Photojournalist Anthony Karen has a specific and refined talent. Karen’s website mentions that “his passion for photography began in Haiti, where he documented the various Vodou rituals and pilgrimages throughout the country.” Even with this first series Karen displayed a knack for capturing groups of people, specifically those marginalized from larger society. For his latest book White Power, Karen was granted rare access to photograph Ku Klux Klan groups freely. Rather than portray familiar dramatic images of hate, many of the photographs depict mundane daily life, yet are somehow all the more unsettling. Indeed, much of the series’ disconcerting undertones certainly springs from Karen’s ability to capture people with a certain candidness rare in front of a camera lens. [via]
Philadelphia illustrator Rachel Caldwell creates charming illustrations with a good sense of humor.
Gordon Parks was one of the seminal figures of twentieth century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights, and urban life.
Recently The Gordon Parks Foundation discovered over 70 unpublished photographs by Parks at the bottom of an old storage box wrapped in paper and marked as “Segregation Series.” These never before series of images not only give us a glimpse into the everyday life of African Americans during the 50’s but are also in full color, something that is uncommon for photographs from that era.
Read more about the photographs in a great New York Times article written by Maurice Berger and visit the website of The Gordon Parks Foundation for more of Parks incredible images from one of the most important eras in American history.
Eastside Angelinos are probably familiar with the dead-end leading to an overpass in Chinatown on Yale Street (I know I’ve made the repeated mistake? miraculous discovery? of turning onto Yale and thinking it was a through street many a times)- but less have probably seen it used for anything not related to shady drug deals (can anyone confirm this assumption?).
Get Rid of White Walls Collective is focused on bringing fine art out of galleries and into non-traditional spaces: public, domestic, industrial, nautical, etc. These events are meant to reveal the unique identity of these sites to the surrounding public, offering a place of public interaction via the provocation of the urban landscape.
Brock Davis lives and works in Minneapolis. In addition to many art and design projects he has an ongoing series of delightful sculptures made from the food he interacts with on a daily basis. Pieces like Broccoli House, Gummy Bear Skin Rug and Rice Krispyhenge are sure to entice laughter. Davis is one in a long line of creatives who inspire us to see mundane objects as opportunities to playfully manipulate.
Kissing is an act of intimacy that has been iconically portrayed throughout art history — take the sculptural power of Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss, for example, or Gustav Klimt’s own interpretation of the erotic gesture at the dawn of modernism. Fast forward over a century later, and photographer Maggie West has revisited this tradition with her own contemporary style. Described as “dreamy” and “hallucinatory,” West’s debut book KISS is a sensual photo diary of LA-based artists. Dripping in a haze of neon eroticism, the gentle lovers in West’s photos embrace and engage each other with intense intimacy. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, West explains the concept and creation of KISS:
By placing a common activity in such a dreamlike setting, I wanted the readers to reexamine the energy and intimacy taking place each time a couple embraces each other. Through the color choices and extreme close up angles, I hope that the viewer can appreciate specific aspects of a kiss that they may not have otherwise noticed.
[…] One of the objectives of the book was to examine the dynamic between a variety of relationships — not just established couples. Some couples had been dating for years, some were just friends, some barely knew each other, etc.
Initially everyone, no matter their relationship, was a little nervous. However, kissing is such a physical act that within a few minutes the models were so engrossed in each other that they seemed to forget they were being photographed.
Most of the models were chosen from among West’s friends who she knew in the LA community — “models, musicians, artists, porn stars, dancers” and more make up the group. Portraying the kiss as an act that knows no distinctions of identity or lifestyle preferences, KISS features a variety of ethnicities and sexualities, celebrating diversity and the fluid nature of attraction, desire, and love. “The kiss is a beautiful exchange regardless of the relationship,” West writes. And this is what KISS allows us to focus on: the gentleness of the moment, the tantalizing hesitation, and the oscillation of desiring energy and tenderness that makes kissing one of the most powerful ways to connect both flesh and heart.
KISS features a foreward by artist and journalist Hannah Stouffer. The launch party for the book is taking place on the rooftop of The Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on June 14th at 8pm. Visit West’s website, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to view more of her work. (Via Juxtapoz)
On May 12th, the Nepal earthquake striked, killing dozen and injuring thousands. With a magnitude of 7.3, the earthquake was so large that it affected those living in India and Bangladesh. Documentary photographer Probal Rashid, who currently lives in Bangladesh, documented the aftermath through his lens. These photographs tell a heartbreaking story of those directly in the middle of the chaotic and horrific outcome of such an earthquake. Rashid masterfully reveals poignant images of mothers, fathers, and children living in the current state of their homes and villages. The emotions seen in his photographs strike you to your core, as you are shown a child looking right back at you in the midst of this catastrophe.
Allowing us to see a different aspect of the lives of the people affected by the earthquake, Rashid includes images of the remnants of people’s homes and belongings, creating a more intimate connection. A haunting photograph of the inside of a house in ruins displays an empty couch and chairs, with photographs of the family up on the wall. The city’s culture as well as its people was damaged, as we see a piece of beautiful architecture now almost completely destroyed. Rashid rightly has no sensor, as his photojournalism displays an uninhibited truth. Witnessing so much destruction, Rashid also finds compassion. Although so much desolation can plainly be seen, there is also a sense of hope. The photographer also chose to capture people trying to help; citizen’s aiding one another.
As humans often identify with each other, it is always difficult to see photos with this kind of content. However, it is very necessary for us to see and understand what is happening to others in a place we may not know very much about. Probal Rashid provides us with a better grasp on how the earthquake has affected Nepal and its people in this unforgettable series.