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Painful Photographs Of Japanese Tsunami Survivors

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In March 2011, an earthquake and tsunami struck Japan causing widespread damage and destruction across the country. The fishing town of Otsuchi along the Sanriku Coast was hit especially hard, with 60-foot tall waves destroying 60% of the town. Argentinian photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg heard about the devastation in Otsuchi from the curator of an exhibit of his work in Tokyo in 2012. Upon visiting Otsuchi, Chaskielberg discovered large mountains of debris and places that were visibly demolished. Because Otsuchi is such a small town, the photographer easily found people whose homes were destroyed, most of them living in small temporary housing units. For his “Otsuchi Future Memory” series, Chaskielberg had some of the town’s inhabitants pose inside their now destroyed homes or work places during the night, taking black and white long exposure photographs of his subjects. He’d then use the color palette of decayed photographs found in an album among the ruins to color the his portraits.

Chaskielberg says, “It’s a reflection on the tragedy as a whole—the losses, the memory—and my way of seeing the world. These historic images are the bridge to the past I create through the use of colors…These photographs speak to the way the Otsuchi inhabitants decided to record their lives. From my viewpoint, I try to build a story about the city and its people.”

This method results in haunting and surreal photographs, ones that almost appear strangely collaged or layered, but are only enhanced with color and lighting. (via slate)

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blog_logo1-565x334-1Do you know thousands of artists and designers who need to get some well deserve exposure? Do love writing about art and want an outlet? Do you want over a million monthly readers from around the world  reading and hanging on your every word? Do you want to join Beautiful/Decay in our quest for all things groundbreaking and creative? If so then send a few short writing samples (or links) as well as a cover letter about why you want to join the Beautiful/Decay blog contributor team to contactbd(at)beautifuldecay.com.

We are looking for smart writers and contributors in all corners of the globe who have their hands on the pulse of the contemporary art and design world and want to join our independent group of writers, critics, and art enthusiasts. Writers must be able to commit to a minimum of five 300 word posts per week.  This is a paid freelance position.

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Artist’s Self Portraits Spanning Over Five Years Document The Painful Progression Into Alzheimer’s Disease

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Alzheimer’s Disease is sometimes called The Long Goodbye, a gradual loss of memory, self, and eventually, life. When artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s he began to make a series of self-portraits that would continue for five years. Looking at the pictures in chronological order is looking at a life diminished by degrees. As his technical skill ebbed, so did Utermohlen’s apparent sense of self. Still, the urge to create persisted.

In an essay about the self-portraits, Utermohlen’s wife, Pat, wrote:

“In these pictures we see with heart-breaking intensity William’s efforts to explain his altered self, his fears and his sadness. The great talent remains, but the method changes. He sometimes uses water-colour and paints a series of masks, perhaps because he could more quickly express his fear. In both the oils and water-colours these marvellous self portraits express his desperate attempt to understand his condition. There is a new freedom of expression, the paint is applied more thickly, art-historically speaking the artist seems less linear and classical, more expressionist, and I see ghosts of his German heritage.”

Worldwide, nearly 36 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia—almost everyone will be touched by Alzheimer’s in some way during their lifetimes. Although Pat Utermohlen told the New York Times, “It’s so strange to be known for something you’re doing when you’re rather ill,” it was also a testament to William Utermolen’s ability as an artist that he was able to transcend his own experience, even unknowingly, and create work that was at once profound, heart-breaking, and universal.

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Dreamlike Food Photography Creates Alternate Edible Worlds

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Russian self-taught photographer Dina Belenko creates alluring still life images which she calls “photoillustrations”. Combining creative and well arranged compositions with photography and a little bit of photo manipulation skills, Belenko creates beautiful food photography starring various inanimate objects: food products, utensils and other props.

According to the photographer, “every object around us keeps our emotions, expectations, feelings”, thus photographing things and capturing their soul can be equated to making powerful human portraits. To create her daydream-like photographs, Belenko uses simple everyday materials: sugar cubes, coffee, paper cutouts, clay models, etc. To get more exquisite accessories, like dentistry or jewelry tools, she delves into old closets or visits flea markets.

Belenko also feels the need to manifest the possibilities behind still life photography. According to her, it is one of the least popular genres in Russia, mostly pictured as a boring composition of flowers and fruits.

“I prefer still life because the role of chance is incredibly limited here. You may feel as a director <…> Each failure is your own failure, but every victory is also completely yours.”

