Photo Idea!

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Starting out as a play on characters from Nordic folklore, Eyes as Big as Plates has evolved into a continual search for modern human’s belonging to nature. The series is produced in collaboration with retired farmers, fishermen, zoologists, plumbers, opera singers, housewives, artists, academics and ninety year old parachutists. Since 2011 the artist duo has portrayed seniors in Norway, Finland, France, US, UK, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Sweden, Japan and Greenland. Each image in the series presents a solitary figure in a landscape, dressed in elements from surroundings that indicate neither time nor place. Here nature acts as both content and context: characters literally inhabit the landscape wearing sculptures they create in collaboration with the artists.

As active participants in our contemporary society, these seniors encourage the rediscovery of a demographic group too often labelled as marginalized or even as a stereotypical cliché. It is in this light that the project aims to generate new perspectives on who we are and where we belong.

Eyes as Big as Plates is currently touring with the Norwegian National Museum and has previously been shown at Fotogalleriet (Oslo), Pioneer Works (NYC), The Finnish Institute in Oslo, Paris and Stockholm, Tetley Brewery (Leeds), Seibu Shibuya (Tokyo), Villa Borghese (Rome), Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (Nebraska US), the Ars Fennica exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Arts Kiasma, Bogota International Photo Biennale (Colombia), gallery FACTORY in Seoul Korea, Finlandia University Gallery (Michigan US), The Nordic House (Faroe Islands), The National Museum of Greenland, amongst others. The next stop for the series will be a residency in the Douro Valley, Portugal this spring and exhibitions in Greenland, Iceland, Finland and Norway.

By Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth

*Eyes as Big as Plates is running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund a book featuring seniors from all around the world.


Original photograph: 2008_02zL0189, from ‘Broken Manual’ by Alec Soth rendered in Play-Doh, 2015


Original photograph: Untitled film still #21, 1978 by Cindy Sherman rendered in Play-Doh, 2015


Original photograph: Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J., 1967 by Diane Arbus rendered in Play-Doh, 2015


Original photograph: Untitled, 1975 by William Eggleston rendered in Play-Doh, 2016


Original photograph: Zissou’s bobsled with wheels, after the bend by the gate, Rouzat, August 1908 by J H Lartigue rendered in Play-Doh, 2015


Original photograph: Noire and Blanche, 1926 by Man Ray rendered in Play-Doh, 2015


Original photograph: Nan, one month after being battered, 1984 by Nan Goldin rendered in Play-Doh, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 5.59.03 PM

“Being Together first started as a part of a long continuation body of work that focus on my relationship with my family.

I wanted to create a very basic family portrait with a memorable experience for all members. I want the process to be ‘inclusive’ of them and their willingness to participate is an important part of this project.  Also, the marking of time is always a consistent consideration in my projects.

In this case, I want to show the technology aspect of the time we are living in. Skype naturally comes to my mind as I came from a generation before the existence of such technology. As for my parents, they’re only experiencing it for the first time at a very late stage in their life. With that in mind, I start to devise my project around the possibility to include this detail.

Being a purist, I have always maintained a strong and stubborn emphasis to my work process. It is of utmost importance for the photo session to be real time instead of a photo composite. The orchestration of such session can be challenging but intriguing. Honestly, we have no idea how the shoot will turn out until we get connected and turn on the projection. I love the fact that regardless of how prepared I am, there’s always that uncertainties in the process.  Such uncertainties fuel me.

After I had worked on the portraits with my family, I started thinking that this will be a great opportunity to extend the series to include other families. Why? This will allow us to have various family portraits for further analysis, observing the various underlying dynamics among them.

I decided to focus on purely Singaporean families to allow more accurate comparison due to similar cultural backgrounds. It was difficult to convince Asian families to participate in an art project, exposing themselves to the world. I see this challenge as a necessity as I want the series to be very singularly focus.

This body of work is widely published on newspapers and magazines in different countries and also shown on various websites and social media sites. It caught the attention of the Skype team and they approached me for a collaboration together. They have been very respectful to my art process and gave me total freedom on what I want to do. After numerous conversations, I came onboard and we created four unique family portraits.

Right at this moment of writing, I have been invited to an exhibition in Florence at Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina titled ‘Family Matters‘ with my Being Together series. I will be exhibiting alongside Thomas Struth, Nan Goldin, Hans Op de Beeck, Sophie Calle, etc. Yes, I am humbled, honored and elated :-)”

By John Clang

I would like to recommend you a totally delicious and inspiring piece about Tokyo’s vibrant scene of photographic art spaces, photobooks shops and artists’ meteing spaces. Signed by Kenji Takazawa, it originally appeared in Issue 11 of the Aperture Photography App.

Get a taste of it:

The most experimental photography in Japan has more often than not been produced by photographers operating outside the mainstream. Before the Second World War, the scene was found in amateur photographer clubs; after the war, independent galleries provided spaces for reflection. Many of these independent galleries were set up in the 1970s by photographers who had studied at the Workshop School run by Shomei Tomatsu and Daido Moriyama, in a bid to overcome the otherwise limited options for presenting their work to the public. At this time, mainstream photography was dominated by galleries that belonged to camera manufacturers. It didn’t help that photography tended to be held in low esteem by the art world. For young photographers bent on innovative photographic expression, they really had no other option but to set up and run their own places. These independent galleries, and the amazingly original work they produced, are important to understanding photography from Japan.


Shelves at the Photobook Diner Megutama