Photographer David Waldorf seeks to capture the truth in people’s eyes, and his series Trailer Park documents the people that live in these types of places. The slice-of-life images are in Sonoma, California and are partially what you’d expect from a place like this: double-wide trailers, faux wood panelling, and fake astroturf are visible. There are some peculiar elements to them as well. We see a picture of a woman in a wedding dress with a fire blazing in the foreground. She’s holding a shirtless man’s hand, and the scene is bizarrely reminiscent of the iconic painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.
If you aren’t familiar with a trailer park or have never been to one, Waldorf’s series offers a fascinating look into the goings-on. The plots where people live are technically mobile, but are decorated with performance. Some of the images detail the struggle of the working class – like the family of four that lives in these small spaces – while other photos are just plain odd, and seem like a throwback to the 1980’s except in present day. Time moves slower there. (Via Boingboing)
Mr. Bean as Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger.
Mr. Bean as Vanity by Frank Cadogan Cowper.
If you are a fan of Mr Bean, beautiful paintings, internet memes, stupid expressions, or laughing out loud, you will love what caricature artist Rodney Pike has been up to lately. Basing this series on the skit from the TV show when Mr Bean sneezes on a painting (Whistler’s Mother), and ends up replacing her face with a cartoon one, Pike decided to take the joke one step further.
Who knew that Mr Bean’s dark eyebrows, large eyes, swollen nostrils and chin full of stubble would fit so well under a fair maiden’s headscarf? Or that he could so effortlessly turn Mona Lisa into a nosy neighbor peering over the fence, or into someone who is so smug with themselves it is repugnant? Not only are these Photoshopped images a display of Rowan Atkinson’s theatrical talent, but also of Pike’s vision to imagine what would fit together. Combining two very different styles and eras, Pike is able to re contextualize many historical paintings that no longer have relevance to our contemporary lives.
Adding Mr Bean’s face into these Renaissance and Medieval paintings, Pike has re awakened the art lover in all of us cultural-meme-obsessed fans. He tells the Daily Mail
“I think it just adds to the absurdity when working with such serious source material and Rowan Atkinson can make any situation funny no matter how absurd. He’s always lots of fun and it is good therapy and a welcome break to the stresses of work sometime.”
You can see more of his hilarious faces on his website here.
New York based fashion photographer Shae DeTar has made a dazzling collection of work by hand painting printed photographs. Her style of painting is colorful and playful, adding a touch of eccentricity reminiscent of the 1960s. A few of the photographs feel like work inspired by Salvador Dalí, and one or two look very reminiscent of paintings by Henry Darger.
Starting out as a model, DeTar would do experimental visual work on the side. Eventually, praise for her early collage work led her further in the experimentation of painting photographs.
Hand-painting was popular prior to the release of color film, which did not happen until the mid-20th century with Kodak’s release of Kodachrome. Until that point, photo retouchers used dyes, oil, crayon, and/or watercolor paints to add life to black and white negatives, and later on moved on to paint the actual photographs as well. This process originally served an important purpose: to heighten the realism of the photograph and/or to illuminate an artistic aspect. In this case she fulfills both, by creating a warmth within the composition that seems to radiate. DeTar makes you feel like you could almost touch the image, while complementing and enhancing the shot. Her work draws the viewer into the foreground of the picture. Her use of off-coloring; pink skies, rainbow rocks, psychedelic mountains, make the images spark and pop, grabbing the viewers eye.
The marriage of old and new technology creates the illusion of an eternal epoch. A time that is not now and not then, and has an ethereal presence.
Qwill, 20, Northfield, MN, I feel like my gender is kind of a pendulum. Sometimes I feel more feminine, sometimes I feel more masculine, but I definitely swing somewhere between the genders. I don’t really have a pronoun that I prefer, so people just always use female pronouns. It’s kind of complicated if I say I want people to use all the pronouns.
Patrick, 18, My father and I had one talk about me being gay, when I was bringing the trash to a recycling place. He told me, “I used to think that way when I was your age until I met the right woman, and then I never looked back.” He thought he was gay and then one girl asked him out. He never had a boyfriend.
Maya, 18, New York, NY, I was just elected student council president. My platform is that the school is not as perfect as we think. Some people are racist. Some people are like, “She’s black and a lesbian and she’s our president.” Some people are really up in arms. There are a lot of people who have been against it. The kids who don’t really like me wrote “secession” on their Facebook status. If prep schools are like the houses in Harry Potter, I’m friends with Gryffindor and those kids are Slytherin.
