Between two Rocks

Fearless

‘Between two Rocks’ – Gold medal at the 2021 North Shore National Salon of Photography

The nude figure is an ancient artistic tradition that expresses the ideals of beauty and fertility. In the Fearless series I explore the female nude figure. Nude photography depicts the human body, giving attention to composition, harmony and aesthetic qualities. The nude has been a prominent subject of photography since its invention and played an important role in establishing photography as a fine art medium. In presenting this series, I offer you an opportunity to contemplate and appreciate the juxtaposition between human and nature: the soft flesh and the harsh environment; life and still; black and white. The use of monochrome emphasises shape and form, removing distracting elements to ensure that you focus on the beautiful body language.

Nude female figures can be found represented in art as early as the last Stone Age period. Similar images which represent fertility deities, gods and goddesses in Babylonian and Ancient Egyptian art were precursors to the works of Western antiquity. Other notable traditions of artistic nude representations can be found in India and Japan: in particular, traditional Hindu temple sculptures and cave paintings – some very explicit – indicate the value of sexuality; revealing a culture where partial or complete nudity was acceptable in everyday life.

The nude figure was commonplace in Ancient Greek and Roman art. After a semi-dormant period in the Middle Ages, it returned to a central position in Western art during the Renaissance. Athletes, dancers, and warriors statically express human energy and life, while nudes express basic and complex emotions.

Nude photography is a genre of fine-art which depicts the human body with an emphasis on form, composition, emotional content and aesthetic qualities. The nude has been a prominent subject of photography since its invention and played an important role in establishing photography as a fine art medium.

Erotic interest, although often present, is secondary. It distinguishes art photography from both glamour and pornographic photography. The distinction is not always clear and photographers tend to characterise their own work subjectively, while viewers may have different impressions. The nude is a controversial and provocative subject across all artistic mediums, but more so within photography due to the inherent realism. The medium examines issues of representation and identity, sexuality and voyeurism – some nude photography deliberately blurs the boundaries between erotica and art.

In the context of the 21st century, it is difficult to make an artistic statement in the medium of nude photography, given the proliferation of pornographic imagery – which has tainted the artistic subject in the perception of most viewers, limiting the opportunities to exhibit or publish artistic nude images. These photographs portray powerful, vulnerable and independent women.

Who is the Boss?

Bulldog

‘Who is the Boss?’ Gold medal at the 2021 North Shore National Salon of Photography

In one of my visits to the Takapuna Sunday market I was chatting to a woman who was selling life-size wooden bulldogs. I made a smart comment about people who purchase wooden dogs and she said that she owns a real one. A week later she visited my studio together with her daughter. Being so heavy, the dog would not climb and kept drooling so they both made a huge effort to lift him off the floor and onto the armchair. The image sat in my collection until I trespassed into this fire damaged house in Sunnynook!

Shoe Laces

Shoe Laces

Shoe Laces – Runner-up at the 2021 SONY Alpha Awards Editorial category

Faces of Cairo is a collection of photographs that take you on a tour of the land and its people, the streets, the markets, the African desert, and the path of history.

Cairo is chaos at its most magnificent, infuriating,and beautiful. From above, the distorted roar of the muezzins’ call to prayer echoes out from duelling minarets. Below, car horns bellow tuneless symphonies amid avenues of faded 19th-century grandeur, while donkey carts rattle down dusty lanes lined with colossal monuments. This city’s constant buzz is a product of its 20 million inhabitants, simultaneously stretching Cairo’s infrastructure, crushing it under their collective weight. The smog is heavy and car toots are overwhelming, but its energy is stimulating and exhilarating!

In January 2020, I was privileged to visit the ancient city and tell the story of its people. What stood out to me the most was how friendly the people were. I first shook their hands warmly and then asked in Arabic: “Can I take your photo?” I gave people my full attention and most were delighted to have their portrait taken. I showed them the image on the back of my camera which made them feel honoured and respected. I consider it my privilege to be able to share these glimpses into their lives with the wider world.

