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Alvaro Laiz Captures the Secret Lives of Transgender Mongolians

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transgender

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In Mongolia, where the weight of tradition and Soviet rule still hang heavy, it is considered dangerously taboo to be a homosexual. Gays, lesbians, and transsexuals must keep their identities secret, often secluding themselves or participating in prostitution, in an attempt to safeguard their lives against violence and discrimination. In 2011, photographer Álvaro Laiz decided to capture the secret lives of these Mongolians in his series “Transmongolian.” Laiz initially traveled to Mongolia because he was interested in how the country’s newly opened borders affected the population, with the tradition of Mongolian culture meeting with Western influences from the outside. His research led him to connections with transgender individuals whose stories he decided to document with his photography.

They cannot express themselves normally except in certain places,” Laiz explained to Slate. “Your life becomes a scenario in which you are pretending to be someone else. Your job, your relatives become part of this performance, and little space is left to act as you would really want to be. It is insane.”

Laiz captures these ostracized Monogolians conducting their day-today lives alongside images of them in traditional Mongolian queen costumes. Laiz’s Mongolian series is the first of a larger project exploring transgender people in societies across the world. (via huffington post)

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Ellen Jantzen’s Arresting Photo series ‘Disturbing The Spirits’

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Ellen Jantzen‘s newest photoseries, Disturbing The Spirits, explores the photographers recent interest in the healing power of nature. In her series’ statement, the St. Louis-born photographer questions, “As human actions impact the natural environment, can artists heal nature? Does art bring “special powers” to the table? If so, what are they? What is ‘art’? What is ‘nature’? What needs healing?

Focusing on the cameras ability to record fleeting elements of natural elements, Jantzen hopes to bring attention and connection to our environment, often represented in the series by trees. The artist explains, “In “Disturbing the Spirits” I am using imagery to convey my feelings about the state of nature, the nature of trees, and how to express their connection to past, present and future.” The added element of digital manipulation, pulling the image into sheets of linear veils both obscures the focus, yet creates an alluring, gossamer magnetism. Jantzen continues, “By obscuring a portion of the image through a veil, I strive to heighten the remaining reality through discovery and reflection.” The work is made more convincing by using these digital aftereffects, bringing attention to the necessary connection (and beauty) possible when both human and nature coexist. 

Although many of the photos present human-altered versions of bucolic landscapes, forests and watery reflections, Jantzen’s work does not seem to say that the natural world is perfection. Rather, the images she depicts are impermanent, and simply reconnecting with nature is not a remedy to our human condition. Instead, the transience (if respected and protected) is the beauty, and will continue to regenerate forever if allowed. Jantzen acknowledges this, stating “(trees) are seen as powerful symbols of growth, decay and resurrection….a tree’s longevity can lull us into a false sense of immortality. It is this very impermanence that I long to understand through my photographic explorations. There is an ineffable natural beauty…. too great to be expressed or described in words.” (via lancia trendvisions)

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Anastasia Cazabon

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Anastasia Cazabon’s photos contain such compelling settings and backdrops that it feels very calm and serene. With a soft color palette, natural and living environments, she manifest dramatic, playful and melancholic imagery.

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Jason Thielke’s Laser-Cut Figures Contain Dissecting Lines Like Blueprints Of The Body

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The dissecting cuts and lines shooting across the work of artist Jason Thielke create incredible images of figures full of expression. His incredible, illustrative art is made by laser cutting wood panels, with acrylic paint and ink to add color and highlight details. Many of his pieces have so many lines etched into the work; it is difficult to tell the negative space from the positive. Thielke makes great use of negative space in his etchings, forming intricate and dynamic shape and composition. Each figure contains so many marks streaking across their body, adding shapes and patterns that form constellations within them.

Thielke’s lines seem organic, swirling around the figures hair and face, forming expression. However, the etched lines are also highly geometric and architectural, building a blue print for the body. Such drastic, harsh angles create a dramatic atmosphere with striking faces filled with piercing eyes. These intersecting lines express,

“conflict between one’s ability to implement self control and compulsion to manipulate and constantly self-gratify.”

