FORMENTO + FORMENTO
Formento & Formento known for their romantic and stylish photographs that explore in -desaturated, cinematic scenes - themes of love, longing and the burden of memory. Their style reveals a fascination with mood and texture, and a sense of place figures prominently.
From America, Cuba, Mexico, India to Japan they blend fervent passion for photography and film with a lasting love for one another.
BJ Formento was born in Hawaii and grew up in the Philippines. After studying photography at the Academy of Arts and UC Berkeley , he moved to New York and worked with Mary Ellen Mark, Annie Leibovitz, Eugene Richards and Arnold Newman. Since 2001, he has shot for a host of publications and advertising clients while developing his art photography work.
Richeille Formento was born in London and attended the prestigious Central St. Martins College of Art before working as an art director in the fashion industry.
Formento & Formento entered the Fine Art scene in 2009 with their first series, Circumstance: American Beauty Down on Bruised Knees. Embarking on a road trip from New York to Los Angeles, the Formentos travelled through twenty‐five states, photographing the women they found along the way, often recruited the same day as the shoot. Referencing classic American paintings and cinema, Circumstance embodies the combined American visions of both BJ and Richeille. Capturing a country during uncertain times, their dramatically lit subjects are transformed into heroines and femme fatales caught in intense moments of emotion and reflection.
Formento & Formento known for their romantic and stylish photographs that explore in -desaturated, cinematic scenes - themes of love, longing and the burden of memory. Their style reveals a fascination with mood and texture, and a sense of place figures prominently. From America, Cuba, Mexico, India to Japan they blend fervent passion for photography and film with a lasting love for one another.
Their work has convoked a passionate following in a short time with representation and exhibitions that span the globe. From Robert Klein Gallery in Boston to Fahey Klein Gallery LA,
Bonhams NYC, Corso Como Gallery Milan. Permanent collections with International Center for Photography NYC, Currier Museum and Lewben Museum. More recent is their foray in filmmaking won them accolades at Cannes Film Festival 2016 and raising funds for International Rescue Committee with their short film "The Voyage" that drew thousands of people during Art Basel Miami Beach 2015. Vogue Italia, is a continuous supporter of their work, featuring them monthly on Vogue.it. In September 2013 the Formentos celebrated the release of their first art tome, Circumstance, published by YK Editions, accompanied by a short documentary on their work shown at the Pompidou Museum in Paris and their 2nd book published in 2015 entitled “Cinematic Chronicles”. Their increased presence in the international art fair circuit includes Paris Photo, AIPAD, The Armory Show, Photo Shanghai, Art Silicon, Art Miami, Art Wynwood and Photo London.
2015 International Center for Photography NY Permanent Collection
2015 Lewben Museum, Poland Permanent Collection
2015 Currier Museum, New Hampshire Permanent Collection
2016 Photo Vogue Festival, Base Gallery Milano
2016 Art Basel Miami Beach Marcowicz Gallery Miami
2016 Soho House, Miami Feb 1- April 1 Solo Exhibition “She is Cuba”
2016 Parmigiani Gallery Feb 1- April 1 Solo Exhibition “Circumstance”
2015 Women’s Club, Miami She is Cuba and Japan Diaries Solo Exhibition
2015 ABMB / Red Digital Cinema short film and photographs“The Voyage”
2015 Bonhams Auction, NYC
2015 Artnet nude Auction, NYC
2015 In Haus, NYC group exhibition for Midnightrun.org
2015 Photo London, Robert Klein Gallery
2015 Art Wynnwood, Miami Beach, Fl., VVFA Gallery
2014 Art Miami, Miami Beach, Fl. Booth Installation: She is Cuba and Japan Diaries
2014 Snap Gallery, Orlando, Florida
2014 Photo Shanghai, Fahey Klein Gallery
2014 Art Silicon, VVFA Gallery
2014 Fahey Klein Gallery Solo Exhibition, Los Angeles
