Commemorating childhood: The figurative art of Mark Lovett

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

by Mark Lovett

by Mark Lovett

I find it rather extraordinary that we commemorate through art important historical events, war heroes, authors and political leaders, yet we rarely commemorate in art what is most important to most of us: our family lives and our children. During the 19th and 20th centuries, depicting children in art was usually relegated to female painters (most notably, Mary Cassatt and Berthe Morisot) or depicted with unsettling undertones of sexuality, as is the case in Balthus’s controversial paintings.

The figurative painter Mark Lovett commemorates through his beautiful paintings and photographs what matters most to so many of us: our children. Mark Lovett depicts children,  particularly girls, during the years (between 3 and 12) when they are old enough to appreciate family activities yet young enough to still enjoy the company of their parents. The subject of family and children is inherently personal, so I will mention one personal note, which is part of the reason why I’m so touched by Mark Lovett’s art. I remember with great fondness the many activities my husband and I did with our children, Alex and Sophie, when they were younger: apple orchards, zoo trips, museums, Renaissance fairs, art camps, cub scouts, hiking and vacations in so many beautiful places around the world. The kids, and their joie de vivre, added enormous pleasure and sense of meaning to our lives.

by Mark Lovett

by Mark Lovett

Because this part of childhood and family life lasts roughly ten years, it’s easy to have the false impression that it will never go away. Yet like everything beautiful in life, it’s ephemeral  and it passes. As the children grow up,  you can relive your their early years and the joy they brought to your family in your memory, in your heart and, if you’re fortunate, in great artwork like the one created by Mark Lovett.

by Mark Lovett

by Mark Lovett

Mark is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where he studied figurative and portrait painting at Nelson Shanks’ Studio Incamminati in Pennsylvania and of The Art League School in Alexandria, VA. As  you can probably tell by looking at  his realist paintings, Mark finds inspiration in the old masters. He is particularly influenced by the works of Bouguereau, Sargent, Renoir and Monet. He employs many of their techniques, particularly in depicting his subjects in a realistic fashion. Yet ultimately, like all great painters, he has his own unique style.

by Mark Lovett

by Mark Lovett

Mark’s works depict children in an unsentimental fashion that nonetheless evokes the best experiences many of us have of our family lives. His backgrounds tend to use bold strokes, while his figures themselves–the children–are very finely painted, with a delicate touch that captures their individual features and expressions.

As you can see on his website,http://www.marklovettstudio.com/,Mark has won numerous awards including: 2006 Portrait Society of America Children’s Portrait Competition;  MD Annual Art Show and 2005 Rockville Art League Art Show Winner. His works have been featured in numerous magazines, including Washington Spaces Magazine 2007 and 2006; Who’s Who of Strathmore Worldwide 2007-2008; Preview Magazine Art Expo, NY 2007; Strathmore Applause Magazine cover 2006; Art Business News Magazine 2006 and 2005.  You can view his works primarily in his own studio, MarkLovettStudio, as well as in several galleries in the U.S. and Europe, including the prestigious gallery Galerie Pierre in France (http://about.me/GaleriePierre). Thanks to Mark Lovett’s talent and works, we can commemorate our children’s most fun and memorable years through art, as well as in our lives and fondest memories.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754

The Surprising and Stunning Photography of Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

The French writer Francoise Sagan once said “Art must take reality by surprise.” I think that applies especially to the art of photography. Photography today shares with architecture a double function: it must be both pragmatic and sublime. Buildings combine form and function. They must stand no matter how artistic and innovative they may be from an architectural point of view. Likewise, the best fashion photography of our times is innovative, surprising and stunning and at the same time very practical and flexible. It conforms to the advertising needs of each client while also staging a new invention and offering a novel surprise in each photo shoot.

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Few combine the pragmatic and creative functions of photography as well as Moscow-based photographer Andrey Yakovlev and art director Lili Aleeva. World-famous for the gorgeous models, elegant fashions, inventive sets, and above all creative photo series that never fail to surprise and impress viewers, Yakovlev and Aleeva raise the bar for contemporary artistic photography.

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Some of their photo series deliberately mimic the diverse styles of classical, realist, romantic, art nouveau and modernist paintings. We see echoes of Ingres, of the pre-Raphaelites, of Bougureau, of Klimt and even of Picasso’s blue period in some of their images.