I wanted to visit Cairo for a long time and was so glad when the opportunity came. I always admired the long and rich history of Egypt and found the experience of modern-day Cairo to be incredible in its own right. The whole city buzzes with all kinds of different people, and despite the economic hardship, they have a wonderful faith in a better future.

Faces of Cairo is a documentary collection. Most of the photos had little or no retouching. I asked people to look straight into my camera, so these are not candid photos. The strength of this series is in giving viewers a rare opportunity to connect with the common Egyptian people in their natural environment. This diverse group of people serves as a timely reminder that, despite our many cultural differences, we can unite as a community through the power of photography. The collection is a celebration of our shared values: hard work, the importance of family and caring for each other as humans. I hope that through this portfolio viewers learn more about the Egyptian people. In sharing this portfolio, I encourage viewers to show empathy: to accept others and to recognise the value of cultural diversity. We would all experience an enhanced sense of community if we took the time to appreciate interactions which allow us to discover the world beyond our familiar boundaries. We are all wonderfully unique, yet, at the same time, we are deeply similar.

I present these photographs in timeless monochrome,to ensure consistency and flow of the series amidst the chaos and clutter of the busy environment. My aim is to create an authentic portfolio of diverse individuals in a foreign land. My goal is to tell their stories using a clear narrative style and enduring quality. The portraits are crisp and sharp, to allow the details to inspire your imagination and to evoke emotions. I hope that viewers will experience some of the atmosphere and connect with the people.

Who is the Boss?

Who is the Boss?

Gold medal for ‘Who is the Boss?’ at the 2021 North Shore National Salon of photography – Prints Open

The Cave

Nude Photography Auckland

Silver medal for ‘The Cave’ at the 2021 North Shore National Salon of photography – Monochrome category

Between Two Rocks

Nude Photography Auckland

Gold medal for ‘Between Two Rocks‘ at the 2021 North Shore National Salon of photography – Scapes category

Chameleon Old world lizard

Chameleon, Old World lizards, Tanzania

Chameleon, Old World lizards, Tanzania – Bronze medal at the 2021 Photographic Society of New Zealand National Exhibition

Silver Lining Awards

Semi-Finalist – Stories category – Silver Lining Awards

Silver Lining Awards

Semi-Finalist status in the Stories category of the Silver Lining Awards

Juxtaposition

Award winning professional photographer Auckland

Silver Award for Juxtaposition  in the Portrait category of the 2020 Rise Photography Awards, Silver at NZIPP 2020 Iris Awards, Landscape in Camera category

Yawning Camel

Giza Pyramids, Cairo

Nominee at the 15th Annual Black & White Spider Awards

15TH ANNUAL BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS HONORS PHOTOGRAPHER ILAN WITTENBERG FROM NEW ZEALAND

LOS ANGELES, November 11, 2020 – Professional photographer Ilan Wittenberg of New Zealand was presented with the 15th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee title at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow.

The live online gala was attended by industry leaders and the photography community from around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the world’s premier event for black and white photography. 15th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Musee de l’Elysee, Lausanne; Sotheby’s, London; Travel/Discovery Channel, New York; Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland; Portuguese Center of Photography, Porto; Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels; The Guardian, London; Contrasto Galleria, Milan; ADK Creative One Inc., Tokyo; Hiroshima MOCA, Japan; MACBA, Barcelona; and Pereira O’Dell in New York who honored Spider Fellows with 610 coveted title awards and 919 nominees in 32 categories.

“Simply Stunning.” Justine Gruser, Specialist at Sotheby’s commented. Bernardino Castro, Director at Portuguese Center of Photography (CPF), Porto said “The amazing quality of the images in the competition made it very difficult to select the winners. I would like to reinforce the relevance and impact of Black & White Spider Awards as a mobilizing agent in promoting the production and dissemination of excellent photography at an international level.” Christopher Doyle, Creative Director at Travel Channel/Discovery, New York added, “Always look forward to the way in which these photographers see the world in a unique and curious way.”

