Focus on: Corey Olsen

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In the course of the last year, we have often featured alumni or current students of the School of Visual Arts in New York, such as Joshua Citarella, David Brandon Geeting and Molly Matalon. We can add the talented Corey Olsen to the list.
His photography covers a wide genre range – landscapes, portraits, still lifes – and is characterized by a sober approach that brings out colours and patterns  in every image. Realistic in subjects and clean in technique, Olsen’s work has a quiet beauty that transpires more and more as the viewer revisits each photograph.

Born in 1990, Corey Olsen is currently based in New York. You may find more of his work on his website and Tumblr.

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Recommended book: Sacrifice Your Body – Roe Ethridge

sacrifice your body roe ethridge

Sacrifice your Body – Roe Ethridge

128 pages
21.6 cm x 28.8 cm
Flexibound embossed hardcover
Publication date: February 2014
€45.00 £40.00 $55.00

We still haven’t managed to get out hands on Roe Ethridge’s new book, but – from what we can see in the previews circulating online – Sacrifice Your Body is not to be missed.
The cover grabs immediately the viewer’s attention with its 80s-inspired neon green title that scratches the otherwise pristine white. The inside of the book promises to be equally striking: fashion, personal memories and surreal collages mingle, shining a light on the photographer’s varied output.

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Interview: Mate Moro

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In fashion photography, in 95% of the cases nothing especially interesting happens. A lot of mediocre images and a few rare gems. We are not saying anything new, things have always gone this way in the field: if you browse a Vogue issue from the 60s and 70s, among a lot of unmemorable pictures, you may find a breathtaking Bourdin’s shoot that made history. Until about ten years ago, the problem was the excess of artifice and gloss; then Richardson and Teller arrived, two actual innovators with an obstentatiously simple and willingly imperfect style that was antithetic to the conventions of mainstream photography. The former was influenced by punk, the latter by German Romanticism, both were always looking for authenticity. Since then, nothing new happened: from the unmistakable (despite the many, too many imitators) style of Teller and Richardson, we are going back to a certain expressive mannerism that often excludes invention and seems more like the result of a style exercise. A sense of manufactured forcedness characterizes the work of many emerging authors, and their distinctive feature is a marked stylization and a widespread evident artificiality. Compositions are more and more complicated and thought out, the subjects’ expressions are sometimes absent, sometimes majestic, and the backgrounds are almost always unnatural and pastel. A general expressive forcedness that at times comes close to caricature. And then, there are the rare gems: photographers like Charlie Engman, Blommers & Schumm, Qiu Yang (just to name some names) have been able to find a personal key, unconventional and with a true visionary edge. Among them, we can include as well the young Mate Moro, Ungarian-born and based between Zurich and Budapest. In his photographs we can find a plasticity that is sometimes exaggerated, abstract spaces that manage to involve the figures and a consistent resort to intelligently planned conjuring acts. Mises-en-scène with a unique and intriguing spin that distance themselves from the sterile boredom of banal images and that give new energy to fashion imagery. Here’s our Q&A.

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Still Life issue: Charles Negre

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The human eye is naturally drawn to bright colours – whether by attraction or by repulsion, they will command attention. It’s arguably harder to create an instantly captivating image by using more muted nuances.
The photographs of Charles Negre employ the full chromatic range to the maximum result, both in his personal and commissioned work, while underscoring as well the compositonal lines of subjects as varied as luxury items, landscapes, details of the body and abstract compositions.

His commercial still lifes are characterised by the vivid, refined and polished colours that belong to the now customary modernistic model, and their compositions are anything but simple; the pathos becomes more neutral in his personal works, fantasy clouds that represent a specially-built illusory reality filled with surreal surprises.

Charles Negre is a French photographer born in 1988 and based in Paris. Negre’s Nautilus and Sans Titre are featured on Distuber’s third issue, Still Life. Find more of his work on his websites.

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Best of 2013

BEST OF 2013

Condensing in a short list the best of the photography output from an entire year is always a difficult task, which also puts us at risk of appearing superficial. The “best of”, however, is also an opportunity to distance oneself from certain artistic expressions and select those we like the most. Obviously the things we liked are many more, and this sintetic list is not meant to be a ranking. We simply think that the recent works by these authors, in their profound diversity, are representative of a contemporary photographic language; they may at least offer us a cue to understand the changes in progress and, in some cases, also the confluence between artistic and commercial photography.

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Still Life issue: Maxime Guyon

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Versatility in subject is certainly one of the traits that help to keep the viewer interested in a photographer, and Maxime Guyon‘s work does adhere splendidly to this criterion. His work moves with ease from the canonical landscape photography of the series Landscaping Studies, which depicts the stark panorama of the Swiss Alps, to the evocative monochrome of White Dress and the skillful compositions centered around now obsolete objects like VHS and floppy disks of Living 90s Graphism, based on his “first visual discoveries experienced in [...] childhood”.

