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Haunting and Beautiful Photographs of Long Abandoned Mental Institutions

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For American Asylum, photographer Jeremy Harris captures the abandoned interiors of American mental institutions that operated during the 19th century. With the increased presence of psychiatric hospitals, the mid-1800s were characterized in part by a growing fear of the mentally ill. State-funded hospitals were often overcrowded, and there existed a widespread panic that sane people were being wrongfully institutionalized. Nearly two centuries later, Harris hauntingly presents these hospitals, these strange sites of psychological trauma, in decay.

Harris’s soft natural lighting is startling reminiscent of Francisco de Goya’s early 19th century painting The Madhouse. Emptied of its residents, the space seems darkly oppressive, colored in sickly greens and putrid browns. Shot with a profound depth of field, endless hallways house tiny rooms like some perverse dollhouse. The curved ceilings, now in ruin, frame the photographs in currents of claustrophobia.

Even in the shots in which we are offered some escape—the relief of an open door or wide-set window—viewers are compelled to stay within the confining space. Amidst chipped paint and rotting walls are signifiers of some ancient humanity, long forgotten by time: a rusted organ, a tilted chair, a message on the wall. The traces of life and bodies persist in old sinks and forgotten parcels. Somehow, these haunted spaces are beautiful, bathed in light. The people who lived here, once removed from and silenced by society, speak out in the ruins of the building that once contained them, as if to say, “This happened. We were here.” (via Lost at E Minor)
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Modern Interpretations Of Classic Art Works

“Ohhh…Alright…” remake by Emily Kiel

“Ohhh…Alright…” remake by Emily Kiel

“The Two Fridas” remake by Claire Ball

“The Two Fridas” remake by Claire Ball

“The Ship” remake by Justin Nunnink

“The Ship” remake by Justin Nunnink

“Weeping Woman” remake by Frances Adair Mckenzie

“Weeping Woman” remake by Frances Adair Mckenzie

A couple of years ago, Booooooom partnered with Adobe for a contest called the Remake Project that called for submissions of modern interpretations of classic art works using photography as the medium. The rules urged contestants to refrain from the use of special photography effects post-shoot, as the sponsors preferred all the work of the remakes to be done before the photograph was shot. Eventually, the submissions were narrowed down to ten finalists, some of which are included in this post. Though I haven’t come across the winner of this contest, Booooooom announced last year that they are working with Chronicle Books to release the very first Booooooom book, featuring images from the Remake Project. You can review all of the project’s submissions – totaling 7 pages – over on Booooooom. (via we the urban)

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Andrew Lamb Updates Innocuous “Neighborhood Watch” Signs Using TV And Movie Characters

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Canadian artist Andrew Lamb has been making updates to your average “neighborhood watch” signs, taking them from innocuous to noticeable. He does it with the help of some memorable television, movie, and video game characters.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of neighborhood watch signs, let me give you a brief explanation. They are traffic-sign-sized warnings to potential criminals that the residents of a certain area are vigilant and won’t let them get away with any funny business. Of course, they’ve been around forever, and the often-dated looking designs are now just apart of the landscape, meaning that no one probably pays attention to them.

Lamb’s wheat-pasted edits to these signs grab your attention, and are an amusing way to reinvigorate something that’s probably run its course. Bruce Willis, Buffy the Vampier Slayer, Mulder and Scully, and even Sailor Moon are all featured in these updates. So have no fear, because the Power Rangers are keeping an eye out. (Via 22 Words)

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Inspired By His Fathers Unexpected Death Mike Mellia Creates A Compelling Portrait Of New York City

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New York based photographer Mike Mellia creates Another Day in Paradise, a series of images that capture the essence of New York City under the influence of Mellia’s father.

After the unexpected death of his dad, the photographer began creating cinematic scenes around New York that were reminiscent of his father’s life. Mellia is compelled to showcase his father’s contemplative presence and love for jazz . The many clues that reveal what his father was, and is to him even after death, are subtle but powerfully present.

Mellia’s sentimental piece works along the lines of alienation and tension, however. It not only provides a glimpse into his father’s life but it also showcases Mellia’s hardships to accept his passing.

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Antoine Bruy Documents Europeans Who Traded Comforts Of Modern World To Living Secluded In The Wilderness

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In his project “Scrublands”, French photographer Antoine Bruy pulls down the curtain on the mysterious back-to-the-land movement and its members. His series documents the lives of several communities who isolated themselves from the civilized world and have been living in the wilderness for more than 20 years now.

