Photographer Gail Albert Halaban constructs an intimate view of strangers’ lives, shot completely through windows, in her series Paris Views. Taken from a blatantly voyeuristic vantage point, the photos show intimate glances into normal peoples’ lives. It is of note that these shots were meticulously directed; Halaban worked with the people photographed to create them. Paris Views, which is a continuation of a previous series, Out My Window, shifts the focal point from a peek into New Yorker’s habitats to that of Parisians. Shot entirely in Paris, Halaban distills the intimate interiors of both people and places, lives seen in the off moments.
The introduction to her new book, which was published by Aperture, summarizes the magic of her work:
“The photographs in Paris Views explore the conventions and tensions of urban lifestyles, the blurring between reality and fantasy, feelings of isolation in the city and the intimacies of home and daily life. In these meticulously directed, window-framed versions of reality, Halaban allows the viewer to create his or her own fictions about the characters, activities and interiors illuminated within. This invitation to imagine renders the characters and settings both personal and mysterious.”
David Cristobal creates portraits of people with skin like wood texture. The wood knots and grain form to the shapes of the different faces and create these kind of human tree spirits. I’m reminded of some kind of modern day lord of the rings tree incarnations. It’s impressive how well Cristobal can combine the texture of the wood and relates it to the shape of the face.
The portrait I’m most drawn to is where there is a large hole in the wood where the eyes would be. In the majority of the portraits, the face is left wholly intact and the wood is more of a veneer. In this portrait, it seems to engage more with the form of the face, and you imagine it more as a sculptural element. This happens again with the women who is missing almost the entire left half of her face, but it’s most successful with the eye-less man. Perhaps this is because eyes are the most revealing element of a face, and the gap reveals the inner depths of the head, whereas with the woman it seems more as if a piece of her face has simply been removed.
The woman with large dark eyes whose head ends like an open tree stump is also exceptionally compelling. Obviously because of her eyes, but I believe also because once again an essential element of a complete head, this time the hair, is gone. Excluding an entire element seems preferable to me than excluding an arbitrary portion of the face. The portraits are a lovely combination of nature and humanity, especially when Cristobal finds good balance between the two. (Via Scene 360)
Photographer Donna J. Wan’s ongoing series “Death Wooed Us” is gorgeous, unsettling, and deeply empathetic. “In 2011 after the birth of my daughter I developed a severe case of postpartum depression and considered taking my own life,” she writes in the description of the work, all photos taken in “suicide destinations”—places where people have taken their lives.
“Using research gathered from media reports, I found several locations in the Bay Area and travelled to them. I walked along the paths taken by these people before they ended their lives. Most of these photographs were taken from bridges, including the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most well-known ‘suicide destinations,’ but also lesser-known beaches and overlooks. I purposely photographed from the perspective of looking up at the sky, down at the water or crags, or straight ahead but far away, thinking that these views might have resembled the ones seen by others moments before dying. Many of my images have a hazy and elusive quality, which I believe reflects the clouded state of mind of the suicidal.”
Suicide is such a sensitive subject. There are many people—probably the majority of people—who cannot imagine losing the will to live. Whether because of religious beliefs, or ties to family and friends, or just the innate need to stay alive, these people believe that they would never end their own lives. Then there are others, who have lived with pain and grief and the loss of hope. Those who, because of sickness of body or brain, struggle through every day. Once you have crossed this line, between life at all costs and death as a merciful end, the world never looks the same to you again. In Wan’s series, her experience is what makes the photos haunting and peaceful. She has looked into the cracks of her own soul, and that has enabled her to walk in the footsteps of those without hope and capture their last sights with kindness. The last view of a suicidal person could be macabre, an intrusion into someone else’s pain. These photos offer beauty, the acknowledgement of despair, and the desire for peace.
“There are some who may think that my photographs romanticize these places of death. I can understand that point of view, although that is not my intention. Death is not beautiful – in fact, jumping from a bridge 200 feet high is a very painful and violent way to die. Yet the sublimity of these places continues to lure people to them. I do not intend for my work to glorify the allure of these places. Instead, I hope that it may offer a glimpse into the minds of those who may have thought that dying by these beautiful places was a peaceful way to end their suffering.”
In Il Capo (The Chief), Italian filmmaker Yuri Ancarani exquisitely documents the unexpectedly captivating and largely unexplored process of marble extraction.
Set in an Alpine quarry, Il Capo presents the powerful dynamic between the boss and his workers, focusing predominantly on the wordlessness of their dialogue. Using seemingly enigmatic gestures and hand signals reminiscent of a conductor directing his orchestra, the boss silently and gracefully guides two lumbering bulldozers as they claw into the hillside and extract colossal wedges of marble. Juxtaposing the boss’ fluid movement with that of the bumbling machinery, Ancarani successfully conveys the astounding and paradoxical nature of the process: “how he can move gigantic marble blocks, but his own movements are light.”
