The Rules Have To Be Changed – Container Love Artists On The Year Ahead

Words Tom Czibolya

To start off the new year right, we reached out to some of our favorite photographers we’ve been working with in 2022, asking them to send us a picture each, a photograph that they took over the course of the past 12 months that is especially dear to them. As you may point it out, it’s a colorful selection – an ensemble of some of the many wonderful human beings who trusted us with their art and telling their stories that come with it. If you are reading this now, we are grateful for all the magic that you brought into our lives as well as into the lives of many others and we are happy to be able to play a small role in your journey. We love you. To go along with the pictures, we also asked our beautiful artists to put into words what their hopes are for the next circle around the sun. This is what they wrote.

“Our hope for the coming year, and beyond, is that we allow ourselves to float through books, movies, and new places without trying to frame each experience for professional growth or social currency. We want to reclaim this time to exist for us as pure pleasure without pressure for it to be something more” – the photographer duo of Allie Leepson & Jesse McClary was key to last year’s Visible Love exhibition with their interview being a wonderful addition to their pictures. Another wickedly talented photographer and frequent collaborator of Container Love’s founder Christian Ruess is Caroline Mackintosh. She shared a new picture of hers alongside with a wish for “more intimacy and softness.”

Image @ Allie & Jesse

Image @ Caroline Mackintosh

Image @ Ugo Woatzi

“I see you in the dark
reaching out a place of light
dream of realities
we’ll flourish and bright
as a flamboyant
human or non human
for an undoubted time”

Ugo Woatzi

Image @ Stuart Sandford

Image @ Lars Borges

Sending over a poem of his is brilliant up and coming visual artist and activist, Ugo Woatzi, a brilliant friend of our House of Love. Just like photographer Stuart Sandford, whose latest book, The best way to learn a foreign language is in bed, remains a highly recommended piece of art for any occasion. He wrote: “With everything happening in the world right now, my main hope is simply to be fortunate enough to continue making my work and hoping that people will continue to appreciate it.” Photographer Lars Borges sent us a picture taken on one of his many adventures in countries with the most sunshine hours. “I really like this image of these two Muslim women enjoying a quad ride in the desert. How confident, proud and dedicated the first lady looks and how much the woman in the back seat enjoys it…  For me, it is an image of liberation and empowerment. I wanted to choose a joyful image opposed to the dark times we are living in… well, hopefully not for long. Peace!”

An all time favorite of ours, photographer Kostis Fokas also shared some thoughts for the year ahead: “Desire for freedom, that’s what we really need.” We also asked another fabulous artist of ours, Anil Ayhan whose style is right down our alley to write down some of his hopes for the future. He wrote: “Sun touches, hopes blossom. Touching more souls, loving more, being loved more, waking up to brighter days, flying higher and higher… Remember! Every day that the sun touches your skin will be a day when your hopes blossom again.”

An important contributor to our latest fundraiser for LGBTQ+ refugees from Ukraine, photographer Sophie Schwarzenberger never fails to amaze us with her kindness and images that go beyond sensitivity. “I’d say that my hopes for the upcoming year are to blossom, without guilt, without shame, without restrictions. Standing in my full power, but still allowing myself to be soft and vulnerable.” Daring to be vulnerable was a key thought of photographer Yan Yufeng’s beautiful series, BOY COMFORT ZOOM, the one that made us fall in love with his work. His message might appear to be simple, but it is truly heartwarming: “Hope life will be as sunny as this picture.”

Image @ Kostis Fokas

Image @ Anil Ayhan

Image @ Sophie Schwarzenberger

Image @ Yan Yufeng

Roman / Ramona Valynkin is a photographer, model and LGBTQ+ activist who has been a contributor to our #WeSeeYou fundraiser, when asked about their hopes and wishes for the new year, they wrote: “My hope for the new year is to get better at embracing this idea: there is no such thing as change without pain, no growth without discomfort.” Another new friend we made last year is Norway-based photographer Massimo Leardini, a great artist with a kind soul and art that’s truly nature-driven. He decided to borrow a quote from environmental activist Greta Thunberg: “We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change and it has to start today.”

Boys make him sad sometimes, but it seems like one of the most expressive contemporary painters we know, Wojciech Wos just keeps raising the bar with his work: “All I need in 2023 is more time with my friends, new creative stimulations and a lot of blue paint.” Just like Timmi Taubenschreck, another great inspiration to the Container Love family. He wrote: “Well, the last three years were very hard for all of us. I struggled a lot in 2022 because of many personal reasons. That’s why I decided to step back for a moment. To check all possibilities, to optimize in as many different directions as possible. I still have to figure out how to grow and include other people at the same time. I hope I’ll be a better person by the end of 2023. An optimized version of myself right now.”

Image @ Roman / Ramona Valynkin

Image @ Massimo Leardini

Image @ Wojciech Wos

Image @ Timmi Taubenschreck

We wish you a year full of good experiences and lots of love.

Yours truly,

The Container

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