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Jim Goldberg’s Powerful Series “Rich & Poor” Reveals The Dichotomy Between The Affluent And Destitute

USA. San Francisco, California. 1977. "My life is personal, but I will tell you one thing I'm too fat."

USA. San Francisco, California. 1977. “My life is personal, but I will tell you one thing I’m too fat.”

USA. San Francisco. 1981. Untitled. Goldstines. "My wife is acceptable. Our relationship is satisfactory." Edgar G "Edgar looks splendid here. His power and strength of character come through. He is a very private person who is not demonstrative of his affection; that has never made me unhappy. I accept him as he is. We are totally devoted to each other. Dear Jim: May you be as lucky in marriage!" Regina Goldstine

USA. San Francisco. 1981. Untitled. Goldstines.
“My wife is acceptable. Our relationship is satisfactory.” Edgar G
“Edgar looks splendid here. His power and strength of character come through. He is a very private person who is not demonstrative of his affection; that has never made me unhappy. I accept him as he is. We are totally devoted to each other.
Dear Jim: May you be as lucky in marriage!” Regina Goldstine

USA. San Francisco. 1977. "I love the picture. I am a homosexual. May be if I send one of the pictures you gave me, Jim, to my nephew he will understand how hard his uncle is struggling."

USA. San Francisco. 1977. “I love the picture. I am a homosexual. May be if I send one of the pictures you gave me, Jim, to my nephew he will understand how hard his uncle is struggling.”

From 1977 through 1985, Photographer Jim Goldberg took documentary-style pictures of transients in the Mission District and well-off San Franciscans in their homes and had the subjects write on their portraits. The combination of text and image is still incredibly intimate, even in this age of Instagram and Facebook. The dichotomy between the affluent and the destitute is obvious, yet the universality of the emotions the writers share is striking: pain, loneliness, disappointment, joy, security, contentment.

“I think my outrage about the desperation of the poor — and the dissatisfaction of the rich — stemmed in part from my belief that they represented a derogation from that path, a veering off course that had to be rooted out and documented.”

The combination of image and text is what makes this series so arresting and raw, but at the time of its initial publication in 1985 it was a radical decision, derided in a New York Times review as “a sad lack of trust on Mr. Goldberg’s part in both the power of his photographs to speak for themselves and in his viewers to understand them without comment.” Contemporary artists such as Brandon Stanton from Humans of New York, have taken this format and breathed new life into it through its immediate dissemination on the Internet.

Out of print since 1985, Jim Goldberg’s Rich and Poor has been completely re-designed and expanded by the artist for Steidl. Available for the first time in hardcover, Rich and Poor builds upon the classic combination of photographs and handwriting and adds a surplus of vintage material and contemporary photographs that have never been published or exhibited. (Source)

What comes across in these images is the shocking discrepancy of material goods and environments. The writings expose an expanded truth, though. There is obvious inequality in education and writing ability, leading to the impression that the poor suffer more than the rich. And that may be true in some ways — lack of opportunities, healthcare, and hope are all devastating. Pain is pain, though, and suffering is universal, as is love and gratitude. These portraits—touching, tender, hopeless, and sad—speak to our commonalities, as relevant in 2014 as in 1985.

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Wim Delvoye’s Photographs Give Mundane Messages Monumental Exposure

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In 2000, Belgian multimedia artist Wim Delvoye composed a series of photographs which appear to capture text and note style messages etched on the side of mountain faces. Known for his quirky sculptural style, like his elaborately carved tires, Delvoye manipulated these photographs in order to juxtapose the mundanity of the displayed messages with the sublime, natural beauty of the world’s structures. With messages like “RUDE BUT CUTE 18 YEAR OLD BABE 018 83 87 480″ and “HONEY, DON’T FORGET TO TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE. NINA,” Delvoye cleverly elevates the status of these banal declarations to a monumental scale. In Delvoye’s images, absurdities are reinforced while the overall importance of the messages – because of their ubiquity – is not entirely dismissed. Delvoye’s aesthetic is one of recontextualization and deconstruction – even the structure of website is a testament to his implementation well-known imagery in order to create an accessible and familiar user experience. (via public delivery)

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Invasive Jewelry That Harvests Energy From Human Body

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Blinker. Placed on the bridge of the nose and across the eyelids, it harvests energy from eye-blinking.