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

In other series, they set a subversive tone, pushing the limits of our imagination. In yet others, they emphasize feminine beauty and glamour. In most of their photo series, Yakovlev and Aleeva stage a set and create a drama, through the postures, gestures and facial expressions of the models.

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

These expressions surprise us rather than simply imitating life in a repertoire that we’re already familiar with. The poses are not realistic; they’re dramatic and statuesque.

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

These images take our breath away through their stunning beauty and capture our attention through an undefinable element of surprise that characterizes the best artistic creations. You can view more of Yakovlev’s and Aleeva’s beautiful photography on the websites below:

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754

The Photography of Dan St. Andrei: Dreaming of a Perfect Imperfection

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Romanian-born photographer Dan St. Andrei adopts a philosophical approach to the art of photography. He states: “Life is eventually an eternal attempt to understand your purpose, to build up and mold, to grow and to define yourself … I would like to discover daily reasons to love myself.”  His images take on so many different styles and approaches: from the fetishism of his sensual fragments; to the poetic dynamism of his photographs of dancers; to the reflexive and dream-like quality of his dystopic utopia images, which he calls, in a deliberate pun,  Mytopia.

If his photo series have any common thread, it’s in depicting life, as Dan St. Andrei himself puts it, as “beautifully imperfect.” The beauty lies in the aesthetic impact, since Dan St. Andrei’s images are not only beautiful but also dreamy, even haunting. The imperfection is revealed in the human emotions and anxieties they reflect, holding a mirror to both what we reveal and what we hide within. As the artist puts it, through the art of photography, he searches “for  the meanings and hidden motivations that put our world into motion.”

It’s difficult to imagine a world without fantasy, without dream. This would be a world devoid of possibilities, without a future. Dan St. Andrei captures our dreams and hopes in motion, as they develop, both literally from the camera as well as figuratively in our minds. He states: “There are moments when we ask ourselves about our purpose in life, about its meaning and our motivations. There are moments when we ask questions about life, as it is or as we imagine it to be.” The gap between reality and dream is not unbridgeable. It’s often connected, in fact, by art and our imaginations: “There are moments when we allow our imaginations to roam free; in which we allow ourselves to dream.”

Dan St. Andrei captures the dreamer in each of  us, whether we’re artists or not. After all, it’s our dreams that make more bearable our imperfect reality; that help us change it for the better; that give us hope and a sense of drive and direction in life. Without these aesthetic dreams, we risk getting bogged down in the routines and responsibilities of daily life. The dreamer in us, the artist explains, “lives through these moments” when life’s “imperfection becomes beautiful.” This may be only our personal vision–a fantasy–or what, if we follow our dreams, we make happen in real life.

There is also a sense of nostalgia in Dan St. Andrei’s images, as he suggests bygone eras. He does this without melancholia however, even adding a ludic touch, as in the fashion series below, photographed by Dan St. Andrei and created with the help of the talented stylist, Alin Galatescu.

Andrei Octav Doicescu aptly stated:  “The present disintegrates, first in history, then in nostalgia.” Nostalgia is an acute, often painful, awareness  of an irretrievably  lost past that we still long for in the present. But Dan St. Andrei shows us the past doesn’t have to evoke sadness. The past can reappear in our present as a playful celebration of previous epochs, in our imaginations, in art and of course in history. 

Like a Proustian search for lost time in pictorial form–a search for lost love, for impossibly perfect social structures, for the (unattainable) fulfillment of our sensual and sexual desires–Dan St. Andrei’s photography captures the peregrinations of our search for meaning in a life deprived of certainties. You can view his portfolio on his website, http://danandrei.com/.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754


Luigi Fieni Photojournalism: Light, Magic and Spirituality

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Italian photographer Luigi Fieni brings us the best in photojournalism. Although Luigi began his career as an aeronautical engineer, since 1999 he has chosen a different, artistic, path. For nearly fifteen years, he has been a master conservationist of wall paintings, wood carvings and sculptures in Nepal.  He also passes on his craft by leading a training program in Lomanthang, the capital of Mutang.

Versatile and international, Fieni also restores some of the most majestic monuments in Europe. He has helped restore Basilica dei Santi Ambrogio e Carlo al Corso, Church of San Pietro Apostolo in Poli, Church of Santo Stefano in Poli, and the Civic Archaeological Museum of Albano Laziale among others.

