With television game shows like Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior (and every slapstick movie, too), it’s no surprise that some of us derive pleasure from seeing people get hit. Photographer Sandro Giordoano’s twisted (both literally and figuratively) series In Extremis (bodies with no regret) capitalizes on the fall of others The staged images feature people comically posed in awkward and unflattering positions.
Always face down, the poor subjects are often garishly dressed and surrounded by their belongings. This is Giordano’s commentary on our attachments to our possessions; in every photograph, you’ll see the person clutching something like a watering can, oversized tennis ball, and even a power tool. To him, the characters in his compositions are oppressed by their appearance and the need to have things – and save them, even at their own expense. Their fall signifies that they hit rock bottom, and that they need to reexamine their life. (Via Laughing Squid)
At the end of life: a camera lens, desperately recording and archiving the fears of the dying. For the series Life Before Death, the photographer Walter Schels captures the terminally ill in anticipation of the unknown and again in the moment after death. These intimate portraits are the last of a lifetime, documenting the body after some ineffable human essence has vanished. Informed by the words gathered in interview with the subjects by Schels’s partner Beate Lakotta, the haunting shots imagine the invisible, giving form to the most unconquerable human fear.
Schels’s portraits, in their silvery black and white tones, are reminiscent of Victorian post-mortem photography, presenting the dead as if sleeping, their eyes closed and brows gone slack in seeming comfort. These images are poignantly juxtaposed with the interviews, conversations in which even the most mundane, peripheral things of daily life are assigned significance; beside wizened and terrified eyes and coupled with existential wonderings are thoughts on fridge-freezers and local football teams. The banal works against and in service of the tragic; when confronted with death, a burial site and a cup of coffee are equally potent reminders of our mortality.
At the turn of the 20th century, it was believed that the eye recorded the last sight seen by the dead, that with careful study of the ocular nerves, we might reconstruct the moment of death. Schels’s subjects, pictured with gleaming eyes and contained within unrelentingly tight frames, seem to stare into the viewer as they confront inevitable passing, as if to implicate us or to say, “You are the last thing I saw.” (via The Guardian) Read More >
Ossian Brown is an English artist and musician whose book “Haunted Air” gives us a rare glimpse at the vintage celebration of Halloween in America, c. 1875-1955. Anonymous photographs collected from family albums depict the traditional macabre costumes from ages past.
“I find their haunting melancholy completely absorbing; all of these photographs <…> now torn out, disembodied and forgotten <…> they’ve now become fully and utterly the masks and phantoms they dragged up as, all those years ago.”
Compared to today’s flashy, pop-culture inspired Halloween costumes, these get ups of are capable of giving viewer the chills. Black and white photographs feature children and adults dressed with strange DIY masks and robes. Popular motifs contain disguising as devils, witches or animals.
According to Brown, he was fascinated by the wild imagination of these people who at the time were living in great poverty but still managed to create “these incredible and phantasmagorical apparitions”. From whatever inanimate objects, they would construct truly haunting costumes and kept with the essence of tradition which is overlooked nowadays.
To give the book even more mystery, the foreword was written by David Lynch. A short excerpt presented here:
“All the clocks had stopped. A void out of time. And here they are – looking out and holding themselves still – holding still at that point where two worlds join – the familiar – ant the other.”
Published in 1973, Arthur Tress‘ photo book, The Dream Collector, features visions of childhood dreams and nightmares. Tress began shooting these dream scenarios in the 1960s, first speaking with children about their dreams and nightmares, then staging an interpretation of the children’s visions via photography. During the 60s, staged photography was a rather new development within the photography medium; most photographers were taking shots on the streets. Over the next 20 years, Tress developed his trademark black and white, mythological, surreal photography. The Dream Collector collection represents Tress’ particular style while expressing “how the child’s creative imagination is constantly transforming his existence into magical symbols for unexpressed states of feeling or being.”
