Photographer Justin Bettman‘s Bagel Project is much more than a series of well produced photographs. Bettman meets with homeless people throughout California and exchanges a bagel for a story. He then documents each story with a photograph.
Bettman admits, “The homeless in our cities are often forgotten, as after a while they become a part of the city themselves; blending in like streetlights and bus stops, or any of the other things we walk by hundreds of times a day.”
His images, though, reveal incredible depths of narrative in simple subtle facial expressions. He goes on to say, “I’ve been continually surprised by the fact that these people are content with their lives; if anything, they are happier to have a friend to talk to rather than the food provided.”
Bettman’s blog accompanies each photo with a story – an extremely interesting read that is difficult leaving.
In a country with literally dozens of celebrated historical monuments, photographer Antonio La Grotta pays tribute to a different sort of relic: discotheques, abandoned and decaying. In their repose, there is an otherworldliness quality about them, looking as though they are the remains of crash-landed disco spaceships.
Mostly built in the 1980s, the buildings are sometimes daring with the occasional swooping bold line here and a vaguely extraterrestrial silhouette there. However, the design borrows more from chintzy Las Vegas glamour. One discotheque — fittingly named “Last Empire” — is decorated with reclining Greek statues and columns. Another takes the form of a giant boat, marooned on land and in time. Some are a little more abstract, such as the “Woodpecker,” which is comprised of a system of round covered pavilions in a marshy swamp.
Why photograph these places now that the glitz has turned to dust? La Grotta said in an interview, “I like to photograph what you cannot see, the suggestions a place can give you, even if it doesn’t declare it in a clear and open way.” He describes the discotheques as “inhabited by echo,” something that is certainly true in a number of ways. The dance halls are optimistically spacious, and the occasional pop of neon color is a reminder that this, too, had its heyday.
These discotheques are neither disco World Heritage Sites nor astounding feats of engineering, but they are nevertheless time capsules from life in the not-too-distant past.
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.
Gabriel Moreno does beautiful work with such basic materials: a pen and a brush. His illustrations begin in black and white, upon which Moreno builds, adding layers of color and images of other places and people tattooed into their skin. Flowers, birds, and faces organically expand from his subjects, as if a rush of creativity, or a dream, is escaping them.
Ryuta Iida is a Japanese artist who cuts out thick volumes of paper [i.e. magazines and books] to form sculptural objects. I had only seen this done once before by the artist Tim Hawkinson at his solo LACMA exhibit in 2005 and it has boggled me ever since. So, I was thrilled to find out about Ryuta, who is picking up where Hawkinson left off and doing it in their own way. Whereas instead of taking personal photos of themselves to cut into, Ryuta uses popular magazines, thus adding an element of pop culture to their practice. (via)
Greek-Italian net artist Angelo Plessas uses the internet to create websites that are strange, nervous and poetic at the same time. These websites are mostly interactive drawings and Plessas’ subjects usually involve femininity and portraits of people around him or many sides of himself. These internet pieces often “cover” the real world as objects like murals, installations, collage drawings and prints. His work is similar to that of Rafael Rozendaal’s: short, full-screen, sometimes interactive, Flash movies (they’re small on this blog but they’re pretty invasively pleasing in their native forms). I believe the latter had proclaimed them as some sort of movement, which begs the question of which chicken or egg laid claim on their piece of the internet pie.
When the cold and snow are as harsh as this winter, the idea of an outdoor art fair sounds less than ideal to most. But, when cabin fever kicks in, anyone stuck indoors for too long understands the need to take drastic action to make the Hibernation Months bearable. Taking inspiration from the omnipresent winter ice fishing communities that spontaneously gather upon frozen lakes and ponds across the Midwest, the Art Shanties Project groups together to various themed ice shanties into a small winter attraction to give warm-blooded (and hot chocolate drinking) Minnesotans something to get through the cold months.
Proposals for these art-minded ice house are selected by committee, and run by volunteers for a few weeks in the dead of winter, creating an outdoor happening which explores the potential of new ideas in community-driven art. As the Shanties’ mission statement explains, “Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand notions of what art can be.”
Taking place in Minnesota since 2006, and operating every other year to protect the water quality and natural wildlife after the ice’s thaw, this year’s was the first on the ice of the Twin Cities suburb of White Bear Lake (hence the 25 foot, Bear-shaped bicycle-powered Pedal Bear). Each shanties’ theme range from winter-related like Ice Ice Maybe (which encases boutique items in ice) and the history museum/training course Curling Clubhouse Ice Shanty, to more participatory (such as the boogie-down Dance Shanty and the kite-making Wind Shanty) to the more conceptual (the Lost Found and Wanting Shanty, which collects actual lost belongings as well as existential yearnings). Citing artist-audience involvement to the spontaneous community which gathers on the ice as its main goal, the Art Shanties Project “…provides a unique opportunity for artists to interact with their audience, and vice versa, in an un-intimidating, non-gallery like environment.” (via l’étoile)
A tragic love story interpreted and represented in real life. Georgian sculptor Tamara Kvesitadze has created in real life the two characters who, despite their love, cannot be together. The sculptures are made out of metallic discs and are moving daily, embracing each other and parting in different ways.
Tamara Kvesitadze’s ‘Man and Woman’ installation depicts Ali, a Muslim boy and Nino, a Christian Georgian princess. It’s a symbolic representation of the Soviet Russia invasion which forces the two lovers to separate and leave for opposed directions. This tale is inspired by a novel by Azerbaijani author, Kurban Said.
The sculptures are 8 meters (26 foot) tall and are moving every day at 7pm for 10 minutes in the seaside city of Batumi in Georgia. If we look at the video above, we notice that as the sculptures move the metallic discs fit together and the bodies merge. The purpose behind this installation is to illustrate how elements, within a world where everything and anything is moving, can be synchronized and create attraction. (via Juxtapoz)