Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Mike Mandel

In 1975 photographer Mike Mandel embarked on a rather brilliant project: to satirise the then-new phenomenon of the fine art photography community being consumed by the larger art world and commercial culture in general. To do this he travelled around America with a bunch of baseball paraphernalia - caps, gloves, bats, masks and more - and photographed as many of his colleagues as he could persuade, kitted-out and posing as baseball players. He then produced trading cards of these Baseballer-Photographers, complete with stats on the reverse of the cards, and sold them in packs complete with a stick of gum through galleries and museums throughout the country. The stats listed - along with more conventional details like weight and height - categories such as 'favourite camera' and 'favourite film'.
Mandel got some real heavyweights to participate in this project - legends like Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Harry Callahan, Ed Ruscha, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Minor White, Lewis Baltz and Duane Michals are all 'at bat' - and the resulting series is unexpected, hilarious and also very cool.
Ironically, whilst Mandel set out to satirise the commercialisation of fine art photography, these cards - especially a complete set - are now extremely rare and sought-after collectors' items in their own right.
A couple of years after this project, Mandel went on to cement his reputation as a conceptual force in photography when he created Evidence with Larry Sultan, one of the seminal art photography projects of the Twentieth Century.

All images © Mike Mandel

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Patrick Hruby

Patrick Hruby's saturated silkscreens are a weird blend of the occult and the psychedelic, looking like the visions of a shaman with deft Illustrator skills. Based in LA, Hruby's work centres around natural forms, plants, creatures and faces, in sometimes-sickly acid colours, often overprinted to rich effect. They feel like a modern take on California psychedelia, with some similarity to the work of the Mission School artists, especially Clare Rojas.
Hruby has done commercial work for clients such as Urban Outfitters - creating a typeface for them - and also has a line of retro-looking tableware, but its when he lets the darker side of his imagination run wild that he seems to create his most interesting work.

Eye Of The Forest


Tiger Trifecta

Cheshire Plant


Portrait Of My Father As A Falcon

Ice Flower


All images © Patrick Hruby

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Phillip Low

Vancouver-born, London-schooled, Manhattan-based; Phillip Low is an artist who creates beautiful, simple geometric forms from acrylic which you feel compelled to handle, hold to the light and admire.
Trained as a fashion stylist, and a graduate of the redoubtable St Martin's School of Art, Low pulled together various creative ideas he had been exploring - accessories, plastics, fine art - and started producing these handmade, mesmerising pieces. Working with live perspex and acrylic, he carefully handcrafts the forms so that they glow and radiate different colours when viewed from different angles. These are objects that demand and reward interaction.
Available from Maryam Nassir Zadeh in New York, Low has also produced a series of limited prints of a few of photographer Uday Kak's stiking images of the trapezoids.

Sculptures © Phillip Low, photography © Uday Kak

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Turf Feinz

Four members of the legendary Turf Feinz crew from Oakland moving, dancing, the rain.

Watch in full-screen in awe.

Film © YAK Films

Friday, 26 November 2010

Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello

Sofia and Mauro are an Argentinian duo who create sharp, quirky and sexy fashion stories for numerous glossy editorial titles. Numero in particular has been a great forum for them, and they've contributed main fashion stories to almost every issue for years now.
The duo (once a married couple, but now separated yet still the closest of friends) explore many different themes and ideas of female sexuality in their work, managing to explore fetishes and fantasies that are provocative without ever being crass or explicit. They also realise interesting and intimate portraits, but its their fashion work that really stands out.
Photographic duos seem increasingly prevalent, and their working dynamic is often complicated - sometimes one will style and have the ideas whilst the other concentrates more on the technical side of capturing the pictures. Sofia and Mauro prefer to take it in turns to shoot, Mauro starting and shooting for 2-3 minutes, then stepping back whilst Sofia starts working with her camera. They talk and discuss what's working and what's not whilst they're shooting, then take a break and agree on whether they have got the shot. Later, they'll edit the images together and agree, almost unerringly, on which is their strongest image.
Shown below is a selection of some of their standout images from the last few years.

All images © Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello