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Mickael Jou Combines Photography And Dance To Defy Laws Of Gravity And Levitate Through The Air

Mickael Jou - Photography

Jou1

Mickael Jou - Photography

Mickael Jou - Photography

The intensity and electricity in Mickael Jou’s photography can only be matched by his equally immaculate dancing skills. In his series Air Through my Ashes, Jou captures the precise positions of his dance through the lens of a camera. Each movement, leap, and bend is shown being done not on a stage, but through city streets, in breathtaking nature, and even in a grocery store. Jou, now living in Berlin, was trained as a dancer, and started out dancing through the streets of Paris. He got the idea to photograph himself after so many tourists began taking pictures of him as he danced. He then taught himself how to use a camera and turned his dancing into frozen moments in time where he can levitate and defy gravity.

Jou’s dance positions are turned into still statues that pulsate with energy in each photograph. The incredible scenery of the images is almost as breathtaking as Jou’s suspension in mid air. The series has a kind of magic to it that transports the viewer into a world where your feet never need to touch the ground. What makes each composition so dynamic is not only the sheer power felt in the dancer’s stance, but also the addition of a scarf in the dance movements. This scarf that often appears adds color and balance to the rhythm of each photograph as it floats alongside this multi-talented dancer. Jou combines these two art forms harmoniously to create ethereal and graceful photographs. He explains how using these two mediums further his creative vision and expression:

My self-portraits help me express the emotions that I feel while dancing. Dance is a very powerful art form, and I try to translate my emotions into my photography.

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Lee Bul’s Infinite Installations Will Fracture Your Reflection Into A Thousand Pieces

Lee Bul - Installation

Lee Bul - Installation

Lee Bul - Installation

Lee Bul’s transformative installations pull you into a fractured space of infinite mirrors. The Korean artist, both well versed in illustration as well as installation and sculpture, forms complex, maze-like structures with interiors made of mirrors that reflect in all different directions, creating a disorienting effect. Bul takes seemingly small, secluded spaces and magnifies its size by making the space seem never-ending, keeping you exploring each layer of the multi-faceted structure. The highly industrial installations create such intricate depths and perspectives that allow you to fall into a place of vertigo. Each fractured mirror bounces back color and light in a way that transforms and bends the space around you into an intense kaleidoscope. Bul’s interactive artwork gives way to a fractured universe of distorted shapes and space.

The artist, being multi-talented, mixes elements of architecture in her work to design the sleek exteriors of her installations. Adding to the lustrous, reflective surfaces of the interior walls are the reflective floors of the exhibition, creating even more confusing space perception. This unique work creates a range of emotions from the anxiety caused by the ambiguity of depth, to the overwhelming awe from the beauty and sublime of the endless space around you. Each installation is a portal to another world, absorbing you in its abstracted images that include your own reflection. This unearthly theme is present in much of Bul’s work, as her illustrations often include unknown beings and aliens. Bul’s stunning mirrored labyrinths are now on view at the Museé d’Art Moderne in Saint –Eitienne in France. (via Design Boom)

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Vintage Photos Highlight The Devastation Of The 1968 D.C. Riots After Martin Luther Kings Death

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The year 1968 was a tumultuous time in America’s history, and Washington, D.C. was often in the middle of controversy. Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, six days of race riots erupted in the Nation’s capital. Dr. Darrell Clayton Crain Jr. captured parts of the event and put them on Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides. Thanks to technology, these were scanned in to the computer and digitized. They’re now featured on the Flickr account Posthumous DCC, along with other pictures throughout the years.

If you aren’t familiar with the riots, they started as news spread about King’s death. Crowds began to gather at 14th street and U. Stokely Carmichael, an activist who had parted ways with King in 1966 and removed as head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1967, lead members of the SNCC to different neighborhoods. At first, they politely demanded that stores close out of respect. Eventually, the crowd became out of control and were breaking windows. Widespread looting started by 11PM (as well as in 30th other cities).

Things got worse in the following days. Anger was still evident and it resulted in violent confrontations with the DC police. Buildings were set on fire. Police unsuccessfully tried to control the crowds with tear gas, and eventually the National Guard was brought in. Marines mounted machine guns on the steps of the Capitol and army troops guarded the White House. It was the largest military occupation of any American city since the Civil War.

