Nadav Kander

Nadav Kander was born in Israel, grew up in South Africa and now lives and works in England. He has a wide body of work and appears to be best known for his documentary photographs and portraits.

I was interested to read that in his portraits, Kander takes a different approach to Rankin and doesn’t usually speak very much to his subjects. In a recent Telegraph interview he said that while other photographers want to show their model as relaxed and happy he would rather explore other aspects to their character and would rather that they weren’t too comfortable in front of the camera.

Boris Johnson, Nadav Kander

In the same article he talks about spending up to three hours getting the lighting just right and this really pays off as I think the lighting in his portraits is stunning. In this portrait he has clearly concentrated on highlighting Boris’ distinctive mop of hair.

I also like this idea of a composite of 15 shots, showing all sides of Boris.

Boris Johnson Composite Nadav Kander

For another publication Kander photographed Prince Charles. In the accompanying interview he says that his research is less about reading what is written about or by his subject and more about simply looking at images of them and thinking about how he would like to see that person.

He is looking for the moment when a picture becomes a portrait and he is not looking for the truth in a person.

Prince Charles, Nadav Kander

Kander’s project, Obama’s People marked President Obama’s inauguration and catalogued his administration at the time. About this Kander says that “by omitting the context of time and place from these photographs, the smallest details are heightened.”

Obama’s People, Nadav Kander

Kander has produced some haunting photographs for his Dust documentary. It is a project that captures images of secret Soviet cities and missile test sites on the border between Kazakhstan and Russia.

What strikes me about these images is that the colour tone is similar to much of his portrait work. He clearly knows what colours he likes, is drawn to a particular type of light and has developed a clear style.

It took Kander three years to photograph his Dust collection. Although the light is very subtle in these images I am not drawn to them because they are beautiful. I like the composition but it is also a bit disturbing and post apocolyptic to see the rust, decay and crumbling concrete.

The Aral Sea I (Officer’s Housing), Kazakhstan 2011

This is a short video of Kander  talking about his approach to photography and his Road to 2012 project that was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery.

I particularly like Kander’s comment that he always thinks more about the viewer than he does about the sitter.

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