We’re excited to introduce the very talented Steven Wohlwender to the Lux Archive team this week. Steven has a masterful way of turning common sights into uncommon images. His photographs have a delicate pastel palette that consistently lull us into a dream-like state.
For Steven, bringing dreams to reality is completely intentional. He wants us to awaken to the charm of the world that surrounds us. It may sound “cliché” as Steven says, but he means it. He writes:
“Seek out the beauty, and don’t linger on the ugliness. Get out, at any time of the day, in any condition, because there’s a really good chance you’ll see something worth appreciating in life.”
Love Steven’s images? You can own them! Purchase his work in our shop where limited-edition museum-quality prints starts as low as $100.
Wall Street Journal Photo Editor Rebecca Horne tells us why art might be the best gift idea out there.
This year, please someone you love by giving them something they want. Not something they need. Sure, I could probably use some new socks. But would I be happy to see them under the tree? No, I would not! When I want to really make someone shine, I think wish list, not to do list.
My friends and I have given each other art over the years– with happy results. Giving visual art requires thoughtful attention to detail, but the rewards are rich and lasting. The most cherished gifts I’ve received are the images I have on my walls that remind me of my friends, our shared history, and the open space of imagination.
When buying art for friends I’ve strived to make it extra special by finding images that reference an experience we have in common. I’ve also given pictures including something that I know the recipient likes. One year I gave my homesick friend from Hawaii a gorgeous vintage botanical specimen print of the Hawaiian Ti plant, (also known as the Good Luck Tree). She was delighted with the print and treasured it with shrine-like placement in her apartment for many years. I’ve also given or received photographs of a beloved landscape or person, or a painting with a particular motif or pattern. Taking this approach makes the gift more than a pretty picture– it becomes a special message, something that strengthens the understanding and social bond between you.
I also keep the size of the image in mind– do they have room for a larger print? Or is a smaller, more intimate print more appropriate? I try to keep the frame simple and clean, or give it unframed, in protective wrapping if I’m not confident about the available framing choices.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that giving art also provides an undeniable feel-good boost—especially because it is one way to foster creativity. After all, your money goes to an artist, and you’ve surprised the recipient with something unexpected that can give years of pleasure.
Today we are thrilled to introduce Rebecca Horne a new contributor to the Lux Archive blog!
Rebecca Horne is Photo Editor on the weekend edition for The Wall Street Journal and contributor to the Ideas Market and Photo Journal blogs on WSJ.com. Previously she was the Photo Director at Discover Magazine. At Discover she produced photography that garnered awards from PDN, American Photography, and Folio Magazine and launched and wrote a photography blog, Visual Science. Her own work in photography has been exhibited in the US and internationally.
Rebecca will take it from here — introducing the subject of a recent interview she did with renowned art collector Douglas Nielsen:
Douglas Nielsen’s art collection has attracted attention not just from people lucky enough to see it in his Arizona loft, but also from museum-goers. The Douglas Nielsen collection was the subject of an exhibition “Thanks for Being With Us: Contemporary Art from the Douglas Nielsen Collection” at the Tucson Museum of Art in July 2010. A former dancer, Douglas Nielsen has been a guest teacher and choreographer at more than 40 universities throughout the United States and abroad. Among the numerous awards and honors Nielsen has garnered are four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a performing arts fellowship from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Nielsen’s work in dance influences the way he appreciates visual arts, and how he has built his personal collection. He took some time out to discuss his approach with me for Lux Archive.
Rebecca Horne: How do you feel about the works in your collection over time? Has the work aged well?
Douglas Nielsen: In a word, YES. I re-appreciate the collection every time I review it. I couldn’t part with any of it. Before I acquire a fine art photograph I ask myself (as Avedon once said), can it ‘hold the wall’. If I don’t think so – I buy the book. I have way too many books – monograms and museum catalogues. In a way it’s a shame to have so many closed books around with fantastic images hidden inside them – but there is no need to ‘own’ everything – or have it in full view. But, back to your question, yes, what I do collect has definitely passed the test of time.
RH: How has your work as a choreographer influenced the way you look at art and built your collection?
