Axel Bernstorff is a Danish Irish art photographer, who calls the Irish countryside his home, but in this extraordinary time is hardly ever there, primarily being in New Zealand.
With an idiosyncratic painter mother, a meticulous and glacial bonsai gardening father, his influences had a beginning bathed in light and form, structure and narrative. Applied from within was a native curiosity, and interest in the human condition, both the beautiful and the harsh. There is a rawness, energy and honesty in his work, which calmly co-exists with the natural beauty found within his subjects.
His work, primarily shot on black and white film, using medium and large format cameras, centres around the rich characteristics and narratives that exist in both human and plant forms. He explores the idiosyncrasies and uniqueness of Polynesian inked faces, the undulating lines of a nude, gnarled and twisted trunks of ancient Pugliese olive trees ....
Over the past twenty years Bernstorff has also contributed to many of the worlds leading publications and magazines. His fashion, portrait and travel stories have featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Traveller, How to Spend It, Elle and many others. He shot Ivanka Trump for Tatler, his Alexander McQueen portrait featured in the V&A's highest grossing exhibition "Savage Beauty". Others Bernstorff has worked with include Vivienne Westwood, Rosamund Pike, the great Amitabh Bachchan, Gordon Cheung, vertically rising Flossy Pugh and others.
His work is held in a number of private collections around the world. Work also held by Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland. Tanya Baxter Contemporary, London. The Jean Cocteau Museum in Merton, France have recently acquired three prints. The McQueen portrait will also feature in Phaidon Press' latest fashion book out in 2012.
Two projects already underway, Mediterranean Olives Trees and Polynesian Tattoos, are being produced through a special production company www.creativeresponse.world and have a strong connection for Bernstorff as by extension the parallel narrative of race and environment which are strong in both and have become significantly more poignant in this recently rapidly developing time.