Category Archives: Video

Christy Lee Rogers’ underwater spells

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Photographer Christy Lee Rogers creates wondrous underwater scenes of utter beauty, where seemingly choreographed entanglements of bodies and drapes weightlessly float in a muffled yet lush universe that brims with unbounded sensual energies.

Elan_fantome_du_coeur_webSmoke and gold_The_Touch_of_your Skin_is_BrokenReckless_The InnocentsFor the sensual rendering of the fleshes, the bright coalescing colours and the dramatic lighting, Rogers’ work has often been compared to Baroque painting. Similarly to the pursuit of the marvellous typical of Baroque art, her images excite the senses and  arouse a pervasive feeling of awe and wonder in the viewer. But each work also elicits feelings that can be assimilated to sublime, romantically intended as that ungraspable mixture of high pleasure and deep fear we feel in front of something majestic.

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Notwithstanding the above mentioned comparisons concerning the magnificent results, Christy Lee Rogers is endowed with an original and rare talent that made her  develop a unique way of expressing universal and timeless feelings by means of breaking with the conventions of her medium of choice and by obsessively experimenting with underwater photography. Elan_perdu dans l autre_web OdisseyIf the World Earth Could SpeakA self-taught photographer born in Hawaii, Christy Lee Rogers has always had a special relationship with water. But it wasn’t until eleven years ago – when one night, almost by chance, she started taking pictures of a friend jumped on a swimming pool – that the first inspiration hit her. As she told me when I interviewed her for Elephant magazine, that day her creative adventure had started and since then she has relentlessly experimented with the expressive possibilities that a camera, some models, a swimming pool and the moon light opened up to her. Water is an unpredictable element and during a shooting session many adverse events can occur. The night light can suddenly change. The wind can blow and ruffle the water. Although there is a lot of preparation involved in the process (from sketching down ideas to finding the right props and rehearsing with the models), Rogers‘ art is the outcome of a delicately perfect balance between  planning in detail and being ready to make the best out of the many unpredictable aspects of shooting at night what happens underwater. Outside of a swimming pool she combines the two apparently opposite aspects of the process and always manages to magically transform her rough materials into visually lush explosions of dramatic energy.  Reckless_0133_Reckless Unbound

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Thanks to a first-rate artistic awareness and an outstanding craftsmanship (enthusiastically pursued with years of practice, trials and errors), Christy Lee Rogers has invented a totally new and original photographic language, where no digital trickery is either needed or wanted to deliver the (im)perfect beauty of life.

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Water is commonly perceived as a positive symbol standing for the origin of life but at the same time it evokes the impossibility of breathing in it. Experiencing the underwater space can be beautifully soothing but also mysteriously dangerous, thus being a perfect metaphor for the contradictions of life and the opposite poles (good and bad) around which human existence revolves. Rogers‘ bodies are captured with such a degree of barely contained tension that it makes difficult to decide whether they are joyously realising their sensual energies or rather trying to free themselves from unknowable dark forces holding them down. They are imbued by the same vibrant tension exhaled by Michelangelo’s Slaves in their attempt to free themselves from the dead stone. Stone for Michelangelo and water for Rogers, the materials could hardly be more different. But the Renaissance master and this contemporary master of photography share a deep and compassionate insight into human nature. Elan_cirque sous-marin_web

Reckless_From the SkyThere is art you can enjoy, art that shocks you, art that you can rationally understand, art that you can appreciate for the technical mastery it displays and art that you simply find pleasant. But then there is a special kind of art that has something so self-sufficiently magic that you are totally bewitched by it. As an artist, Christy Lee Rogers is a benign witch casting a visual spell the secret ingredients of which are her original intuition, her refined craftsmanship, her artistic instinct and  her deep understanding of human nature, all blending together in a flawless universe of sensual and vivid beauty. Rogers_0184_The Triumphants

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To have an insight into the process behind Christy Lee Rogers’ underwater photography, see this behind-the-scenes video:

To plunge completely into her underwater universe visit her website, here

Thank you to Christy Lee Rogers for the images and for her incredibly inspiring art.

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Beck meets Bowie in Sound and Vision

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When in 1977 David Bowie‘s album Low was released, it was anticipated by the single Sound and Vision. In line with Bowie’s unique inclination for ambiguity, the song is characterised by a catchy and cheerful tune while the lyrics darkly mirrors what Bowie defined one of the worst periods in his life. In 2013 Beck re-imagined and re-staged the song. Covers are always a tricky matter not only for devoted fans and – like him or not – Bowie is a legend (well, especially for me…). But Beck managed to build up a masterful version of the song. The fact that he subverted the minimalist fashion of the original version with an almost baroque rendition (I cannot say if there is an instrument missing from the performance) is maybe key to the magnificent result. In Beck‘s version the bond between sound and vision is literal. In fact, I think that watching the performance enhances the emotional power of the song. And I am left here waiting for the gift of sound and vision…

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Welcome to Djerbahood, capital of Street Art

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The small Tunisian village of Erriadh has remained unknown until last summer, when it has been transformed into a uniquely amazing open-air museum, called Djerbahood.

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When the Devil(‘s) Spoke and left me without words…

And then it comes, once in a while, that feeling of wonder and awe. That moment when no words can translate or add anything. Like now, with this live performance of Devil’s Spoke by Laura Marling, featuring Mumford & Sons and Dharohar Project. It fully deserves all my silence:

The magic art of paper marbling

Through a video by Turkish filmaker Oguz Uygur I discovered Ebru (the art of paper marbling), the magic of which is in its making…

With this video, Oguz Uygur celebrates his parents’ amazing craft in creating paper marbling. The shots concentrate on the slow and delicate gestures required for creating richly delicate images, the effect in the background resembling the organic streaks in marble. But the wonder that this ancient form of art holds fully reveals itself in the process of making. The inks are skilfully applied in a shallow tray with water. The colours gently float and spread on the surface, while the hand of the artist wisely shape the inks into patterns and shapes, with a perfect balance between evanescence and thickness. With the help of ink brushes, combs and other tools (some Ebru artists even resort to human hair), the ink blots are gently and almost impalpably manipulated. These thorough and minute gestures suggest an artistry acquired with patience and discipline, but filled with meditative grace. (via The Atlantic)