Patrick Gries’ collection of skeletal photographs are part of his book, “Evolution,” that seeks to make the case for evolutionary theory in a way that has not yet been captured so eloquently through the medium of photography. The project spanned 6 months and involved Gries shooting the photographs of over 250 skeletons at The Museum of Natural History in Paris, as well as 4 other locations in France. These monochrome photographs of skeletons were shot with strong directional light and appear almost sculptural in their presentation, asking viewers to consider the boundaries of scientific study and aesthetic event.
In the book, Gries’ photographs are accompanied with text written by scientist, documentarian, and professor emeritus at Paris’ Museum of Natural History, Dr. Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu. This text describes the skeletons, suggesting how to understand them in the context of history and the patterns of evolution. “New forms have evolved from old ones. Stubby amphibian feet have been transformed into hooves, bird wings and whale flippers. Yet many of the bones in those original limbs have not changed their relationship to the rest. They have just been stretched, flattened or reduced to vestigial knobs. Along the paths of evolution, the vertebrate skeleton has been transformed into similar forms many times over — aardvarks in Africa and anteaters in South America.” You can purchase and see more photographs at Éditions Xavier Barral. (via unknown editors, ny times, and the guardian )
Pro Infirmis, a Swiss charity organization for people with disabilities, has created a series of mannequins that reflect bodies of people with physical disabilities for a project titled, “Because Who is Perfect? Get Closer.” The process of measuring the bodies of 5 people and sculpting the mannequins was captured by director Alain Gspone in this moving 4 minute film. The reactions of each person upon seeing their mannequin are also captured, with one woman remarking, “It’s special to see yourself like this, when you usually can’t look at yourself in the mirror.” For people not used to seeing reflections of their body types in the commercial world, these new mannequins create an empowering experience by providing a platform of visibility in an industry that so often neglects to represent the diversity of bodies.
After the mannequins were created, they were placed in Zurich store fronts, on a popular downtown shopping street, Bahnhofstrasse, in honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The video shows a range reactions of people as they walk by the store front, captivated by these new mannequins.
Through this project, Pro Infirmis wishes to raise awareness of the lack of representation of people with disabilities, especially in the world of fashion and retail. You can find more photos and information about the project on Photopress. (via the huffington post and the daily mail)
Chicago-based artist Gracie Hagen has created a photography series titled “Illusions of the Body” that captures nude bodies in contrasting poses. In the “attractive” image on the left, the models represent their bodies with straight backs, pulled-back shoulders, and demure expressions – many of them stand posed in positions that reflect classical sculpture. In the “unattractive” image on the right, the bodies are turned and the models push out their stomachs, hunch their backs, and evoke expressions of indifference.
“‘Illusions of the Body’” was made to tackle the supposed norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like. Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering. That contrast would help a lot of body image issues we as a culture have.
Within the series I tried get a range of body types, ethnicities & genders to show how everyone is a different shape & size; there is no “normal”. Each photo was taken with the same lighting & the same angle.
Celebrate your shapes, sizes & the odd contortions your body can get itself into. The human body is a weird & beautiful thing.”
Melbourne based artist Casey Jenkins is a self-described “craftivist” who founded Craft Cartel, an organization that seeks to combine crafting and political activism, in 2007. “Craft imbues you with power because you’re forced to contemplate the issue you’re addressing. It’s very reflective in a sense of when you put that message out into the world, people know you must really care because you’ve devoted that much time to it,” Jenkins says.
Jenkins’ most recent performance project, “Casting Off My Womb” (Aussie TV calls it “Vaginal Knitting”) involves the artist spending 28 days (the average length of a menstrual cycle) knitting from a new skein of wool that she has placed inside of her vagina each day. Jenkins explains that her performance would not be a performance if she didn’t include menstruation. While she is menstruating, Jenkins says it becomes more difficult to knit because the wool is wet, and she has to tug on the thread a bit harder. Overall, though, she claims the process is slightly uncomfortable, but can also be arousing at times. For Jenkins, she enjoys that her performance associates the vulva – something that can be found offensive or vulgar or invoke a level of fear – with the comfort and warmth that knitting provides and evokes.
