Nadav Kander

Packshot on 29/03/2012

This morning, I was introduced to Nadav Kander, the Israeli-born, London-based photographer of international renown whose work has taken him from his beginnings in Johannesburg to the banks of the Yangtze, Chernobyl, the Arctic Circle and even to the administration of US President Barack Obama. His photography is impressive in its diversity, in the array of moods he captures in his landscape and portrait images, and also in his interaction with his subjects.

Take a look at these two portraits of Barack Obama. In the first, he appears pensive and communicative. In the second, he is focused, formal and forceful, an authoritative antithesis to the first photograph. Combined, they exhibit the qualities required of a world leader, and yet they are profoundly different in their tone.

We come next to the Arctic Circle. Conventional photography in this region tends to focus on curiosities, such as wildlife and icebergs, shot to illustrate the brilliant white of the landscape. Kander’s photographs are a world away from this. (Click to the Arctic Circle section.) They are bleak, dull expanses of ice, accentuating nothing but the overwhelming loneliness of the area. It’s actually a very refreshing, unique perspective. “Stillness” is the word into which Kander condensed his experience, although he might equally have described it as “gloom”. And the work is still extraordinary, even without the curiosities.

Curiosities abound elsewhere in his work, however. His project on China’s Yangtze river is awash with apparent incongruities, as lavish blocks of flats are depicted with shipyards directly behind. One of the more effective photographs in this collection shows a group of fishermen in the foreground, against a backdrop of a bridge in construction. It neatly symbolises the dependence upon the Yangtze of those who live on its banks, for industry, employment and nourishment. Aside from all of this, it is – of course – beautifully shot.

Have a good look around his fascinating website here.

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