Photography Archive

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    With the amount of press attention he’s been getting over the last couple of weeks in the run up to his debut exhibition at London’s Howard Griffin Gallery, you’d think photographer Bob Mazzer would be somewhat overwhelmed. This is not the case. Over the past 45 years he’s been taking photographs of the people he meets on the London Underground, but it wasn’t until Spitalfields Life starting posting them on their blog last year that it all kicked off.

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    The enigmatically named CCCLXXIX, also known as simply Alexandre, beautifully photographs spaces where rocky, verbose nature spectacularly collides with great, indifferent slabs of cement. Alexandre’s work, which contains just a dash of Tillmans, is primarily fixated on contrasting concrete textures and sharp angels with organic shapes and patterns. The images are very still and very silent, composed in the sun, and beautifully offset with bold shadows. Alexandre has a particular eye for twinkling car surfaces, colourful stacks in warehouses, roads and rocks, and whilst the set of selected shots featured here are spectacular and stunning, the photographs are best viewed together in abundance and in the coordinating palette sets on Alexandre’s site.

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    I cannot imagine having to think about running a country, constituency or even local authority. The day-to-day stress you must encounter, having to be authoritative yet not dictatorial, making changes to actually help people yet still having “cool” music taste.

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    Francois Prost takes pictures of french night clubs, the kind of clubs that you end up in on holiday after a day at the beach, still wearing your flip flops and carrying a cool bag full of empty Sangria cartons and sand. Francois’s discotheques are the kind of places where your drink is a neon green colour and you have no idea why, and for the first time ever everyone inexplicably seems a lot younger than you, and there are lots of paper maché sphinxes and red plastic palm trees dotted about.

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    As well as providing you with a platform upon which to lurk the new girlfriends of boyfriends past, pretend your life is better than it actually is, and make fun of old classmates who are now obese, Facebook is also a place to find corkingly good magazine content. When illustrator extraordinaire Rose Blake posted a photo of her and her dad Peter chilling out in front of one of his paintings, we asked Rose if she had any more where that came from.

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    Throughout our lives, most of us work hard to stay true to the intangible sense of self we all have. But there are times when this certainty can become rocked and we’re no longer secure in ourselves or even anything around us. These moments are often kept private, and the crisis is isolated to just the sufferer and those closest to them.

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    Summer is here, I think. I tentatively say this simply because while the sun has been brazenly showing itself more often recently, the clouds have a tendency to get jealous and rain on its parade every so often.

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    If all documentary photographers were like Jane Stockdale the world of reportage imagery would be an incredibly lucid and dynamic place, free of all the common clichés which afflict newspapers and magazines sometimes. They’re not though and the clichés still exist, but that tends just to make us appreciate her talent all the more.

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    So Maciek Pogoza, we meet again. It’s been nearly a year since we featured this guy’s work and let me tell you he is still ridiculously good and has been super busy producing even more super cool images.

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    I have only fond memories of childhood family holidays in Spain – eating more ice cream than I ever believed to be humanly possible and stubbornly poking at geckos to see if their tails would fall off – but I’m not sure if I ever really met any Spanish people on them. It was more retired Brits with deep tans and wrinkly forearms who’d gleefully moved out of their terraced houses in the Midlands as soon as they’d retired, and were duly living it up on the Costa del Sol, and that kind of only added to the charm.

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    Driving through Los Angeles one day, Thomas Alleman spotted an incongruous American Apparel ad hung above a car repair shop, an image that inspired him to photograph other posters for the infamous clothing brand around the streets and vacant lots of its home town. Thomas explains: “I found the dialogue between the simple, clean and direct presentation of a hip fashion fantasy and the urban environments that surround these ads really striking.”

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    Like it or not, photographer Jamie Stoker is carving out something of a niche for himself. With his clunky camera gear and his beautifully nuanced shots both behind and in front of the stage at numerous London Fashion Weeks events, he’s showing that there’s a world of fashion photography that’s far removed from super glossy garment-focussed shots, and my, are we glad he is.