DN: Choreography is such an ephemeral art form. Now you see it, now you don’t. The body is necessary in dance. A writer can write alone, and a painter can paint alone, but I can’t choreograph by myself. I need people. When the curator of the Tucson Museum of Art chose various images from my collection for the exhibit, I realized, that many of my photographs have reference to the human condition.
The frozen moment of a majority of my photographs capture the body in various circumstances: Bruce in his car by Nan Goldin, A man with a fan by Jo Ann Callis, Two men with colored circles over their faces by John Baldessari, The fat lady in the circus with her little dog troubles by Diane Arbus, Cindy Sherman as pregnant, a man with a Zebra skull over his face by Herb Ritts, The beauty composites by Nancy Burson– they all inspire and trigger my imagination. Gesture is essential to my work. I’m as much interested in ‘pedestrian’ movement, as in technical ‘dance’ vocabulary. To me, a dancer is primarily ‘human’, and secondarily a ‘dancer’.
RH: How do you feel about collecting photography vs. other types of art like painting and sculpture? What is your favorite photo or photographer from your collection?
DN: Favorites are fickle. I don’t have ‘favorites’. Seriously, I treat every part of my collection equally. There is a trick to that though – I move things around a lot. If an image stays in one place too long, I stop seeing it. By rearranging my collection, I rediscover it, and see it fresh again for the next while. In my loft, painting, sculpture, and photography all live intermingled equally.
RH: You’ve talked about trying to steer away from the “hierarchy of ‘what’s important’ ” –how do you do this, in practice?
DN: I remember seeing Andy Warhol at the flea market on Sixth Avenue one Sunday morning in the early 1970’s buying a cookie jar. I thought how refreshing that was that he could see the value in that. I have often been accused –especially by designers – of placing a five dollar hula doll next to a Burtynsky photograph – as if that breaks some rule of thumb. To me, they both have integrity. I absolutely do not perceive or measure anything by it’s ‘market value’. In my mind’s eye there is no ‘hierarchy’.
RH Do you look specifically for work that you feel will continue to be strong and relevant over time? If so, how do you try to do that?
DN: I very rarely search or ‘look’ for a specific work. The work finds me – and when that happens, we become friends. I trust that it will last, and so far it has. Like a relationship, the loyalty and respect continues as long as there is no betrayal. And, as of yet, nothing in my collection has betrayed me.
This week we welcome artist Ross Honeysett. Ross has had an illustrious career working with institutions like Vogue and the National Portrait Gallery that seek him out for his ability to create striking images characterized by bold beautiful aesthetics. His images are often simple and straightforward but creating them isn’t always as easy as it looks.
Dog, Ross’ pitch perfect portrait of a thoroughbred Weimaraner looking thoroughly comfortable, was a complex creation. Ross held a casting of over twenty canines just to find his winning match. He then went to enormous effort to combine multiple images together on a computer to create what appears to be such a natural pose. Sure, we’ve all seen that trick right?
With holiday shopping on everyone’s mind we would be remiss if we didn’t recommend Ross’ prints as a great gift idea. Dog, hanging over the family couch perhaps? Or you could get really cute and hang it over Fido’s favorite sitting spot. Plus don’t forget South Sea Trader. We see that fitting in perfectly in the guest bathroom or the den.
Also, we’re offering free shipping anywhere in the USA on all our prints from now until this Friday. Enter coupon code HOLIDAY_SHIP
Plus, don’t forget: order your prints by Friday to make sure they arrive in time for Christmas. Happy hunting everyone!
As winter approaches here in New York we can’t help but fantasize about escaping to warm exotic places. So today, with vacation on our mind, we introduce the work of UK artist Alex Telfer. Alex, is a highly decorated commercial and fine art photographer who has been honored by Communication Arts, Luerzer’s Archive, AOP, Paris PX3, IPA and many others. He frequently travels the globe shooting commissions and working on fine art projects.
Alex is constantly in motion but his vision is always steady. From the silky waters surrounding an island in Scotland to a bright beach scene in Spain, Alex brings the same artful eye to each landscape he encounters. His images are beautifully constructed and easy to appreciate. They leave us feeling relaxed and restful. It’s not quite a vacation but we’re happy to have had the trip.
Brighten your winter wall décor or give the perfect holiday gift! Purchase one of Alex’s prints or dozens of others at the Lux Archive shop.
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