouse would be a compelling challenge. This interest culminated in his ongoing Hens and Roosters series, which shines studio lighting on the oddly photogenic creatures and captures their unique mannerisms as they strut around the space. “Photographing became unexpected, exciting, and out of control. I was impressed by these little feathered creatures who had the power to tell me to be patient and to wait for the right moment,” ten Napel shares.

Prints of the moody birds are available on his site, and keep an eye on his Instagram for news about a Hens and Roosters book. You also might enjoy Henji Shin’s antagonistic chickens and these glamour shots.

 

 

 



Photography

Winners of the 2022 World Photography Awards Highlight the Striking Sights of Life Around the Globe

March 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

Thanh Nguyen Phuc. National Awards, Travel, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards. All images shared with permission

The Sony World Photography Awards (previously) garnered a whopping 340,000 entries for its 2022 competition, with subject matter spanning from the magical landscapes of Turkey to an intimate portrait of Burmese siblings. Approximately 170,000 of those original submissions fall under the contest’s National Awards category, which recently announced the top images. The winning collection offers a varied and striking look at the state of contemporary photography and a broader consideration of culture, documenting both the serendipitous and composed sights from 62 countries around the globe. Select photos from the competition will be on view from April 13 to May 2 at Somerset House in London, and you can view the entire collection on the contest’s site.

 

Cigdem Ayyildiz. National Awards, Landscape, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

Edina Csoboth. National Awards, Portraiture, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

Filip Hrebenda. National Awards, Landscape, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

Swe Tun. National Awards, Portraiture, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

Wonyoung Choi. National Awards, Architecture, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

Metha Meiryna. National Awards, Portraiture, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

Raido Nurk. National Awards, Motion, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

Martina Dimunova. National Awards, Portraiture, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

Minko Mihaylov. National Awards, Lifestyle, Winner, 2022, Sony World Photography Awards

 

 



Photography

Conceptual Portraits by Photographer Oye Diran Fuse Raw Emotion and Whimsy

March 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Homegrown.” All images © Oye Diran, shared with permission

When working on location or in the studio, Oye Diran (previously) focuses on the natural grace and emotional impulses of his subjects. The Lagos-born New York-based photographer captures portraits that are refined and composed with natural elements, centering on singular figures set against calm, scenic backdrops or surrounded by flowers and fruits. Whether a personal project or commission for a magazine or fashion brand, his photos are minimal and tinged with whimsical details conveyed through elaborate hairstyles or playful, puppet-like props.

Diran’s stylized shot titled “Samsara,” which shows a figure lying supine with a mass of white blooms, is part of his recent In Between Bonds series that explores the tension between individuality and the collective through expressions of kinship. You can view the entire collection and more of the photographer’s works on Instagram.

 

“Samsara”

A commission for Blanc Magazine

Left: “Baptism.” Right: “Grounded”

“Ebonee”

“Eve”

 

 



Art

Vibrant Curved Lines Flow Through Foster Sakyiamah's Dynamic Paintings

February 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Red Easter Sunday” (2022), 150 x 200 centimeters. All images courtesy of Noldor

A single color grounds the intricate, swirling paintings that compose Foster Sakyiamah’s body of work. Relying on reds, blues, and yellows, the Ghanaian artist renders dancers in choreographed synchronicity and demure women wearing thin lace gloves and wide-brimmed hats. Dressed in clothing that blends into the backdrop, the figures emerge through fields of pulsing, curled lines, which add texture and energy to the dynamic pieces.

