A Book Filled With Natural, Unretouched Images Of Naked Women Challenges Beauty Standards

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A book filled with natural, unretouched images of naked women. Matt Blum and his wife Katy Kessler have both collaborated on the Nu Project, a concept and a book re-defining the beauty of the body. In the intimacy of their own homes, women over 21 unveil their bodies, as it is, with no artifice. Matt Blum, the photographer, shows up without knowing anything about the woman. The only requirements are no clothing, no make-up and only natural lighting.

There’s been nothing but positive feedback from the women involved and the women witnessing the project. In a digital world where the use of photoshop is standard, it is refreshing to watch women feeling comfortable within their own skin. The Nu Project is changing the way women see themselves. It gives them the opportunity to relate to other women’s insecurities and hopefully realize that their body is beautiful. These photographies of ordinary women shot in their environment reflect honesty. They do not only show their body as it is; they also reveal their inner personalities, the soul behind the flesh; sending the message that a body is an envelope and that true beauty is what shines and enlightens the shot.

The project launched in 2005, and a book has already been printed. As the phenomenon continues to grow on social media, Matt and Katy decided to edit a sequel which will come out if enough funds are collected, follow the instructions on the Nu Project website to help a beautiful project come to life.

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Emerald Rose Whipple Transforms Snapshots Of Hip Teens Into Impressionist Paintings That Would Make Monet Proud

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Emerald Rose Whipple captures innocent moments and transforms them into large-scale oil paintings. The result is a modern dream-like landscape reminiscent of Monet’s Impressionism. The subjects are the artist’s friends and models she knows from her former career in fashion. The loose strokes applied to the color scheme chosen by the artist create a tie and dye effect around the portraits, creating an eerie atmosphere.

Looking like photographies, the pixel paintings combine the aesthetic of classical 19th century paintings with modern snapshots taken by an smartphone. The purpose of Emerald Rose Whipple is to stay away from any medium that’s disposable.
To perceive and project the essence of each individual on a canvas is an intense process requiring the artist to meditate before a painting session. She doesn’t want to inject any negativity into her work as it would translate immediately.

She is inviting the viewer into a world of reverie and to let go of any misconception.
Obsessed with the painter Balthus and especially with the painting Thérèse Dreaming representing a young lady sitting in a nonchalant pose, she is fascinated by the original non sexual intention of the painter. She is suggesting that the viewers, when looking at her artwork, disconnect from their reality to dive into the reality of her paintings; reflecting from far and coming up with their own interpretation and visualizing natural beauty.

Check out Emerald Rose Whipple’s inspiration on her Instagram and her work on Tansmission Magazine where she also works as an art editor. (via I-D)

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Carly Janine Mazur Paints Nude Figures In Emotional, Metaphorical Settings

Repose - Metamorphosis (2015)

Repose – Metamorphosis (2015)

Cupid's Target (2014)

Cupid’s Target (2014)

Unearthed - Metamorphosis (2015)

Unearthed – Metamorphosis (2015)

Turmoil - Metamorphosis (2015)

Turmoil – Metamorphosis (2015)

Carly Janine Mazur is a Connecticut-based artist who paints portraits of realistic nude figures in metaphorical, emotional settings. One woman surrenders her heart to a monster; another is feverishly overcome by black, smothering roots; and another meditates deeply as shadows slowly arise around her. Each of Mazur’s portraits have an almost mythic or esoteric quality; using nudity and abstract forms together to unearth spiritual experiences, Mazur captures scenes of rapture and agony that transcend the limitations of the corporeal body.

Resonating with Mazur’s expressive content is the artist’s own experience of creating it. Several of the images here are from Mazur’s Metamorphosis series, which is currently being exhibited at the Arch Enemy Arts gallery in Philadelphia. Characterized by organic imagery and dark, flowing forms that both embrace and overwhelm the figures, this series teeters on the edge between life and death, ecstasy and despair, chaos and serenity. For Mazur, Metamorphosis involved finding balance in her process, and allowing art and emotion to flow naturally—although the journey was uncertain.

“While working on Metamorphosis, I broke, and I’m not afraid to admit it,” Mazur explains in her Artist Spotlight. “I was completely cut down by the challenge of creating a visual theme. My first attempt at pushing through the ‘cocoon’ left me disheartened and doubting my ability to create. The first piece in the series, then titled ‘Limbo,’ fell apart emotionally and compositionally, and I felt crushed by looming deadlines, although still a ways away, dominating the horizon.” (Source)

After a few days of creative purgatory, Mazur realized that “metamorphosis is an organic process, following a limited set of rules and drawing from a limited set of resources.” By setting these boundaries, Mazur was able to let her artwork and energies flow between them. The result is a series of stunning portraits that embody both intensity and clarity, bound seamlessly together by their style, theme, and emotional resonance.

