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Filippo Romano’s Portraits of A Nairobi Slum’s Door-To-Door Salesmen

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In photographer Filippo Romano’s fascinating series titled Nomadic Sellers, he documents the roaming salespeople of Africa. The images are mostly focused in eastern Nairobi and specifically in the slum of Mathare, which has a population of 600,000 people within 3 square miles. Each portrait features the peddler and their wares against the washed-out backdrop of the city streets.

We see the men with shoes and bras tied around their necks and arms full of music and wooden utensils. Their earnings are meager, and the goods they sell make a tenth of what pesticide peddlers yield. Those salespeople have most lucrative product and stand to make between 1,000 to 2,000 shellini (10 to 20 euros) in profit.

Romano notes that selling on the streets and going door-to-door is one of the most common trades in the African world. A seller who travels with goods on their back has most likely created their job through the necessity to fend for themselves. They are entrepreneurs.

Nomadic Sellers points to the infectious nature of global consumerism, and how even the far parts of the world want to own a pair of Nikes. At its very core, the series is an intriguing look at the innate human desire to own stuff, no matter how necessary or frivolous it may seem. (Via Feature Shoot)

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The Intensely-Detailed Intricacy Of Ben Sack’s Illustrated Cityscapes

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Few artists have the talent that Ben Sack wields with pen and ink, and even fewer have the patience and control that the young artist uses to create his labor intensive, large-scale drawings. Patience is an integral part of the artist’s process, as massive cityscapes are slowly constructed on paper from historical reference, often taking months to complete. Though some cities are drawn (partially) historically accurate, certain parts of the drawing are stylistically changed, by removing rivers or skylines, or being rendered in circular forms. Other cities are complete fantasy however, interjecting centuries of unrelated architecture and scenery into a hybrid sprawl, often resulting in completely new, purely imaginative renderings. When asked the simple question on his Tumblr of how he is able to create these intensely detailed drawings, Sack responded, “As per your question regarding how, I can credit patience and a debilitating love for history and architecture.”

Explaining his interest in architecure, antiquity and cities, Sack explains, “Its this sort of image that I think most people, if not all of society have of western antiquity; stainless marble facades, long triumphal avenues, monuments to glory. In actuality, the cities of the past were far from idealistic by todays standards. Yes there was marble, lots of marble, and monuments galore, however these urban centers were huddled together and unless you were considerably wealthy, life in dreamy antiquity was often a heroic struggle. Though the societies of antiquity were bloody, dirty and corrupt the idea of antiquity has come to represent some resounding ideals in present society; democracy, justice, law and order, balance, symmetry. These ideals are now the foundation stones of our own civilization, a civilization that some distant future will perhaps honor as antiquity.”(via supersonicelectronic and colossal)

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Legendary Sci-FI Master, H.R. Giger Dies At 74

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Legendary Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger, has died this past Monday, May 12th,2014 after sustaining injuries from a fall. He was 74. Born on February 5, 1940 in the rural town of Chur, Switzerland, the artist showed an interest in dark art forms from an early age but trained to be an industrial designer at the School of Applied Arts in Zurich.

Geiger was best known for designing the iconic “xenomorph” creature in the Alien movie franchise, and for his work in Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ambitious film, “Dune”.

Giger’s nightmarish imagery-a blend of mechanical and biological androids-was in fact fueled by his own bad dreams and by an early interest in artists like Salvador Dali and Ernst Fuchs. The artist kept a journal by his bed so he could record the imagery. Wired reported that Giger had “an idyllic childhood in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. But it harbored forbidding structures and estranged elements that left an impression on a child subjected to night terrors and panic attacks.”

An early series of controversial art, most likely influenced by his perturbed childhood nightmares and anxieties, landed Giger a gig to create the album cover of the 1973 Emerson, Lake & Palmer album, “Brain Salad Surgery.” After his success with the English progressive rock trio, Giger became highly solicited in the movie business.

After winning an Academy Award for visual effects on “Alien,” the artist continued to experiment in show business by designing sets for “Poltergeist II” (1986) and “Alien III” (1992).

Giger, however, found himself disliking Hollywood. Later after the last Alien movie, he retreated back to Zurich in hopes that he could get back to being a visual artist for his own sake.

In 1998, the artist founded the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland. Since then, Giger was inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame and worked on several other projects- including a guitar line with Ibanez. (via NPR and Daily News)

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Vintage Cutaway Illustrations Of Nuclear Reactors From Around The World

Crays-Malvile Super Phenix, France

Crays-Malvile Super Phenix, France

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Grand Gulf, USA

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Douglas Point BWR/6, USA

Guangdong, China

Guangdong, China

The University of New Mexico’s digital collections host an extensive archive of vintage cutaway illustrations of nuclear reactors from around the world. These illustrations first appeared in Nuclear Engineering International as inserts in the magazine from the 1950s to the 1990s, and were often on display in nuclear engineers’ offices.  Upon noticing the degradation of the illustrations over time, one engineer named Ron Knief decided to pursue the digitization of all 105 diagrams published by the magazine. The resolution of these images is incredibly sharp, and you can get a closer, more detailed look at the illustrations by visiting UNM’s archive, where you’ll also find many more colorful and thoughtfully designed posters that shed light on and satisfy some curiosity about these controversial energy reservoirs. (via gizmodo)

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Ayano Tsukimi Replaces The Dead With Doll Sculptures In Shrinking Japanese Village

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The village of Nagoro is remote location hidden in the valley of Shikoku, Japan. Its small town charm remains enchanting, but its lack of work possibilities has driven its residents to leave for big cities in search for a better life. Nagoro is slowly shrinking.

