For those who are not regulars at their local gun club, you might be surprised to know that shooting targets aren’t all the classic bullseye or silhouetted portrait. No, some of them are much more realistic, as the Amsterdam-based magazine Useful Photographyhas pointed out. The publication collects everyday images, and for issue 11 depicts several decades of targets from tens of thousands of shooting ranges in the United States. The results are disturbing, to say the least.
While traditional targets were once anonymous figures, they are now much more lifelike. You’ll find photographs of dictators, women, children, and everyday people pointing a gun back at you. It gives the target a personality, and you can practice your aim and get swept up in the grim, suggested narratives. Some manufacturers have gone too far, and which includes a line of targets called No More Hesitation that featured small children and pregnant women holding guns, and a bleeding “ex-girlfriend” (masquerading as a zombie). Both were pulled off the market.
Erik Kessels publishes the magazine and explains to Fast Company:
We found that shooting targets in the U.S. are getting more and more bizarre with what they show. Our biggest question on the topic was what scares a nation–gunman who hold children ransom or infamous terrorists? In this age of high impact gun crime, are the participants seeking protection or accelerating the violence?”
He goes on to say,
“By taking these images from their original context and putting them together in a magazine we hope that people start to look at them again.”
Sam Alive is a New York city-based photographer who has truly aced the digital lens of an iPhone. His project “Through the Phone” features stunning landscapes, urban cityscapes and natural sceneries all captured with a mobile camera.
The key to Sam’s work is the juxtaposition between the sharp and detailed view presented on the mobile screen and the blurry unrecognizable background behind it. To mock the late influx of smartphones in our lives, artist takes these wide breathtaking vistas of sea shores, valleys and skyscrapers, and crams them into a tiny 4-inch display. Thus, limiting the viewer’s vision and making a good point about the change in our perception.
“Life is like an adventure, because you never know what is going to happen next; you only have one life, all we can do until we die is live everyday to the best of our ability. As long as I am still alive, I will continue to take pictures everyday of my life.”
Sam started his project “Through the Phone” two years ago and already had a chance to travel and take photographs all over Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, San Francisco and New York. In his Tumblr blog, he promises to keep on traveling and updating his project with more captivating shots through the phone. (via designboom)
Our favorite website building platform Made With Color are here again to bring you another exclusive artist feature. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Made With Color makes building websites easy with no coding and easy to use click and drag functionality designed specifically for artists. Each site comes with a built-in mobile site and is completely responsive for smart phones and tablets. This week we’re pleased to present the work of Yambe Tam.
Baltimore based Yambe Tam’s graphic paintings fuse Eastern and Western art into an uniquely Asian-American aesthetic to show that combining the two can create something harmonious. The work not only reconciles Tam’s own identity as an Asian-American who doesn’t completely belong to either society, but also addresses the relationship between China and the U.S.
Themes in her work speak to shared experiences between the two cultures: environmental destruction that ultimately affects all of humanity, convergent lineages (haplogroups) from prehistoric times, and folklore from various cultures that are a reminder of our shared human condition.
Often, Tam works in pairs of paintings that are informed by the Taoist concept of Dualism. This branch of philosophy particularly resonated with her as it purports that all of existence operates on opposing but complementary forces such as light and dark, heaven and earth, east and west. No one force in a pair is better than the other, but rather equal by coexisting in balance.
There’s not much that’s better than adding three of our limited edition, hand numbered books to your personal art library. That is unless you get all three books for the price of two! That’s right, for a limited time we’re spreading the wealth and giving our readers our Class Clowns, Strange Daze, and The Seven Deadly Sins book for the price of two. That’s over 500 full color pages of incredible painting, sculpture, illustration and design by some of the leading artists of our time bound in beautifully designed full color books. So get to it and head over to the B/D shop to take advantage of this special deal that will surely inspire you for years to come.
With an interest in merging consumer culture and fine art practices, Norwegian photographer Vilde Rolfsen takes the most ubiquitous piece of global consumerism, a plastic grocery bag, and creates a series of photographs that, with the assistance of modified lighting and colored cardboard, showcase a an ephemeral landscape, reminiscent of snowscapes or dancing oceans. The plastic bags used for this project were all sourced from the street; this is a very minor but important fact that underlines Rolfsen’s ultimate mission:
My findings have showed me that people take everyday objects for granted, for example a plastic bag or a Brillo pad. You use them for a couple of things, carry your groceries or scrub your dishes. By removing the objects from their original function, I am forcing the viewer to look at the object as an aesthetic thing rather than a useful thing. I challenge society’s perceptions of everyday objects, because these objects are of such normality they become surreal in a photograph.
