David Guttenfelder’s Never Before Seen Photographs Of North Korea Through Instagram

David Guttenfelder - Photography David Guttenfelder - Photography David Guttenfelder - Photography David Guttenfelder - Photography

North Korea is a country famous for its censorship. Even so, Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder has been able to capture images of the country and share them via Instagram. Recently, the DPRK relaxed their laws surrounding the internet. Foreigners are allowed to carry their phones with an activated 3G network. Guttenfelder talks about his motivations and experiences to Wired magazine, stating:

“In a country known for its censorship, I’m now uploading photos to Instagram from the streets of North Korea like I would anywhere else in the world. Through social media, I’m trying to piece together a picture of this country for the outside world … No one puts their hand in front of my camera, and no one tells me not to shoot things. There’s no review process. They don’t look at my pictures at all before I send them on the Associated Press wire or my Instagram account. Facebook even asks me to tag my “friends” Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung when I upload my photos.”

Displaying his photos on Instagram allows for followers to interact with Guttenfelder directly. He welcomes this, and comments on one of his photos, writing,  “I appreciate the comments and the direct connections. It has given my work a cool and unexpected extra purpose.”

Guttenfelder posts photos of everyday life, displaying different aspects of the country and the influence the regime has on the cultural landscape. Of course, because they have been “Instagram’d” they look old, but are completely contemporary. In some of these photos, based on subject matter, it’s hard to imagine that they are of our time. (Via Huh Magazine)

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Lisa Hoke Installations Using Discarded Household Items Critique And Celebrate Consumer Culture

Lisa Hoke - Installation Lisa Hoke - Installation Lisa Hoke - Installation

Using an assortment of discarded paper goods and household items, artist Lisa Hoke creates large-scale collage installations on walls. From afar, you might not realize what materials that she’s used, but upon closer inspection you’ll notice there are cardboard boxes, trading cards, cups, plates, cups, stickers, and more. The use of these items is Hoke’s way of commenting on the amount of refuse we produced and how we overlook the beauty of these objects. She’s right. If you think about all of the work that goes into designing and producing packaging, then it is a shame to discard it. Her color-coordinating, lusciously textured work gives these objects a second life and a chance for viewers to appreciate it beyond it’s primary function. Hoke even allows them to participate by donating items to be used in her work.

In an article in Arts Sarasota, Hoke says, “Castaway treasures become my tools for expression of beauty.” Her work unfolds organically, as she recognizes that you can’t completely plan for any installation.When she’s finished, the work is often a surprise to not only the viewers, but herself.

There is a both a visual delight and over stimulation that comes from looking at Hoke’s installations. This representation of our over-abundant consumer culture has a dizzying amount of bright colors, logos and patterns. They vibrate against each other, competing for our attention. Here, it seems the old adage “art imitates life” rings true. (Via Junk Culture)

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Standard Hotel’s 2014 Calendar Pays Homage to Guests’ Most Unusual Comments And Requests

"Your staff are the nicest pooch lovers in the world. Penny, my precious little wiener...is looking forward to her next stay."

“Your staff are the nicest pooch lovers in the world. Penny, my precious little wiener…is looking forward to her next stay.”

"Quality of toilet paper could be better...3-ply minimum...otherwise it was a great room and enjoyable stay."

“Quality of toilet paper could be better…3-ply minimum…otherwise it was a great room and enjoyable stay.”

"I had just given an unflattering review to a volatile pop star's latest album and heard through the grapevine he was staying at the hotel. I was certain he was going to exact some kind of revenge...after many anxious phone calls...one of your staff kindly offered to stay up with me until I calmed down."

“I had just given an unflattering review to a volatile pop star’s latest album and heard through the grapevine he was staying at the hotel. I was certain he was going to exact some kind of revenge…after many anxious phone calls…one of your staff kindly offered to stay up with me until I calmed down.”

