For his series “Face Cartography,” the photographer Daniel Boschung creates an unnerving portrait of the human face, bringing it into a hyperrealistic focus that exceeds even the powers of the naked eye. Each high resolution likeness is composed of approximately 600 individual shots, each of which boasts the astounding size of 900 million pixels. The artist programs an ABB industrial robot to scan the entirety of his subjects’ faces, forcing them to sit still for up to 30 minutes per session.
Boschung’s photographs are visually jarring in part because they allow us to scrutinize the features of others in ways that are not possible in daily life. We rarely get close enough to view another’s pores and nose hairs; even if we did, our eyes would focus on a single spot, and the rest would fade into our peripheral vision. “Face Cartography” presents its subjects’ flesh with a depth of field beyond that of human vision, and as we move our eyes across the page, we need not fear that they will move, blur or obstruct our view. In this way, the portraits are uncomfortably intimate and unsettlingly vivid.
The artist explains that in his photographs “emotions are completely missing;” because his subjects must hold the same position for a longer period of time, fleeting emotive expressions do not register on the composite image. In this way, the work might be read as a powerful reflection on gestalt visual psychology, which proposes that the sum of the parts of an image do not necessarily reflect the whole. The up-close high-resolution parts that compose the final image are certainly transfixing, but when added together, do they accurately reflect the person photographed? What do you think? (via Design Boom)
Australian artist Ben Frost creates image mashups that combine fast food, pills, and iconic figures of popular culture. He paints these celebrities on things like McDonald’s french fry sleeves and boxes for prescription drugs. We see Superman, Popeye, Mr. T, and even Snoopy the Dog all painted on objects that symbolize excess and gluttony.
Frost finds inspiration for his work from graffiti, collage, photo-realism, and sign writing. It’s not a surprise, as he tags things much like a graffiti artist would. His work is subversive and doesn’t hold back any punches. I’ve included stuff here that’s generally safe for work, but if you check out his website, you’ll see a lot of hyper-sexualized manga-inspired characters. But even with these relatively tame images, you can still sense the scathing critique of the mainstream. Greasy meals, too many pills, and processed foods are rotting our health in a similar fashion that television, media, and politics are rotting our brain.
The Singapore-based artist Ivan Hoo creates astounding photorealistic drawings on simple wooden boards; his expert technique cleverly mimics three-dimensionality, tricking the viewer into mistaking pencil-drawn lines and pastel shading with real-life objects. The content of Hoo’s still lifes is often a domestic accident: a spilled wine glass, a broken vase, a cracked egg. The artistic marriage of the seemingly mundane content with the masterly craftsmanship results in an uncanny examination of the everyday, finding radiance and beauty within the routine.
In a household, Hoo’s vivid scenes might inspire slight anxiety or irritation; in one image, a Coke can topples over, drenching the wooden board, which takes the place of a fine wood table. But because these moments of spillage are fictional, and because they require effort in the place of negligence, they elicit marveling admiration. Because these “accidents” require a paradoxical foresight and meticulous attention to detail,, the annoyance of mess is transformed into a celebration of line and color.
Throughout Hoo’s body of work is a consistent element of surprise and delight. A cat pokes his head through an illustrated hole in the wood, transforming the simple plank into a fence, and a seemingly blank wood canvas is shown to be covered in tiny, precisely-rendered water droplets. In photographs of the work, the headphones he wears persistently fall onto his canvas, initially integrating effortlessly into the photorealistic image, blurring the lines between accident and intention, between artist and art piece. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)
In Vietnamese cities, a motorbike is the preferred method of transportation, even when hauling many large items. In 1991, photographer Hans Kemp visited Vietnam where he was overwhelmed and captivated by the streams of motorbikes rushing to prepare for the Vietnamese New Year. “I couldn’t believe my eyes…There were entire families on a bike, guys in suits, girls dolled up. I stood there mesmerized, intoxicated by this all-permeating scent of petrol mixed with perfume, sound, color, and motion. There was an incredible vibrancy to it all,” Kemp tells Slate.
In 1995, Kemp decided to move to Ho Chi Minh City from Hong Kong, and in 2000, a commercial client of his commissioned him to photographs some of the loaded motorbikes. Though Kemp found it difficult to capture all of the motorbikes he wanted because of safety, speed, or traffic concerns, he kept up with bikes’ paces pretty well.