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    The imagery of Palm Springs is easy to conjure even if you’ve never been there. The name evokes sprawling golf courses and high walled estates where scarlets lounge beside kidney-shaped swimming pools; a place of Cadillacs and cocktails and white modernist villas; a true oasis amongst rocky hills and the barren Californian desert. Palm Springs seems so luxurious and fantastic that it’s hard to believe that it even exists, and I’ve always been curious to know what the city is really like, behind the touristic image and all the cinematic associations.

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    There’s been a big market for beach cover-ups for a long time, first came the kaftan, then the tasteful sarong, and now it’s time for the “face-kini” to take centre stage. Photographer Peng Yangjun has captured the latest craze to hit eastern China’s beaches in a wonderfully candid way.

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    Does anyone else remember how tricky it was at school whenever the group photographer came in to take the class picture, and without fail someone always had their eyes closed or was in the middle of a sneeze every time the camera’s shutter clicked? The organisation and coordination that must be required to compose Neal Slavin’s epic, energetic group shots is mind-boggling: there is not a single unintended wink or face contortion present.

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    Recycling, upcycling and repurposing is all the rage these days and while not everyone needs an armchair made out of a bathtub, the concept of subverting an object’s original purpose is an interesting one. Take William Miller’s latest project, Surface Tension, he’s used discarded negatives from old photography projects and turned them into sculptural objects. By crushing, folding and slicing the negatives and using a flatbed scanner to photograph them, a stunning, abstract refraction is created.

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    The stunning photographs that make up Rafal Milach’s series document various winners of Belarusian state and local competitions. Rafal photographs “the best of the best” in kolkhozes, schools, nightclubs and village discos, and his raw and compelling photographs evoke both a country bursting with national pride, but also hint to a society in the midst of an oppressive, sinister regime. In order to photograph his subjects, Rafal became a propaganda photographer, endeavoring to portray winners of various national and regional level contests. The Winners is a striking and stripped-back series, which resonates in an intriguing and thought-provoking way.

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    Italian-born Brooklyn-based photographer Gabriele Baldotto has colour-led curation down to a T. As far as subject matter goes his direction is almost ambiguous, treading the fine line between fashion editorial imagery, in which the garments his subjects wear appear to have been carefully chosen, and a still life series, with several shots of landscapes scattered throughout.

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    There’s a lot of photographers out there shooting images of inanimate objects on coloured backgrounds (we know, we’ve worked with a bunch of them for our magazine covers) but there’s only a few that manage to put such a unique twist on the genre as Wyne Veen. The Dutch photographer possesses a mastery of her medium that allows a stack of peeling lemons to appear as a sinister totem, carefully-arranged cups of coffee to become an optical illusion and cartons of ice cream to look sensual and exciting in their own right, without the faux-orgasmic posturing of a model that’s the advertising default. There’s also (wait for it) real ideas behind her work; some based on serious editorial, others on experimentation with materials and that keeps the work endlessly fresh – you never feel like Wyne’s photographs are just about the aesthetics.

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    When I was a kid, I really, really wanted to be part of a club. I wanted it more than anything. The only problem was, I wasn’t good at any of the things that I needed to be good at to be part of one of the after-school societies. I tried joining the chess team for a while, but the others could tell I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I should be, and the one time I tried out for the netball team it was a complete disaster. I lasted longest in golf club, which I only joined because I liked the idea of wearing golf socks, and there was a school requirement that meant I had to do some kind of physical activity. It took me a long time to realise that being part of a club wasn’t about the cool clothes or doing it because you had to, but really it was about being around like-minded people and doing something that you love. When I got to University, I joined a Film Club, and knew that I’d finally found my home.

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    When it comes to bringing babies into the world, the mother’s role is pretty well-defined. But new dads can find themselves playing any number of roles, from nervously pacing the corridor to helping out at the bedside. Photographer Dave Young has captured this uncertainty perfectly with a new series commissioned by The Book of Everyone to mark Fathers’ Day next month. Shot at the Chelsea & Westminster hospital during April, Dave has done a brilliant job capturing the anticipation and the elation, the nerves, the anxiety and even the exact moment when these men realise their worlds have just been turned upside down.