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Blinker. Placed on the bridge of the nose and across the eyelids, it harvests energy from eye-blinking.

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Blood Bridge. Each spike is inserted into a vein; blood stream spins the wheel and creates movement likely to be turned into electricity.

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Blood Bridge. Each spike is inserted into a vein; blood stream spins the wheel and creates movement likely to be turned into electricity.

Jerusalem-based industrial designer Naomi Kizhner created a series of sci-fi jewelry than harvest kinetic energy from a human’s body and turns it into electricity. Titled “Energy Addicts”, Kizhner’s graduation project addresses world’s forthcoming energy crisis. Her jewelry is an attempt for an existing renewable energy source that hasn’t been tested yet.

“It interested me to imagine what would the world be like once it has experienced a steep decline in energy resources and how we will feed our energy addiction. There are lots of developments of renewable energy resources, but the human body is a natural resource for energy that is constantly renewed, as long as we are alive.”

The jewelry is made from gold and 3D-printed biopolymer. Each piece contains sharp stings that neatly pierce the skin and serve as bio energy harvesting devices. The energy is generated from the body’s subconscious movements, such as blood flow or blinks of an eye. Kizhner created several designs to be worn on different body parts and to draw energy from specific physiological functions.

According to the designer, technology is not too far from turning these ideas into reality. However, she argues that the important part lies in human psychology: “<…> Will we be willing to sacrifice our bodies in order to produce more energy?” asks Kizhner. With her project, artist yearns to provoke people and spark the discussion on our possible future. (via Dezeen)

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Jennifer Loeber Photographs Her Dead Mother’s Belongings To Cope With Her Grief

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When photographer Jennifer Loeber’s mother died, Loeber began to photograph her belongs as a way of coping with her grief. She matched her photos with vintage pictures that her father had taken of her mother and posted the pairs on Instagram. The resulting series, “Left Behind,” is a poignant memorial, both deeply personal and universal.

The everyday objects that remain when loved one dies become an instant museum of sorts, freezing that person in time. A favorite pearl ring will never be replaced by a diamond; an unmatched glove will never be matched to its mate. A used lipstick, valueless in itself, becomes a cherished object, chosen and applied by the person so missed. Many times these everyday objects are the most touching and the most difficult to dispose of.

“I found myself deeply overwhelmed by the need to keep even the most mundane of my Mom’s belongings when she died suddenly this past February. Instead of providing comfort and good memories they became a source of deep sadness and anxiety and I knew the only way I would be able to move past that was to focus on a way to interact with them cathartically. I had recently become active on Instagram and realized that utilizing the casual aspects of sharing on the app was a way to diminish my own sentimentality towards the objects my Mom left behind.”

Reframing the objects allowed Loeber to experience them without searing grief. Instead of the items feeling haunted, they became imbued by fond memories of her mother’s life. By matching them with her father’s photos she was able to make a fitting memorial to her mother, one that was less about personal pain than about remembrance.

“My dad refused to hold a traditional funeral service because he and I believe you should celebrate a life, not mourn it. I’m sure this body of work falls in line with that concept.” (Source)

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Photos of Woodstock Music Festival Capture Peace, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll

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It’s been over 45 years since the iconic Woodstock Festival first took place. In 1969, nearly half a million music lovers made their way to the Catskills for the event that offered peace, love, and rock’n’roll. Thirty-two bands performed at there, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Who. Two LIFE photographers named Bill Eppridge and John Dominis capture not only the music, but of the crowds, muddy fields, and lush woods where young people celebrated their youth.

The epic festival was originally supposed to be a ticketed affair, with booths set up to charge the $24 admission. But, they were never installed thanks to the unexpected surge of music fans, and the surrounding fences were torn down. This act declared that Woodstock was a free event. Over the course of just a few days, these documentary-style photos tell us a lot. They depict the communal living and the aftermath of a five-inch rainfall that turned everything into a giant mud pit. Concert-goers are seen receiving medical care, bathing nude in the streams, and standing as one giant mass with lighters in the air.

