Brian Moss, opened a gym in 1982. Better Bodies Gym, located in the heart of NYC, attracted bodybuilders from all over,and ever since 1997, Moss has casually photographed the leading competitors in the bodybuilding and fitness world.
The photographs are part of an on going series, a personal project, that gives insights to the bodybuilder’s life. Moss’ black and white portraits and action shots go beyond the bodybuilders’ physical appearance, and instead accentuates the human side of this ‘superficial’ business.
My images are unguarded, honest and voyeuristic. Whether they capture backstage scenes at the Mr. Olympia or private moments in a hotel room hours before the competitor steps out on stage, these images are imbued with an intimacy that had never been seen before.
Moss’ photographs have become very iconic, and they have influenced the way bodybuilders are currently portrayed in advertisements and mass media in general.
Blending the natural with the artificial world is Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s bread and butter in photography, and this applies not only to his staged documentary subject matter, but also his lighting. Whether it’s incorporating neon signage, cheesy ballroom glowing fixtures, another camera’s flash, or even a hidden light in the pavement, each technique helps shine a light on the ordinary as extraordinary from business men to hustlers– the majestic glow does not discriminate.
So, before the day gets too stressful, let’s relax with a little meditation on each powerful mesh of light. Feel free to share your own favorite lighting tips or tricks in the comments as well.
Young Unbecoming (2015). Ceramic, glaze, glass, resin, epoxy, and plasticine.
Young Unbecoming (detail view) (2015).
Lunacy (2015). Ceramic, glaze, glass, resin, epoxy, and plasticine.
Coupling (2015). Ceramic and glaze.
Meghan Smythe is a California-based (Canadian-born) artist who creates expressively disturbing sculptures of crushed flesh and glistening viscera. The muted, peaches-and-cream colors are initially deceiving in their innocence; emerging from the twisted monuments are dismembered and defleshed body parts, shaved down and mashed together. Like a theater of the grotesque, faces gasp from beneath piles of entrails and moldering skulls, and limbs reach and splay in dynamic expressions of violence, love, lust, and tenderness. Much like the contortions of passion and death, the energy rolls throughout the compositions, oscillating between states of vigor and exhaustion. Leah Ollman, having reviewed Smythe’s recent solo show at the Mark Moore Gallery, provided this spot-on description of “Young Becoming” for The Los Angeles Times:
“Limbs are entwined, tongues extended. Clay is rarely, if ever, this carnal. Some of the skin is mannequin-smooth but veined with cracks. Some seep a pink foam or a pale fecal flood. Erotic pleasure plays a part here, but is only one of many competing charges” (Source).
By displaying representations of body parts in surprising (and unsettling) reconfigurations, Smythe brings the charges of pleasure and agony, beauty and squalor to the operating table. Displayed for us are simultaneous births and deaths, made almost indecipherable by the material realities of the body: the fluids, the waste, the mess of living, and the will to survive. In “A Light Culture”, for example, a man with a severed arm and scarred flesh sits quietly, wounded but pensive, while a disembodied hand gropes at his erection. Elsewhere, in “Lunacy”, a decapitated subject grimaces in despair while reaching for his heart. More tenderly still, in “Coupling”, two hands lie adjacent to each other and touch lightly. In moments of both intimacy and horror, Smythe turns the possibilities and limitations of the flesh into sculptures and makes them strangely beautiful.
Visit Smythe’s website and the Mark Moore Gallery to learn about her work and see additional images. Check out Ollman’s article for a captivating description of the solo show.
The Graffiti Of War is a project started by Jason Parsons, an Iraq war veteran who was deeply moved by the graffiti done by fellow soldiers in the mideast. When Jason came back stateside he was having bad bouts of PTSD and decided to create a book documenting the graffiti left behind by thousands of soldiers as a form of therapy. This once simple idea has grown into a full time mission to support the troops and tell their stories one photo at a time.
“I began my current body of work to make a broader statement about the basic relationship we have with each other and our world. I have been interested in how closely each creature and object is tied to the next. It occurred to me that this interconnectivity is so unrestrained and natural that most of us are not even aware of how one thing can affect the other.
The way I chose to communicate this idea was to illustrate various situations with the veil lifted. I begin each piece with what is usually an average, everyday scene, familiar to each of our daily lives. Playing the “what if” game, I make adjustments, both small and large, until the final work has developed into something far different from where it started. The process of “connecting the dots” is exceptionally free-flowing and something I enjoy exploring. From afar, my candy-colored pieces may appear strictly lightsome and playful, but upon closer investigation, they reveal that things are not always as they seem.
Working in this manner has provided me an endless number of ideas and stories to cultivate, producing finished works that are both telling and captivating.”
Zach Hyman’s photographs are concerned with the idea of bodies and boundaries and the spaces they occupy. Often, the bodies he captures are nude and placed in an environment that illuminates the boundaries of nature and culture. Something wonderfully vulnerable is evoked by the placement of these bodies. His subjects, though placed in settings seemingly incongruent with the exposition of their bodies, appear naturally comfortable. The way he captures light and contextualizes these bodies lend his work a universal quality that is at once identifiable and particular.
The audiovisual installation titled Isotope v.2 was created Nonotak – an art duo made up of Noemi Schipfer and Takami Nakamoto. Light projections are projected on and through a box approximately thirteen feet on each side. Accompanied by sound the projection begins rather subdued. Low drones match lights moving and changing slowly. Soon, however, the light and sound seems to quicken its pace, become glitchy, even aggressive. Watch the video after the jump to see the Isotope v.2 in action. The installation is a reference and response to Fukushima and its now infamous power plant. Following the tragic 2011 earthquake control over the Fukushima power plant quickly deteriorated. Using this as a metaphor for the human relationship with nuclear energy, the installation creates a type of immaterial prison. Walls of light surround the visitors becoming ever more imposing as the projection progresses.
Artist Stefanie Herr’s topographic artworks are inspired by maps. When traveling, she writes, they facilitate navigation and orientation, and drawings by cartographers are the starting point of her work. To create her sculptures, images are printed on photographic paper, mounted on matboard, hand cut into tiny pieces and assembled. They resemble maps that show changes in elevation once completed. But, instead of rivers, plains, and mountains, Herr features faces of people.
She calls these pieces experiments on landscapes models that merge photography and sculpture. They often take weeks to complete. In an artist statement, Herr writes:
Photography abandons the two-dimensional plane and sets out to conquer the space. In search of suitable maps, however, I do not only focus on the shape of the terrain, but also on place names. As toponyms can inspire strong images or even stories, they often interfere in the development of my projects. When shooting photos, I mainly choose top, side and front view representations – I particularly like making use of “aerial” views on a scale of 1:1.
In addition to this inspiration, Herr is also concerned about environmental degradation and rapid loss of biodiversity. She further explains:
Unique natural heritage is gradually being depleted or replaced for the mere purpose of economic growth, and it seems that we have completely forgotten about the aesthetic values of landscape. As a world citizen, I am concerned about contemporary landscape change and the prevailing landscape perception. Topographic Fine Art mainly deals with these issues and, even though on a reduced scale, attempts to capture some of the natural beauty that surrounds us. (Via Lustik)