Photographer, Rune Guneriussen, is a Norwegian based artist who takes everyday objects and arranges them in an environment unrelated to their man-made purpose. Not only are they in a unnatural and awkward setting, they evoke a kind of connection with the way we look at material versus the natural in our environment. It is as if these very much man made objects are being set in a completely organic setting to infer a juxtaposition that brings awareness to human impact. Whether or not the Guneriussen had intended this connection, it is blatantly apparent in these images, although it might take a stretch of the mind. In any case, isn’t that journey of getting from the initial observation to the inner thoughts of a piece the beauty that art gives us in the first place?
Archive for November, 2009
Your average portrait photo tells you what someone looks like, right? You know it only captures a single view of them, but for now you’ll buy that view as just the way things are. But what if you’re presented with two shots, identical but taken a fraction of a second apart? All of a sudden there is no “way things are.” The same little boy can go from looking focused and intense to looking almost tragically distracted, all because a shutter was pressed a tiny moment later. The barest lapse in time can put everything in doubt.
MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES is the striking new documentary on the world and work of renowned artist Edward Burtynsky. Internationally acclaimed for his large-scale photographs of “manufactured landscapes”—quarries, recycling yards, factories, mines and dams—Burtynsky creates stunningly beautiful art from civilization’s materials and debris. The film follows him through China, as he shoots the evidence and effects of that country’s massive industrial revolution. With breathtaking sequences, such as the opening tracking shot through an almost endless factory, the filmmakers also extend the narratives of Burtynsky’s photographs, allowing us to meditate on our impact on the planet and witness both the epicenters of industrial endeavor and the dumping grounds of its waste.
In the spirit of such environmentally enlightening sleeper-hits as AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH and RIVERS AND TIDES, MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES powerfully shifts our consciousness about the world and the way we live in it, without simplistic judgments or reductive resolutions.
(His exhibition: “Oil” is currently on view at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, in D.C.) – http://www.corcoran.org/burtynsky/index.php
Norwegian photojournalist Jonas Bendiksen spent six weeks living in the slums of Nairobi, then Caracas, Mumbai, and Jakarta. His remarkable panoramic images take us inside slum families’ lives, revealing the profound human impulse to fashion not only shelter but a home. “I got interested to break some of my own stereotypes of these places,” he says. “What I really wanted to focus on was not the extremities, the worst poverty, or the worst slums, but on how people manage to construct daily lives in the midst of such challenges.” In Kibera, he visited churches assembled from the same makeshift material as many of the homes: tin plates and mud.