Whether it’s hand painted, collaged, and/or sewn together, Jenny Toth imaginatively entwines colorful drawings of the animal kingdom to meditate on a sometimes humorous, and always surreal study of the female condition.
Of her work, Toth states, “For many years I have been intrigued by the way women artists choose to depict themselves. Like many other artists, my view dramatically differs from a historical approach to the female model. I choose to include elements not traditionally viewed as beautiful—for example, a deformed toe, hairy legs, unkempt hair. However I have no interest in shocking the viewer, but seek to share my honest, uncensored observations. I have always been allergic to pretense and slickness.”
HUH. ONE is a black and white zine released by HUH Magazine of an edition of one hundred. I have to say the photography featured in this zine is really awesome. Photographers include Chad Moore, Dana Goldstein, Gavin Watson, Jerry Hsu, Jonnie Craig, Kathy Lo, Lele Saveri, Patrick Griffin, Pawel Jaszczuk, Peter Sutherland, Sean Vegezzi, Bea Fremderman, Paul Herbst, Seth Fluker, Patrick Tsai and Young Kyu Yoo. Head over to their website to get a limited copy.
Kostis Fokas is a rare photographer who possesses the innate ability to both create and capture personifications of the provocative in our human form. Challenging and sexually-charged, the work is visually reminiscent of fashion photography, but pulls inspiration equally from painterly compositions by using the body as a metaphor for sexuality, potency, and humanity. In a conversation with Beautiful/Decay, the London-based, Greek photographer explains, “Through my photos I wish to present a new take on the human body and explore its infinite capabilities. The use of quirky, and sometimes hidden faces communicates exactly that. Unlike photography that seeks to reveal the feelings of the objects portrayed through the use of faces and expressions, I shift my focus on the complete freedom pertained to the image of a human body. Stripped from its clothes, I leave it fully exposed and completely surrendered.”
With faces hidden and bodies often stripped bare, the human form becomes a landscape of tension, fully exploring the paradox of submission. A balding man running a brush over his head becomes a metaphor for self-conscious impotence and existential awareness, while a naked woman hovering over a cactus represents a more immediate (and less philosophical) danger. In Fokas’ work we realize that submission is often related to acceptance, mirrored by the artist stating, “Submissiveness often conveys surrender to something greater and more powerful than us.” This duality becomes both a metaphor for the nature of photographic direction, as well as for life, as the human experience is compressed into simultaneously simple and complicated gestures arranged by the photographer with willing participants, and captured on film.
When asked if the work’s sometimes daring exploration of sexual themes and sexuality is ever misinterpreted, or even offensive, Kostas diplomatically responds, “My images aspire to touch on some of these issues, among others, and definitely raise many questions but it is ultimately left up to each individual viewer to decide and reach his own conclusions.”
The fantastical works of Cerise Doucède illustrates the daydreams that we all have. In their series entitled Égarements, the French photographer shows people living their everyday lives, but who are frozen in a moment of contemplation. Around them is disarray, or, their fantasy. A child looks up and sees paper cranes above him while a woman peeling apples is similarly surrounded by the same fruit.
Doucède’s series is alluring in the fantastical sense, as we look at these compositions of where things are out of the ordinary. The photographs are formally striking; it’s visually satisfying to see these things levitate and appear to float in midair, as we’re not used to this sight.
Égarements points to the moments of banality in our lives where we turn to daydreams. Our reality might not be very exciting, so these fantasies come as a form of escapism from the monotony of the everyday. A more optimistic way of looking at this series might be that these people are so engaged in what they are doing that they go beyond what is in front of them to entertain grand possibilities. Maybe we’ll go with that. (Via This Isn’t Happiness)
What can I say, I can not get enough of Megan Whitmarsh’s pastel-colored embroidered day dream doodles and soft-sculptures of fabric cigarettes and pizza slices. It’s like Klaus Oldenberg ate an entire 20 lb. bag of Valentine’s day Sweethearts and grew up in the 70’s….or that adorable (but geeky) little girl was allowed to ditch the kittens and actually embroider what she wanted- flying V guitars and monsters in space boots. The best!
In a world where the words “bikini season” are met with judgement, panic, and dread, it can be hard to embrace our bodies as they are. For breast cancer survivors and patients who have undergone single or double mastectomies, the season’s swimsuits can be alienating, as they are most often designed to accommodate twin bosoms.
Hoping to challenge the damaging pressures and judgements placed on the female chest, Ph.D. Elina Halttunen came up with the idea to manufacture bathing suits specifically for women who, like she, have one breast. With the help of design duo Tärähtäneet ämmät (Nutty Tarts), a group of trailblazing Finnish designers, and a dedicated group of models, all of whom had undergone mastectomies, her dream became a reality. Their fashions and images are all part of the project Monokini 2.0.
Taking inspiration from legendary fashion photographer Helmut Newton, the team at Nutty Tarts have conceived of glamorous, edgy designs with a distinctive yet cohesive aesthetic. The Monokini 2.0 designs comprise looks that convey both strength and softness. Designer Outi Pyy creates pieces designed with warriors and mermaids in mind. Tyra Therman, who works in luxury underwear, sees the project as a way to redefine femininity and celebrate the courage of women.
Each swimsuit is crafted to be both extravagant and comfortable, unique as the women who choose to wear them. Moved by the project, most of the models pictured here contacted Halttunen and her colleagues, volunteering their bodies to empower all women, regardless of how many breasts we might have. Be sure to check out Monokini 2.0’s crowdfunding initiative, opening May 30th. (via Buzzfeed)
Raised in Long Island, Dobrowner struggled with his identity and purpose as a teenager. In response to this apparent lack of direction and sense of self, his father offered him “an an old Argus rangefinder to fool around with.” After researching photography and tinkering with his camera, Dobrowner was hooked. Shortly thereafter, at the age of 21, he left home and embarked on a journey to explore the American Southwest–a theme that which would eventually materialize as a major motif in his oeuvre.
After meeting his wife in California, Dobrowner set his photography aside in order to settle down, raise a family, and operate a business. Although his photographic career reached a plateau lasting several years, he was inspired to reacquaint himself with the craft again in 2005. Rather than stagnating his zeal or hindering his success, however, his break from photography, if anything, added fuel to his fire. He explains:
“Today I see myself on a passionate mission to make up for years of lost time – creating images that help evoke how I see our wonderful planet.”
And, with his snapshots of swirling storm clouds, harrowing canyons, and towering landmasses, both his passion and perspective remain undeniabily apparent.