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    Phwoarr! This is good. I’m pretty sure we’ve done a post on any person who has ever done an editorial shoot for ’SUP magazine, and Leonard is our latest find. He’s most well-known for a black and white photo of Sebastien Tellier that he took a few years back, but delving further on his site proves that he’s way more than just a cool guy with a camera who hangs around with French singers. Fluoro still-lifes, gloved hands (creepy) and apples resting terrifyingly on old video games give you a weird itching sensation in your brain, like Leonard has sneakily tapped a nerve that has never been tapped before. If you prefer his music photography, make sure you drag that photo of the Emeralds singer holding two tabby cats into your favourites folder, stat.

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    In 1978 Greg Reynolds was a closeted homosexual working as a youth minister for a large, conservative, religious organisation in the USA; the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. His role was to train young Christian men and women to evangelise their peers in their hometowns. During term-time Greg would travel the country to colleges and universities, then in the summer his work would take him to Bible camps in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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    The sleepy, modern-day ghost town captured in these photographs is contemporary Rochester, New York, birthplace of photographic film and home to the great Kodak empire. Swiss photographer Catherine Leutenegger’s poignant series, entitled Kodak City, records the fading remainders of the old industrial hub, a place “once central to photography but now marginalised and adrift.”

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    The world is a funny old place, full as it is with landscapes so far beyond my realm of understanding that I can barely even begin to comprehend they exist. To see environments such as Australia’s salt mines crystallised in a photography series is understandably quite impressive then, and no more so than the landscapes themselves; vast expanses of white populated only by the occasional crane and digger and overhung with a glorious blue sky,

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    What a doofus am I, visiting Jeremy’s site for like two years and thinking “why the HELL is he not making any more work?” And then realising that yes, he has been making work, it’s just all on his blog. How pleasurable though to click on a link to find pages and pages of new and previously unseen Liebman snaps. What I’ve always loved about Jeremy is that he takes the standard job of going to photograph an artist and does it in a way that no one else does. It’s not rocket science to go and photograph artists in their studios and make candid, pleasant shot, but it is much more difficult to leave with the kind of photographs that Jeremy takes.

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    It’s not every day that you come across a photography project with so enormous a reach and so engrossing a subject that you find yourself losing hours flicking through its images, but that’s exactly the case with Uwe Ommer’s 1000 Families. Uwe, a German photographer, spent four years travelling around the world, driving almost 160,000 miles in the process, and photographed countless families across Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Oceania with a medium format camera.

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    Anyone who knows me well knows that swimming pools are my favourite places to hang out, but that I don’t actually like being in the water, more just looking at it. Joan Didion writes that swimming pools are “infinitely soothing to the eye,” and these striking set of images by photojournalist Marieke van der Velden definitely confirm Didion’s statement. It’s a photography series that is continually growing, a kind of visual travel diary of Marieke’s, who takes photographs of all the interesting pools that she visits whilst on assignments that take her all around the world.

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    Angela Strassheim’s past experience as a forensic photographer led her to this incredibly thought-provoking project. Evidence is a chilling series that documents the inside and outside of homes where familial homicides have taken place. The black and white images are perhaps the most haunting, and document the physical traces of murder that remain hidden on walls or on floors, despite cleaning, repainting and re-habitation. The bright, white flecks and splatters appear when “Blue Star” solution is used to activate the physical memory of blood through contacting the remaining DNA proteins.

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    Hats and horns off to Charles Fréger who has blown everyone else’s LAME projects out the water with his showstopper of a photography series The Wilder Man. Charles travelled around a total of 18 different European countries in order to investigate the folkloric traditions and legends that surrounds each individual culture. In many festivals, events and traditions across Europe, there is usually a time when a man is dressed up as something wild and fearsome and paraded around a town to signify something or other that happened long ago. Charles decided to put these terrifying characters on a pedestal and shine a light on what they truly look like, away from the pushing crowds of the festivals and rituals. The National Geographic site describes Charles’ quest beautifully:

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    Yann Faucher’s website is full of polished, carefully constructed images for fashion editorials – crisp, clean and multi-layered, they ooze the kind of feeling he is known for and commissioned to create. And it’s very beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but over on his Tumblr the overriding aesthetic is one of rawness, and somehow that’s far more exciting.

