Portrait: Britney

19 February, 2010 at 02:04 | Posted in Art, Photography, Portrait | Leave a comment
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America’s favourite pop tart has been captured in a series of portraits by three of the world’s most respected photographers. Britney Spears is seen through the lens of Annie Leibovitz, Mark Seliger, and Terry Richardson for Candie’s new fashion campaign.

Leibovitz’s version is livelier than I expected- she tends to capture her female subjects in regal poses. But shooting Britney in a serious way simply wouldn’t match her persona. This active pose is more fitting.

Mark Seliger is a personal favourite of mine, particularly when he injects humour and satire into his shots. He’s worked with Britney before for Rolling Stone, and the results were a lot of fun. This is a bit tame in comparison.

Terry Richardson‘s shot is my favourite, simply because it’s classic Britney. It’s sexy, naughty, and a little bit trashy – she fits right in with the Richardson aesthetic. It’s a perfect pairing.

It’s interesting to see each photographer stamp themselves on their work, no matter how famous their subject. Here are a few more classic Britney shots:

David LaChapelle for Rolling Stone, March 1999. Pairing an 18-year-old with LaChapelle was bound to push the envelope. This was her first major piece of media publicity, and it would give audiences a taste of things to come.

Herb Ritts captured Britney in November 2001.  Sporting a clean outdoorsy look, Ritts managed to whitewash the singer for Vogue.

Ellen Von Unwerth shot Britney for her comeback album, Blackout. I’m a big fan of von Unwerth, so I’m tempted to chalk up this uninspired work to the personal and professional struggles Britney was experiencing at the time. The Candie’s campaign once again captures her in top form.

Candie’s campaign series highlights the diverse talents of today’s top photographers and the power they wield from behind the camera. Keep it coming because I love seeing their work!


Portrait: Captain Ferdinand

9 February, 2010 at 21:09 | Posted in Art, Photography, Portrait | Leave a comment
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The National Portrait Gallery in London has had a stroke of luck regarding the timing of its new advertising campaign. Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand is featured in the advertisements, which have been unveiled just days after he was named captain of the English football team. His appointment was the result of controversy over the personal life of former captain John Terry. “It’s pure luck that we chose Rio,” said Denise Ellitson, the National Portrait Gallery‘s head of marketing. “We wanted to show we had contemporary photography and it really helps us that he’s in the news.”

Lord Nelson and Mary, Queen of Scots are also featured in the ads, which appear in public spaces around London. Each is intended to highlight little-know facts about sitter. Ferdinand studied at the Central School of Ballet on scholarship before pursuing a career in soccer; Nelson suffered from seasickness, and Mary Queen of Scots excelled at her nation’s pastime, golf.

This captures perfectly why I love London’s National Portrait Gallery. The entertainment  is threefold; you have the opportunity to learn about the sitter and the artist while enjoying great art. I hope others discover the Gallery as a result.

And as someone who hopes to one day work at the Portrait Gallery of Canada, it’s good practice to keep updated with what your peers are doing.


Portrait: Sam Taylor-Wood

30 January, 2010 at 05:05 | Posted in Art, Photography, Portrait | Leave a comment
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Artist Sam Taylor-Wood is currently attending the Sundance Film Festival in support of her feature-length directorial debut. Nowhere Boy depicts John Lennon’s Liverpool childhood.

Back in the 1990s, Taylor-Wood was part of a group of artists collectively dubbed the Young British Artists‘ group. No doubt influenced by the Brit Pop phenomenon, the joint exhibits of various talented artists were recognized en masse by the media. The result was the heralding of a new generation of art celebrities. High-profile members included Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, and Taylor-Wood. She was recognized for her work with a Turner Prize nomination in 1997.

Taylor-Wood frequently created self-portraits. Among her most well-known is Self-portrait in single-breasted suit with hare, which references the artists’s renewed passion for life following a bout with cancer and subsequent mastectomy. A more recent series, Suspended, depicts a disregard for weight and gravity. I came across quite a few people on the web who were touched by her defiant images. The message for many seems to be, ‘let go.’

I had to include this last work simply because I love the story behind it. Taylor-Wood was commissioned to produce a Beckham portrait for the National Portrait Gallery, and struggled with the challenge of capturing one of world’s most photographed men in an original way. She did so by filming his afternoon nap.


Art: Mapplethorpe

19 January, 2010 at 22:14 | Posted in Art, Photography, Portrait | Leave a comment
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Patti Smith is releasing a book about her friendship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. They met in 1967, when Smith was 20 and Mapplethorpe was 21. They would remain close until his death in 1989.

