Julia Peirone Photographs Teenagers Awkwardly In Mid-Sentence

julia_peirone7 julia_peirone1 julia_peirone4 julia_peirone5If you’ve ever paused a movie when a character is in mid sentence, you’ve probably encountered some unflattering-looking pauses. Photographer Julia Peirone‘s series More Than Violet is comprised of these moments. Young female subjects are caught rolling their eyes, twirling their hair, and playing with their jewelry, all with faces contorted in conversation.  The images are simultaneously awkward and amusing as we see teenage girls acting in a stereotypical fashion.

To achieve these small moments, Peirone shot hundreds of frames and selected ones that signify a not-a-child but not-a-woman moment. Their clothing, hairstyles, and colorful choice in makeup show their youth. It’s also their mannerisms that give their age away, where they are trying to act confident but are still in the dreaded teenager phase where you look younger than you mentally feel.

More Than Violet is a revealing series of portraiture that captures the uncertainty and uncomfortableness of being looked at and getting your picture taken. Considering that we are so defined by our peer group, these photos offer a truthful look at how we navigate between trying to find our true selves and the self that is “cool.” (Via Feature Shoot)

Dax Norman’s Psychedelic And Surreal Animated Gif World

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If you regularly tune in to Adult Swim, Austin based illustrator and animator Dax Norman‘s work may look familiar to you. Evoking a trippy aesthetic reminiscent of Mad Magazine and “The Yellow Submarine,” Norman’s gifs ooze and pulse with bright, fun energy. Citing classic and current influences and favorites such as Max Ernst, Man Ray, Van Gogh, Shel Silverstein, William Blake, Neil Anderson-Himmelspach, Reverend Bobby AngerDavid Olive, and Joseph Noderer, Norman creates animations informed by popular culture and the world around him, as well as animations that represent strangely and wonderfully original characters, figures, and shapes.

Norman first started making gifs by re-purposing existing longer animations into loopable snippets, but as the form started to grow on him, Norman began creating original gifs, trying to finish a new one every day. He creates both 2D and 3D animated gifs that deal with alternate and multiple perceptions of reality. Of his animations, Norman says, “I see them each as ‘little paintings,’  or ‘picture poems’ each with its own universe of movement…Playing with the looping idea, and rhythm, is what appeals to me the most. Hopefully… people can hear something in my moving pictures, even though there is no sound.” In addition to his extensive archive of gifs on Tumblr, Norman also has full video animations available on Vimeo as well as a Tumblr page dedicated to demonstrating his process of creation.

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Spooky Portraits Capture Death And Ecstasy

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Through careful manipulation, Silvia Grav‘s ethereal black and white images capture a psychological realm where death and fear lurk around each corner, a world beyond the material where rich blacks and blinding white tones evoke a heightened anxiety and ecstasy. In her spooky portraits, the self is blurred by smoke and transparency, as if transported from the page by some unknowable force.

As with the works of the prolific photographer Francesca Woodman, Grav’s images are often set against the backdrop of the domestic space. The house, associated symbolically with the female, is no longer seen as safe or comforting; deteriorated walls and filthy floors cannot protect or contain inhabitants, and a woman rises ghostly towards a lit window. In another eerie image, the sleeping female is disturbed in sleep, her delicate floral bedding overcast by a foreboding shadow whose presence forces her to cover her breast and frightfully clasp at her back. Later, she is shown to be levitating, reaching out for the comforts of her mattress.

Within the terror of the images lies a sort of ecstasy, a dreamy surrender to instability and fright. The woman subject, surrounded by smoke clouds that seem to melt away her flesh, clasps her skeleton hands in rapturous prayer. Her nighttime slumber is seen in mysterious light, and she basks in its warmth, seeming to wriggle with delirium so that the majority of her body is pulled out of the frame.

The impressive work seems to invoke the memory of troubled women artists who came before. In one poignant image, the artist seems to mirror the famous profile portrait of Virginia Woolf by the photographer George Charles Beresford, down to the dark, pulled-back hair, the white blouse, and the ominous shadow below the eye. Contributing to the dialogue on femininity and mortality began by the likes of Woodman and Woolf, Grav adds a unique and potent modern voice. (via Colossal)

America’s Abandoned Malls Are Places Of Nightmares

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via  Detroiturbex.com

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via Detroiturbex.com

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via

Dixie Square Mall: Harvey, Illinois via Detroiturbex.com

North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

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North Towne Square Mall: Toledo, Ohio, via Flickr: Binkled

If you’ve ever been in a mostly empty mall, you know how strange it can feel to walk among a space that’s only half alive. But what about when a mall is completely abandoned? That’s even more surreal. As more and more of these once-booming retail centers close, the Dead Malls Enthusiast Facebook group has mapped many of them throughout America. Adventurous photographers have captured the aftermath of of these departed spaces.

Many of these abandoned malls were built in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and it shows. The interiors and decor look dated, tacky, and claustrophobic compared to the open-air shopping that’s popular today.  Some have fared better structurally than others. Photographs depict buildings that’ve been closed for years and have demolished ceilings and broken glass. Many of the malls have dead plants that have long since lost their leaves.

