Like all good contemporary photography, Elena Montemurro‘s Coming Of Age series highlights a particular zeitgeist, or a certain subculture you wouldn’t normally see so clearly. Her study of American teens discovering life is like a Sophie Coppola film – featuring kids full of ennui, walking wistfully through the streets and sitting aimlessly in diners throwing food in their mouths and at each other. She candidly captures a time of innocence and sincerity. Her images show kids doing exactly what they want, authentically expressing how they feel, and being outright bored. Her photos feel like you are following your cousin around an affluent suburb somewhere in America.
Flirting between gaming arcades, car parks, playgrounds at night, pet shops, lonely trains and empty beaches, Montemurro is able to show an accurate view of the disjointedness of modern life. The way we live our daily lives are quite ho-hum and underwhelming and she manages to turn the dreariness of it all into something a bit magical. Just because something is mundane doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated. Montemurro transforms unexciting routines and the in-between space into something worth having a second look at. The waiting room somehow doesn’t seem like such a boring place after all.
If you ever worry about the microbes living unseen inside your own home, beware: artist Margarita Sampson has beautifully manifested your worst fears — but with good intentions. In a series of soft sculptures currently being exhibited at the Stanley Street Gallery in Sydney, Sampson upholstered found chairs with colonies of organic growth. All of the sprouting nodules and budding orifices are meticulously hand-sewn with brightly colored textile materials, giving the hairy and spiny lifeforms both an endearing and unsettling quality. Inspired by Sampson’s upbringing on Norfolk Island, the coral- and urchin-like growths seem to take on a presence and consciousness of their own; leave them for a few weeks, and they might consume the entire room.
Titled Infectious Desires, Sampson’s exhibition explores the false dichotomy of domestic sterility and messy, organic life. We often imagine our bodies as detached from the chaotic and “dirty” processes of proliferation and decay — indeed, separate from the microscopic worlds that breed and die on every surface we encounter — when in fact we are already enmeshed within those environments. As Sampson eloquently expresses on the Stanley Street Gallery exhibition page, the “glamour” of interior life is illusory:
“Glamour is the strict control of the body or the environment, sublimated to an ideal — there’s no body fluids or stains in glamour. It’s about boundaries, zones of comfort. We feel we are betrayed by our bodies — a lot of this work is about my own aging, my body, about death and disease, about fear and surrender, tightening and release” (Source).
With their hyperbolic size and sexually suggestive shapes, Samspon’s sculptures boldly encounter us with the material realities of our bodies. There is no need to fear the lifeforms inhabiting our favorite furniture — we (and anything we shed, ooze, or excrete) are already hosts to invisible, microbial landscapes.
The Brazilian artist known as Tec creates artwork whose scale is large enough for the open road. Kites, characters, and other symbols occupy the middle of the car-lined thoroughfares. Sometimes, Tec will add cast shadows that gives the illusion that his subjects are hovering above the streets. It’s additions like this that foster a sense of playfulness.
On the ground, you don’t get the full effect of Tec’s creations. They don’t translate as well and look distorted. It’s only when you’re at a bird’s eye view do you see the kite’s fluttering tail or the man clinging to the double-yellow line in the middle of the road. Although this is consequence of working at such a large size, it also changes who Tec’s audience is. Up in the air or on the roof of a tall building, it’s like he’s created a concealed messages for only certain people to see. (Via Lustik)
Photographer Elisa Imperi is a poet who uses her camera to record her prose. She has a sensitive eye for light and shadows, and captures moments of serenity and melancholia. Her work usually features long corridors, empty rooms, dark doorways, dirty floors, broken windows and beautiful girls. Like some twisted fairytale, Imperi’s images are a little bit creepy, full of strange happenings and sad characters that seem to be down on their luck.
Shot in ruins and abandoned buildings, Imperi’s pictures look as if the girl down the street has run away from home and found themselves somewhere undesirable. Based in Italy, she also gets the chance to shoot in lavish apartments, even castles. Recently completing a photoshoot for Vogue Italy, her ethereal style compliments the magazine. Beautiful white dresses lie sprawled out over old branches and piles of dust in forgotten mansions.
If you are like are us and are captivated by Imperi’s haunting photos, then be sure to check out more of her work here, here and here.
The sculptor Barry X Ball is known for interesting projects. One called ‘Masterpieces’ was especially riveting. He took two Italian sculptures made in the 16th century: Corradini’s La Puria (“Purity (veiled woman)”) and Court’s La Invidia (“Envy”) and created perfected versions of the original. In a statement to his collectors he explains in detail the changes he made and why they are valid artworks on their own and not just copies or appropriations. Ball’s documentation also discusses his process and gives invaluable insight into it.
