UK photographer Laura Dodsworth took 100 photos of women’s bare breasts for her project Bare Reality. Her goal is to present a non-Photoshopped spectrum of bodies of women aged from 19 to 101. It’s not just about appearances, though. Dodsworth also gathers personal stories about the participants and narratives about the way women feel about their breasts.
“More than simply part of our bodies, breasts represent sexuality, motherhood and femininity. When we talk about breasts we talk about intimate aspects of our lives as women, such as growing up, sexuality, motherhood, breastfeeding, relationships, body image, health, cancer and ageing.”
There has been a lot of attention paid to the portrayal of women’s bodies recently. Natural beauty and non-surgically altered physiques have started to appear more frequently in ad campaigns and fashion magazines. During European summers, it’s more common to see topless women of all sizes and shapes. In the US, the breasts we tend to see outside of our mirrors and homes are youthful or enhanced. It leads to a skewed view of reality; what to expect from one’s own body and what to expect in a partner.
These real women with real bodies are all different. Some are marked by age and time, others by disease. Small, large, upright, and sagging, each portrait has a story, including: “I’m one of the lucky ones,” “Breasts make you feel like a proper woman,” and “My milk went when Hitler marched in.” Dodsworth writes:
“I have always been fascinated by the dichotomy between women’s personal lives and how they are depicted in the media; between how we feel about breasts privately and how they are presented for public consumption. Bare Reality is, for me, the inevitable result of being a woman, a feminist and a photographer.”
Dodsworth’s is currently holding a kickstarter campaign to publish a book of this project.
Designer and art director Kevin Weir sources old photographs and animates them into comical, absurd and often haunting gifs. Trawling the online archives of the Library of Congress, Weir uses the instantaneous nature of gifs to rough out short and snappy ideas. The photographs he uses as a base are all black and white, straight-faced, historical snapshots and result in a very Monty Python-esque comedic sketch.
Innocent Grandmas suddenly morph into tens of menacing crows and fly off screen. Bombed-out cities have strange monsters stalking in the background, materializing through wisps of smoke. We witness composed soldiers having their souls depart their uniformed bodies. Some changes are so subtle, we think maybe we are imagining it, adding to the haunting illusion of the whole scene.
Hosted on a tumblr site called The Flux Machine, Weir shows off his knack for humor. From an early age Weir was playing around with Photoshop and adding his own spin to various images. Throughout grad school he had a lot of spare time to fine tune his skills and years later spiced up his hobby of animating birds – coming up with these bizarre ideas. He says he is always drawn to “unknowable places and persons”; to pictures that aren’t loaded with modern day associations. The little “Princess Juliana” child sitting in her rocking chair conjuring up a flame, would feel completely different in a modern day context. The blend of antiquity, deadpan humor and surrealism in Weir’s work is a potently hilarious combination. (via Colossal)
What’s your morning routine like? Maybe it takes you 15 minutes, or perhaps an hour. Whatever it is, Avtar Singh Mauni from Patiala, Northen India has you beat. He spends six hours a day getting his turban ready before he ventures to the local temple. The devout Sikh’s impressive headdress measures 2,115 feet (about 645 meters) when unwrapped and weighs about 100 pounds.
The 60-year-old is proud of his turban, which took him 16 years to assemble all of its parts. He’ll wear it until he physically can’t any longer; Singh doesn’t consider it a burden and says that he’s happiest when he has it on his head. In fact, when he doesn’t have it on, part of him feels incomplete.
While most people who follow Sikhism wear turbans, they are comprised of a length between five and seven meters and probably don’t weigh all that much. Singh’s, in further comparison, has purple and orange fabric that weighs 66 pounds, while the decorative elements make up the extra weight. This is coupled with a sword and heavy bangles that weigh an additional 87 pounds.
Singh’s ritual sits at the bizarre intersection of art, fashion, and religion. Do you think it could be considered a type of performance art? Or just a fervent dedication to cultural guidelines? (Via Lost At E Minor and Oddity Central)
In Thailand, the term ladyboy is a nickname for transgender women, and they are a population often met with intolerance and prejudice. Their place in society is explored through photographer Soopakorn Srisakul’s series Mistress, in which he captures the daily life of his girlfriend and four other ladyboys. They all work at bars and as call girls in the infamous red-light Nana district in Bangkok.
Srisakul’s images are his journey in understanding his partner and the others experiences. There are few positions that are hiring transgendered women, so this community typically finds work in department stores, makeup counters, and cabaret venues. Those that are bargirls generally make better the better wages, which allows them to save up for gender reassignment surgeries.
Mistress presents us with poignant pictures of both work and home. There are moments of dark clubs, sure, but there are also quiet scenes in bright bedrooms. Srisakul writes:
They go out working, come back to their room, go relaxing outside, occasionally go back to visit family in the countryside, and then go to work. They, like anyone else, just try to get by. They laugh for joy, cry for sorrow, they work to earn a living, and they have an argument with their boyfriend, just like anyone else. In this sense, what makes them so different from us as to warrant a harsh treatment from the moral society, and do they deserve it at all? (Via Feature Shoot)
James Nares makes one seemingly fluid stroke full of action to create his paintings. His artwork is extremely minimalist, and full of expression. The viewer can follow the stroke like a path, witnessing his every step in the splashes, interruptions, and slight wavers. His colour palette is vibrant, mostly blues and greens, with luminous whites and sensuous reds. They’re very three dimensional, the ones running horizontally seem to move like long slithering dragons or snakes.
