Tag Archive for: Auckland Portrait Photographer

Katarzyna Aurora Sprengel

Nude Photography North Shore

Giselle

Check out these edgy portraits of Giselle at Wow Photography studio!

Bare Truth on TV3 Story

Men stripped bare

Tuesday 31st May 2016

Rebecca Kamm, The Wireless

We spoke to Auckland photographer Ilan Wittenberg about the thinking behind his latest collection.

Beyond the shiny, white-toothed fitness models who beam out in all their taut glory from men’s health magazines, images of topless men in the public sphere are all but absent. In obvious contrast to photographs of near-naked women’s bodies, at this point part of the furniture, we’re rarely invited to inspect the male torso.

That’s one reason Bare Truth, a collection by accomplished Auckland photographer Ilan Wittenberg, stands out. Another is his knife-sharp focus on every bodily detail of his 100-or-so unsmiling subjects, which include a former drug addict and a burns victim.

“I treat the photos in such a way that you see the hair, the pimples, the scars, everything,” Wittenberg says of his unapologetic approach. “It’s interesting, because we don’t see people like that anywhere. If you go to the beach you’ll see topless men, but you don’t get close to them like that.”

“Raw”, says the artist, whose work can be found at Auckland’s Northart gallery from June 5-22, is what he hears most in response to Bare Truth. But the photographs have no rough edges; they are exquisitely, acutely rendered. That’s intentional: Wittenberg chose specific lighting and processing techniques that would bring the literal mark life leaves on our bodies into sharp relief.

It’s also something of a warning. “There’s this idea that men are stronger,” says Wittenberg, whose 18-year old son features in the collection (he bares the scar of a tumor removed when he was small). “That may be true in some strength-related areas; men have more muscle tissue, for example. But when it comes to mental health or emotional health, the fact is that women actually talk more. They share more. They’re more open.”

Conceived when Wittenberg took a topless portrait of a friend and was struck by the result, Bare Truth is designed to flip any lack of openness on its head. “I looked at the image of my friend and I thought, there’s some meaning behind his eyes. I could see his vulnerability.”

He began to approach men on the street. “Out of every ten, four said maybe, four said no, two said yes, and one showed up.” But as the collection grew, so did their trust, and the project picked up pace.

Stories are unavoidable when nakedness enters the picture. “Suddenly [when] they take off their shirt I see they’ve had a triple bypass, or chemo, or some other surgery,” he says.

“I asked them about their tattoos: What is it? What does it mean to you? One of them said, ‘Well, I was a drug addict and this tattoo helps me to remind myself how to be sober, and how good it is to be clean. Another said, ‘Oh, this is about my best friend who died.’ We’re all vulnerable.”

He gave his subjects a print out of their final image and, overall, reactions were positive. The men loved their portraits and were proud to have taken part. One even used the word “therapeutic”.

That didn’t mean they were all ready to share the experience. “Some men didn’t show it to their wives, because they think [their image] is too confronting. They’ve asked their daughters to do it for them; to explain the context to their wives for them when they pass away. Because it is confronting. We never show ourselves like this to other people.”

Bare Truth will show at Northart gallery in Northcote, Auckland from June 5-22. Admission is free. The collection is also part of the 2016 Auckland Festival of Photography. 

Talk at Bare Truth Opening Event

Bare Truth in Stuff

Photographer Ilan Wittenberg exposes the Bare Truth in portrait exhibition

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

‘Attitude”, a portrait from Ilan Wittenberg’s latest exhibition, Bare Truth.

A former drug addict, a burns victim and a burly builder are hardly typical male models.

But these men – and around 100 more – are the subjects of an Auckland photographer’s latest exhibition.

Ilan Wittenberg began his project, Bare Truth, a year ago, with an idea to portray New Zealand men as they truly are.

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

‘Pukana’, a portrait from Ilan Wittenberg’s latest exhibition, Bare Truth.
 Bare-chested, blemished, scarred, and tattooed, the men’s histories are etched on their skin. One of the men had received skin grafts as a child – a pot of boiling jelly had ended up on his chest. Another has a prayer inked onto his arm.

“It’s interesting where people find strength,” Wittenberg says.

At first, his subjects were friends and family (Wittenberg’s 21-year-old son is among the men featured in the exhibition).

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

‘LOKADIE’, a portrait from Ilan Wittenberg’s latest exhibition, Bare Truth.

But as his collection and his confidence grew, Wittenberg began approaching strangers on the street. Market-goers, roadworkers, hedge-trimmers – any man who looks like he might have a story to tell.

“Out of every 10, four say ‘no’, four say ‘maybe’, two say ‘yes’, and one shows up.”

