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Naked Nothing: The Liberating Nude Portraiture Of Alex Guiry

Alex Guiry — PhotographyAlex Guiry — PhotographyAlex Guiry — PhotographyAlex Guiry — Photography

Alex Guiry is a photographer who wields his camera in the passionate exploration of untamed environments and the people that inhabit them. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Guiry’s images are drenched with the rain, beauty, serenity, and intensity of the Pacific Northwest. This particular photo series, entitled Naked Nothing, embraces nude portraiture— male and female — in natural and urban landscapes, framing it not as an object of sexualized desire, but rather as a means to celebrate selfhood and let go of inhibiting insecurities; whether running through a field, arching between trees, or balancing on urinals, each body is strong, confident, and standing up with an identity that needs only itself for validation. In a fascinating and eloquent statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Guiry further explained his socially-informed approach to photography:

“All genders have a tough time with body image, and a number of my models have opened up to me about battling with an eating disorder. For a lot of them, this is their first time undressing in front of a camera — or a stranger for that matter — and I’d like to think when I shoot with these girls, something brilliant happens: they realize how liberating it is to be naked, happy with themselves, and to not give a fuck. […] I want to portray these girls as someone who wants to be there, behind the camera, not overpowered, submissive, fragile, or backed into the corner by the male gaze of the photographer and audience. The nudity draws the viewer in, and holds their attention long enough to rethink why they came here in the first place.”

Furthering the images’ ability to heal and empower, Naked Nothing also holds a personal significance for Guiry. His father died shortly before he began the project. Explaining the series’ connection to this event, and how photography can reconcile trauma and restore peace, Guiry writes:

“Naked Nothing is where I could secretly curate my feelings of pain, loss, love, depression, and the rebirthing cycle. My largest anxieties are about my relationships with people, so in my work I’ve romanticized three key figures that are vaguely present in most of my stories: my father, an ex, and the girl I can’t have. Being active in nature, paying attention to light, and listening to zen philosophy, have all helped to calm the constant commentary. Learning to use photography as a tool has been a large part of my healing process as well.”

The combination of nudity and photography as a means to spiritual and bodily healing has appeared in some of Guiry’s other series; Running on Empty, for example, is a photo essay of a young woman’s journey through bulimia towards self-love and acceptance. And whether documenting the body in its nude state or not, all of Guiry’s lifestyle portraiture is infused with the same passion and search for the subject’s empowerment. Check out his website, Tumblr, and Facebook for more examples of his beautiful and heartfelt work.

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Dawn Of Man Turns Empty City Walls Into Napping Spots For Tired Giants

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The New York-based art collective Dawn of Man has created site-specific video installations that bring peace and tranquility to the “city that never sleeps.” Entitled Projection Napping — which is a clever play on the technique, project mapping — the group transforms peeling walls, dark alcoves, and sky-high edifices into refuges for larger-than-life human beings. In each work, the characters appear to “settle down” into their respective spaces, curling up against the walls or dangling their legs off the edges. In a statement provided to The Creators Project, Dawn of Man explains their creative intent and the effect of their project:

“Projection Napping […] juxtapos[es] the calm, meditative state of napping against the kinetic, high energy noise of the sleepless city. An unsuspecting audience usually emerges at each location, often sparked with intrigue, sometimes enlightenment, and always a whole lot of questions” (Source).

What is also fascinating about the juxtaposition of the city’s chaos with the sleepers’ serenity is the public demonstration of a private experience. When we sleep (or nap), we allow ourselves to become open and vulnerable. Thus, when Dawn of Man’s sleeping giants turn over, rub their eyes, or lean exhaustedly against a wall, we are voyeurs to a moment of intimacy and perceived solitude. It is easy in the city to feel alienated from the life all around us, but thanks to this fascinating project, barren walls and cold architecture have been reinvested as landscapes of warmth and humanity.

Check out the video above to see the projections in motion. Dawn of Man’s website can be found here. (Via The Creators Project)

 

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Surreal Anatomical Photo Collages Of Growing Up

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Zła uczennica” is a collaborative series between photographer Magdalena Franczuk and Ashkan Honarvar, who is known for his rich surreal collages. The name of the series translates to “The Bad Schoolgirl” and draws its inspiration from coming-of-age stories such as Lolita.
Lush blossoms and flora bloom around the girls in the series, even as the blank spaces behind their their faces and hearts are revealed in an almost anatomical fashion. Franczuk and Honarvar evoke a sense of searching, a limbo between knowing and understanding as the girls in the photos grow and discover themselves. Some of the images seem random at first — snails and cherries — but they make sense in context: one, a hollowed shell in which the true self lives; the other, a symbol of girlhood.
It’s interesting to see the way the two artists’ work interact. Franczuk’s photography brings a subtlety of emotion and ambiguity that we might take at face value, while Honarvar’s collage elements depict the inner struggles of the subjects. In an artist’s statement, Honarvar notes that he “present[s] the human body at the center of microcosmic theaters of dichotomy in which irrationality permeates logic, serenity belies violence, and luxury secretes exploitation.” It seems fitting for “Zła uczennica” – after all, isn’t growing up one of the most universal dramas of all? (h/t I Need a Guide)

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Sponsored Post: Technology And One Of The Oldest Forms Of Animation Collide In The Picture Machine

The creative brains at Studio Nos, one of the premiere independent stop motion animation studios in New York City has teamed up with Action Cam by Sony in The Picture Machine, an incredibly delicious collision between technology and on of the oldest forms of Animation.

