There’s something quiet about Clarence H. White’s photos that captivates the calm within all of us. The simple, almost unscripted scenes of everyday life are so masterfully done that almost everyone can relate to them in one way or the other.
White is probably one of the greatest influencers in photography of the early twentieth century, not just because of his works, but also because he was considered as one of the most important photography teacher of the time. A lot of his students became notable in the field as well, names you might even find more familiar than their master’s: Dorothea Lange, Ralph Steiner, and Margaret Bourke-White just to name a few.White was attuned with his contemporaries as well, and was one of the founding members of the art movement Photo-Secession, a movement which daringly pushed the limits of photography and turn them into almost painting-like works of art during a time when photographic images were taken as direct and factual representations of real life.
He was one of the forefathers of photo manipulation—not as the same way as how we perform photo manipulation today with the help of various digital photo editors—but much more organic, done within the confines of a dark room, manipulating light as if it were liquid on film.
Those who want to view White’s work first hand may visit an on-going exhibition of his works, “Clarence H. White and His World” which will run from June 22 to September 16, 2018 at the Portland Museum of Art. It will not only contain his photographs but also a lot of memorabilia and curious ephemera—including an interesting condolence letter from another Photo-Secession founding member, Alfred Stieglitz addressed to White’s widow. The two had an unfortunate falling out in 1912 on the account of Stieglitz’s overbearing ego.Fast forward to today, we now see their names side by side again, under the collective label of pictorialists. Photographers whose works transcends the representational. White’s most notable works himself, echoed Japonisme and ukiyo-e prints, in particular. Ukiyo-e, which is defined as “pictures of the floating world”, can also directly translate to “pictures of a sad and troublesome world”…and don’t they capture the very essence of White’s work in entirety? Photos that look as if trapped in time, in a world of floating existence, while also pouring out emotions of quiet melancholy. His works, truly, are dream-like, and definitely something worth seeing.
References: theartofjapan.com, artblart.com, uk.phaidon.com, bostonglobe.com, www.all-about-photo.com
What do any of us really know about Siberia, other than its cold? Not much— and we’re just about to reinforce the idea. Lake Baikal, located in Siberia, is the deepest and cleanest lake on Earth. Clocking in at an astounding 373 miles deep (!!!), the lake can create 6.5 feet of ice on its surface every winter. This means that people, cars and anything weighing less than 16.5 tons can glide across this majestic lake’s surface without even making a crack. Some intrepid visitors even camp on the surface each winter!Indeed, the natural wonder has become quite the attraction— not only because of the novelty of it but also because deep underneath the ice, cracks and bubbles form to create some truly remarkable designs on the surface. Once April hits, all action has to halt, as the ice begins to melt, sometimes making sharp, cracking noises like gunshots through the vast expanse of land. [h/t boredpanda.com]
The naked human body strikes the audience. Always. After all the years of liberation movements, emancipation and censorship attenuation, it never fails to shock and amuse the viewer… particularly the depiction of a female body, which has been a center of controversy for years. While in the past it was banned, nowadays it remains among the delicate topics in art that somehow still manages to perturbate society.The work of Kristina Podobed thrives off this dynamic.
The Ukrainian-based photographer started her journey as a personal struggle with shyness. She took photos of her friends and herself, gradually realizing that there is much more that has to be said. Her images allow imperfections and silliness, she portrays girlhood with the unprejudiced eye of the insider. Being open to the world, to come as you are – this struggle is real, especially in the modern media-influenced society. Kristina Podobed shifted her focus towards more broad, but not less important topics turning her art into a kind of social mirror.
Youthful and intimate pictures of girls deconstruct the conventional vision of women, obligated to look modest, nice, and polished. Pushing the boundaries of the “acceptable” depiction of women, Podobed is not shy about any aspect of human physicality and nature. Her pictures were banned from social medias numerous times, which just proves the relevance of the issue to the world we live in today. This discourse is especially pertinent when taking into account artist’s Eastern Europe origins. In the post-soviet reality women are still under the influence of the past ideology, which tells them to be quite, neat, and to keep it to herself. But nowadays, the youth is changing, shaping the future of the whole country. Kristina Podobed reflects these transformations, presenting the world with the new generation which is trying to be brutally honest and free.
Ms Podobed continues her artistic pursuits, concentrating on the social photography, depicting people and their environment. Coming back to the point of controversy linked to the depiction of female body, we can say that it is closely related to artificial notion in our heads, that had been embedded a long time ago. We are surrounded by the turmoil of distorted images produced by glamor magazines and advertisements; we bear the heritage of the patriarchal social order which has ruled the world for ages. No wonder it is hard to deconstruct such deeply rooted stereotypes, which were supposed to disappear under the equality and feminism, but in reality are still fueled by another value systems. Photographers like Kristina Podobed help reclaiming the women’s body giving fresh and truthful ideas of self-identity to the upcoming generations. This is how the future is done in the world of art.