Metamorphosis will be on view until August 30th. Visit Mazur’s website and Tumblr to view more. She also has a YouTube channel where she uploads time-lapse videos of her paintings. (Via Hi-Fructose)    

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Tip Toland’s Hyperrealistic Sculptures Confront Us With Complex Questions Of Race And Prejudice

Africa

Africa

African Teen with Albinism

African Teen with Albinism

African Child with Albinism 4

African Child with Albinism 4

African Child with Albinism 1

African Child with Albinism 1

Tip Toland is an artist known for creating hyperrealistic, larger-than-life sculptures that confront the viewer with issues pertaining to identity and the body. We featured her in 2012, focusing on the aspects of her work that explored age, vulnerability, and death—material (and often stigmatized) states that have profound effects on personal psychologies. Characterizing her sculptures are combinations of clay, pastel, paint, and synthetic hair that create beautifully and uncomfortably real simulations of human anatomy.

In the years since then, Toland has continued to push the boundaries and create sculptures driven by important social messages. Featured here are various works: “Echo” (2014-15), “Africa,” and the “Africa Child” series (2014). “Echo” recalls many of Toland’s previous works: a nude, elderly woman appears to breathe deeply while her clouded eyes gaze skyward. What is most moving about this sculpture is the peace that emanates from her expression and figure; death and age are not feared, but rather accepted as states of near-transcendence.

“Africa” and “Africa Child” delve into more political territory, provoking questions pertaining to race, prejudice, and systems of objectification and “otherness.” “Africa” depicts a black woman awakening to an unseen problem, concern visible in her eyes. The “Africa Child” series involves five portraits of children with albinism, portraying—with astounding intricacy and realism—their expressions of fear and sadness. Explaining her motivations for “Africa Child,” Toland describes the extreme prejudice and violence enacted against those with this genetic condition in Tanzania:

“In Tanzania, horrific acts of mutilation have been taking place due to prejudice, ignorance, and superstition. According to lore, people with albinism are viewed as ghosts or bad omens. Despite this delusion, indigenous shamans have conjured up magical potions from body parts to bring wealth and good luck. Potions have been used in a variety of contexts: gold miners have poured them on the ground and fishermen have poured them on their nets or in their canoes. Living people are attacked and mutilated for their arms, legs, hair, genitalia, and blood. Ultimately the bottom line from these superstitions and prejudices is economic—in a country in which the average annual income is less than $450, a limb from a person with albinism can bring anywhere from $500 to $2,000.” (Source)

Certainly, Toland’s work challenges its audience, asking that the viewers acknowledge and examine systems of oppression and the violence occurring in Africa. But, as Kaiya Gordon astutely asks for the Pioneer Log, “What authority does Toland have to ‘inform’ viewers about a practice happening in Tanzania?” (Source) And how can we ensure that the viewer’s engagement is not one based in misinformation and unintentional, internalized systems of objectification? The pamphlet accompanying Toland’s 2014 exhibition at the Portland Art Museum states a progressive objective, deeming the works “portraits of horror that serve to inform Toland’s audience and, potentially, motivate them to take action” (Source). Trust, then, is left in the viewer to recognize—through the process of their own seeing—practices of “othering” and, by deconstructing these practices, foster a form of empathy and action that is not rooted in cultural assumptions.

Click here to view more of Toland’s work.

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The Mysterious Pixel Illustrations Of Uno Moralez Disturbs And Provokes The Imagination

Uno Moralez - Illustration Uno Moralez - Illustration Uno Moralez - Illustration Uno Moralez - Illustration

When he’s not drawing for commercials and films, Russian artist Uno Moralez disseminates mysterious—and oftentimes erotic and horrific—bit-style illustrations onto the internet. His work is both thought-provoking and unsettling, depicting supernatural events, bizarre social situations à la David Lynch, and sexual scenes uncomfortably twisted with an aroma of absurdity and the grotesque. Demons, deranged gods, devious criminals, and sleeping beauties populate Moralez’s world.

What makes each of Moralez’s images captivating is the amount of narrative they encompass; it may be as eerily simple as a boy waiting for a bus in the dark woods, or as strangely elaborate as a man being asphyxiated by a demon’s tongue while two women look on. Elsewhere, Karl Lagerfeld is voyeur to a woman’s encounter with herself in a mirror held aloft by two teddy bears; in another image, a man vomits mournfully into the ocean. Objectively, none of these scenes make logical sense, serving instead as fuel for the imagination, like symbolic—and somewhat disturbing—images wrenched from a dream. Even where Moralez has drawn several connected images, such as the thief who steals a jewel from a sleeping woman’s forehead, there appears to be a story that supersedes the boundaries of the illustrations.

