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Surprisingly this is the first major museum exhibition of artist and photographer Man Ray’s portraiture. Organised in chronological order the exhibition is a retrospective of Man Ray’s surrealist photography, exploring both his innovative portraits and experimentation with photographic processes such as solarisation and ‘rayographpy’. ‘Man Ray Portraits’ covers different periods of Ray’s career, gliding seamlessly from 1916 to 1968, glancing at Man Ray’s time spent alongside Marcel Duchamp, to his Surrealist work in Paris and then glancing forward to his work in Hollywood and finally his travels back to Paris once more.

The exhibition is divided and flows through a series of three rooms, each room an insight into Man Ray’s practice and development as a photographer. From Man Ray’s early surrealist and Dadaist imagery through to his commercial advertising work, all displayed in their original context appearing in archived copies of life magazine and other publications. The walls are adorned with Ray’s hand printed portraits of famous figures, writers, poets, actors and artists from capitals around the world Paris, New York and London. The original prints sit alongside and compliment one another as a documentation of an age of creativity. The exhibition expands on the commonly celebrated achievements of Man Ray and goes beyond his overly published experimentations with solarisation to celebrate and showcase Man Ray’s lesser known skill and artistry for portraiture.

Throughout the exhibition Man Ray’s notorious love of photographing women is evident, classically beautiful portraits of women hang on every wall throughout the collection. These female nudes could be perceived as obsessive, woman after woman, the female form Man Ray’s muse. The curves and contours of the female body accentuated through shadows and etchings. It could be said that Man Ray’s artistic course can be viewed and documented through the display of his successive lovers, from model KiKi de Montparnasse who Man Ray met in a Parisian cafe, to renown artist and lover Lee Miller, to Ady Fidelin and finally his late wife Juliet Browner. These images display his love for the female body but more notably Man Ray’s love and admiration for the women and creatives that shaped his life. Man Ray’s meticulous attention for detail and design, paired with his carefully cast lighting and projected shadows, with his fondness for people (notably nudes), unites as an evident and eminent display of his love of photography.

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Man Ray manages to create portraiture that evokes a sense of the individual. A representation of his friends, models and lovers in a manner which encapsulates their persona. A rare and unique photographic skill which Man Ray possesses, each portrait is rendered in a way both photographer and individual are happily represented. Though some of his work has been flattened through familiarity, this comprehensive exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery expands on his influential career and defines Man Ray as an innovative and great portraitist of the 19th Century.

‘Man Ray Portraits’ will be exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery from 7th February through to 27th May.

For more information visit npg.org.uk

Man-Ray-HelenIMG_7692Music blogged to- 2:54 ‘2:54’ (2012), listen to the album here.

I visited Paris a couple of months ago for Paris Photo 2012 and took a few cameras with me, these were taken on my Yashica T3 using Fomapan 35mm 200 ISO black and white film. This was my first experience using Fomapan and I’m more than impressed. The film is super cheap and has a good black tone without being too punchy and has just the right amount of contrast. I’ve been warned that it can be a little blue/green toned and if processing the film yourself this is highlighted, but it wouldn’t put me off purchasing again.

You can buy Fomapan film here.

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In regards to the camera my Yashica T3 is a highly recommended point and shoot camera for the simple reason that it’s small, good quality and easy to use. I need glasses and so when I don’t have them with me focusing can be a nightmare and the Yashica uses autofocus so problem averted. It is also the weapon of choice for fashion photographer Terry Richardson however I think he uses a different model, maybe the Yashica T4. None the less his work is pretty good and if it’s good enough for a photographer that shoots for i-D magazine and Lady Gaga then ultimately its good enough for me.

Check out more of Terry Richardson’s work on his site or on his blog site Terry’s Diary

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Music blogged to- Keaton Henson ‘Birthdays'(2013) listen to the album on Spotify.

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with a 6×6 twin lens Yashica and its fair to say that I fell in love. The little Yashica is basically like a Rolleiflex, looks just as good but with half the price tag. I’ve been debating on downsizing to a smaller camera for a long time, in the past I’ve shot with a Mamiya RZ67, an amazing camera that served its purpose but now I don’t have a studio facility to hand and I’m to lazy to lug around a tripod it’s sadly been collecting dust. So as a means to start taking more pictures I thought it would better to trial something a little more portable but still a medium format.

I got my trial Yashica film processed and these are few of the results, up until frame 8 I was doing well until I tried to use the wheel that winds the film on as the focus, so one of the snaps is a little overlapped, however it doesn’t look awful and sometimes mistakes can end up looking neat. Shot over a few weekends spread across Devon and Sussex.