For the holidays, the Standard Hotels produced a 2014 calendar that details a look back at 2013. In a collaboration with advertising agency and publisher KesselsKramer, the hotel chain reviewed and recreated moments from 2013’s favorite guest letters, comments, and special requests. From all of the bizarre things they had received throughout the year, they narrowed it down to 12 that were reenacted by the hotels’ staff.

If you’ve ever worked in the retail or service industry, you know how weird or picky some people can be. The comments and requests that the Standard Hotels receive is no different. One customer claimed their TV was possessed. Another believed that the hot tub had melted their prescription lenses. One guest was a music journalist (directly above) so anxious about recent scathing review he published that hotel staff stayed to keep him company until he calmed down. He was very appreciative.

Scenes were shot by French multimedia artist Thomas Mailaender. The calendar is available for sale through the Standard Hotels online shop.  (Via Creative Review)

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65 Artists Bring You Holiday Cheer By Cleverly Interpeting The Yule Log

yule log

Untitled from Yule Log 2.0 on Vimeo.

Reruns from Yule Log 2.0 on Vimeo.

Christmas Spirit Fingers from Yule Log 2.0 on Vimeo.

Yule Log 2.0 is a series of short films by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders, all revolving around the holiday Yule Log. Traditionally, the Yule Log is a hard, giant log that burns in a fireplace of traditional Christmas celebrations. In 1966, video of a burning log was televised by WPIX-TV as a gift to viewers, starting a phenomena that has yet to die. Urban Outfitters has even packaged and sold it at the appropriate time of the year, and you can view it on Netflix. Yule Log 2.0 takes on the log in a number of ways. Some are abstract representations, some are stories, and others rethink the log using different materials (including painted hands). Vignettes last from 10 seconds to a minute and half.

Yule Log 2.0 is a project curated by animator and illustrator Daniel Savage. He told Cool Hunting that he had the idea when looking for the original on Youtube, but was dismayed by all of the low quality videos. He explains, “So I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to get a bunch of people to redo this?” Savage enlisted the help of 65 creatives and created 53 films, which all employ the quintessential wood burning noise. He was delighted by the quality of films, stating, “I didn’t really know what to expect from everyone; I know it’s a busy time of the year so I assumed they would be simple, but then some people blew my mind—like the marshmallow one [created by Michael Fuchs, Daniel Leyva, Bianca Meier]. Getting three people to work on one was amazing.

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Jeff Friesen Uses Legos o Satirize The 50 US States

West Virginia: Bobby has five minutes left on his shift in the coal mine. Just enough time to dig a little deeper.

West Virginia: Bobby has five minutes left on his shift in the coal mine. Just enough time to dig a little deeper.

Washington: We can only close our eyes using clothespins.

Washington: We can only close our eyes using clothespins.

Texas: Rounding up little doggies who have lost their way.

Maryland: Today the crabs decided to have a picnic of their own.

Canadian Photographer Jeff Friesen uses the iconic Legos to build dioramas that he later photographs. In the series 50 States of Legos, Friesen satirizes each state in the United States using the toy’s characters, blocks, and accessories. Scenes are set against colorful backdrops like mountains, beaches, and grassy lands. Some include aliens, cowboys,and even historic figures like George Washington.

Each state has their own legacy or a reputation for something. Friesen plays on these associations and includes witty captions that accompany them. I live in Maryland, for instance, where eating crabs is a cherished pastime. Friesen pokes fun at this, turning crabs against a couple trying to boil a crab. Other places receive the same, if not more over-the-top treatment. Alaska features a Yet fishing with an Eskimo. A cowboy in New Mexico is prodded by an alien. There is a dragon in the mines of West Virginia. Friesen’s series is a light-hearted look at the states, which are made even more amusing the more time you spend with them and their details. (Via Honestly WTF)

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Shanna Allyn Documents A Strange World With Even Stranger Faces

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Shanna Allyn - Photography

Photographer Shanna Allyn is the master of a universe where women are covered in kittens, faces are obscured with food, and they have eyes like a cartoon character. Her series, Strange Beautiful, is, not surprisingly, strange. This coupled with Allyn’s style of photography (which seems less focused on technical aspect and more on documentation) takes the viewer through a bizarre world where there are more questions than answers.