2014 Robert Klein Gallery, Boston
2014 Robert Klein Gallery, AIPAD, New York
2014 L'Atelier Des Artistes, Paris
2014 Traffic Art Space, New York
2013 Art Basel, Single Artist Booth Presentation, VVFA/Traffic Art Space
2013 Photo Paris, Robert Klein Gallery
2013 Corso Como Gallery, Group Show Vogue Italia, Milan
2013 Traffic Art Space, New York
2013 Wonderground Gallery, New York
2013 Art Miami, Miami Beach, Fl. Booth Installation: Circumstance-American Beauty Down on Bruised Knees
2013 Pompidou Museum, Presentation of a Documentary on Formento + Formento
2012 Underground Gallery, Art Below, Queens Diamond Jubilee, London
2012 Corso Como Gallery, Group Show Vogue Italia 101 Photographs, Milan
2012 Solo Exhibition, Society Club Soho, London
2012 Awarded Vogue’s New Exposure with Bottega Veneta and Red Camera
2012 Solo Exhibition, Salon Gallery, NYC
2012 Milk Gallery, US Vogue Group Show, NYC
2012 Togonon Gallery, San Francisco
2011 Photo District News Annual Winner
2011 Life Support Japan
2011 Yellowkorner Gallery, Germany
2010 Beers Lambert Gallery London
2010 Wall Space Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
2010 Beers Lambert Gallery, London
2010 Le Dumois Gallery, France
2010 Sakura Gallery, Tokyo
2010 Wall Space Gallery, Santa Barbara California
2007 Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
2006 Yerba Buena Gallery, San Francisco
PUBLICATIONS, PRESS, REVIEWS
2016 Cover and 52 page spread in Tartarus Magazine, NYC
2014 Schon! Japan Diaries Review
2014 Aesthetica Magazine, Issue 60 Aug/Sept She is Cuba feature story
2014 L’Oeil, American Beauty on Bruised Knees, Review
2014 American Photo, Through the Eyes of Global Nomads, Japan Diaries, Interview
2014 NORMAL Magazine, Cover and 28 pages
2013 Circumstance: American Beauty Down on Bruised Knees, Coffee Table Book
Pulished by YK Publishers.
2013 AMMO Magazine, Video Interview
2013 Aethetica Magazine, Frozen Narratives, cover story
2013 Surface Magazine, China
2013 Collecting Fine Art TeNeues
2013 Citizen K Magazine
2013 Hunger Magazine
2013 Ideal Magazine, Paris
2013 Version Femina Magazine, Paris
2013 Grazia Magazine, Milan
2013 Paris Match Magazine
2013 Be Magazine
2012 Photo District News Magazine
2012 Aesthetica Magazine
2012 Vogue Magazine (US)
2011 Female Persuasion Magazine
2011 Live Fast Magazine
2011 Photo District News Magazine
2011 Eyemazing Magazine
2011 Live Fast Magazine
2011 Female Persuasion Magazine
2011 Canteen Magazine
2010 Componere Magazine
2010 Picture Magazine
“As outside observers, the Formentos’ stylized images explore the dichotomies that embody modern Japan— blurring the aesthetics between tradition and the ultra modern, fantasy and reality. The captivating tableaus exude a sense of tension, melancholy, and a quiet unease. Each image from Japan Diaries exists as if it were a still taken from a noir Japanese film, each solitary figure yearning for something unknown.” — David Fahey
“In the Japan Diaries they arrived as outsiders, bringing with them rich impressions accumulated from Japanese art and cinema, but possessing keen fresh eyes hungry for the exotic aesthetic contrarieties of this ancient yet ultramodern culture. They move between traditional geisha looks and pop and punky fashions, between the rigorous formality of temples and the neon lit pop of commercial streets, between the serenity of Zen gardens and the tension of kinbaku or rope bondage, between ikebana and commercial packaging. In some scenes we experience a hint of the sort of sexual energy in the films of Nagisa Oshima, In the Realm of the Senses and Empire of Passion—but here there is no resolution, only an allure that inspires longing for something strange and unknown. Everywhere there are hints of what might link these images, but the movie only happens in your head and it can be different every time. Real life happens in motion like cinema. Dreams, bounded only by the imagination, begin in stills.” —Glenn O’Brien
Ole Marius Joergensen is a fine art photographer with a background in film based in Oslo.