“The fact that [cunt's] considered the most offensive word in the English language is a real marker of the time that we’re living and of the society’s attitude towards woman. There’s nothing possibly negative about it. It’s just a deep, warm and delightful part of the female anatomy.”
Microbiologist Christina Agapakis and scent artist Sissel Tolaas‘ science-meets-art project “Self Made” seeks to challenge the way we think about microbes, scent, and the nature of disgust. Most cheese is made by taking milk and spoiling it with the bacteria, Lactobacillus. This bacteria transform milk sugars into acid, causing it to coagulate. The chunks are removed from the liquid and aged with specific yeast that creates specific cheeses. Lactobacillus and yeast can be found all around us, including our own skin. Agapakis and Tolaas take microbes from people’s skin – like Michael Pollan’s belly button or artist Olafur Eliasson’s tears – and add them to milk in order to create a human microbial cheese portrait (a cheese selfie?).
“The idea was to recognize, how do we get grossed out? Then to think about it and move beyond that initial idea of disgust,” Agapakis says. “Why are we more uncomfortable with bacteria on the body than we are with bacteria in cheese?”
From the artists’ statement, “Many of the stinkiest cheeses are hosts to species of bacteria closely related to the bacteria responsible for the characteristic smells of human armpits or feet. Can knowledge and tolerance of bacterial cultures in our food improve tolerance of the bacteria on our bodies? How do humans cultivate and value bacterial cultures on cheeses and fermented foods? How will synthetic biology change with a better understanding of how species of bacteria work together in nature as opposed to the pure cultures of the lab?”
Hiroko Kubota is a prolific embroiderer whose latest project of embroidering cats onto dress shirts has caused the cat-loving internet community to swoon. Kubota stitches cats who peek over and through shirt pockets and openings, giving plain dress shirts an adorable and unique accent. Her project began when her son – a cat-lover and collector of internet cat images – requested that she embroider some cats from his collection onto some shirts she made for him. After posting her work on the internet, her project quickly became popular and of high demand. Kubota then decided to put some of her shirts up for sell on Etsy, but her handiwork could not keep up with the demand – even at a hefty price tag of $250-300 apiece. Kubota also embroiders other figures, such as fish, Pokemon characters, dogs, and flowers onto a variety of objects. You can check out more images of her work on Flickr. (via colossal)
“2D Or Not 2D” is the second collaborative project between Russian photographer Alexander Khokhlov and make-up artist Valeriya Kutsan, with the addition of Veronica Ershova who assisted in retouching and post-production of the images. Inspired by two-dimensional posters, the aim of the project was to transform models’ faces into 2D images that re-imagine the work of some well-known sketch, graphic, watercolor, and oil painting artists such as Lichtenstein, Basquiat, and Mondrian. Kutsan’s makeup design and application flattens the faces of the models, while the angles chosen by Khokhlov and enhanced by Ershova contribute to the overall illusion of two-dimensional representation.
The other 2D project (more images shown toward the bottom of this post) Khokhlov and Kutsan collaborated on was a series of monochrome prints titled “Weird Beauty” of painted faces that feature corporate logos, QR codes, and other prominent modern imagery.
Russian photographer Alexey Kijatov‘s DIY camera may not appear to be very sophisticated, but it takes beautiful photographs of crystal clear snowflakes, capturing their icy and delicate uniqueness. To create this camera, Kljatov attached an old and inexpensive 44M-5 Helios lens to his Canon Powershot A650 using a board, tape, a screw, and a piece of glass. (You can read a more in-depth description of the process on this blog post.) These featured photographs were all shot on dark woollen fabric in natural light (typically a grey cloudy sky), but Kljatov also shoots the flakes against a piece of glass. Whichever background he uses, Kljatov captures the elegant geometry of each flake without the use of fancy equipment.