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Art + Design in Miami: Photography

Infrared surveillance film, DIY negatives and suggestive stills seen at Pulse, Art Basel and NADA

by Jonah Samson
on 12 December 2012

The vast presentation of photography at last week's art fairs in Miami included an array of highly impressive artists. Among the tremendous amount of work on display below are five picks of the most compelling photographers at Art Basel, Pulse and NADA this year.

Matthew Brandt

The well-deserved hype about this young artist continues to grow as he produces work that is not only visually striking, but also pushes the boundaries of contemporary photography. Matthew Brandt's altered photographs of lakes, which are soaked in the actual lake water, are rapidly becoming iconic. Also, his silk-screened images made with chewing gum, frosting and other edibles force the viewer to reconsider the printed image. This year in Miami both of his current galleries' affiliates from (M+B in LA and Yossi Milo in NYC) gave him a strong showing at Pulse.

Richard Mosse

Jack Shainman Gallery presented work from Richard Mosse, who uses a discontinued infrared surveillance film originally developed for military reconnaissance to photograph the landscape and military rebel groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The spectrum of the film renders colors of crimson, turquoise and hot pink, transforming topography into mythical and surreal places and bringing a softness and intimacy to the portraits of soldiers, who are often children. The work blurs the lines between fiction and photojournalism.

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John Houck

Using customized computer programs to plot grids of every possible variation of a number of pre-determined colors, John Houck's resulting grid-based images become a contact sheet of sorts, which are then printed using traditional digital photographic techniques. Once printed the sheet is then manipulated through a series of folds, and the entire sheet is then re-photographed. That image is then printed and folded a second time, and becomes the final piece. The somewhat complicated process delivers a result that is optically elegant and a visually-engaging puzzle.

Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders' work is solidly photographic, but painterly in texture because he creates his large-scale "negatives" by hand, rather than with a camera. Saunders uses ink on mylar to produce a monochrome picture whose colors are reversed. He then places this sheet onto a large piece of photographic paper, and creates a contact print from his hand-made negative. The work is dreamy, dark, nostalgic and visually unique. What more could you want from a picture?

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Diado Moriyama

With the current, widespread trend of experimentation within the field of photography, it's nice to be reminded that some of the most exciting and edgy images actually come from the past. Daido Moriyama's showing at Luhring Augustine Gallery at Art Basel demonstrated that visually arresting photographs with a strong vision are timeless.

View more photos in the slideshow. Images courtesy of the artists' respective galleries

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