Hello! Once again you join me in a journey of glossy paper discovery as SlippersGeek explores the highlights of recent magazine publications.
Aesthetica: The Art & Culture Magazine is my lazy afternoon read now British weather has once more failed us and we find ourselves reaching for our cozy clothes which in my case is the unlikely outfit of a rugby shirt/leggings and fluffy slippers. The issue I am perusing today is 72 for August/September 2016. I like it when they group it into months instead of dates as otherwise I always feel like I am already behind on the next issue.
The front cover is a beautiful feminine- countriesk image by Corrie Bond that reminds you of those creative interior magazines every homeowner picks up at least once then never reads. However, one you get inside to the magazine content it reminds me more of The Week with its serious sense of typography. Lighten it up a little bit guys, change the font in at least one of the articles, even though text takes up less than half of this publication it’s still an important part of publishing. I’d like to praise the advertisement of various art fairs and gallery exhibits in London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, America and Korea. I feel it is an important way of creatives keeping in contact.
Works to admire in this issue includes Michael Wolf’s ‘Architecture of Density’ whose architectural subjects fill the photo frame as it documents the “modern metropolis” of Hong Kong’s housing. Although I do marvel at the vernacular simplicity of these images and the projects purpose, it does ring similarities to other projects seen before such as Laurent Kronental’s ‘Souvenir d’un futur (Memory of a Future)’ comes to mind. Even I have done a similar project on mass population and economic growth in London using multiple layered images, this very work got me into University and is proudly on display at home by my mother (aw bless).That being said, Wolf’s images still have their own cultural merit for highlighting a way of life in Hong Kong that we might not understand. ©Michael Wolf.
Benoit Paillé’s ‘Under Night’ inclusion in this publication is similar to Wolf’s in that both have eye-grabbing potential but are working within already explored areas. Paillé looks at narratives occurring during nightime when we are “blanketed by darkness” but again I’ve seen Polly Tootal, Robert Adams, Gregory Crewdson and Todd Hido work in the very similar grounds to this. I know every photographer brings something different to the table and I am guilty of doing a similar project myself, but that was at university level and not published in a widely sold magazine. It would be interesting to debate as to whether anyone else identifies with this problem or if it’s simply just me? I mean surely we haven’t reached that stage of no new projects and instead repetition?
Continuing on, Aesthetica seems to be having a field day with the architecture genre this issue as the next few articles include architecture from social/poltical point of view in the Biennale Architecture exhibition then Vittorio Ciccarelli’s unusally colourful series ‘Invisible’ on urbanisation in an angular style. Only after this does the magazine sway more to traditional landscape photography with hints of portraiture and interior design.
I suppose I should really talk about what made me pick this magazine up. Firstly, I am starting to run out of interesting options and so I really didn’t fancy another plain old photography magazine that gives the pretence of teaching the readers skills whilst secretly trying to flog them photo gear they don’t need. Secondly, to judge whether it might be something of interest I give it a quick flick through, now other magazine reviewers might say this is sacrilege but it’s my way of not wasting time standing in WHSmith like a sad person near the train catalogues (sorry to any train lovers out there!) What caught me was a section called Facing Towards Modernity which looked at the work of Artist Scarlett Hooft Graafland and I can only guess that the title and serene feature image is what pulled me in on a day where I was feeling philosophical and at peace. Graafland’s work is described as “creating a combination of photography, performance and site-specific sculpture that is her own magic realism” as she documents disturbances, whether natural or man-made, in the landscape with the background research of the areas cultural and social issues in mind. This article appeals to me because of the environmental factors it considers and I know this will appeal to many fellow photographers I have studied with.
“Often, such seemingly pristine locations are revealed to be far from protected from the issues facing the modern world, whether they are at the sharp end of climate change and environmental concerns, or of the growing global refugee crisis.”
I don’t think I have given Aesthetica enough credit in this post so here it is. This magazine promises arts and culture and it does, you cannot ask for anymore and it does not provide any less. Created in the UK (big it up UK wooop!) by two university students in 2002, it has only recently come into high street circulation in 2007 and has won four awards. That is an amazing achievement of which is deserves for its traditional and consistent style that doesn’t require modern gimmicks to sell.
After flicking slowly through Aesthetica, I would advise you to purchase it for sure and I know I will again but perhaps you might save it for a long haul flight or a weather-bound day as it really is a bit of a read but one which will enlighten you.