About Leslie Tane

Leslie Tane is a curator, designer, educator, and writer living in Western Massachusetts. After 20 years of design practice, she received her MFA in Graphic Design from Vermont College of Fine Arts in October 2013. http://www.leslietane.com

Sweetly Satirical Photos Of The World’s Best Father And His Daughter Alice Bee

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Dave Engledow is the world’s best father. He even has the book to prove it. Engledow’s ongoing photo series “documenting” life with his daughter Alice Bee is dangerously charming. Initiated in 2010, when Alice Bee was about six weeks old, Engledow has Photoshopped the pair into absurd, perilous, and touching scenarios. His wife Jen helps with every shoot, sometimes entering the frame.

“It’s funny-my initial intent with these images was to create something a bit darker that subverted the cutesy, overly-poignant clichés you see in a lot of traditional baby portraiture. I never intended for this project to be a heartwarming, feel-good story. Ironically, what a lot of people tell me they take away from these images is the obvious love that I have for Alice Bee-people see beyond the silly, satirical character I portray in these images and instead see a father who has decided to spend his precious free-time creating something special and unique for his daughter. I guess that’s pretty cool, if unintended and unexpected.” (Source)

To create the images, Engledow shoots Alice Bee first, a process that can take anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour. He then photographs himself and digitally combines the images, which takes between 5-15 hours depending on the complexity of the shot. The series first gained attention in 2013 when Kickstarter featured his campaign to turn the photos into a calendar. Confessions of the World’s Best Father, the book, followed in May 2014.

“The character I portray in this series is intended to be a parody of the father I hope I never become–distracted, self-absorbed, neglectful, clueless, or even occasionally overbearing.” (Source)

Part perplexed, part demented, Engledow commits to his role as bumbling dad. The result is a labor of love that captures the unique bond between father and daughter.

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Sean Scheidt Photographs Before And After Burlesque Transformations

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Everyone loves a Before and After, and Sean Scheidt’s photography series “Burlesque” is a wonderful example of the power of makeup, costume, props, and attitude. Scheidt has captured the transformation of burlesque performers from street clothes to stage wear in his behind-the-scenes images.

“I use basic lighting and a black backdrop. Black is emptiness. You place a person there and they are who they are. The interview process is really as much about getting the person comfortable as it is about getting to know them. As the shoot progresses, they transform into the persona they portray on stage. I do ask them, ‘What defines you on stage’ but otherwise try to stay back and let the narrative develop.” (Source)

Bawdy, provocative, confrontational — burlesque has been enjoying a revival, fronted by pop-culture celebrity Dita Von Teese who began performing in 1992. Though the acts include nudity, it can almost be beside the point. On stage, the larger-than-life personas use their time to make people think.

In his portraits, Scheidt captures the virtually nondescript everyday face of the performers. These are people who, aside from the occasional colored hair, look, well… normal. In Scheidt’s description of the work, he says that they tended to be quite reserved at first, which made the transformation into their characters all the more transfixing.

“Capturing those moments, I believe, helps to humanize these performers. If you were just seeing the “after” shots alone, you might make certain pre-conceived judgments about the person behind the make-up. I hope this series gets people to think about their reactions to these men and women.” (Source)

Not unlike drag, burlesque exaggerates, forcing us to examine society’s standards of beauty, sensuality, gender, and power. Scheidt has unmasked the people behind the performance by presenting them in more clothes, but with less artifice.

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Ikea Style Instructions To Assemble Your Favorite Monsters

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Black and white line illustrations, no written instructions, umlauts scattered like rose petals, that smiley cartoon guy—this certainly looks familiar. Illustrator Ed Harrington has subverted the ubiquitous directions sheet for his “Ikea Instruction” series. In Harrington’s world, it’s not streamlined Swedish furniture that’s being assembled, but monsters, killers, and Edward Scissorhands.

The clever illustrations make use of all of Ikea’s standard elements: the illustrated pieces, the bold sans-serif font, the crossed-out warning images. The Vörhees requires a simple assembly of one very large knife, one hockey mask, and one Allen wrench, whereas the Edvard needs 14 units of two different types of scissors, a heart, and hand removal. So far the DIY instruction sheets include Brundlefly from The Fly, a Human Centipede, Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th, Edward Scissorhands and Pinhead, the Cenobite leader from Hellraiser.

