Task 4 – Karin Muller – Angels in Fall

3e72c-KAM_klKarin Apollonia Müller was born in 1963, in Germany and works in California. Her photographs investigate the struggle between the natural world and the built-up environment, especially the inability of architecture to live up to human ideals of order and control. Often captured from distant vantage points, her images evoke a certain detachment from individual human subjects and emphasize the chance, and sometimes
hostile, collision between the man-made and the natural. More recently, in a three series titled City Lights, World Lights and Star Lights, she has adopted an even more remote perspective, transforming raw data from NASA into dreamlike representations of human life and the cosmos. This work represents a shift towards a more concentrated study of chance, as her images are reliant on the data she appropriates. The series of images in question below are one of her projects she undertook over a number of years, titled ‘Angels In Fall’

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Morning Run, 1995

Even though all of these photographs are shot in Los Angeles, which is well known for its sunshine and lavish lifestyle, this photograph gives the impression of an unnatural, bleak, cold place. The two runners crossing each others path seem to be out of place due to being positioned in an almost industrial landscape. The aerial perspective Muller has adopted gives the sense of scale to the image and brings a ghostly desert aspect to the image.

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Private Moment, 1998

THIS IMAGE OVERLOOKS THE CITY HENCE THE AERIAL PERSPECTIVE PART OF THE PHOTOGRAPH AND ALSO IT SHOWS THIS COULD BE SEEN AS A PRIVATE PLACE FOR THE OLDER MAN TO SIT AND REFLECT IN A VAST OPEN AMOUNT OF SPACE WHICH SURROUNDS THE MAN. IT ALSO CAPTURES THE REALNESS OF LOS ANGELES, FOR EXAMPLE A LOT OF THE ELDERLY BEING CUT OFF FROM SOCIETY  AND ALSO CAPTURING THE SMOG AND HARSHNESS THAT SURROUNDS THE CITY.

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Two Cold, 1997

THIS PHOTOGRAPH IS A FORMATION FROM FOREGROUND TO THE BACKGROUND, WHICH LEADS YOUR EYES ALL THE WAY THROUGH IT, WHERE YOU THEN SEE A CITY SEEN WITH VERY LITTLE WARMTH OR COLOUR. I THINK THE NAME ‘TOO COLD’ REFERENCES THE LACK OF AN EMOTIONAL FEEL THE PHOTO HAS TO IT. IT ALSO HAS AN AERIAL PERSPECTIVE JUST LIKE A LOT OF MULLER’S OTHER IMAGES.

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Foundation, 1995

WE THINK THIS PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS A REDEVELOPING SCENE DUE TO THE FAST APPROACHING OVER POPULATION THAT WAS HAPPENING IN LOS ANGELES AT THE TIME. THIS WAS CAUSING BUILDERS TO BRANCH OUT INTO THE DESERT. AGAIN, IT IS A HAZY AND SMOGGY PHOTO WITH A DIM BACKGROUND, SHOWING A PLAIN AND EMPTY LANDSCAPE READING FOR HOUSES AND APARTMENTS TO BE BUILT.

This video below was a great insight into why Muller produced the series of images.

Part 2: Four examples of photographers using the above perspectives

Aerial Perspective: Yann Arthus-Bertrand

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Yann Arthus-Bertrand, born in 1946, has always had a passion for the animal world and the natural environment. At the age of 20, he settled in central France and became the director of a nature reserve.

When he was 30, he travelled to Kenya with his wife with whom he carried out a three-year study on the behaviour of a family of lions in the Massaï Mara reserve. He quickly started using a camera as a visual aid to capture his observations and enhance the written reports they compiled. While in Africa, he earned his living as a hot-air balloon pilot. This was when he really discovered the earth from above and the advantages of viewing what he was studying from afar to gain an overall picture of an area and its resources. He discovered his calling: to demonstrate the Earth’s beauty and show the impact of mankind on the Planet. His first book, Lions, was born of this adventure – he likes to call these lions his “first photography teachers.”

Little by little, Yann became a reporter focusing on environmental issues, and collaborating with Géo, National Geographic, Life, Paris Match, Figaro Magazine etc.

