Russian photographer Katerina Plotnikova creates, what she calls ‘another tale about wonderland’. The various photographs bring forth a beautifully shot series that includes images of human/wild animal interactions and whimsical fashions.
Evoking a mythical, fairy-tale world, the images transport the viewer to a place outside of modern settings. The gentle and serene colored landscapes turn these images into something that, upon observation, takes the viewer to a world familiarized though childhood stories; the images can go both ways though; it can remind them of the latter, or of a high-fashion, fantasy photo-shoot.
The subjects’ interaction with wild animals are what make these photographs more surreal than not; in one of the photographs we see an auburn-haired young woman hold out her hand to a grizzly bear, as though the majestic creature is asking her to dance. But, how can a a small figured girl be dancing around with a live, three-ton bear you ask?
Plotnikova was able to pull off these incredible shots with the help of two professional animal trainers.
Pulling John is the universal story of a champion, who after 25 years of success is now burdened with the inevitable transformation of aging. John Brzenk, the legendary armwrestler, who works as an airline mechanic by day must decide whether to leave the sport he was raised on or wait to be defeated by 2 up and coming titans. Voevoda from Russia, Bagent from West Virginia and Yoshi from Tokyo are the colorful characters who have been raised on the legend of John Brzenk. These men define themselves by not becoming champions but by defeating the legend that is known as Brzenk. In a philosophical and thrilling ride, ‘Pulling John’ culminates at the Zloty Tur Championship in Warsaw, where Bagent and Voevoda have the chance of their life, to dethrone the conflicted Brzenk. Watch the trailer for the documentary after the jump.
If you’re Ophidiophobic, Guido Mocafico’s photo series “Serpens” (1-4) is not for you. Slithering, scaly, sinuous—snakes are one of the most widely reviled creatures on Earth. And yet Mocafico’s still-life photos of snakes in a box, including vipers and cobras, are absorbingly beautiful, full of color and pattern and twisting, supple shapes. In the collected photos of Serpens, which has also been published as a book by the same name, the snakes are like nature’s art swatches, rectangular and saturated.
“The first time I photographed a snake up close, I nearly fainted. I’d always found them terrifying, but also fascinating—an attraction-repulsion I think most people experience when they encounter beautiful animals that creep or crawl. My goal with this series is to explore that intersection of human emotions.”
“Serpens”, “Aranea” (Spiders), and “Medusa” (Jellyfish) comprise the trilogy “Venenum”, all shot on black backgrounds from above, all terrifyingly exquisite. Mocafico worked on these long-term personal projects, published in books and shown as gallery exhibitions, alongside his commercial and advertising activities.
“Each photography session takes about 45 minutes. The expert corrals the snakes into a cloth-lined, clear plastic-sided box. Then I stand two feet away, pull back the top, point my camera—I still prefer the look of film—and wait for patterns and curves to emerge.
This series has been good therapy and education for me: I can handle snakes now and have learned a lot about different species. But I’ve learned most by watching people react to these images. Their fear and desire reveals something primal about our species.”
Looking at these images, there is nothing inherently scary about these reptiles. On the contrary, they are gorgeous—their hues and markings lush and complex. By elevating snakes into art, Guido Mocafico makes us look, really look, at the mesmerizing source of our fear. (Via Juxtapoz. Artist quotes via National Geographic)
Graphic, motion, and interactive designer Hannes Hummel has created a series of sculptures that are inspired by music. Titled Luxury Problems, the surreal busts are chopped up, duplicated, and mirrored. They might look like the typical “art historical” bust, but upon further inspection, there’s something seriously wrong. Some have more than one set of eyes, while others feature a skull that permeates the fusion of two faces. Hummel describes the inspiration and process of this unusual series of works.