In 2010, Bruy embarked on a hitchhiking journey across Europe. With no specific destination in mind he wandered from one place to another hoping to find those secluded communities of people who abandoned their modern lifestyle, freed themselves from social constraints and chose to live in the wilderness. He would spend days and weeks together with them, helping in everyday chores and taking photographs of their daily routines.

Photographer notices that despite different locations and professional backgrounds (from philosophy teachers to engineers), these communities and their members are all linked to each other through handmade buildings and agriculture-based living. Bruy has plans to continue his project next year by exploring the United States. (via featureshoot)

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Collaboration Between Artist And Photographer Yields A New Brand Of “Digitally Handcrafted” Images

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Michael Cina has created a world-renowned career by fusing elements of both design and art into a signature style of technically-sound, visually striking, and uniquely glossy works. This approach has brought massive clients ranging from Facebook to Coca-Cola to MTV, as well as fine-art success. His latest efforts involved opening up control of his personal practice, however, as Cina worked side-by-side, though miles away, with a collaborator. For over a year, Cina and New York-based photographer John Klukas worked together to create a new body of work, which they began to call “digitally handmade” – a true synthesis of each creator’s respective styles. This collaboration yielded some twenty works, which are collected in the exhibition, She Who Saw Deep, at Minneapolis’ Public Functionary.

Beginning their complicated collaborative process with photos of the exhibition’s singular muse in Klukas’ New York studio, Cina then took the images and digitally overlaid his handmade paintings in his Minneapolis studio. Working the files back and forth between the two several times, the finished files were often so large and dense that they were as large as 16GB. These pieces were then printed and mounted, where Cina made final edits by hand – embellishing, spraying, drawing, and painting each piece to give them their own unique finish.

The digitally handcrafted images in She Who Saw Deep are then titled around the loose parallel of the Epic of Gilgamesh, “where the hero passes through the absolute darkness of grief, fear and death to be reborn into the light…the resulting works in this exhibit are both a visual and conceptual interpretation of this classic and universal human story.” Public Functionary, which offered support for the printing and creation of the works, is offering unique, limited-edition prints of these collaborative works, which can be purchased here.

She Who Saw Deep is currently on view now through July 13th at Public Functionary in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.  Read More >

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Intricate Sculpture Carved Into an Olive Pit Almost 300 Years Ago

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Talk about impressive craftsmanship. In a stunning feat of virtuosity, the Chinese artist Ch’en Tsu-chang carved an astoundingly complex scene into a single olive pit in the year 1737. The tiny sculpture is complete with eight exquisite human figures enjoying a serene ride in the furnished interior of a boat with movable windows. To construct the piece, the artist, hailing from Kwangtung and having entered into the Imperial Bureau of Manufacture during the reign of emperor Yung-cheng, allowed his eye and hand to be guided by the natural shape of the olive pit.

Measuring 1.34 inches in length and .63 inches in height, the work was inspired by a poem titled “Latter Ode on the Red Cliff,” written by Su Tung-p’o some six hundred and fifty years before; it depicts the poet and his seven companions on one of his two journeys to Red Nose Cliff, the site of an epic battle that proceeded the poet-official by eight hundred years. On the helm of the boat, the artist meticulously engraved 300 characters from the beloved poem, whose moving lines served as an artistic theme well into the Qing Dynasty. Somehow, the delicate and intricate composition elevates the epic subject matter, making it all the more precious and highlighting its worth as a narrative worth careful representation. What better way to honor a poem about a natural landscape than by rendering its speaker in an organic substance?

The creation is now preserved and exhibited in Taipei City, Taiwan at the National Palace Museum of China. (via Lost at E Minor and Twisted Sifter)
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This Is What People Would Look Like If They Were Shredded Into Thin Lines

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“Scribbled Line People” is a digital collaboration between New York-based illustrator Ayaka Ito and programmer Randy Church. Part of a “3D Motion and Particle” course, the two decided to embark on this project after discussing how to create an interface that could incorporate 3D scribbled lines into photography. Mutually inspired by Rachel Ducker’s wire sculptures and Erik Natzke’s Flash paintings, the duo uses both Flash and Photoshop to reconfigure photographic subjects into shredded images that are gracefully incorporated into their background compositions. Ito says, “Our objective in approaching the visual, was to create a series of answers to show how scribbled lines could develop normal portraits into abstract art.” (via the creator’s project) Read More >

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