When her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, the photographer Isa Leshko faced the prospect of her own aging process and ultimately her own death; in refusing to photograph her family during that time, she retreated to farms where elderly animals were housed and photographed them for her series Elderly Animals. Many were rescued from factory farms where they had been genetically modified, abused, and they were therefore facing premature death; others were part of their caregiver’s families and always had been. Like she would with a human subject, the artist spent hours with her subjects, communing with them on straw beds and sometimes visiting them multiple times.
In the iconic Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes meditates on the poignancy of photographic memory, writing, “Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.” The well-seen photograph fixes a moment within the space between light and shadow, reminding viewers that the exact instant pictured can never be recreated. In her rich black and white tones, Leshko realizes the potential of her camera to make permanent her elderly bestial subjects, and in the process of remembering each creature, the viewer is forced to recognize his or her eventual death.
The artist writes in her artist’s statement, “I have come to realize that these images are self-portraits,” uniting the living, the aged, and the deceased under a single canopy of mortal experience. Within the glimmers of the blind bovine eyes, the bare bones of the rooster wings, the grey snouts and balding patches of fur, we might all recognize what we must someday leave behind, and we are forced to search for what remains within Leshko’s thoughtful frame. (via HuffPost)
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If you’re familiar with the films of David Lynch, then you know the subtle uneasiness that he makes you feel. It doesn’t just stop with movies, as Lynch is also a photographer. Between 1980 and 2000, he shot monochromatic images of factories in Berlin, Poland, New York, New Jersey, and England. The result is a book of photographs titled The Factory Photographs, selections of which are currently on view at The Photographers’ Gallery in London.
It’s clear that the filmmaker’s eye transfers effortlessly between the moving picture and a static one. These landscapes are beautiful, but desolate and haunting; Their moodiness makes them feel as if they are of a different time and dystopian future. “I love industry. Pipes. I love fluid and smoke. I love man-made things. I like to see people hard at work, and I like to see sludge and man-made waste,” Lynch writes in his book.
The photographer practices transcendental meditation, and his penchant for delving into the strange and unconscious part of ourselves is not lost on these photographs. In the exhibit’s press release, Lynch says, “I just like going into strange worlds. A lot more happens when you open yourself up to the work and let yourself act and react to it.” These provocative images invite us to do the same. (Via Fast Company)
Self-taught photographer Zeren Badar explores photography, painting, design, and collage work in his “Accident Series” project. For this project, Badar combines images and objects in a curious juxtaposition of form and content. His incorporation of prints of old paintings, food, accessories, decorations, and other objects results in peculiar and richly textured 3D collages that evoke a Dadaist aesthetic. Badar compares his work to Duchamp’s readymades, explaining, “By using unexpected juxtapositions of objects, I try to create ambiguity and pull viewers attention deeper to my photographs.In many ways, I examine new type of way still life.” Originally from Turkey, Badar now lives and works in New York City. You can keep up with this project’s progress by following his personal Tumblr page.
The student artists Ayako Kanda and Mayuka Hayashi of Musashino Art University in Japan recently unveiled a series of portraits of X-Ray and CT images of embracing couples. One might expect images devoid of flesh, readable facial expressions, and color to read as clinical and sterile, but the photographs are strikingly human: “X-ray images usually show the finite nature of our bodies composed only of matter. But these couples’ portraits reveal a pulse that isn’t normally seen,” the artists explain.
Indeed, the images do convey ambiguous and subtle degrees of intimacy rarely seen photographically. The two individuals, positioned side by side, become hard to differentiate; the transparencies and densities of muscles and bones causes the two figures to fuse, touch, and pull apart in unexpected and haunting ways. While their bodies are flattened in space, forced to overlap, the bones themselves become separated by dark spaces, complicating the idea of what it means to be truly intimate.
The series also succeeds in conveying something more paradoxically permanent about intimate love. As mechanical process of photography and X-raying is offset by the delicacies of fingertips and craniums, the fragility and mortality of the human body is revealed. Yet the portraits, because they are X-rays and not typical fine art images, carry a forensic quality. Intentionally or not, they use a visual language normally associated with medicine and anthropology, and they are therefore poignantly removed from the confines of time and space, grounded only in relation to one another. Like two human artifacts, they invite viewers to dissect and analyze their bond. The couples appear as if held under a magnifying glass or fixed in stone, intwined in a decisive moment forever. Take a look. (via BUST, Spoon & Tomago, Daily Mail, and Bestposts)
Some people have an innate understanding of nature, and our place in it. Very few have the dedication to capture the most foreboding environments, even though these landscapes often offer the most complete portrait of the diversity and beauty of our planet. Niccoló Bonfadini is one of those few. The photographer (and environmental engineering student) captured these sensational landscape photographs while travelling through the Finnish lapland in the dead of the winter season.
With snow piled high and enveloping even the tallest trees, the Monza, Italy-based photographer offers a panoramic view of the very nature of winter. Taken at sunrise in temperatures reportedly ranging from -40°C to -15°C, Bonfadini’s photos show the plains and trees transformed into a world of towering clouds and endless white, carved with ice and snow. And with the snow covering everything (and all visual stimuli removed), the power of the season, and Life’s ability to persist through even the most brutal of environments, is shown.
Says the photographer and ardent traveller, “From the rugged mountain peaks to the fury of the ocean, from the snowy winter panoramas to the dense forests, the landscape never fails to impress and inspire those who observe it. Landscape photography is one of the most difficult kinds of photography. The artist has to be patient and determined to trasform what is ordinary in something extraordinary. But, above all, the photographer has to feel the beauty and the majesty of Nature.” (via mymodernmet)
Photographer Steve Rosenfield’s “What I Be Project” is, as he says, “a social experiment turned into, what is now, a global movement about honesty and empowerment. In today’s society, we are often told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these ‘standards,’ we are often judged, ridiculed, bullied and sometimes even killed over them. I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind & heart and empower those who feel they suffer for something they may see as a flaw.”
The project asks participants to write their biggest fear or insecurity somewhere on their body, and then allow Rosenfield to photograph the writing as part of a portrait. Often the subjects write an accompanying statement to the portrait, discussing how the fear has affected their life. The courage required to be a part of the project is meant to be cathartic. Including everyone from high school students to better-known individuals, such as Michael Franti, Kathryn Budig, Paula Van Oppen and Trevor Hall, the project is all about how we define ourselves based on the perception of others’ opinions. Drawing attention to notions such as reputation, stereotype, self-identification and insecurity, Rosenfield’s work is encouraging. It helps a viewer consider what the world might be like without the labels we assign and assumptions we make about ourselves, and people we don’t even know. Learn more about it here. (via theguardian)
British sculptor Lucy Glendinning creates ‘Feather Child’, a bird-like, human-like creature. This strange project originates from Glendinning’s fascination with personal visions, expectations and fears about the future of a highly technologically advanced society. ‘Feather Child’, acting as a semiotic medium, specifically embodies Glendinning’s questions about the future of genetic manipulation in such a world. The feathers, apart from making a point about what a possible genetically manipulated being might look like, are also a reference to the classic tale of human hubris: Greek mythology’s Icarus.
The feathered child begs its spectator to ponder upon the reality of such fantastical but absurd creations in a world where this will most certainly become a possibility. Will we be able to resist altering our physical abilities and looks if we had to ability to change them? Furthermore, will we, like Icarus, defy our abilities, change them, and as a consequence have everything we worked for fall apart?
Time will only tell what the future has in store for us. (via IGNANT)