These vintage images showcase just how bad some of the destruction was. By the time the city was considered calmed down, 12 were killed (mostly in burning homes), 1,097 were injured, and over 6,100 were arrested. The devastation to property was $27 million (over $175 million today). Some neighborhoods in DC didn’t start to economically recover until the 1990’s.

See more of these powerful images on Flickr.

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The Crumpled Paintings Of Stefania Fersini Studies Fashion’s Distorted View Of Beauty

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Pages from high fashion magazines are brought back to life as forgotten pieces of crumpled paper in Stefania Fersini’s realistic oil paintings. By distorting the original image, Fersini makes statement about the fleeting nature of style and beauty. Her message strongly suggests the idea of what’s in today, will be passe tomorrow and metaphorically studies the excessive nature of youth and beauty in the fashion industry. On the flip side she spends hours duplicating an image that has already appeared in a mainstream magazine. The same is true of the visual itself which is the result of many different people.  It examines the time and energy spent to create something of aesthetic value in our society.
Her skill as a painter is readily apparent. The distorted view she brings to light is due to that ability and in the process brings other nuances out that might not be visible in the original photograph. By using a crumpled paper technique we are able to decide if the image itself would be as attractive if a few lines showed. As with most painters that decision is left up to the viewer to decide.
Fersini says she paints from magazine images because she likes using the ready made as a mirror. She is based in Torino, Italy and is part of an artist collective called Nucleo in that region.

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Post-Punk Icons Transformed Into Marvel Superheroes

Butcher Billy - Digital Illustration

Butcher Billy - Digital Illustration

Butcher Billy - Digital Illustration

Missing the cult classic post-punk musicians that changed the course of music history? Never fear! They are back in action…but as superheroes! Illustrator “Butcher Billy” has taken your favorite Post-Punk icons and transformed them into Marvel superheroes. Each legendary musician becomes an ever-popular hero by giving them just a few character essentials like a spandex outfit, bold lines and color, and a catchy comic title behind them. If these unforgettable musicians weren’t already your heroes, they will be after you see them on these specially created comic cover mock-ups that cleverly match each icon with their appropriate superhero counterpart. These incredibly on-point mash-ups include bright, eye-catching titles displaying various infamous lyrics such as “I don’t care if Monday’s blue,” from The Cure or “When a problem comes along” from Devo. After seeing these re-imagined icons, you realize how much they already looked like superheroes, or perhaps villains.

Mixing together cult classic comic characters with equally popular musical icons is genius. Not only do they both have “super powers,” whether it be possessing super strength or being a lyrical genius, but also often adorn themselves with spandex clothing. The best part about these hybrid hero/musicians is that us super fans or comic nerds are not the only ones that love these illustrations. Shown is a photo of Morrissey wearing a shirt showing himself in full hulk form, and another includes Siouxsie Sioux proudly displaying clothing with her own superhero alter ego, complete with her audacious hair and signature make up. (via Shortlist)

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Naked Nothing: The Liberating Nude Portraiture Of Alex Guiry

Alex Guiry — PhotographyAlex Guiry — PhotographyAlex Guiry — PhotographyAlex Guiry — Photography

Alex Guiry is a photographer who wields his camera in the passionate exploration of untamed environments and the people that inhabit them. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Guiry’s images are drenched with the rain, beauty, serenity, and intensity of the Pacific Northwest. This particular photo series, entitled Naked Nothing, embraces nude portraiture— male and female — in natural and urban landscapes, framing it not as an object of sexualized desire, but rather as a means to celebrate selfhood and let go of inhibiting insecurities; whether running through a field, arching between trees, or balancing on urinals, each body is strong, confident, and standing up with an identity that needs only itself for validation. In a fascinating and eloquent statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Guiry further explained his socially-informed approach to photography:

“All genders have a tough time with body image, and a number of my models have opened up to me about battling with an eating disorder. For a lot of them, this is their first time undressing in front of a camera — or a stranger for that matter — and I’d like to think when I shoot with these girls, something brilliant happens: they realize how liberating it is to be naked, happy with themselves, and to not give a fuck. […] I want to portray these girls as someone who wants to be there, behind the camera, not overpowered, submissive, fragile, or backed into the corner by the male gaze of the photographer and audience. The nudity draws the viewer in, and holds their attention long enough to rethink why they came here in the first place.”

