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Five Photographers Who Test the Limits

Posted in Inside Scoop by Aimee Morris on 18th August 2017

178 years ago the French government released the patent for the Daguerreotype. Though it sounds like some kind of chemical weapon, the Daguerrotype was in fact one of the world’s earliest photographic processes. It involved treating a silver-plated copper sheet with various fumes that made the surface light sensitive.


From: Set in Stone, Fixed in Glass by Nelson B. Wadsworth (1992)


In the spirit of World Photo Day, and as a thank you to the inventor Mr Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre and the benevolent French government of 1839 who made the Daguerreotype publically available, we’re celebrating five artists who take photography to new levels. These are artists who, through subject or technique, push the limits of photography, who test its boundaries, and by doing so stretch the photographic art. Much like Mr Daguerre once did.


Five photographers who take it to the Next Level


1. Miguel Vallinas Prieto

Miguel's 'Second Skin' series investigates the animal in us all. No, he doesn't wrestle wild animals into polar necks and dinner jackets. The Spanish photographer splices together photos of taxidermied animals and human models, doing so in a way that the personality of the animal matches the clothed body of the person beneath.



Portrait Number Fifteen


His latest work has shifted away from animals, towards everyday objects and household items. And it's seriously funny stuff. We're talking emboddied teapots, apples, shells and fish bowls.



Ceci N'est Pas Une Thelere


2. Anup Shah 

Anup is a Nairobi-born photographer whose work straddles documentary photography and fine art photography. His astonishing images capture nature up close - too close for comfort in most cases.





How does he get these shots? Anup sets up 'outdoor studios', placing his camera in strategic spots where the lighting is good and where his subjects are likely to trot - or stampede - by. Miguel then operates the camera from the safety of his 4X4 some 50m away. He adjusts the shutter speed, zooms in and out and prepares for the opportune moment to take the snap.





3. Samsofy Samlal

Samsofy calls himself a 'plastician photographer'. The Frenchman combines photography with street art, model making and installation techniques to make Lego universes. His witty worlds, while contructed out of children's playthings, are really microcosms of life.



The Artist


Samsofy began his career photographing extreme sports. Hence the piece above. Now he lets his love of all things geeky guide his work. 



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4. Vikram Kushwah

Vikram's photographs are semi-surreal. The Indian artist stages dreamlike scenarios that are more than a touch bizarre. Shooting on an analogue camera adds another layer of richness to his imagery, giving his photos a sense of antiquity, memory and nostalgia. 



The Twins & the Green Car - 6


Vikram takes inspiration from his childhood memories and from stories like Alice in Wonderland. His photographs blur the boundaries between fiction and reality, drawing his viewers into a world of dreams and timelessness.



Emily's Legs


5. Etienne Clement

Etienne creates and photographs detailed miniature dioramas. The French photographer draws on fact and fiction, history and legend to tell a different tale in each scene.



Boudoir. An Exhibition Private View, 1720


Blonde Wendy is the artist's alter-ego. Etienne's ‘Wendy’s World’ series is made up of images set in derelict urban areas that are charged with social and politicla histories. Etienne then constructs miniature stage sets in the foreground, creating witty scenarios that are heavy with social critique.



Cool Britannia. Wendy's World Series.


See more photographs by these artists in our collection




Fred Ingrams | Visions of the Fens

Posted in In the Studio by Rise Art on 14th August 2017

Very few artists can say that Francis Bacon once bought one of their works. But Fred Ingrams can. Fred is successful British painter who's spent the last seven years painting the Fens, a seemingly featureless industrial landscape in eastern England. What took him there? Well one day the artist headed off to an odd bit of landscape he'd spotted on Google Earth. It was the Fens. And amidst those flat, marshy plains the artist found the inspiration he'd been looking for. “It is a place,” says Fred, “full of strange stories, myths, strange place names and strange people."

We wanted to know more about the artist's fascination with the Fens, his fondness for acryclics, and his insistence on painting from life.



Fred, what is your process and which materials do you use?

I've painted in acrylics ever since I started my painting course at Camberwell Art School in the early 1980s. The tutors there refused to teach me if I continued to use acrylics so I had to leave. Hard to believe now but many of the tutors then believed using acrylics was not really proper painting.



Rain Over Bourne Farm (July 2017) 


I have always painted on board as I don’t like the bounce you get with canvas. I use a sharp knife to scrape paint away and as I need to press very hard, I would go through the canvas. I have painted this way for 30 years.