Based on Andy Stott’s record »Luxury Problems« I created a set of 3 busts. In the same vein as his sample oriented, dark & chopped song structure, the process and methods used to create every bust are basically the same — with the help of autocad 123d catch I scanned several busts, stone sculptures and bones, recreated them digitally and created rapid prototying ready bust-remixes
The nightmarish sculptures are fascinating in the weird narrative that they create, and has you asking questions about their backstory. Why do they look the way that they do? Hummel has give us the opportunity to fill in the blanks. (Via Martineken)
Like everyone else I’m a big sucker for beautiful time lapse footage, especially if it involves shooting stars and the Milky Way filmed in one of the worlds most magnificent settings. Oslo based Terje Sorgjerd does the hard work for us by hiking the tough terrain of Mt. El Teide in Spain to bring us one of the most epic time lapse videos i’ve seen in a while. Check out the full video and Terje’s full account of his experience after the jump!
Photographer Amy Lombard is no stranger to the fringe cultures. Last year, she attended Bronycon in Baltimore (previously featured on B/D here), where she captured some of the festivities. During the year, she also frequented different animal shows and photographed who and what she saw there. The result comprised a series titled, Welcome to the Show. The types of animals range from cats, dogs, lizards, horses, and bugs. Lombard not only documents the animals, but their owners, and the relationship to one another.
The shows she attended are not the likes of the Westminster Kennel Club. Instead, they appear to be local and amateur. Since we don’t know what the context is of the shows, it makes the photographs all the more alluring. Some seem to double as pet shops (it’s only $5 for a painted hermit crab). Her style is candid, and her subjects not posing for the camera. Instead, they go about their business of show, looking, buying, and selling.
Welcome to the Show is the documentary of a niche interest. It’s not particularly glamorous, but is interesting and amusing. Lombard’s eye captures subtleties like small, amusing moments. A dog is wearing a skirt (or apron) with a $1 bill tucked in it. There are numerous people that look like their pets, which doesn’t seem surprising at an event like this.
It’s obvious that Victoria Reynolds is a skilled artist, but I personally don’t really see why anyone would want one of her paintings in their home or collection. They are scary and seem to promote a kind of negative energy that only a butcher or serial killer could be attracted to. But then again maybe that’s what she’s going for – that niche market of rich collectors who also have rooms full of dead bodies and future victims. (via)
“Takeesha was working one of the streets in an empty industrial area. She called me over and said, ‘Hey, take my picture,'” Arnade recalls. “I was relatively cautious initially because I didn’t want to be insulting, but she opened up and started telling me her life story.”
A former Citigroup financier of 20 years, Chris Arnade, became disillusioned by the narrow-mindedness and greediness of the corporate world. As a way to escape his unhappiness in Wall Street, he started taking long walks with camera in hand. He strolled through Hunts Point in the Bronx, one of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods. It was there, while on a walk around town, where he met a very friendly and honest prostitute named Takeesha.
She opened up, he photographed her. Astonished by her honesty, Chris insisted in creating a positive and honest image of her friend Takeesha.
From then on his life changed for the better. He traded his job for his new-found hobby: Taking honest and vibrant photographs of prostitutes, homeless people, and drug addicts in the South Bronx. He would not only take photographs of them, but he would also get acquainted and makes friends with these ‘rejects of society.’
“Hunts Point is a dark cloud with a silver lining. It’s people who are seemingly in the lowest of the low positions who are still somehow resilient. Those moments of resilience can be very optimistic.”
Although there are many whom are against his work (some calling it ‘exploitative’), Arnade stands by his images and his daily walks with pride. In a way, this is Arnade’s way to give back. See, Aranade grew up with the Catholic Church, a doctrine which taught him to do good in order to make up for the sins he’s committed in the past. Although always a very honest man, Arnade’s past with Wall Street haunts him daily, and his new found love of the camera and new friends make up for the piled guilt he felt for many years.
I want to make conventional portraits for unconventional people.
His images are simple, yet quite powerful. He captures these reject’s livelihood in a very honest and nonchalant way. The background is their native space and not a studio. Their clothes is not borrowed, but its theirs. Arnade’s images are crammed with damaged, but optimistic outlooks- he does not what to portray anything different; vulnerability is key. (via PolicyMic)