The zoetrope is perhaps one of the best pre-film animation devices to ever be invented. This simple setup takes a sequence of drawings or photographs of progressive phases in motion and through the use of speed animates them before your eyes. Studio Nos’ contemporary twist on the age old medium consists of a remote controlled car pod rigged with the Sony Action Cam driving on a track inside a zoetrope. As the car speeds up and zips around in circles a series of animation cells come to life.

The result of this imaginative mashup was a collaboration between man and machine to bring to life a non-stop parade of hand illustrated dancing mushrooms. Watch the video yourself and dream up how you can use the Sony Action Cam to create your next video masterpiece.

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Shadow Is A Cyberpunk Dance Performance With Drones

Shadow - Rhizomatiks Elevenplay
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“Shadow” is a technological and artistic collaboration between design collective Rhizomatiks and dance troupe elevenplay. Featuring a dancer alongside three drones, “Shadow” feels like a cyberpunk performance from the future. It’s a surreal technodream of algorithmic and human elegance.

The strobe lights make the performance almost feel like glitchy stop motion. It also plays with shadow and light, by turns making the dancer’s shadow look larger than life and then, in the next moment, like a doll spinning on top of a music box.
Both Rhizomatiks and elevenplay hail from Japan, where they are a part of a wave of multidisciplinary artists that seek to explore the intersections of man and machine. In an interview with D&AD, Rhizomatiks says,
“We all have passion for and expertise in technical matters, and wanted to use this to set our imagination free across the disciplinary boundaries of design, art and entertainment. We like to challenge existing formats, from interactive to spatial design.”  (h/t Laughing Squid)

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Samantha Fortenberry’s Colorful Photos Of People Enjoying A Soak In The Tub

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Photographer Samantha Fortenberry’s colorful images reveal the pleasure of a good soak in the tub. Her aerial photos are part of an on-going series called Suds and Smiles, and it features people alone in their bathrooms. Naked, they revel in water as the space is peppered with familiar objects, and it reflects their personality. “I have taken my models and either asked them to collect an array of items that mean something to them, or I designed them a set based on an idea of their choosing,” she writes in an email to Beautiful/Decay.

As we gaze at Fortenberry’s subjects, we act as voyeurs to their pleasant time. There’s genuine looks of joy on some of the model’s faces, and when juxtaposed with the bright colors and playful objects, we too derive some pleasure from it.

Suds and Smiles also celebrates the figure. “With this series I also wanted to display the nude human body in a natural and beautiful way,” Fortenberry writes. “I want to collect a wide variety of people in all shapes and sizes to display the various form of beauty each person has.

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Lorena Guzman’s Fantastical Resin Sculptures Are Like Frozen Dark Fairytales

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Argentinian artist Lorena Guzman brings beautiful and twisted fairy tales to life on a daily basis. Using polyester resins and hobby materials she creates haunting scenarios complete with intricate details that continue to be uncovered the closer you look. She uses popular folk lore, bed time stories and myths as a base to her work. Guzman makes work about over-sized alligators who help monkeys cross rivers; genies who are spinning animals around on their fingers as a hypnotic trick; a surreal alpine landscape that is actually a coiled snake; an octopus who eats rabbits; and a crow who is building a cosy nest in the back of a skull.

Guzman chooses subjects that are curious, disturbing or grotesque in some way or another. Her Chihuahua Toy sculpture comments on the bizarre subculture of dog breeding and the type of monsters people choose to create. She asks if a two headed dog is really that much worse than Bull Terriers or Boxers that have been specifically chosen for features that, to some, are ugly.

Another piece is about a hunting mission that focused around catching the illusive albino hare in the Spanish town of Santa María de los Llanos. Pointing out our strange behaviors and traditions is what Guzman excels at. She has been prolifically creating work for over ten years. Be sure to check out her many other incredible sculptures.

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Painter Philip Hinge Tests The Meaning Of ‘Bad Taste’

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Full of expressive, wild colorful brushstrokes and heavy layering and textures, Philip Hinge puts on a show of his playful sense of humor and confidence. Intentionally flirting with the line between ‘good art’ and ‘bad art’ in his exhibition Don’t Look Now, he approaches his subjects with a unique sensibility. Hinge paints anything from blow up dog balloons, to rock stars dressed in bridal gowns, to mermen sunbathing and boys greedily stuffing their faces with spaghetti. Choosing banal subjects and turning them into something special and surprising is his talent.

Contextual ambiguity abounds in Hinge’s work, allowing his paintings to express a subtle anxiety that is felt rather than seen. At the same time, by ironically appropriating sources as diverse as everyday kitsch, science fiction, and the canons of art history, Hinge lampoons widely-accepted tropes of high art. (Source)

Hinge manages to break down some of the traditional and existing boundaries within the painting (and greater art) world. And while his technique and style may seem primitive, his subject matter adds a subtle layer of complexity to his work. His past series include I Am The Black Wizards – an amusing look at the death metal community and the stereotypes that go with it. He has rockers stabbed with knives, swords and clubs, gripping their legs in pain, and tough guys wearing witches hats and capes, pinned to a wire fence. His light-hearted approach to certain social taboos is a refreshing thing to see.

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