The deep knowledge and respect for cultures throughout the ages and across the globe that Fieni exhibits in his restoration projects also shines through in his breathtaking photojournalism.  A poet with images, Luigi also has a way with words.  The presentation of photography, restoration projects and background on his website, below, is in itself a work of art, combining beautiful images, soothing music and his own poetic eloquence.  

Like the Impressionists, Luigi explores the relation between light, meaning and meditation. He states on his website, “Using cameras, in all their forms, fascinates me. Mesmerized by the noise of the shutter I am granted sorcery… I am enthralled by the diversity and am always looking to capture a moment rather than an image.”

Fieni experiments artistically with the format, focus and angle of the camera to produce images that capture motion, beauty, emotion, energy and yet, somehow, also remain faithful to the scenery or people they portray. There’s a sense of reverence that pervades Fieni’s images that may have something to do with his years of experience with the restoration of cultural artifacts. But it has even more to do with his modesty and appreciation for world cultures and, above all, for his fellow human beings.

“In a way,” Luigi explains, “the light entering through the lens does not just alter some silver grains or some pixels but it carries all the vibrations, all the emotions in one evocative moment.” In our regular lives, filled with the routines of work, familial responsibilities, or even mindless diversions, it’s easy to bypass a deeper, almost spiritual, appreciation for life in all its kaleidoscope of emotions, forms and colors. Luigi Fieni’s spectacular photorealism represents not only the best of this arform, but also a form of meditation through art.

 Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754

Perfect Partners: Photography and Dance

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

World-renowned dance photographer Richard Calmes captures the elegance and poise of dancers in his breath-taking images. His new photography albums, Dance Magic and Water Dance, will make any art lover’s Christmas dreams come true. Dance Magic is mysterious, dramatic and captivating. Water Dance flows with energy and radiates beauty.  It will be tough to choose between them. You can see sample images from both albums on Richard Calmes’ website, http://richardcalmes.com/Happy Holidays!

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

Christmas Is Coming!

Book ad 1
What better gift than page after page of beautiful dancers caught at the peak of their expression? Your holiday shopping was never easier! Two books are available: DANCE  MAGIC and the new WATER  DANCE.  Stunning images will inspire everyone from dance students to those who simply love dance or those who love photography. Editions for every budget!
Click here to preview books or order:    .http://richardcalmes.com/books.html

Creative Photo Sessions this YearIt’s been quite a year for experimenting with both new lighting techniques and unusual shoot locations. From a classic car graveyard to a fabulous town center fountain, my dancers always give me more than I expect. See for yourself!

 Click on a thumbnail to see the gallery

                  jan studio    Ailey 2011    Extreme   Fountain

            Old car   light fun   light play   Fountain

            oct studio   Fountain   nutcracker   Fountain

About Richard Calmes Photography

Richard is available for photographing live dance events, publicity work, and studio work. His goal is not simply to photograph but to create art. Creativity and new ideas are always the priority. Please call us today to discuss any needs, or any wonderful ideas,  you might have.
404-317-8470
404-444-7629
Visit the web site for thousands of beautiful images!

More on Romanian Photography: Claudiu Ciprian Popa

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I just returned from a book launch in Romania and was very impressed with the artists I had the pleasure of meeting in person and collaborating with. I have posted earlier articles about two impressive Romanian photographers of international stature: Nicolae Cosniceru and Dan St. Andrei. Today I’d like to present Claudiu Ciprian Popa, a young photographer (and Director of Photography) who impresses both through his versatility–he has a double formation in photography and film–and through his talent. It’s not an accident that Claudiu Ciprian Popa’s style resembles in some respects Nicolae Cosniceru’s, his former mentor and now colleague at fotofactory.ro. There’s a noticeable similarity in the manner in which the two photographers approach the public through a striking visual impact of juxtapositions, as in the photo below of a young woman painted in black.

Claudiu Popa, however, retains his own unique style and a more lyrical approach to photography, as evidenced by the series Firefly Dreaming (of the model that goes by the name Laura Firefly), which reveals a metamorphosis of a young woman into a vibrant and seductive sensual being.

