Delphine Blast Captures the faces of Bolivian Womanhood in her series, Cholitas

Delphine Blast is a French documentary and portrait photographer based between Paris and South America. She has dedicated several works to the situation of women in Latin America, drawing in on the humanitarian dimension of life, while bringing out the emotional response and engagement of her subjects.

On a two month journey in Bolivia, Delphine discovered what it meant to be a cholita in today’s modern world. In the capital of La Paz she met dozens of cholitas and decided to honor the women by taking their portrait in a recreated photo studio based on backgrounds featuring traditional Bolivian fabrics.

A series of 35 portraits was born, entitled Cholitas, the revenge of a generation. The images highlight their unique outfits inspired by Andean traditions, but above all it reveals the women’s femininity, elegance and dignity.

Discriminated against for a long time, the cholitas are now very much a driving force in Bolivia. In scenes that were unimaginable 10 or 20 years ago, nowadays they have real clout in the economic, political, and even fashion worlds. The cholitas have managed to find their place in modern society without denying their collective past. They are an expression of the dignity of Indian populations.

Delphine’s photographic series aims to renew insight into Bolivian womanhood. It also carries new identity affirmations and reflects the social changes on the march in the country.

Take a look at Delphine’s stunning portraits below:

Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
FOTO INFINITUM | From the series, Cholitas, by Delphine Blast.
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
Cholitas, la revanche d'une génération
© Delphine Blast. From the series Cholitas, the revenge of a generation.
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Screen Printed Self Portraits of Photographer Zohra Opoku

Zohra Opoku is a German/Ghanaian multidisciplinary artist living and working in Accra.

With a keen and disciplined eye for textile and design, Opoku employees installation, sculpture, and photography at the helm of her practice. She conceptualizes West African traditions, spirituality, the thread of family lineage as they relate to self authorship and the politics of her hybrid identity.

A globalized social consumption and the commodification of all things African are a driving force in what Opoku sees as the nemesis of her thesis, and the relevance of cultural credentials within this state of being.

Have a look at her beautiful screen printed self portraits below:

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Zohra Opoku, Wisteria (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Rhododendron (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Pyracantha (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Cyperus Papyrus, (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Ficus Carica (2015).
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Zohra Opoku, Dicksonia Antarctica, (2015).

 

 

The Promise of Sublime Words by Ewa Doroszenko

Sent to us by Ewa Doroszenko, a visual artist based in Warsaw, Poland. Her project The Promise of Sublime Words started out as a means to show Ewa’s favorite statues she had learned about during her art history doctoral studies. Her time studying brought her face to face with many books on the Classical era’s sculptures.

Cutting out fragments of the images, Ewa incorporated platforms, and made small compositions of the elegant Greek gods. The ancient philosophers and leaders are treated like paper figures in Ewa’s distorted views.

Once Ewa finished her compositions, she would reshoot them and begin printing on a larger scale than the original to create a hybrid of photo sculpture works. Take a look below:

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For more images from this series, view The Promise of Sublime Words in its entirety here, and be sure to follow Ewa on Instagram.

Monday Motivation : Tina Modotti

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Unveiling the Luminous Work of MJ Katz

LOS ANGELES – The moment before I met with photographer MJ Katz, I downed two slices of pizza. I was catching up on her latest solo exhibition, So Long : So Far, a self-portrait series dedicated to the memories of loss from when her childhood home sold to a new family.

The exhibition at Infinity on West Adams ran from October 21st – November 5th, and marked MJ’s first solo show and photographic debut since her graduation from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena a year ago, but that’s not to say the photographer hasn’t been busy since obtaining her BFA. She displayed her first sculptural works entitled Precious Metals which included a set of Unwilling Participation Trophies for moments like cyber bullying, lock down drills, and student loan debt for the group show, Party Castle.

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In a way, the Infinity exhibition was like an anniversary of accomplishments from where it all began. Obsessed with the feeling that I had pizza crumbs on my face, I grabbed a few napkins and headed over next door to the gallery.

Inside, two girls scribbled their names on paper behind me, where I noticed a lock of neon blonde hair neatly tied in a braid on display. The images on the wall, a mixture of landscapes and closeup portraits, would immediately connect it to be the same hair MJ had during the time the series was made. A now tousled brunette, MJ sat in the heart of her work on a pair of wooden benches where she began to tell me about her photographic process. “All the images were shot in-camera,” she said in reference to the ghostly multiples of herself. Through well composed long exposures and MJ’s performative use of a flashlight, the end result is an eerie ethereal presence of the self.

