Looking at these landscapes, you’d never believe that they were underwater. The incredible fishtanks are entries from the obscure Japanese-based International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest, the largest of its kind. Tiny worlds are meticulously assembled over the course of months or even years. This is not a cheap hobby; fragile aquascaping layouts like these are expensive to grow and maintain.
Considering how grandiose these tanks are, it’s no surprise to learn that the fish are not the primary concern. They aren’t included in many aquariums, although you can spot some of them in these photographs.
Competitors need to be skilled in more than just aqua construction to do well. They need to be experts in areas including biology, design, and photography. The best fishtanks are a combination of complex landscape arrangements and healthy yet unusual-looking greens. These aquatic layouts are escapist, in a way. For a moment, we forget what we’re looking at and that it’s underwater. Instead, its unusual miniature features make us feel like we’re an omnipotent giant that could destroy these worlds at any time. (Via 22 Words)
Flickr user Harvezt imagines what the reverse side of iconic album covers would look like in their illustrative series, The Dark Side of the Covers. Taking famous works by Nirvana, David Bowie, The Beatles and more, the artist not only fills in the other half of well-known characters, but creates entire worlds with a sinister-esque twist.
Harvezt’s additions to these albums make them more well-rounded and conceptually rich. Our new, second viewpoint enhances the story. On Dio’s cover for Dream Evil, we see the original image has a demon making the devil horn with his hands as he peers into a sleeping child’s bedroom. Harvezt’s reverse illustration reveals the the demon being cheered on by a crowd of supporters sporting their own horns.
With all of the thoughtful details that the artist put into these works, they pay homage to these influential covers. Today’s digital downloads don’t always place an emphasis on album artwork, and makes Harvezt’s series a tribute to a time when people purchased physical copies of their music. (Via Metal Injection)
If you’ve ever paused a movie when a character is in mid sentence, you’ve probably encountered some unflattering-looking pauses. Photographer Julia Peirone‘s series More Than Violet is comprised of these moments. Young female subjects are caught rolling their eyes, twirling their hair, and playing with their jewelry, all with faces contorted in conversation. The images are simultaneously awkward and amusing as we see teenage girls acting in a stereotypical fashion.
To achieve these small moments, Peirone shot hundreds of frames and selected ones that signify a not-a-child but not-a-woman moment. Their clothing, hairstyles, and colorful choice in makeup show their youth. It’s also their mannerisms that give their age away, where they are trying to act confident but are still in the dreaded teenager phase where you look younger than you mentally feel.
More Than Violet is a revealing series of portraiture that captures the uncertainty and uncomfortableness of being looked at and getting your picture taken. Considering that we are so defined by our peer group, these photos offer a truthful look at how we navigate between trying to find our true selves and the self that is “cool.” (Via Feature Shoot)
If you’ve ever been in a mostly empty mall, you know how strange it can feel to walk among a space that’s only half alive. But what about when a mall is completely abandoned? That’s even more surreal. As more and more of these once-booming retail centers close, the Dead Malls Enthusiast Facebook group has mapped many of them throughout America. Adventurous photographers have captured the aftermath of of these departed spaces.
Many of these abandoned malls were built in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and it shows. The interiors and decor look dated, tacky, and claustrophobic compared to the open-air shopping that’s popular today. Some have fared better structurally than others. Photographs depict buildings that’ve been closed for years and have demolished ceilings and broken glass. Many of the malls have dead plants that have long since lost their leaves.
These abandoned places are apocalyptic and frightening. But at the same time, they pique our curiosity and we wish were there exploring for ourselves. (Via Buzzfeed)
Los Angeles-based photographer Jonpaul Douglass gives us a glimpse into the secret lives of pizzas in his series Pizza in the Wild. These strange and amusing images are just that – perfectly-shaped pies that are alone in this crazy world, draping themselves over street signs, satellite dishes, and even a pony.
These photographs were inspired by a graffitied image of pizza that Douglass saw in his neighborhood. He was tickled by the sight and decided to replicate it using the real deal, but wanted a very specific type of pizza. It had to be the quintessential pie, like the one the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would devour. Douglass found the perfect pizza in the form of Little Caesar’s $5 pepperoni pizzas.
All told, Douglass has gone through 20 pizzas or so in his series. In an interview with Global Yodel, he reveals that some are better kept than others:
Much of time I will pick up two pizzas and then after I run around town photographing them I will put them in my fridge in case I get another opportunity If you look at the series you can see that some pizzas are fresh and some look to be days old. This works because some situations call for a floppy pizza and some call for a stiff pizza. I also must admit that there has been times where a used pizza gets eaten anyhow, it’s tough to ride around with a freshly baked pizza and not be tempted. (Via Neatorama and Global Yodel)
Altering found photographs with a ghoulish touch, artist Angela Deane’s series Ghost Photographs depicts the supernatural having a good time. The quirkiness of subject matter pairs well with the aged source materials. Large group images are no longer a sea of smiling faces; Now, they are white, hollow-looking sheets staring back at the viewer. It’s amusing more than it is creepy because they aren’t terrorizing people, and existing as a normal person would.
Ghosts symbolize what’s gone but not forgotten. Deane paints over portraits of time that we’ll never get back. It’s the passing of a memory, and something that won’t easily leave us, no how matter good or bad.
Perhaps this series doesn’t need to be so existential. We can enjoy these small, strange works about ghosts on vacations, celebrating birthdays, and at the amusement park. Because hey, sometimes the supernatural needs a break from haunting. (Via Flavorwire)
Documentary filmmaker and photographer Angela Boatwright spent about six months recording the punk-rock scene in East Los Angeles. The series, titled East Los, takes an in-depth look those who are active in it. This not only includes shows, but delves deeper to showcase the individual lives outside of the mosh pits. We see this facet of the Latino community in their homes, with grandparents, and their unique personal styles.
This project uses still images as well as video footage from various events. East Los gives us a glimpse into a probably unfamiliar “backyard” music scene; It champions and explores youth, catharses, and the idea of family. We see love, friendships, injuries, and ice cream. It’s not just something that these people do on the weekends, but is a lifestyle that is a framework for how to view the world. (Via Feature Shoot)
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see people with copious amounts of tattoos on their arms, legs, and head. But, it wasn’t that long ago that these permanent adornments were only found on a very specific group of people – prisoners. Tattoos back then were markedly different than their modern counterparts, and some were preserved for posterity in formaldehyde. The tiny pieces of history are an eerie but a fascinating look at the past.
The designs of early tattooing were much simpler than they are today. Instead of the needles we’re familiar with, prisoners would use crude tools like razor blades, broken glass, paper clips, or wires. Ink was substituted for pencil refills, charcoal, watercolor paints, or crayons and mixed with water, fat, or urine.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a study of the prisoners’ tattoos began in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University, and researchers wanted a way to document their findings. While photography might have been the simpler (and more obvious) solution, prisoners’ tattooed skin was removed and preserved.
The extractions, encased in glass, are small curiosities that don’t really look like tattoos at all. Removed from the context of the body, they are symbols for crimes like burglary, rape, and prostitution. (Via Scribol)