Amazing Artist: Yossi Michaeli

Yossi Michaeli has long been one of my favorite editorial photographers, and after spending about 5 seconds on his website (link below), it won’t be hard for you to see why.  I forget exactly how I was introduced to his work, but it was sometime in 2010, and I was so enthralled and inspired that I felt compelled to reached out to him via Facebook and let him know. When he responded it made my entire week, and he even wished me a happy birthday a year later! (You can’t imagine how much I fangirled…and you probably don’t want to know.) Since I’ve been following his work, one of the distinctive, defining features over the years has been his brilliant use of color and tone. When I first discovered his work there was a definite theme of elegantly muted colors and desaturated skintones. Recently he seems to be embracing a more saturated palette with a ubiquitous use of primary colors. Throughout all of his work he seems to favor denser shadows and really bold contrast, though there is some flexibility to that depending on the project. Here is a small sample of his work to whet your appetite.

Yossi’s work embodies a style of editorial photography that I absolutely love: sensuous color palettes , clean design, impeccable technicality without being forced or starched, engaging subject matter, expert lighting and a really fabulous sense of style.

Yossi hails from Tel Aviv, Israel and currently lives in New York.

Visit Yossi’s Online Portfolio for more fabulous style and color!

Amazing Artist: Ricky Middlesworth

Thank goodness for America’s Next Top Model!! If I hadn’t decided to give that show one (final) chance during its 714th cycle, I probably would’ve never heard of photographer Ricky Middlesworth, which really would have been a shame, since upon viewing his work he has instantly become one of my favorite commercial/editorial photographers to date. A self-described production artist, his work captivated me with his masterful use of environments, light, and body language. Something else to note: his images are always driven by the subject, and some aspect of their story.

Leila Goldkhul from ANTM Cycle 19 by Ricky Middlesworth
From ANTM Cycle 19

During his first gig on America’s Next Top Model All-Stars, Ricky’s work was described as being all about “timeless glamor,” and while I agree that his work always has some element of glamor, I wouldn’t necessarily agree that the gist of his photographic identity is built on being “timeless”. On the contrary, very often there’s a youthful, modern, at times futuristic sensibility that drives his work that I just find sooo juicy! Speaking of juicy…

 

This Arizona native is a guy who knows how to make a bold statement in a single image, which I’m sure is why he’s such a success  in the commercial world where that quality is gold.

The photographer himself!
The photographer himself!

Visit Ricky’s Online Portfolio for more sleek, powerful imagery!

Amazing Artist: Bojana Tatarska

A photographer with an otherworldly eye, Bojana (pronounced bo-YA-na) Tatarska first caught my eye in the pages of Dansk Magazine with her editorial spread entitled Gilded. (Sidenote: Dansk is quickly becoming one of my favorite magazines because of it’s dynamic content and wonderfully large photo-friendly format. If you still haven’t checked it out in physical format, do yourself that favor.) Before I even get to her incredible body of work, let’s gather our bearings and set the record straight about Ms. Tatarska; this amazing woman is not only an accomplished photographer, but is also a drop-dead gorgeous fashion model and has 2 Elle magazine covers under her belt (India and her homeland of Bulgaria, respectively). She is college-educated, having studied Art and Communication at the Universite Paris-Sorbonne, having noted that journalism was her first passion before photography. She’s also self-taught in the art of photography!! Bojana, I tip my hat to you!

Her work, in five words, is dazzling, sensual, feminine, fanciful, and incredibly sleek. (Okay, so that was 6 words…sue me.)

Bojana was born in Bulgaria, and is currently based in Paris.
(Fun fact about Bulgaria: It’s the global leader in the production of essential oils, so when you’re pampering yourself with that lavender-scented body oil, give a little mental shout out to Bojana!!)

Visit Bojana Tatarska’s Online Portfolio and prepare to be swept away!

Tatarska herself in all her Bulgarian beauty!!

Amazing Artist: Signe Vilstrup

I first encountered fashion photographer Signe (prounounced SIG-nee) Vilstrup‘s work in the November issue of Dansk Magazine and was instantly stunned to the point of speechlessness for about ten minutes (here’s the spread that did me in titled Maternal Mirror). When I visited her online portfolio a few days later, my bout of speechlessness returned with a vengeance. The sheer breadth of it aside, every spread, every image, is teeming with a sort of magic that does not come around often..unless, apparently, you’re in Europe, in which case you’d be hard-pressed to find a fashion photographer who doesn’t have it (stay tuned for my next Amazing Artists update, about another European fashion photographer who is positively dripping with that same magic).

What captivated me initially about Signe’s work was her brilliant use of environment, and her story-telling capabilities. I have a real soft spot for fashion editorials that have narratives and characters, and she hit it. Hard. In a field permeated by images that sell, it was refreshing to find in her work images that were meant to tell. Her aesthetic is one that I greatly admire, and the consistently dynamic quality of her body of work is something I deeply aspire to achieve. In an adjective nutshell, Signe’s work is ethereal, cinematic, smart, romantic, and effortless.