When speaking about what shaped the series, I understood that formulating questions was the forefront of her process. “I’m interested in personal history,” she went on to explain. “History of place, history of object, of the things that we own and the places we go and the people that we know. What is actually there? 

We have these relationships to all these different kinds of things that form our day to day life, but what does it actually look like? For me, I think I’m interested in the challenge of what is no longer there, but you feel like it is. That’s what this body of work is about.

Put a flashlight in MJ’s hand, and she will create a dialogue of presence. “It says how long I was in a certain place, and where I was in this location, and so for two to three nights a week for about three and a half months I was let into the house by the son of the family who bought it, who I’m now dating, but that’s another story,” she smiled. “For whatever reason, I would head straight to my parent’s room first.” There MJ would unload her equipment to set up before gravitating on to the next room.

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Depending on the change and unfamiliarity of the rooms, MJ would start there. Objects left behind throughout the new owner’s home renovations suddenly became props for both the photographer and muse to interact with. One of those props ended up being a large mirror and paint bucket in what used to be her brother’s bedroom (pictured above).

I realized I was following things in the house that I knew wouldn’t be there for much longer. So in a way, I was chasing the things in the house that were moving and had the potential to be lost. Those were the things I held on to the most.

One shot in particular happened by chance in her childhood bedroom. During her time running barefoot around the house, painting with light, she noticed the yellow glow of her neighbor’s back light. Not one time during her being there did they keep that light on. “And I knew my neighbors,” she recalled about the happy accident. “I could have been like ‘hey could you keep your light on?’ but I didn’t want to. I wanted to approach the space with some structure.”

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Another portion of the work relies heavily on the photographer’s recollection of her parent’s divorce when she was in the 6th grade. “In the beginning of the series, I think it was very important for me to pay tribute to those moments by enacting them by using myself as a figure.”

In the below image, MJ Katz recreated the moment she would cup her hand to the wall to listen in as her parents argued in the next room. “I wanted to know what was going to make them separate. I knew as a child it was going to happen, for whatever reason I had that intuition, but I wanted to know why.” Countless times MJ’s brother would catch sight of her, and MJ’s presence shows that he was accepting of her curiosity, yet remained reluctant.

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What makes the series interesting to me is that you find it hard to discern when MJ isn’t performing for the camera. As both photographer and subject, having to portray a character, as well as directing the frame, is remarkable to know just how much presence is required within herself.

Photography can be both hard and easy at the same time to stay in the moment. When you have the ability to look at the screen of the camera, that stops you from being present.

“It’s the most present I’ve ever been while making a body of work,” she says in regard to spending nearly 3 hours each night walking through her childhood home. “But because the experience was so physical, and because I was counting the seconds of the exposure, I was in it. I would leave the house feeling like I had just meditated, and that’s sort of what I was doing.”

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Sitting beneath a cardboard frame, MJ wraps herself in light, while illuminating two figures standing at her side. The left sided figure is much different from the one on the right. We can see how the light creates movements encircling the womb, representing her mother, and the figure to the right steps in as her father. Rough traces of the flashlight add to the feeling of movement while an austere hand at the hip, combined with the styrofoam mess in the foreground alludes to the complications as to why we might find the photographer creating a space for herself at the center.

Since the completion of the series MJ still goes to her old house.

“Every Friday for Shabbat,” she laughed.

As if she never even left, MJ visits to see her boyfriend and his family.

“There are these moments that I’m experiencing that are very warm with the sense of family which I had always hoped would exist in the house after I left. It quickly became an experience of immense gratitude and appreciation for me. Right now I think it’s more important for me to live those moments than to photograph them.”

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When it comes to creating her next project, MJ remains unsure. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to feel so compelled to photograph something at all, because that’s when the best work is made. And it can be scary as a creative person waiting for that moment to happen.” However, she’s confident that the root of her work will be aimed towards memory.”I’m interested in the constructs of memory, how they are formed, and how they affect us.” Much like this series, and the expression of loss, MJ hopes to make work that showcases what is no longer there.

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MJ is inspired by the works of Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin. “With Diane you see her subjects and you don’t know what the relationship was with them, but when you see Nan Goldin’s, you know and she’s not just participating. That ability to convey relationships in a photograph was really important and inspiring to me.”

Saying goodbye to the symbolic moments of her childhood where they happened was paramount to MJ, to which she says, so long.

To view the entire series So Long : So Far, have a look on the photographer’s website here.