We Are The Youth is a photo-documentary and essay project that compiles the stories of LGBTQ youth from around North America. It’s a simple project that packs an honest punch. Each story is personal and demonstrates the completely different experiences of the participants. They speak about the need for role models or their role in becoming one, about their own struggles with their identity, where they situate themselves on the gender/sexuality scale, and how that can change from day to day. The project is a collaborative effort between Laurel Golio who takes the photographs, Diana Scholl who writes the biographic essays, and of course, the LGBTQ youth. (Via Lenscratch)
Photographer Peter Stewart captures the pulsating neon guts of Hong Kong from a unique perspective. Standing at the bottom of dizzying skyscrapers and towering apartment buildings, Stewart offers us a glimpse of modern architecture as a force of nature. Each floor of the buildings he photographs looks like the ring of a tree, surreal in their orderliness.
In an interview with The Creators Project, Stewart explains how he chooses his subjects. “All it takes really is a keen eye for finding the beauty in the monotonous,” he says. “The everyday structures that we often fail to appreciate.”
The collection is called “Stacked – Hong Kong,” a fitting name. From some angles, the buildings almost look like life-sized Lego blocks. Oddly, the photographs do not impart a sense of claustrophobia, but rather a peaceful calm. The bright colors and little personal flourishes — a balcony-dwelling plant here, a line of fresh laundry there — are tell-tale signs of human life. It’s almost a little too calm — where are all the city’s inhabitants?
Still, rather than looking post-apocalyptic, Stewart’s portrait of Hong Kong is dreamy rather than dismal. It’s as though the city is asleep or simply waiting, holding its breath.
Photographer Danny Ghitis started to take these photos of the BDSM and fetish subculture in New York City with a particular goal in mind. He wanted to know more about his own sexual identity, preferences, gender, and social norms by contrasting them with those of his subjects. He decided to seek out and connect with people on a social network called Fetlife. Described as being “similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me”, Ghitis found himself meeting people through this site he normally wouldn’t get the chance to encounter.
He became familiar with the world of transgenders, dominatrixes, submissives, and kinksters, and proceeded not to exoticize or eroticize them, but rather to familiarize his viewers with them. Ghitis says:
Artist duo Christian and Rob Clayton, who exhibit as The Clayton Brothers, found their muse at Sun Thrift, inspiring their latest show “Open to the Public.” Three to four years in the making, the artists visited the shop almost every other day to browse and people watch. Rob Clayton says:
“There are two aspects to this show: one side of it is the store itself and the employees that run it, and more importantly, the other side is the people that go there to get things they need.” (Source)
A third aspect could be said to be the pieces that the brothers purchased and brought into their studio, and sometimes into their finished works. Drawn to the handmade and personal the artists speculate on the embedded stories the objects can’t tell. They see the store itself as a curated collection of sorts, where the employees determine the exhibition by making connections and creating categories. Christian and Rob, inspired by this method of organization, say it inspired the way they worked for this show.
When creating, the brothers have an interesting method of collaboration. They work simultaneously in the same studio, leaving unfinished pieces out for the other to be inspired by and often to add to.
Rob elaborates, “At the studio we don’t say, ‘This is mine, that’s yours.’ We refer to the drawings that haven’t made it into the process yet as carcasses. If a painting sits around for a while, one of us will usually grab it all of a sudden and change it in some way. It’s a constant give and take.” Christian adds, “When do get into a heated spot with a piece, we know each other well enough to let things stew.” (Source)
Their different approaches and techniques are evident in this collection, and it is particularly apt. The varied stylistic choices — assemblage, drawing, collage—speak to the patchwork merchandise in the store as well as to the diverse shoppers.
“The characters that inhabit Open to the Public are overall a sweet bunch. They might look disjointed and fractured, or some might say disturbing, but our overall intent with these drawings was to gain an honest understanding of ourselves as humans. The objects that are discarded or donated to the thrift store become a direct reflection on us as people. We look at the objects like archaeologists, and there is narration attached to all of it. The stories of peoples lives, creative heartfelt moments, messages left for loved ones, forgotten memories… this is what has been driving our characters.” (Source)
Boston-based photographer Asia Kepka did not have a master vision for where her horse and squirrel photos would go, but she didn’t need one: once she began shooting, they quickly took on a life of their own. This project, now titled “Horace and Agnes: A Love Story by Asia Kepka,” has become a beautiful collaborative project between Kepka and writer Lynn Dowling, both of which play the characters. Since the projects inception the cast has grown as they have added friends and other characters into their story.
“Once we gave them identity, their story began to unfold. They met through random circumstance and their love for each other is literally blind. They exemplify a fairy tale of what would be like to fall in love with the right person…just because.
Horace and Agnes, along with their friends, are inspired by people and stories from our past and present. Sometimes by family members and sometimes by strangers we have encountered. The photographs are memories brought to life once again- recreated with as much detail possible to make the viewer become immersed in this magical and unique world.”