Fabio Esposito is a London-based (Italian-born) fashion and beauty photographer with an alternative and darkly sensual style. Among his impressive list of collaborators are the designers Jitrois, Pam Hogg, Úna Burke, and Jay Briggs (who we featured recently — read more here), as well as the artists Amanda Lear and Francesca Belmonte. No matter what Esposito is shooting — be it leather couture, surrealist still lifes, or bizarre head apparatuses — his results are consistently expressive, using powerful lighting and color schemes (often in monochromatic tones) to evoke emotion and tell a story. When I inquired about how he would describe his style, Esposito explained:
“My style keeps changing with my emotions, but it’s always a fight between my dark side and the part of me that could not live without vibrant colours. When you strive to express your inner world and somehow show it through your work, then this is what I think makes it different and unique.”
There is no doubt that Espostio brings an original and exciting element into fashion and beauty photography. Inspired by artists such as Dalí and Caravaggio, his work follows artistic traditions while transforming them into something new; like a contemporary Dalí, many of Esposito’s works contain strange and surprising elements, such as the armless, nude woman wearing a mask that resembles a crossover between a disfigured classical sculpture and a cyborg. Recalling Caravaggio, Esposito’s photos often have a chiaroscuro-type effect, using blotted shadows to create bold contrasts on the skin of his models. The result is a set of images that are classical, honest, and seductive in their beauty, yet buzzing with a distinctly modern and alternative edge.
Spring is in full bloom in the work of Anne Ten Donkelaar, as she breathes new life into fragile shards of flora. Using photos of flowers, she collages together lush bouquets of plants in combinations that are unlike any you may find in the wild. Each bloom and root this Netherland based artist creates is mismatched with another. She even combines black and white nature photography with color, creating a striking affect. Donkelaar’s emphasis of the faint, subtle lines of the roots and stems moving through the composition beautifully compliment the flourishing flora. Her magical specimens are delicate and ethereal, as they seem to float in their frame. In fact, her work is suspended above the background by small pins, casting a contrasting shadow behind it.
“Weeds become poetry, each unique twig gets attention, nature seems to float.”
Donkelaar’s work shows off an eclectic assortment of plant types, as she displays cactus, succulents, and fungi amongst the layers and layers of wildflowers. The large variety of hue and color combined with the widely diverse nature in her work creates overwhelming visual detail and beauty that will have you searching through every leaf and pedal. The artist treats each piece with such love as to show the faint detail of each small bud that transforms and evolves into a new and thriving creation.
“By protecting these precious pieces under glass, I give the objects a second life and hope to inspire people to make up their own stories about them.”
Does anyone even go to the movies anymore? Now with everything from Netflix to Hulu and a million other choices in between you can see the latest celluloid features in the comfort of your own portable device. But what about porn films? Can you even see a skin flick in a theater these days? Now that Times Square in New York has cleaned up its act I wouldn’t even know where to catch the latest porn on the big screen. You might have to travel abroad to check out a xxx in a proper theater today. In the meantime, here’s a look through a collection of pre-AIDS 60’s and 70’s erotica movie posters.
Most of these are pretty tame. In fact mainstream fashion spreads are more risqué these days. Aside from the nude frontal muff shots they were pretty conservative back then when it came to publicity. All the suggestion is in the titles which converse to that genre of “dumb speak” where it’s painfully obvious what’s going to happen once you start watching. Some also play into the success of popular titles from that period. A few of the better ones are Flash Pants, Love In 3D, Hot Lunch and School Of Hard Knocks. Perhaps the most popular title Debbie Does Dallas released in 1978 has some interesting history. The lead character played by actress Bambi Woods actually tried out for the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders but was cut during auditions. The film wasn’t shot in Dallas but around New York City including Brooklyn College’s athletic field and Pratt Institute’s library. Both took place without either school’s knowledge. (via juxtapoz)
In the series Daimones, photographer Federica Landi adorns pictures in a family album with her saliva. The new works feature bubbly spit obscuring faces, bodies, and create diffused patterns across the compositions.
On her website, Landi uses this quote to describe the importance of the drool:
The saliva replaces the seminal fluid in many cultures, used as magical element that can cure and fecundate through the single contact. Since it comes from the mouth and preserves the vital energy, it is often associated to the essence of the breath and the soul. (Craveri E. Michela,Intrecci di culture, 2008)
Photography is one way that we can keep the past with us, even after it is long gone. From Landi’s statement about Daimones:
The inclusion of saliva (a fluid certifying identity) on the photographic surface, creates a layer of contingent “presence”, intimate re-appropriation of the family archive, attempting to ‘cure’ the fallacious nature of memory and to ‘fecundate’ its connection with our current time.