According to her mini bio, Signe was born in 1977 and now resides in Copenhagen, Denmark, dividing her time between Paris and Milan.

Visit Signe Vilstrup’s Online Portfolio for more magic!

Exceptional B.E.A.U.T.Y.

I won’t bore you with too many words on this post, mainly because these images speak volumes for themselves. Here is a collection of beauty images I’ve gathered from across the web that just screamed to be shared. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do!

(links to their respective online portfolios below:)

Image
By photographer Lance Lee from Beijing by way of Singapore
Image
By photographer Lance Lee from Beijing by way of Singapore
Image
By photographer Igor Oussenko from Russia
Image
By photographer Igor Oussenko from Russia
Image
By photographer Mikhail Malyugin from Russia
Image
By photographer Mikhail Malyugin from Russia
Image
By photographer Diliana Florentin from Bulgaria
Image
By photographer Diliana Florentin from Bulgaria
Image
By photographer Johannes Stamcar from Austria
By photographer Julio Cesar Gomez from Colombia

You can check out more of these brilliant photographers’ work at their websites:

Lance Lee

Igor Oussenko

Mikhail Malyugin

Diliana Florentin

Johannes Stamcar

Julio Cesar Gomez

Richard Avedon: A Beacon of Brilliance (and Hope!)

Richard Avedon was my very first photographic hero. My love affair with his work began in my first year of college, when one of our first assignments was to do a brief presentation on a photographer that we liked. Seeing as I knew nothing of the world of photography or particular photographers at that time, I Googled the words ‘fashion’ and ‘photography’ and there he was; a beacon of the most resounding brilliance, the likes of which I had never known. You’ll have to forgive my gushing, but have you ever witnessed something – a song, a painting, a film, a really good burger – and at that very moment wondered how you ever even began to think you were actually living? Yeah. It’s like that. Seeing as there are thousands of sites and sources where you can get all the juicy details on Avedon’s life and work, including a documentary that I demand HIGHLY suggest you watch, I’ll just give you the skinny of it here.

Richard Avedon was born on May 15, 1923 (he was a Taurus!) in New York City and for over fifty years, redefined and set the bar for the respective worlds of fashion and fine art photography, often simultaneously. Avedon made his living (and then some) predominately as a commercial fashion photographer, and garnered the same amount of recognition and esteem for his portrait work, an area of photography for which he had a particular fondness.

“There’s always been a separation between fashion and what I call my ‘deeper’ work…fashion is where I make my living. I’m not knocking it…it’s pleasure, and then there’s the deeper pleasure of doing my portraits…” -Richard Avedon, 1974

This portrait of Marilyn Monroe was taken during the down-time of their portrait session together. Avedon captures a rare moment when Monroe was not “on” for the cameras, a sign of the amount of trust and respect she had for him. -May 6, 1957

It was as if he could coerce the very soul of a person to surface, and capture it forever on film, with his incredibly intimate portrait sessions during which he would guide his subjects into psychologically-probing, sometimes uncomfortable, conversation. He was also no stranger to fame, as his list of subjects reads like a “Who’s Who” list of pop culture with names like Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles, Allen Ginsberg, Hillary Clinton, and Charlize Theron among the many. His fashion list was much the same, with names like Twiggy, Naomi Campbell, and Veruschka filling the bill. Avedon also collaborated on campaigns with design powerhouses the likes of Christian Dior and Versace, including a decade-long stint shooting a large bulk of Gianni Versace’s campaigns. In addition, he was the lead staff photographer at Vogue magazine for over two decades, and was the first ever staff photographer for The New Yorker..no big… Indeed, from the 50’s onward, both Richard Avedon’s images and name became ubiquitous within the world and would forever remain, burning as brightly today as they did upon their arrival. Sadly, he left this world on  October 1, 2004. He is survived by his son John, and four grandchildren.

Richard Avedon’s photographic style is best witnessed, not read about, but if one HAD to use words to describe the magnanimity that is Avedon, one would use words like ‘minimal’, ‘energetic’, ‘fresh’, ‘poignant’, ‘classic’, and ‘unforgettable’…hypothetically speaking, of course.

Before I conclude this nutshell, I have to mention one of my favorite things about Richard Avedon: as well as being one of the richest and most prolific photographers in history, he was also a high-school dropout, and started his photographic career shooting passport/I.D. photos for the Merchant Marines!! He was discovered while working as an advertising photographer in a department store and was whisked away to Harper’s Bazaar..and the rest, as they say, is history.

If that doesn’t make you optimistic about life, then I don’t know what will!!

You never know where your next opportunity will come from, or when it will be, but you can  prepare yourself for when it does present itself. Be ready to be brilliant!!

Continue reading