New York-based photographer Josephine Cardin’s poignant images examine the beauty of the human body as well as the complexity of the mind and emotions. Cardin’s series, featuring self-portraits, is titled Between Lock and Key . It explores “the dichotomy of how we have both the ability to mentally imprison ourselves, while simultaneously holding the key to unlocking our freedom,” she writes. Muted, vintage-esque compositions showcase her donning a long, black dress in elegant poses (she’s a trained ballet dancer). Cardin is surrounded by expressive, distressed marks and multiple hands that read as both soothing and troubling.
The marks that surround Cardin’s body are visual representations of the mental blocks that we all face from time to time. Thoughts clouded with anxiety prevent us from moving forward with life and seeing things clearly. Cardin draws scribbled clouds around her head and crosses out her eyes using short, energetic strokes.
While there’s a lot of visual strife in Cardin’s series, there’s hope, too. The same lines that hold her down lift her up. It’s as if she’s overcoming adversity and doubt to rise to her true potential. (Via Asylum Art)
Sculptor Eva Jospin constantly reinvents the idea of what a forest is over and over again. She cuts, layers, arranges, glues and builds cardboard into different interpretations of The Woods. Her pieces range from smaller 2D pictures compiled from dense sticks, branches and flaky bits of wood, to life size 3D installations that you are invited into, and can move around within. For Jospin, cardboard is just the medium for a larger message; these trees express many things:
The forest – an incarnation of nature in the wild – is above all the setting in traditional storytelling of tests of courage, and can be a gloomy or initiatory place. The forest is also where one encounters oneself. This walk through the forest initiates the visit to ‘ Inside’, which is also an inner journey. (Source)
Jospin uses a material that is not only durable, robust, strong, and supportive, but also fragile, impermanent, raw and insubstantial. She plays on these two points of view – they mirror the actual qualities of trees, nature and our relationship to it. These poetic attachments to Josie’s Forest pieces isn’t lost on her critics either:
To look at a forest is an optical experience that challenges the typical laws of perspective in western representation. Facing visually the depth of a forest means to forget the horizon, it means to get lost. And is not the danger of getting lost the only risk tied up to that natural labyrinth that is a forest? (Source)
Photographer E.E. McCollum’s heavenly figures are both encased and exploding out of their shell in The Cocoon Series. The translucent film covering the figures in the photos transforms the bodies as it mimics that of a butterfly cocoon. McCowell’s work is both stunning and absolutely transcendent, as they seem to be not of this world. Each stretch and fold molds the figures into new shapes as they try to erupt from their form. A master of light and shadow, McCollum started in photography using traditional darkroom processes. This influence can be seen in his current series because they have a stark contrast of lights and darks, much like analogue photography.
The film cast engulfing his figures is lit so well that you we can see every fine line of the body underneath, showing the mesmerizing positions of the bodies. These majestic and elegant poses are not unlike those of dancers, who McCollum often photographs in his other work. Each figure becomes sculptural as the lighting and film engulfing it reshapes and morphs it into another state of being, just like the caterpillar changing into a butterfly. McCollum’s most dramatic and captivating photos are those in which the body is finally erupting out of its “cocoon.” The incredible movement created in these photos is as intense and magical as the transformational act of the creation of butterfly. (via artfucksme)
I love the mystery of these images; the way the material distorts our perception of the body, the layers of the images. -E.E. McCollum
Artist Bailey Henderson creates intricate sculptures depicting fantastic beasts that have been portrayed in medieval maps. Each creature is stylized and made to detail the original image accurately. The texture found in her sculptures mirror the lines in an illustration, like the mythological beings actually jumped right off the pages of a medieval map. These monstrous creatures are often hybrids of two real animals, such as a whale and an eagle, or a dragon and an iguana. Henderson is deeply interested in mythology as well as cartography, which influenced her to make her series Monstorum Marines. Each sculpture is named after its given mythological name, such as Ziphius, the creature that resembles an orca whale, and Porcus Marinus, who is a cross-breed of a boar and a fish. Henderson goes on to describe what the creatures were believed to be and even how they did to kill their victims. Her narrative of the sculpture titled Cockatrice, is both fascinating and entertaining.
A cockatrice is a mythical beast, originating in the 14th century. It the hind quarters of a serpent or dragon, and the front quarters of a chicken. It was believed to deliver a deathly stare, or kill by breathing on its victims.
Henderson’s incredible skill in sculpting is only matched in her painting talent. Cast bronze is the material used to form each claw, tail, and beak in this magnificent series. Acrylic paint and powdered pigments is used to transform the cast metal into majestic beasts full of color and life. Each layer of scales, feathery hair, and powerful wing is created with such attentive detail, that each of Henderson’s unimaginable creatures truly come to life.
