Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Recent Developers

Jan Saudek


Jan Saudek is a Czech born art photographer, he has gained a reputation for controversy. Saudek's work is often full of sexual and violent imagery often containing political metaphors. The majority of his work has fell subject to censorship attempts in the west particularly during the 1990s. Saudek's work retains sensibility and some of his work has been used in popular culture especially that of album covers (The Beautiful South etc).

Saudek hid from the communist police early in his career to continue to work out of a cellar. Saudek might shock most people, but I find even some of his more alarming images very impressive both conceptually and visually.

Lauren E. Simonutti

Lauren E. Simonutti died this year after complications with her mental illness, during 2006 she started hearing voices and was diagnosed with "bipolar with schizoaffective disorder". Through her photography she transcribes these periods of isolation and depression through her cleverly composed images. She worked exclusively with film but does not rule out digital photography. The following quotations are taken from an internet e-mail with Simonutti published on Lens Culture.

"As for my working technique: All work is 100% digital free. Any manipulation has been done either in camera (occasionally), or in darkroom (usually).

Let me clarify that I have nothing against digital. I do not desire to disparage, denigrate or disrespect it. I simply prefer to get my hands wet." - Lauren E. Simonutti 

Simonutti struck by her illness remained isolated for the last few years of her life. There's a real Sylvia Plath feel to her deteriation, she is both poetic and artistic, this can be seen in her writing and also in the other-wordly body of work she left behind. Simonutti wanted to capture her mental deteriation, she commented further on this "I have reached the point where if I do not have a photograph of something I cannot be certain it happened. So, locked inside the house with nothing else left, I shoot this. Heart & mind, hallucination & dream. I figure it could go one of two ways — I will either capture my ascension from madness to as much a level of sanity for which one of my composition could hope, or I will leave a document of it all, in the case that I should lose." - Lauren E. Simonutti

Her dark introspective work and tragic ending to her life is intruiging. I find her work eerie, I can see a real victorian influence and  I particularly like her use of colour tone and composition. Simonutti's preferred palette was sepia, silver bleach and selenium. All of which were applied by hand using brushes, sometimes these tones were applied incorrectly, as she known herself to spill chemicals while developing photographs.   


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