His incredible book documenting these ambitious motorbikers, Bikes of Burden, was published in 2005. (via slate)
Believe it or not, the tiniest comic strip in history has recently been drawn onto a single stand of human hair. The comic, titled “Juana Knits the Planet,” was initially mapped by the artist Claudia Puhlfürst; later, it was burned into a plucked stand with an ion beam, which is in essence a delicate and thin version of a laser beam. The narrative follows a girl (Juana) through twelve twenty-five micrometer frames, and the artwork is a promotion for a Do-It-Yourself conference in Hamburg, Germany called the Exceptional Hardware Software Meeting.
Purfürst’s illustration is a touching wordless story about about a lonesome little girl who seems to exist within a vacuum of a blank comic book frame; that is, until a ball of yarn rolls to her feet. From the thread, she creates a paintbrush, painting trees and music into existence. Ultimately, Juana writes code and builds herself her very first friend: an adorable robot. This parable of human growth and ingenuity is made all the more delightful for being engraved onto a strand of hair; the story of technological expansion returns, ultimately, to the human head, the site of its conception.
In this video, we can discover the astounding scale of the little comic. Strands of human hair are composed of hard proteins; the outer layer, or the cuticle, contains scales that form curves and ridges, and yet the frames of “Juana Knits the Planet” are perfectly straight and meticulously rendered. It’s pretty mind-blowing; take a look. (via HuffPost and Lost at E Minor)
Street art is well known for its finite lifespan and dependence on documentation for audiences outside of the immediate vicinity of the public work to experience it. French street artist FAREWELL typically creates accompanying videos along with his interventions, expertly documenting the entirety of his project from conception to execution. And Strip Box might be his best yet.
As seen in this poetic yet instructional video, FAREWELL creates a rather simple device (which the artist calls the “destructeur”) with wood, hardware and X-Acto blades. Executed in Paris, the destructeur is placed inside of a bus stop’s rotating advertisement, creating a self-shredding device when the ads rotate. Strip Box is not only ingeniously simple, but also strongly imagines a world where advertisements disrupt themselves. (via vandalog)
With the help of a powerful 3D microscope, the Hawaii-based photographer Gary Greenberg shoots stunning macro images of grains of sand, dissecting the seemingly uniform material into otherworldly crystals. The microscope, which the artist himself invented after earning a Ph.D. in biomedical research, magnifies the microscopic to 300 times their original size; the machine also affords the resultant images an astounding depth of field, capturing the most subtle curves and structures of the minuscule grains of sand.
Greenberg derives pleasure from the unpredictability of his process; each beach has a diverse history and therefore produces unique sand. In Maui alone, the grain shapes range from cylinders to spirals; they can be vividly colored or more muted. In the same handful of sand, we might find a tiny shell beside a microscopic mineral section that resembles an eaten corn cob.
Sand, as a substance, often operates allegorically in art, representing the impermanence of man within the shifting tides. Greenberg’s images work powerfully against that notion; here, human innovation freezes time, if only for a moment, fixing even the most minuscule objects in place. These grains of sand, many of which are likely well over thousands of years old, are crystallized for our visual pleasure; in Greenberg’s glimmering rocks, we can find traces of organic matter, now fossilized. Torn into many pieces by the tide and surf, shells, volcanic remains, and coral all intermingle on the beach shore. In Okinawa, Japan, sand is formed in part by the skeletons of single-celled creatures, visible here like strange starfish. (via HuffPost, Lost at E Minor, and Bored Panda)
In photographer Filippo Romano’s fascinating series titled Nomadic Sellers, he documents the roaming salespeople of Africa. The images are mostly focused in eastern Nairobi and specifically in the slum of Mathare, which has a population of 600,000 people within 3 square miles. Each portrait features the peddler and their wares against the washed-out backdrop of the city streets.
We see the men with shoes and bras tied around their necks and arms full of music and wooden utensils. Their earnings are meager, and the goods they sell make a tenth of what pesticide peddlers yield. Those salespeople have most lucrative product and stand to make between 1,000 to 2,000 shellini (10 to 20 euros) in profit.
Romano notes that selling on the streets and going door-to-door is one of the most common trades in the African world. A seller who travels with goods on their back has most likely created their job through the necessity to fend for themselves. They are entrepreneurs.
Nomadic Sellers points to the infectious nature of global consumerism, and how even the far parts of the world want to own a pair of Nikes. At its very core, the series is an intriguing look at the innate human desire to own stuff, no matter how necessary or frivolous it may seem. (Via Feature Shoot)