In an older but fascinating interview with The Comics Journal, Sean T. Collins had the opportunity to chat with Moralez about his art and influences, which draw from traditional Soviet art and Japanese manga. Remaining somewhat ambiguous, Moralez maintained in the interview that his images are aimed at being imaginative, symbolic, and mysterious, rather than directly shocking or horrific. When asked if the erotic energy present in his work was personally sourced, the artist compellingly replied,

Does it mean that erotic nightmares regularly strangle me, and that is reflected in my art? Of course not. In sexual passion I see an irresistible force, in front of which most people, even very strong ones, appear as helpless victims. There is something diabolic in it. Passion is a fire. This symbol seems very suitable for passion, and I use it very often myself. (Source)

Enticing us with mystery, human drives, and drama, Moralez’s dark, pixelated stage is worth wandering onto. Check out his website to view more, and click here to read the full interview The Comics Journal. (Via Juxtapoz)

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Lou Paquet’s Stunning Photographs Merge Lonely Human Bodies With Nature

nat5SHURIMA Ophelia Ivoire

Photographer Orlane Lou Paquet’s most recent work includes a number of models in a variety of landscapes. She places her subjects, nude in mythical, dreamlike landscapes and, by doing so, she has created her own magical land. Her dreams as well as notions of vast nature and solitude inspire her work. Her subjects can be seen lying on beaches, rocks and in forests and give a off a sort of atmosphere of silence that can only be found in nature.

She uses cool colors in her photographs in a such a way that they give off an eerie yet comforting energy that explores deeper notions of solitude and the relationship we have with nature. By placing the human body in such settings, she plays with the intertwining of humanity and Mother Earth in such a way that reminds of our place in nature.

She plays with the idea that nature, like solitude can both surround and engulf us in both frightening and beautiful ways. In this, the grandeur of nature is paralleled with the waves of emotion we are sometimes subject to as human beings, Paquet depicts humans as a small part of the greater detail and the mythological energy that fills her photographs is reminiscent of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the ways that is closely studies the power of nature and gives it a magical influence on human life. She focuses on the vastness of human emotion and aligns this vastness with the role nature plays in our lives and, on a greater scale our existence.

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Body Talk: Natalie Fletcher’s Painted Bodies Create Optical Illusions

Natalie Fletcher - Painted Bodies

Natalie Fletcher - Painted Bodies

Natalie Fletcher - Painted Bodies

Natalie Fletcher - Painted Bodies

At first glance, these twisted, manipulated, and camouflaged bodies appear to be the work of a photographer who is very skilled in Photoshop. However, the subjects in these photographs are not the product of digital alteration, but were transformed at the hand of a simple paintbrush. Artist Natalie Fletcher uses the body as a canvas, applying her paint and imagination directly upon the skin of her subjects. Formally trained at art school, she broke away from the traditional method of painting after graduation and began her pursuit as a master of body art. The artist uses the lines and color applied by paint as a means to create a variety of different captivating and puzzling optical illusions.

In her series titled Just An Illusion, op art breathes new life on the skin of her subjects, as she covers the bodies in spiraling lines. The bends formed in the patterns seem to warp the bodies so to us they appear twisted, sunk in, and even cut open. In another series of Natalie Fletcher’s, titled Against the Wall, an illusion is still apparent, as each body has been blended into the background thanks to her painterly magic. In some cases, it is difficult for you to decipher where the wall stops and where the paint begins. Fletcher’s talents in body painting has not gone unseen, as she has won GSN’s “Skin Wars” and is in the process of traveling across the country, painting two bodies in each state.

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Laura Makabresku’s Ethereal Photographs Explore The Tragedy And Beauty Of Fairy Tales

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Laura Makabresku is a Polish photographer and visual artist who creates atmospheric images that harness the tragedy and beauty of myths and fairy tales. The photos featured here are from Laura’s more recent posts on her blog. Brimming with a romantic darkness, the images include a pale woman lying in a “garden of wounds,” engaged in a subtly violent and erotic ritual with the flowers and a sharp blade. Set against her white dress, the flower petals resemble blood, turning the woman into a mythical — almost sacrificial — figure. Death blends with beauty in a quiet dream.

In another series, the mythos surrounding death becomes darker: in a dingy room filtered with a hellish green moonlight, a cloaked figure stands in a boat overlooking a nude woman. In some scenes the woman is struggling to escape; in others, she is lying prone, pinned by the boatman’s paddle or with coins resting on her mouth, suggesting the River of Styx — the coin shall pay her entrance into the underworld. Elsewhere are images of women communing in different ways with taxidermied animals such as deer, birds, and foxes. These animals emanate with a sense of attentive care over the women they are protecting — but of course, they are dead, troubling us with their simultaneous beauty and artificiality. Speaking of how her works seek to explore fairy tale imagery by highlighting traces of pain and horror, Laura writes:

“My [photographs] are like screenshots from beautiful but cruel fairy tales. Their narrations are not straight. Images that appear are more like feelings that come during a lecture of an old folk-based story – full of witchcrafts and retributions. The structure of my works is similar to the structure of a dream where natural tendencies of collecting and organizing impulses and motivations coincide with irrational clashes of objects and feelings. Isolation and wounds are closed into patterns, uneasy and artificial orders – visual spells created in order to divide beastliness from humanity and dreams from horror.” (Source)

Poetic, grim, and beautiful, Laura’s photographs are truly spellbinding on several emotional levels. Be sure to follow her blog, Tumblr, and Facebook to see what evocative and dream-like images she composes for us next. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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