Merging two incredibly popular, and incredibly different, pop culture genres makes this series work. Who could be next in the flat pack? Perhaps a small striped shirt, overalls, and an axe. Who wants to build Chücky?

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Laura Dodsworth Photographs 100 Real Women’s Breasts In “Bare Reality”

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UK photographer Laura Dodsworth took 100 photos of women’s bare breasts for her project Bare Reality. Her goal is to present a non-Photoshopped spectrum of bodies of women aged from 19 to 101. It’s not just about appearances, though. Dodsworth also gathers personal stories about the participants and narratives about the way women feel about their breasts.

“More than simply part of our bodies, breasts represent sexuality, motherhood and femininity. When we talk about breasts we talk about intimate aspects of our lives as women, such as growing up, sexuality, motherhood, breastfeeding, relationships, body image, health, cancer and ageing.”

There has been a lot of attention paid to the portrayal of women’s bodies recently. Natural beauty and non-surgically altered physiques have started to appear more frequently in ad campaigns and fashion magazines. During European summers, it’s more common to see topless women of all sizes and shapes. In the US, the breasts we tend to see outside of our mirrors and homes are youthful or enhanced. It leads to a skewed view of reality; what to expect from one’s own body and what to expect in a partner.

These real women with real bodies are all different. Some are marked by age and time, others by disease. Small, large, upright, and sagging, each portrait has a story, including: “I’m one of the lucky ones,” “Breasts make you feel like a proper woman,” and “My milk went when Hitler marched in.” Dodsworth writes:

“I have always been fascinated by the dichotomy between women’s personal lives and how they are depicted in the media; between how we feel about breasts privately and how they are presented for public consumption. Bare Reality is, for me, the inevitable result of being a woman, a feminist and a photographer.”

 

Dodsworth’s is currently holding a kickstarter campaign to publish a book of this project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stunningly Beautiful Photos Of Man o’ Wars Resemble Technicolor Rorschach Tests

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Using a custom light table, photographer Aaron Ansarov has captured the ethereal and frightening beauty of Portuguese Man o’ Wars in his series “Zooids.” Each one of these floating, compound marine animals are actually a colony of four different kinds of organism, each adapted to perform a specific function for the benefit of the whole, unable to survive on their own.

“As if looking through a special lens into a different dimension, Aaron has given them personalities that seems to shift with every viewer. Through Aaron’s masterful use of light, technique, and ability to go beyond the obvious, we are able to see patterns come together to create a fine-art collection of images entitled, Zooids: Faces of Tiny Warriors-beautiful creatures seeking their place in the world.”

Like gorgeous Rorschach tests, the images are symmetrical and abstract, familiar and indecipherable. The photographs are fine art, ready for display, yet scientists use them for research as well, since the creatures can only be kept alive in a lab for a limited time.
Why are these creatures so beautiful? From an ecological perspective, they don’t need to lure their prey with their multi-colored translucent displays. They look like blown glass, colorful and tactile, yet touching one would result in painful stings and welts from its long, stringy tentacles. It’s certainly a metaphor, that something so lovely can cause so much pain.

Ansarov finds the Portuguese Man o’ Wars on the beaches in Florida, having been blown ashore by the wind. He takes them to his studio, shoots them, and then returns them to the place on the beach where he found them, allowing nature to decide their fate.

“I have two rules with this project. The first is that captured creatures must be released unharmed. The second rule is that I keep shoots to 15 minutes or less, even if I don’t get the picture I hoped for. I don’t want to frighten my subjects. Besides, there’s always another time-they live right here.” (Source)

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Carl Beazley’s Surreal Distorted Portraits

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The faces in UK artist Carl Beazley’s portraits are twisted and multiplied, clearly surreal, yet based on real faces with their pores and blemishes. Completely self-taught, the 26-year old artist credits his unique point of view to being able to find his own voice absent the outside influence of teachers or mentors.

“….by not going to University and not studying the all different painting techniques from history, I feel it has given me the freedom of learning from trial and error. I am always trying to look for something new and original that’s never been done before, and although I love the paintings of the old masters, it is important to me to look to the future so that in a hundred years from now we have our own history, not just a regurgitated version of the generation that came before us ……if we don’t try to take art to the next level by looking forward, we will just end up going in circles.”