He combines humour and a Norwegian strain of surrealism in his work and finds his inspiration in the inner and outer landscapes of his countrymen.He likes to shoot in the sparsely populated areas of the Northern regions. Many of his iconic images reflect the dreams and mysteries of his countrymen and raise questions of identity.
Norwegians like their privacy and yet some peoples' curiosity can be obsessive…Many times, I have looked at windows and wondered what's going on behind those curtains.
My project is an attempt to unravel some mysteries.
Maria Svarbova was born in 1988; she currently lives in Slovakia. Despite studying restoration and archeology, her preferred artistic medium is photography. From 2010 to the present, the immediacy of Maria’s photographic instinct continues to garner international acclaim and is setting new precedents in photographic expression. The recipient of several prestigious awards, her solo and group exhibitions have placed her among the vanguard of her contemporaries, attracting features in Vogue, Forbes, The Guardian, and publications around the world; her work is frequently in the limelight of social media. Maria’s reputation also earned her a commission for a billboard-sized promotion on the massive Taipei 101 tower, in Taiwan.
Maria’s distinctive style departs from traditional portraiture and focuses on experimentation with space, colour, and atmosphere. Taking an interest in Socialist era architecture and public spaces, Maria transforms each scene with a modern freshness that highlights the depth and range of her creative palette. The human body throughout her oeuvre is more or less a peripheral afterthought, often portrayed as aloof and demure rather than substantive. Carefully composed figures create thematic, dream-like scenes with ordinary objects. Her images hold a silent tension that hint at emergent possibilities under the lilt of clean and smooth surfaces.
There is often a sense of cool detachment and liminality in Maria’s work. Routine actions such as exercise, doctor appointments, and domestic tasks are reframed with a visual purity that is soothing and symmetrical and at times reverberant with an ethereal stillness. The overall effect evokes a contemplative silence in an extended moment of promise and awareness—a quality difficult to achieve in the rapid pace of modern life. Maria’s postmodern vision boldly articulates a dialog that compels the viewer to respond to the mystery, loneliness, and isolation of the human experience. Nevertheless, deeply embedded within the aqueous pastels, Maria’s compositions hold to a celebratory elegance that transforms the viewer’s gaze into an enduring reverence for life’s simple beauty.
Multi-media artist Javiera Estrada was born in Mexico in 1981 and moved to the United States in 1989. Her childhood was heavily influenced by her training in classical piano and violin, which continues to inspire her aesthetic today. She attended Santa Monica College and received her Certificate of Photography in 2009 where she was the recipient of a grant for an award of excellence.
Estrada’s broad scope of work is a reflection of memories that she has shaped into her reality. A seeker of the spiritual, Estrada believes that every piece of art created is a self-portrait, a physical expression of that inner nameless world our soul inhabits. Using photography as her main visual medium, the sound of the camera's click offers her the perfect confluence between the real and the ethereal. A multifarious artist, Estrada’s creative expression encompasses traditional photography alongside mixed media. Her mixed media works are a comment on the natural cycle of decomposition and reflected through the deconstruction of the image.
Estrada has exhibited in numerous galleries and private collections internationally in the United States, Europe, and Asia. She is a 2015 finalist for the Emerging Focus Competition, as well as a 1st place showcase winner of Art Slant’s 2014 Juried Exhibition. Estrada currently works and resides in Los Angeles.
Aristotle Roufanis (b. 1983 Athens, Greece) is a London-based visual artist whose work focuses on patterns, textures and human interactions defined by the condition of urban life and architecture.
An active photographer since his early 20’s, Aristotle Roufanis is a self-taught artist, who has mastered his medium through a series of rigorous photographic projects. Fascinated by how humans build the environments they live in, he has travelled the world extensively, creating images that combine meticulous digital editing with a very personal artistic vision.
In 2016 he has participated in Scope Art Fair Miami Beach and in Fotofever Paris with a solo show; in the same year, his summer exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts sold out before opening to the public. In September 2017, a photo from his “Alone Together” series has been shortlisted by MoMA curator Katerina Stathopoulou for Life Framer’s Photography Award (Edition IV - OPEN CALL). In the same month, the “Alone Together” series has been selected by Behance curators for the Best of Behance online gallery.
