Beyoncé Knowles – “Master cleanse diet,” lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt, and laxative herbal tea
Bill Clinton – “Cabbage diet,” cabbage soup, mixed with other vegetables.
Luigi Cornaro – “Sober Life,” fifteenth-century Venetian nobleman, 400ml of solid food or eggs and 500ml wine.
Lord Byron – “Romantic poet’s diet,” potatoes in vinegar and soda water.
Whether you find it oddly comforting or just downright strange, fad diets have existed long before our time. Photographer Dan Bannino documents the temporary eating habits of celebrities as far back as Henry VIII and as recent as Beyonce. He goes beyond simple tablet settings, however, and crafts moody, rich-looking scenes that are luscious in their color and texture. Bannino describes the inspiration for his series entitled Still Diet, writing:
With this series my aim was to capture the beauty that lies in this terrible constriction of diets and deprivation, giving them the importance of an old master’s painting. I wanted to make them significant, like classic works of arts that are becoming more and more weighty as they grow older. My aim was to show how this weirdness hasn’t changed even since the 15th century. (Via Artnet)
Origami is both impressive in its folded construction as well as its ability to signify the need for change by urging us to look beyond the paper forms. Animals are no doubt the most popular subject, and Japanese artist Takayuki Hori has a twist on the conventional foldings. He crafts these animals to appear as victims of Japan’s urban pollution, and the pieces expose the sad truths of what happens to these creatures. Hori showcases garbage in their insides using X-ray-like detail. If you look closely, you can see tiny bottles and other trash within the stomachs and ribcages.
These works appear in Hori’s exhibition Oritsunagumono (which means “things folded and connected”) which critiques the polluted coastal waterways and the effects they have on its inhabitants. Images are printed onto translucent sheets of paper and later folded into their origami shapes. The result are a ghostly tribute and haunting reminder of our impact on the environment. (Via Fast Co. Design)
Artist Leonardo Ulian offers another interpretation of the mandala with his assemblages of electronic components, copper wire, and more. The intricate, finely detailed works radiate the innards of what makes technology tick. Ulian crafts smaller geometric patterns within a larger, more general shape that become more impressive once you see close up shots of his handiwork.
The mandala is typically a spiritual symbol that is often destroyed after its created (like the ones created from sand). This is a practice that establishes a sacred space, which is Ulian’s technological collage can be a metaphor for. Circuit boards, computer chips, and wire connectors have not only transformed the way we live, but the way in which we see the world. The artist could be saying that our dependency on it is akin to the worshiping of a larger being. (Via The Inspiration Provider)
Do you know someone who, beneath their clothes, has extensive tattoos? They might look unassuming from the outside, but underneath reveals their impressive collection of body art. That’s the idea behind Vancouver-based photographer Spencer Kovats’ series Uncovered, in which he invites strangers to pose in two photos- one where they appear fully-clothed and the other where we see their ink in all its glory.
The subjects have colorful, full sleeves and backs of intricate designs that showcase the art of tattooing. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the two photos, as someone sheds their skin to who they really are. They look more relaxed and at ease. At the same time, it also challenges us to think about how we judge people and how this changes after we see stripped down.
Kovats is one of 11 photographers participating in the “The Tattoo Project” that began during a long weekend 2010. Hundreds of tattooed people journeyed to shared studio space to pose before the cameras. The photographers captured thousands of portraits that each explored different aspects of body art. (Via Huffington Post)
The fantastical works of Cerise Doucède illustrates the daydreams that we all have. In their series entitled Égarements, the French photographer shows people living their everyday lives, but who are frozen in a moment of contemplation. Around them is disarray, or, their fantasy. A child looks up and sees paper cranes above him while a woman peeling apples is similarly surrounded by the same fruit.
Doucède’s series is alluring in the fantastical sense, as we look at these compositions of where things are out of the ordinary. The photographs are formally striking; it’s visually satisfying to see these things levitate and appear to float in midair, as we’re not used to this sight.
