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Lara Zankoul’s Surreal Portraits Of People In A Human Sized Fish Tank

Lara Zankoul photographyLara Zankoul photographyLara Zankoul photographyLara Zankoul photography

Location is everything to photographer Lara Zankoul. Her latest venture garnering some attention shows models in a human sized fish tank.  “The Unseen” is a series of photographs taken in 2013, which comment on the complex relationship between what appears on the surface and what is submerged underneath. It examines our ability to project a false facade outwardly while thinking the opposite inwardly. Some examples to this idea show two girls in a carefree stance while underwater one is cutting the other’s dress. Another is a handsome male model in traditional waiter’s clothing on top while wearing a tutu below.

The photos exude a surrealist gaze due to the water effect.  From an underwater perspective, the bottom half of the pictures take on a dreamy, ethereal quality which is perfectly naive. The subjects are all aesthetically pleasing to look at and become a bit mundane if not for the little weird subtleties at hand. The colors are wrought from a bright, monotone palette which lend themselves at times to the impressionists. Not an easy task to say the least.

Zankoul is a self taught photographer who originally majored in Economics from The American University of Beirut. According to her biography, she was born photographically in 2008 after completing the 365 project where participants took part and posted one picture every day for a year. (via hifructose)

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Sponsored Post: The Mind-bending Photoshop Creations of 500px Prime Photographer Caras Ionut

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Caras Ionut is one of those rare photographer/Photoshopper hybrids whose work stands head and shoulders above even some of the best retouchers. Some of his images tend towards the realistic, others towards the fantastic, but all of them display a skill with both a camera and post-processing techniques that’s truly remarkable.

Ionut says his goal is to create dreamscapes — both the positive and negative kind.

“Most people when considering dreams would think of good positive dreams, and I like to think I captured that in my work,” he writes in his biography on 500px. “I also seem to visit the darker side of what people may see of dreams, not necessarily what one would see as negative, but possibly a dream that one could not quite understand or may feel alone.”

View a selection of our favorite images Ionut has captured, each available to license on 500px’s photo marketplace: 500px Prime” after the jump.

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Cathy van Hoang Designs Air Plant Holders That Resemble Floating Jellyfish

Cathy van Hoang, Jellyfish Air Plants - Design Cathy van Hoang, Jellyfish Air Plants - Design Cathy van Hoang, Jellyfish Air Plants - Design Cathy van Hoang, Jellyfish Air Plants - Design

Cathy van Hoang, owner of PetitBeast, is a California-based artist who has cleverly designed a new and eye-catching way to display your air plants: by placing them in sea urchin shells — which Cathy has painted in gradients of beautiful pastel hues — and suspending them. Her creations are aptly named “Jellyfish Air Plants,” because there is no denying that their domed heads and trailing “legs” are redolent of those elegant sea-dwelling invertebrates. Their gravity-defying appearance will also likely appeal to any Metroid fans out there, as Cathy’s designs do slightly invoke your favorite parasitic alien species — although these particular specimens are less likely to seek galactic domination, and instead hang gracefully in your room as beautiful conversation pieces.

These “little beasts” are affordable and unique additions to your space. Each set comes with hanging and care instructions. And if you’re not plant-savvy, the good news is that air plants are easy to maintain. As Cathy writes on her Etsy, “all they require is watering twice a week and a nice, bright room with indirect sunlight (or your desk lamp in the office) to thrive in” (Source). Custom colors are also an option.

Etsy is an exciting venue for independent designers who want to share their creativity with the world, and it is always exciting to come across artists like Cathy who are hand-making such imaginative pieces. Check out her website and Etsy page to learn more about her Jellyfish Air Plants. The product photography featured here is also by Cathy. (Via Colossal)

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Adam W. Hill’s Amusing Portraits Of People As Dolls

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Adam W. Hill is a photographer whose work centers on the creation of alternative portraiture. This particular series, titled Dollface, explores the effect of doll-like makeup on people of various ages; with heavily rouged cheeks, thick eyebrows, and contoured lips, his subjects are a magnetic (and eerie) combination of adulthood and infancy. Hill has done an excellent job highlighting the brightness and color of their eyes, giving life and vibrancy to an artificial aesthetic. It is fascinating, too, how the models have chosen to express their doll-identities; some look passive and innocent, others playful and mischievous, the rest serious or melancholic.

Peruse Adam’s website, and you’ll see that all of his series explore portraiture in an unconventional way; his subjects are youthful, playful, and sometimes a bit absurd. In his portfolio’s “About Me,” he expresses his views on the historical significance of the portrait, stating how it has traditionally been used “for people of privilege and power, and as a means of affirming the authority of certain individuals” (Source). While he resists this sort of elitist representation, he is also fascinated by the aesthetics of formal portraiture; as a result, his work displays alternative subjects in a quasi-traditional way by infusing them with an appearance of “power and privilege, […] decadence and despair” (Source).

Dollface is an amusing and fascinating example of Adam’s manipulation of photographic tradition. By posing his models in conventional ways, but dressing them with hyperbolic, doll-like makeup, he “plays” with and subverts the elitism behind formal portraiture, thereby producing a commentary on the artificiality of the genre. Check out Adam’s website for more examples of his work.

