Isabella Connelley. The Dead Victorians.
Shelter from the Storm portraits by Rosie Holtom
Non-stereotypical portraits of homeless people that show they are human beings just like anyone else.
Jekaterina Nikitina. Self 2010-2012.
Comfort In The Presence Of Strangers
The thought of approaching a total stranger and chatting to them in order to take their portrait used to be a daunting prospect, but it gets easier the more you do it. Smile, relax and take time to listen to their story.
Now I find that some of the most interesting people are those I have yet to meet.
Dark surrealism in Georgiy’s Alexandrov photography
Russian artist Georgiy Alexandrov creates stunning and dark surreal world with his photo camera. His works usually includes existence of some bigger powers and evil.
Profili di Milano (Profiles of Milan) by Francesco Paleari
Black and white portrait series that combines the architecture of Milan with the profile photos of its residents.
fie voigt andersen (2013)
“Let me repeat. I have not read all the work of this present generation of writing. I have not had time yet. So I must speak only of the ones I do know. I am thinking now of what I rate the best one, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, perhaps because this one expresses so completely what I have tried to say. A youth, father to what will—must—someday be a man, more intelligent than some and more sensitive than most, who—he would not even have called it by instinct because he did not know he possessed it because God perhaps had put it there, loved man and wished to be a part of mankind, humanity, who tried to join the human race and failed. To me, his tragedy was not that he was, as he perhaps thought, not tough enough or brave enough or deserving enough to be accepted into humanity. His tragedy was that when he attempted to enter the human race, there was no human race there. There was nothing for him to do save buzz, frantic and inviolate, inside the glass wall of his tumbler, until he either gave up or was himself, by himself, by his own frantic buzzing, destroyed.”
Rohingya - stateless and unwanted by Artur Gutowski
Artur Gutowski is student of Polish National Film School. His interests are primarly related to journalistic and documentary photography. Author documented human condition in Africa, Asia and North America. Arturs subject is the man and his position in the modern world. These photographs were taken in the Kutupalong and Shaplapour camps on the Myanmar-Bengali border. The place where the conditions in the camp are more desperate than in any other area where human Rights Watch organization is active.
Although I adore children, I dread it whenever a proud parent pulls out a commercial portrait. I brace for the inevitable: kids wearing blindingly-bright clothes and posed against a garish background, staring at me with frozen smiles.
My confused eyes look everywhere except at the children’s faces. And the people who produce these ghastly images call themselves “Children’s Photographers”? They’d be better off photographing still-lifes.
Recently, however, I discovered someone who is a children’s photographer in the true sense. Patrisha McLean of Camden, Maine creates magical, realistic portraits of children using her artist’s eye, her journalist’s experience and her keen love of nature.
McLean’s outdoor portraits focus on her subjects’ expressions and personalities. For this photographer, children are not only an object of love but also a beautiful manifestation of nature, to be studied in detail and have their images preserved for eternity.
During her photo shoots, McLean enters her subjects’ world. Instead of directing kids, she encourages them to run around and be themselves, play dress-up, and generally take the lead in their own photo session. She’ll even run after the energetic kids, which is no easy task when you’re toting a large professional film camera! Patrisha McLean’s spontaneous, un-posed portraits are the antithesis of garish department-store photos.
Like many children’s photographers, McLean became interested in portraiture after becoming a mother. Her early portraits (above), though unrefined in comparison to her later work, reveal an uncanny ability to capture un-posed innocence.
This little girl, with her sleepy eyes and drooping rose, looks as if she just got out of bed and has no idea what she’s doing in a photograph. The image fades away at the edges, like its subject’s fleeting youth. This monochrome portrait is so heart-breakingly shy and sweet that it becomes an indictment of the ugliness of commercial color portraits and their failure to capture the essential beauty of children.
As McLean’s interest in portraiture grew, she began studying photography and taking pictures of her children’s friends. Within a few years, she became a professional.
Wisely, Patrisha McLean has never attempted to work in color. Her universe is a monochrome universe of children romping in fields, thickets, and woods full of natural light and texture. McLean’s gorgeous commissioned portraits never fail to capture the ephemeral nature and magic of childhood.
Though she still does commissioned work on a limited basis, McLean is now focusing on her fine art series Flower Girls, with the intent of publishing a book in the near future.
The major theme emerging from the Flower Girls series is McLean’s fascination with the journey of the maiden, from birth through adolescence. Throughout her career, as McLean’s work progressed and her own children approached adolescence, her portraits of young girls became increasingly complex, symbolic, and even dark.
Nora with Old Roses (2003; top) is a lovely but simple comparison of a young girl with the heirloom roses McLean loves.
In contrast, Riley with Old Roses, Dreaming (2006; bottom) is a more complex study. There’s more visual motion in this portrait, perhaps suggesting impending womanhood and its monthly ebbs and flows.
Riley is dressed in black and her eyes are closed. If McLean didn’t tell us otherwise with her title, we’d assume that she’s dead. And, of course, that’s part of McLean’s point— the girl must die in order to make way for the woman.
As McLean’s work continued, her backgrounds became more threatening and the girls’ expressions more grim.
Often, I find her playing with our expectations of seeing a “Flower Girl” in the traditional sense— at a wedding. At first glance Frances with Old Roses (2006; top) could be a portrait of a little girl in a wedding party.
But as I look more closely, I wonder why Frances’ expression is so tense and the bouquet is clutch to her chest like a shield. Is it because someday soon, if she survives the difficult road to adulthood, she’ll be the “de-flowered” bride and not the Flower Girl?
In Clara with Rhododendrons (2006; bottom) the background is even more oppressive, and Clara, wearing a veil and a tense expression, is pressed and stifled by the vegetation around her. She seems about to disappear from view. Her torturous road to adulthood seems to weigh heavily on McLean’s mind.
McLean’s magnum opus, however, is her 2002 portrait Hillary with Hydrangeas. The first time I saw this portrait, I gasped with astonishment. Is this Dante’s Beatrice, gazing calmly at me from a place of eternal darkness? Will the shadowy background swallow her? Or will the bright, angel-shaped flowers, which Hillary holds out like a candle, protect her?
McLean has produced something I would never have thought possible— a portrait of a Goth Flower Girl. Light and dark, yin and yang, are in perfect balance. A picture of a girl holding flowers somehow transcends its original meaning to become a statement about the dualistic nature of our universe.
Beware of Patrisha McLean’s work. It’s potent. If you spend too much time looking with it, you may never again be able to look at a department-store portrait.
All photographs copyright 2013 by Patrisha McLean, reproduced with her permission. Image resolution has been lowered for online publication. To contact McLean or see more of her work, click on the link below.
Copyright 2013 by Ann Marcaida