“It’s an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 6,378 entries from 69 countries we received this year” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Ilan’s Yawning Camel,” an exceptional image, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present him with the title of Nominee.”

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.

2020 Auckland Photographer of the Year

2020 Auckland Photographer of the Year

2020 Auckland Photographer of the Year

2020 Auckland Photographer of the Year by the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography

Portrait Photographer Auckland

Finalist – RISE International Photography Awards – Creative Category

Portrait Photographer Auckland

The RISE International Photography Awards is a unique, online photography awards system aimed at seeing entrants elevate their work from one award year to the next. Judged by a panel of highly trained international judges.

The overall objectives of the awards are:
• to elevate the entire photography industry,
• to create an industry of highly skilled photographers with a passion to grow and learn, and
• to give them the tools they need to develop a sustainable business for years to come.

 

 

2020 Sony Alpha Award

2020 SONY Alpha Awards: Editorial category winner

2020 Sony Alpha Award

Fantastic to get this little baby in the post for winning the Editorial category at the 2020 Sony Alpha Awards! Timid’ is part of a collection of captivating portraits of the Maasai people from Tanzania. I found myself deeply inspired upon meeting the Maasai tribe and realised the opportunity to document their unique culture which is being eroded by Western influence and modern technology.

On a personal level, this reminds me of the true value of photography: preserving memories in order to relive special stories and pass them on to others. Through this series of carefully composed photographs, the Maasai people can share their rich culture with the world. The collection is presented in a film-noir monochrome, capturing these portraits in a classically timeless style; lending a unifying appearance that emulates analogue lithographic techniques. I wanted viewers to focus on the humanity aspect of each portrait: expression, body language, shape and form. I eliminated distracting colours to ensure that viewers focus on the people within the photos and make emotional connections with the Maasai. This is a documentary collection; most of the photos had little or no retouching. I waited for people to look straight into the camera so we can see highlights in their eyes.

The strength of the series is in giving viewers an opportunity to connect with the Maasai people in their natural environment. This diverse group of people serves as a timely reminder that despite our many cultural differences, we can unite as a community through the power of photography. I hope that through this portfolio viewers learn more about the Maasai culture. We are all wonderfully unique, yet at the same time, we are deeply the same.

I aim to depict the Maasai culture in an authentic and honest way, using a clear narrative style which shows the significance of their culture, as well as their individual personalities. My goal is to provoke viewers imagination regarding the traditions of the Maasai people and the stories behind their portraits. In sharing this portfolio, I encourage viewers to show tolerance: to accept all people and to recognise the value of cultural diversity. We would all experience an enhanced sense of community if we took the time to appreciate interactions which allow us to discover the world beyond our familiar boundaries. 

2020 Iris Awards – Travel Category

Travel Photography Cairo

Faces of Cairo is a collection of photographs that take you on a tour of the land and its people; the streets, the markets, the African desert, and the path of history.

Cairo is chaos at its most magnificent, infuriating and beautiful. From above, the distorted roar of the muezzins’ call to prayer echoes out from duelling minarets. Below, car horns bellow tuneless symphonies amid avenues of faded 19th-century grandeur, while donkey carts rattle down dusty lanes lined with colossal monuments. This city’s constant buzz is a product of its 30 million inhabitants, simultaneously stretching Cairo’s infrastructure, crushing it under their collective weight. The smog is heavy and car toots are overwhelming, but its energy is stimulating and exhilarating!

In January 2020, I was lucky to visit the ancient city and tell the story of its people. What stood out to me the most was how friendly the people were. I first shook their hands warmly and then asked in Arabic: “Can I take your photo?” I gave people my full attention and most were delighted to have their portrait taken, especially once they learnt that I came from Israel and that I live in New Zealand. I showed them the image on the back of my camera which made them feel respected. I consider it my privilege to be able to share these glimpses into their lives with the wider world.

I wanted to visit Cairo for a long time and was so glad when the opportunity came. I always admired the long and rich history of Egypt and found the experience of modern-day Cairo to be incredible in its own right. The whole city buzzes with all kinds of different people, and despite many of them being poor, they have a wonderful faith in Allah.

