Malika Gaudin-Delrieu’s Touching Photographs Of “A Happy Hermaphrodite Prostitute”

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“Hermaphrodite [sex … is] the sex of the angels,” explains Claudette, an intersex sex worker, to the photographer Malika Gaudin-Delrieu. The pair began their collaboration after meeting in Claudette’s native Switzerland, where Gaudin-Delrieu was documenting the country’s legalized prostitution. With her recent series of photographs, the artist elegantly dispels stigma around complex gender identities; as seen through her lens, Claudette is a woman, a husband, and a father.

Ideas on prostitution, a field often associated with the abuse and exploitation of women, is also complicated by the work. Here, sex work is seen as a means of self-actualization and joy; “Claudette is the opposite of a victim. She controls her life, makes her choices clearly and knowingly. She does more than just live her life, she loves it,” says Gaudin-Deirieu of her subject. A courageous activist for sex workers’ rights, our protagonist stands before a dark auditorium, bathed in spotlight, silently inhaling, poised to speak.

Laced throughout the work are subtle moments of love and intimacy. The series, romantically titled La vie en rose (presumably after the love song by Edith Piaf, a prolific French singer who was cared for by sex workers), focuses in part on Claudette’s 52 year marriage to her wife Andrée. Claudette’s quiet warmth and affections, seen in her and Andrée’s sleepy embrace, permeates throughout the entire visual narrative; with the same profound care, she counts her earnings, dresses in lingerie, rubs her neck.

Claudette describes her work as “[assuming the role of] ultimate femininity […] with happiness and a sense of relief,” and her nuanced relationship with her sensual yearning shines through in the images. We follow her as stops in the street, seduced by a lingerie shop window, as she dresses herself, fingering the textured fabrics as they cling to her body. Claudette’s life, as seen through streaming sunlight and soft darkness, is magnetic, alluring, and unexpectedly soothing, and viewers are left to ponder an indescribably complex global sexual and political landscape. What do you think? (via Feature Shoot and HuffPost)

Writer’s note: Gaudin-Deirieu’s work and this post are in no way meant to be taken as a generalization of the lives of sex workers; instead, they are meant to highlight the life an individual. As the artist explains, there are as many views on prostitution as there are people practicing it. For many, it’s a form of abuse; for Claudette, it is not.

The word “hermaphrodite” is usually considered to be offensive, and in no way is this post meant to condone or encourage the use of the word under most circumstances. Here, it is used only because Claudette herself identifies with the word. 

Awkward Family Photos Exhibits Only The Most Embarrassing Childhood Portraits

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The magic of the family photograph lies in its flaws, and the curatorial team at website Awkward Family Photos has reminded us of this fact by collecting and cataloguing all of our charming photographic failings and reminding us that for every perfect chiclet smile, there’s a disgruntled side-eye or a bad haircut. The online collection is a testament to the bonds of family, and each accident betrays the touching vulnerability of each relationship.

The family photo album is a fragile, private thing; when made public, these images constitute a powerful and uncomfortable archive of American tradition and cultural shifts. While a photograph of mother, son, and daughter dressed to the nines in shoulder-padded polka-dots and acid wash jeans might have been swell in the ’80s, it serves now as a painful and permanent reminder of our fleeting coolness and relevance. In one image, a young man seductively holds a live snake; in a similarly embarrassing assertion of power within the family, a father superimposes himself over a cheesy portrait with now-outdated technology.

As family structures and fashion choices continue to shift, Awkward Family Photos is a visual historical narrative worthy of being preserved. And it will have its moment of glory in an upcoming exhibition at Santa Monica’s California Heritage Museum. The collection is to be arranged and hung in accordance with the following categories: “Family Portrait, Siblings, Vacation, Kids, Holidays, Weddings, Dad, Mom, Grandparents, Birthdays, and Family Pet.”

Exhibition goers will be invited to sit for their own portraits, which are to be added to the collection. This refreshing series is about embracing the awkward within us all; through each image, there are clear hints of love, charm, and unabashed playfulness. (via My Modern Met)

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Candy Coated Crisis: Lisa Alonzo’s Confectionary Paintings

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Lisa Alonzo’s sugary technique obscures a dark symbolic core.  The images are beautiful and the technique is divine.  In fact, the technique is a refinement of one of the high points of Modern painting, Pointillism, and Alonzo adds another, almost hysterical layer to Seurat’s Le Grande Jatte, by combining the beauty of Pointillism’s ballet of color with the designer frosting florets of a confectioner.  According to the press release from Claire Oliver Gallery, that excess of beauty, when compared with the otherwise violent or mundane subjects, a hand grenade, a gun, a beer can, is a critique aimed at consumer desire. As a painter who has often struggled with acrylic painting, I was really impressed by the freshness of these paintings.  You can see Lisa Alonzo’s new work at Claire Oliver until April 26th.  Photos courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery.

“Ghost Photographs” Depict Ghouls Having More Fun Than You

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Altering found photographs with a ghoulish touch, artist Angela Deane’s series Ghost Photographs depicts the supernatural having a good time. The quirkiness of subject matter pairs well with the aged source materials. Large group images are no longer a sea of smiling faces; Now, they are white, hollow-looking sheets staring back at the viewer. It’s amusing more than it is creepy because they aren’t terrorizing people, and existing as a normal person would.