Both of these sculptures were made using materials other than white Italian marble such as onyx, calcite and black marble. This lends a different dynamic to the work altogether. Unlike white marble, onyx has the ability to glow from within and through the veils of Purity we are able to see light. On the other hand, the calcite material is veined and therefore camouflages Envy’s folds and sweeps creating complexity not there with the original.
Another different perspective on the two Ball pieces is that they are made to depict someone looking into a mirror. This is done with today’s advanced technology and adds a strange narcissistic glance. It’s almost as though we are looking at a more refined version of the sculptures which captures the very old paired with something new. Other changes involved refining of drape, finishing the back and making the pedestals which they are placed much sturdier in order to view the work correctly from all sides.
Artistic duo Sandrine Dulermo and Michael Labica turn a strange eye to photography, as they create worlds filled with plastic-like women with color palettes to die for. Having done many photo shoots for celebrities and fashion clients, their photography style is a mix of high-fashion shoots and Hitchcock movie scenes. Their use of dramatic lighting and cinematic sets create an eerie, yet playful, sense of mystery. In the series How to Spend It, a woman that seems to be frozen in an artificial stance like a mannequin, lounges around in extreme luxury. Her all-too-perfect house matches her synthetic and impossibly perfect look. Still, the scene seems too flawless, causing a sense of secrecy.
In the Dolls House, a more playful yet dark series of the dynamic duo, contains a palpable sense of madness. With the intense lighting and absurd make up, this series contains a girl who looks shockingly like a doll. Her limbs are limp and motionless, as if she has been placed like a child’s play thing in her dollhouse. Dulermo and Labica’s sense of color is absolutely breathtaking, as their photography, specifically this series, holds brilliant, bursting hues. However, these seemingly bright and cheery scenes have disturbing and dark undertones. The doll-like girl seems to have no life in her body. She is pale, expressionless, and without emotion. She is trapped in her perfect world, similar to the woman in the previously mentioned series. Both women hold a hollow sense of plasticity that renders them lifeless.
Sandrine Dulermo and Micahel Labica are masters at creating cinematic, compelling photography with an irresistible palette. They construct uncanny, eerie scenes that are both undeniably appealing and unsettling. (via Behance)
Artist, illustrator, and muralist Saddo creates paintings that are a fusion of birds, humans, armor, and more. In stately-looking portraits, these hybrid creatures look as though they’re ready to enter battle or to try and cheat death. Sometimes, act as the grim reaper themselves. The dark-colored images match the somber subject matter, and many of Saddo’s surreal works are meant to echo that sentiment.
The catalyst for Saddo’s subject mater comes from a move to Lisbon with the artist Aitch. Some imagery is influenced by Spanish and Portuguese explorers and conquistadors from the 15th to 18th century, as well as illustrations of birds, Islamic miniatures depicting battle scenes, and science fiction movies. Other paintings are inspired by the cold. “…the winter caught us by surprise, we didn’t expect it to be so rainy, gloomy, and depressing.” Saddo explains.“It deeply affected our mood and even our physical state, we often felt trapped inside our dark, moist house, inside slow moving, joint aching bodies.” Every once and a while, a coffin would appear in their illustrations and paintings.
The culmination of these disparate influences facilitate morbid, strange, and fascinating works that have intriguing small details hidden within each composition.
Based in Berlin, Peter Kaaden is a photographer who brings a raw, playful, and oft-erotic edge into the world of alt-fashion photography. The images shown here — the majority of which were shot for VICE and Oyster magazines — feature models provocatively bedecked in latex and bizarre headpieces. Whether within the studio or outside at night, Kaaden’s work is sharp, candid, and unapologetic, buzzing with an attitude and youthful “grit” that deviates from the conventional standards of commercial fashion photography. Instead of acting as passive recipients of the camera’s gaze, Kaaden’s subjects engage with it in a rough-yet-refined manner, expressing confidence and sensuality in imaginative ways.
If you visit Kaaden’s Tumblr, you will notice that his work extends beyond just fashion photography (in the traditional sense); there are images of nudes, erotic and/or strange still lifes, people engaged in amusingly raunchy night-time activities, and more. In an interview with Neon Black Fashion Magazine, Kaaden described his work as “a rough and honest documental view of my life and a view on today’s wasted lovely youth” (Source). Indeed, many of his images have an air of spontaneity and honesty — a style that is carried into his editorial work. In an industry that is often accused of quelling personal creativity for the sake of commercial interests, Kaaden has done a great job infusing the conventions of fashion photography with mischief and his perspectives on youth culture.