Native Los Angeleno Hugh Kretschmer is one of those rare photographers who has the ability to completely transform a commercial ad campaign or editorial piece into a magical story that will move you. Using metaphor and hand crafted trick-the-eye elements he transports us to surreal narratives full of humor and intriguing mystery where anything can happen.
Ten years ago Philadelphia photographer Matthew Christopher began a photo series attempting to document the decline of the state hospital system. Today his evocative and beautiful collection, “Abandoned America”, includes images of asylums, institutions, military, hospitals/health care, prisons, schools, power plants, factories, mills, quarries, hotels, transportation, theaters, houses, churches, and graveyards. The photos are beautifully composed and shot and are totally captivating in their emptiness.
“There is an undeniably artistic element to decayed sites, and an immense number of social, theological, and philosophical questions they pose. Abandoned America’s aim encompasses not only the historical and photographic cataloging of such sites, but also on a larger scale a eulogy for the lost ways of life they represent, a statement of their emotional, spiritual, and metaphoric relevance to our everyday lives, and a sense of the visceral experience of entering a parallel universe of silence, rust, and peeling paint.”
The pictures of abandoned spaces seem to want to create a narrative. They ask questions: What is the difference between a place abandoned temporarily and permanently? Is it a matter of chance, of luck? When you walk out the door, are you certain that you’re coming back? What sort of artifacts does a person leave? There is a poignancy to these spaces, a haunted voyeurism, a solemn quality to their emptiness. What lives were being lived here, and why were they interrupted?
“There is something magical and mysterious about spaces that are no longer in use, where nature and time and man’s presence have combined to create something absolutely unique,” says Christopher. “I hope that people reading my book can experience that sense of the transcendental and sublime that I did when I photographed these forgotten places. This book is a chance to examine why we are losing so many sites that are critical to our identity and culture.”
Jason Mena lives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and uses cameras, scanners, airplanes, and whatever he can get his hands on to examine his surroundings. His work explores city life, traffic, politics, and relationships in creative and funny ways. Check out more of his work at his site and hit the jump for more work including his great “Meaningless Work” where he records himself moving around furniture aimlessly.
Caras Ionut is one of those rare photographer/Photoshopper hybrids whose work stands head and shoulders above even some of the best retouchers. Some of his images tend towards the realistic, others towards the fantastic, but all of them display a skill with both a camera and post-processing techniques that’s truly remarkable.
Ionut says his goal is to create dreamscapes — both the positive and negative kind.
“Most people when considering dreams would think of good positive dreams, and I like to think I captured that in my work,” he writes in his biography on 500px. “I also seem to visit the darker side of what people may see of dreams, not necessarily what one would see as negative, but possibly a dream that one could not quite understand or may feel alone.”
View a selection of our favorite images Ionut has captured, each available to license on 500px’s photo marketplace: 500px Prime” after the jump.
Found these awesome Indian book cover designs from a couple decades ago on A Journey Round My Skull, my go-to blog for all vintage graphic design. Unfortunately, the designers for each of the book covers weren’t listed. You can see the fronts and backs of each book (I only posted either front or back here) and it’s really amazing to see how well integrated the whole of the design is and how designers during that time were just mainly illustrators.
Photographer Joe Maloney revisits the art of summer slumming along the east coast in his retrospective show “Asbury Park and The Jersey Shore, c. 1979” at Rick Wester Fine Arts. Maloney, according to The New Yorker, chose Asbury Park specifically because the area was “distinctly working-class, non-affluent, semi-urban, slightly run-down beach town, with a music culture and a vibrant street life.”
Most striking about this collection, however, is not just the “Darkness On The Edge of Town” vibe meshed with beach resort kitsch, but even more so, the intense level of isolation that vacation culture embodied before cell phones, Wi-Fi, and the Internet at large. Each portrait seems quiet somehow: subjects full of secrets and aspirations. Its a trapped or estranged sort of quiet that I strangely miss . . . and maybe long to reclaim.