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Alvaro Laiz Captures the Secret Lives of Transgender Mongolians

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transgender

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In Mongolia, where the weight of tradition and Soviet rule still hang heavy, it is considered dangerously taboo to be a homosexual. Gays, lesbians, and transsexuals must keep their identities secret, often secluding themselves or participating in prostitution, in an attempt to safeguard their lives against violence and discrimination. In 2011, photographer Álvaro Laiz decided to capture the secret lives of these Mongolians in his series “Transmongolian.” Laiz initially traveled to Mongolia because he was interested in how the country’s newly opened borders affected the population, with the tradition of Mongolian culture meeting with Western influences from the outside. His research led him to connections with transgender individuals whose stories he decided to document with his photography.

They cannot express themselves normally except in certain places,” Laiz explained to Slate. “Your life becomes a scenario in which you are pretending to be someone else. Your job, your relatives become part of this performance, and little space is left to act as you would really want to be. It is insane.”

Laiz captures these ostracized Monogolians conducting their day-today lives alongside images of them in traditional Mongolian queen costumes. Laiz’s Mongolian series is the first of a larger project exploring transgender people in societies across the world. (via huffington post)

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I got you something

592_1228156465Arend deGruyter-Helfer gives you a pile of Facebook gifts. Gifs. They’re almost better than a pile of real gifts!

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You Still Have Time For Last Minute Holiday Shopping!

Nothing says happy holidays like something Beautiful that has just the right amount of Decay. Use code: SECRETSHIP to get your entire order shipped for free!  So click the shop button above, support The Cult Of Decay, and get your shopping fix all in one spot!

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Eric Nehr’s Egon Schiele-Inspired Fashion Shoot

Here are a few images from a 2009 fashion shoot by Eric Nehr modeled directly after the works of Egon Schiele. For some reason, these snaps expose Schiele’s notorious vanity even further. But of course no one does self portraits like he did, with his writhing, angular paintings full of turn-of-the-century angst. A nice tribute. (via)

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Ilona Szwarc’s American Girls

Ilona Szwarc is a photographer originally from Poland who now lives in the United States and has rightfully fascinated with American Culture. American Girls, named after the doll series, is a study of said culture that investigates gender,beauty, and identity in the context of decks with cadillac barbecues, country mansions, and skyscraper porches. The style of her photographs is, like the our culture encourages us to be, perfect, too–styling the girls exactly and directing them to look as expressionless as the dolls they cherish. But the images aren’t condescending, exploitative, or preachy–they just express a genuine interest in the hyperbole that is American gender culture. Still in the SVA already with a body of Diane Arbus quality work, keep your eye out for great things to come from this girl. (via)

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Book 1 Release Party & Signing July 25!

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Join us in celebration of the highly anticipated release for Book 1: Supernaturalism, Saturday July 25th, 2009 at Gallery Nucleus. Don’t miss artist Kyle Thomas, who will be signing and taking requests for custom, one of a kind covers for each attendee. Works by Kyle as well as featured artists Ben Tegel, David Jien and Seth Curcio will also be on display until August 3rd. Artists from the book as well as the entire Beautiful/Decay team will also be in attendance.This is a rare opportunity to get a hold of a completely customized, original copy of the limited edition Book 1! Details after the jump.

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Taylor James Is Beneath Your Skin

TaylorJames Studio has some amazing CGI and post production work on their portfolio site. Not only is the photography and effects fantastic but they bring a level of creativity to the projects that take it beyond a “looks cool” approach that is so common with effects.

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Cal Lane’s Delicate Flourishes And Motifs Cut Into Weathered Metal Objects

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New York-based artist Cal Lane combines traditional metal work with flourishes and delicate motifs. She handcuts lace and other patterns in weathered I-beams, shovels, trash cans, large storage containers, and more. The result is work that references dichotomies: industrial and domestic life; strong and delicate; practical and frivolity; ornament and function. “There is also a secondary relationship being explored here, of lace used in religious ceremonies as in weddings, christenings and funerals,” Lane writes in her artist statement.

She continues, writing about what we can understand by this surprising pairing:

The metaphor of lace further intrigued me by its associations of hiding and exposing at the same time; like a veil to cover, or lingerie to reveal. It also introduces a kind of humor through the form of unexpected relationships. Like a Wrestler in a tutu, the absurdity of having opposing extremist stances is there for reaction and not rational understanding; the rational discussion arises in the search for how one thing defines the other by its proximity. (Via L’Acte Gratuit)

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