Content Type: Review
Macinnis’ photographs of various groups of animals are so striking because all the animals assembled in front of the camera seem to be most willing to accept the camera’s gaze and the power relation implied. Animals are usually hard to photograph, because they are not particularly collaborative, unpredictable in their movements, and tend to flee the frame. Macinnis’ protagonists pose and look straight into the camera. They appear tame, pacified, ‘civil’, patiently awaiting their pictorial equivalent. As in all well-managed and representative group photos, there are no obvious signs of disorder or potential subversion. Macinnis’ patchwork families look friendly and demonstrate unity and a sense of aesthetic order. Macinnis’ photos allow for a reflection on group photographs and their specific arrangements. At the same time, they make one painfully aware of the disciplinary nature of the photographic act. Posing and freezing in front of the camera is a cultural practice that had to be trained and appropriated. Narratives from the beginnings of photography prove that. By looking at Macinnis’ fully disciplined animal models, one realizes how much of our own unruliness we had to give up to fit into the photographic system.
Although the interpretations of Koštrun’s works and his entire opus are undeniably multifaceted and open to different interpretations and readings, the article suggests that all his word does share a common meditative stillness and sense of solitariness. Peter Koštrun’s opus lingers on the intersection of pristine nature and cultural landscape, on the intersection of the impact of humans on the environment and the insignificance of the individual in relation to nature. Even if Koštrun’s photographic motifs allude to archaism and romanticism, and are at first glance connected to the tradition of photographic pictorialism, they are in their essence distinctly modern, attached to the reality of the here and now. His expression is completely non-narrative in the classic sense of photographic representation, as the images do not tell a linear story, but are dedicated to visual language, which is (as opposed to the written word) always ambivalent and layered.
The article is a critical analysis of the work of Finnish photographer Iiu Susiraja based on her series Good Behaviour / Perfect Everyday Life and conversation with the author. Susiraja places herself and her personal life at the centre of her work. Her humorous and (self)ironical portraits can be seen as a critical reflection and a sarcastic commentary on socially desirable and to a large extent stereotypical ideas of femininity, beauty ideals, social roles such as being a housewife etc. and the relations of power that are implied in them. Her critique is on the one hand directed at conservative and patriarchal social values, but she at the same time poses a mirror to women who perpetuate these values by obsessively investing into their bodily beauty and who uncritically accept the traditional roles assigned to them. Her work thus addresses the question of the definition of “normality” – which because of her specific humorous approach – is best described as a solo comedy.
Iiu Susiraja (born 1975) is a Finnish photographer whose work is a part of several major Finnish art collections (Helsinki Art Museum, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Finnish National Museum, Finnish Museum of Photography, Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Arts and Päivi and Paavo Lipponen Collection). She graduated from Turku Art academy and is currently enrolled in a Master of Arts programme at the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki.
The article that aims to analyse the artistic production of photographer Bojan Salaj is based on conversations and reviews of his archive. Among Slovenian photographers, Salaj is the one who has been seen as an embodiment of the decisive shift in perception of the photographic medium that occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He has never worked as documentary photographer or photojournalist; his authorial practice has always been primarily focused on the context of exhibition and against unconventional solutions. Salaj is one of those photographers who are characterized by the deep reflection of the meaning and perception of image from different, mainly philosophical, viewpoints, while at the same time following the objectivistic principles of photography. At a glance, his practice is extremely eclectic and post-modern, which is due to the fact that he is not looking to find an individual and recognizable artistic voice; he dedicates his focus to individual projects, bringing into his work various different references and themes. Nevertheless, a central motive can still be perceived throughout his output. In the past 25 years, Salaj has mostly been attracted to the here and now; this includes the fundamental problems of representation of photography in mass media, iconography of power structures, models of construction of history, and ways of establishing national and cultural identities.
Bojan Salaj (born 1964) is a photographer, who since the early 1990s continuously creates and exhibits his artistic projects. In his works he highlights and questions the representation of photography in mass media, iconography of power structures, models of construction of history, and ways of establishing national and cultural identities. He commonly follows distinctly conceptual approaches and objectivistic principles. Since 1994, he is employed as a photographer at the National Gallery in Ljubljana, and is the author of numerous photographs from the field of Slovenian fine art cultural heritage. He lives and works in Ljubljana.
Amalia Ulman (1989) is a visual artist born in Argentina. In 2011 she graduated from the Central Saint Martins College in London. In her author’s practice she addresses phenomena such as class struggle, social gender, representation of individual in mass media and on social networks, while using photos, videos, performative practices and modern communication tools, which often go beyond classical gallery practices. Ulman lives and works in Los Angeles.
Nataša Berk graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and since 2003 she regularly creates and presents multimedia and interdisciplinary works, projects and actions ranging from performance, the adoption of identities and situations, photographs, videos, drawings to visual poetry. She lives and works in Maribor, Slovenia.