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Peter Kogler’s Intricate Installations Transform Spaces Into A Vortex Of Warped, Optical Illusions

Peter Kogler - Installation/Paint

Peter Kogler - Installation/Paint

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Artist Peter Kogler takes ordinary spaces and converts them into optical illusions with little more than paint and projections. His installations completely encompass the gallery room or public space in which they inhabit and cause it to appear warped, stretched, distorted and twisted. These eye-tricking spaces devour the viewer in their endless lines and pattern while they creates a disorienting effect. Each strategically placed line is created by paint, but also sometimes by a projection onto the walls. Because Kogler’s patterns and lines are often on every side of the space, including the ceiling and floor, they create a powerful and overwhelming environment. The wall-to-wall spaces are completely taken over by lined grids, tubes weaving around each other, and swirling scribbles that create funhouse walls.

The settings for Kogler’s elaborate and impressive installations vary from gallery rooms to subway tunnels. One can truly get lost in these complex compositions trailing all over each wall. Each installation is like a beautiful labyrinth that entraps and engulfs the viewer. Kogler’s work uses mostly bold colors like white and black, and sometimes red. This creates a harsh, stark contrast that allows the optical illusion to be more apparent with a highly dramatic feel. The artist’s talent does not only lie in his incredible installations, but also his sculpture and two-dimensional work. His use of geometrics and line is similar in his other work, which makes them look absolutely stunning when they are exhibited within his installations. Kogler’s multifaceted style compliments whichever medium he desires.(via Illusion.scene360)

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Superheroes Wearing Nothing But Dynamic Splashes Of Colored Milk

Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz - Digital C-Print

Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz - Digital C-Print

Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz - Digital C-Print

Artist Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz uses unlikely elements to construct his unbelievable and complex photographs of superheroes, or Splash Heroes. However, unlike normal superheroes, his heroes are not wearing ordinary uniforms, but outfits created from splashes of colored milk. Each constructed photograph contains a confident, strong superwoman posed in a capable and superior pose. Even more impressive, the liquid was not just simply digitally edited onto all of the models, but actually thrown onto them during the photo shoot. Wieczorkiewicz created this liquid clothing with splashes of milk with food coloring. Splashes are thrown in different places of the body in order to fabricate multifaceted outfits to mimic how real clothing may fit. This process demands an extreme amount of time and patience in order to create such a flawless result. In fact, each photograph is created from layering and editing together about 200 images. These many photos are layered over each other to form the finished photograph.

This is not the first series of milk-covered women that photographer Wieczorkiewicz has done. He has also created a similar series containing pin-up girls dressed in splashes of white milk. In this most recent series, Splash Heroes, Wieczorkiewicz’s work is pushed to a more dynamic level full of energy, movement, and dramatic color. The deep, glossy colors of liquid add a powerful vibe that gives the women a demanding presence. Each woman superhero is in mid-motion as their milk-suits swirl and travel around their bodies, creating a force field of milk. Wieczorkiewicz has all of his Splash Heroes available in a calendar, one for each month. (via Faith is Torment)

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Saurabha Datta Has Developed A Device That Can Teach Anyone How To Draw

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A designer/civil engineer named Saurabha Datta has developed a prototype for a device that can teach you how to draw. The machine aptly named “Teacher”, wraps around your hand and guides it to the perfect line.  The project developed for Datta’s thesis at Copenhagen’s Institute Of Interactive Design, first came about when he made a series of devices that guided people through simple tasks such as hitting a few piano keys or drawing a geometrically correct shape. The breakthrough in Datta’s research is taking a concept once thought of as sci-fi fodder and bringing it into reality.

“Teacher” looks similar to the old lie detector tests that would record a person’s pulse rate when asked a series of intimidating questions. It doesn’t say how heavy it is or what the projected weight would be but to be successful it would have to be lightweight. Some of the other projects Datta has worked on include making an interactive car seat that can respond to your insecurities and a program called “moment” which records your feelings at different times of the day.

Machines and computers are known as aids in making our lives easier and less stressful. With this latest development we can witness their evolution as was predicted some 50 years ago in Stanley Kurbrick’s 2001 a space odyssey. Who can forget the calm voiced computer “Hal” who eventually takes over the ship and responds with emotional vengeance against the crew when it learns they were going to “disconnect him.” If they can teach people how to draw what could be next on the horizon? Teaching you how to be a neurosurgeon or a concert pianist? Only time will tell. (via Juxtapoz)

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Richard Sweeney’s Intricate Paper Sculptures Are Incredibly Made Without Glue

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Looking like a set of architecture models for a Gaudi building, Richard Sweeney‘s paper sculptures are organic, poetic, intricate, and mostly made without the aid of glue or tape. Taking his inspiration from the shapes and forms that occur in nature – like clouds, mounds of snow, he folds paper into beautiful geometric pieces. Not confined to working on a small scale, Sweeney also constructs wonderfully complex forms that hang from the ceiling to the floor.

He was recently part of a show called Above The Fold, and is a part of a group of talented modern day origami masters. Taking the ancient art of paper folding to a new level, Sweeney and his contemporaries are redefining the limits of what can be done with paper. Biological structures, and the essence of form and function are Sweeney’s inspirations. He talks to Design Museum more about what motivates and inspires him:

As I have mentioned, architecture is a great inspiration to me, but aside from the man-made, I am also inspired by natural forms. It is not so much the organic shapes, but the means by which they are generated that interests me. It makes great sense to borrow from elements from biological structures, as these forms demonstrate the pinnacle of material, structural and functional efficiency. (Source)

Like a true designer, Sweeney is giving the humble piece of paper new life and function. You can even attempt his paper folding technique at home by watching this short tutorial here. (Via Exhibition-ism)

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