New Ways of Seeing: A stARTup LA 2019 Photography Preview

Feature by Content Curator Mica England

In today’s world of iPhones and Instagram, anyone can be a photographer. For some, this is a freeing concept. For others… an artistic existential nightmare. It’s the latest iteration of the age-old debates: Is photography really “art?” Are all photographers “artists?” Who are the “real” photographers?

To all of those, I have a simple answer: it’s all how you “see.” Technology comes and goes, but your unique perspective stays the same, whether it’s a print or a digital file, or an AR mix of the two. And discovering the unique way another person sees is something so enchanting — and something I’ve enjoyed with this fair’s batch of photographers.

Proximity Cinéma  by stARTup LA 2019 Featured Artist  Tiffany Trenda, Room 212

Proximity Cinéma by stARTup LA 2019 Featured Artist Tiffany Trenda, Room 212

In keeping with our Art and Technology theme for stARTup LA 2019, these artists blur the boundaries between photography and new media, using their unique vision to reach new heights.

Johanna Evans, Room 333, explores the convergence and dissonance of reflection and transparency, internal and external, old tech and new tech. Her work asks, “What happens in the middle?”

Studio Horizon (sunrise/sunset)  by  Johanna Evans , Archival Inkjet Print, 2016

Studio Horizon (sunrise/sunset) by Johanna Evans, Archival Inkjet Print, 2016

Her ongoing series Studio Horizons is a collection of visual studies of, and glimpses into, illusionistic space and place. Colored plastics, mylar, film, and old photos transform in her studio into imagined or remembered landscapes, or even future worlds yet to be seen.

Impossibly Distant/Plastic Sky  by  Johanna Evans , Archival Inkjet Print, 2018

Impossibly Distant/Plastic Sky by Johanna Evans, Archival Inkjet Print, 2018

I’m excited to see how these “quasi handmade” prints will interact with The Kinney. And wouldn’t it be great if she used those same raw materials to transform her room into its own imagined landscape?

Alexander Reben’s work probes the inherently human nature of the artificial using artificial philosophy, synthetic psychology, perceptual manipulation, and technological magic. “This is done to not only help understand who we are, but to consider who we will become in our continued co-development with our artificial creations.”

Installation of  amalGAN ,  Alexander Reben

Installation of amalGAN, Alexander Reben

His latest project amalGAN uses artificial intelligence to generate fascinating combinations of photographic images. Two of my favorites are below; for stARTup, Reben will display hand painted versions of these digital images.

Alex will be wearing a number of hats at stARTup LA 2019. Not only is he exhibiting in Room 302, he’s also giving a talk, Human-Machine Collaboration and Artificial Intelligence, and showing Five Dollars Can Save Planet Earth, the first TED talk written by AI and presented by a cyborg. AND he has something special brewing for our Opening Night Party. :)

Cathy Immordino will explore her series, Pilgrimage of Heritage, in Room 234. Churches, village streets, and cellars are combined with portraits and fleeting figures, serving as abstractionist surreal interruptions. “This emotionally and visually charged multiverse reflects not only my travels across the world, but also interior states of imagination.”

The Struggle  by  Cathy Immordino

The Struggle by Cathy Immordino

During Cathy’s travels to Sicily, she discovered that “rather Italian-American as I had assumed, my DNA revealed a Greek, Arabic, Middle Eastern, and North African origin. I left Sicily with a different life story than I had arrived with, and in a way, a different self. It was this the kind of paradox, both in narrative and consciousness, that my constructed images portray and embody.”

Images from Sicily are layered and compressed with the fragments of past and present, old and new, people and places, objects and textures. Cathy further drives the dichotomy of past and present, old and new, home by placing her colorful composites into vintage gold frames from the late 1800s. It’s an incredible touch bringing a new meaning to the word “neo-classical.”

Camila Magrane, Room 215, is a multimedia artist most noted for the creation of her “Digital Photogram Collages.” Camila’s postmodern aesthetic combines traditional darkroom techniques and digital tools. I’ve been a huge fan of ’s work since her first fair, stARTup SF 2018.

Camila Magrane’s   IF  at stARTup SF 2018

Camila Magrane’s IF at stARTup SF 2018

Standouts from her booth included IF, a Virtual Reality music experience, and CLIO, an interactive photogram mirror that copies the movements of the viewer.

Her most recent projects include Virtual Mutations, an application used to view the Augmented Reality features of her ongoing AR mixed media collage series, and her AR Polaroids “from the future.”

Her booth won her Best Artist accolades at stARTup SF 2018. Could there be a repeat? Come see for yourself! Tickets are on sale now!


You can find more Digital Media and Photography works from our artists in our Artists Archive.

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