Artist Spotlight: Niko Giovanni Coniglio

Often, I can't help but wander the world of the internet in search of things that inspire me.  Sometimes I find them, other times they find me.  I don't know what it is about this photographer's work that engages me so, but I could help but stop and stare at each image, wondering aloud what was truly captured in each moment.

The following article accompanied the photos on Lens Culture's website.

"I started photographing my mother to learn how to use a camera; I continued doing so in order to spend some time with her. I’m still photographing her to witness and tell our story.

Photography is a sort of bridge in our relationship—it helps me to know her. With this statement, I don’t mean that photography can fill the communication gap between us. Spending more time with my mother, I have realized that our relationship is charged with life’s difficulties and contradictions. What I mean to say is that photography is one of the very few moments where we connect and discuss things; in fact, it has been the main one for several years now.

The project is called “Daniela: Portrait of My Mother,” but it’s not only my mother’s portrait. In this work I represent her life’s situations and events, the ones that directly impact me, and my own family experiences. Sometimes the situations I stage become real: a memory and an experience that I witness in the very moment I shoot them.

“Of course, some painful cracks developed in my soul, and I lived away from reality for who knows how long.” This is one of the sentences my mother wrote in her diary. It offers an important reference point for this work.

—Niko Giovanni Coniglio

Coniglio’s project was recognized by LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017 and
published by Vogue Italia.  You can follow Coniglio’s work on his personal website.

Frank is a Sexy Beast

Every time I visit my favorite museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, I must always take a visit to see my favorite painting by Chuck Close called 'Frank'.  If you have ever been there, I promise you have seen it.  It is a large painting that is seen through many hallways appearing as a photograph, until you inspect it closer and realize it is a painting.

Chuck close is not only one of my favorite artists for his paintings, but also his realistic approach to photography.  A style that strips down the facade and simply shows a connection between the soul of the subject and the eye of the photographer.

#thisbody was made to shine through

I have been a big girl for many years.  It rarely seems to matter in my world. I live a rich beautiful life full of love, success and happiness.  Yes, it would be fun to be smaller and healthier, but I have never let this body stop me from doing anything and everything I wanted to do and be.

I really like this ad campaign if for no other reason it shows us that the body is only a shell for all the magic, passion and life that we are destined to be.

The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
you will never be the same.
You might long for the person you were before, 
When you have freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feedings and burping,
Nappy changes and crying,
Whining and fighting,
Naps or a lack of naps,
It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don’t forget …
There is a last time for everything.
There will come a time when you will feed
your baby for the very last time.
They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.
You will scrub their hair in the bath one night
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.
They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.
They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake to this.

One afternoon you will sing “the wheels on the bus”
and do all the actions,
Then never sing them that song again.
They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.
You will read a final bedtime story and wipe your last dirty face.
They will run to you with arms raised for the very last time.

The thing is, you won’t even know it’s the last time
Until there are no more times.
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
remember there are only so many of them
and when they are gone, you will yearn for just one more day of them.
For one last time.

-Author Unknown-

To my beloved kiddos who have given me so many beautiful last times.

You will always bring beautiful chaos, loud voices, messy rooms, and wonderful imperfections that make you all so absolutely perfect.

Photographs That Stir One's Soul

Photography has always enchanted me.  Long before I even understood why.

According to Eduard Steichen “The mission of photography is to explain man to man and each man to himself”. If this statement can be taken as certain, then these photographs fulfilled such a mission.

Eight-year-old Christian Golczynski accepts the flag for his father, Marine Staff Sgt. Marc Golczynski, during a memorial service. Marc Golczynski was shot during his second tour in Iraq just a few weeks before returning back home.

Learn more about Christian and his life since this iconic photograph here.

The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her 7 children in 1936 in California. 

Read about Florence and the taking of this unforgettable image here.

A 1994 Pulitzer Prize wining photograph by journalistic photographer Kevin Carter during the Sudan famine.  The photo depicts a child struggling towards a United Nations food camp a mile away, as a vulture is waiting for the child to die.  No one knows what happened to the child.   Two years later, Kevin committed suicide, saying “I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, of killer executioners”.  Whether or not he did the wrong thing when photographing the struggling girl in Sudan, the truth is that Kevin Carter gave his whole life for the sake of information. He communicated reality in the most truthful way, hoping to make a change by increasing society’s awareness of the world’s injustice.

Read the story behind this controversial image here.

Mark David Chapman asked for John Lennon's autograph outside his Dakota residence.  Several hours later, he would meet him there again and kill him.

Victory Over Japan  (V-J) Day in Times Square, a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, was published in Life in 1945 with the caption, In New York's Times Square a white-clad girl clutches her purse and skirt as an uninhibited sailor plants his lips squarely on hers.

Read the story behind this infamous and most copied photograph here.

In November 1990 LIFE magazine published a photograph of a young man named David Kirby — his body wasted by AIDS, his gaze locked on something beyond this world — surrounded by anguished family members as he took his last breaths. The haunting image of Kirby on his death bed, taken by a journalism student named Therese Frare, quickly became the one photograph most powerfully identified with the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the reminder of the human connection.

Read the story behind David Kirby's life and passing here.


Beginning

Being an artist dictates the way I move, think, breathe and act.  I am a sponge and the world around me fills me up with the good, the bad, the heartfelt and the whimsical.

This blog is dedicated to all the things that give me pause to think, dream and act - both in my quest as a photographer and my will for my life.

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