Photographers: Formento & Formento
Welcome to the final Weekend Art Fix of 2021.
We're ending the year with the dynamic Mr and Mrs photography duo, Formento & Formento.
Formento & Formento are known for their romantic and stylish photographs that explore themes of love, loss, longing and the burden of memory.
Their inventive and stylised photography explores the uncanny and perverse, revealing double-edged allegories with underlying lyricism. Utilising conceptually playful staged scenes and desaturated colours, the duo's psychologically evocative, eerily sensual style reveals a fascination with fiction and reality through mood and texture.
Whether they are shooting in America, Europe, Cuba, Mexico, India or Japan, they blend fervent passion for photography and film with a lasting love for one another.
Richeille Formento styles and art directs, while BJ Formento lights and photographs. BJ is the light, Richeille is the pigment.
BJ was born in Hawaii and grew up in the Philippines. After attending the Academy of Arts University of California, he moved to New York, training his eye by working with esteemed photographers such as Richard Avedon, Duane Michals, Mary Ellen Mark and Annie Leibovitz.
London born Richeille graduated with honours from Central St. Martins College of Art before working as an art director and designer.
In 2005, BJ and Richeille met while working together in South Beach, Miami. They admit to love at first sight and were married in New York City three months later.
Their work has been exhibited worldwide and is in permanent collections of International Center of Photography, Moscow Museum of Arts, Currier Museum, Boca Raton Museum, Bruce Museum, Lewben Museum and Musee Des Art Decoratif Paris. They have published "Circumstance: America Down on Bruised Knees" by YK Books (2009) as well as a short film "The Voyage" shown at Cannes Film Festival 2016.
Here's a selection to get your rhythm humming in a frenzy...
Series: Japan Diaries 2013-Present
The highly staged and melodramatic images conjure many references: 1950s Japanese cinema, the photographs of Nobuyoshi Araki, Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, and the erotic imagery of Ero Guro paintings. As outside observers, Formento & Formento's stylized images explore the dichotomies that embody modern Japan - blurring the aesthetics between tradition and the ultra-modern, fantasy and reality. The captivating tableaus exude a sense of tension, melancholy, and a quiet unease. Each image from Japan Diaries exists as if it were a still taken from a Japanese noir film, each solitary figure yearning for something unknown.
Series: Second Kind of Woman
The series, Second Kind Of Woman Thailand, serves to confront people’s prejudices and fears and nudge them past embarrassment into accepting the whole spectrum of sexual preference.
Series: Spies, Lies and Saboteurs
Spies, Lies and Saboteurs is Formento & Formento's homage to the unsung heroines of World War II. Their stories demonstrate that they were ordinary women caught up in extraordinary times.
In winter of 2018 through spring of 2019, Formento & Formento returned to Japan but focused on channeling the artist Hokusai and asked what Mt. Fuji meant to them.
They consider Japan their spirit place and are always yearning to come back and go deeper in exploring the culture and the landscape.
This body of work  moved the duo out of the city of Tokyo and into the countryside. They wanted to live under the ever-changing appearance of Mt. Fuji and experience its burning energy. The series sought to portray an ambiguous narrative using female models to play out an imagined life under the strength of the mountain and beyond the edge of the frame.
Series: Nostalgia - Art In Progress
"Richeille and I are taking a few years to explore sentimental longing, feelings of pleasure and the wistful affection we have for the past or place. We salvage artifacts of the past for entertainment, to calm present anxieties. We discuss the present in terms of the past, and we judge the present by the standards of long ago. Discussions of movies and television and music tend to begin with the question, “Remember when?” Those words summon happy thoughts. Or perhaps we return to the past because we are expert in it. Nostalgia waxes as the traditional understanding of time wanes. Human beings are temporal creatures. We need ways to understand and to order the past, the present, and the future. Nostalgia, most truly and most meaningfully, is the emotional experience - always momentary, always fragile - of having what you lost or never had, of seeing what you missed seeing, of meeting the people you missed knowing.
"Are we nostalgic because we are unhappy with the present or are frustrated because we are so nostalgic? Through art we hope to unearth these fleeting feelings that overcome us, and to create work that connects us." ~ Formento & Formento
Hysteria is set post World War II, when America was at the height of its power, yet also on the verge of spinning out of control. This uncertain state represents a world we still know and are trying to find ways to contend with today.
If you want a little Formento & Formento brilliance on your wall, get in touch with us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 📸
Until the next one, crop it like it's hot!
Blair & El xoxo