Wittenberg spent an hour speaking with the men before they went in front of the camera, asking them about their families, jobs, and the tales behind their tattoos.

 The first photograph was of a friend who’d resisted participating in the project until the day before he departed New Zealand forever.

“He wasn’t very tidy – not scruffy, but he didn’t take great care of himself,” Wittenberg says of the man.

“In the photograph, you will see he puts his hand up to chest and he touches his heart… he has a little bit of sadness in his eyes.

“I thought, ‘this is real’.”

Wittenberg has about 100 photographs in the Bare Truth collection. Each of his subjects received an A4 copy of their photo, as thanks.

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

‘Skulls’, a portrait from Ilan Wittenberg’s latest exhibition, Bare Truth.

Some of the men were happy with the result, others felt confronted by the image.

“They didn’t actually show it to their wives, because they never saw themselves that way,” Wittenberg says.

The series is inspired by the work of famed photographers Robert Mapplethorpe and Platon. Shot before a blank background and converted into monochrome, the photographs depict a stark spectrum of Kiwi masculinity.

“When people look straight into the camera they actually look at the person on the other side, they look at the person who views them, and you can read their eye, you can actually see their soul – that’s what I felt.”

Bare Truth is Wittenberg’s third exhibition this year, showing in Sydney earlier this month, and in Auckland in June.

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

While images of topless women have become cliches of Western society, there’s something about a photo of a shirtless man – unretouched – which makes observers take a closer look.

“We see thousands of photos every day – on social media, in magazines, on tv, on the internet, billboards – and we ignore…” Wittenberg says.

“If you go to an exhibition, it’s not like looking at something on the computer… you stand in front of a photograph… and you let it talk to you.”

Visitors to the Sydney exhibition offered a range of interpretations, Wittenberg says.

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

“They say this person is looking very confident, very strong. And that person looks a bit… shy, and that person looks dangerous like, I wouldn’t want to meet that guy down a dark alley or something like that.

“It’s so interesting how in a fraction of a second we judge other people, even when they’re not there, just based on their body language – their eyes, their shoulders.”

But Wittenberg hopes the exhibition will also raise awareness of men’s health issues. Without a shirt, it’s difficult to hide the hallmarks of past surgeries, or chemotherapy.

And the camera offers insight into the soul.

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

“When people look straight into the camera they actually look at the person on the other side, they look at the person who views them,” Wittenberg says.

“You can read their eye, you can see their soul – that’s what I felt.”

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

Wittenberg emigrated from Israel with his wife and two children in 2001. The North Shore resident had been working as a business analyst before he took up portrait photography full time in 2011.

While portraits pay the bills, the Bare Truth project was a labour done for love, not money.

Quoting business leader Stephen Covey, Wittenberg says: “We’re here to live, to laugh, to love and to leave a legacy.”

“We’re not getting any younger… my legacy is about pictures I do.”

Bare Truth will be exhibited at Northart gallery in Northcote, Auckland from June 5 – 22. Admission is free. 

The exhibition will also feature in the 2016 Auckland Festival of Photography.

Bare Truth Portrait Photographer Auckland

 – Stuff

Bare Truth on TV3 Story

Beautiful Abhi

Glamour photography - Auckland photographer

Glamour photography - Auckland photographer

Glamour photography - Auckland photographer

Glamour photography - Auckland photographer

Glamour photography - Auckland photographer

Glamour photography - Auckland photographer

 

Beautiful Vendy

Boudoir and Lingerie - Auckland Photographer

Boudoir and Lingerie - Auckland Photographer

Boudoir and Lingerie - Auckland Photographer

Boudoir and Lingerie - Auckland Photographer

Boudoir and Lingerie - Auckland Photographer

Glamorous Iva

    

Model: Iva Zoric
Fashion: Annah Stretton collection, Lottie Wedding Dress & Wrap Didion Wedding Dress

Chris and Karen

So sad to learn that Chris passed on Saturday afternoon at home. These precious portraits were created just four weeks before (on Feb 17, 2014) and will serve a true memory of his love to the family!

Lony with boxing gloves

Edgy portrait with Lony and her boxing gloves in Wow Photography studio.

(C) Ilan Wittenberg - Auckland Photographer

(C) Ilan Wittenberg - Auckland Photographer

(C) Ilan Wittenberg - Auckland Photographer

Maxie wearing Annah Stretton garmetns – Auckland

Had a great time on the weekend working with Maxie to create these fashion shots. Dresses are courtesy of Annah Stretton.

Portrait Photographer Auckland

Portrait Photographer Auckland

Portrait Photographer Auckland

Tag Archive for: Auckland Portrait Photographer