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Feminist Photographs Show The Dark Side Of Beauty

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In a startling critique of the ways in which images of women’s bodies are consumed, the artist Jessica Ledwich presents “The Fanciful, Monstrous Feminine,” a collection of surreal photographs documenting the psychological consequences of contemporary beauty standards and practices. For Ledwich, female sexuality is viewed as “threatening” and is therefore oppressed; here, she exaggerates the femme fatale image, showing her red-lipped, square-nailed protagonist engaging in violence with her own body.

The female form, shiny and lacquered, appears like a hybrid, part human and part domestic cyborg; her youthful flesh is overtaken by the mechanics of beauty. In one image, severed and still-wriggling fingers are replaced with tweezers, and in another, she uses a vacuum cleaner to suction fat from her thighs, injecting it into her lips.

Improvements to the home and domestic realm take a literal toll on the female body and self; after awkwardly sculpting a just-budding lemon tree, a matriarch forces her own natural body into an hourglass with restrictive garments. The monotony of the daily grooming routine turns brutal and dehumanizing, and with each ritual, our subject sacrifices a bit of her identity until, like slabs of lifeless meat, her limbs, brains, and heart are sold off at a butcher shop cleverly referred to as “Limbsons.”

Tied to this endless pursuit of female perfection is the idea of motherhood, presented without an ounce of warmth or sentimentality. A C-section yields only an endless stream of identical plastic dolls, each removed with the same sterile, unfeeling determination that we see with the surgical implantation of breasts. The mother, robbed of her sexuality, is shown inserting biohazards material into a cooked egg, an uncomfortable action we might presume to represent her own impregnation. This bleak, unromantic portrayal of female beauty and fertility serves to remind us of the physically and psychologically painful demands placed on modern women’s bodies, leaving viewers yearning for a more humane world. (via Lost at E Minor and Design Taxi)

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A Day In Decay: 1994-1997

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1994-1997 were significant years in my life. I was stuck in the suburbs rotting away at a high school where nothing of interest ever happened. I spent my weekends riding the metro into D.C. to paint graffiti, go to hardcore shows, skateboard and generally cause mischief. (Remember that the internet was in its early stages, so finding a cool magazine that covered my interests was a rare feat.) 12 oz. Prophet was one of my main sources of inspiration. Primarily covering graffiti and what would eventually be called “street art,” 12 oz. was ahead of the curve. 12 oz. is still around, so if you need a graffiti fix check out their site. The issue pictured above featured a great interview with Twist (Barry Mcgee). Only a few of you know about this, but the name “Beautiful/Decay” actually comes from the last question in the interview: “Raven – You’re really into shit that’s all rundown and decaying, huh?” And Twist responded: “I love stuff that’s rundown, rusted, beautiful decay, a state of decay.” I didn’t start B/D immediately after reading the interview, but the phrase “Beautiful Decay” stuck in my head for weeks. Finally, after reading several ‘zines at shows and trying to find something meaningful to do with my time I decided to put the phrase to good use and start our humble lil ‘zine.

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PornoGraphics

PornoGraphics is a design studio out of Barcelona, Spain. They recently shot us an email and I noticed the name seemed familiar, so I went back through my brain vault and remembered seeing this video a few weeks ago. The titles and graphics they created are awesome and their other work is great too. Well done.

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Peter Funch

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This series, entitled Babel Tales, is a recent work of Danish photographer Peter Funch. To create each photograph, he sat at an NYC street corner with a tripod and snapped away, eventually finding common elements amongst all the pictures and compositing those elements into one shot. The result is something familiar yet very artificial – feeling almost as if each photo is staged.

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Black Friday Massive Beautiful/Decay Apparel Sale 50%-80% off

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Kelly Shimoda

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I guess you don’t want to talk to me anymore is the name of an ongoing project by photographer Kelly Shimoda. The project, published as a blog, consists of photographs of text messages captured on the phones they were received on. In these photos, we get a voyeuristic look into the lives of the sender and recipient, and are led to question the ramifications of this (fairly) new method of communication, in which the message is inevitably boiled down to its essence due to the 160 character length of an SMS. These photographs are a bit hard to read when shrunken down, so you can click them to view full size or check out the blog, linked at the beginning of this post.

