Monochrome photography is considered the purest form of photography and, in the hands of an inspired artist, it can transform reality. In this article we explore the work of five young visual artists who, through their psychoanalytical approach to photography, have managed to do exactly this: give reality a different form and feeling.
SUBTLE FEELINGS OF MELANCHOLY AND LONELINESS.
While refusing to be labelled as a photographer, Hungarian artist NOELL OSZVALD uses this medium to channel her emotions. OSZVALD has produced a collection of striking black a white photography focused on form, composition and content. High contrast shadows and ghostly landscapes create a dark and emotional ambiance portrayed with minimalist precision.
OSZVALD intriguing compositions rely on pure straight lines. The impeccable geometric interactions and the severe contrasts between light and dark paint an eerie atmosphere which underlies a rich and complex inner world. The resulting sobriety acts as a breeding ground to a complex melange of subtle feelings derived from her melancholy and loneliness.
The contrasts which are displayed within her work merge the surroundings with an overpowering sensitivity which draws one into an ominous calmness. The result is accented by her conscious resistance to colour, electing instead for a monochromatic palette that allows her viewers to find their own meaning and interpretation.
CONVEYING THE INNER THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.
Different people have different mechanism for coping with isolation and anxiety, and American artists CHRISTIAN HOPKINS and EDWARD HONAKER found in photography a cathartic way to manage their inner thoughts. Having been diagnosed with mood disorder in their youth, these two photographers portrayed in thought-provoking images their personal experiences. Their work is rich of symbolism and an inspiration to others to overcome the culturally ingrained stigma that men shouldn’t talk about their emotions. Their photos turn their feelings into something that can be seen and reveal a vulnerability that speaks to just about everyone.
Loneliness and emotional turmoil are a permanent presence in CHRISTIAN HOPKINS evocative images. No matter how fantastic the subject is, the shadows, the flushed colours and the position of the subject, HOPKINS himself, contribute to the darkness and sadness in the overall tone. These characteristics also contribute to the overwhelming power in each photo which underlies a rich and complex inner world.
In his work EDWARD HONAKER presents is subjects’ face blurred, covered or distorted, a powerful symbolism of his feelings of suffocation and drowning. Falling, distortion and immersion in water are common themes in his work. In the photos he is always rather well dressed, often wearing a suit. This is to portray the idea that although normally we stereotype those who seem successful as well adjusted, success is not inconsistent with mental disorder.
EXPLORING THE THEME OF HUMAN ISOLATION.
Guided by his subconsciousness, American photographer BEN ZANK crafts evocative portraits that explore the theme of human isolation and a longing to connect with others. His work often portrays figures as physically encumbered, with faces obscured or turned away from the camera. Minimalist in character, his compositions direct the viewer’s attention into the subject, revealing all the layers of the image, sometimes provoking, other times more melancholic.
Thriving on spontaneity, ZANK work conveys suspense, gravity, entanglement, and stillness, his characters often fusing with their surroundings. Strange juxtapositions, awkward inconveniences, and often the ongoing struggle of life itself are all expressed through the surreal photography of this young visual artist.
THE GIST OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE.
Swedish photographer GABRIEL ISAK has an eye for the unusual and an affinity for the colour blue. His hypnotic, cryptic photographs draw from his own subconscious and are inspired by the inner world of dreams. His subjects are anonymous solitary figures with the slightest glimmerings of consciousness, imprisoned in monochromatic settings. His visual world is surreal, created deep inside the mind and brought to life through scenes full of apprehension in an attempt to lyrically convey the gist of human experience.
ISAK’s work is striking, poignant, and deeply emotional despite the serene calm of its settings. His images of boundless oceans, blue skies, and faceless figures take the viewers on a journey between hope and melancholy, light and dark, reality and dreams.
During these uncertain times of isolation and anxiety, their work, minimal in its aesthetics but rich in symbolism and emotion, taps into our unconscious state. New worlds, new realities are created in their photos to explore the invisible dreamlike dimension that resides in the human mind. The result is a melancholic meditation that stills the chaos of life and transforms into an introspective journey that questions the depth of existence.
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