Bart Erkamp’s Photos Prove That Pole Dancing Is A Sport

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In recent years, the rising popularity of pole dance fitness has probably conjured up images of darkened strip clubs rather than a serious workout. Netherlands-based Bart Erkamp thought the former, but during the summer of last year, his attitude changed. He dated a woman involved in the sport and learned about its inner workings. It’s a physically demanding activity that’s much more than just an erotic dance. His series titled Pole Fitness highlights the strength and talent needed to complete the moves, which are often suspended in air.

After learning about the sport, Erkamp attended a championship pole fitness competition in Amsterdam. The power and agility of the athletes impressed him, and this struck him as comparable to “artistic gymnastics,” that highlights physical prowess and self expression.

In addition to their athletics, Erkamp was enthralled by the dedication of the participants. They’ve installed poles in their bedrooms, living rooms, and even next to their kitchen. Location doesn’t matter. He highlights this in his subjects’ clear, neatly-kept homes. Contorted legs, torsos, and arms are wrapped around bright silver poles.

It’s not all women, either. Erkamp explains that in 2014, several men completed at the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro. And, there’s even a possibility that it’ll be an official Olympic sport in 2016. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Kacper Kowalski’s Mesmerizing Photos Of The Polish Forest From Bird’s Eye View

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Photographer Kacper Kowalski captures life from above in these beautiful images of the Polish woodlands. The bird’s eye view features incredible, vibrant shots that are simultaneously recognizable and abstract. Brilliant greens, blues, pinks, and purples dot the landscape and play with our sense of scale. Trees look minuscule in many of the compositions, like they’re pipe cleaners or tiny army.

There’s a divide in many of Kowalski’s photos whether it by a river, a road, or line of trees. This separated area creates a pause or compositional breath. We’re often overwhelmed by texture or patterns. The photographer’s decision to include these areas allows time for reflection and comparison. How are the two spaces different? How are they same? What does it mean for them to coexist? (via a_a)

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Rob MacInnis Captures Farm Animals In Family-Like Photos

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Brooklyn-based photographer Rob MacInnis captures candid portraits of farm animals in his aptly titled Farm Series. The desaturated, vintage-looking photos provide a nostalgic and straightforward view of cows, horses, goats, and more. Staring completely calm at the camera, they pose for family photos in barns and in the wilderness. Sometimes, MacInnis will also highlight a single animal in up-close and personal portraiture. It showcases their wild, textured hair and kind eyes.

There’s something that’s delightfully ordinary about these photos. They aren’t flashy or bursting with color. Instead, they depict a simpler life that’s unfettered by technology and dense cityscapes. It’s as if by looking at these images, we’re reminded of old family portraits – ones where we’re younger and things didn’t seem so complicated. (Via I need a guide)

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Stefanie Herr’s Photographic Sculptures Resemble Topographic Maps

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Artist Stefanie Herr’s topographic artworks are inspired by maps. When traveling, she writes, they facilitate navigation and orientation, and drawings by cartographers are the starting point of her work. To create her sculptures, images are printed on photographic paper, mounted on matboard, hand cut into tiny pieces and assembled. They resemble maps that show changes in elevation once completed. But, instead of rivers, plains, and mountains, Herr features faces of people.

She calls these pieces experiments on landscapes models that merge photography and sculpture. They often take weeks to complete. In an artist statement, Herr writes:

Photography abandons the two-dimensional plane and sets out to conquer the space. In search of suitable maps, however, I do not only focus on the shape of the terrain, but also on place names. As toponyms can inspire strong images or even stories, they often interfere in the development of my projects. When shooting photos, I mainly choose top, side and front view representations – I particularly like making use of “aerial” views on a scale of 1:1.

In addition to this inspiration, Herr is also concerned about environmental degradation and rapid loss of biodiversity. She further explains:

Unique natural heritage is gradually being depleted or replaced for the mere purpose of economic growth, and it seems that we have completely forgotten about the aesthetic values of landscape. As a world citizen, I am concerned about contemporary landscape change and the prevailing landscape perception. Topographic Fine Art mainly deals with these issues and, even though on a reduced scale, attempts to capture some of the natural beauty that surrounds us. (Via Lustik)

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Emma Munger Illustrates The Ladies Of “Twin Peaks” As Sexy Pin Up Tattoos

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San Francisco-based illustrator Emma Munger combines two things that popular culture holds dear – the television show Twin Peaks and Sailor-Jerry style tattoos. She’s reproduced the classic flash pages you see in tattoo shops with characters from the bizarre David Lynch production. But, there’s a twist. Instead of a straightforward look at Audrey Horne, Laura Palmer, and the Log Lady, they are done in a pin up style.