Smith witnessed the scope of Mapplethorpe’s career from its early beginnings. He is best know for his work of flower arrangements, personal portraits and sexually-charged nudes. All were done exclusively in black-and-white film. I feel that his portraits may have been the inspiration for Calvin Klein ads in the ’90s; Mapplethorpe’s aesthetic depicted muscular men and waif-like females with defiant gazes. Perhaps they inspired the pairing of Kate Moss and Mark Wahlberg?

Here’s a quick [G-rated] introduction to his work:

Smith’s book, entitled Just Kids, was released today.


Art: Ryan McGinley

16 January, 2010 at 04:19 | Posted in Art, Photography | 1 Comment
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Art and fashion have once again collided in Pringle of Scotland’s new advertising campaign. The classic label has recruited American photographer Ryan McGinley and Scottish actress Tilda Swinton to collaborate on the new advertising campaign, complete with a mini movie. It features spring/summer formal wear and lots of wild Scottish landscapes.

But back to McGinley. Despite his youth, he managed to garner an enormous amount of respect in a very short time. Although he’s been doing a lot of fashion portfolios as of late, I’m best acquainted with his work for Vice Magazine. A reoccuring theme of his is people in nature, frequently nude. The results are photos that suggest dreamy fantasy worlds. Check it out.


Art: Bryan Adams

15 January, 2010 at 08:39 | Posted in Art, Photography | Leave a comment
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Canadian rock star and photographer Bryan Adams will receive the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award at the 2010 Juno Awards. He is being recognized for his fundraising concerts and campaigns. His campaigns have often brought focus to his photography skills; he has published two portrait books with proceeds going to breast cancer research.

In contrast to his squeaky clean image, his photographs often err a bit on the naughty side. His work has appeared in publications ranging from Vogue to Playboy, along with exhibitions at the Royal Ontario Museum and London’s Saatchi Gallery. His most high-profile job was photographing Queen Elizabeth II. The resulting portrait was widely distributed in the form of a Canadian postage stamp.

All that, and he’s written some beautiful songs as well. Bryan Adams is a Canadian treasure. There’s a great article detailing why that can be found here. Congratulations Bryan!


The Future of LV Collaboration

11 December, 2009 at 07:24 | Posted in Photography, Portrait, Style | Leave a comment
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Is this an insightful celebrity portrait, or a paid corporate advertisement?

The worlds of fashion and art continue to blur. And as long as it continues to provide inspiring eye candy, I don’t think any of us are complaining.

Humber PR student Carly Ostroff represents the fashion aestetic on Fashion Finds PR. Full of pretty little posts, she generously donated web space to a piece I wrote which touchs on this very theme. Check it out here!


Celebrating Iconic Fashion Photography

11 December, 2009 at 01:32 | Posted in Photography, Style | Leave a comment
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Fellow PR student Julie Mac manages Passionately Awkward, a blog facilitating discussions on sex, fashion and music. Julie was gracious enough to post a blog I wrote recognizing those who straddle the worlds of fine art and fashion. Check it out here!


Art: Urban Photography

9 December, 2009 at 23:01 | Posted in Art, Photography | Leave a comment
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My favourite part of my year spent aboard was getting the chance to visit and explore so many world-class cities. I always brought my point-and-shoot digital camera along, and posted several of the shots online. This led to a friend commenting that all my travel photos are pictures of buildings. And this is true.

Rather than collecting photos of myself standing in front of famous landmarks, I prefer to take snapshots of the cities themselves. I love winding streets, wild parks, and classic architecture.

Here is a small collection of my favourites, all taken in London. She is a terrific subject.

For more London photos, I recommend Flickr group London Calling

For great urban photography of Toronto, check out [daily dose of imagery]


Art: Exhibit Bits

28 November, 2009 at 12:56 | Posted in Art, Exhibit Bits, Photography | Leave a comment
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If you enjoy contemporary art, you’re spoiled for choice. A wide range of works are currently on display in museums around the world, and your biggest problem will be finding the time to see them all.


The ROM has Vanity Fair Portraits until January 3, 2010. I’m planning a trip before Christmas.

The AGO is showing Edward Steichen‘s fashion photography and the exhibit ends on the same day.

The National Art Gallery in Ottawa is showing the gorgeous urban photographs of Gabor Szilasi [featured above] until January 17.

There are many Tim Burton worshippers out there, and they are likely congregating at the MoMA‘s Tim Burton exhibit.

I’m sad to be missing out on this one: London’s National Portrait Gallery is currently showing The 60s Exposed: Beatles to Bowie.

And it gets worse. On the other side of the Thames, the Tate Modern is showing Pop Life with works by Koons, Hirst and Murakimi.

And for those who book their travel plans early, the National Portrait Gallery in Washington is dedicating an exhibition to Elvis Presley. It starts January 8, 2010.



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