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)
There’s always something more to be said in a failed romantic relationship. No matter who was right or wrong, time allows for reflection by both parties. But, more often than not, we don’t get the chance to say our peace. Photographer Jennifer McClure offers an intimate look at these types of situations in her series, You Who Never Arrived. She explores her past relationships by putting herself in front of the camera and reimagines the situations of former loves. McClure re-stages the events in hotels, using friends and acquaintances to play the part of beaus.
This series is no doubt an intimate one, as we see the photographer’s vulnerability on display. Her perception of the past was changed in this exercise, and she explains to Feature Shoot:
I thought I was going to find out what was wrong with all of the men I dated. I had assumed that I was ready for a grown-up relationship and that I simply wasn’t choosing well. After hearing what all of the stand-ins had to say about my actions and my behavior, I saw that I always ran away when things started to get serious. I was afraid to let anyone get too close, and I much preferred fantasy over reality. I always shot before the men arrived (when I was still right) and after they left (when I was so very wrong). The most devastating photos to me are the ones I shot the mornings after.
Since everything was shot in a hotel room, the sets were always a surprise, forcing the photographer to improvise in things like lighting and decor. Combined with the improv’d dialogue, these images feel like film stills. (Via Feature Shoot)
Believe it or not, these images by Todd Baxter are not paintings. They are photos, crafted with a painterly touch that clearly demonstrates the photographer’s influence of other fine art media such as painting, drawing, and sculpture. Baxter loads his compositions with exquisite details, and we see hand-made badges, fur scarves, and even exposed entrails that make up his series Owl Scouts. The surreal coloring and controlled lighting makes it easy to forget that what we’re looking at is a well-considered photograph.
Narrative images tell the story of young scouts that trek through the wilderness and encounter a series of adventures. Some are neat, like when they find an owl that’s been burrowed underground. Other times are more gruesome and include a near-drowning and cut, bloody hand.
The formal considerations of the photographs and their subject matter can’t help but make someone think of Wes Anderson’s film Moonrise Kingdom. Baxter’s work is more surreal and dark, however, where the woods is a character in the tale of these young scouts. (Via Optically Addicted)
Photographer Florencia Durante’s series uses light to wrap her seated subject in a brilliant spectacle of energy. It appears as fractured, gestural drawings that dances on the floor, up the bald man’s (named Ruso) legs and sometimes around his head or out the door. The white-yellow spirit is erratic and is chaotic.
In addition to having a drawn quality to them, these photographs are sculptural. Durante builds up form and by layering line upon line, taking into consideration the contour of the knees and the head. She creates a halo and a veil around her subject.
The light seems simultaneously helpful and terrifying. Ruso sometimes sits idly as it moves around and throughout him. Other times, he has his head in his hands waiting for impending doom.
On a subway, personal space is a luxury that you don’t always have. People invade your “bubble,” and while annoying, it can be especially problematic for women. Artist Kathleen McDermott set to even the playing field with her Personal Space Dress, a garment that physically extends the space around a wearer’s body.
This dress is the second in a series titled Urban Armor. It’s a relatively simple concept with technology integrated into its design. When proximity sensors identify that someone’s too close, the sharp plastic scaffolding within the garment causes the hemline to expand outward. Anyone who’s in its area will be ushered away by a patterned-pink skirt.
McDermott got the idea for garment while living in Hong Kong where she’s currently finishing her MFA. Interested in wearable technology, the artist wanted to expand its purposes beyond something that only techies might have. She tells Co.Design, “Taking a photo of your sky diving experience while wearing Google Glass is awesome, but it’s really a small minority of the population that will have this experience. I wanted to explore how wearable technology could impact your physical world, and help the wearers, specifically women, exercise more control over their surroundings.”
While it doesn’t excuse and or solve the problem of sexual harassment on public transportation, it certainly makes a clever point. McDermott plans on making instructions and code for the Personal Space Dress available for download. So, theoretically you could make one of your very own and give yourself some extra breathing room. (Via Co.Design)
Australian artist Ben Frost creates image mashups that combine fast food, pills, and iconic figures of popular culture. He paints these celebrities on things like McDonald’s french fry sleeves and boxes for prescription drugs. We see Superman, Popeye, Mr. T, and even Snoopy the Dog all painted on objects that symbolize excess and gluttony.
Frost finds inspiration for his work from graffiti, collage, photo-realism, and sign writing. It’s not a surprise, as he tags things much like a graffiti artist would. His work is subversive and doesn’t hold back any punches. I’ve included stuff here that’s generally safe for work, but if you check out his website, you’ll see a lot of hyper-sexualized manga-inspired characters. But even with these relatively tame images, you can still sense the scathing critique of the mainstream. Greasy meals, too many pills, and processed foods are rotting our health in a similar fashion that television, media, and politics are rotting our brain.
In photographer Filippo Romano’s fascinating series titled Nomadic Sellers, he documents the roaming salespeople of Africa. The images are mostly focused in eastern Nairobi and specifically in the slum of Mathare, which has a population of 600,000 people within 3 square miles. Each portrait features the peddler and their wares against the washed-out backdrop of the city streets.
We see the men with shoes and bras tied around their necks and arms full of music and wooden utensils. Their earnings are meager, and the goods they sell make a tenth of what pesticide peddlers yield. Those salespeople have most lucrative product and stand to make between 1,000 to 2,000 shellini (10 to 20 euros) in profit.
Romano notes that selling on the streets and going door-to-door is one of the most common trades in the African world. A seller who travels with goods on their back has most likely created their job through the necessity to fend for themselves. They are entrepreneurs.
Nomadic Sellers points to the infectious nature of global consumerism, and how even the far parts of the world want to own a pair of Nikes. At its very core, the series is an intriguing look at the innate human desire to own stuff, no matter how necessary or frivolous it may seem. (Via Feature Shoot)
When you see a photograph of a monument, often it’s just of the sculpture itself and not within the context of the larger landscape. It gives the appearance that these colossal constructions live within their own world. Photographer Fabrice Fouillet shatters this illusion in his series titled Colosses, in which he zooms out and provides us with what’s surrounding these massive creations. Many times, they make the monument appear less special and more ordinary.
Fouilllet explains his thinking behind the photographs:
The series “Colosses” is a study of the landscape embracing those monumental commemorative statues. Although hugeness is appealing, exhilarating or even fascinating, I was first intrigued by the human need to build gigantic declarations. Then I asked myself how such works could be connected to their surroundings. How can they fit in the landscape, despite their excessive dimensions and their fundamental symbolic and traditional functions?
That is why I chose to photograph the statute from a standpoint outside their formal surroundings (touristic or religious) and to favor a more detached view, watching them from the sidelines. This detachment enabled me to offer a wider view of the landscape and to place the monuments in a more contemporary dimension.
The statues that are surrounded by nature fit more comfortably in their environment. It feels less chaotic and a more peaceful place, in line with the intention of many religious practices. But, even when they are among shopping centers, you can’t ignore the stunning presence that these monuments have. (Via Flavorwire)