Belenko is participating in an ongoing project called “An Endless Book”. Each week, participants have to upload an artwork under a self-selected topic. At the end of 2015, a huge panoramic image will be made featuring all of their works. You can read more about it at the official website.

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Cedric Laquieze Uses Parts Of Insects To Construct Exquisite Fairies

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Amsterdam-based artist Cedric Laquieze has recently completed an exquisite series of taxidermy Fairies. These probably aren’t the type of fairies you’re imagining – no Tinkerbell-looking creatures here. Instead, the small, delicate sculptures are constructed using a myriad of different insect species, bones, seeds, and even scorpion parts, giving them a quasi-bug look.

Laquieze uses the brilliant blues, greens, oranges, and more to form the fairies’ wings, headdresses, and bodies. The insects are meticulously crafted and seamlessly integrate all of the otherwise disparate parts into a whole. While they might not look like the typical storybook cartoons, they are definitely more detailed and visually intriguing. The artist’s interpretation lends itself to darker, less cheery tales where fairies don’t have to be good. (Via Archie McPhee)

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Kristin Bauer And Emmett Potter’s Appropriations Of Pop Culture

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A good collaborative gallery show is like a good relationship—each artist’s work supports the other without being repetitive or unharmonious. “The Give and Take,” an exhibition in The Joseph Gross Gallery at The University of Arizona School of Art by Kristin Bauer and Emmett Potter, works on both levels. The married couple often collaborates and has exhibited together on numerous occasions.

The artists both work in multimedia and they share a similar aesthetic and point of view. Bauer says,

“I often juxtapose two or more iconic references or material of my own creating, drawing from a wide range of sources that spans anything from Renaissance sculpture to Jayne Mansfield, Shakespeare to Spielberg films, the Great Gatsby to Cheap Trick. How we make meaning of things as cognitive creatures, what we attach to and what we are repelled by is what keeps me engaged.”

Similarly, Potter incorporates vintage comic book imagery into his work. He combines different color palettes and emphasizes what is absent against what is present, making pointed statements about pop-culture. Both Bauer and Potter adapt, appropriate, alter and excavate our shared public domain in an attempt to decode how we attach meaning to the iconography of our culture.

On exhibit since May 28, a closing reception for “The Give and Take” will be held on August 29 from 5:30-7 p.m.

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Intimate Photos of Young Teens Moshing

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The kids in Emily Stein’s photographs of mosh pits at concerts are totally free. It’s fascinating that teens – who we all know are notoriously self-conscious – are able to let go to such a wild extent. At the same time, it is not at all surprising, as when are you wilder than in your teenage years? Stein captures the gamut of experiences: intense energy, happiness, rapture, contentedness, trance and goofiness.

If you’ve ever moshed, you know it’s a one of a kind experience. The energy can become very aggressive, but people are almost always responsible and friendly. You can be shoved violently by the same person who lends you a hand to pull you back up off the floor. It’s a great release of energy and opportunity for expression without judgment. You can flail and hurl yourself any way you want, and no one will call you on insanity, because they’re all in it with you. It’s beautiful to see the teenagers so enrapt in the experience. Stein’s photocomposition is candid and not overly calculated, probably because of the nature of the project. It’s exciting when you find the half-hidden expression of some head-banging preteen thoroughly enjoying their epic Saturday night.

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Filmmaker Gorgeously Captures Intricate Paper Marbling Process

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Turkish filmmaker Oguz Uygur has gorgeously captured his parents’ delicate craft of erbu, also known as paper marbling. To create these beautiful patterns, first a tray is filled with water. Next, paint or ink is spilled, dabbed, dripped, sprayed, fanned, and/or pulled across the surface of the water. Sometimes additives and chemicals are applied to the mixture to create various textures. Thin wires are used to pull paint or ink into intricate patterns, with deliberate care taken for each design. Finally, a piece of washi paper is placed onto the water/paint surface with the intent to stain the pattern onto the paper. The paper is then allowed to dry before being used for calligraphy, book covers, and endpapers in bookbinding and stationery.This marbling method was first developed in East and Central Asia, as well as the Islamic world and is currently an important part of Turkish, Tajik, Indian, and other Asian and Middle Eastern cultures. Some of the marbled designs and patterns are reminiscent of the woven carpets typically found in similar regions. Uygur’s short film captures amazing detail and depth of field using close-up shots demonstrating the intricate attention paid to this form of aqueous surface design. (via art and fury).

 

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