Laura Makabresku is a Polish photographer and visual artist who creates atmospheric images that harness the tragedy and beauty of myths and fairy tales. The photos featured here are from Laura’s more recent posts on her blog. Brimming with a romantic darkness, the images include a pale woman lying in a “garden of wounds,” engaged in a subtly violent and erotic ritual with the flowers and a sharp blade. Set against her white dress, the flower petals resemble blood, turning the woman into a mythical — almost sacrificial — figure. Death blends with beauty in a quiet dream.
In another series, the mythos surrounding death becomes darker: in a dingy room filtered with a hellish green moonlight, a cloaked figure stands in a boat overlooking a nude woman. In some scenes the woman is struggling to escape; in others, she is lying prone, pinned by the boatman’s paddle or with coins resting on her mouth, suggesting the River of Styx — the coin shall pay her entrance into the underworld. Elsewhere are images of women communing in different ways with taxidermied animals such as deer, birds, and foxes. These animals emanate with a sense of attentive care over the women they are protecting — but of course, they are dead, troubling us with their simultaneous beauty and artificiality. Speaking of how her works seek to explore fairy tale imagery by highlighting traces of pain and horror, Laura writes:
“My [photographs] are like screenshots from beautiful but cruel fairy tales. Their narrations are not straight. Images that appear are more like feelings that come during a lecture of an old folk-based story – full of witchcrafts and retributions. The structure of my works is similar to the structure of a dream where natural tendencies of collecting and organizing impulses and motivations coincide with irrational clashes of objects and feelings. Isolation and wounds are closed into patterns, uneasy and artificial orders – visual spells created in order to divide beastliness from humanity and dreams from horror.” (Source)
Poetic, grim, and beautiful, Laura’s photographs are truly spellbinding on several emotional levels. Be sure to follow her blog, Tumblr, and Facebook to see what evocative and dream-like images she composes for us next. (Via Art Fucks Me)
Kitty Valentine’s work is inspired by the anonymity of the discarded photographs that she finds in flea markets in East London. Creating images that are darkly humorous yet poignant, Valentine’s images are memento mori paintings that raise questions about identity, sexuality, memory and mortality. The stiffly posed, nameless people in the Victorian Mischief series have animal and bird skulls delicately painted onto them and are given new life, and yet are protected by a mask. There are references to the Victorian obsessions with seances, carnival freaks and sideshow attractions and our slightly shamed morbid curiosity in such things.
Bela Borsodi is a prolific image maker. And not only does he make brightly colored, cartoonish images by taking photos of balloons wearing funny costumes. Since 1999 he has been taking photographs of still lifes full of humor, optical illusions, weird proportions, color play, and whimsical objects. His work may look like child’s play, but his clients have included Vogue Russia, Bloomingdales, H&M, Puma, Target, Hermes and Swarovski. His hilarious campaigns feature sunglasses casually draped on blocks of cheese, faces made out of folded clothes, outfits worn by invisible people and masked figures juggling shoes. The Austrian photographer says:
I love making things and putting things in an unusual context incorporating various visual languages coming from art and graphic design–eroticism is also a fascination of me that I love exploring. (Source)
Borsodi has a knack for turning the plainest things into something surreal and wonderful. By simply styling, or suggesting a few details, he can animate mundane objects into jovial caricatures. Add a wig to a balloon and it is no longer an inflated bit of latex, but now it is suddenly transformed into Marge Simpson. Or add a few brooches and faux fur to pink balloon, and we go from a child’s party to a drag show. Or another one: just fasten a tie, a belt, wrap on sunglasses and place a pile of string on a strangely shaped balloon, and we now see a boss trying to party on Casual Friday. Borsodi goes on:
Often when you only change the context of things you can find new meaning. Or you add something to an object or you take something away from it. Or you put it upside down. All this can change it – a glass put upside down loses all its original function and becomes just a “thing”. (Source)
Japanese Photographer Hal has crafted a bizarre-yet-eye catching series titled Fresh Love, which features an intimate couple vacuumed sealed together. It’s part of an advertisement for Condomania Shop in Tokyo, and it plays on the idea of what the shop sells, which, if you couldn’t guess, is condoms.
This series cleverly references a tightly-encased object and the aesthetics of a condom in all of its shrink-wrapped glory. We see an abstracted and visceral view of people, distorted by both the plastic, proximity towards each other, and the lack of space. Flesh is pressed against the surface and every hair and blemish is visible. It’s partially disgusting to see flesh that contorted, but creates a fascinating effect.
Due to the limited air supply, the couples could only be left inside the sealed bag for about 10 seconds. If you’re curious about the photographer and his creative process, check out the video after the jump. It explores the ways in which he achieved his vision and the feelings of the couples involved with the project. (Via designboom)
I stopped by Leon Reid IV‘s studio in Greenpoint to see what he’s been up to lately. He’s been pretty busy. Last month, he installed “100 Story House” a public art piece created in collaboration with Julia Marchesi. And he released a new sculpture series less than two weeks ago. On top of all of that, he’s in the midst of raising funds for “A Spider Lurks in Brooklyn”, his proposed project to put a giant spider between the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge during October of 2014 (you can get involved with the project here). So I was pretty psyched that he was able to make time to show me around. Leon’s been creating public art in some form or another for eighteen years now, and his studio was full of past projects and concept sketches.
Texas-based graphic designer Parker Jones has come up with a cheeky and clever idea to help women suffering from mood swings and cravings during ‘that time of the month’. Her college project features different fictional flavors of PMS Ice Cream. Named after moods and emotions that she herself has been a victim of, Jones has come up with some witty names. “Don’t Come Near Me” is a tub full of chocolatey rocky road and nuts. It also features a scale marked on the side showing how much you have eaten. Victims of PMS can eat their way through anger, rage, whining, crying, anxiety and laughter again and again until they reach the bottom of the container.
The series also features “I Need Some More” – which is full of mint chocolate chips, and “I Think I’m Dying” – a sweet strawberry flavor. The strawberry package bears a countdown of sorts, listing the different days and the various things women tell themselves to get through the monthly process:
Day One: it’s only just begun
Day Two: hell is coming
Day Three: can’t turn back now
Day Four: only a few more days
Day Five: dear god make it stop
Day Six: please tell me it’s over
Day Seven: sweet relief
Parker’s fictional products are sure to make women (and men) who are familiar with the different stages of PMS laugh. As I’m sure we all know, sometimes PMS can be no laughing matter. It definitely is a shame that this ice cream isn’t available to buy…. (Via DeMilked)
Photo retouching, specifically in magazines, permeates our culture and projects unhealthy and unattainable body image ideals. Writer and illustrator Jen Lewis has her own take on this controversial topic and sends Disney Princesses through the proverbial ringer by exposing what work they’ve had done. Like other individuals and news organizations before her, Lewis shares both the “unaltered image” and the drastically manipulated final in her series that’s touted as “Disney Princesses that Disney didn’t want you to see.“
This is series is all fictitious, of course (especially when you see Pocahontas’ transformation), but the satirized images are a witty way to get back at Disney for promoting princesses over real people and perpetuating gender stereotypes towards people at a very young and impressionable age. (Via Lost At E Minor and Buzzfeed)