Taking Pictures #1: Photography from Edward Steichen, Viviane Sassen, Laura Stevens, Dougie Wallace & more…

The first in our fortnightly pick of photography includes Edward Steichen and Viviane Sassen fashion photography shows in London; a striking image from Gábor Arion Kudász’s Middle series; Laura Stevens’ Another November; Lorenzo Vitturi’s Dalston Anatomy show in New York; Seung-Hwan Oh’s Impermanence; and Dougie Wallace’s photobook Shoreditch Wild Life…

The first in our fortnightly pick of photography includes Edward Steichen and Viviane Sassen fashion photography shows in London; a striking image from Gábor Arion Kudász’s Middle series; Laura Stevens’ Another November; Lorenzo Vitturi’s Dalston Anatomy show in New York; Seung-Hwan Oh’s Impermanence; and Dougie Wallace’s photobook Shoreditch Wild Life…

Edward Steichen, Viviane Sassen, Martina Lindqvist
(The Photographers’ Gallery, London)

For a mix of vintage and contemporary fashion photography, head to The Photographers’ Gallery in London, with two new exhibitions, Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Conde Nast Years 1923 – 1937, and Viviane Sassen’s Analemma: Fashion Photography 1992 – 2012 (pictured above).

The Steichen show includes over 200 beautiful vintage prints in his characteristic Art Deco style, from his time working for Vogue and Vanity Fair, with portraits of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Fred Astaire alongside elegant models dressed in Chanel, Lanvin and Schiaparelli. The gallery has set some of the prints against a series of wallpapers that Steichen designed for Stehli Silks Corporation, with a selection of rare copies of Vogue and Vanity Fair also on display, showing his images in their original context.

Pictured above: Actress Gloria Swanson, 1924, for Vanity Fair; Actress Jetta Goudal wearing a satin gown by Lanvin, 1923; Model posing for Beauty Primer, 1934; Model Margaret Horan in a black dress by Jay-Thorpe, 1935 for Vogue.

On the top floor of the gallery, the first UK show for Dutch photographer Sassen presents 350 of her striking experimental works in an immersive moving image installation, using mirrors and projections of two scrolling image feeds. It includes campaigns for Miu Miu and Stella McCartney, as well as editorial photographs for cult fashion publications such as i-D and AnOther Magazine.

The viewer’s gaze is disrupted in this dynamic display, as Sassen aims to disrupt preconceptions of what we expect from fashion photography. This is the case with much of her work, which uses bold colours, strong light/dark contrast, abstract poses, and a snapshot aesthetic, to create graphic and sculptural compositions.

Pictured above: (Lead image) In Bloom, Dazed and Confused, July 2011; Gone with the Wind, Zuiderzee Museum, 2008; Untitled, Carven, S/S 2008; Corpus Electra, Acne Paper, Sprint 2012

In the basement Print Sales space, Martina Lindqvist’s Neighbours series (shown above) includes some surreal images shot in Finland of snowy, baron landscape scenes with solitary abandoned wooden houses, many collapsing in on themselves. Lindqvist has used digital manipulation to exaggerate the space surrounding the houses, emphasising the isolation that has caused many of the former inhabitants to leave.



Middle, Gábor Arion Kudász

In a close inspection of his own life and family, Hungarian photographer Gábor Arion Kudász created this intimate series over the course of seven years, capturing his pregnant wife and growing family, and the loss of his mother. As part of the process, Kudász matched the images with notes from his wife’s diary, acting almost like chronological image captions.

There is something strange and beautiful about one particular image (shown above). When viewed on the timeline, the narrative of the diary entries make it all the more poetic, as we read further into details within the picture: “25th of September Apu moved the bedroom downstairs. Twenty years of dust on the furniture. 19th of October Momo started to be afraid of the painting above his bed.”



Another November, Laura Stevens

Creating a “photographic narrative based on the experience of losing love”, photographer Laura Stevens’ Another November series aims to explore the gradual emotional and circumstantial stages of loss and heartbreak.

The women “are seen isolated, surrounded by textures, colour and empty spaces in a room of their home in Paris”, as described by Stevens, captured in constructed scenes using female friends and strangers she approached on the street. The images often need a double take, as cinematic hues and dramatic misery, give way to recognisable moments of vulnerability and longing.


Pictured above: Kate; Lily; Kate II; Arianna

Dalston Anatomy, Lorenzo Vitturi
(Yossi Mil Gallery, New York)

Work from the London-based photographer Lorezo Vitturi is being exhibited at Yossi Mil Gallery in New York until December 13. Collecting debris found in the market streets of Dalston, east London, Vitturi builds precarious sculptures and portraits and photographs them.

With his creations mimicking the temporary and organic nature of the market, Vitturi soon realised the connection between his process and the changing community of the area. Many of the objects weren’t just rubbish, but markers of the changing urban landscape, fragments of old flats and people’s lives, and his work became a form of visualising the transformation.


Impermanence, Seung-Hwan Oh

South Korean photographer Seung-Hwan Oh created this series after a reading a BBC article about a fungus problem threatening historical film archives. “I noticed that mold on badly stored film can eat away and destroy its contents,” he says. “And then I realize that I may deliver the idea of impermanence of matter applying this natural disaster into my work.”

In a time-consuming process, without being able to control elements, Oh created the images in a warm, wet, micro-fungus farm in his studio, allowing mold to propagate with the microbes consuming the emulsion, distorting the images into ephemeral, ethereal portraits.


Pictured above: David Hyan; Amber; Haily

Shoreditch Wild Life, Dougie Wallace
(Hoxton Mini Press)

The forth book in the East London Photo Stories series by Hoxton Mini Press, captures the variety of life in Shoreditch, with all its absurdities, chaos, grimy glamour and culture clash, old timers and hipster revellers.

With his heavy flash often as brash and the characters he shoots, his street photography style has been described as “visually exaggerated”. Extreme close-ups often revel something honest or even intriguingly grotesque about his subjects, as he aims to translate social wit and criticism through his lens.



To contact CR with photography projects and news, please email antonia.wilson@centaur.co.uk

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