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Delicate X-Ray Photographs Offer A Touchingly Intimate Glimpse Into The Everyday

hughturvey_655_london_oxo_exhibition_2014_smithsonian_0000_layer_comp_1.jpg__1072x0_q85_upscalehughturvey_655_london_oxo_exhibition_2014_smithsonian_0015_layer_comp_16.jpg__1072x0_q85_upscalehughturvey_655_london_oxo_exhibition_2014_smithsonian_0017_layer_comp_18.jpg__1072x0_q85_upscaleHugh Turvey X-Ray images

The artist Hugh Turvey lives his life in x-ray vision; since her began creating his vivid, colored x-ray photographs, titled xograms, he views the world and its objects as something to be dissected, unveiled, and understood. Turvey’s strange x-rays are made thusly: he begins by positioning his subjects on light-sensitive paper, then overlays them with photographs and adds color so as to enhance depth.

X-ray technology, which we so often associated with sterile medicine, healthcare, and the danger of internal injury, finds an oddly tender home in Turvey’s work. Dense objects become visual synecdoches, stand-ins for living subjects; in one image, a coat becomes personified, its zippers, seams, and wrinkles suggesting human posture. Femme Fatale pictures the artist’s wife’s foot: contorted, stressed, delicate.

When placed alongside these relatively personal images, x-rays of suitcases, phones, and first-aid kits no longer retain the cold, effective objectivity we are accustomed to seeing during TSA screenings and the like. Instead, we are offered a satisfyingly voyeuristic glimpse into the private lives of others as seen through a tumbler or a martini glass, and we are transfixed by the mundane, incidental objects of existence.

Turvey’s portraits of animals are particularly poignant, indicating the complex internal lives of creatures we too rarely consider. A fish is confined to a painfully isolating bowl, his boney frame drifting to the top for food, and a small dog reveals soft, beautifully coiled internal organs as he wears a cone around his head. Similarly, a curious rabbit is shown in dark, moody browns evocative not of medicine so much as psychology and spirit; his wide eyes peer above the hat. These deeply sympathetic animals are made all the more delicate by Turvey’s process, their curiosities and concerns expressed through the barest physicality. (via Smithsonian Mag, The Guardian, and National Geographic)

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Provocative Photographs Of Naked Celebrities With Dead Fish

jpeg8jpeg-17jpeg-36jpeg-83In these provocative photographs by Rankin, you will find naked celebrities and fashion models getting cozy with some slimy fish carcasses, straddling shiny scales and smearing inky octopuses over their bare breasts. As part of the Fishlove campaign, this shocking imagery hopes to draw attention to a crucial environmental and political issue: if we continue to use today’s fishing methods, marine life across the globe will collapse within a single generation, causing irreversible damage to countless ecosystems and human life.

Fishlove, a non-profit organization founded by the actress Greta Scacchi and Japanese restaurant MOSHIMO co-founder Nicholas Röhl in 1992. The community interest company recruits photographers, models, and entertainers to join the effort towards sustainable fishing. The marine life pictured here is commercially bought and sold; many of these species are heavily threatened by over-fishing. Fishlove treads an ethical gray area by using these fish as models, but not one was killed for the purpose of the shoot. To avoid waste, the organization makes efforts to consume the fish after they are photographed.

It’s said that sex sells, and Fishlove relies upon this hope. In their unusual nude portraits, models and entertainers appear like strange mermaids or selkies, washed ashore with their marine lovers. Sir Ben Kingsley cradles a fallen octopus who settles into his palm, and a model arches her back, mirroring the fins of the creature she rides. Though startling, the work serves to remind us of our interconnectedness with underwater creatures and our reliance upon the planet’s oceans. If we continue down the path we’re on, all of these beautiful creatures will cease to exist. To get involved, visit Fishlove. (via Agonistica)

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