Aristotle Roufanis’ work is part of the Patrons of the Royal Academy’s collections, as well as other private collections in London, Paris, Miami, New York, Athens and Mexico City. His work has been featured on international art & culture websites, as well as in printed publications around the world.
Ian Patrick O’Connor is a fine art photographer based in Miami Florida. He started his career as skateboard photographer in 2003 and later worked as a staff photographer for Skateboard Magazine and Adio Footwear. The five years spent with Adio led him to traveling to 15 different countries to shoot skateboard professionals, and helped define his photographic style.
In 2010 Ian relocated to Santiago de Chile, where he began shooting for a diverse client list in the fields of advertising, editorial, and fashion. During the five years of living in South America a body of personal work emerged that is propelling the next chapter as a visual artist using the medium of photography. He currently lives and works in Miami Florida USA.
Educated in Italy where she lives and works as a photographer.
Her approach to photography and its development was almost entirely self-taught.
Awarded at IPA, at the Sony World Photography Awards, at Px3, at LifeFramer and at "The Uncanny " Contest Gregory Crewdson and PhotoVogue.
One of her works is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art MACS Sicily.
She has exhibited internationally with group shows in London and in Italy and her work has been featured in the Huffington Post De, Musée Magazine, Aesthetica Magazine, Plastik, Trendland, Art Sheep, Iris, Fubiz, Ignant, HungerTv, Fondazione, Pitti discovery, Rai news , Einaudi, Lens Culture amongst many others.
Floria González, Mexico City DF Mexico.
Floria González, was born in Monterrey on July 20, 1980, NL, moving to Acuña Coahuila in 1983, moved to Mexico City at age 16 where he lives and works. She studied photography and film in Mexico City and in San Antonio, TX. In 2003 she starts working forming two ways; one inside photography and commercial video and the other in art.
Always carefully building the sets for her work, colors, textures, costumes and characters, either in the studio or on location. She first makes a storyboard, a drawing, a watercolor or an acrylic painting of the photography or video being made, where she creates the concept and the aesthetics of the piece and series.
The main theme of her work is the human; the dark side, their fears, traumas and doubts. Questions what is believed to be right to get to the root of the issue and start from scratch with a contemporary vision of spirituality and science.
Always starts and ends a series with the idea that everything is energy, there is no separation and that what is creating is just an idea in her mind and the collective mind, which all are stories created by this great mind; it can be personal, fiction or based on close people. And in the end, all is fiction.
She has participated in solo and group exhibitions in places like Mexico City, Museo Carrillo Gil, projects White Spider, Monterrey, Acapulco, New York, Austin, TX, Los Angeles, Miami, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Berlin, Italy and Singapore.
She is the creator and director of Floto Studio, a production
house that makes projects like video, photography and advertising videos for Distroller, Sony Music, Universal Music, with artists like Leonel García, Natalia Lafourcade, Torreblanca, Carla Morrison, Kaay, Andrea Balency, Jorge Drexler, Kevin Johansen, Quique Rangel among others. She made a documentary for Alondra de la Parra in Tokyo and now is making visuals for Chula the Clown.
WELLINGTON NEW ZEALAND
Jacob is a self-taught photographer, art director, and graphic designer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He studied Visual Communication Design at Massey University, Wellington.
Jacob's work is inspired by the natural world around him, particularly his native New Zealand. His first major photographic inspiration came from New Zealand ‘gothic’ films that portrayed a darker side of the usually pristine and ever dominant New Zealand environment. This sense of isolation, silence, and unease within the landscape has translated into Jacob’s work.
“These minimalist scenes with neutral colours, sometimes extinct in low-light, exhale a sacred nature where man is a mere figurehead” – Fisheye Magazine
Jacob carefully pieces his images together to create one single narrative. He says: “I have a simple, yet considered approach to photography. I find images/facts and sequence them to tell a story about the world around me. I like the interplay between images and how they give each other more meaning.”
“In some way, Jacob’s images are rather unsettling. They aren’t just landscapes. They are something more. They show great nature, but also reflect upon man’s footprint that grows inexorably ever greater. Whether this is of grave concern - or whether it is just an unnatural but natural evolution – is up to you” – Kontent
KaitemakoA series of images taken on a journey home. Kaitemako has reflective and dreamlike qualities, and a sense of unease amongst the everyday.
