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The Year In Pictures

Any “best of” list must surely be subjective. This one is no different. Choosing the best photographs of the year is an enormously difficult task, with many terrific photographs slipping through the cracks. But with major news events as a guide, and with single images I fell in love with throughout the year forcing their way into the edit, I look at my favorite pictures from the first four months of the year. Two main stories dominated headlines in the first part of the year: the Japan earthquake and tsunami, and the rising of the Arab Spring. The protests in the Middle East would spread to Greece, Spain, and eventually inspire the Occupy movement in Western nations. Other stories included a historic wave of tornados in the U.S., and the creation of the world’s newest nation in South Sudan. Images from the rest of the year will follow in posts later this week. — Lane Turner (Via Boston Globe)

A motorcycle policeman burns as his colleague tries to help him after protesters threw a petrol bomb in Athens on February 23, 2011. Scores of youths hurled rocks and petrol bombs at riot police after clashes broke out during a general strike. (Dimitri Messinis/AP)

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Troels Carlsen’s Vivisection And Torture

Copenhagen based Troels Carlsen has some beautifully brutal work dealing with imagery of death, torture, and vivisection.

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Garbage Pail Kids- Where Are They Now

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You’ve heard of  “Where are they now?” stories about child stars, but what about the Garbage Pail Kids? Art director Jake Houvenagle and photographer Brandon Voges have combined their creative talents to construct a fictional photo series portraying specific Garbage Pail Kids characters as real human beings, thirty years later. This lovably crass band of misfits from your childhood has come to life, thanks to these two artists. Not only are we able to see what each kid has grown up and become, Houvenagle and Voges has also provided us with a complete back-story, making the situation even more comical.

This hilarious series features such bizarre characters as Armpit Brit, who still has her dreads of armpit hair, and Barfin’ Barbara, who’s name speaks for herself. The artists cleverly match each Garbage Pail Kid with a suitable occupation that matches their unfortunate, gross personality trait. For example, the unholy Bony Tony, who has the ability zip off his skin, is now, thirty years later, a stripper! The finished photo features Bony Tony on stage as a full adult, stripping his skin off in his underwear while dollar bills are thrown at him. This series is both nostalgic and well done, with an amazing sense of humor. Houvenagle and Voges have created a throwback masterpiece with this wonderfully entertaining series.

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Seth Casteel’s Underwater Dog Photography

Everyone loves photos of cute dogs but what about gorgeously lit underwater photos of dogs of all breeds, size, and color nosediving into water chasing after their favorite toy? If you’re like me you are tearing out your eyeballs with joy over these ultra cute and masterfully photographed photos by Seth Casteel. More puppy pool time goodness after the jump!

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Izziyana Suhaimi’s Embroidered Drawings

Izziyana Suhaimi blends pared down drawings with ornate embroidery in her seductive illustrations. Using craft based techniques, she is attracted to the evidence of the hand and its time-consuming aspect, which runs counter to the instant gratification and mass-production centered age of today. (via)

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Eric Shaw and Henry Gunderson at FFDG in San Francisco

Tom Betthauser:

Both artist’s work share an obtuse unearthly charm as a common language, and their work promises to have an energetic and productive conversation in their upcoming exhibition.

Great show up at FFDG in San Francisco right now. Eric Shaw and Henry Gunderson spent a couple weeks on the beast coast cooking up some vibey abstractions for us and now they’re ready to be seen! Both artist’s works definitely play off each other really nicely, and if you’re out in SF, this one is not to be missed. See more from the show below.

Images courtesy of FFDG.

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Donna J. Wan’s Haunting Photos Of Suicide Destinations

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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.”

(via feature shoot)

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Painted Satellite Dishes In Rural Central America Become Billboard Spaces For Local Housewives

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There’s a change happening in a small, rural community in Costa Rica. Latin American satellite company Claro has joined forces with local artists to help housewives advertise and grow their own businesses. In a place where few luxury items can be afforded, every household is certain to have a TV – and also an accompanying satellite dish. So, with the help of creative agency ‘Ogilvy & Mather Costa Rica’, Claro have come up with idea of how to better utilize those dishes for the local residents.

Painted with as many different logos and themes as you can think of, the bright, folksy designs are grabbing all the right kinds of attention. Now, instead of having to rely on word of mouth, or neighbors stopping by occasionally, the women can advertise their goods and services much easier – and to more people. The charming designs advertise making tortillas, ice cream, piñatas, selling flowers, strawberries, eggs, or offering sewing alterations, or haircuts. Now, not only are the women attracting more customers, they are also empowered to think bigger, and to perhaps change their own financial destiny. (Via Lost At E Minor)

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