Zhang Kechun‘s photography series The Yellow River keeps a watchful eye on a natural resource that has brought both support and devastation to the country it runs through. While Kechun agrees it is “improper for a photographer to make comments on mountains and rivers” a subdued palette offers a thoughtful visual documentary that needs no comment.
“As being alive, we all go by with time. But we are still here, and we may have a better consideration on the future after having a look at the past and present with heart.” — excerpt from artist’s statement (via WeWasteTime)
Adam Hosmer’s delightfully strange photographs are created by mixing the medium of drawing and photography but with a digital slant. Hosmer starts each image by taking a photograph and then drawing on top of it on the computer. Hundreds of digital lines create hairy deconstructed figures that are coming together, falling apart, and constantly morphing. The results are a strange hybrid of the grotesque and humorous, the digital and analog and formal and experimental.
Given the prevalence of new technologies and the endless possibilities associated with digital programs, it is no surprise that most contemporary artists working in collage seldom create works entirely by hand. To Argentinian artist Larissa Haily Aguado, however, fabricating collages manually has become an integral aspect of her practice, as “the possibilities of fixed manual collage in the digital age provide exciting opportunities to engage with craft, materials, analysis and outcomes.”
With mesmerizing compositions, dream-like subject matter, and a “sharper, more immediate, and more human dynamic than is possible with computer software,” Aguado’s collages combine photographs, illustration, found materials, and elements of graphic design to form surreal yet seamlessly cohesive scenes. By attaching inanimate objects to human bodies or placing retro furniture in scenes of nature, Aguado creates works that are both tongue-in-cheek and aesthetically appealing.
Representative of her wide range of artistic experiences and clearly influenced by her multi-faceted career (including major music industry projects, fashion campaigns, movie poster designs, and TV commercials), the diverse nature of her collages undoubtedly conveys her inventive imagination and eye for design.
Otto Rap hides these grotesque imagery in a delicate, graphite-rendered haze. Otto’s illustrations exude a natural flow of dark noise that vibrates with raw energy. But the way he executes it all, in a kaleidoscope explosion of beautiful pattern making, is what really does it for me.
In an incredible series of photographs titled Surreal Stormchasing Portraits, photographer Benjamin Von Wong visually connects the ferocity of a storm with the growing threat of climate change. To capture these images, Von Wong spent two weeks traveling across seven states, bringing along models and a collection of household objects. He staged people doing ordinary things, such as ironing cloths, lounging in a chair, and playing video games. In each scene, the models act as if they are oblivious to the storm behind them, even as the wind rips at their hair and clothing.
“We live in a rapidly changing world, and whether we admit it or not, our lifestyle is pretty unsustainable for the environment around us,” Von Wong states in the above video. He wanted to use his photography skills to comment on “it’s-not-happening” attitudes towards environmental disaster, and storms became the perfect symbol. He quickly learned of the challenges and dangers of storm photography, however; working alongside Kelly DeLay, the two photographers had to remain alert to developing storms, and when they arrived (all the while navigating dangerous roads), they had no more than 10-15 minutes to set up and tear down the scenes.
For Von Wong, these epic photos are justified by the responses they inspire. “The intent of the series is really just to get people to think—think about the world, think about what’s happening around us, be aware of it,” he says. “And if I can ignite that conversation regardless of the reaction on the series, then I think project will have been a success” (Source). Blending together powerful backdrops and images of ordinary life, Von Wong’s call to attention is clear, unsettling, and ultimately motivating.
Julia Fullerton-Batten’s models seem naked in their nudity, and this is not just a clever play on words. John Berger, in his book Ways of Seeing, explains the difference: “Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.”
Here, in Fullerton-Batten’s Unadorned series, each model is indeed nude, as Berger suggests, posed on display, manipulated by the photographer to convey an idea, however . . . because he or she wears a certain type of nudity in the vein of old world masters from the 15th – 17th centuries . . . and because they are arranged in contemporary settings by female hands . . . and because their bodies are curvy and soft, as opposed to thin and hard . . . what results is also a fascinating feeling of nakedness: a complex historical/sociological revelation of us as a species in relation to gender, weight, and image.