The OthersideA series of images taken on a journey across India. Moments of peace found amongst the chaos.
Nic Gaunt, a native Brit from the English Midlands, views his photography as an exercise in window dressing. It is a tribute to his mother – a professional window dresser - who first showed him this way of “stimulation of the mind”, as his mother referred to it.
Nic regards his lens as the ‘window’ through which the passer by gets exposed to his visual expressions - yet allows the viewer to continue the story.
The image is created in the viewfinder with post production refinement already in Nic’s mind, to create a powerful and highly finished piece. Whilst not appearing that way, the image is strongly controlled and of ultimate importance to his work. Lighting being the key element combined with precisely arranged composition, creates the message.
Influenced by Helmut Newton’s powerful and graphic images, Salvador Dali’s ‘playing with reality’ or Bob Carlos Clark’s ‘Rubber & Latex’ eroticism, Nic creates work that is both thought provoking while aesthetically stimulating to the viewer.
Nic undertook his Photographic degree at West Surrey College of Art and Design. This is where he met his mentor, photographer Brian Griffin who taught him the art of composing and messaging through one main visual.
After college, Nic spent many years in the London music industry working for the likes of EMI, Virgin, Chrysalis records and Ministry of Sound. He photographed the artists in preparation, in the studios and working on albums. Music like the visual arts are sensually stimulating with a strong but rather unconscious link to eroticism. Working with artists were formative for Nic’s hard hitting yet dynamic style.
It became important during this period for him to be able to create one off images, which encapsulate a singular thought, whilst remaining powerful and captivating, reflecting Nic’s core values. Like in of advertisement or “window dressing” - it is the meaning that stimulates the viewer – driving the direction – unconsciously.
Gaunt’s unique works are ultimately a field of his own vision. He is keen that every image is created through a new thought, provoking another thought while not just manufactured to the same repetitive styles. He uses the subjects as a conduit to an end where the imagery often poses a surreal yet realistic overtone with an underlying sexual tension - leaving the fantasy to the viewer to spin the story further, provoking a forbidden thought.
During the London year’s, Nic became more and more interested in contemporary arts and digital manipulation. He started to marry traditional photography with the abilities digital offers. In traditional photography as an art, everything is developed and manipulated in a darkroom. Nic uses digital manipulation as expansions of the darkroom.
While working on an entire series at a time, Nic is keen to develop and explore each idea individually first. Each frame leads to a continuation and forward looking to a new – therefore all frames within a series have a linkage in themselves and are linked to each other.
Filled with semiotic discourse and hidden rhetoric, Nic Gaunt’s work is often a comment on today’s society and its inner complexities. He continues to develop the idea of the images. They have a different way of expressing a similar thought within a context of style. It is the processing and depth of thought that holds them together and creates the sentence or story board, promoting inner strength and empowerment of the subject. “Created both in physical being as well as through the viewfinder, my aim is to create a finished piece that can stand alone and yet work within a series. The body is a perfect form through which emotion may be perceived, evoking a responsive thought or desire in the onlooker. The use of light, colour and form enhances the experience.”
Nic currently splits his time between Hong Kong and London, shooting for fashion magazines and advertising, whilst exhibiting his art worldwide.
Vancouver BC Canada
Fang Tong graduated from the Fine Arts Institute of Shanghai University and studied in France. She has had a successful career in painting, sculpture, design and other art fields. In recent years, she has focused on photography, and she has been awarded several major international photography awards. She has been published in VOGUE and other major domestic and foreign magazines. The photo ‘Swimming Pool’ won first prize in the Nikon International Photography Competition Category C in 2015. She was commissioned by Sony in 2013 as one of 20 photographers around the world to represent Sony’s camera phone. Fang Tong is a freelance photographer based in Vancouver, BC.
