Jungle

CompanyItamar Freed
PhotographerItamar Freed
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Through photography, I am crafting hyper realistic representations of portraits and landscapes. my ongoing body of work features habitats from across the globe, questioning the distinctions between the natural and artificial, real and manufactured. Images of landscapes, natural history museums, botanical gardens, zoos and my own studio are combined to create an array of fictitious places that exist only within the photographic frame. The encounter between the three territories – the wild, the cultured and the staged – creates intriguing scenarios and instigates questions around aesthetics, politics, culture, boundaries, and reality. I aim to create a threshold between real and imagined, beyond the bounds of time and place. I consider man made ‘natural’ landscapes within urban metropolitans. These microcosms provide visitors with embodied experience of foreign climates and vegetation, through an artificial experience that is both similar, and yet vastly different, to the habitats which they aim to imitate.

Story

Jungle   Through photography, Itamar Freed, crafts hyper realistic representations of portraits and landscapes. His ongoing body of work features habitats from across the globe, questioning the distinctions between the natural and artificial, real and manufactured. Images of landscapes, natural history museums, botanical gardens, zoos and the artist's studio are combined to create an array of fictitious places that exist only within the photographic frame. The encounter between the three territories – the wild, the cultured and the staged – creates intriguing scenarios and instigates questions around aesthetics, politics, culture, boundaries, and reality.   In his recent works, Freed considers man made ‘natural’ landscapes within urban metropolitans. These microcosms provide visitors with embodied experience of foreign climates and vegetation, through an artificial experience that is both similar, and yet vastly different, to the habitats which they aims to imitate. Freed constantly questions and challenges notions of western representations of exotic environments and the artificial depiction of places outside of our normal spheres. He considers how these notions are perceived by presenting scenes such as dioramas and greenhouses. The final works attempt to alert the viewer to the dissolving of two seemingly separate categories - nature and culture.   The image “Jungle” depicts the London Zoo’s ‘Living Rainforest’ exhibit merged with an image of the Amama rainforest in Australia. This fictitious scene is a metaphor of what constitutes “Nature” in our Anthropocene era: a hybrid of natural and human forces, where the artificial elements of the environment take on a greater role. Similarly, the artwork titled ‘Peacock’ synthesises different angles of a Central Park Zoo exhibit. A single photographic frame features various bird species of differing origins and environments, which cannot be found inhabiting the same eco systems naturally. Freed’s ability to create a threshold between real and imagined, beyond the bounds of time and place, is also apparent in his staged portraits. This series comprises female figures posed with sculptural gestures, captured under natural light in transition – sunset and sunrise. He amplifies sensation through an open composition and multiple vanishing points. Although the images are realistic their subjects are reminiscent of Renaissance and Baroque paintings.   For example, in ‘Red Flowers’ and 'Woman in Green' the boundary between reality and its artistic portrayal is used to question the photographic medium. For Freed, the images form an axis between painting and reality - comprising imagined narratives controlled by the artist, and the actual objects documented by the camera.   Freed asks questions about the ability of the photographic medium to preserve, to freeze and to grasp life and nature to create a dream like space, that could not exist in reality. The photograph is a token, a sentimental relic of something that cannot be viewed.      

About Photographer

ITAMAR FREED Born in 1987 in Manhattan, NY, Freed received his BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Israel in 2012. He is currently doing his MFA at the Royal College of Arts, Photography Program, London. Freed has been the winner of the 2016 Clore - Bezalel Scholarship & a full Grant for his Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art. He combines direct photography that depicts artificial, staged figures with realistic representations of portraits and landscapes. The encounter between the three territories – the wild, the cultured and the staged, creates a deceptive sensation in his work. Freed’s photographic aesthetics draw upon a return to the classic painting of art history, seeking to create a kind of contemporary photographic variation. Freed's work has been showcased in solo exhibitions at Volta New York 2017, in the Ramat-Gan Museum of Art, Israel, Feinberg Projects Gallery in Tel Aviv and Gitler &_____ Gallery, New York. His works were also shown in "NordArt 2016", International Art Exhibition, Büdelsdorf, Germany, Musrara Gallery, Jerusalem, the Bezalel Gallery, Jerusalem etc. He won the 2012 “EPSON” first prize for excellence in the art of photography. Freed's works are in private and public collections worldwide including the Lauren and Mitchell Presser Photography Collection, USA and the Clore Collection, London, UK. In 2017 he will also be in residency at the Bilpin international ground for Creative initiatives (BigCi) in the Blue Mountains for 5 weeks.