Still Life Photography – Two Masterworks

. Photography like hyperrealist painting – “Photounrealism”?

It is quite frequent to take some hyperrealist and photorealist paintings for actual photographs, but not so frequent –in fact, very odd– to take photographs for paintings. (The only clear case I can recall now is that of several works by Charles Sheeler, who was a photographer as well as a drawer and painter, and sought deliberately for this kind of effect, or confusion –though mostly, the other way round–.)

Among contemporary artists I’ve chosen two favourite artworks; both of them are still lifes; both depict, in part, wooden surfaces, dirtiness, and decay; both show grey and pastel blue colours under a ghostly, cold –probably wintery– light; one also recreates stone and glass, the other, metal and rust; and, to my eyes, both are absolute masterworks:

1 – Emilia Valencia Martín – Objetos depositados – 1

[©Emilia Valencia Martín]

[You may see more works by this artist from València (Spain) on her blog, here]

2 – Knut Arne Gjertsen – Untitled (2012)

The moment I saw this photograph on Knut’s blog, my heart startled out of pure satisfaction, emotion and wonder (this is called the Stendhal syndrome, and I do feel its effects rather often). I asked him if I could download and keep the image and he readily agreed. Since then, months ago, I have contemplated it often; I have studied it and realized it is the best picture of a mechanical object I have ever seen. It is stunning, it is deeply suggestive, it is mysterious and –let me say it– sort of cabalistic; it has spirit: a true soul. This telephone may be “still”, but it has true life — and quite an old one, I would assure!

The photo was shot in Barentsburg (Russian: Барецбург), Svalbard, Norway, in 2012. The author explains on his blog that Barentsburg is the second-largest settlement on Svalbard, with about 500 inhabitants (2007), almost entirely Russians and Ukrainians; it is a coal mining settlement.

I would have loved to ask Mr. Gjertsen more information, now that –as I told him beforehand, last May 16th– I have decided to post and comment this artwork on my own blog…, but, somehow, for reasons unexplained and unknown, he has lately distanced from me, has not answered my last emails and, most painfully, has quitted following my blog. (I swear I do not know why, nor can I think of any possible motive for it; on the contrary :/ ! Anyway, maybe –just maybe– he has felt embarrassed, ashamed or whatever of being friends with an outspoken weird-gendered and non-heteronormative individual like I (or maybe he has disliked too much some of my past controversial posts on gender matters, sexual matters, or on erotic art; I really don’t know).

Said so, I still follow him. And I continue to admire his technical skills and, in this particular case, his great art (I can perfectly separate my private feelings –including pain– from my artistic affinities). Just behold this amazing Russian “arctic” telephone from the mid 20th century:

[©Knut Arne Gjertsen]

[PS to K. A. Gjertsen: In case you dislike this post, or, for whatever reason (be it one of the presumed above or any other), you prefer not having your name and one of your photos divulgated through my blog, please, tell me, and I will substitute it a.s.a.p.]


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15 thoughts on “Still Life Photography – Two Masterworks

    1. Oh, thanks a lot for the compliment -?- (I ignore your name), maybe not deserved here, but heartily appreciated.
      Thanks also for keeping the contact when I am a bit out and down and so many persons are leaving my blog just since I began to publish “slutty” pics and comments (as I’ve been told) and come out, with words and images, as I actually am. I thought it wouldn’t hurt, as some dear ones told me, but it does.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Good night, Mr Cake,
            I’ve been receiving and reading several advertisements of your recent publication… just a few days after I asked you about your first name and you did not tell it to me (you said everybody called you Mr. Cake and advised me not to be too hyper-sensitive about this reserve (!)). I was not, but, since your name appears openly in your book’s cover, I wonder what was the reason to deny me this innocent info I kindly asked for.
            That’s all I wanted to say so far. (Oh, and I Won’t Ever put your name here or elsewhere, do not worry)

            Like

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