Alix Carmichele is a mobile photographer from South Africa, she studied Photography in London, UK and thus began the long process of establishing herself in this field, polishing & refining her technique by learning all the tricks of the trade from various experienced professionals. Extensive travel throughout Africa and many other exotic locations in the world has further inspired and imbued her work with a unique quality. With a seemingly effortless gift for composition, she manages to entice the viewer into a direct experience with her subject matter. Much of her work is created digitally and her long experience with practical darkroom theory is applied to enhance this new media. She also makes use of square format manual cameras.
Carmichele has a wonderful exhibition opening on 9 October 2015, at The Tin House – 1730 hrs – she would love to welcome you, if you are in the area.
I asked Carmichele to explain, in her own words, what this exhibition is all about, please enjoy this read:
“The use of the character as a tool to represent a basic story line and to express a natural progression of the elements in this case a solitary image using various weapons and props which represent the elements from different cultures, as well as a few new ones, shot on iPad4 using Hipstamatic’s Lowy blanko film and lens combination and editing in Photoshop gives the impression of graphic novel or anime. Although not fully stylised as a drawing the image still maintains a photographic integrity however the image could go either way… 5% to the left a photograph or 5% to the right a graphic drawing.
My Inspiration: I love the interconnections between Zen Buddhism and popular culture, notably anime, an animation style which originated in Japan. It is characterised by distinctive characters and backgrounds (hand-drawn or computer-generated) that visually and thematically set it apart from other forms of animation; and or Manga, which is Japanese for “comics” or “whimsical images”. Manga developed from a mixture of ukiyo-e and Western styles of drawing, and took its current form shortly after World War II. Anime and manga share many characteristics, including: exaggerating (in terms of scale) of physical features, to which the reader presumably should pay most attention (best known being “large eyes”), “dramatically shaped speech bubbles, speed lines and onomatopoeic, exclamatory typography
In anime, there are a lot of powerful characters who have unique special abilities’, so I decided to try and interpret the elements through my camera using an autonomous and independent warrior character to explore this theme. For my own purposes I’ve used an umbrella, a Katana (Japanese sword); a whip; an old muscat; a stick, cards, powder, a bow and fire so giving my warrior character the space to play with and create new interpretations of the elements through the freedom of artistic and theatrical expression. Photographing my warrior in mid air is my way of showing the exaggeration of Manga and I’m hoping that I have achieved a sense of drama and magic in this action without the use of speech bubbles and exclamatory script!
Earth, air, fire, and water: these four elements, in the Western tradition, are the foundation of natural magic, alchemy, philosophy, modern science, and life itself. “Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light,” said the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger. “Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky. Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity.”
“My promotional clip above gives a small insight into the exciting possibilities of the use of stop motion, still images and moving picture to explore the union of fire and water the primary tasks of art, made possible through the mediating elements of air and earth”.