Do any pictures arrest your attention so powerfully that you cannot look away? Do they take your breath away? I see a few every week that do that for me. The artist I am featuring this week has that effect on my with so much her work should come with a warning label. They are the kind of pictures that set my imagination on fire.
Isa Messioptra calls her pictures single-frame movies which seems a perfect description as they are rich in the details that make a story – a sense of place and time, human connection and emotion, movement and anticipation of what is next. The picture above, Vays of Ze Flesh (Last Dance) is full of all of that. From the ballet clothing, the setting in a fabulous Baroque theatre, and the sepia tone of the background we get the sense of a lost era even without the sinew and muscle skins of the avatars. To add atmosphere, she provides a soundtrack, Russian Dance from Tom Waits. To me, it creates a sense of nostalgic longing for a lost era, some ancien regime still living in the memories of those who are now themselves approaching the ends of their lives. With them, that time will pass from memory into history. Is that more complex or in a completely different direction from what her intent when she created the work? It well may be. The process of viewing art is very personal and influence by our own history and experience, the books we’ve read and movies we’ve seen. So seeing this makes me think of the Russian émigrés of pre-war WWII Paris longing for a world that will never be again.
Here, in the Finality of Nakedness she gives us the scene. Divorced after 22 years of marriage and 4 kids she exposes her body to a new man, sags, folds, stretch marks and all. Terrified and vulnerable she looks into his eyes for approval and….
The story is there in the photo, the anonymous window blinds that suggest a hotel, the pose both provocative and unsure, the measured admiration in his eyes suggest this is a new encounter. Her body tells the story of a life rich in family and experience with breasts that nursed babies and the maps for pregnancy on her skin. It’s a story of new beginnings, uncertain and hopeful. Don’t you want them to write and new and happy story? So be sure to check out Isa Messioptra’s photostream. There’s more stories lurking there.
I love this photo from Grazia Horwitz of GraziaSL. I love how she captures a moment that distills an entire experience into a second. The pastoral setting by a lake suggests a picnic – perhaps a Memorial Day picnic with a family relaxing by a lake. The father, off from work, has time to play with his daughter whose utter delight is visible in every portion of her body. For me, this was a very emotionally touching photo. It reminded me of my father whose been dead for many years now and how hard he worked when I was very young, leaving for work before I got up and often coming home after my bedtime and working many weekends, so that those days that he could take for family, like Memorial Day or the 4th of July were precious and full of an intense joy because they were so rare. The test of great work is whether it moves us emotionally and this photo passed that test. Even writing about it now, it brings tears to my eyes as it once again reminds me of my father, his gentle heart and boundless love.
I like this photo from Olela Parx for Olela Alert!. For me, its appeal is the riot of color and the intriguing use of lighting and shadows to create context and perspective on a white background. I love the colors – which as this jacket changes every time it is worn, could be a fun challenge in styling. The soft focus vignette and the bright light source on the side add interest.
I like this picture by Torley Linden, the compulsive chronicler of sims and all that is our Second Life. I thought the composition was particularly strong diagonal pathway on the left leading our eyes from the sharply focused foreground to the distant, unfocused explosion of light in the background. Our eyes get more excited by diagonals because we use one set of receptors to see vertical lines and another to see horizontal lines. We don’t have receptors for diagonals, so they activate both sets of receptors, engaging more visual energy and just that little thing makes us more invested in what we are looking at. There are so many examples of leading lines in the photo. The walkway that leads to the main walkway, the curves of the hangar ports. The long line of lighted advertising blocks and all of it is guiding our vision toward the sun – out of frame, but so very present.
I like this photo from Strawberry Singh for her blog. It seems almost a play on the yin and yang symbol with their bodies forming the two sides of the circle. I like how it is cropped so close and fills the frame completely, their faces framing their kiss. It’s a lovely moment.
This picture by Rannalta is so eerie and affecting. When I looked at it, the word that came to mind was isolation. Alienated from society, voiceless and sightless. Alone. It’s more chilling because her hair and clothing are those of a fairly mainstream young woman, but living in an atomized society without the bonds that tie us into a community.
I love this picture from Caelan Hancroft for her blog Simply Stylish. I love the arc of the sandy beach and how the color of the ocean melds into the sky. There’s a fun and summer story made nostalgic and set back in time by her filtering the light and desaturating the picture to make us think of an old faded photograph from long ago.
I like this picture from Uklea Lavandachic for her blog Uk’s Style. They styling is so very retro chic but the colors are so very modern. I love her color choices, using analogous rather than complementary colors. Red and purple are right next to each other on the color wheel and make a great color scheme. It’s more common to see them matched with their complementary colors, red with green and purple with yellow. She gives us added interest with the railing making a bold diagonal line. She cropped close, filling the frame. I would love to see this shot again with Depth of Field turned on maybe even the fisheye by using CTL-8. Everything is place for a play on dimension and perspective.
This picture from Lee Kujisawa for Leakin MeMoshi is fabulous. I love the sun-bleached setting. Just looking at it makes me want sunglasses. The dry heat of the sun burning up the landscape, erasing the details and putting the subject in high relief is bold and powerful use of lighting. It makes his shadow so substantial one half expects it to take a walk on its own. I like how the picture is framed and given depth with the stark branches of trees, their details lost to the sun. It’s such a striking photo it makes me excited to have encountered this new to me blogger and gives me the expectation that more great work is forthcoming. It’s work like this, bold, new and different, that takes my breath away.