Contrary to what these photographs might lead you to believe, the people in them are dead; they represent a special kind of funerary service that involves anything but laying down. Instead, the deceased are posed doing things that you’d see them doing while they were alive. Miriam Burbank is seen with a can of Busch beer and menthol cigarette between her fingers, while the body of Christopher Rivera is propped up in a faux boxing ring.
These strange and creepy displays aren’t anything new, although they are unusual. The phenomenon first appeared as early as the 1984 funeral of Willie Stokes Jr., a Chicago gambler known as the Wimp. He sat through his services behind the wheel of a coffin made to look like a Cadillac Seville. And even earlier than that are the post-mortem photographs of the Victorian era, where the recently deceased were captured while sitting in their finest clothing. While it’s not a funeral, they show how throughout time, we’re trying to remember those passed for how they lived.
Elsie Rodríguez, vice president of the funeral home that organized Rivera’s service, explains some of benefits of these situations, telling the New York Times, “This is not a fun or funny event; the family is going through a lot of pain. With these kinds of arrangements, “the family literally suffers less, because they see their loved one in a way that would have made them happy — they see them in a way in which they still look alive.” (Via The New York Times)
Roland Topor (1938–1997) was a French illustrator, painter, writer, filmmaker, actor and whatnot mostly known for his macabre and surreal cartoons. His illustrated book “Les Masochistes” was first published in 1960 and features a number of absurdly humorous masochistic actions that people perform on themselves.
The grotesque situations depicted in “Les Masochistes” perfectly convey Topor’s artistic style and approach towards the world. He infuses the grim reality of Nazi dictatorship (Topor and his family were Polish refugees of Jewish origin) with humor which was probably the best coping mechanism at that time. As described by Bernard Vehmeyer, a quote from Topor’s novel “The Tenant” perfectly sums up his world view:
He was perfectly conscious of the absurdity of his behavior, but he was incapable of changing it. This absurdity was an essential part of him. It was probably the most basic element of his personality.
Most often, Topor’s illustrations were based on surreal scenarios with deeper allusions to sex, erotica, rotting mankind and such. According to closer friends, artist had repetitive periods of extreme depression where he would balance on the verge of death and it reflects in his work.
Every artist and designer has had to find the balance between their ideal vision of their home renovation and a realistic budget. After all how can you hang your favorite artwork in a space that didn’t feel like your own? IKEA cabinets are budget friendly, but their selection can be very limiting, which is why we love Semihandmade. They’ve elevated the IKEA hack beyond your wildest dreams. With a wide variety of finishes from oak to walnut and even eco friendly woods, Semihandmade’s custom doors for IKEA cabinets can transform your IKEA based project from mass market to bespoke chic.
Dreamcatchers, cowboy hats, flannel shirts and nostalgia are all present in Theo Gosselin’s vagabondish journey through forgotten and mystical America. In 2012, this young photographer took a road trip from Harlem to Venice beach and truly captured the essence of free spirits running wild.
“My favorite subjects are the uninhibited young people who are my friends, photos taken from the inside, in the privacy of our travels together, our adventures, our evolution in this strange world. Love, friendships, and our appropriation of nature and the urban world. Young, free and immortal.”
Gosselin started his journey with two friends and used social networks to meet new people and find places to stay. According to him, it was an incredible experience on a human level as he got to meet very different people: from students to squatters and hippies.
Because of his untamable energy and carefree attitude which he brings to his work, Gosselin quickly became a true hit on Facebook with more than 80k followers. In the times of posing and retouching, Theo Gosselin’s photos stand out due to their purity, sincerity and capability to take viewers on board.
There is a reason why Amy Bennett‘s paintings look like dioramas. In fact, it is part of her process to build miniature dioramas of various scenarios before the painting process begins. When completed, these miniature constructions are used as models for the pieces you see here. The paintings, she says, are “glimpses of a scene or fragments of a narrative. Similar to a memory, they are fictional constructions of significant moments meant to elicit specific feelings.”
This arduous process is perhaps a way to reconstruct the process of memory making itself. When we construct memories, we are feeling and living that specific moment. When we are trying to reenact or recall that memory, it all feels distant, blurry, and small. In this case, the painter’s initial construction (the physical building of the diorama) and re-constrution of it (trough painting) mirrors this process.
I am interested in storytelling over time through repeated depictions of the same house or car or person, seasonal changes, and shifting vantage points. Like the disturbing difficulty of trying to put rolls of film in order several years after the pictures have been taken, my aim is for the collective images to suggest a known past that is just beyond reach.
For American Asylum, photographer Jeremy Harris captures the abandoned interiors of American mental institutions that operated during the 19th century. With the increased presence of psychiatric hospitals, the mid-1800s were characterized in part by a growing fear of the mentally ill. State-funded hospitals were often overcrowded, and there existed a widespread panic that sane people were being wrongfully institutionalized. Nearly two centuries later, Harris hauntingly presents these hospitals, these strange sites of psychological trauma, in decay.
Harris’s soft natural lighting is startling reminiscent of Francisco de Goya’s early 19th century painting The Madhouse. Emptied of its residents, the space seems darkly oppressive, colored in sickly greens and putrid browns. Shot with a profound depth of field, endless hallways house tiny rooms like some perverse dollhouse. The curved ceilings, now in ruin, frame the photographs in currents of claustrophobia.
Even in the shots in which we are offered some escape—the relief of an open door or wide-set window—viewers are compelled to stay within the confining space. Amidst chipped paint and rotting walls are signifiers of some ancient humanity, long forgotten by time: a rusted organ, a tilted chair, a message on the wall. The traces of life and bodies persist in old sinks and forgotten parcels. Somehow, these haunted spaces are beautiful, bathed in light. The people who lived here, once removed from and silenced by society, speak out in the ruins of the building that once contained them, as if to say, “This happened. We were here.” (via Lost at E Minor)
A couple of years ago, Booooooom partnered with Adobe for a contest called the Remake Project that called for submissions of modern interpretations of classic art works using photography as the medium. The rules urged contestants to refrain from the use of special photography effects post-shoot, as the sponsors preferred all the work of the remakes to be done before the photograph was shot. Eventually, the submissions were narrowed down to ten finalists, some of which are included in this post. Though I haven’t come across the winner of this contest, Booooooom announced last year that they are working with Chronicle Books to release the very first Booooooom book, featuring images from the Remake Project. You can review all of the project’s submissions – totaling 7 pages – over on Booooooom. (via we the urban)
Canadian artist Andrew Lamb has been making updates to your average “neighborhood watch” signs, taking them from innocuous to noticeable. He does it with the help of some memorable television, movie, and video game characters.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of neighborhood watch signs, let me give you a brief explanation. They are traffic-sign-sized warnings to potential criminals that the residents of a certain area are vigilant and won’t let them get away with any funny business. Of course, they’ve been around forever, and the often-dated looking designs are now just apart of the landscape, meaning that no one probably pays attention to them.
Lamb’s wheat-pasted edits to these signs grab your attention, and are an amusing way to reinvigorate something that’s probably run its course. Bruce Willis, Buffy the Vampier Slayer, Mulder and Scully, and even Sailor Moon are all featured in these updates. So have no fear, because the Power Rangers are keeping an eye out. (Via 22 Words)