He then started a personal work on the relationship mankind/ animal, which led to the books Good breeding and Horses. In 1991, he founded the first aerial photography agency in the world.

For the First Rio Conference in 1992, Yann decided to prepare a big work for the year 2000 on the state of the planet: it is The Earth From the Air. This book encountered a great success and over 3 million copies were sold. The outdoor exhibitions have been seen so far by about 200 Million people.

Yann then created the Goodplanet Foundation that aims to raise public awareness of environmental issues, implement carbon offset programmes and fight deforestation with local NGOs.

Within the Foundation, he developed the 6 billion Others project, that has just changed names and become 7 billion Others. More than 6000 interviews were filmed in 84 countries. From a Brazilian fisherman to a Chinese shopkeeper, from a German performer to an Afghan farmer, all answered the same questions about their fears, dreams, ordeals, hopes: “What have you learned from your parents? What do you want to pass on to your children? What difficult circumstances have you been through? What does love mean to you?” Forty or so questions that help us to find out what separates and what unites us.

Due to this involvement, Yann Arthus-Bertrand is today considered more an environmentalist and activist than a photographer. It is because of this commitment that Yann Arthus-Bertrand was designated Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme on Earth Day (April 22nd, 2009).

Linear Perspective: Kat Sloma

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As an artist, I am primarily “self taught,” meaning I don’t have a formal education in fine art or photography. “Self taught” is not an entirely accurate term, as I have had many wonderful teachers through classes and books since I picked up a camera and began to seriously study in 2000. Some notable points in my artistic education were an online photography class with Barbara Carroll, discovering the books of Michael Freeman andDavid duChemin, and most recently, mentoring with photographer David Paul Bayles. This later education built on a strong foundation of art in my childhood, from observing my Mother’s ongoing practice of art, many art classes throughout my school years, and growing up in the bindery of the family offset printing business. The rest has come through my own observation, practice and passion for the art of photography. Taking 50,000+ photographs over two years while living in Italy and traveling Europe didn’t hurt either.

Between my childhood love of art and its rediscovery as an adult, I earned a Bachelors and Masters in Electrical Engineering. I have worked the last 23 years in a corporate job which has ranged from process engineering to people and program management. It was my corporate job which took me and my family to Italy, an experience which had a huge impact on my artistic growth. My engineering and program management skills have served me well as an artist and business owner. Everything is a process when you break it down into parts, and in photography, technology is just another tool for use in creating art.

Perspective of scale: Lee Miller

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The Lee Miller Archives is a small privately run archive which is dedicated to conserving and publishing the work of Lee MILLER. It supports itself entirely on the sale of rights and photographs produced from the original negatives printed by Carole CALLOW .

The archive holding includes some 60,000 negatives, mainly black and white, most of her manuscripts, captions, notes, letters and ephemeral material, her cameras, and some of her personal effects such as her US Army uniform.

A selection of prints may be viewed at our dealers galleries in London and New York.

Perspective of receding planes: Ernst Haas

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Ernst Haas (1921–1986) is acclaimed as one of the most celebrated and influential photographers of the 20th century and considered one of the pioneers of color photography. Haas was born in Vienna in 1921, and took up photography after the war. His early work on Austrian returning prisoners of war brought him to the attention of LIFE magazine. He declined a job offer as staff photographer in order to keep his independence. At the invitation of Robert Capa, Haas joined Magnum in 1949, developing close associations with Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Werner Bishof.

Haas moved to the United States in 1951 and soon after, began experimenting with Kodachrome color film. He went on to become the premier color photographer of the 1950s. In 1953 LIFE magazine published his groundbreaking 24-page color photo essay on New York City. This was the first time such a large color photo feature was published by LIFE. In 1962 a retrospective of his work was the first color photography exhibition held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Throughout his career, Haas traveled extensively, photographing for LIFE, Vogue, and Look, to name a few of many influential publications. He authored four books during his lifetime: The Creation (1971), In America (1975), In Germany (1976), and Himalayan Pilgrimage (1978).

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