Thielke’s fragmented bodies cut through you with a powerful emotion as they keep pulling you deep under their spell, inviting you to examine every cut in the composition. The artist does not only uses the technique of laser etching to create his figures, but has also inked his cut wood panels like a woodblock and then used them to make prints. Thielke has exhibited all across the U.S. from Boston to San Francisco. His work can be found at David B. Smith Gallery in Denver, Colorado, where Thielke currently lives.

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Burning Buns: A Lampshade, Made Entirely Out Of Bread

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When Japanese artist Yukiko Morita began working in a bakery as a teenager, she marveled at how cute baked bread was. She probably did not realize at the time that, years later, she would craft a way to make bread into a usable home decorative object.

Introducing her one-of-a-kind Pampshades at Tokyo Designers Week, Morita most certainly has a monopoly on the most glutinous lighting system. Although she declined to name a few secret ingredients, she listed the rest as: “Bread flour, salt, yeast, LED, batteries.” After the bread is baked, she covers it in resin, solidifying the form so it will not decompose.

“As the story goes, Morita worked in a bakery in her native Kyoto eight years ago, subsquently graduating from the Kyoto University of Arts in 2008 and reportedly launching Pampshades as early as 2010 (the name is a portmanteau of ‘pan’—French for bread, derived from the Latinpanem—and lampshade). The brief timeline on her website further notes that the first prototype dates back to 2007 and that she relocated to Kobe as of this year.” (Excerpt from Source and Source)

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Ulrich Collette’s Spliced Portraits Shows Incredible Genetic Similarities In Relatives

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Father / Son: Denis, 60 & Mathieu, 25 years

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Grandmother / Granddaughter: Ginette, 62, & Ismaëlle,12

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Daughter / Mother: Marie-Pier 18 & N’sira, 49

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Father / Son: Denis, 53 & William, 28 years

Photography has long been used to document the scientific process and display visual evidence, so when Ulric Collette began to use the medium to show how genetics can exhibit itself, it was both the obvious similarities, and differences, that caught everyone’s attention. Working out of Quebec, Canada, Ulric, a self-taught photographer and graphic designer, began the photoseries in 2008 where family member’s faces were spliced together to create portraits that compared physical appearance with contrasting ages. The process seems like a no-brainer, but it was truly born from an accident. The photographer explains, “I was attempting to create something totally different with another project, and in the process I came up with the first picture, me and my then 7-year-old son,”. Realizing the easily viewed comparison between generations when shown spliced together, Ulric began to enlist the help of others to show the effects of genetics. He continues, “I decided to try the same process with a few family members and the project was born.”

Collette uses specific portraits edited down from hundreds of tightly-controlled photos, to create his finished works. Acknowledging that even with the advances of editing software, it is still very difficult to find an appropriate match that works, he explains the difficulty of the project, “I need to take a lot of pictures in a controlled environment of each model, compare the picture to one another, chose the right ones and stick them together in Photoshop” .

The photographer used many of his own family members to investigate these connections, including his daughter and mother (above, Ginette & Ismaëlle), and even himself and his own brother (below, Christopher & Ulric). Collette explains, “The reaction to the project never ceases to surprise me…A few of the ones I’m in shocked me – me and my brother Christopher, for example, we totally look the same!” (via huffington post and bbc)

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Jonathan Allen

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Tommy Angel is Jonathan Allen’s bible-thumping alter ego, whose cheezy 70’s kitsch performances blend “miracles” culled from Christendom, Joke-shop magic and art’s own hall of mirrors alike. Drawing parallels between faith and illusion, conceit and deception, religion and slight of hand, Allen raises complex issues surrounding the nature of spectacle and its myriad applications across history.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: The Girl On The Wall

THE GIRL ON THE WALL from Gabrielpsa on Vimeo.

A very short comedy about a bored man, graffiti, and falling in love. Created by Greek artist Gabriel Psaltakis.

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