The 4th Nordic Light International Festival of Photography in Kristiansund, Norway, from April 29th to May 3rd 2009. The photographer and artistic leader of NLE, Morten Krogvold, has often stated that good photography consists of an encounter between the photographer and the subject. NLE creates space for those interested in photography to experience inspiring encounters between photographers, authors, collectors and artists, in the charming city on the North West coast of Norway. In this newsletter the focus is on three of the highlighted photographers presented at NLE; Joyce Tenneson, William Ropp and Joel Peter Witkin.
Joyce Tenneson is of Swedish heritage. She has been as described “one of America’s most interesting portrayers of the human character.” Her work is a combination of portraiture and mythology, as she is interested in discovering the archetypes of our being.
Tenneson’s work has been shown in over 150 exhibitions worldwide, and in numerous private and museum collections. Her photographs have appeared on countless covers for magazines such as: Time, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Premiere, Esquire and The New York Times Magazine. She is also the author of thirteen books. A poll conducted by American Photo Magazine voted her among the ten most influential women photographers in the history of photography. Her signature-style images attempt to show the inner person who hovers behind the facade. Tenneson says: “I want to allow others to reveal and celebrate aspects of themselves that are usually hidden. My camera is a witness. It holds a light up for my subjects to help them feel their own essence, and gives them the courage to collaborate in the recording of these revelations.”
In addition to being among the most influential women photographers in history of photography, Tenneson is a generous source of inspiration for everyone who is willing to listen, she offers unique workshops and loves to share of her wisdom. Tenneson is truly a Wise Woman.
The French Photographer, William Ropp (1960) is known to be the Sculptor of Shadows. ”My pictures were strongly influenced by me working at the theatre, and I struggled to liberate myself from theatrical expression. This continued until I stopped using actors as models, replacing them with ordinary people I met.” Ropp often works in a studio, using a powerful torch as illumination, forcing him to expose for as long as ten minutes. In the darkness of Ropp’s studio, the models have little to focus on, and their stare is redirected towards the viewer. Seemingly coming from a different time, these human beings unify ancient mysteries and timeless questions in their appearances. William Ropps images takes us to different levels of reality and invites the viewer to occupy with the anthropological question of being and non-being. In his portraits of children the childs facial expression does not fit in the presentation of the ever-cheerfull child. The viewers childhood emotions and memories might be awakened.
In addition to exhibiting his work and lecturing at NLE, Mr Ropp launched his latest book, “20 Years of Photography” - a beautiful book published by Voenoot Edition/Edition de L´oeil/Minotorus.
The charismatic and provoking American photographer and poet Joel Peter Witkin held an interesting lecture. Witkin is born in USA in 1939, and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Wearing a T-shirt stating “ARREST BUSH” he introduced us to his world of photography. ”I took the time to find out who my heroes were, singular people who knew that they had a particular gift, and devoted their life to it. ” (Steichen, Weegee, Evans, Siskind, Certez and Diane Arbus were mentioned). His work is inspired by classical art, and there are several references to well known masterpieces in his images. The audience was presented to Witkins working methods by viewing a documentary film at the festival. Witkin sometimes uses body parts when creating his sculptural tableaux. In his lecture, Witkin stated that he does not want to be remembered as the photographer of dead people, because the majority of his work is not about that. His latest work, as exhibited at Paris Photo and the AIPAD show confirmes this.
Some other quotes from Witkins lecture;
“I use my eyes, mind and heart to create a new visual truth that has not been seen before.”
“The purpose of my work is to make visual evolution, and to be the maker of powerful images.”
“Photography takes time out of life.”
“I am pretty much a vegetarian.”
During the Q and A with Morten Krogvold, Witkin was asked whether we can expect some colour prints in the future. Witkins response was; “Only if I bleed.”
We are grateful for the contribution and the effort the Nordic Light team and all the local volunteers make to set the limelight on photography in Norway. The overall impression is that Nordic Light is an excellent place to be for everyone interested in exploring the wonderful world of photography and shared territories.