“The children would be asked means of acting out their visions or to suggest ways of making them into visual actualities,” Tress explains. “Often the location itself, such as an automobile graveyard or abandoned merry-go-round, would provide the possibility of dreamlike themes and spontaneous improvisation to the photographer and his subjects. In recreating these fantasies there is often a combination of actual dream, mythical archetypes, fairytale, horror movie, comic hook, and imaginative play. These inventions often reflect the child’s inner life, his hopes and fears…”
James McNeill Whistler, Whistler’s Mother (1871) / S&M, Rihanna
Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci (c.1503) / Super Bass, Nicki Minaj
Nighthawks, Edward Hopper (1942) / Girls Love Beyonce, Drake
Hell (1450), Dirk Bouts / Drop It Like It’s Hot, Snoop Dogg feat. Pharell Williams
Fly Art is a Tumblr account created by students and artists Gisella Velasco and Toni Potenciano. Since December 2013, the duo have been collaborating on mashups of hip hop lyrics and classic artworks, blending two seemingly disparate cultural artifacts into a surprising and often humorous cohesion. Velasco and Pontenciano pair Nicki Minaj with Mona Lisa, Rihanna with Whistler’s Mother, and Outkast with Matisse. The large text overlaying the classic art is a bit jarring at first, but creates an interesting effect, recontextualizing both the lyrics and the images, each informing a new reading of the other. The project’s Tumblr states that it is “paying homage to the good things in life: fine art and fresh hip hop.” (via artnet)
Using narratives and visual genres found in art, combined with the clean aesthetics of design and contemporary product advertising, the work of Norah Stone is representative of a generation which has seen both art and design coexisting, flattened by the computer screen, and has no use for their separation. “The classic art vs. design question is something that comes up a lot in my daily life but I often find it to be a futile discussion, says the Minneapolis-based Stone, “I guess I just don’t think it’s important to set up boundaries just for the sake of boundaries.”
Norah Stone’s most-recent series, Artificial Utopias, creates thoroughly modern still life scenes, which despite their alluring hyppereal-quality (reminiscent of advertising and pictorial), the distinct sense of disconnect between these spotless digital worlds and our own is unsettling.
“In a culture where most of our daily routines and habits have been replaced by a digital screen, the scroll, the pixel, and the ability to retouch has ultimately changed our ideals of perfection….As I was working on this project I was thinking a lot about how growing up in the digital generation has subconsciously molded me to be attracted to a certain cleanliness that can only be achieved on screen. Artificial Utopias was a culmination of my own personal experience with the digital world and also the research I was doing on still lives. The super clean, almost surreal aesthetic came from trying to recreate the visceral experience that comes from staring at a screen for a long period of time.”
This play between perfection and illusion, the real and the empty, eventually manifested itself into twin video works as well. “In the video works (below) I was trying to recreate the process of eliminating imperfections through the clone stamp tool. In post production, I spent a lot of time retouching these photos to achieve the cleanliness of a stock photo. I wanted to capture the mundane process of retouching and erasing over and over again until you’re left with something completely different,” says Stone, who perhaps quite telling concludes, “or nothing at all.”
The Michigan-based artist Bobby Causey breathes life into his astonishingly realistic sculptures of iconic movie stars and characters. As if ripped straight from the silver screen, his latex figures of Heath Ledger as the Joker and Jack Nicholson in The Shining appear to be frozen in a moment of passion and suspense. Some of the meticulously-crafted characters are built on a one to six scale, but their miniature frame hardly detracts from their ability to express the thrill of a memorable cinematic moment.
Without any formal training, the self-taught artist has developed a craft uniquely his own; for each piece, he carefully studies photographs of actors, memorizing their every trait. Amazingly, he plugs each strand of hair into the heads of his creation individually. While he has done some work for TV shows, his heart remains with classic film, and he prefers to send his work to children’s charities like the Make-a-Wish foundation. For his own daughter, he built a Na’vi from the movie Avatar.
Though he ultimately hopes to explore original sculptures, Causey narrows his current focus on replicating well-known and well-loved characters: Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club, Kiefer Sutherland as David in The Lost Boys, and Batman from The Dark Knight. These hyperrealistic models remind us of the joys of the cinema, fleshing out the figures who have haunted the collective conscious of movie-goers for decades. Causey’s body of work is much like the famed wax figures of Madame Tussaud’s museum, but they are somehow less campy, emanating a lovely sense of earnestness. Take a look. (via Oddity Central) Read More >
With Britain celebrating the Year Of The Bus (#YOTB), three major companies teamed up to build an amazing life-sized LEGO bus stop on the Regent Street in London. Constructed from over 100,000 LEGO bricks, it features even the most intricate details and has a personal hashtag (#LEGOBusStop).
Opened to public just a few days ago, this bus stop already received huge attention from city’s visitors and locals. On Sunday, it served as a checkpoint for vintage bus parade and showcased models from the 1820′s up to the most modern Routemasters. According to the TfL spokesman, the bus stop was meant to stay in place until July 15th but the term may be prolonged.
“Many thousands of people pass along Regent Street each day and we hope the new shelter will bring a smile to the face of even a hardened commuter”,–Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport.
The LEGO bus stop project was initiated by Transport for London and developed together with LEGO and Trueform, a company that specializes in public transport hardware. It took around two weeks to build and appears on the outside of a legendary toy store Hamley’s.