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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dummy Magazin & Arno Schidlowski

When I flew back to New York from Hamburg this week at the airport I was browsing for some German magazine to read and take with me. I am not that excited about editorial anymore, so much of it has become boring, but I had hopes that perhaps I would find something exciting.
And I did: The "Tiere (Animal) issue of Dummy Magazin(e).
The cover caught my eye and after reading the entire magazine (now that is rare!) and absorbing all of it's visual content, I suspect this magazine would hold my attention no matter what topic. It's frank and it does not shy away from controversial & thought-provoking discourse. It's set-up similar to Big magazine (one topic per magazine and interesting photography), except there is lots more writing, the paper is n0t as extravagant and it has a kinder price tag.

In this issue of Dummy I came across the familiar work of Robin Schwartz (whose cover made me look at the magazine) and great work by by Alessandra Sanguinetti, and most importantly I discovered the work of Arno Schildlowski.
Animal imagery is difficult to do well. Often it ends up being cheesy and straight forward wildlife photography while beautiful (and great in a book) is not really something I want to hang on my wall.
Arno Schidlowski however captures animals in a different way. In his artist statement (which he was kind enough to email me) for his series titled "Summa" he speaks (very eloquently) about how is work is guided mostly by instinct& spontaneity; because he needs to be able to react to the unpredictable, un-directable animal, but also because an instinctual approach promotes an outcome that separates itself from the accepted & standard portrayal of the subject matter.

From the series "SUMMA" © Arno Schidlowski

Stylistically I love the daring dark palette. I find the minimalism & abstraction clever, because it focuses the attention of the viewer on important elements and allows the imagination (as is the intention of Arno) to fill in the blanks, while creating subtle appealing imagery. There is much unknown to us about the (animal) world and Arno Schidlowski in his work admits it and leaves space for that that we do not know and/or cannot control.

You can see the Summa series at DUMMY galerie in Berlin until June 3, 2008.

If you like this work you might also want to take a look at the work of photographer Tim Flach (a more artisan approch to the subject) and a look at some of my Fauna work.

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