Fang Tong is a cinematic style photographer, as a spectator of life. Her works are embedded with an implied narrative, which is left to the viewer to resolve over time with their own imagination. Reflecting her background in classical art, the photography is carefully planned to control the frame and the expression of details, giving her work an ethos of a painter. As a bystander, Fang Tong captures the potential that photography can embody pieces with an eternal quality, thereby creating a slightly fictional world that resembles reality but transcends consciousness. Fang Tong’s passion is for her work to border on the surreal, yet hold back enough to keep it firmly in the real world. Her photos provoke audiences to create a narrative out of cinematic pictures. There may be no clearly defined story behind the scene, but there is a strong mood and atmosphere throughout the whole image. The imaginary world is strangely familiar while the narrative arc takes audiences on a hyper-visual ride through people's subconsciousness. She nurtures the balance between the real and the surreal that pulls her audiences into the world she created, but she also allows the audience to discover their own answers.
Shinji Ichikawa is a self-taught photographer based in Izumo city, Shimane Prefecture Japan where he runs his own photography studio.
As a child Shinji’s home was also a photography studio, and he grew up from a very young age in an environment surrounded by photography. His first camera was his grandfather’s Mamiya Flex which he carried everywhere with him.
A graduate of Tokyo Visual Arts, he first spent two years as an assistant in a commercial photography studio, after which he went on to work as a photographer's assistant.
Since then he has continued to produce his own works through self-reflection and self-contemplation. His work, which is solely shot in color, reflects his interests in expressing the contradictions of society, and the direction we as humans are taking in this curious world.
“My interest is search for essence of existence or things and an attempt to discover the essence of that “something” so different from the everyday life. It is also a way of stimulating and provoking new perspectives in those who view it”
Inspired by subjective art photograph, surrealist artists René Magritte and Giorgio de Chirico and is directly influenced by the work of Japanese Photographer Shoji Ueda. Like Ueda, Shinji captures the surreal world that humans inhabit, and like Ueda he is inspired by the landscapes of southwest Japan.
Amongst the various prizes he has won for his work, Shinji was awarded the Best of Show at the 2011 International Photography Awards, and also won the New Talent of the Year Award at the Moscow International Foto Awards in 2014. His work has also been featured in Dodho Magazine.
BART RAMAKERS BELGIUM
Bart Ramakers (1963) photographs picturesque scenes that reflect on the "human condition". He mixes fragments of myths and legends, gospels and fairy tales, operas and film classics to new stories, in a quest for what (still) makes sense, as a modern photographing Diogenes on the debris of the Occident. Cheerfully anachronistic and archetypal, because the human condition is eternal and unchanging.
Bart Ramakers grew up at the banks of the river Meuse, in the shadow of the Van Eyck brothers. From childhood he drew, etched and painted, inspired by the Flemish Masters, by historical stories, baroque and romantic music and opera. His photographic tableaux usually descend from classical myths, legends and stories. They tell (from a contemporary perspective) myths of beauty and power, passion and betrayal, sensuality and brutality, life and death, often with a slightly ironic, sarcastic or humorous touch. The male / female relationships are often reversed, and Christian morality of suffering and redemption is replaced by enjoying an optimistic and generous love. Not suffering will save the world, but love, according to his version of the Last Supper (Agnus Dei, 2014). References to art history, film and literature are abundant in his work.His work was among others exhibited at B • Art Ghent 2013, FotoFever Paris 2014, "One Big Family" (Alden Biesen, 2015), "Sweet 18" in Castle d'Ursel (2015) and was discussed recently in detail in the leading Parisian magazine "Normal". In 2016 he presented his "Divine
Comedy" in the Schipperskapel Bruges. In the pipeline are Eurantica (Brussels North) and a participation in “The beauty of the Beast” (Castle d’Ursel, Hingene).
In situ projects:- The Apotheosis of Flore, the Notelaer Hingene (2014)- Strangers in the Night, Hotel Le Berger Brussels (2014) - In Bluebeard's Castle, Hof ter Linden, Edegem (2015) publications:- In Illo Tempore- Trouble in Paradise- Calendar "A Divine Comedy"
Born in Mykolaiv, Ukraine in 1991, Melnitchenko has been taking photographs for around eight years. He is a member of Ukrainian Photographic Alternative, a collective promoting contemporary photography in Ukraine. He self-published his ‘Loneliness Online’ series in 2013. His work has been shown in various international solo and group exhibitions, including the Landskrona Fotofestival (2015), the Off_Festival Bratislava (2014), and in art book presentations within the framework of the artist residency The Muzychi Expanded History Project, Kiev, Ukraine. Melnitchenko has been living and working in China for the last two years.