In a statement about her work written by T. Martin Crouse, co-founder of the publisher Sic Semper Serpent, he describes it as, “The use of quirky objects combined with the locations and postures of her models creates a sense of surrealism. Out of place props in a variety of lateral interpretations have a strong effect.” Later, he goes on to say, “In Shanna’s universe of tampon cigarettes and hotdog mouthpieces, who really has control?” That statement itself is absurd and captures the essence of what Allyn is trying to do. These photographs record what goes on in her world, which is comprised mostly of a group of women with cartoonish eyes. They wear them as a mask, allowing them to look unaffected and apathetic. Nothing phases them, and we don’t immediately understand their motivations.

I see Allyn as a documentarian, capturing images that aren’t full of tension or sadness, but just show a day in the life of Strange Beautiful. The emotions that these models don’t show is compensated by our associations to objects in the images and content she presents.

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Sebastian Errazuirz Crafts Shoes To Memorialize His Ex Lovers

Sebastian Errazuriz - Shoes

Sebastian Errazuriz - Shoes

Sebastian Errazuriz - ShoesSebastian Errazuriz - Shoes

Sebastian Errazuriz - ShoesSebastian Errazuriz - Shoes

In Sebastian Errazuirz’s series 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers, he constructed wearable memorials to the women of his past relationships. Each shoe is designed with a specific person in mind, and is accompanied by short anecdotes. They give us a context for the relationship and why it ultimately failed. For this project, the artist paired with shoe maker Melissa (who has also partnered with the likes of  Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld) and made shoes featuring faux honeycombs, tiny gold men, icicles, arrows, and more.  Melissa is known for producing high-quality plastic shoes, and pairing with the artist reflects their quirky-yet-stylish aesthetic.

In Sebastian Errazuirz’s series 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers, he constructed wearable memorials to the women of his past relationships. Each shoe is designed with a specific person in mind, and is accompanied by short anecdotes. They give us a context for the relationship and why it ultimately failed. For this project, the artist paired with shoe maker Melissa (who has also partnered with the likes of  Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld) and made shoes featuring faux honeycombs, tiny gold men, icicles, arrows, and more.  Melissa is known for producing high-quality plastic shoes, and pairing with the artist reflects their quirky-yet-stylish aesthetic.

“Honey” was very touched and said she didn’t know she had that impact on me. “Heart Breaker” wrote me an email to say she didn’t know if she should feel incredibly embarrassed, enraged or honored but that if I ever revealed her real name she would kill me. “Gold Digger” hates my guts.

While this project is one-sided (none of the ex lovers offer a rebuttal), it’s a very interesting way to pay homage to relationships that, good or bad, have impacted Errazuriz’s life. Designing the shoes, recounting each episode, and sharing his personal life with the world has hopefully had a cathartic effect on the artist, in addition to delighting viewers. (Via Bored Panda)

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Simon Beck Incredible Drawings Created Using His Feet And Miles Of Snow

Snow Installation

snow drawing

snow drawing

Simon Beck - Snow Installation

Simon Beck’s geometric landscape artwork doesn’t require much more than a good snowfall, careful planning, and a lot of patience. To produce his works, the artist treks through miles of snow, patterning his walk carefully to create large scale designs. The results of his efforts can best be viewed aerially, as they cross acres of land. Conveniently, he’s installed some of his work under ski lifts and across valleys, where they can dazzle passersby.

Beck’s work is reminiscent of a Tibetan Sand Mandala, which too requires hours of work (his snow patterns take 8 to 10 hours to complete), has ritualistic movements, and whose existence is fleeting. Both will eventually be destroyed, as it is inherent and built into the ritual. But, while the breakdown of a mandala is ritualistic, Beck’s snow murals are at the whim of mother nature. (Via Huffington Post)

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