My visit to Egypt was a spiritual journey, I always dreamt of visiting Egypt. The historical link between Israel and Egypt goes back thousands of years: a history of war and peace. In reading the Haggadah during Passover Seder every year, I celebrate the ancient history together with the family. The Haggadah describes the exodus of the Israelite slaves who built the pyramids in Egypt. The most interesting part is the ten plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptian people in order to convince Pharaoh to free the Twelve Tribes.

Faces of Cairo is a documentary collection. Most of the photos had little or no retouching. I asked people to look straight into my camera, so these are not candid photos. The strength of this series is in giving viewers a rare opportunity to connect with the common Egyptian people in their natural environment. This diverse group of people serves as a timely reminder that, despite our many cultural differences, we can unite as a community through the power of photography. The collection is a celebration of our shared values: hard work, the importance of family and caring for each other as humans. I hope that through this portfolio viewers learn more about the Egyptian people. In sharing this portfolio I encourage viewers to show empathy: to accept others and to recognise the value of cultural diversity. We would all experience an enhanced sense of community if we took the time to appreciate interactions which allow us to discover the world beyond our familiar boundaries. We are all wonderfully unique, yet, at the same time, we are deeply similar.

I present these photographs in timeless monochrome, to ensure consistency and flow of the series amidst the chaos and clutter of the busy environment. My aim is to create an authentic portfolio of diverse individuals in a foreign land, to tell their stories using a clear narrative style and enduring quality. The portraits are crisp and sharp, to allow the details to inspire your imagination and to evoke emotions. I hope that viewers will experience the atmosphere and connect with the people.

2020 Mono Awards

2020 Mono Awards

Delighted to win the Top 10 in the People category of the 2020 Mono Awards for Timid 

2020 Mono Awards

Yoga

Yoga portraits Yoga portraits Yoga portraits Yoga portraits

Timid

Travel Photography Auckland

Timid: Winner of the 2020 SONY Alpha Awards Editorial category. Semi-Finalist at 2020 hEAD oN Photo Festival

‘Timid’ is part of a collection of captivating portraits of the Maasai people from Tanzania. I found myself deeply inspired upon meeting the Maasai tribe and realised the opportunity to document their unique culture which is being eroded by Western influence and modern technology. On a personal level, this reminds me of the true value of photography: preserving memories in order to relive special stories and pass them on to others. Through this series of carefully composed photographs, the Maasai people can share their rich culture with the world.

The collection is presented in a film-noir monochrome, capturing these portraits in a classically timeless style; lending a unifying appearance that emulates analogue lithographic techniques. I wanted viewers to focus on the humanity aspect of each portrait: expression, body language, shape and form. I eliminated distracting colours to ensure that viewers focus on the people within the photos and make emotional connections with the Maasai.

This is a documentary collection; most of the photos had little or no retouching. I waited for people to look straight into the camera so we can see highlights in their eyes. The strength of the series is in giving viewers an opportunity to connect with the Maasai people in their natural environment. This diverse group of people serves as a timely reminder that despite our many cultural differences, we can unite as a community through the power of photography. I hope that through this portfolio viewers learn more about the Maasai culture. We are all wonderfully unique, yet at the same time, we are deeply the same.

I aim to depict the Maasai culture in an authentic and honest way, using a clear narrative style which shows the significance of their culture, as well as their individual personalities. My goal is to provoke viewers imagination regarding the traditions of the Maasai people and the stories behind their portraits. In sharing this portfolio, I encourage viewers to show tolerance: to accept all people and to recognise the value of cultural diversity. We would all experience an enhanced sense of community if we took the time to appreciate interactions which allow us to discover the world beyond our familiar boundaries.

The Hunter Framed

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The Hunter © Ilan Wittenberg 2018, Limited Edition of 9 + 2AP Buy Now

Lions Mating

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Lions Mating – Acceptance at 2020 PSNZ National Exhibition, Nature Projected Image