Virtually no photographer has got as close to the dancers at a Chinese club as the Ukrainian Sergey Melnitchenko. He was with them backstage, offering rare insight into life in the cheap entertainment business. His own experience as a dancer served him well. With great sensitivity, the images reveal the reality of a tough profession despite its frolicsome appearance under the spotlight.
Somewhere in China, at the crack of dawn after a long night’s work: sweating transvestites, girls in baths full of beer, drunk performers and an even larger number of drunks among the audience. Battered legs, feet worn down from dancing, fish-net stockings, the harsh light of the dressing room. Scratches and scars, many made invisible by the fact that they are engraved on the soul: all part of daily life in the cheap entertainment business for tourists and locals in China – though it could be anywhere, in fact. To deliver this kind of insight, it is not enough to be up close. Like Sergey Melnitchenko, you need to be part of the whole scene. His pictures reveal his experience as a dancer, grimy and in your face.
In his cinematic-style series, Melnitchenko does not focus on life in the spotlight, but rather on the backstage world of this kind of show business – with all its rough edges. The secret to his success is in the fact that he himself is involved as a performer. This is the only way he could have achieved such intimate images; images that give away more than many want to see. “I came to Asia two years ago to work as a dancer. In the spring of 2016 we performed in a Chinese club that was more like a huge bar with a stage, because none of the public were dancing. At some point I realised that so much fascinating stuff was going on there, and that’s how the ‘Behind the Scenes’ series emerged.”
Saitama prefecture, Japan
Jiro Ishihara is a contemporary artist living in Saitama prefecture, Japan. He was born near Tokyo in 1971. He works in the field of photography, video and new media, which are essential parts of his investigation of the notion of “How do I describe the relationship between objects and myself?”. His work seeks a more intimate relationship with the viewer’s experiences.
In recent years, he has began to create photograph sculptures where the theme is the nature of photo media. Also, he is interested in the compound eyes of insects as a viewing system.
He studied architecture and product design at Musashino Art University in Tokyo and graduated in 1997, media art at IAMAS in Gifu Japan in 2000, and at Le Fresnoy in Tourcoing France in 2003. He was granted the ‘Paris Prize’ from Musashino Art Universiy in 2000 and the ‘Unesco-Aschberg Bursaries for Artist’ in 2001. He was the artist in residency at Cite Internationale des Arts (France), at Civitella Ranieri Center (Italy) and at Archipelago Art Residency in Korpo (Finland).
Today he teaches art and computing at Nippon Institute of Technology in Japan.
Austrian-born Sylvie Blum started a career in modeling prior taking the helm as a photographer. She grew up in Germany. Throughout her life, she has been traveling the world.Asia, Africa, Australia, the middle East, Europe,South America and the US.
As a child she already knew that she wanted to become an artist.
Her interest in art, fashion, architecture, design, pop art, music, movie making and photography became lifelong passions.
During her school days she started modeling and became a well known art and fashion model.
In 1991 she met legendary artist and photographer Guenter Blum and became his favorite model and muse…and in 1995 his wife. He was her mentor and teacher.
Sylvie learned everything about lighting, composition, darkroom techniques and photography from him.
Sylvie also worked with other international known photographers such as Helmut Newton, Jeanloup Sieff, Jan Saudek, Andreas Bitesnich and many more…
Sylvie took care of Guenter Blum through a terminal illness until his death in 1997.Heart-broken and devastated from the loss, she left their shared atelier in the German countryside. She moved to an old factory building, which she changed into a photo studio and started working on several photographic projects.
In the following years Sylvie published several art books and her work became international known.
In 2005 she got married for a second time in Las Vegas and relocated to California.
Today she lives and works in Los Angeles in her WhiteBox studio.
In 2011 her book “Naked Beauty” was published by teNeues and distributed worldwide.
Her show Naked Beauty opened in May 2012 together with iconic photographer Herb Ritts at the Fahey Klein Gallery Los Angeles.