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Film used- 120mm Kodak Portra 400 ISO (buy here)

Music blogged to- Allah Lahs ‘Allah Lahs’ (2012), listen to the album on Spotify.

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Happy Birthday to American artist and photographer David LaChappelle! For the past week David LaChappelle seems to be hitting the headlines in the photography world, born on this day in 1963 and better known for his images of Madonna, Michael Jackson, Elton John and other celebrities, LaChappelle has recently been in the public eye for an alleged attack on a gallery owner.

David LaChappelle has been accused of allegedly beating and choking gallery owner, James Parmenter. James Parmenter is suing David LaChappelle for 1 million dollars (£663,000) for an accused attack that happened last year.

The alleged attack took place at the house of David LaChappelle’s former manager (Fred Torres) who Chappelle is also reportedly sued for supposedly cheating him out of millions of dollars from sales of his work.

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I can’t imagine that this was much a fight, LaChappelle’s faux ghetto look is more Vanilla Ice than 50cent and in regards to a beating, more bitch slaps than fisty cuffs, none the less entertaining.

A representative on behalf of the photographer has denied the claims and no other comment from either party has been released. Happy Birthday David! Lets hope you get a better present than a law suit. If you want to see more of David LaChappelle’s work, you can do here.

Music blogged to- The Libertines ‘Up The Bracket’ (2000), Listen to album on Spotify.

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Tim Walker- Story Teller Exhibition at Somerset House

(East Wing Gallery) Somerset House, London, WC2R 1LA

18th Oct 2012- 27th Jan 2013

Tim Walker is renown for his elaborate editorial shoots and the Story Teller exhibition is a retrospective of Teller’s influence on the world of fashion and photography.

A carefully edited selection of Walkers photographs, the Story Teller exhibition is a world where magic exists, where fashion becomes a fairy tale. The exhibition feels like an invite to the Mad Hatter’s tea party. A world which at its at its heart is quintessentially english, ideals of sipping from china tea cups and eating Victoria sponge cakes but darker undertones resonant throughout the exhibition, where Walker takes more of a Brothers Grimm approach to his storytelling.

Referencing fairy tales his images pull on the darker side of fantasy, his eccentrically crafted sets capture the imagination and transport you to world of hallucinatory images and installations. His images are as elaborately sewn together as the couture garments he photographs.

With Walkers photography the focus of the exhibition the specially constructed, larger than life props and models spill out from the frames. A giant grotesque doll, a bumble bee playing the cello, snails sliding down the walls and towering skeletons sit next to and accompany his stylised prints.  Alongside Walkers fashion photographs a select display of portraits are displayed, in comparison to the dreamy narratives woven through his fashion imagery, Walkers portraits of iconic designers appear stark in contrast; Alexander Mcqueen and Vivienne Westwood to name a few.

The Story Teller exhibition unfolds as an insight insight into Walkers process and the mechanics behind his large scale sets and the designs of the couture labels he photographs. Story Teller bring is an exhibition which brings together fashion, glamour and the surreal.

Can’t make the exhibition?

Sponsored by Mulberry and on show at Somerset House. Tim Walker’s Story Teller It is also available in book format, Walker has produced an accompanying book which coincides with the exhibition. The book is available now.

To see more of Tim Walker’s work visit his website here.

Isabelle Wenzel- Building Images

‘I have never worked in an office and found it fascinating to see how functional and minimal the movements of people are in such a space. It made me wonder how long I could keep on sitting still’

Wenzel contorts her body like a circus acrobat into humorous positions which are not without a strange tension. Her contorted static positions translate the absurdity of office behaviours and movements. Sitting still for a minimum of 8 hours, surrounded by the same colleagues, everyday, for the majority of your life, Wenzel explores the office environment unsure whether she would be able to sit still for that amount of time.

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See more at isabelle-wenzel.com

Music blogged to- Beach House ‘Devotion’ (2009)

I thought I would share a small edit from one of my own projects.

Sophia Wise- A Childless Woman

Throughout this project I return to key locations within a rural folk tale as an attempt to trace the life of a young girl who committed suicide after the shame of falling pregnant out of wedlock was brought upon her. Mirroring her steps through oral folklore. In doing so I use my local knowledge of the area and the landscape surrounding me to create images which propose a juxtaposition between a beautiful landscape and scenes which allude to death and loss.

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Music blogged to- Washed out ‘Within and Without’ (2001)