British photographer Vikram Kushwah recreates pieces of the past with staged photography. Working with fashion designer, writer, and researcher Trisha Sakhlecham, the two produced a series of images titled Memoirs of Lost Time. The subject matter, its tone, and coloring of the photographs are a dreamy and hazy. They straddle the fine line between what is a dream and what is a memory. Each image features a person gazing beyond the landscape, as though they are longing for something lost.
On his website, Kushwah writes about Memoirs of Lost Time. He says that the series is inspired by the romantic notions of childhood memories, and goes on to say:
…A biographical documentation of sorts, of seven creative personalities’ childhood recollections, this book captures not only what was, but also suggests a very imaginative take on what could have been.
Stories evocative of the intimate moments and bygone days of these personalities are embellished with wondrously staged pictures featuring the subjects themselves. Each chapter takes you into the personal and never seen before world of one of these personalities with a short story, an insightful interview and photographs, weaving in and out of reality, where you start beginning to drift into a realm of imaginative possibilities and yet remain attached to the facts that were.
With dreams, like distant memories, we sometimes question whether or not something actually happened. While this could be distressing, Kushwah chooses to embrace uncertainty and magic of it all. There are some fantastical elements, like a woman that is carried away by small umbrellas. But mostly, these images lack action. Instead, they depict quiet moments in the company of many books or the vast outdoors. Reading and nature provide the perfect fodder for imaginations to run wild. (Via My Modern Met)
Andrew Lyman, an artist and photographer living and working in Savannah, Georgia, creates “Fleeted Happenings”, a series in which the artist explores “the transcendence of memory through time in relation to space.”
These photographs envision the ephemerality of the body. Especially the reality of it being able to be in a state of being and becoming, of transcendence and disappearing. The photos feature ghostlike silhouettes that appear in scenic landscapes and surroundings that evoke feelings of nostalgia, but also of the sublime. The vast, endless, and empty spaces, not only seem beautiful because of its brilliant hues, but they also evoke fear, and anxiety, as these still remain unknown. Similarly, the transparent silhouettes suggest more of the same feelings. We are enthralled by their beauty and mysteriousness, yet, as we look at them, we acknowledge the possibility our body existing as a non-tangible, transparent form. Consequently, this brings forth questions of life after death, life before existence, and the reality of past memory an non-tangible ‘object’. As we look at these transparent, other-worldly, yet familiar forms, we have no other choice but to think about how one re-imagines memory; specifically how we envision a memory and its existence in a certain space at a given time in the past. (Via Feather of Me)
George Chamoun, a Swedish jewelry design student at the Konstfack University of the Arts, creates Iconatomy, a project that critically looks at celebrities, fashion icons, political, religious, and other personalities that influenced the confines of beauty today. The artist perfectly arranges the new and the old fragments of celebrity faces, so that upon a quick glance, viewers might think they are looking at just one subject. Each compilation features two faces representing the past and the present of glamour and fame.
Chamoun’s collection of mash-ups are striking in that we barely find differences between these timeless icons. I think this makes up for a strange, but obvious conclusion: we still look for perfect, youthful faces… standards of beauty have remained the same throughout all of these years. In fact, it has stayed so much the same that celebrities now resemble the ones before their time.
Apart from making this statement, I think we can’t deny that there is also an eagerness to resemble times in which beauty was a bit more natural than what it is today. Celebrities, stylist, hair dresser, etc have the urgency to emulate classic beauty. However, they are trying so hard that they all back on unnatural ways to make that happen.
Similarly, Marc Ghali, Canada-based photographer, also works within this framework.
North Korea is a country famous for its censorship. Even so, Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder has been able to capture images of the country and share them via Instagram. Recently, the DPRK relaxed their laws surrounding the internet. Foreigners are allowed to carry their phones with an activated 3G network. Guttenfelder talks about his motivations and experiences to Wired magazine, stating:
“In a country known for its censorship, I’m now uploading photos to Instagram from the streets of North Korea like I would anywhere else in the world. Through social media, I’m trying to piece together a picture of this country for the outside world … No one puts their hand in front of my camera, and no one tells me not to shoot things. There’s no review process. They don’t look at my pictures at all before I send them on the Associated Press wire or my Instagram account. Facebook even asks me to tag my “friends” Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung when I upload my photos.”
Displaying his photos on Instagram allows for followers to interact with Guttenfelder directly. He welcomes this, and comments on one of his photos, writing, “I appreciate the comments and the direct connections. It has given my work a cool and unexpected extra purpose.”
Guttenfelder posts photos of everyday life, displaying different aspects of the country and the influence the regime has on the cultural landscape. Of course, because they have been “Instagram’d” they look old, but are completely contemporary. In some of these photos, based on subject matter, it’s hard to imagine that they are of our time. (Via Huh Magazine)
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Anonymous Spanish art collective Luzinterruptus has installed their latest public interventionist project, “Consumerist Christmas Tree”, as part of Lumiere, a citywide celebration of light that takes place in Durham, England. To construct this 9 meter high tree, the group asked people to donate their plastic bags in exchange for cloth ones, resulting in a donation of around 4,000 bags. In addition to the tree, Luzinterruptus created strands of garland by installing lights in leftover bags and hanging them across streets. According to the artists, the tree ”is an installation that will help to raise awareness of the excessive use of plastic bags and the consequences that this consumption has on the environment…We thought about a grand Christmas tree, built of the bags used during the period prior to Christmas, the dates in which their use dramatically increases.” (via unknown editors)
Santa is not the only one you telling you to be good for goodness sakes. In today’s word, that is, in today’s virtual, and real life panopticon, you have no other choice but to be good for the sake or yourself, your life, your job, etc. Your success as a human being depends on your good (or bad?) pubic, and well documented, behavior. Everyone is watching, everyone is judging.
Taking its name from Vincent’s large-scale work installed in the gallery, “Be Good for Goodness Sake” pushes audiences to question their stance on surveillance and privacy in the age of social media.
Nathan Vincent’s six-foot crocheted doily acts as Big Brother and it invites the spectators to to sit on a bench flanked by security cameras, while Kathy Halper and Iviva Olenick create embroideries that question the psychosocial impacts of intimate over-sharing via social media. Inspired by her own Facebook feed, Olenick uses embroidery and watercolor to render her own “selfies” and portraits of others. Halper’s work similarly questions the disappearing space between public and private online through embroidered drawings of found images from teens’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The exhibition, “Be Good for Goodness Sake” will be on view at the Muriel Guepin Gallery in New York until January 19th, 2014.