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Someone Released 1.5 Million Balloons Into The Sky And Ruined Everything

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If you’ve ever loosed a balloon into the sky, by accident or on purpose, you have probably had that uncanny feeling that you’ve done something simple but irreversible; no matter how high you jump, the balloon will forever be out of your grasp. Now multiply that sensation by 1.5 million; twenty-eight years ago, in a misguided attempt to break the record for most launched balloons in history, the United Way of Cleveland released one and a half million balloons into the sky for a fundraiser known as Balloonfest ’86. As the weather grew grim, the hasty event administrators freed the eager helium-filled balls of color into the sky, and it was all caught on film by the photographer Thom Sheridan.

The images are pretty remarkable; when shot at close range, the balloons look to be raining from above, coloring the skyline and bridges like jimmies over an ice cream sundae. Pink, red, blue, and yellow litter the frame like large-scale confetti. But viewed from further away, the balloons form something resembling an angry plague of locusts that ominously mushroom above the city. They puff up and away, and their colors blur, forming a bloody wound across the sky.

Given the historical context, these photographs are even more theatrical, grim and tragic. Two people died as a result of the event, and a horse was badly spooked and injured. The winds that day caused the balloons to flood together, forming a substantial cloud that obscured the view of aircrafts; helicopters were unable to rescue the victims of a boating accident. In one terrible anecdote, a coast guard member explained searching for the heads of the drowning people and being totally unable to differentiate them from balloons. The entire city remained littered for weeks.

This strange, tragic story reads like a bizarre little fable where excess, pride and even the most well-intentioned aspirations breed disaster and ruin. These photographs, these astounding relics of a city’s hopes and traumas, say it all.  (via Gizmodo and Viral Forest)
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Tattooed Seniors Show Off Their Inked Bodies

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When we get tattooed, our flesh becomes an elastic canvas, and it’s only a matter of time before we start hearing, “but what will it look like when you’re old and wrinkled?” As we age, our skin stretches, sags, and becomes marked by time and gravity; our ink moves in unpredictable ways as black fades to blue and linear shapes begin to blur. Part of the magic of the tattoo medium lies in this accidental metamorphosis or art and body, and reddit user “clevknife” hopes to challenge the idea that time breeds unsavory, attractive ink. His project, titled “What about when you get old?” showcases elderly individuals embracing their well-worn tattoos and proving that there truly is no expiration date on good art.

Clevknife’s shots maintain a casual, offhand aesthetic that might seem amateurish but is somehow allied with anti-conformist tattoo culture. The curated images lack a ready coherence, jumping from black and white to color, from professionally lit to unpracticed and unfocused. While some appear to be the result of standard portrait sessions, some are reminiscent of the from-the-hip style of early street art.

An otherwise unassuming older man stands in a grocery store, fists raised and forearms emboldened by ink; the limited depth of field serves only to heighten the drama of his pose. Another subject is cast in nostalgic blacks and whites as he mimes, slicks his hair back. No two subjects are alike, but one thing’s for sure: these human canvases don’t regret a thing. Our bodies may age and morph, but our art will adapt to the changing landscape of our flesh. (via Lost at E Minor and My Modern Met)
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Laurie Simmons’ Photo Series About Japanese Subculture Of Cosplay

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Laurie Simmons‘ recent show, Kigurumi, Dollers and How We SeeSalon 94 Bowery in New York, features eerie looking photos of dollers (also known as Kiggers), a circle of Japanese cosplay enthusiasts (Kigurumi), who dress up like anime-style female dolls and wear their costumes out in public. The men and women involved in this fascinating ‘counter-cuture’  go to great lengths to suppress any lingering vestiges of their own bodies, wearing 360-degree masks, wigs, and full bodysuits.

Simmons gathers her own models and Doller costumes in order to create her own line of Kiggers.

Some of my cosplayers are men and some are women but they all portray female characters. I try to explore the psychological subtexts of beauty, identity and persona surrounding the assembled Dollers. At first I dressed them only in fetish latex, which seemed both doll-like and right for their identities, but it soon became clear that they needed to expand their repertoire and play dress up.

Along her collection of photographs, we see this odd juxtaposition between the inanimate and the living; how is it possible to be experiencing something both so fake yet so real all at once? It is that and more- Simmons’ gives these ‘dolls’ the opportunity to experience the phenomenon of the selfie (“Yellow Hair / Red Coat / Snow / Selfie” [2014]) and an overall exposure to what is to be present, as something outside of the realm of the average human being, in the current world of self-promotion and its agenda (perfection, beauty, etc). “Might masking (becoming a Kigger, in this instance) be at least part of the appeal of contemporary forms of imaging and presentation of the self via social media?”, asks Simmons.

 In the last decade the boundaries separating identity and persona have become increasingly blurred — as individuals ‘present’ their BEST selves to their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers. One tilt of the iphone can make the difference between a glamorous, funny or obscene selfie. I wonder about the fuzzy space between who “we” are to ourselves and the “we” that is invented, constructed and expressed using the readily available tools of the 21st century? Aren’t we all playing dress-up in some part of our lives?

Laurie Simmons: Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See in on view at Salon 94 Bowery (243 Bowery, Lower East Side) through April 27.

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Andrea Minini’s Minimally Elegant Animal Illustrations

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The work of Milanese graphic designer Andrea Minini has a tendency to make the most with the least. His recent Animals in Moiré series has gotten a fair amount of internet attention, due to the striking Moiré pattern - visual interference caused by overlapping lines in different densities –  often associated with television screens (seen previously in the photographic works of Stephan Tillmans).