The amusing mashup may never make you look at Twin Peaks the same again. Munger draws some characters sexier and some homely characters unnecessarily seductive.

Now that you can imagine these pinups on arms, legs, and other body parts, the real question is  - would you ever get one tattooed? If so, which one? (Via Dangerous Minds and Welcome to Twin Peaks)

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Amos Chapple Documents Life In The Coldest Village On Earth

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It might be winter where you live, but the cold that you experience probably doesn’t compare to this. New Zealand-based photographer Amos Chapple went on a two-day journey from Yakutsk, the coldest major city on Earth to Oymyakon, the coldest village on Earth. Oymyakon’s lowest recorded temperature is -67.7°C (-90°F) in 1933 while the average for January is -50°C (-60°F). Despite the intense weather, people have forged homes and lives in these places, and Chapple captures them in an unfiltered, documentary-style way. Just looking at them will send chills up your spine.

Residents of this extreme climate adapted to these conditions with little indoor plumbing. Vehicles that are outside heated garages must keep running to avoid freezing. And, their subsistence is meat because the ground is too cold to grow crops.

Chapple gives us some idea of just what this cold felt like, and he tells Weather.com “I was wearing thin trousers when I first stepped outside into – 47 °C (-52°F). I remember feeling like the cold was physically gripping my legs, the other surprise was that occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips.” And for him, the hardest part of the experience was not the cold, but that his camera’s focus would freeze into place! (via Bored Panda)

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Improve Your Sexting With NSFW Emojis

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If you’ve ever wanted to sext using regular emojis, you might’ve found this prospect difficult. Well, sexting in pictures got way easier thanks to the new Flirtmoji, a visual language designed to empower people of all sexualities to communicate their desires, concerns, and of course, flirtations. The often NSFW icons include anatomically accurate genitalia, whips, chains, fuzzy handcuffs, and even some sexually-suggestive fruit. There are also special, specific collections like BDSMS, Snow Bunny (holiday appropriate), and Safe Sext.

Flirtmoji was created by a group of designers and developers whose mission is to give people playful, inclusive, and functional sex emoji. In an interview with The Verge, artist Katy McCarthy explains: “I wanted the Flirtmoji to be sexy,” she said. “Even if it’s not my thing, necessarily … it’s someone else’s thing and it’s sexy to them.”

Regular emojis are criticized for their lack of diversity, and McCarthy and her friends were cognisant of that when designing. “My friends and I are not accurately represented in emoji,” she said, “and it’s frustrating. And particularly with sex, we felt that it was so crucial that everyone feel sexually represented.”

You won’t find these emojis in the app store. Instead, via their website, Flirtmoji has a selection of free emojis as well as themed collections for $.99 each. So, whether you’re an avid sexter or not, it’s worth checking out their icons simply from a design perspective. They show just how much can be said with relatively little visual information.

Nowadays, as more and more people express sexual desires through non-verbal, electronic communication, Flirtmoji is valuable. It’s a straight-forward, explicit, and fun way to have clear communication about this important topic. (Via Bustle and The Verge)

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Eleanor Davies’ Giant Pom Pom Made With Over 200 Colors Is On Steroids

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In artist Eleanor Davies’ piece titled Over 200 Beautiful Colors, she crafts a traditional yarn pom pom (like something you’d see on a beanie), but on steroids. Using wool, newspaper, and rope, Davies wraps donut-shaped discs with yarn and stacks them on top of one another. They become a mountain of wound wool, and finally she cuts the edges of every disc. This releases the fibers around the cardboard, and they form a larger-than-life ball of fringe.

The result of this tedious effort is something that you want to touch and maybe even hug. And, that’s Davies’ intention. She wants the viewer to desire an interaction with it. But, at the same time, she also wants to you to feel some sort of repulsion to it. Even though it’s a magnificent and incredible piece, you compare it to what other smaller, more perky-looking pom poms look like. This, in all its glory, droops as gravity has got the best of it. “The oscillation between attraction and repulsion is experienced through the disruption of taste values,” Davies writes in an artist statement. “Sculptures seek attention and flaunt themselves in such a way that they ask for it.”

The slow and meticulous construction of Over 200 Beautiful Colors is akin to a beautiful regime. Davies goes on to say:

In appropriating the sculpting techniques of hairdressing; extensions and highlights are added to slowly modify and enhance a sculpture’s look. The compulsive desire to reconfigure, reinvent, re-cut and re-colour is due to the satisfaction gained through succumbing to the lure of the surface. The process of overworking the sculptural surface is self indulgent and my practice embraces and revels in this.

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