Sallie Harrison, LA based UI designer and photographer, infects her work with a tonal simplicity that is characteristically LA. If you’ve ever been to LA, it’s got almost none of the beauty any magazine cover would allude to. However, what it lacks in beauty, the city makes up for in a unique and again, characteristic, charm. I think of all the American cities, none is more self-aware than the great and sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, California and i’ve found the photography of Sallie Harrison to capture the exact representation of a city that LA needs.
Pastel colors, sharp and angular lines, and the overall feeling of sunshine act as an accent and compliment to the plain asphalt and broken pieces of concrete you can find in LA. It’s a beautiful blend of surrealism and realism that really does well to create a beautiful representation of the cheap architecture of the city. Harrison’s color pallet alludes to the open desert while also acknowledging how man-made each of these structures are. This, to me, is the overwhelming satisfaction that comes with these photos of Los Angeles. That, while it is subjectless, there is a message and a worldview that speaks through each photo.
Pieter Bruegel is to painting what Massimo Vitali is to photography. Through his photographs Massimo presents a harmony between humans and whatever environment they inhabit. And like Bruegel, the moments Massimo captures invite the audience to speculate the relationship between humans and environment. Massimo does this by utilizing traditional geographical landscape photos and adding to it flocks of people. While prominent features like beachside cliffs and lavish landscapes dominate each photo, it is the spattering of people who provide the contrast and commentary. People, who fill the negative space, provide each photo with a visual metaphor and encourage the audience to muse as to why these two subjects seem to cooperate so cohesively.
i won’t even pretend that i have anything new to say about Pieter Bruegel. here’s a quick Wikipedia rundown for those who haven’t yet run into the works of Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel. for starters, he is the father of the Netherlandish Renaissance. like most painters he wasn’t recognized as ‘a great’ while he was alive. his son, who recreated several of his paintings, carried the style and composition of his paintings for another few years until it gained recognition and influenced the likes of Peter Paul Rubens.
so there’s a brief history.
my favorite paintings by Bruegel are unsurprisingly the ones he is best known for. what made Bruegel different from artists at the time was his interpretation of layers. in nearly every painting you’ll find a bird flying in negative space above the cluttered chaotic center. the bird is meant to provide an outward commentary. the bird represents you, the person viewing the painting or viewing what the painting depicts. it’s magnificent, honestly. artists like Warhol talk about how art is less what is painted and more a conversation between the artist and the audience. we can’t know but i assume Bruegel believed the same about art. in every one of his paintings he opens a commentary between himself and the audience.
the painting i featured in this post is titled Hunters in the Snow. i won’t say anything about it because my interpretation is my own. but i deeply encourage you to reflect on this painting and find your own meaning.
sometime in 2016 i dove pretty deep into studying Flemish and Netherlandish paintings. while studying, i noticed a similarity in the composition of these paintings and my method of writing. the painting in this post is by the Brunswick Monogrammist, an anonymous painter accredited to several paintings which depicted Biblical events and the scenes already portrayed by the text. the painting shows Jesus’ trial before the people where the people were to decide between Barabbas and Christ. the painting does an amazing job of showing the response of the people within the crowd and i wanted to write what i saw in the painting.
/Peering through the masses clad in flesh and wine the seeking young men forged paths among those who cursed the day. Pillars of salt perched among those who had not yet feared the wrath of temporality. He who had purged his heart of tenderness./
i start by presenting the main characters of this post, the young men, in contrast against the masses. flesh is used in the Bible to refer to worldly things and here i use it in the same manner to describe the crowd of people as those who are there not understanding the purpose of the event or who may be there for entertainment only.’pillars of salt’ is here to represent faith with doubt and it is paired with ‘the wrath of temporality’ to connect those who doubt with those who have not yet heard but don’t believe (temporality being death). ‘purging your heart of tenderness’ is to show that to live in this state of anger and confusion is to remove your child-like innocence.
/Red, deep blue, ivory, and glistening black. Blissful peace exhumed from the dust bellow of his name./
the subject of the painting is Christ however the focal point leads you through the crowd towards Christ. i wanted to use color to mirror the journey the eye takes to find Christ in the crowd with the journey an individual takes to the same person, both leading to Christ over black. his name holds the highest significance here.
/Crowds of drunkards and wives chant for the king of scorn. Wisdom-boy stood on his toes to witness the feast of humanity laid at his feet. The dutiful few who will allot his salvation at the gallows. Among them the unconcerned, the unaware, and the unamused./
at the bottom center of the painting is a boy standing on a mound watching the events unfold. due to his contrasting colors i assumed him to be the righteous one watching over a scene of grand injustice. after introducing him in my post i write the last two sentences as words from his thoughts from the scene. he, like Christ, has noticed those who recognized Christ. furthermore, and finally, he has noticed that though they look similar the righteous are among the unrighteous and the characteristics that separate them are the ones that define the unrighteous: ‘unconcerned, unaware, and unamused’.