Using Adobe Illustrator, Minini’s elegant lines are collected and create stark and moody black and white animals. Its not just an interesting stylistic choice, but each design is enhanced by his strong graphic sensibilities. Seeing the potential for slithering lines to form together in creation of a snake is one thing, but understanding the form so as to subtly create a colony (or cloud as they are also referred to in groups) of sleeping bats is an intelligent, innate choice.  (via colossal)

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Aline Smithson’s Photographs Of An Awkward Little Doll Capture The Pain Of Adolescence

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When the photographer Aline Smithson found an old, discarded doll from the 1970s, she was touched by his seeming unlovability; his bald head and uncannily wizened features made him unsuitable for most children. Like a lost boy, pitied for his strangeness, the doll found a home behind the artist’s camera. In rich and moody gray tones, Smithson constructs a visual narrative of poignant self-discovery, titled The Lonesome Doll.

The doll’s distinctively his floppy, childlike body works in tension with the firm face of an older man; in choosing to shoot him in black and white, Smithson heightens this drama, creating a dreamy, nostalgic atmosphere. The doll, no longer a boy and not yet a man, exists in a anxious state of perpetual adolescence; where he sits bolt upright in his bed as if woken by a child’s nightmare and dressed in a footed onesie, he also cautiously explores his sexuality, his oversized fingers grazing the shining nude body of another doll. Similarly, he submits to the caresses of a disheveled barbie.

Smithson’s doll is touchingly outcast by his own awkward existence; more mature than his companion toys, he must act out his fantasies with smaller, less ornate dolls, pressing their lips together, his wide-set eyes spit between each figure. He’s too small for the dollhouse, weighty for the clothesline. This strange adolescent is woefully confused, just verging on the point self-awareness. When stuck in a washing machine, he pleads for release, his stunned face reflected in the floor below. Take a look.

Smithson has created from these images a beautiful book that tells a poignant story of hope and love. She is currently looking for a publisher.

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Anna Gensler’s Portraits Of Men Who Objectify Her On Tinder

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Like many of us, artist Anna Gensler joined the social media app, Tinder. Like many women who are on there, she received crude, objectifying messages from men. Her way of retaliating against this unacceptable behavior was to draw the message senders’ unflattering naked bodies and post the finished pieces on her Instagram account.

Gensler’s intention was for the male subjects to not enjoy these images, and she makes them look fat, unappealing, and not very well-endowed. “It was sort of the most basic, juvenile, immature thing I could possibly do, which was completely perfect,” she told Buzzfeed. “These guys are immature and their lines are incredibly juvenile, yet they are still offensive to the women they are aimed toward. The same can be said for these doodles.”

After a month of posting these drawings, Gensler embarked on another part of her project. She now sends her drawings to these men and documents their reactions. Not surprisingly, they are hostile towards her about how she’s depicted them. While some are just plain angry, others convey a more nuanced view of what she’s doing (but still insult her).

This project hasn’t afforded Gensler any clarity about why guys are creeps on dating websites, and why they feel they can speak to someone in this way. She told Slate, “I feel like girls get a lot of messages and matches on places like these, but I don’t actually think that guys do, necessarily. You’d think that when they do get a match, they would actually try to say something nice and intelligent. But I guess not.” (Via Buzzfeed)

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Inka Mathew Matches Tiny Found Objects to Pantone Color Chips

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Designer Inka Mathew has created an ongoing project of matching tiny objects to Pantone colors, then photographing her matches with the color chips used as backgrounds to the found object. Dubbed “Tiny PMS (Pantone Matching System) Match,” Mathew finds the corresponding Pantone color for things like small toys, flowers, candy, and cereal before posting the results to the project’s Instagram and Tumblr feeds. Describing the idea for the project, Mathew says, “One morning, when I was looking around to see the plants in my front yard, my attention was captured by these intense bright blue little flowers called Veronica Georgia Blue. A question popped in my head, ‘I wonder what PMS color is that?’ The design-geek in me urged me to pick a bloom and try to find a matching Pantone color for it. It was PMS 2726.” After posting her initial photograph to her personal and work Instagram account, her followers requested more Pantone pairings, and since then, Mathew has been keeping her eyes open for curious or sentimental objects to match.

For other Pantone-inspired projects, check out Angelica Dass’ chromatic inventory of skin tones, David Schwen’s food pairings, and Emilie de Griotte’s edible colors.

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Emotional Portraits Of Black Dogs Who Are Often Left Out Of Adoption

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Dogs of all shapes and sizes have hearts of gold, and yet it’s said that black dogs are routinely ignored and denied adoption based on the color of their silky fur. The photographer Fred Levy hopes to shatter negative stereotypes about the dark hued animals, perpetuated throughout our culture perhaps by the ominous depictions of the creatures in media, with the Black Dog Project. Capturing furry friends ranging in age and experience, the artist pins his regal subjects against a black backdrop, narrating a poignant story of canine love and courage.

Set against the soft darkness behind them, the animals appear lonesome and curious. Presumably told to sit for the shot, they cock their heads, let drop their downy ears, and look to the viewer for approval. The moving, miraculous tension in the animals’ bodies recalls the ever-willing canine anticipation the blessed “come,” a nod of recognition, an offer of affection, a release from being alone.

Levy’s stunning lighting records the nuances of the black fur, celebrating the shade that is so often overlooked; the silky stands catch the light in such a way that haloes their faces, gives heavenly, royal meaning to their curved backs and furrowed brows. Levy maintains each subject’s rich personality; the wizened senior Faith perks up her ears, and the therapy dog Max patiently holds our gaze with intent amber eyes.

Says Levy of the project, “I’ve found that it’s really important to share the idea that there are always so many dogs in need of a good safe home, regardless of what the dog looks like […] Maybe someone will see this and consider the gravity of owning a pet, no matter what color it is.” To learn more about the Black Dogs Project, check here, and take a look at some of the enchanting photos below. (via Huffington Post and Design Taxi)
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