I was following the pack
all swallowed in their coats
with scarves of red tied ’round their throats
to keep their little heads
from fallin’ in the snow
And I turned ’round and there you go
And, Michael, you would fall
and turn the white snow red as strawberries
in the summertime…
Joel Galvin, or Ventral Is Golden (origin: late Middle English : from Latin venter, ventr- ‘belly’ + -al . Thanks Dictionary.) uses a plethora of different medium. Wonderfully, they all seem to correlate with each other. Perhaps it’s just how odd and familiar they are.
Natalia Evelyn Bencicova is a Slovakian photographer who creates works of surreal beauty and supernatural unease. Characterized by dark, sterile rooms built of tile and cement, her settings are eerily reminiscent of abandoned hospitals and vacant catacombs. The models are washed-out and almost alien in their beauty, contorting as they pose nude, or draped in cloth with additional limbs that reach from underneath. They appear human, but also inhuman — and no better is this obscuration of humanity demonstrated than in the images portraying piles of nude bodies sprawling on the floors, crawling up against the walls, or aligning themselves in fleshly, geometric structures. With their faces obscured by torsos and furniture, they seem engaged (or possessed by) a strange ritual that is more about the multitude than the individual.
Part of what makes Bencicova’s work so powerful and provocative are the environments and quasi-theatrical narratives she creates. The hospital-like settings foster an atmosphere that is unsettling for the psyche; writhing and embracing on cold floors or groping at sterile furniture, the characters resemble ghosts in an abstract, emotional ballet. In some of the images, the bodies look like they have been stowed away and forgotten, and are struggling to survive. But in all of Bencicova’s works, there is a haunting magnificence, a reverence for the strength of the human body, and an “opening up” of beauty that extends into the alien and absurd.
Bencicova’s Tumblr is a stunning journey into her darkly alluring and innovative worlds. You can also see more of her work on Behance, and be sure to follow her on Facebook.
I feel like I’m breaking the rules looking at Ukrainian photographer Alexander Alekseenko’s work in the office. Between the girl-on-girl action and the shirtless marauding men, I can’t help but blush. Alekseenko told Mint Magazine “I love spontaneous shots, stories and mostly all of my works are pretty much spontaneous.” Wait, if this is the kind of stuff that just happens in the Ukraine, I think we’ve found the next spring break hotspot. And it looks a whole lot classier than Cabo.
Since living in Baltimore, I’ve had the chance to attend several burlesque shows and enjoyed them all. I’ve seen performers of all ages, including a few older women, which is often my favorite part of the show; I love seeing these women confident about their bodies, especially in a society that values youth. A photography series by Stephanie Diani captures this same idea. She photographed The Legends of Burlesque, an older group of women burlesque dancers. Diani found these women when she visited the Miss Exotic World pageant many years ago. They made an impression on the photographer, and years later she sought these woman for her project.
All the women photographed are septuagenarians, and performed in burlesque shows well after turning 50, 60, or 70. Even at this age, they still exude a mature sexuality and eroticism. In each portrait, Diani had the women pose for pictures in their favorite Burlesque ensembles or meaningful garment. The resulting images portray glitzy, over-the-top outfits, complete with feathers, fur, beading, and jewels. This is an amusing juxtaposition with their homes, which, not surprisingly, are reminiscent of your grandmother’s home. Each woman looks self-assured and strong, and it isn’t an act. Diani remarks about the women on the Slate photo blog, Behold:
I loved spending time with the women: they were wry and smart and playful. In June 2009, I photographed Hall of Fame legend Big Fannie Annie, by her own account 450 pounds of sizzling sex, in a hotel room in Vegas where she and Satan’s Angel were getting ready to perform during over Hall of Fame weekend. Angel asked Fannie: ‘Do you have any of that cum-in-a-can I can use?’ — a reference to the industrial strength hairspray that is an essential tool of their trade. Another, Toni Elling, took her name from Duke Ellington, whom she used to know. (via Huffington Post)
The design studio/street art crew known as Truly Design is truly an expert at creating anamorphic art. The group is playful with both literal and figurative perspective. The Medusa anamorph, for example, does precisely this. According to the myth if a person looked directly at the serpant haired Gorgon they would instantly turn to stone. Perseus was only able to slay the monster by looking at her reflection. Similarly, this Medusa can only be seen from singular perspective.