These abandoned places are apocalyptic and frightening. But at the same time, they pique our curiosity and we wish were there exploring for ourselves. (Via Buzzfeed)

Malika Favre’s Animated Kama Sutra Alphabet

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In 2011, illustrator and graphic designer Mailka Favre was commissioned by Penguin Books to illustrate the new Deluxe Classic Cover of the Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana. Using the first 7 letters she illustrated for the commission as a starting point, Favre decided to develop the full set of the alphabet, resulting in a racy Kama Sutra typeface. After creating the designs, Favre worked with animators to turn her images into actively coital gifs. Inspired by the everyday design and fashion she encounters in London, Favre’s aesthetic is bold and colorful, with clean and simple lines and curves. Favre admits she often wears the colors she uses in her designs, and she’s unsure which design choice influences which. Because her designs are so simple, Favre has to approach her work with a strong concept, something that is elegantly evident in her Kama Sutra alphabet. Each letter of the exhibition is available for purchase as a limited edition of 25 screenprints, numbered and signed by the artist.

Emotional Images On Body Dysmorphia, Weight-Loss Surgery, And Self-Acceptance

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For the artist Maria Raquel Cochez, her body is both her subject and medium; choosing to undergo and photograph 3 weight-loss surgery procedures, she catalogs a complex relationship with body image. For this series, titled “Life Performance,” and subsequent videos, paintings, and photographs, the artist courageously addresses the difficult ways in which women are expected to conform to physical ideals.

For “Life Performance,” Cochez relinquishes all control, surrendering both her body and her camera, leaving others to cut, transform, and document her as she undergoes a breast reconstruction and implant and gastric bypass. Each photograph poignantly blurs the line between performance and experience, boldly welcoming the public into a profoundly private emotional space.

Four years after “Life Performance,” Cochez presents “Belly,” a gorgeous video capturing the effects of surgery and life on her midsection. Seen floating in a full bathtub, her excess flesh is seen as touchingly soft yet powerful; isolated from the rest of her body, it seems to breathe independently, rising from the water and sinking back again. On the righthand side of the frame, a child plays with the female belly, innocently exploring the space that gave him life. He kneads it like bread, then strokes it carefully.

The work is painfully moving for the artist’s total surrender to her craft and audience; as viewers, we bear witness to her insides, to folds of her naked skin. For this reason, her impressive body of work seem less like an exploitation of the self than a miraculously intimate confessional. Despite their potentially painful content, her creations are strangely warm and generous; for example, in Life Performance No.1, romantic black and white images of her smiling face and her soft backside gently bookend the frighteningly colorful photographs of her surgery.

Ultimately, the work reads as a richly nuanced love letter to the human body, one to which all humans, regardless of experience, can relate. Take a look at Cochez’s paintings, videos, and photographs after the jump, including her uncomfortably, painfully seductive self-portraits of eating binges.

Paul Koudounaris’ Photos Of Human Skeletal Remains Adorned With Opulent Costumes, Precious Jewels

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The photographer Paul Koudounaris has made a name for himself by photographing the mysterious dead: mummies, skeletons, ossuaries.The enchanting subject of his recent project Heavenly Bodies are the never-before photographed relics of Europe’s Catholic churches, said to be the bones of Christian martyrs. At their discovery in 1578, these remains were taken from underground tombs and enthroned as objects of worship in place of earlier saintly relics ravaged by the Protestant Reformation.

The opulent adornments that surround the remains (i.e. wigs, gemstones, gold lace) reflect the decadence of the late Middle Ages, when churches ornamentation became more elaborate and extravagant. Dressed like royals, these saints suggest an afterlife filled with heavenly pleasures. Against rich, dark fabrics, the precious metals shine brilliantly; within a tight frame, Koudounaris shoots from below, simultaneously capturing the splendor up-close and elevating the sacred remains to a slightly higher plane.

Although he exalts his subjects in this way, Koudounaris’s images remain touchingly human; while some images capture gigantic, enthroned figures with the utmost deference, others focus on small, humble details. A gap where a tooth once sat or a clenched skeletal hand serves as a poignant memento mori, reminding viewers of the human deaths that happened long ago. The mysterious remains, of whom no one knows the full story, are seen ambiguously, both as a suggestion of an enraptured afterlife and a morbid recognition of mortality and decay. Take a look at the mesmerizing images below. Heavenly Bodies is available in print here. (via Colossal and Hyperallergic)

Photos Of Heavy Metal Guys With Their Cats Shows The Soft Side Of Metal’s Darkness

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Cats often get a bad reputation because of their strange, idiosyncratic ways and moody temperaments, but are nowhere near as misunderstood and misjudged as the metal music community. A new book, Metal Cats by Alexandra Crockett, looks to change both of these stereotypes simultaneously, and show both Metalheads and feline’s cuddly sides.

From a feature on Bored Panda“The people posing in these photos represent bands with names that are anything but cuddly – Napalm Death, Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Skeletonwitch and Lightning Swords Of Death. But despite these fearsome band names and their black leather, spikes, tattoos and muscles, it’s clear that they share a close relationship with their loveable animals just like the rest of us.”

The musicians featured are also playing a series of benefit concerts at four cities along the United States’ west coast, with proceeds (as well as a portion of the book’s sales) going to no-kill animal shelters at each respective city visited. (via boredpanda)