Surrealist Photographers You Should Know

By Oktober 7, 2020 No Comments

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Surrealist Photographers You Should Know

Sur is strange, painful, extraordinary, witty, absurd. However, it is necessary sometimes to break out of the worn-out circle of casual thinking, which prevents you from seeing the most extraordinary and inexplicable.
Surrealism is a trend in modern painting, literature, cinema and photography, which was born in France in the 1920s. At the heart of the direction are allusions and paradoxes. Surrealists are working on imagination and fantasy, dreams and ideas, without admitting any limits. The artist’s ideas are bravely transferred to the artwork. The originator of surrealism is the writer and poet Andre Breton, who authored the first manifesto of surrealism.

Surrealist Photography

Surrealism is still a well-known photographic art genre. Surrealist photographers‘ photos amaze with their originality, forcing the viewer to think about the specific intellectual and hidden substance of photography. Photographers use creative means and methods such as combined printing, deformation techniques, installation and distortion, solarisation and reversed tonality. One of the most popular techniques is multiple exposure, that is, overlaying the image one on another.

At the beginning, surrealistic photography was merely a certain genre of art, experimental. However, advertising companies soon became interested in unconventional and mysterious pictures, because such images undoubtedly attracted the eye, as well as amazed by extraordinary semantic and visual associations. Today, surrealistic images are widely used at commercial platforms, especially since the appearance of new technologies have revealed new facets of this trend.

Angus McBean (1904-1990)

It is no exaggeration to say that in the 1930s, Angus McBean revolutionized portrait photography. With wit, drama, constant flight of imagination and unsurpassed skill he took photographs of the theatrical stage of his generation and was among the last British studio avant-garde photographers. Innovative photographic techniques and surrealistic themes can be seen in many McBean Christmas cards. He designed complex decorations with miniature props and used photomontage to do it. Sometimes, it took a week to create a conceived image. McBean is most famous for his portraits of such outstanding actors as Vivien Lee, Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich.

Chema Madoz (1958)

Analyzing the work of this modern Spanish photographer, critics often use the term „visual poetry“, which takes us far beyond the usual perception of photography.
Even a quick look at the work of this author makes the viewer stop the usual circle of thoughts. After all, everyday things: matches, books, paper, scissors and other household items – in photos Chema Madoz acquire unusual, abstract and surrealistic meanings.
Each of his strict black-and-white photographs, consisting of clearly defined lines without any superfluous detail, opens a new perspective on familiar objects, making you smile, think or just see the world in a different way.

Roberto Kusterle (1948)

Roberto Kusterle is a talented Italian photo artist-surrealist, born in 1948 in Gorizia, Italy, and still lives and works in this city. He is self-taught, the first steps in the art world began in the 70s. He created paintings and installations. His passion for photography emerged in 1988 and over the many years since then has grown into his main means of expression. His photographs have been published in more than twenty editions, and in 2006 he won the prize for the best photo exhibition in „Masecfotografije“ Slovenia in Ljubljana.
The very meaning, in Roberto Kusterle photos, is difficult to grasp and comprehend. Transcendental and immanent, a little fear and shock, a little unexplained beauty. But the main thing is that it is impossible to remain indifferent to these works.

Andrea Galvani (1973)

The Italian photographer Andrea Galvani lives and works between Milan and New York. He is the author of many  surrealistic publications and exhibitions, and since 2006 he has been a professor of language and history of modern photography. Andrea integrates hidden elements into the environment and plays with structures and figures of both symmetrical and round, triangular and linear forms. His extensive and immersive work enhances our vision from individual to collective, from individual to planetary and non-contextualizing human experience in the framework of geology time, space transformation and social evolution.

Arthur Tress (1940)

Arthur Tress was born in Brooklyn in 1940 to a Jewish family. Endless moves and divorces were the main impressions left from childhood. He grew up withdrawn and shy, and after living with his father for a long period of his life, he witnessed his long fading and death. This partially contributed to the fact that later death became one of the important themes in his work.
Now Tress is one of the most famous and scandalous photographers of modern America. He attempted to enter the mysteries of dreams and desires with the help of photography – childishly innocent, youthful unconscious, sexually mature.Tress embodies his fantasies on abandoned marinas near his New York studio. In his words, he enjoys the use of reverie, folklore and ancient rituals, with a fantastic adoration for expressing the passions and fears of the flesh. He combines sexuality with reason and wisdom, creating amazing visual images.