It’s an interesting view of an art education, especially in light of the fact that of the artists whose works are influential to him, Picasso attended several art schools and Francis Bacon was an art school tutor. For all of the interesting ideas and successful execution of his work, it’s clear that Carl Beazley is just starting out in art, and in life.

“I’m fully aware that I’m only at the very early stages of this artistic journey and I have a hell of a lot of experimenting and searching to do before I’ll be totally happy. In fact I don’t think I’ll ever be content with my work, which is a good thing because it keeps you going! In a weird way, I’m content in not being content. (Source)”

It will be interesting to see how Beazley’s art progresses, and to follow his career to find out if he ever finds any value in learning from the past to change his view of the future. Perhaps he’d find that an excellent art education is more than landscapes and art history and color theory. His work is very good—maybe allowing outer voices in could help make it great.

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Cynthia Consentino’s Surreal Ceramics Mix And Match Heads, Torsos And Legs

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You won’t find cadavers or skeletal remains in ceramic artist Cynthia Consentino’s “Exquisite Corpse Series.” The project takes its name from the Parisian Surrealist parlor game, in which each player wrote a word or drew an image on a sheet of paper, folded the paper to conceal it, and passed it to the next player for his or her contribution. The results were wildly incongruous poems and images, gathered ideas from many minds.

In Consentino’s series, hers is the only mind at work, and the results are strangely charming and more than a little disturbing. The hybrid figures combine animal with human and the occasion household object. They play with the idea of gender stereotypes, something that began to interest the artist after reading a study where five-year-olds were asked to name a representational animal.

“The boys identified with animals that were predatory, and the girls with animals that were cute and cuddly. One girl even answered with a flower. I thought that there would also be girls who wanted to be tigers, but then I remembered loving playing a flower in a school play at that age. (Source)”

To loosen these gender constructs, she made varied heads, torsos, and legs then assembled them in ceramic sculptures of various configurations, some almost life-size. With their softly rounded limbs and pastel and pretty color palette they can seem almost sweet, but the fierce wolves heads and deadly weapons belie their innocence.

“My style seems a bit nostalgic, something from the fifties, or from folk art. It derives much of its character from children’s things: fairy tale, cartoons, dolls, games, as well as the domestic world. The work often incorporates imagery that is loaded with symbolism and history, such as flowers, animals and the ceramic figurine. It is very much about the familiar, things of our dreams, our stories, our childhood. (Source)”

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Manipulated Photos Of Perfectly Symmetrical Faces Question Conventional Beauty

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Photographer Alex John Beck uses photo manipulation to explore the idea that symmetrical faces are the most beautiful in his series “Both Sides Of”. After taking portraits of a diverse collection of people, he digitally divides them. He then duplicates each side, matching right half to right and left to left, creating two new portraits of perfectly symmetrical faces. The original portrait is not shown.

It’s not a new idea—Julian Wolkenstein’s 2010 series “Symmetrical Portraits” is very similar. Wolkenstein’s website, echoism, also allows users to upload their own pictures to be made symmetrical by an open source program on the site.

Turkish photographer Eray Eren does a version as well, though his include a third, non-manipulated shot for comparison.

Still, the quality of these images is excellent, and they continue to evoke questions relating to beauty and character. It’s tempting to create a narrative for the “people” in these portraits—so similar but not the same—to look from one image to the other and measure attraction and interest. Both created faces are absolutely symmetrical, theoretically proving the commonly held belief that symmetrical faces are the most appealing. And yet, they’re not. The artist says on his website:

“The less symmetrical they are initially, the more different the characters suggested by each face. The more symmetrical faces betray their owners more subtly, however, one side proves clearer, the other more inward looking.”

Movie and video game animators have long struggled with the issue of how to make a realistic human face that can hold up to high definition viewing. It’s incredibly difficult to create faces that look different from all angles, in different moods, on different days. Often it’s the overly symmetrical features and consistency of appearance that make the characters obviously unreal. The asymmetry in our faces is what makes us human. (via Feature Shoot)

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