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5 Must See Fall Photo Shows

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#GIRLGAZE | A FRAME OF MIND

LOS ANGELES — #girlgaze: a frame of mind  is an interactive, digitally driven exhibit for all ages that maps the imaginative landscape of young, female-identifying photographers from around the world. Largely sourced through social media, the curated images’ raw vitality is their only constant – diverse perspectives are presented on everything from identity and standards of beauty to relationships, mental health, and creativity. While viewing these stunning, never-before-exhibited images, visitors will have the opportunity to create and share their own photos on social media.

The exhibit curators are Girlgaze, a collective founded by the famed British-born television host, women’s advocate and photographer, Amanda de Cadenet. Girlgaze began as a social media movement with over 450,000 submissions on Instagram and has grown into the first multimedia platform to support girls behind the camera. In addition to its digital showcase for images, Girlgaze provides a larger ecosystem supporting the work and careers of fledgling female photographers, artists and creatives, from providing grants to securing jobs.

#girlgaze: a frame of mind opens this weekend at the Annenberg Space for Photography.


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MJ KATZ | SO LONG : SO FAR

LOS ANGELES— Infinity Room is pleased to present the work of Los Angeles based artist, MJ Katz, whose first solo exhibition, So Long: So Far, deconstructs the nature of home with regard to place. Following displacement from her childhood house, the artist embarked on a cathartic process of documenting herself in the place she grew up.

MJ’s presence in the frame as both illuminated guide and figure, is the same illumination one receives when the realization settles in that you can no longer visit the spaces that have kept you whole. The dark vignettes of her frame juxtaposed by the intimate illumination of the self allows the artist to pull the viewer across the spectrum of naked, yearning vulnerability to empowered confidence.

Her work is made eerie by nature of its transitory state from dwelling to ruin, capturing a site in the process of losing its quality of home by no longer providing a safe space for the artist. In this series, she sorts through, reminisces, boxes up, and discards the ways in which she defines and quantifies home. A butterfly no longer needs its cocoon; a ghost fulfills its haunt; MJ Katz says “So Long.”

You can see So Long : So Far during the artist reception on Friday, October 21st from 6pm t0 9pm, at Infinity Room on West Adams.

Infinity Room | 5413 West Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036 


 

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TALIA CHETRIT | A SOLO SHOW 

NEW YORK— In her latest photographs Talia Chetrit has structured a series of performative scenarios in which the artist uses her body, and that of her partner (you can find him displayed usually as a hairy limb, respectfully), to destabilize the conventions of self-portraiture and its mechanisms of control.

The shutter release, along with mirrors in her studio, deconstructed clothing, and multiple cameras, are tools with which Chetrit sets up deliberate triangulations that present us with critical openings. It is through these openings that we see the artist repeatedly demonstrating her submission to her own process as an act of authorial agency.

There’s an element of Baldessari present in Chetrit’s work that makes the self-nude humorous and inviting. One of the only images of her face shows the artist grinning widely having placed tiny mirrors over her eyes. In fact, the title of the work is appropriately named Mirror Eyes (2016). Here Chetrit displays the simultaneous performance of ‘seeing’and also a willful, humorous blindness.

Talia Chetrit’s work will be on display at Kaufman Repetto now until October 31, 2016.


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VEE SPEERS | JARDIN SECRET

LUXEMBOURG— Wild Project Gallery is at it again with another otherworldly exhibition featuring the Parisian based, Australian photographer, Vee Speers. Life is present in the work of Vee Speers, symbolising moments of peaceful solitude in a world that is becoming increasingly complex.

The exhibition Jardin Secret eternalizes the fragility of beauty through a double lens of childhood and black and white botanical portraits, which the artist then colors to create a sense of transformation in a chaotic world. The portraits feel ethereal through their fresh new hues, not natural enough to be the mirror of our reality but animated by a powerful breath of new life.

Jardin Secret is on now until October 20th at Wild Project Gallery, 22, rue Louvigny L-1946 Luxembourg.


screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-12-08-13-amJESSICA BACKHAUS | SIX DEGREES OF FREEDOM

BERLIN— With Art Week Berlin and Unseen Amsterdam coming to a close, new works by German photographer Jessica Backhaus have been circling the minds of photo enthusiasts and art goers alike. Luckily one gallery is showcasing the photographer’s recent series, Six Degrees of Freedom, which examines themes of origin, yearning, identity, and destiny based on Backhaus’ personal revisitation to sites from her childhood.

Robert Morat Gallery showcases Six Degrees of Freedom now until November 19th.


+ Read my interview with Jessica Backhaus on Foto Infinitum.

Summer Sun Captured by Anais Boileau

French photographer Anaïs Boileau creates the essence of an exotic summer in these portraits of women basking in the solstice. Part documentary, part futuristic fiction, Boileau demonstrates a sense of coastal community in her bright and airy series, Plein Soleil.

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