The playfully colorful and innocent world of Brooklyn based photographer Amanda Jasnowski is completely irresistible. The compositions in her photography are filled with brilliant colors, clashing patterns, and minimal settings. Each one is stranger than the last. Cropped just at the right spot, hiding just enough content, her photography seems familiar to us, but leaves a strange yet lovely taste. Jasnowski is tricky in setting up compositions so intriguing and sublime, they leave you wanting more. Because her photography does not allow us to see or make sense of exactly what is going on, they create a playful suspense, similar to a film still. Not surprisingly, this whimsical artist is a big believer in fun and the importance of never taking yourself too seriously.
Because much of the focus in her works is on the meshing of pattern on clothing, Jasnowski’s photography style holds the flavor of a high fashion photo shoot. Of course, the focus is not just on the clothing worn in her photo shoots, but on the whole, wonderfully surreal compositions. Jasnowski holds an amazing power of experimentation over her creativity. She is constantly pushing and transforming her own technique to create more complex composition by combining stunning colors, busy patterns, and flattened space. Her palette is not just restrained to her beautiful, shallow backgrounds or props, but she also envelopes the models in her photographs with her signature pastels. This was done in her series titled Greetings From Utopia in collaboration with fellow artist Jimmy Marble. (via IGNANT)
For Australian photographer Sarah Bahbah, food and sex are intimately tied. Her series is called Sex and Takeout, and it’s exactly what it sounds. There’s nudity and canoodling, all with a greasy side of fries. Or pizza. Or, even Chinese takeout. Bahbah runs the gamut of meals while posting it on her Instagram, @raisebywolvesau.
Subjects are seen sharing meals, eating it while laying in bed, or looking post-coital with their food. And sometimes, takeout boxes are pushed to the side as people get down to business. It’s indulgent, visceral, and at times a little silly. But, above all, Sex and Takeout is strangely satisfying for the viewer/voyeur of these private moments. Food and sex conjure the same pleased feelings and pleasurable experiences, so it’s only natural that the two would be enjoyed in the company of one another. (Via Flavorwire and Design You Trust)
You’ve probably seen Mat Maitland‘s images before – and if you haven’t, when you do, you will remember them. The London based graphic designer has a knack at creating brightly colored, striking pop designs with a surrealistic twist. Producing album covers for Basement Jaxx, Michael Jackson, Prince, Goldfrapp, Kanye West and also brand campaigns for Kenzo, Jean Paul Gaultier, and The Tate Gallery, Maitland is experienced in generating eye catching and original compositions. Referencing fashion, vintage magazines, music, paintings and films, he is able to produce something very modern and compelling.
His slick backgrounds, layered textures, saturated colors and juxtaposing textures all blend together beautifully. He is able to eradicate the usual borders that exist between fashion, illustration, photography and design. He talks to Creative Review about some of his intentions behind the Kenzo campaign here:
I wanted the film to be an extension of my illustrative world, to bring that to life, so the jungle itself is quite surreal and otherworldly, a kind of electric parallel universe. I imagined the story as though dreamt by a wild cat, lucid snap shots of a neon jungle world that only make sense in a dream. (Source)
His images do indeed seem like you are exploring an exotic dream, full of strange and wonderful wildlife and patterned beasts. If you want to travel further into Maitland’s world, see his films and moving images here.
Beautifully designed costumes sets the stage for artist/photographer Uldus Bakhtiozina’s pictorial essay “Russ Land”. Shot in a rural setting, Baktiozina, recreates a narrative based on Russian folklore. Through magic and her own designs she sets forth in capturing a time when the earth was occupied by knights, fair maidens and the forest. She features characters called Baba Yaga (the old woman with knowledge) and Mikulishna (the beautiful), who are familiar figures in fairytales known throughout the world.
The photographer’s hand made costumes are elaborate variations on a theme, most notably in the head dress which the artist emphasizes with great detail in this series. The intricate construction embraces the forest itself, ranging from crowns made of nest like sticks to black and white spider webbed veils. She works with a generation of young Russian artists, who she claims is the inspiration for her pictures and continues to challenge stereotypes in “Russ Land” by showing women as knights and a fair maiden as lothario(a).
Bakhtiozina was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia from a mixed religious background. She received her education from the University of the Arts London and is credited as the first Russian speaker at TED. She frequently features herself in her work first gaining recognition for a project called “Desperate Romantics”, a series of ironic self portraits. Instead of a digital camera, Bakhtiozina prefers using analog stating ‘it’s better suited at capturing the nature of an object’. She currently runs a studio dedicated to the visual arts in her native Russia. (via demilked)