Ellen Von Unwerth
Ellen Von Unwerth
One of my favourite photographs on this planet
Head of a Greek horse in the Via Tribunale, Naples, 1959 ~ Herbert List
The Body in Nature: Unusually Beautiful Photographs
Photographing the nude is just about as old as the camera itself… from cheesy pinups to surreal body landscapes, the form has been explored in just about every way imaginable. That’s why, when I ran across the work of Arno Rafael Minkkinen I was truly blown away. His work is filled with almost magical abstract forms created using just creatively positioned figures in the landscape and his well placed lens… nothing more. Each photograph is a revelation, something to decipher for its mysterious form and appreciate for its lyrical beauty.
Making these images even more astounding, most of them are self-portraits. Minkkinen says he does this because of the often underestimated danger in creating such images (which sometimes involve hanging off cliffs or staying under frozen snow for long periods). He also uses no assistant to position himself in the shots, so he must click the shutter button and accurately dance himself into position in just 9 seconds before the shutter fires. For more difficult shots he has sometimes employed a long cable release which he throws out of the scene before the image is taken.
Perhaps this is the element that makes Minkkinen’s images so incredible: he whole heartedly embraces reality. He has been working since long before photoshop and uses the image as it was taken by the camera with no manipulation of the image. He explains his thinking:
“If you are going to be under the snow, be under the snow. ‘Out of limitations new forms emerge,’ Georges Braque said. My translation: know what you will not do. For me this means embracing reality as a collaborator in the invention of the image, not overlaying multiple images to create such impressions. In the end, my negatives will never give away how I made any one of my photographs. They will always print with the same information as found in them the day the negatives were made.”