The embroidery artist Ana Teresa Barboza, previously featured here for her arresting renditions of the human body, is at it again with her series of intricate, deconstructed landscapes. Turning her gaze outwards towards the vastness of the natural world, she celebrates the materiality of her craft, allowing her thread to spill from the boundaries of the embroidery hoop like wild nets wrenched from a tumultuous sea. Here, calm seascapes, serene pastures, and chaotic, rocky waves adopt the same sense of inexhaustibility, refusing to commit solely to embroidery and extending into the realm of the sculptural.
In this series, titled “Suspension,” Barboza’s medium mirrors her content. Like the art and craft of embroidery itself, her visual narratives are composed of iconography historically associated with the female: nature’s rolling hills, curved waves, and fluid, moonlit water. As her pieces unravel, they express something powerful and inevitable in female desire and spirit. No longer contained by the neat frame of the traditional hoop, exuberant colors and textures spring forth from a two dimensional realm into three, interrupting the comfortable barriers that normally exist between art object and viewer. These labors of love are not meant for pillows; instead, they proudly hang on a gallery wall.
Each of Barboza’s suspensions evoke folktales like those of mermaids, selkies, or sirens, woman creatures of the sea who are as frightful as they are alluring. We are presented with delicate illusions, mirages of landscapes, only to witness their dissolution into thick, tactile thread that invites our incredulous touch. Take a look. (via Colossal)
The strength of the portraiture tradition, and what separates it from documentary photography, lies in the skill of the photographer to attach meaning and the essence of the person in a simple image. Using metaphor, subtlety, and open-ended but vaguely familiar narrative, photographer Shelly Mosman is able to imbue an intensely personal and soft-spoken beauty to her photographs. Drawn to subjects for reasons she says she often cannot immediately describe, Mosman spends a great deal of time with her subjects, waiting for key moments when their personality is revealed through action, or the subtlest of looks or gestures. “Portraiture relies on the smallest mannerisms and expressions to offer narrative,” saysMosman, “I rely on the spontaneity of circumstance.”
The Minneapolis-based portraitist continues:
“In my photographs I negotiate and characterize the balance between my own vision and the unknown and often powerful potential given by each portraitâ€™s subject. I am drawn to certain people for the simple reason that I know shooting them will give me an image I could never have created on my own, and because my camera can reveal something they may not have known was in themselves. Â It becomes a synthesis of us both, captured in a single photograph. These connections with each subject areÂ often too straightforward and immediate to be conscious, but rather they are something that is felt immediately, coming straight from the gut, which is the home of our instincts.”
Sara Angelucci’s intriguing series titled Aviary recalls the past to create strange portraits of birds that are superimposed onto anonymous nineteenth century cartes-de-visite (small, business card sized) photographs. It began by the artist studying the American Victoria area, and she connects its cultural, social, and ecological aspects conceptually to her work.
The nineteenth century was the United States’ colonial era when there was unprecedented expansion, exploration, and an interest in science and art. Family photo albums and commemorating memories were something new, as photography became increasingly common. The collection of cartes-de-visites were like trading cards, and the urge to collect didn’t stop there. People had cabinets of curiosities that included things like taxidermied birds, an interest that lead to the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Angelucci explains in a statement about the work, writing, “Made by combining photographs of endangered or extinct North American birds with anonymous nineteenth century cartes-de-visite portraits—they portray creatures about to become ghosts.”
She goes on to muse:
So how do we read these strange human-birdlike creatures? One could at once see them as manifestations of their time: a hybrid crossover of faith in science with a belief in otherworldly beings. As W. G. Sebald writes in Campo Santo, “[photography is] in essence, after all…nothing but a way of making ghostly apparitions materialize by means of a very dubious magical art.” And, what would it mean to embody another creature: Could one then see, feel, and understand its desire to live? Might we then imagine the Aviary portraits as chimera suspended in a state of empathy, and wonder what our treatment of other sentient beings might be if we could feel what they feel, or see what they see? (Via Observer: Design Observer)