John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival recalls a 3:30AM start time (delayed because of rain), and how incredible the experience was:

We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn … there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud.

And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: A quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, ‘Don’t worry about it, John. We’re with you.’ I played the rest of the show for that guy.

You can see additional photos by John Dominis and Bill Eppridge to learn more about Woodstock.

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Norman Rockwell’s Reference Photos For His Iconic Paintings Revealed

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Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) was a celebrated 20th-century American painter and illustrator, whose works became the imagery depicting everyday life in the States. It appears, Rockwell’s photo-realistic artworks were often accompanied by staged photographs which artist then used as a reference to paint his nostalgic scenes.

Storytelling is a natural part of all of Rockwell’s paintings. Often disguised, the true story would reveal itself through the smallest details which the artist always considered beforehand. Take his illustration called “Marriage Counseling” (below): the intention is clear but there are many unfolding details like the man’s black eye or even the books stacked in the shelves reading Van Eyck and Giovanni Bellini. Due to these impeccable narratives, even the reference photographs become works of art.

“There were details, accidents of light, which I’d missed when I’d been able to make only quick sketches of a setting. A photograph catches all that.”

At first, Norman Rockwell was hiring professional models but after awhile he switched to having his friends and neighbors posing for the photographs. For example, the tattooed sailor (below) was also Rockwell’s neighbor, Clarence Decker. During his career, artist produced over 4,000 original works and snapped more than 20,000 reference shots. The collection was revealed by the Norman Rockwell Museum and its curator, Ron Schick. It was also turned into a traveling exhibition and book titled “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera”. (via NPR)

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Inner Revelation- Maskull Lasserre Carves Skeletons Into Wooden Sculptures

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Canadian artist Maskull Lasserre’s “recarved” sculptures are aptly named—Lasserre takes existing clichéd figural wood carvings and “exposes” the skeleton underneath. Of course, the new carving only seems like a reveal of what lies beneath. Part of the success of these works is how inevitable they feel.

Lasserre’s drawings and sculptures explore the unexpected potential of the everyday through allegories of value, expectation, and utility. Elements of nostalgia, accident, humor, and the macabre are incorporated into works that induce strangeness in the familiar, and provoke uncertainty in the expected.

In the style of an anatomy book, the bifurcated sculptures preserve the existing sculpture on one side while exposing the fantasy skeleton on the other. It’s a reverse of the classical artist’s process of learning about anatomy in order to draw more realistic figures. Lasserre is taking fully realized figures and imagining their bones. In an interview with Joseph Kendrick, Lasserre said,

“There is an intrinsic honesty and humility to the carving process. There is no magic, no hidden technology or trick, just the simple subtraction of what was already there. This humble quality makes the amazing alchemy that carving can achieve so much more interesting. … Like the physical materials I use, and the processes I apply, there is something categorical about death/mortality. The aspect of it that I try to coax out is that death is a potent sign of life — albeit an ended one. To carve skeletons into inanimate objects infers their past — and maybe even future — potential for life.” (Source)

Although these sculptures are whimsical, in concept if not execution, there’s an “Alas, poor Yorick!” undertone that’s sobering. Those who are fortunate enough to be healthy and whole rarely think of the inevitable end, the skull beneath the skin. Lasserre’s skilled carving work reveals what was never there, and in doing so makes us think of what eventually will be.

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Street Artist JPS Pairs Pop Culture Stencils With Silly Puns

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Maybe you love puns, maybe you hate them. Whatever your stance on them, UK street artist JPS is a fan. They permeate his work as he incorporates the witty phrases into stenciled images of characters in popular culture. We see Batman, Loki, Biggie Smalls, and even Michael Jackson on walls and rocks and are often accompanied by text that’s specific to the character.

JPS’ clever street art is made extra amusing because of how silly some of his puns are. A previously graffitied wall has his addition of “This surface needs a Sheen,” with a portrait of Charlie Sheen next to it. Groan-worthy, yes, but it might’ve made you chortle. And, this is probably part of the point of JPS’ stencils. While funny, they engage the average passerby and infuse some humor into their day and stay subversive at the same time. (Via The Roosevelts)

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