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Desiree Dolron

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Dark and stoic work from Dutch artist Desiree Dolron. These images remind me of portraits by the Old Masters, especially Vermeer and Rembrandt – the extreme stillness in each frame helps you focus on all the small details that make the image really pop when you look close. Find more at Galerie Gabriel Rolt.

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frieke Janssens’ Smoking Kids

Frieke Janssens’ dramatic photographs of kids smoking stopped me dead in my tracks as I was going through various projects on the talented Belgian Photographers website. Here is more on the project in her own words.

“A YouTube video of a chain smoking Indonesian toddler inspired me to create this series, “Smoking Kids”. The video highlighted the cultural differences between the east and west, and questioned notions of smoking being a mainly adult activity. Adult smokers are the societal norm, so I wanted to isolate the viewer’s focus upon the issue of smoking itself. I felt that children smoking would have a surreal impact upon the viewer and compel them to truly see the acts of smoking rather than making assumptions about the person doing the act. Coincidentally around the time of the “Smoking Kids” gallery opening, a law was passed, and smoking has been banned from Belgian bars. There was an outcry from the public about government intervention, feelings that freedom was being oppressed, and that adults were being treated like children. With health reasons driving many cities to ban smoking, the culture around smoking has a retro feel, like the time period of “Mad Men,” when smoking on a plane or in a restaurant was not unusual. The aesthetics of smoke and the particular way smokers gesticulate with their hands and posture cannot be denied, but among the different tribes of “Smoking Kids,” – Glamour, Jazz, and The Marginal – there is a nod to less attractive aspects, on the line between the beauty and ugliness of smoking.To assure you of the safety of the children, there were no real cigarettes on set. Instead, chalk and sticks of cheese were the prop stand ins, while candles and incense provided the wisps of smoke.”

Watch a video of the photo shoot after the jump and let us know what you think about this series.

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Dark voids

Some nice abstract paintings at Jason Karolak’s portfolio site. I like how geometric yet loose the paint handling is in his work. They almost look like hip versions of Brice Marden paintings.

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Andrew Clark

Andrew Clark’s illustrations have a beautiful vintage feel to them. I’m not positive about this but I believe most are made with colored pencils which give them a slightly faded quality that is brilliant in a world of neon colors and digital pixels.

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Sister Helen

When I think of New York City I imagine rough and tough grandma’s cussing you out and not taking shit from anyone. Other cities just don’t produce in your face, loud mouth senior citizens. This can get annoying in most situations but not when it comes to amazing Sister Helen Travis. In Sister Helen you’ll find one of the most unanimously acclaimed documentaries in recent years and winner of the coveted Sundance Film Festival Directing Award. A recovering alcoholic who lost her husband and sons to substance abuse Sister Helen fights the South Bronx’s drug wars one person at a time with more off-the-top catch phrases than a 1990’s rap song.

Sister Helen is an inspiring documentary filled with an equal dose of comedy and drama. The love/hate relationship between this tough-as-nails nun and the men who both fear her and rely on her to help them battle their own inner demons is unreal. Inspired by Sinatra’s “my-way-or-the-highway” mantra, Sister Helen runs a tight ship in which everyone must obey her rules and the hand that writes them. For the residents who wish to permanently kick the habit, this sobering dose of tough love may be their last and only hope.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Darren’s Great Big Camera

This short documentary follows Darren Samuelson as he ventures out to San Francisco’s Lands End to try his giant homemade camera.The camera took over 7 months to build, shoots 14×36-inch x-ray negatives, and stretches out to 6 feet in length! Watch the full documentary after the jump!

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The Electronic Installations of Alberto Tadiello

The work of Italian artist Alberto Tadiello peeks into the vagaries of technology, nature, and their relationships.  For example, the first five photos of this post depict the installation EPROM (an acronym for Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory).  The installation mounted on the wall consists of music boxes connected to small electric motors, which are in turn connected to transformers.  While the tinny notes of the music boxes may conjure  memories of childhood at first, the motors and music boxes are soon spinning faster than the mechanisms can withstand.  Eventually the motors wear out reducing the ‘music’ to a hardly noticeable noise.  Of this event, the gallery statement says:

“Once the pawls wear out the noise slowly becomes less noticeable and even indistinguishable. The high-speed movement is associated with a sort of cathartic event, which relieves the music box interface from bearing nostalgic feelings.” [via]

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Your brain on drugs

Paper MooIf a swirling primordial sea took acid and turned to pen on paper, I imagine they’d look something like Yusuke Gunki’s psychedelic oil spills.

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