Suzanne Heintz Photographs the American Dream With Her Mannequin Family

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Photographer Suzanes Heintz is a self-proclaimed spinster. As a single woman, she got fed up with the bombardment of questions about when she was going to get married. Tired of being pittied, she decided to confront this issue head on. She purchased two mannequins – one male and one female child – and the series Life Once Removed was born. Dressing up and posing with her fake family, she stages witty representations of the American Dream. Ski trips, vacations, and stereotypical romantic moments are all acted out by Heintz, and she sets the scene perfectly. These colorful images feel saturated, in both how they look and the emotional exuberance of the her expression and body language.

Heintz rejects the notion that to be a successful woman means that you have to fulfill a laundry list of achievements, not limited to an education, career, home, family, accomplishment, and enlightenment. In an interview with Feature Shoot, she explains why she created Life Once Removed:

I’m simply trying to get people to open up their minds and quit clinging to antiquated notions of what a successful life looks like. I want people to lighten up on each other and themselves, and embrace their lives for who it has made them, with or without the Mrs., PhD. or Esq. attached.

All of these photographs are shot on location. When Heintz lays her head in mannequin’s husband’s lap while in the park, it’s totally real, and an important aspect to Heintz’s series. She goes on to say:

While I need the public to act as character and context for the actual photo or video, I also need their responses to make the effort a success as an instigator for social change. The reaction can vary from a raised eyebrow with a head turn, to a blast of laughter, to taking their own snapshots while posing with the mannequins. It depends a lot on the location. But most importantly, it stops people in their tracks long enough to ask me what the heck I’m doing. Because the project is so audacious and flat-out funny, it helps me reach the public, and actually get them to let their guard down long enough for me to have a conversation with them. (Via Feature Shoot)

 

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Emma Howell’s Hand-Made Camera Prints Photographs Onto Glass

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In the age of digital photography and Instagram filters that make things look fakely old, glass artist and photographer Emma Howell uses a technique that is opposite of the easy, fast-paced methods popular today. Not only does she go to painstaking lengths to print an image, but she uses the unconventional surface of glass. Howell crafts hand-blown vessels and prints landscape images on them using the technique of the wet plate collodion – a photographic process that predates the Civil War. The result is a subtle and moody piece that’s a conversation between photography and form. She tells Wired Magazine, “Most people are not able to experience a place that is unaffected by the human presence. So I’m creating a way for others to experience this in a way that’s more than looking at a flat print of the cliché beach we all see and know.” The shape of the glass informs what the image is. A ripple or imperfection is meant to echo waves in the landscapes.

Howell’s pieces are irregularly shaped, so she had to build her own camera to accommodate them. She studied how large format cameras were constructed and sawed a barrel in half to act as the camera’s body. Afterwards, she fashioned a mount that allowed her to attach a traditional lens to the barrel. After six weeks of trial and error, she had a working design and began shooting.

The process of transferring an image to glass is very involved. Howell hikes to remote areas with a miniature chemistry lab and darkroom in tow, working on the fly to mix up photosensitive chemicals, coat glass, expose shots, and develop the image – all in the span of 15 minutes.(Via Wired)

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David Lynch’s Factory Photography Is As Surreal As His Films

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If you’re familiar with the films of David Lynch, then you know the subtle uneasiness that he makes you feel. It doesn’t just stop with movies, as Lynch is also a photographer.  Between 1980 and 2000, he shot monochromatic images of factories in Berlin, Poland, New York, New Jersey, and England. The result is a book of photographs titled The Factory Photographs, selections of which are currently on view  at The Photographers’ Gallery in London.

It’s clear that the filmmaker’s eye transfers effortlessly between the moving picture and a static one.  These landscapes are beautiful, but desolate and haunting; Their moodiness makes them feel as if they are of a different time and dystopian future. “I love industry. Pipes. I love fluid and smoke. I love man-made things. I like to see people hard at work, and I like to see sludge and man-made waste,” Lynch writes in his book.

The photographer practices transcendental meditation, and his penchant for delving into the strange and unconscious part of ourselves is not lost on these photographs. In the exhibit’s press release, Lynch says, “I just like going into strange worlds. A lot more happens when you open yourself up to the work and let yourself act and react to it.” These provocative images invite us to do the same. (Via Fast Company)

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Nick van Woert Covers Neoclassical Statues In Strange Chemicals

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Combining fiberglass statues with polyurethane, artist Nick van Woert‘s sculptures are swallowed up and overcome by texture and color. Artificial Neo-Classical statues are covered in multi-colored resin in a way that looks like they’ve been caught in the middle of a downpour. The visual weight of the translucent material (and emphasis on it) is something that’s at the center of van Woert’s work. In an article about him on Sight Unseen, the following is said about his philosophy of making:

Figuratively speaking, the idea is that the world we’ve built for ourselves is only as good as the materials we’ve used to build it — these days, that means all manner of plastics, strange chemicals, and the hollow plaster that replaces stone in the replica statues van Woert repurposes.

