‘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 Fearlessseries 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.
https://ilanwittenberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Ilan-Wittenberg-website-logo-ver-3.2.png00Ilan Wittenberghttps://ilanwittenberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Ilan-Wittenberg-website-logo-ver-3.2.pngIlan Wittenberg2021-07-29 09:10:002021-07-29 09:31:19Between two Rocks
‘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!
https://ilanwittenberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/DSC05293-Edit-2-Edit-2.jpg12801916Ilan Wittenberghttps://ilanwittenberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Ilan-Wittenberg-website-logo-ver-3.2.pngIlan Wittenberg2021-07-27 06:51:022021-07-27 06:51:02Who is the Boss?
https://ilanwittenberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Ilan-Wittenberg-The-Nymph.jpg14001400Ilan Wittenberghttps://ilanwittenberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Ilan-Wittenberg-website-logo-ver-3.2.pngIlan Wittenberg2021-07-23 10:27:412021-07-23 16:09:192021 Art In the Park
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.
My name is Devi, I immigrated from Brazil to New Zealand six years ago in 2015. I was born on a small farm in Sao Paulo Brazil, but unfortunately, at the age of 5 my family had to move to the city because of a tragic accident: I lost my left eye!
I was raised in a strict Christian religious family model that helped me adopt good values. These principles include the ideas that women should always be very well behaved and obedient to her husband. The big aspiration was always that I will find a good man to get married and build a family. Nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t work so well for me…
So I got married with my first boyfriend at the age of eighteen years old, virgin, with no experience in life. Consequently this marriage didn’t work out and I divorced my husband at the age of twenty three. I was full of guilt that I had ashamed and disappointed my family and my church community, so I tried to get some support from members of the minister of the church. In one meeting, which was run by men, they didn’t even listen to me and kept saying: “Forgive your partner, he is a good man”. I felt that I had no voice and that I was not supported. Because of this so many women are still in toxic relationships. You simply do not have any support, you just have to be brave and own your decisions independently.
I then decided to leave the church and started to write down my biography. While all these things happened, I never stopped working or studying. I had to work very hard to pay for my own university. I travelled more than two hours every day to work at the bank and at night I went to the university.
When I completed my university studies, I met a nice guy at work in the bank. We fell in love and moved to Costa Rica because of his work. Four months later we were together and this rhymes crazy, right? Haha, I think that Brazilians go too deep and too quickly in feelings of romance, it was an amazing experience for both of us! We were living in a Caribbean country and we were totally in love, but after two years we decided to return back to Brazil because we had more professional opportunities in our own country.
Unfortunately, after four years together our relationship deteriorated. He became a workaholic which brought nice things to our lives: we bought a luxury apartment and built a beautiful life. Everybody could see how amazing we looked together but I started to ask myself if I was living this lifestyle because people said it was nice to have or because I really like it to be like that. I had a nice life and nice work, working in the office paying my bills, what could be wrong? This is traditionally how the books tell us the formula for happiness.
In my case nothing of this really fulfilled me. I decided to immigrate to New Zealand at the age of 30, just so I could accomplish one old dream: to learn English and maybe start a new life. After a while, we broke up. This was the hardest chapter of my life. I felt all these feelings again: disgraced for leaving everything behind me. But today I see I was just trying to discover who I am, what I really like. Because according to my upbringing, I couldn’t be by myself when I was in Brazil. I just hated being a woman because I was ashamed to show my body.
The problems just started. Immigration is never easy, the only money I had I paid it all for a Visa which allowed me to stay in New Zealand. No money, no love, with my heart broken to so many pieces. All alone, I felt so lost with no English, it was the most challenging and important time of my life, I had to keep positive and strong because I didn’t have choices to look back and go back to Brazil, I just tried to grab every good opportunity, to learn, to grow as a person and as a professional. I can tell I started to live again thirteen years later, hahaha. Because I now feel free to fully express myself and not caring about being judged as a woman that left home for all kinds of crazy adventures that you can imagine. It was intense and taught me a lot about who I really am.
When things started to get better I met the future father of my son and I got pregnant unexpectedly. This is another very hard chapter of my life (I feel the tears coming down my face right now). I was sleeping on the floor, sharing a mattress with my Mexican friend Denisse and sharing a flat with more than ten people. I was working as a cleaner in the evening and studying business at night, so I couldn’t stop working because I had to pay for rent and for food, my partner supported me as much as he could but we were in shock and he broke up with me. After this episode I got depressed and I felt very lonely. I just remember staying in this flat. The weekends looked so long, everybody left and I felt so down. I didn’t want to go out but was totally hopeless, still having to clean and to study without any money. What future could I give to my son? But I tried to keep positive.
I had good people around me who supported me and I became calmer. My partner and I got back together when I was eight months pregnant. We decided to live together and to raise a beautiful boy. I now have my own cleaning business and work as a model as well.
In New Zealand I discovered dance which helps me to connect to myself, to express my feelings, to give me confidence and to pose in front of the camera. I just realized that all these bad things happened to me in order to teach me a lesson: you always have to believe in yourself and never give up. Always follow your dreams!
You will probably feel lonely and lost but the beautiful things of life are born through pain. So life has ups and downs, you just have to dance with the flow. For women specifically, accept yourself as you are. Try to live according to your beliefs even if you don’t have any support. Life is too short and too beautiful, don’t hide yourself. I am still learning and discovering who I am, but I have completely changed since the day I left Brazil. I now feel great about being a woman. I am not ashamed to show my body. It is quite freedom and liberating.
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