Sakyiamah is currently a Noldor artist-in-residence, an Accra-based program designed to support emerging African artists that’s now in its second year. The residency is also an integral part of the newly founded Institute Museum of Ghana, which opens to the public next month. If you’re in Rome, you can see Sakyiamah’s paintings through March 3 at Andrea Festa. Otherwise, take a peek into his process on Instagram. (via Kottke)

 

“Synchronized Blue Motion” (2021), 200 x 200 centimeters

Right: “Abena Green Street” (2022), 80 x 95 centimeters

“Red Dressing Room” (2022), 216 x 216 centimeters

“Synchronized Sun Dance” (2021), 200 x 300 centimeters

“Bloom Sun Dance” (2021), 200 x 300 centimeters

“Elizabeth’s Yellow Sunday” (2022)

 

 



Art

Red Eyes Are Bold Counterparts to Subjects in Shades of Gray in Annan Affotey's Portraits

February 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Annan Affotey, shared with permission

In his sensitive, introspective portraits, Ghanaian artist Annan Affotey (previously) sharpens the contrast between soul and appearance. His works are large in scale and rich with texture, and he often sets figures against solid, monochromatic backdrops with visible brushstrokes. Similar to artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, Affotey renders his subjects’ skin in shades of gray and dresses them in vibrant garments and patterned accessories. The distinctions in color and fabric coincide with the figures’ facial expressions and gestures, all of which the artist uses as a prompt. He says:

The first assumptions made about people are based on sight. So things like skin colour, clothing, accessories, background, setting, and pose dictate emotion. There’s no guarantee those things match the character underneath. We’re often identified by what we’re compared to (or against). My work is a social commentary on this, asking the viewer to take a second look at what they read from my portraits and why.

Using a mix of acrylic and charcoal, Affotey also continues his signature red eyes, which reference his experience of being questioned about his lifestyle when he moved to the U.S. Now more bold, the recurring feature ranges from subtle halos around pupils to bright washes of pigment that spread across the sclera.

Some of Affotey’s figurative pieces are on view at both Arushi Gallery in Los Angeles and PM/AM in London through mid-March, and you can find more on Instagram. He also has two residencies slated in 2022, which will culminate in exhibitions in Saint Paul de Vence, France, opening on May 1 and another in mid-October in London.

 

 

 



Art Photography

In 'Eyes as Big as Plates,' Sculptural Garments Camouflage Subjects in Natural Environments

February 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

Eyes as Big as Plates # Andrea (Outer Hebrides 2019)

Hailing from fifteen countries, the individuals participating in Eyes as Big as Plates have backgrounds as varied as their surroundings: there are zoologists, academics, and librarians; fishermen, wild boar hunters, and Sami reindeer herders; and opera singers, kantele players, and artists. They’re tethered by the ongoing project, which dresses each figure in sculptural wearables made of organic materials that allow them to blend in with the surrounding landscape.

Launched in 2011 by Norwegian-Finnish artist duo Karoline Hjorth and Riitta Ikonen (previously), Eyes as Big as Plates hinges on the idea that it’s essential to explore how humans exist within nature. The portraits center on lone figures partially camouflaged with their backdrops or outfitted with imaginative garments constructed with objects found nearby. Boubou (shown below), for example, is a Senegalese fisherman who wears a mesh shawl of sea creatures, while North Tolsta-based photographer Andrea (above) is almost entirely masked by spindly branches and peat near her home. Every portrait comes after a conversation with the subject and a collaborative effort to find the proper location and attire.

The duo has now compiled dozens of photos in a forthcoming book that marks the 10th anniversary of the project. A follow-up to their sold-out first volume, Eyes as Big as Plates 2 is comprised of 52 new portraits, conversations with those featured, and field notes from their travels. “While transcribing the interviews for each of the collaborators here, we got to experience what many of them often say is the most exciting part: ‘ … just being there, looking at a familiar landscape like you’ve never looked at it before. Letting the surroundings wash over you,'” they write.

Eyes as Big as Plates 2 is currently available for pre-order on the project’s site. Some of the series is on view through June at the landmarked entry at 200 5th Avenue in New York and will be up this May at London’s Barbican and at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto in September.

 

Eyes as Big as Plates # Boubou (Tasmania 2019)

Eyes as Big as Plates # Liv (Norway 2017)

Eyes as Big as Plates # Momodou Toucouleur (Senegal 2019)

Eyes as Big as Plates # Mr Oh (South Korea 2017)

Eyes as Big as Plates # Niels (Faroe Islands 2015)

Eyes as Big as Plates # Scotty (Tasmania 2019)

Eyes as Big as Plates # Sinikka (Norway 2019)