"Stay Inspired" is a weekly post on my Facebook Page where I share the work of an inspirational photographer or artist every Thursday. I've been doing this every week since 2013 so there is now a vast number of outstanding creatives from all genres and disciplines that we've looked at over the years. In fact, I’ve been sharing these for so long now that even I have forgotten some of these great artists I share at the beginning. Because so many of these have been lost to time, I thought why don't I try and collate them all into one place for not only myself, but for you as well.
This is the sixth compilation, so if you missed the previous ones and are interested in an inspiration overload, here’s the links to them;
These new posts will look at a collection of 10 artists each and they should prove to be an excellent resource for not only inspiration but motivation as well. With each artist shared, I will include a short overview of their work including things to consider and look at whilst on their portfolio.
Please bear in mind that these opinions are mine and as such are clearly very subjective. I could just share a link but I believe a more personal point of view of another artists’ work may be of more value to you over simply stating their name and age for example. But this does mean you may not always agree with me and I would encourage that. Art is subjective and like music, the best art does not appeal to everybody.
Inspirational Work from 10 Photographers and Artists 006
Nicolas Guérin is typically a portrait shooter that spends most of his time shooting cinema legends in his Montreuil studio but although there is nothing wrong with his portrait work, it is not what interested me about his work.
On his site you'll see a section called 'Polaroid Archives', in here he showcases large format Polaroids, predominantly of nudes but with a little fashion too. What struck me was the fact that nearly all of these are showcased using a technique called 'emulsion lifting'. This is a technique I have been experimenting with myself and I will certainly be sharing the process and the results once I have more 'favourable' final products. The technique involves separating the very emulsion (which is ridiculously delicate in my opinion) and transferring it to another substrate. This could be anything from wood, metal or paper but it looks like Guérin is transferring his to heavy art paper giving his images that lovely texture and timeless feel.
Once again we go back to yet another awesome photographer from Russia. Those guys seem to get bored pretty quickly because Alexey Dovgulya loves to mix things up with his style.
Alexey has a very clean style for his commercial work with the likes of Rolls Royce, but in his 'Creative,Fashion, Beauty' section he certainly experiments with some truly gorgeous and creative techniques including some brilliant long exposure imagery.
Alexey quotes all the workshops he's attended on his about page, and one that sticks out is the Oleg Ti workshop. Oleg Ti is renowned for his long exposure techniques and a photographer that I have showcased here previously for that very reason. It would seem that his teachings have certainly left an impact on Alexey's work though as he's got some excellent examples of it and well worth checking out if you're ready for some inspiration to get experimenting with your photography again.
Big thanks to Berni Palumbo from Berni Palumbo Photography for this weeks showcase photographer.
Javier Vallhonrat was born in Madrid in 1953 and has an eclectic background of education. He has a Bachelor of Arts and Psychology, MA in Integrative Humanistic Psychotherapy and a Gestalt Psychotherapist (those looking for deeper reading on the subject of semiotics and how we ‘create’ should look at Gestalt further).
Vallhonrat has a strong style with colour and although his work is very colourful, his recent images all fall under the same muted tones and are not overly saturated. To me this look helps to keep his imagery relatable and he hasn't fallen for the 'hyper real' saturation that is so poplar at the moment by other photographers.
Whilst you're there, take the time to visit his 'beauty' section, this to me is what I really love. In here he has some older works from the 90's and it’s within these projects that we see some phenomenal film photography.
Ironically it was way back then that he flirted with heavy saturation and it's here where we see some of the true qualities of film that in my opinion are still not yet fully realised with modern digital cameras.
Note: Want to see how a photographic style can change? Click on his ‘Overview’ page when you’re here to see what Javier is working on now :O !
Lovin' it! Big thanks to Rebecca Lewis from Primary Talent International for showing this guys work to me. Head on over to Brian Ziff's website to check out his fantastic imagery. There's a huge gamut of styles being shown here, so if you don't find something you like when you arrive, you can poke you're eyes out as they're clearly broken!
Apart from the gorgeous lighting and subtle toning there’s also some slightly heavier digital manipulation going on which I'm not usually a fan of, but Brian keeps it minimal and complimentary over being the focal point. In fact there is actually some pretty cool digi techniques being used that I might have to visit myself.
As we continue to celebrate 'instant' film photography in this collection, I thought it only fitting to share surely one of the more well known fans of the craft, Emily Soto.
Emily is currently based out of New York and has garnered a colossal following of devoted fans who clearly love her playful and emotive style.
Although I love Emily's more commercial work it's still the amazing 'instant' imagery that drew me to her photography as the timeless feel of her shoots is only heightened by the faded and bleached look her polaroid camera captures.
Emily also has the rather enviable position of being 'supported' by the Impossible Project instant film and as a result she even gets the opportunity to shoot whole campaigns using their ever growing line of (expensive) film and products. Head on over to her site to check out the results.
Many thanks indeed to Zuzia Zawada for showing her work to me as its apparent I've clearly been missing out thus far.
I'm continually fascinated by modern photography's persistent path away from art and creativity. I personally feel this is because most modern day photographers are actually not artists themselves, but simply just photographers. It’s obviously open for debate as to whether this is in fact a bad thing, but either way it's still nice to come across an 'artists' photography portfolio every once in a while.
Sergio Kurhajec displays a very unique ability to actually see art in everything. For example I went through his 'beauty' and ‘women' portfolios and I was struck with how many of the shots of simple beauty I would have missed myself had they been presented to me.
He displays a lot of images that he would not have planned to take, in fact he couldn't of planned them even if he'd wanted to, they are pure expressions of light and form unique only to that moment. If that’s not art then I’m not sure what is.