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    My dentist likes to quote zen proverbs at me while he’s cleaning my teeth: there’s nothing quite as surreal as a haiku being cooed at you while you have a bright light aimed at your tonsils and your teeth shaken and scraped by metal tongs. These strange but oddly familiar photographs by Mark Lyon capture some of that weirdness associated with dentist related situations.

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    Discos can be oddly liminal spaces in even the most ordinary of venues, but when they’re held in buildings which used to serve as Houses of Culture during Soviet era Lithuania, they quickly become even stranger. Fortunately, Lithuanian-American photographer Andrew Miksys had the good sense to photograph them; he spent ten years travelling around the youth discos in small villages throughout Lithuania, brilliantly capturing the unsettling juxtaposition of a new generation who are transforming old spaces. Some of the rooms in the images are littered with old Soviet memorabilia, from portraits of Lenin to discarded gas masks, creating the sense of a new generation trying to build a life among the ruins. It’s a beautifully candid and incredibly poignant reminder of how some periods in history continue to resonate long after they’re over.

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    Seeing a photo of Earl Sweatshirt rolling a spliff in an open JFK shirt and a terrifying blade being held next to his face as he grins, pink-eyed to the camera is not your everyday kind of photojournalism. In the world of Michael Schmelling, whose instantly recognisable photography has won him editorial spots in magazines like WIRE and our personal in-house favourite, Die Zeit, this is pretty standard.

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    Rosa Verde is a documentary photographer based in the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain, who recently gave up a career in news reportage to pursue stories she felt to be more meaningful. This led her to Basketball is Life, a poignant and touching series about the universality of the sport, and yet the diversity in reasons that people pursue it.

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    It’s usually only when watching The Sound of Music on a Sunday afternoon (happens more often than you’d think) that I muse on what my life would be like if I lived in a convent, but Giulio Ghirardi’s got me pondering it today. The reason being A Different Life, the photographic series he created inside the walls of the Monastery of San Giovanni in Parma, Italy. He photographs the quiet serenity of the buildings and the monks wandering inside it, and even the most unlikely of objects seem imbued with calm when seen through his lens; a bag of bread hanging on a wall, a statue of the Virgin Mary among some foliage. It’s a wonderfully tranquil project, shot through with saturated chunks of light and activity. Lovely stuff.

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    Some Friday mornings you need something super-bright, super-colourful and super-fun to kickstart your day and send you headlong to the glories of the weekend. With that in mind, may we present this great shoot by Michael Burk for a new collaboration between Sight Unseen and Print All Over Me which is about to go on show at New York Design Week.

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    American photographer James Friedman has been bouncing round the blogosphere the last couple of weeks with attention lavished on his Interior Design series, showcasing the colourful cross-sections of cut-open golf balls.

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    Personally I can think of nothing worse than spending months at sea in a giant frozen boat, risking my life night and day so that people lazier than I am can enjoy a fish supper once a week. Sounds hellish. And yet Corey Arnold spent seven years aboard various commercial fishing vessels on Alaska’s Bering Sea, battling gargantuan waves, sleepless nights and sub-zero temperatures rustling crab and fish from the arctic waters. Thankfully he took his camera along with him, meaning we get to experience this hazardous profession without having to set even one foot onto a boat. Easy!

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    We love these gorgeous snaps from Chantal Anderson, whose beautiful locations and tropical colour-schemes make us want to drop everything we’re doing and book a flight straight to California. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest, Anderson’s photographs have been featured in Time Out, and she’s also done work for Google. After gazing at these photographs, you’re bound to want to pull off your heavy-knit winter jumpers and plunge straight into a summery pool.