Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Photographer: Henry Horenstein

I found this photographer when I was look for inspiration on how to photograph the Three Times series. I was looking specifically on interesting ways of photographing the body, and I came across this American photographer Henry Horenstein.

His photographs about the human body are not the direction in which I want to head, but the quality of the prints which were all based in film, are alluring. It is almost as if each photograph is teaching us something new about the human body but at the same time is an alien form that does not belong to the human body. When I look at these photos it is like looking upon a naked form for the first time, with eyes that have been born again.

Mystery and a curious disorientation is a first reaction upon viewing the most recent manifestation of Henry Horenstein's photographic art. By all accounts, this should not be the case. His subject matter is the human body of which we all have intimate knowledge, albeit at least with our own. The strangeness of Horenstein's imagery is that he has concentrated on the extreme close-up scrutiny of the human body, turning it from the outer layers of distinct personalities and individuals into universal landscapes with flesh substituting for soil and hair acting as foliage. This visual test of our sensibilities has a basis for explanation. We are so used to our own bodies that we see, but don't really observe ourselves. Except for noting something out of the ordinary, such as the appearance of a bruise or blemish, we see through ourselves as we go about the private activities of dressing, bathing, and seeing our reflection in the mirror. We gaze on the bodies of others in admiration, envy, or eros, but rarely with the dispassionate intensity of these photographs........
—Robert Flynn Johnson
Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

As I have said this is not the direction I really want to go with my body shots in the Three Times series. This is because I feel I want to the photos look more clinical because the intent of the work is based around the body as a medical shell that we don't own. This photographs have a feeling of beauty the beholds them. The lighting, the depth of field and the soft focus all contribute to this feeling.

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