Égarements points to the moments of banality in our lives where we turn to daydreams. Our reality might not be very exciting, so these fantasies come as a form of escapism from the monotony of the everyday. A more optimistic way of looking at this series might be that these people are so engaged in what they are doing that they go beyond what is in front of them to entertain grand possibilities. Maybe we’ll go with that. (Via This Isn’t Happiness)
Before the insanely popular Lil Bub or the hilarious Doge memes of today was the photography of Harry Whittier Frees, a man who was capturing dogs and cats in odd-yet-amusing situations long before you and I were around. He fashioned a career from these adorable pictures and used them in postcards, calendars, and children’s books. The positive reception (and the fact that it made him wealthy) further proves that our obsession with cuteness is timeless. Some things really do remain the same.
These strange images show cats and dogs in dresses and bonnets, performing household chores like hanging clothes to dry or watering the plants. While it’s hard to deny the cute factor, you can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable by the unnatural positions these actors are posed in. It’s reminiscent to the work of Walter Potter, whom we recently shared here. Although there is a certain similarity to the stiff adorableness, you can feel better knowing that Frees’ animals stayed alive for their photo shoots.
Photographing these tiny creatures was no simple feat and Frees would only photograph three months out of the year. He writes about his experiences in his book Animal Land on the Air:
Rabbits are the easiest to photograph in costume, but incapable of taking many ”human“ parts. Puppies are tractable when rightly understood, but the kitten is the most versatile animal actor, and possesses the greatest variety of appeal. The pig is the most difficult to deal with, but effective on occasion. The best period of young animal models is a short one, being when they are from six to ten weeks of age. An interesting fact is that a kitten’s attention is best held through the sense of sight, while that of a puppy is most influenced by sound, and equally readily distracted by it. The native reasoning powers of young animals moreover, quite as pronounced as those of the human species, and relatively far surer. (Via Co.Design)
Amy Boone-McCreesh’s sculptures and 2-D mixed-media works are both self-referential and highlight a larger aesthetic idea, which is the visual aspect of celebrations. For years, she’s explored the way in which different cultures commemorate events in their lives, particularly how they express it with decoration and objects. Now, with a new body of work, Boone-McCreesh goes beyond this initial inspiration and uses things she’s previously created as raw material for new pieces. They debuted at a recent two-person exhibition with artist Sarah Knobel entitled Anything Sacred at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC.
Anything Sacred is a birth of new from the old. Through digital manipulation, collage, printing, and reworking, I allow visual elements from an extant body of work to become new imagery printed on vinyl, paper, and custom fabric. The complex layering, stripping, and blending of the digital with the handmade gives birth to a new visual language.
In sampling my own imagery and re-contextualizing it in an immersive visual experience that is both cyclical and unifying, I am challenging traditional notions about value and pushing for a more complex, dynamic personal aesthetic. Simultaneously, my work in Anything Sacred continues to examine the use and meaning of decoration through formal arrangement and design.
You can view Anything Sacred now at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC until June 21 of this year. More shots of the candy-colored walls and lively work after the jump.
Tragedy can yield new ways of working and thinking, especially in the case of artist Jess Landau. After a lifelong friend committed suicide in 2013, she was struck trying to come to terms with the loss, and it lead her to explore new ways to cope with the event. What resulted was a stunning series that conveys the fragility of life itself as expressed through nude figures on eggshells.
Before she landed on eggshells, Landau decided that the traditional materials of wood, papers, etc., just weren’t cutting it. She wanted something more delicate. The decision to use the shells coincided with her learning to use liquid emulsion, a chemical that makes paper light-sensitive and allows images to be projected onto it in a darkroom. “Liquid emulsion will only adhere to surfaces that have a tooth — shiny and smooth surfaces like glass and certain plastics don’t work unless you sand-blast them,” the artist explained to Huffington Post. “Eggshells have an appropriate texture for the emulsion to cling to.”
First, Landau photographed the models with a 35mm Minolta camera and then developed the images by hand in a wet lab using traditional darkroom methods and a few modifications. Because of the eggshells’ curved shape, Landau applied several layers of evenly-distributed emulsion to to them. The exposure would vary depending on the shape of the shell, making the process for each slightly unique.
The effort that went into the production of this series had therapeutic results in addition to its beautiful aesthetic qualities. “Life is fragile and temporary, and it should be cradled in the palms of our hands — which is the process that I engaged with as I delicately created each of these works manually, with my hands.” The nude bodies represent vulnerability of its subjects, and printed on a delicate surface demonstrates the fleeting nature of life itself. (Via Huffington Post)