Over the course of an ongoing 55-year career, Duane Michals has constantly reinvented himself and, in many respects, the conventions of the narrative photographic story, never content to settle on the limitations imposed by technology or taste. We consider his legacy through the prism of his celebrity portraits.
During a career that spans nearly half a century, his work has attracted praise, “a wake-up call to the modern world”, and from the other side, “nihilistic pornography”. Photographer, film-maker, artist and counter-cultural figurehead Larry Clark captured youth culture before youth culture was even a thing.
As one of the UK’s most prominent portrait photographers, Brian Griffin has, for the majority of his career, been taking images of a world that seems imbued with a particularly British sensibility. And by that, we’re not alluding to our post-Brexit state of island insularity, but one that has consistently, yet perhaps secretly, embraced a sense of the anarchic.
In recent years there has been a notable resurgence of figurative painting in contemporary art (it never went away, but now it’s flourishing in a way that was hard to imagine at the beginning of the decade), and it’s from here we can tell the story of this resurgence by looking at five pictures made in the 21st century and considering how they relate to the history of painting.
Abigail Jones has recorded much of the past nine years of her life in a series of autobiographical paintings, drawings and collages titled A Taste for Perfection. It’s a seductively illustrated diary of thoughts and observations, swinging from the personal and political and back again, and it’s funny. Brutally honest, but brutally funny.
Since graduating from the Yale School of Art last year, John Edmonds, 28, has enjoyed an unusually fast ascent to international prominence. Two of his series of photographs, in particular, have been the subject of much writing and discussion, and while they’re timely and important images, they’re also very beautiful.
Belgian visual artist, writer, and curator Peter De Potter has long been known for his collaboration with fellow countryman Raf Simons, helping to define and refine the fashion designer’s aesthetic during the noughties, creating all his imagery between 2001 and 2009 and acting as art director for Simons’ book Redux.
As one of the supermodels of the Swinging Sixties, she was described as “the most beautiful woman in the world” by the photographer Richard Avedon. But it was only by stepping down from the catwalk and exploring the world as an actor and artist that Vera von Lehndorff-Steinort’s journey to contentment was completed.
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