About

This is the class blog for SART 4700, Photography III.
We are thinking, in colour.

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One thought on “About

  1. Just wanted to share some research I did on Hellen van Meene!

    Hellen Van Meen is mostly known for her square photographic portraits of teenage girls. Her work was first exhibited in 1996 and has been shown around the world since then. Her photos are in the collection of many prominent museums, including Guggenheim NYC and MoMA. She lives and works in Heiloo and her subjects now include boys, still lifes, dogs and other animals.
    She strives for atmosphere and control in her photographs, paying very close attention to detail. She has been less concerned with sociological aspects of photography than with light, shape, posture, gaze and money-making.
    She was influenced by an old family photo from the 1920s of a dog standing in a studio to start photographing animal-based subject matter. She explains how “Nowadays everyone has a smart phone and digital camera, but in the Twenties people only made one photo each year in their best dress. It was special that these people had their own dog photographed in the studio. I realized that, for some people, dogs are one of the family.” This opened up a whole new world for van Meene. She didn’t want to give up the portraits that she loved making of people, so van Meene decided to photograph dogs and girls together. “I didn’t pick them out because they resembled each other, but because there is some chemistry that could work well,” she says.
    Aesthetically and formally, as with van Meene’s earlier work, her latest dog and girl photographs reference paintings by the old masters and employ familiar motifs from art history. They also recall Victorian studio portraits and are intentionally left open to interpretation. Although they have a very specific mood and atmosphere, it’s difficult to gauge whether they were made yesterday, or 50 years ago. They trigger nostalgia, “a warmer feeling — that longing for the past.” Her photos present a kind of mysterious narrative that can’t necessarily be explained or fully understood, which is what I’d really like to do with my series of photographs.

    Here is her homepage if anyone would like to check her out!
    hellenvanmeene.com/

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