While living in Germany for the past seven years, photographer Samaneh Khosravi noticed that there were many misconceptions within the Western understanding of Iranian culture. In a project titled “Among Women,” Khosravi seeks to shed new light on a lesser-known facet of modern Iran: its diverse women’s fashion and beauty scene. In the photos, Khosravi accompanies the women as they shop, socialize, and even visit with their plastic surgeons. The images were compiled into a book titled Among Women, which Khosravi describes below:
“This photo book documents the beauty ideals of today’s Iranian society, which are hardly known outside of Iran. It focuses on the young, confident Iranian women, who define their ideal of beauty with the interplay between modernity and tradition. More often, the simple beauticians are not enough for the young Iranians, and therefore the plastic surgeons need to lend a hand sometimes.” (Source)
In a world wherein the media is so often dominated by Western standards and perceptions, Khosravi’s project is important in providing us with an authentic glance into her culture—one that hasn’t been filtered through a Western lens. We see familiar images—the nail salons, the shopping arcade, the self-conscious glance in the mirror—but Khosravi’s candid style reveals a cultural distinctness in Iran’s approach to beauty, one that has its own nuances, such as the combination of traditional head scarves with modern makeup styles. “Iran is different,” she writes. “Iran is not only different from Germany, but also from the image presented by mainstream media” (Source).
It is Khosravi’s dream to disseminate this detailed perspective of Iran to the world. She is currently seeking support to publish her book with Kerber Verlag, which means it would reach a greater number of people. If you’re curious about Iran and you wish to support an image of the country that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of Western unilateralism, be sure to visit her crowdfunding page and help her reach her goal. The book is aimed for publication in October 2015. Visit Khosravi’s website, Facebook page, and Instagram to follow her progress and learn more.
Los Angeles-based artist Ken Garduno studied illustration at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design, graduating in 2006. Since then, he has been hard at work as a freelance illustrator and gallery artist. His paintings and illustrations are one part psychedelic, one part the occult, a pinch of old-timey goodness, and flavored to taste with science fiction. The end product? Delicious.
Lina Scheynius is a Swedish model-turned-photographer who skillfully captures both the rawness and tenderness of intimate moments. Inspired by “the forest, books, sleep, music, trains, light, [and] maps,” her images are portraits of ephemeral beauty, peace, and quiet desire, distilling life into the haze of a nude, mid-afternoon dream (Source). Recalling moments of post-coital bliss, the models (often, Lina herself — see her Diary images) sit and lay on unmade beds as sunlight kisses their warmed flesh. The power of touch is explored, as hands grasp together or press into the sole of a foot. Elsewhere, in a flash of intensity that eclipses the whole world, eyes meet in a dark room. Lina’s photography even finds powerful sensuality in unexpected places, such as flesh-toned blossoms or breathless horizons of undulating clouds.
While some of Lina’s photographs recall stronger erotic images — the hand curled into a circle, or lifted undergarments — it is candid, but never crude; emotional and arousing, but never sensationalized. The use of natural light makes the images even more genuine, washing out the skin and warming it at the same time, illuminating soft hairs and creases. Her entire approach is organic. As she writes on her FAQ page:
“I take the day as it comes. I work with natural light so if there is a cloud over the sun then that will effect the mood of the day / picture. And I work with a small automatic camera that allows me to move around a lot. And I never give more directions than I have to, avoiding [the need] to force things.” (Source)
For her series The Absence of All Colors, the artist Ludmila Steckelberg creates a visual catalog of death; scouring her old family photo albums, she removes the photographic imprints of the dead, leaving blackened figures in their wake. Like fading recollections of face and features, these blank gaps— merely standing in for the deceased— leave an invisible mark on collective family memory. These old black and white images, now sepia-toned with age, are poignantly robbed of their power to immortalize and preserve those passed away. As with death itself, the act of removal, executed cleanly by the artist, is heartrendingly permanent and cannot be undone.
Steckelberg’s work is an unsetting exploration of the undeniable bond of photography and death. The photograph, though two-dimensional, suggests the three-dimensionality of life; here, the dead return to a state of two-dimensionality, receding from the aesthetic world of the living into an abstracted, flattened plane. The darkness they inhabit is utterly unimaginable to us, and yet they seem to be capable of observing us. In this shocking inversion, the viewer feels watched, gazed upon from the black depths. Pasted on one page of a family album, a removed couple faces into the opposite page, searching its blankness for an unknowable something.
Here, the living are left entirely alone, trapped within a space that once seemed full and vibrant, but is revealed to be merely an illusion by the artist’s careful cutting. Men and women look trapped within the borders of the deconstructed photograph, yearning to leap forth, to reconnect with those lost to darkness. (via Lensculture)
My friend over at Champagne Valentine recently designed this out-there website for Lost Planet studio. Not your typical web 2.0 approach, the result is instead a more abstract, intuitive and interactive experience. Is this the future of the net? Will the days of Twitter icons and blogs be gone, replaced by ethereally floating moon-orbs surrounded by hands? In their own words, the site “is an experimental online video channel and porfolio showcase for the Lost Planet editing studio. The site is an otherworldly portal into the psyche of Lost Planet where visitors can explore a porfolio of work via a bizarre planetary interface. “
Keri Oldham‘s collections of watercolors are studies in familiarity and restraint. Each mark is deliberate, yet still manages to accidentally wander, bleeding and pooling into the next, happening upon a recognizable form.
New Zealand based sculptor Neil Dawson constructs sculptures made from aluminum and stainless steel, creating geometric shapes that appear to floating mid-air or suspended by nearly invisible reinforcements. Some of them look like simple illustrations, drawn in the air, while others are more complex constructions. Dawson often suspends his weightless work in civic spaces and skyscapes, creating gravity-defying, airy illusions.
“There’s something sanctified about a gallery environment because the works are physically and visually static,” Dawson says. “With public sculpture there’s a real dynamism because it’s constantly changing with the light and the elements. The majority of my work has more holes in it than substance – it’s about looking through things, not just at things. There’s always an element of surprise,” he says, noting the appearance of his sculptures changes day to day, and that the experience is unique to each viewer. “When art is frozen in a gallery, it loses those possibilities.” (via juxtapoz)
Kevin Van Aelst’s small interventions of everyday objects pack a big punch. I love how he takes the must mundane materials and makes you look at them in a totally new way. From now on when I see painters tape I’m going to think of the ocean!