“When I was a child there was a dam here, there was a company, and hundreds of people used to live here.”

In hopes that she could bring back life to her now desolated hometown of Nagoro, Japanese artist Ayano Tsukimi comes up an unexpected solution.

Tsukimi has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.

“I don’t like making weird dolls, but people who blend into the scenery.”

In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, director Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi’s doll-filled world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. (via The Verge)

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11-Year-Old Prodigy Draws Astounding Natural Scenes

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In his first eleven years of life, the Serbian artist Dušan Krtolica has already exhibited his drawings at two nation-wide solo shows. He began his drawing career at two-years-old, displaying an astounding visual ability; since then, the prodigy has focussed his efforts on depicting wildlife and natural worlds, both existing and extinct. As with the notebooks of Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, Krtolica’s pages are filled to their edges with rich anatomical and zoological studies. Though passionate about drawing, the fifth-grader hopes someday to pursue his passion for animals by becoming a zoologist.

Krtolica’s drawings magically marry a childlike sense of wonder with a more seasoned visual precision; though startlingly detailed and studiously seen, his work maintains a frenetic and unabashed curiosity. His ocean floors and vast jungles are seemingly blessed with creatures of different periods, as if more mature and evolved animals could intermingle with primordial beasts. The bodies of animals overlap in the midst of a wonderful chaos, and an armed knight is envisioned with the same degree of specificity as a tiny beetle.

Though powerfully scientific and unfalteringly observant, Krtolica’s images contain within their borders an ineffable quality of life and vitality, as seen through the rubbing of hybrid wings, the weaving of a spider web. The artist possesses both the awe-filled eye of a child and the technical ability to render his imaginings on paper, and that is a truly magical combination indeed. Take a look. (via Demilked)
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Fabrice Fouillet Photographs Huge Monuments In the Context Of Their Surroundings

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Dai Kannon – Sendai, Japan

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Jibo Kannon: Kagaonsen, Japan

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Ataturk Mask: Buca, Izmir, Turkey

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Grand Byakue: Takazaki, Japan

When you see a photograph of a monument, often it’s just of the sculpture itself and not within the context of the larger landscape. It gives the appearance that these colossal constructions live within their own world. Photographer Fabrice Fouillet shatters this illusion in his series titled Colosses, in which he zooms out and provides us with what’s surrounding these massive creations. Many times, they make the monument appear less special and more ordinary.

Fouilllet explains his thinking behind the photographs:

The series “Colosses” is a study of the landscape embracing those monumental commemorative statues. Although hugeness is appealing, exhilarating or even fascinating, I was first intrigued by the human need to build gigantic declarations. Then I asked myself how such works could be connected to their surroundings. How can they fit in the landscape, despite their excessive dimensions and their fundamental symbolic and traditional functions?

That is why I chose to photograph the statute from a standpoint outside their formal surroundings (touristic or religious) and to favor a more detached view, watching them from the sidelines. This detachment enabled me to offer a wider view of the landscape and to place the monuments in a more contemporary dimension.

The statues that are surrounded by nature fit more comfortably in their environment. It feels less chaotic and a more peaceful place, in line with the intention of many religious practices. But, even when they are among shopping centers, you can’t ignore the stunning presence that these monuments have. (Via Flavorwire)

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Yung Cheng Lin’s Disturbing Photographs Capture An Erotic Drama

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The Taiwanese photographer Yung Cheng Lin presents the female body in unusual, erotic and sometimes absurd ways; his surreal, staged images capture a raw sensuality that oscillates between the fantastic and the grotesque. Here, women are seen initially as objects of desire, but they contort their bodies in ways that defy objectification and veer into abstraction.

Lin’s images, wrought with sexual tension, are at times uncomfortable to look at; a girl grips a box of milk, and its liquid ejaculates on and into her ear. Another woman holds a ripened, banana, which we might assume to be symbolic of the phallus, between her thighs; a finger penetrates and abstracted mound of flesh. A replica of the Mona Lisa sits between a woman’s legs, the part of hair mimicking a vulvar shape. The viewer, often seeing these female subjects from above, feel like strange voyeurs, peering into intimate rituals undetected.

Amidst Lin’s exploration of sexuality is a growing sense of anxiety that may be read perhaps a fear of female sexual power. A rose intimately penetrates a woman’s throat, and her head falls back and out of the frame as if in pleasure. But this symbolic intercourse is foreboding, dangerous: the flower is dead, wilted, and blood trickles down the model’s neck. Dead bugs infest the sets, sitting atop bananas and dangling from blood-red threads, signifying impending decay. Like drone bees who flock to mate with their queen only to die after the moment of fertilization, the insects fall at the feet of women. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor and White Zine)
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