In addition to the visual strategies employed in Il Capo, Ancarani has a unique approach to sound. Void of conversation, narration, and soundtrack, the short film offers only the sounds of the heavy machinery and the toppling marble—placing all emphasis on the rawness of the process, and conveying, above all else, the artistic nature intrinsic to a seemingly industrial task. (Via Nowness)
Premier website builder Made With Color and Beautiful/Decay have teamed up again to bring you exclusive artist features. We show you exciting artists and designers who use Made With Color to create a clean and modern website. But it doesn’t just help artists create a minimal, mobile-responsive website; Made With Color also allows them to do it in only a few minutes without have to know any coding. Today, we’re sharing paintings by Brian Cooper.
In his series Empty Space Is Not Nothing, Cooper depicts soft-looking forms on a pitch-black background. They are strange, abstract shapes that have an air of originality about them, but seem familiar at the same time; the surface treatment resembles gridded paper that you’d find in a notebook, and the figures themselves droop like a mat or mattress that stood upright. We see excess and folds, which gives these paintings a visceral feel, and the viewer has an overwhelming desire to reach into the work and touch the imagined-malleable surface.
Cooper is both an artist and a musician – he performs under the name Earth Like Planets – who recently released a self-titled EP and has a show coming up at Ham and Eggs Tavern. If you’re in Los Angeles, it starts at 8PM on Saturday, November 8.
Hello Kitty was stirring up the Internet in late August because it was discovered that she in not, in fact, a cat. Now in LA, Hello Kitty is once more the object of attention, as Sanrio celebrates the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty at the Line Hotel by decking some of the rooms out in Hello Kitty paraphernalia and custom furniture.
Many fans were extremely unnerved at the news that Hello Kitty was not a cat. “Her creators think of her as “a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.” (LA Times)
One might argue that, although she is never seen on all fours, she does have whiskers and cat ears, which might indicate she is a cat. It seems odd that Sanrio would insist so fervently that Hello Kitty is not a cat. On the other hand, if that’s how her makers imagine her, it’s an interesting thing to know.
Apparently, Hello Kitty’s fans have not left her after this revelation, as the hotel is fully booked for the duration of the installation’s stay. There are many creative manifestations of Hello Kitty, including toilet paper, couches, baths, and a stall that is graffitied in part with Hello Kitty’s name. (Via Fast Co)
The Singapore based 3D printing company Pirate3D are making something very special happen. Using the fairly new technology of 3D printing, they are producing real objects based off photographs and drawings for the visually impaired. The campaign follows 5 different participants and their reactions to ‘touching their memories’. In the video produced by Lowe and Partners Agency LOLA in Madrid, we learn more about the memories each person sees in their minds.
There is Gabor – a director of photography who, despite losing his eyesight 12 years ago, still regularly shoots films. Now, after shooting a film in Bolivia, he is able to touch a reproduction of a scene he remembers so vividly. He runs over every detail from the frame – where the table was sitting, what the woman looked like on the chair. You can see how perfectly his memory and the miniature match up with one another. There is also Mario – a blind musician who lost his eyesight because of glaucoma. His memory that is printed for him is the cover design of his album a friend designed. This is the first time he can see how others see him.
Fred Bosch from the project says about the powerful effect of the experiment:
There were very long silences while we saw emotions wash over their faces as if they were being transported in time, but Daniela was perhaps who stands out the most. She chose a memory that not only brought her back to her childhood and the ski holiday she spent with her family, but also reminded her of intimate details that she had forgotten, like the wool cap she was wearing at the time and the crunch of the snow beneath her boots. (Source)
Their reactions make it obvious the potential of using technology to benefit our everyday life. And just like Braille, 3D printing is once again changing how we share and absorb information. (Via Designboom)
Japanese artist Kohei Nawa created an amazing foam installation that took over the entire room of a gallery in Japan. The perfect finishing touch, tiny specks of light like a night’s sky, added a dash of poetry to the ambiance.
Titled Foam, Nawa experimented with various combinations of glycerin, detergent, and water until he had realized the ideal, perfect, pliable foam, one that would not be affected by gravity or lose shape. The installation, which was being altered continuously by eight different pumps in the room, had an eternally shifting presence which made the clouds even more realistic. Looking at it scientifically, he said:
“Small cells bubble up ceaselessly with the slight oscillations of a liquid. The cells gather together, totally covering the liquid as they spontaneously form a foam, an organically structured conglomeration of cells. The risen volumes of foam link together and reach saturation, but continue to swell, occasionally losing vitality and spreading out over the ground.” (Excerpt from Source)