I am a huge fan of Martin Parr. He excels at taking photographs that capture the idiosyncrasies particular to the lifestyles of the social strata in his native Britain. His ability to see extraordinary detail and capture humorous juxtapositions in the most mundane of moments is a special gift. In addition to the satirical commentary carried through his images, the photographs are aesthetically compelling and distinctive. Unafraid to get up close, Parr often works with a macro lens and a ring flash, giving the images an uncanny clarity and luster. The visual effect is commonly seen in fashion photography, (recall Viviane Sassen’s work I wrote about earlier this year), takes on a disconcerting quality when applied to the types of subjects we are not used to seeing in such proximity— overweight, middle-aged white folk lacking the protective coatings and disguises of professional models.
I am well acquainted with Parr’s photographs of resorts, beaches and hot-spots of mass tourism, but the Signs of the Times series is new to me. These photographs were taken in the early 90′s, when Martin Parr was asked to be the stills photographer for a BBC documentary of the same name. A collaboration between BBC, Nicholas Barker and Martin Parr, the show set out to documents the décor and tastes of 50 diverse British homes. Now, the series is exhibited in a solo exhibition for the first time at London’s Beetles + Huxley, in association with Parr’s representatives, Rocket Gallery. Humorous, awkward and kitsch, the photographs uncover some painfully twee florals and frills, accompanied by a frightful assortment of carpets. Hilarious quotes from the home-owners feature as the photograph’s titles, framing each image with a personal insight.
Let’s face it, we all love a good nosey into the lives of our fellow human beings. If you can’t make it to Beetles + Huxley, you can satisfy your voyeuristic urges and 90s bad-taste nostalgia by viewing more photographs here.
I discovered Daria Tuminas in an article giving an overview of 24 young Russian photographers. Her featured work was one of the stand-out images for me, a photograph from her series Ivan and the Moon. The series follows the lives of two teenage brothers, living in a small village in northern Russia. Tuminas’ became close friends with them throughout the process of developing the body of work, and this is evident in the disarming openness of these boys to participating in her project. We are drawn into a world of slow village life, mystical beauty, strange apparitions. What seem like simple, quiet moments from daily life are interlaced with something otherworldly. It is as though they are constantly hovering on the threshold to another realm, one foot in this world, the other in a place where distant memories and pagan legends are alive and thriving.
It is difficult to tell to what extent the photographs have been preplanned and set up, which is what gives them their magic. Ivan and his younger brother, nicknamed “Moon”, take to the camera with natural ease, slipping in and out of character. Daria Tuminas studied Russian literature and folklore, before shifting her focus to photography as a method of archiving oral history and tales. She continues her research and writing practice, and has recently co-curated Undercover, an exhibition of Dutch photography which looks like it would have been a fascinating one to navigate through.
Her current photographic project is currently in progress, with more images being released soon, you have a sneak peak here.
Animal lovers, brace yourselves for some bittersweet images. The photographs from Annie Marie Musselman’s series Finding Trust focus on patients at the Sarvey Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. A couple hours drive from Seattle, Musselman’s home, the good people at the center take in hundreds of injured critters from the wild, nursing them to health. Finding Trust is personal project that was shot over seven years, during which time Musselmann made weekly trips to volunteer at the center and take photographs.
The longevity of her relationship with this place is evident in the images. I have never come across animal photography that is brimming so much with compassion, tenderness and intimate, complex emotion. She treats these animals with the same respect she would show any human subject—these are serious portraits. The magnificence, intelligence and rich character of each one of these creatures shines through. Their beauty is starkly contrasted with the unnatural surroundings of a scruffy human-built center, obviously in need of some TLC itself.
The photographs have a gorgeous depth and quality of light, despite often obviously being quick snapshots, capturing a passing moment. Annie Musselman does not falter at showing pain and anguish—for some of the patients this will be their resting place. For me, the most touching image is that of an eagle, its head resting on a bright blue towel. The photo is cropped to lead our focus to the expression in its clear brown eyes. I haven’t been in close proximity to birds very much, and I was struck by the intensity of feeling held in this gaze: the fear, sadness and immense dignity of the majestic bird.
I can’t speak highly enough of Annie Musselman. You must see the rest of this series on her website, and maybe even buy the recently published book. She also has a series on wolves, commissioned from The Getty Images Grant For Good and one that documents baby orangutans. Just you try and keep your eyes dry looking through these!
The beginning, the creation and the life of RUM, a band of three guys who have the mission of “mastering” brazilian rock.
About the hard ships of life that we all go through