What draws you to the Fens?

Ever since seeing Richard Diebenkorn's work at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1991 I had been looking for a landscape that was made up of grids and planes of colour. One day I was looking on Google Earth and saw a strange long shape in the landscape near Kings Lynn. I couldn’t work out what it was so set off to find out.



Summer Headland - Storm Coming, Chatteris (July 2017)


I ended up at Welney on the banks of the Bedford River which makes up one side of the Ouse Washes. Looking out across the landscape towards Littleport I realised that I had found the landscape that I wanted to paint. It is a very empty landscape and one that you can be alone in. I need that sense of space and quietness to paint in. When I get there and set up my easel I physically and spiritually feel different.


Why do you paint within the landscape itself - instead of working from a photograph?

Memory is so important to me in my work. I want to paint “about" the landscape not “of"  the landscape. Photographs distort the perspective and make objects on the horizon smaller. I use them as reference but try and work mainly from the sketches that I paint in the landscape. Often a study can take a couple of hours and in that time so much changes but I have a memory of that time which I try and put into the work.



Fodder Beans, Barroway Drove


The dullest landscapes are the ones that try to record only what is in front of the artist. Paintings that are done from photographs are just that. I really believe you have to know and understand a landscape. The more I learn about the Fens the more I need to paint it.



How did it feel when Francis Bacon purchased one of your artworks?

Francis came to the private view of the opening show of a new Soho Gallery called the Birch & Conran Gallery. I think he bought the painting more as a gesture of support for the gallery rather than because he really liked the painting.



Pumpkins and Leeks, Friday Bridge 


He told me it was the best work in the show but I know he often bought paintings and then destroyed them. However I was young and it was a very exciting night. Afterwards I got to know him a bit as I used to drink in the Colony Room which was his favourite club.



Tell us about your studio space. What do you love about it?

I finished building my new studio last year. Until then I have always painted in dark, damp, dingy spaces that were either cheap to rent or the only space I had available.



So I have just converted two stables into a bright, white, warm, dry space with lots of natural light. It felt very strange to begin with but as it has filled up with work and my junk and now has paint splattered on the floor, it feels very comfortable, very quiet and peaceful.





Live from the Royal Albert Hall

Posted in Inside Scoop by Aimee Morris on 09th August 2017

"Thank you for the music", sang the most popular Swedish foursome in musical history. Well, Proms Season at the Royal Albert Hall has us feeling the same way. How on earth does this relate to art, you might ask. But if you think about it, there is undeniably a musical touch to the language of visual art. We talk about artworks having 'rythm' and 'tone'. A piece of art can harbour a 'note' of melancholy. Or it can strike a 'chord' with the viewer. 



Rooftops at Royal Albert Hall by Clare Halifax


Stairway to Royal Albert (banner image above) also by Clare Halifax 


Today we spotlight artists at Rise Art who find inspiration in music, melody and song. One such artist is Robert Dunt. Robert's abstract paintings are expressions of music in visual form. They buzz. They boom. They pulsate. Read our interview with Robert and take a tour of his studio in How to Make Music Out of Art



Yellow and Violet Distortion by Robert Dunt


Vesa Kivinen's visualisation of music is more fluid. It's less about the base and more about the beat - with a dash of melody thrown in. Music (below) is a vision of rhythm. A synchronous display of colours, drips and drops. 


Music by Vesa Kivinen


We've noticed that photographer Gina Soden has a penchant for pianos. Gina is one adventurous lady. She travels through Europe photographing abandoned buildings of all forms, from derelict asylums to deserted castles. And on at least three occasions we've spotted a baby grand.


Castle Piano by Gina Soden


Victoria Topping is also a fan of the old ebony and ivory. It's not all about the piano though: Victoria's colourful mixed media works are inspired by a range of musical genres and movements, from 70s Jazz to Gospel and Blues. 


Sound of Joy by Victoria Topping


"Without a song or a dance, what are we?" We're with you on this one ABBA. Scroll through our Proms collection below to immerse yourself further in music-inspired artworks on Rise Art.






Small Budget, Big Impact | Styling with Stella + the Stars
Don't Say it, Spray it
Tightening the Belt in Style with The Frugality
Why We Love Home
100% My Type on Canvas
How to Make Music Out of Art
Just MARVELous: Art for the Comically-Inclined