Saliva is thus the glue that keeps together two dimensions: the motionless time of photography and the contingency of identity. (Via Tu recepcja)
Texas-based graphic designer Parker Jones has come up with a cheeky and clever idea to help women suffering from mood swings and cravings during ‘that time of the month’. Her college project features different fictional flavors of PMS Ice Cream. Named after moods and emotions that she herself has been a victim of, Jones has come up with some witty names. “Don’t Come Near Me” is a tub full of chocolatey rocky road and nuts. It also features a scale marked on the side showing how much you have eaten. Victims of PMS can eat their way through anger, rage, whining, crying, anxiety and laughter again and again until they reach the bottom of the container.
The series also features “I Need Some More” – which is full of mint chocolate chips, and “I Think I’m Dying” – a sweet strawberry flavor. The strawberry package bears a countdown of sorts, listing the different days and the various things women tell themselves to get through the monthly process:
Day One: it’s only just begun
Day Two: hell is coming
Day Three: can’t turn back now
Day Four: only a few more days
Day Five: dear god make it stop
Day Six: please tell me it’s over
Day Seven: sweet relief
Parker’s fictional products are sure to make women (and men) who are familiar with the different stages of PMS laugh. As I’m sure we all know, sometimes PMS can be no laughing matter. It definitely is a shame that this ice cream isn’t available to buy…. (Via DeMilked)
From Goldfinches to Rooks, artist Zack Mclaughlin creates sculptures of birds made from wood and paper, along with other mixed media. He pulls inspiration from the natural world when constructing his incredibly realistic feathered friends. Feeling a connection with each one of his birds, this labor-intensive task takes patience and skill, as the artist uses paper, a very delicate material, to create such amazing detail. Using wood for the base or body of the birds, paper lends itself to the light, airy nature of feathers. Paper is even thin enough to let light through, much like real feathers. Each feathery texture is hand cut to perfection by Mclaughlin, down to the tiniest feather, which you can see balancing on the tip of a finger.
Mclaughlin began his bird making journey when he was in the process of creating a children’s book in which the story starred a boy and a bird. Although he is also an illustrator, he sculpted the bird character in the story to better visualize his concept. He enjoyed this process and working with the materials so much, that he went on to make a huge variety of these detailed, complex feathered beings. Mclaughlin’s malleable medium choices allow him to get creative in his process. He can use different kinds of paper while creating the birds, which is why one of his birds has wings made from book pages, displaying words on each feather. His birds range in color, size, and type, which include a large, white owl all the way down to a tiny hummingbird. Mclaughlin also constructs these bird beauties into lighting and even mobiles. You can find his majestic birds on his Esty page. (via Bored Panda)
It is always exciting and refreshing to see traditional art methods used in a whole new way. Artist Danielle Lawrence‘s fresh eye on contemporary art takes the conventional framed painting and transforms it into highly textural and sculptural work, taking it to another level. In her work, the frame is often still present, but the art inside it is spilling out, exploding from the frame that confines it. It is almost as if the paint has a life of its own, trying to escape from the cage and constraint we have given it. Lawrence explains that the frame is a symbol of patriarchal structures and restriction.
Lawrence’s non-representational painting method allows the colors to melt and drip, creating incredible movement in each piece. These colors appear bent, folded, and manipulated, creating organic forms. Each bright, glossy color erupting from each canvas and frame turns the typical two-dimensional painting into a more palpable, three-dimensional piece that reaches out at the viewer. Her artistic journey began while experimenting using trash as subject. Still pulling inspiration from found objects, the artist’s work often includes items from her studio, including plastic bags and bubble wrap. Lawrence’s take on form and material is both chaotic and structured, creating order out of an eclectic range of colors and media. She flawlessly creates a beautifully balanced mixture of classic painting methods with a new, contemporary approach.
She’s an avowed formalist with an eye to the street. Her works are lustrous and abject, smooth and sharp, blunt and sophisticated. While painting is clearly her passion, she makes promiscuous use of other media: sculpture, drawing, photography and video.
Photographer Joshua Hoffine is interested in the psychology of fear. His series of horror-centric images called After Dark, My Sweet, focus on what lurks behind us, underneath the bed, and below the stairs. Hoffine’s frightening, realistic-looks photos offer not only a compelling narrative, but are awe-inspiring in their craftsmanship and attention to detail. They look believable, making them even more scary. “I stage my photo shoots like small movies, with sets, costumes, elaborate props, fog machines, and special effects make-up,” Hoffine explains. “Everything is acted out live in front of the camera. I use friends and family members, including my own daughters, as actors and crew.”
The photographer also writes about his fascination with horror:
We are all born with certain inherent and instinctual fears, such as fear of the dark, the fear of lurking danger, and the fear of being eaten. As we grow older these fears lose their intensity and are slowly shuffled away into our Unconscious.
Horror, as an art form, draws its strength from the Unconscious.
I believe that the Horror story is ultimately concerned with the imminence and randomness of death, and the implication that there is no certainty to existence. The experience of Horror resides in this confrontation with uncertainty. Horror tells us that our belief in security is delusional, and that the monsters are all around us.