Furthering the images’ ability to heal and empower, Naked Nothing also holds a personal significance for Guiry. His father died shortly before he began the project. Explaining the series’ connection to this event, and how photography can reconcile trauma and restore peace, Guiry writes:

“Naked Nothing is where I could secretly curate my feelings of pain, loss, love, depression, and the rebirthing cycle. My largest anxieties are about my relationships with people, so in my work I’ve romanticized three key figures that are vaguely present in most of my stories: my father, an ex, and the girl I can’t have. Being active in nature, paying attention to light, and listening to zen philosophy, have all helped to calm the constant commentary. Learning to use photography as a tool has been a large part of my healing process as well.”

The combination of nudity and photography as a means to spiritual and bodily healing has appeared in some of Guiry’s other series; Running on Empty, for example, is a photo essay of a young woman’s journey through bulimia towards self-love and acceptance. And whether documenting the body in its nude state or not, all of Guiry’s lifestyle portraiture is infused with the same passion and search for the subject’s empowerment. Check out his website, Tumblr, and Facebook for more examples of his beautiful and heartfelt work.

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Dawn Of Man Turns Empty City Walls Into Napping Spots For Tired Giants

Dawn of Man, Projection Napping - Projection mapping Dawn of Man, Projection Napping - Projection mapping Dawn of Man, Projection Napping - Projection mapping

The New York-based art collective Dawn of Man has created site-specific video installations that bring peace and tranquility to the “city that never sleeps.” Entitled Projection Napping — which is a clever play on the technique, project mapping — the group transforms peeling walls, dark alcoves, and sky-high edifices into refuges for larger-than-life human beings. In each work, the characters appear to “settle down” into their respective spaces, curling up against the walls or dangling their legs off the edges. In a statement provided to The Creators Project, Dawn of Man explains their creative intent and the effect of their project:

“Projection Napping […] juxtapos[es] the calm, meditative state of napping against the kinetic, high energy noise of the sleepless city. An unsuspecting audience usually emerges at each location, often sparked with intrigue, sometimes enlightenment, and always a whole lot of questions” (Source).

What is also fascinating about the juxtaposition of the city’s chaos with the sleepers’ serenity is the public demonstration of a private experience. When we sleep (or nap), we allow ourselves to become open and vulnerable. Thus, when Dawn of Man’s sleeping giants turn over, rub their eyes, or lean exhaustedly against a wall, we are voyeurs to a moment of intimacy and perceived solitude. It is easy in the city to feel alienated from the life all around us, but thanks to this fascinating project, barren walls and cold architecture have been reinvested as landscapes of warmth and humanity.

Check out the video above to see the projections in motion. Dawn of Man’s website can be found here. (Via The Creators Project)

 

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Surreal Anatomical Photo Collages Of Growing Up

Franczuk And Honarvar - Photo Collage Franczuk And Honarvar - Photo Collage Franczuk And Honarvar - Photo Collage Franczuk And Honarvar - Photo Collage
Zła uczennica” is a collaborative series between photographer Magdalena Franczuk and Ashkan Honarvar, who is known for his rich surreal collages. The name of the series translates to “The Bad Schoolgirl” and draws its inspiration from coming-of-age stories such as Lolita.
Lush blossoms and flora bloom around the girls in the series, even as the blank spaces behind their their faces and hearts are revealed in an almost anatomical fashion. Franczuk and Honarvar evoke a sense of searching, a limbo between knowing and understanding as the girls in the photos grow and discover themselves. Some of the images seem random at first — snails and cherries — but they make sense in context: one, a hollowed shell in which the true self lives; the other, a symbol of girlhood.
It’s interesting to see the way the two artists’ work interact. Franczuk’s photography brings a subtlety of emotion and ambiguity that we might take at face value, while Honarvar’s collage elements depict the inner struggles of the subjects. In an artist’s statement, Honarvar notes that he “present[s] the human body at the center of microcosmic theaters of dichotomy in which irrationality permeates logic, serenity belies violence, and luxury secretes exploitation.” It seems fitting for “Zła uczennica” — after all, isn’t growing up one of the most universal dramas of all? (h/t I Need a Guide)

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