Take a look to see what I mean and see if you would have spotted those frames yourself. Also pay close attention his juxtaposition of his presentation, there's always two shots on screen and it’s interesting to see how they work to compliment one another.
Edit: In 2018 Sergio Kurhajec ‘updated’ his website. As a result nearly all of his older personal imagery that was (and in my personal opinion) more spontaneous and genuine has now been removed. Everybody’s style adapts and changes overtime so I understand the change but just be mindful that his current site (2019) is very commercial and clinical. Please feel free to visit some of his older work elsewhere on the internet to see what I was originally referring to. I did find a mini collection of some his older pieces from an old Designer Collective feature back in 2012. Take a look here
New York based Michael David Adams is clearly a very talented fashion photographer but its his underwater photography that is truly amazing.
The link here takes you straight to his 'Underwater' section so head on over and check them out.
Has anybody else done any underwater shoots? I know I was on an underwater shoot with Wayne Kahn many years ago and there was a million and one 'additional' things to think about. From the water density being higher than air (your lens appears to magnify everything) to the loss of red wavelengths making all your shots blue or desaturated at best. So bearing all this in mind Michael's shots are even more impressive to me.
Big thanks to Wayne Kahn Photography for sharing these absolutely amazingly colourful photographs with me.
Edit 2019: As proof that a style grows whether you like it or not; since I shared this site a couple of years ago, Mike now has a dedicated site to showcase just his unwatered work. It looks like a lot of big commercial clients have loved what they’ve seen too. The links in this post have now been updated to take you direct to that site.
First and foremost; Karine and Oliver take some fantastically stark, passionate, energetic and above all characteristic images. Dig a little deeper though and have a look at the roots of this visual interpretation and you will see that Karine and Oliver are one and the same, not just a collaboration but a devoted partnership of love behind the lens.
The two have been working under the simple title of KO for a couple of years now but the collaboration is a slightly different one to what you might expect. Photographic partnerships of love are not unheard of, but KO don't have defined roles, in fact they appear to shoot simultaneously side by side. Its impossible to know from their portfolio who has shot what and thus stripping their creative individuality… but does this matter?
Is this partnership of love behind the lens the idealised version of collaboration, a catalyst for motivation and camaraderie, or would this stripping of creative individuality be your idea of counter productive and just one collaboration too far? I know where I stand on this but take a look at KO's work and let me know how you feel about it.
Edit 2019: It would appear that in a recent update, KO has decided to personalise their image a little more by referring to their partnership more as Karine and Oliver over simply KO.
So this is actually the guy that ‘covertly’ inspired me a lot in my more recent projects and experiments.
I say covertly because I wasn't aware of his name or even the fact that I was inspired by multiple projects of his and still not knowing they were done by the same photographer.
Mikael Jansson is quite literally a legend in the photographic world and has had more books published and run more international exhibitions than I actually thought possible. In fact if the guy was producing any more visual stimuli he'd be on the verge of propaganda.
But with all that work out there, he still retains an incredibly strong style and it's rare that I see somebody so adept at mastering crushingly strong, hard light like he does.
Mikael has a way of adding so much to an image but still allows the subject to shine through. Think about how many photographers you know who could shoot literally anybody in front of them, not models, not celebrities, no makeup, no nothing and still take an compelling and arresting shot of them. I'm guessing your list isn't long, but Mikael Jansson should be on it.
Mikael worked with master photographer Avedon in the late 80's and he credits him for his style today. It's certainly clear to see the effect Avedon had on his work and it's particularly apparent in Mikael's black and white work.
So which shots influenced me? Well you may well remember the controversy over the H&M swimwear collection a few years back, it was those deep dark colours with seemingly impossible saturation that influenced some of my colour work. The following year he did another campaign with H&M, this time it was lingerie but the soft 'shoot through' style and movement was something that certainly stood out to me for a long time.
I know it’s a long one tonight and probably nobody but my mum will have made it this far, but definitely take the time to go through Mikael's site, there is a vast amount of work in there and it damn near spans the generations.
We see 'good' photographers all the time and we are bombarded by ‘good’ images all day every day. This is especially apparent for the creatives among us, as we make a habit of surrounding ourselves with inspiration and the longer we do this the harder it is for a truly great image or a truly great photographer to stand out.
Today was one of those days where I saw some truly great images and to look at Ivor Paanakker's work is to reset the bar once again of what it means to take truly 'great' photographs.
I love Ivor's work for many reasons, but it's rare to find a photographer that really blurs the line between fashion and art in this way.
Paanakker's fashion images are very grandiose and picturesque and he creates a sense of scale by treating his outstanding locations as an equal character in his shots alongside his models. Something that has to be tricky to pull off when your models are as stunning as this.
Although his fashion work is amazing it’s his nude work that really stands out to me. We see a lot of nude photographers emerging these days, but all to often I see them rely on the models beauty alone and actually add very little of themselves.
Ivor's nude work is an amazing example of what can be achieved when you combine stunning beauty and outstanding photographic talent.
As with all of my posts, I welcome your comments and thoughts on the artists I've shared here today. But although all of the photographers and creatives I've mentioned above come from my own personal tastes and appreciations, I still feel they are all incredibly varied, which ultimately means there will be at least one persons work here that you'll love.
Granted we've really only looked at 'people' photographers including, portraits, fashion and editorial shooters with none of the other photographic genres being covered, but it's still incredible to me as to how varied this single discipline can be.
I think one of the core things I want you to take away from this series is how another person interprets their subject into a photograph.
Sure you can simply reverse engineer the lighting or copy a pose of an image, but I hope you take away a lot more than simply the mechanics of a photograph.
Look at their style and see how that is impacting their work for the better. Look for similarities in pose, expression, subject, lighting, theme and colour. All of these things play a role in any image and by appreciating that in others work we can be better equipped to express it into our own images.
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