In the same article, van Woert’s practice is said to be driven by the mantra “you are what you eat.” Essentially, it’s the idea that we’d replace marble statues of Ancient Greek and Roman figures with cheap fiberglass will eventually catch up with us. The things we make now might not hold up the test of time as marble sculptures have. In his work, van Woert attempts to reconcile what it means to uphold the past visually, but not in terms of raw materials.

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Barrere And Simon Glamorize The Ever-Popular Lolcats

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Is there any doubt that cats rule the internet? Probably not, and the photographs by Barrere & Simon play into this trend with the cat-themed book Lolchats. Costumed cats depict different personalities and professions, like a painter, beach bum, beauty queen, and diplomat. Perfectly posed and accessorized, these cats are amusing and sassy.

Stories and quotes about and “said by” the cats accompany each portrait in the book. The portraits are enhanced with a little extra information. Katsumi, the rainbow, watermelon-loving cat (above) has the following written about her: “She loves soy milk, maki shaped smileys and Cat’s Eyes. Since her stay in Shibuya last summer, she learned to make the V sign with her feet and always says “meow” in Japanese. ‘Nya!’”  Likewise, Vinz, the cat with the guitar and leather jacket says, “He loves strings and shots of Jack Daniels. He hates deworming and new wave. ‘My greatest pride is my grandfather posing on the cover of the first Stray Cats’” (Via Aristide)

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Mike Leavitt’s Combines World Leaders and Star Wars

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Mike Leavitt is  already known for his playfully subversive figures that feature and poke fun at other artists, celebrities, and world leaders. In his newest series, Empire Peaks, Leavitt combines famous leaders and innovators with characters from Star Wars. Comprised of 18 figures sculpted out of wood, and each corresponds to one character from the movie franchise.  Albert Einstein’s infamous expression is sculpted into R2-D2, while Steve Jobs is his counterpart C-3PO. Michael Jackson plays the part of the adorable Ewoks. US President Barack Obama is Lando Calrissian.

Inspiration for Empire Peaks came from Leavitt’s experience growing up as a Gen-X’r raised by Baby Boomers. With both his parents working, he had to entertain himself, relying on the cheap thrills of television and plastic toys. Describing the series, he writes:

For better or worse, each ‘Empire Peaks’ non-fictional character is complicit in the world order today. We’re all shackled to our past because of endlessly echoing paradigms. David Sirota argues in ‘Back to Our Future’ for a cyclical 30-year regurgitation of politics and culture. I think it’s an inescapable human nature causing regimes to repeat themselves. ‘Empire Peaks’ are meant to reduce modern dynasties to a sci-fi soap opera of objects.

It’s all about gluttony. Serving desires lubricates civilization. Capitalism fills desire and demand. Development expands. Culture thrives. From religious redemption to material objects, mass coveting is the driving force. (Via ARTNAU)

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Surreal Buddhist Bug Project Tries To Negotiate Between Buddhism And Islam

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Cambodian-based artist Anida Yoeu Ali conceptualized The Buddhist Bug Project, which sprouted from her fascination of other religions. She was raised in the Muslim faith but is drawn towards the Buddhist religion. Her project attempts to reconcile these two interests. Ali explains:

The Buddhist Bug Project seeks to map a new spiritual and social landscape through its surreal existence amongst ordinary people and everyday environments. The Buddhist Bug (BBug) is a fantastic saffron-colored creature that can span the length of a 30-metre bridge or coil into a small orange ball. Rooted in an autobiographical exploration of identity, the Bug comes from the artist’s own spiritual turmoil between Islam and Buddhism. Set amongst everyday people in ordinary moments, the Bug provokes obvious questions of belonging and displacement.

The Bug’s colorful exterior references robes worn by the Buddhist Monks, while the style of its head piece is modeled after the Islamic Hijab. The travelling project has made its way to Cambodia, where Ali and photographer Masahiro Sugano stage site-specific performances. We see the Bug wrapped around tables, in a boat, up a flight of stairs, and more. Its presence allows for others to interact with it and take part in the project, which is part of Ali’s intent. “…meters and meters of textile act as skin, as a way for the surface of my body to extend into public spaces, and as a metaphoric device for stories to spread across an expanse.” She says. “For me, performance and storytelling become ways of bridging the interior and exterior space of self as well as initiate critical dialogues between communities and institutions. (Via design boom and The Philanthropic Museum)

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The Portraits In Donato Sansone’s Video Might Give You Nightmares

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If you aren’t careful, the video Milkyeyes by Donato Sansone might give you nightmares. The piece describes itself as “A slow and surreal video slideshow of nightmarish, grotesque and apparently static characters.” The video clocks in at just over 2 minutes and features 26 different characters, and is accompanied by music you’d hear in an old, abandoned warehouse or horror film. Some characters have faces that have been mutilated and warped to the point where they are nearly unrecognizable. Milkeyes is a name that conjures an unpleasant visual. So, it’s not surprising that this video is a visceral journey into a world of unfortunate humans. We see steam coming from their heads, stuff bubbling from their lips, and eyes floating of their head. While they are affected, the environment behind them remains static and untouched. The juxtaposition between calm and a surreal chaos makes this video both puzzling and trippy. (Via Artnau)

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