A talented Director of Photography, Claudiu Ciprian Popa has also collaborated with Barna Nemethi (whom I’ve written about earlier, on litkicks.com) on an artistic commercial for Encyclopedia Britannica. This commercial offers not only an aesthetically interesting presentation of its main theme–books–but also a philosophical reflection about time. Through rapidly moving images, it traces the transformations in our lives which fundamentally change us while also pointing to some stability or foundations, provided by our upbringing and culture.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ClaudiaMoscovici?feature=mhee#p/f/17/uE_xPyVkgkw

Recently, Claudiu collaborated with Curtea Veche Publishing on a book trailer for my novel, Velvet Totalitarianism, translated into Romanian by Mihnea Gafita as Intre Doua Lumi. I was fortunate enough to participate in making this short film and to meet the talented young actors, some of whom are already stars on Romanian TV shows. Although we only had a few days to make the book trailer, Claudiu managed to recreate the introductory scene of the novel (in a short skit) as well to capture the novel’s overall mood (in the later, dreamy sequence).

http://www.youtube.com/user/ClaudiaMoscovici?feature=mhee#p/a/f/1/DgCdLdygaII

This short film marks not only a new step in Claudiu Ciprian Popa’s career, but also a relatively new direction in publishing: namely, that of launching books through multimedia publicity campaigns that include book trailers and music videos. For more information about Claudiu Ciprian Popa’s photography, see http://fotofactory.ro/.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754

 


The Incomparable Jeanloup Sieff: Sensuality and Elegance

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

The photography of Jeanloup Sieff  epitomizes class, sensuality and elegance. Born in Paris of parents of Polish origin, Sieff’s interest in photography began very early, at the age of 14, when he received a camera as a birthday gift. He quickly developed a knack for photographing women, which would continue to be a favorite subject. Sieff  studied at the Vaugirard School of Photography in Paris and the Vevey School in Switzerland. In 1956, he started shooting fashion photography, developing a signature style in capturing women’s beauty with classic elegance . His black and white images, where shadows seem to emphasize rather than hide fluid curves, offer voyeuristic peeks into women’s sensuality  as well as dramatic hints of their personalities.

Very popular with the American market, Sieff moved to New York during the 1960’s, where he worked for the top fashion magazines, including Esquire, Glamour and Vogue. He’s best known, however, for his captivating images of celebrities, including Jane Birkin, Alfred Hitchcock and Yves Montand. In the video that features his photography and the song Je t’aime moi nonplus, performed in a sizzling duet by Jane Birkin and her lover Serge Gainsbourg, the video artist Elia Iglesias captures Sieff’s intoxicating mixture of eroticisism and elegance.

Sieff won many hearts and several prestigious awards for his images, including the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in Paris (1981) and the Grand Prix National de la Photographie (1992). He is the blueprint and inspiration for postromantic photographers today, whose works you can view on our website http://postromanticism.com/

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754

 


The Sacred and The Profane: The Iconic Images of Majeed Beenteha

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Majeed Benteeha is an Iranian-born photographer, poet and aspiring film producer. Moving back and forth between Tehran and New York City, he simultaneously combines and clashes both worlds, in a spectacular mix that challenges cultural assumptions on both fronts. His images often feature veiled women posing nude in an iconic fashion that seems more sacred than profane.

Benteenha’s strikingly original photography violates religious orthodoxies–about feminine modesty, about the religious and social connotations of the veil–only to show us another way to respect women and all that they represent: love, maternity, sensuality, desire, intelligence.

His images are simple, beautiful, erotic and dramatic. They include symbols associated with the Muslim faith, but also seem very European in many respects. Perhaps unwittingly, Beenteha’s photography alludes to works like L’Erotisme, by the French anthropologist and philosopher Georges Bataille, which presents the sacred as inextricably related to the profane: not just for Muslim societies, but for all cultures in general. Bataille famously states:

“The essence of morality is a questioning about morality and the decisive move of human life is to use ceaselessly all light to look for the origin of the opposition between good and evil.”

It seems that is precisely what Beenteha’s artistic short film below underscores, in its mirroring and contrast between a universal modernity and Muslim tradition; between light and dark; between masculine and feminine; between tenderness and predation; between desire and contempt.

Claudia Moscovici, postromanticism.com

http://www.amazon.com/Romanticism-Postromanticism-Claudia-Moscovici/dp/0739116754