Japanese photographer Takehito Miyatake’s images capture darkened compositions with illuminated trails of fireflies and forests. The ethereal works are lyrical in their treatment of light, and we see it dancing throughout fields, streams, and into the night sky. It captures not only the beauty of nature, but of the way that darkness can feel magical.
Miyatake’s work is influenced by two things: the devastating Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011, and waka, a classical form of Japanese poetry. These types of poems are written in 31 syllables and arranged in five lines, of 5/7/5/7/7 syllables, and they are meant as an expression of the human heart’s response to nature. The photographer considers his work similar to the poetry form, as “snapshots” of the forces that have shaped and destroyed Japan.
In an interview with Mia Tram, Associate Photo Editor at TIME, Miyatake talks about an influential piece of Waka poetry, stating:
The poetry of Kubota represents what I saw and felt when I took these images. When I photograph, a mystic feeling comes over me. I sometimes admire the mysterious legends that are a part of Japanese folklore that express a fear of nature. I believe Waka also intends to capture this sort of fear of the mystic beauty of nature. (via Lightbox)
Artist Lauren Tickle uses an unconventional material for her accessories: US currency. Titled Increasing Value, the objects are made out of bills, silver, latex, and more, formed into intricate pieces that you can actually wear. Tickle has her Master’s degree in jewelry, and the exquisite works don’t immediately strike the viewer as being composed of currency. Instead, the designs take advantage of the bold flourishes we see on money and the green lines appear as a pattern rather than a past president’s face.
Tickle writes about the conceptual meaning behind her work, which is titled based on how much currency was used in its creation.
My work is an experiment in the concepts of value and adornment. The Values Exploration process takes currency of defined value, distills it to graphic elements, then resynthesizes an object of much greater value. How and why are these notes distanced from their face value? Idea, concept, process, and labor create value. Is this new, finished form a microcosm of industrial production? or a parody?
I force wearers and observers to reflect on the concept of adornment in our society. One of the most conscious actions humans undertake is the decision of what to wear or not. My work takes underlying materialism and makes it explicit, imploring evaluation from all sides in each social context. (via Escape Kit)
Amsterdam-based artist Cedric Laquieze has recently completed an exquisite series of taxidermy Fairies. These probably aren’t the type of fairies you’re imagining – no Tinkerbell-looking creatures here. Instead, the small, delicate sculptures are constructed using a myriad of different insect species, bones, seeds, and even scorpion parts, giving them a quasi-bug look.
Laquieze uses the brilliant blues, greens, oranges, and more to form the fairies’ wings, headdresses, and bodies. The insects are meticulously crafted and seamlessly integrate all of the otherwise disparate parts into a whole. While they might not look like the typical storybook cartoons, they are definitely more detailed and visually intriguing. The artist’s interpretation lends itself to darker, less cheery tales where fairies don’t have to be good. (Via Archie McPhee)
If you find yourself at the High Line in New York City, you can view an installation titled Skittles by artist Josh Kline. It features a large, industrial-sized refrigerator that contains a cultural food trend – smoothies. But, these aren’t the kind you’d want to drink. Instead being packed with fruits and veggies, Kline has ingredients like credit cards, sneakers, phone bills, and more encased in a bottle.One concoction reads: “williamsburg, credit card, american apparel, kale chips, kombucha, microbrew, quinoa, agave,” meaning that they are just sips away.
Each of Kline’s “smoothies” represents a different type of contemporary lifestyle. Components of the drinks spell out stereotypes that we’d associate with the person that lives it. The minimally-designed bottles are clear with the ingredients labeled on the outside. While the packaging all looks the same, it’s the contents that set each apart. Some are colored red while others look like they contain trash. Grouped together, they showcase the physical aspects of a persona who is a product of our culture.
Kline’s Skittles is part of the larger group exhibition Archeo, which is on display until March 2015. (via Laughing Squid. Photos via nyctaeus)
Photographer Patrick Willocq grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its culture has shaped his work as an adult. In the series I am Walé Respect Me, Willocq provides us with a peek into tribal traditions that are still practiced in the DR Congo. These particular photographs create a narrative that portrays the stories of primiparous (first-time) nursing mothers. They are colorful scenes featuring compositions that are set like a stage, as we see objects hanging from a not-so-invisible string. Willocq speaks more about his images that blend the truth with the fantastical:
I’ve always been fascinated by native tribes because I feel they have a wealth that we have somehow lost. To document this beautiful tribute to motherhood, fertility and femininity, I proposed to some Walés to participate in staged photographs. Each set-up worked as a visual representation of one of the subjects that the Walé would sing about on the day of her release from seclusion. On that day, she sings the story of her own loneliness, and with humor praises her own behavior while discrediting her Walé rivals. (Via Juxtapoz)
Croatian photographer Ino Zeljak’s series entitled Metamorfoza highlights peoples resemblances by combining multiple portraits into a single photograph.While we’re all different in our own special way, some of us look pretty similar to one another. Because with over 7 billion people in the world, many people have the same types of facial features, whether we’re related to that person or not. Sometimes it’s genetics while other times it’s just pure coincidence.
Using brothers, best friends, and parents, Zeljak splits the faces in half with Photoshop and expertly places the disparate parts together. Features are lined up and blended perfectly. His handiwork is so subtle that each image is almost indistinguishable as two people. Instead, they look like one slightly unsettling person who has different color eyes or a crooked nose. But all things considered, it’s reveals that we can look so homogeneous that you’d hardly give it a second glance. (Via designboom)
Beauty is a treasured thing in our culture, and Turkish artist Merve Morkoç, aka Lakor mis, turns this ideal on its head. At first glance their paintings are of seemingly young, glowing-skinned models, but a longer gaze reveals that these subjects all have something seriously wrong with them. Coupled with their well-coiffed hair are fantastical disfigurations that you’d see in a horror film. Warped eyelids, caved in faces, and rashes exist on these young women.
Any sort of pleasant response you initially had is probably gone, and the works are like a train wreck that you can’t look away from. The strange details are intriguing, and it speaks to Morkoç’s expert handling of the medium that they are easily able to fool us into thinking something that’s repulsive is actually beautiful. (Via Hi Fructose)
These bizarre photographs by British artist James Ostrer feature himself and others covered in thick, sticky-looking layers of candy, frosting, and other junk food. Decadent edibles look hardened and become a strange replacement for conventional masks and armor.
Candy and sweets are often associated with joy, but looking at Ostrer’s work its hard to feel that way. They aren’t delightful, but are visceral. Frosting is slathered on haphazardly with licorice used to create outlines. Sometimes, the lines are droopy and it appears that the entire piece is melting. The result is a peculiar and unsettling group of photographs that speaks to the sickening amount of junk food we have available as well as a reinterpretation of the self portrait.
These photos are currently on display in his exhibition Wotsit All About at the Gazelli Art House in London through September 11th of this year.