For his still lifes, Guyon often employs objects that are commonly used, but his set designs have nothing ordinary: they always allow us to perceive the images as distant from reality, as if they belonged to a remote and indistict world. The real makes us discover the unreal; a new and different light that this photographer is spreading on the whole of the genre.

Maxime Guyon lives and works between Lyon, France and Lausanne, Switzerland; two of his photographs from the series Landscaping Studies are featured in Still Life, our latest issue. You may find more of his work on his Tumblr and his website.

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Recommended book: Polychromatic – Osma Harvilahti

Osma Harvilahti

When following an artist’s career for a long while, it is not unusual to notice an evolution towards a more structured angle in the work they produce. This can be said of Finnish photographer Osma Harvilahti as well, whose photographs – after the naturalistic vibe of early times – have take on, as time went by, a subtler and subtler approach, charged as they are with symbols and ambiguity. Harvilahti’s pictures impress the viewer first through their colours (which strike the hard balance between powerful and uncontrived), then with their always shrewd and hardly predictable framing and composition.

POLYCHROMATIC, just published by Éditions du LIC, represents his monographic debut: a book of 96 pages and 73 colours plates expressing a personal language, intensely related to spontaneity and free of the codes that are now prevalent in a big part of contemporary photography. The strong identity of this young author flows deeply through all the book, certainly one of the most beautiful among those published by the Scandinavian indipendent book publisher.

Osma Harvilahti is based in Helsinki, Finland. His work has been commissioned by publications as diverse as Nowness, SSAW Magazine, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Elle and Apartamento. Find more info and more of his work on his website and Tumblr.

POLYCHROMATIC

First Edition

460 numbered copies
96 pages, 73 colour plates
21.0 cm x 27.0 cm
Hot foil embossed cloth covered hardcover
Offset printing
Éditions du LIC 2013

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Still Life issue: Johan Rosenmunthe

Subtle stress

We continue our series of post on the contributors to our latest issue, Still Life, with the photographs of Johan Rosenmunthe.
Rosenmunthe’s work struck us immediately for its fluency in the various photographic languages the he employs: still life, landscape and portraiture are all approached with the same careful eye. Equally remarkable are the photographer’s  examinations of the interconnection between social networks, the photographic medium and reality (see his series Off II).

Johan Rosenmunthe is a photographer based in Copenhagen, Denmark. His works have been exhibited in Europe and the Americas. He is the founder of exhibition space New Shelter Plan in Copenhagen and of art book festival One Thousand Books,and the publisher/curator of Lodret Vandret. Two of his photographs – “A new childhood memory”  (top photo) and “Subtle stress” (the first under the cut) – appear on Disturber’s Still Life issue. Find more work on his website. He blogs at The Holy Deer.

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Still Life issue: Trey Wright

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Photography may be considered a craft as much as an art; a few innate, necessary qualities – the eye for colour, the subtlety needed to convey a specific atmosphere or the ability to create interesting compositions – have to be trained through research and practice, hopefully resulting in images that will impress also as single works.

Someone who has accomplished the above-mentioned is Trey Wright, whom we have often featured on our Tumblr. Wright’s photographs stand out for their inventiveness and sense of humour (always sharp without stooping to being mean). His work, by employing collage and other assemblage techniques, deals with the interconnection between 2D and 3D that is becoming more and more relevant as technology progresses.

Trey Wright is based in Dallas and received his BFA in Photography from the University of North Texas. His photographs have been featured in Luxx (the London Times quarterly glossy magazine), Bullett Magazine, and Bloomberg Businessweek, and have been exhibited in Canada and the US. Trey Wright has also co-curated with Matthew Leifheit issue #16 of Matte Magazine and is featured in Disturber’s Still Life. Find more work on his websiteTumblr and Instagram.

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Focus on: Julian Berman

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Modern technology has done much to make the act of taking photographs more and more intuitive; it is often said that we are flooded by an unprecedented flux of images. Greater possibility, however, does not equals to greater ability.
The natural approach that characterizes the work of Julian Berman can be mistaken as easily obtained, but its deceivingly simple aesthetic often actually requires a stronger understanding of which images are worthy and which aren’t. Strong colours, sharp contrasts and spontaneous atmospheres are Berman’s signature features.

Julian Berman is based in Los Angeles. His work has been commissioned by various clients such as Bloomberg Businessweek, MTV.com, LA Times, NY Times and more. Find more of his work on his website and on his Tumblr.

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