We have a lot of things to be thankful for but most of all we’re thankful for all our loyal B/D cult members all over the world who have backed us for so many years. Hope you all are having a great day with your families and loved ones.
Self Portrait in Black Lingerie with Camera and Mirror, 1955
Bettie Page Reclining on Sofa at Coral Gables, FL, 1954
Self Portrait in Polka Dot Bikini with Rolleicord Camera, 1963
Original personal and behind the scenes photographs of infamous pin-up models Bettie Page and Bunny Yeager are now on view at the art gallery Gavlak, in Los Angeles as part of the exhibit How I Photograph Myself. You may think this is a strange title, but it actually refers to a book that Bunny Yeager herself wrote during her lifetime. Born in 1929, Yeager was not only a wildly successful pin-up model, but also a photographer herself who very often took her own photographs. She came into modeling after meeting actress Bettie Page shortly after studying photography at Lindsay-Hopkins Technical College. Bettie Page asked Bunny Yeager to photograph her, and Yeager eventually began modeling herself. She was not only an accomplished photographer and model, but also a scriptwriter and author, publishing How to Photograph Nudes and How I Photograph Myself, hence the exhibition title. These books went on to influence such well-known photographers as Cindy Sherman and Diane Arbus.
What is so interesting about these photographs, besides the obvious appeal and seductiveness of the pin-up style clothing and curvy women, is that Bunny Yeager was able to become so successful both as the photographer and model; the artist and the muse. Her femininity and beauty was laid out on a silver platter as a model, yet she could be taken seriously in a time when men dominated almost any scene. To portray yourself in such a sexual way and also sought after as a woman in your craft would still be an accomplishment today, let alone in the 1940s and 50s. Bunny Yeager was able to work against the traditional male gaze, and create her own photographic style that is both delicate and alluring. How I Photograph Myself will be on view at Gavlak from July 25th to August 29th.
Few artists have the talent that Ben Sack wields with pen and ink, and even fewer have the patience and control that the young artist uses to create his labor intensive, large-scale drawings. Patience is an integral part of the artist’s process, as massive cityscapes are slowly constructed on paper from historical reference, often taking months to complete. Though some cities are drawn (partially) historically accurate, certain parts of the drawing are stylistically changed, by removing rivers or skylines, or being rendered in circular forms. Other cities are complete fantasy however, interjecting centuries of unrelated architecture and scenery into a hybrid sprawl, often resulting in completely new, purely imaginative renderings. When asked the simple question on his Tumblr of how he is able to create these intensely detailed drawings, Sack responded, “As per your question regarding how, I can credit patience and a debilitating love for history and architecture.”
Explaining his interest in architecure, antiquity and cities, Sack explains, “Its this sort of image that I think most people, if not all of society have of western antiquity; stainless marble facades, long triumphal avenues, monuments to glory. In actuality, the cities of the past were far from idealistic by todays standards. Yes there was marble, lots of marble, and monuments galore, however these urban centers were huddled together and unless you were considerably wealthy, life in dreamy antiquity was often a heroic struggle. Though the societies of antiquity were bloody, dirty and corrupt the idea of antiquity has come to represent some resounding ideals in present society; democracy, justice, law and order, balance, symmetry. These ideals are now the foundation stones of our own civilization, a civilization that some distant future will perhaps honor as antiquity.”(via supersonicelectronic and colossal)
Michael Beitz kicks of our first Design Month, in which we will be exploring all the best stuff the design world has to offer.
Michael Beitz’ Picnic Table was commissioned by the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, in Omaha, Nebraska, as a permanent installation on its front loading dock, in conjunction with the Bemis Gardens exhibition and design laboratory.
Celebrity photographer Blake Little has taken his love of portraiture to new heights. Pouring honey all over his models of different ages, races and genders, he has created a series of dramatic images that look like photos of wax models. While he normally snaps pictures of famous faces like Kevin Spacey, Tom Cruise, Glenn Close, Samuel L. Jackson, Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow, this time he placed a Craigslist ad asking for some not-so-familiar faces. Seeing over 90 people, all ranging in age from 2 – 85 years, he asked them to take their clothes off and get covered in a thick gooey layer of honey. Little talks about his process:
Preservation began through a process of experimenting with honey. Initially, I started shooting the way it pours and drips on just the face or specific areas of the body. After several sessions, it became clear that completely covering the figure as much as possible and with varying thicknesses created a quality that I had never seen before. The honey has a way of diffusing the personal qualities of the subjects, often making them unrecognizable and democratizing their individual traits into something altogether different and universal. (Source)
The result of the intense studio session is hypnotic. The models look like they have been frozen in amber, or resin, or caught in the volcanic eruption of Pompeii. All of the subjects in his new book Preservation look like they are in a deep slumber, and all have lost any idiosyncrasies they may have had. It seems like Little has compiled a reference of what is it to be human – a kind of catalog of frozen specimens where we can, in the future, look back and compare similarities and differences between us all.
His show accompanying his new monograph opens at Kopeikin Gallery in Culver City, CA from March 7.
Paco Peregrín is an international photographer who creates experimental characters out of high-fashion images. This particular series is entitled Beautiful Monster, which Peregrín directed with the intention of exploring the effect of makeup on identity:
All photos that integrate Beautiful Monster allude to a very particular concept of beauty (sometimes unusual, alien or even beautifully monstrous), to its ephemeral nature and the passage of time. Naked men and women are on a neutral background where makeup comes great prominence, even avoiding the recognition of the models, thus reflecting on the idea of identity and a proposal for the makeup as a contemporary mask that protects us, on the one hand like a camouflage, [and on] the other helping us to build a super-ego. (Source)
Peregrín’s “Monsters” are fascinating, radiating with acid-bright color and cryptic eroticism. Most often nude, their faces are bound and adorned with rope, tape, paint, and jewels. Something happens when their features are obscured — their expressive bodies appear almost inhuman. In a style best described as hyper-real futurism, the images speak directly to a postmodern society so obsessed with beauty and constructed identities that it slips into beautiful absurdity.
Given that fashion photography is often criticized as being wholly commercialized and thus heavily restricted, Peregrín’s unique style is doubly surprising; he has worked with big names such as Chanel, Diesel, Vogue, and Vanity Fair, but still manages to bring his own creative and unconventional vision into his works. Check out his website for a gallery of his immersive and consistently experimental projects. (Via Art Fucks Me)
If you distilled all the terror and beauty of the psyche into an image, it would look something like the work of LA-based Kavan the Kid (aka, Kavan Cardoza). As a talented photographer and film director, his work is narrative-driven and surreal, blending literature, myth, and dreams into startlingly lucid visions. There is a kind of ritualism that surrounds his work, a dark magic that transforms tortured and rapturous inner worlds into solemn, physical expressions; faces are smothered, eyes caved in, and skin anointed with paint and blood. Everything takes on a visceral, symbolic meaning that contains the vicissitudes of emotion.
Before taking on photography as a means to express himself, Kavan enrolled in psychology at Boise State University. He dropped out to pursue his art, but his work conveys a keen awareness of and passion for the landscapes of the human mind (Source). Anxiety and melancholia are given shape as faces burn and hands reach from the shadows. Self-awareness illuminates itself in images shrouded in darkness. With creativity and sensitivity, each portrait represents Kavan’s relentless desire to understand and visualize our experiences of the world—and ourselves within it.