Ghosts symbolize what’s gone but not forgotten. Deane paints over portraits of time that we’ll never get back. It’s the passing of a memory, and something that won’t easily leave us, no how matter good or bad.

Perhaps this series doesn’t need to be so existential. We can enjoy these small, strange works about ghosts on vacations, celebrating birthdays, and at the amusement park. Because hey, sometimes the supernatural needs a break from haunting. (Via Flavorwire)

Andy Yoder Spent Over Two Years Creating A Globe Out Of Matchsticks And Paint

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Sculptor Andy Yoder spent nearly two years on his piece, Early One Morning, painstakingly applying thousands of painted matches to create a globe with the implied potential to catch fire. The matches, which were individually hand-painted, recreate the continents and oceans, but also swirling weather patterns (of note, Hurricane Sandy is seen off the west coast of North America).

The wooden matches are connected to a food and cardboard base, held together by a plywood skeleton (as a precaution, Yoder covered the piece a flame retardant chemical). Yoder’s piece can be seen Winkleman Gallery at this year’s PULSE New York Contemporary Art Fair, May 8–11. (via from89 and junk-culture)

Torkil Gudnason’s Electric Floral Still Lives

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Danish photographer Torkil Gudnason lives in New York City where he is mostly known for his work in fashion photography. As a side project, Gudnason creates botanical still lives using soft, ethereal lighting for his series “Electric Blossom” and “Hothouse Color.” Gudnason constructs his shots so that brightly colored backgrounds accent the flowers’ rich spectrum of color and texture. Gudnason compares the emergence of springtime to an explosion, noticing the energy that bursts forth during the change of seasons. He says, ”I’ll glance out the window of my studio, and see a flower blooming in a most surprising place. Such a contrast—like magic. I think about how the flower got there and how it survives, how strong flowers are.”

The bright colors and contrasts in Gudnason’s botanical photography nearly render the images unnatural, as if they have been digitally manipulated. This illusion of artificiality enhances the beauty of the photography by asking the viewer to consider the boundaries of the natural and man-made, and the role of the photographer in creating alternate perceptions of reality. (via cross connect and plant propaganda)

Vintage Porn Transformed Into Poignant And Loving Pieces

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The artist Stephen Irwin’s work reinterprets the erotic; by scratching away and obscuring unnecessary content from found vintage porn imagery, he constructs a more emotionally climactic vision of love making. Like faded, far away memories of sexual encounters, his images only recall the most poetic and visceral sensations: the insertion of a finger, the flicking of a tongue, private moments of masturbation.

Unlike the work of someone like Von Brandis, Irwin’s images challenge the pornographic inclination to objectify the body, evoking moments of mutual bliss that transcend the material form. Irwin’s hands, limbs, and genitalia stand in for individuals, blurring their identities and ultimately pin-pointing a moment of worshipful self-actualization. The point of orgasm is elevated to spiritual heights when mouths cry out to the heavens. In a particularly sensual piece, the careful insertion of fingers into the vagina harkens back to illustrations of the doubting Thomas fingering the wounds of Christ.

These moments of ecstasy, however, are painfully brief; body parts emerge for an infinite blankness, vanishing just as soon as they appear. A deliberately messy black marker erases the figures, leaving only shadows in its wake; again, a shaded limb fades into whiteness, as if pushed down by a firm hand on the buttocks. The artist’s choice to use vintage images operates as yet another reminder of the temporality of climax.

These images are gloriously unstable and unreliable; for many, it’s impossible to tell if the original pornography was a sketch, painting, or photograph. Here, the lines between fantasy and recollection, between the corporeal and the spiritual, are miraculously indistinguishable. (via Juxtapoz)

White Noise, The Digital Sculptures That Mixes Fashion Photography And 3D Animation

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Fashion photographer Per Zennstrom & 3D artist Torsten Weese collaborate on a multimedia project, White Noise Shores, that juxtaposes 3D technology with old-school photography in order to create sculpture compositions.

These beautiful shots resemble human bodies that mesh with what seems to be the digital fabric of what makes the basic 3D animation. The stunning compositions are strictly rendered in neutral colors and, at times, its vague composition is reminiscent of early abstraction (in that it is not fully abstract since it is somewhat figurative).

After the real-life photoshoot, the 40-50 still frames captured were uploaded into the free AutoDesk 123D Catch software which allows anyone with an internet connection to create real 3D models of virtually any object. The software stitches the images together and produces a 3D model in about 30 minutes.

The model acquired through the AutoDesk was then“sculpted by hand” in Sculptris to refine and enhance the digital sculpture. The next step was to hand the model over to Thorsten Japser Weese and his team at Recom-CGI for processing and editing. The camera flight and the rendering for the ANIMATION is done inf VRED professional and the passes were comped in NUKE and got little FX in After Effects. The team at Recom rendered a number of stills, video and 3D models which were then brought back to Per Zennstrom for final editing in Premiere and After Effects.

(via Eternal Optimist)