Book Review: Hasselblad Masters, Vol. 6 Innovate
by Erik Nielsen
The latest Hasselblad Masters book Vol. 6 invites artists to explore the prompt “innovate” in a diverse collection of styles. Although each series is short, no more than 6-8 images, the artists are forced to plunge deeper into their own artistic styles and investigate themselves along with their processes, crafting an entirely new perspective and ways of sculpting light and space.
The artists delight readers with the mystery and intrigue of self-discovery while pushing forward in their work. As an enigmatic cloud hangs over the works they flow together because each artist has pushed their work in a new direction, aware of the risks they are taking.
Photographer Nabil Rosman’s surreal black-and-white portraiture blends natural light with post-production effects that lead the viewer through the carefully constructed emotions of Rosman’s subjects, as well as the wide open landscape of the wild. The freedom the word “innovate” has given the artist is seen in the composition as well as the mystery of the models who remain faceless. People sit under trees while books fly in the air and people float underwater; each image has something to marvel at.
There’s a similar sense of intrigue that goes with the work of Benjamin Everett, who explores his own impressions of the clean lines and shapes that make up the southwestern landscape. Combining painting with photography. Absent of any people, you can feel the touch of a person in the subtle strokes of paint running through the dunes and mountains he photographs. The images are a delicate balance of space, light, and color unseen in an otherwise familiar and iconic southwestern area.
The experimentation with color and space continues in the series with Kamilla Hanapova, who challenges herself in new ways of seeing. The banal and ordinary structures of hallways and stairways are given new light and shape, shrouding them in secrecy because of her ability to manipulate the colors into dark blues, forest greens, and light magentas. Creating a warped and distorted version of reality, the viewer can interpret the form from architecture that wouldn’t be as ambiguous if photographed straight on.
Hasselblad has done well to cultivate a group of artists who explore different landscapes and aspects of themselves while finding the connections between them creating a balance along the photographic spectrum.
As most artists would like to think of themselves as innovators, it is easy to find a rhythm and continue to beat that drum, churning out the same rate of success you’ve been accustomed to. What doesn’t always happen and what this book inspires, is artists attempt to take risks and shatter any sense of familial expectation, making for a series of works that are new and exciting.