"Nothing is more hallowing than the union of kindred spirits in art. At the moment of meeting, the art lover transcends himself. At once he is and is not. He catches a glimpse of Infinity, but words cannot voice his delight, for the eye has no tongue. Freed from the fetters of matter, his spirit moves in the rhythm of things. It is thus that art becomes akin to religion and ennobles mankind. It is this which makes a masterpiece something sacred. "
Okakura Kakuzo, The Book of Tea
Japan born Yamamoto began photographing in 1975. Strong themes in his work are nature, the passing of time and memory. The work also bears relation to the idea of Haikus, short poems that present a single experience, a single moment. Like Haikus, Yamamoto's images present a single subject that appear to leave something unsaid or undefined, the viewer is given the chance to complete the idea and thus become part of the work, reaffirming their relationship with themselves. For example a cobbled street, a bird, a window, a naked woman. In his exhibition "Nakazora" (meaning "the space between the sky and earth") Yamamoto insists the empty space between the photos is as important as the photos themselves. This idea is seen in Buddhism, all things being of equal value, here the viewer should experience themselves in the spaces as well as viewing the images. "When looking at my installation, I would like the viewer not only to try to understand. Rather, as with a landscape, for example, please just view or take a look." In other exhibitions Yamamoto has not only hung work on the walls but also provided for some to be contained in old wooden boxes that the viewer can rummage through. Like rummaging through beautiful moments we may have thought forgotten, here are captured and presented for us to experience again.
"I try not to think when I take photographs, I let myself be drawn to a subject; the photograph is a record of my feelings in the moment."
All photos copyright Masao Yamamoto
Alex Prager takes the idea of perfection and skews it till whats left is a set of portraits that intrigue and unsettle. The cinematic, colour saturated images weigh heavy with ambiguity. The named photos leave us curious to know what is happening. I get the feeling something sinister is definitely hiding beneath these groomed exteriors.
All photos copyright Alex Prager
Even though the Polaroid is no more, we can still sit back sometimes and revel in its weird, fragile, chemical beauty. One of the best collections of Polaroids I've seen is by the following photographer:
Jamie Livingston (Oct 25, 1956 - Oct 25, 1997) was a New York based photographer and film maker. Between March 31, 1979 and October 25, 1997, the day of his death, he took a single picture nearly every day with a Polaroid camera. His photographic diary started at Bard College, USA and though some photos have gone missing from the collection, 6,697 Polaroids remain - maintained today by two of his close friends. An absolutely amazing collection of photographs that you can look at for hours. Its hard to pick a few favourites because nearly every snap is brilliant. To see more go to http://photooftheday.hughcrawford.com/
All photos copyright of the artist
From top: Broadside prints from Volume IV, "You Are Not My Enemy!" (2), Senium Spectare
(to view decline) and Kinder Gentler Machine Gun Man - Community College of Vermont Exhibit, 2006, Crumbling Democracy and He Spoke They Died by Drew Matott, Healing by Robynn Murray, Breaking Rank by Drew Cameron and Drew Matott. All copyright of the artists.
Drew Matott and Drew Cameron, the founders of Combat Paper Project say on their website, "The story of the soldier, the Marine, the men and the women and the journeys within the military service in a time of war is the basis for this project. The goal is to utilize art as a means to help veterans reconcile their personal experiences as well as broaden the traditional narrative surrounding service, honor and the military culture.
Through papermaking workshops veterans use their uniforms worn in combat to create cathartic works of art. The uniforms are cut up, beat and formed into sheets of paper. Veterans use the transformative process of papermaking to reclaim their uniform as art and begin to embrace their experiences as a soldier in war.
The Combat Paper Project is based out of Green Door Studio in Burlington, VT and has traveled throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, providing veterans' workshops, exhibitions, performances and artists' talks. This project is made possible by a multifaceted collaboration between artists, art collectors, academic institutions and combat veterans."