It’s interesting to consider the time it may take Nares to create each one. Although they appear to be quite speedy, it must take either a great deal of control or repeated attempts to produce such pointed work. The works aren’t redundant, nor are they overloaded. Although each is done with a repeated strategy, they are executed with refinement. His artwork actually reminds me of Alberto Seveso’s Disastro Ecologico series. We have featured other work of his before, here.
Nares has said of his own work:
“I try to embody the nature and combine the forms—it’s like one and one making three—to expose a metaphor of some kind. It’s searching for metaphors, for likeness, like a breeding ground. It seems to me, that’s how a language develops. Everything breeds through metaphors.”
Using a custom light table, photographer Aaron Ansarov has captured the ethereal and frightening beauty of Portuguese Man o’ Wars in his series “Zooids.” Each one of these floating, compound marine animals are actually a colony of four different kinds of organism, each adapted to perform a specific function for the benefit of the whole, unable to survive on their own.
“As if looking through a special lens into a different dimension, Aaron has given them personalities that seems to shift with every viewer. Through Aaron’s masterful use of light, technique, and ability to go beyond the obvious, we are able to see patterns come together to create a fine-art collection of images entitled, Zooids: Faces of Tiny Warriors-beautiful creatures seeking their place in the world.”
Like gorgeous Rorschach tests, the images are symmetrical and abstract, familiar and indecipherable. The photographs are fine art, ready for display, yet scientists use them for research as well, since the creatures can only be kept alive in a lab for a limited time.
Why are these creatures so beautiful? From an ecological perspective, they don’t need to lure their prey with their multi-colored translucent displays. They look like blown glass, colorful and tactile, yet touching one would result in painful stings and welts from its long, stringy tentacles. It’s certainly a metaphor, that something so lovely can cause so much pain.
Ansarov finds the Portuguese Man o’ Wars on the beaches in Florida, having been blown ashore by the wind. He takes them to his studio, shoots them, and then returns them to the place on the beach where he found them, allowing nature to decide their fate.
“I have two rules with this project. The first is that captured creatures must be released unharmed. The second rule is that I keep shoots to 15 minutes or less, even if I don’t get the picture I hoped for. I don’t want to frighten my subjects. Besides, there’s always another time-they live right here.” (Source)
A bright idea is bringing together the talented homeless population of Barcelona and typography lovers from all over the world. Homeless Fonts is an initiative from Arrels Foundation and is a platform for selling the handwriting of these street sleepers to business and individuals. Around 10 fonts are available and all profits made from the sales go towards supporting the 1400 people connected with the foundation.
We all know how much handwriting reveals about a personality; the history of the writer, and this project highlights the talent and the stories of these fascinating individuals. Often overlooked on the street, they all have reasons for living how they do, and share a side of life we usually know nothing of.
Fransisco for example, in a previous life was a graphic designer. Born in Spain, raised in Brazil, he set off to experience the world. After hitchhiking around South America, he returned to Spain an old man. Living years without a permanent address, his days are still full of adventure. He says:
“The experience of the street has taken away my vanity. The only thing I’ve learnt in life is that you have to learn, because if you spend your life without learning, you haven’t lived.”
Argentinian born Guillermo uses cardboard, newspaper, anything lying around to practice his love for art and writing. Born in London, Lorraine found herself stuck in Spain after a thief illegally used her passport to travel on. Ever the optimist, she now enjoys sleeping under the stars with new friends in her adopted home.
The kinks and loops of these fonts are such an immediate and rich art work, they are perfect for making statements with. They are certainly a powerful form of communication.
Sculptor Bruno Walpoth’s specific technique of wood working is a 400-year-old craft that originates from the Italian valley he grew up in. He has used this method, now removed from the religious context it originated within, for decades, in his creation of wooden sculptures of nondescript people, posed naturally. What has emerged is a body of work that is deceivingly realistic. From the photographs alone it is not always easy to tell that you aren’t seeing a real person; the pieces are teeming with life. He has become so masterful with a chisel and file that he can precisely replicate the curve and texture of human skin. When he is done the wood appears so absolutely smooth and soft, it could be mistaken as a model covered in powder. This is not accomplished easily, Walpoth has confided it often takes him two months to finish a life-sized sculpture. Some remarkable photographs have been taking of the sculptures placed in nature. One in particular, of a boy in shorts standing on a dock, gains such a hauntingly cinematic aspect, given the melancholy poise and demeanor of the sculpture. The common theme amongst the works is their meditative air; the pensive nature with which they stand, almost as if considering in which direction to begin moving once they break free from their eternal stillness.