Lucy Hilmer is a photographer who has taken nude self portraits each year for the last 40 years of her life, on her birthday. She takes the photos wearing only underwear, socks, and shoes. The act of being naked, she says, is in defiance of the prescribed definition of beauty applied to her body. Being a woman with a slim figure and classically appealing features, she found she wanted to define herself through these photographs, rather than accept the definitions of others.
It seems counter-intuitive at first to remove your clothes in photographs in order to redefine how you are perceived. If you stand nearly naked in front of a camera in a relatively neutral pose, and you are “beautiful”, chances are you will just continue to look beautiful in that photo. Still, for Hilmer it isn’t really about how others perceive her, it is about how she perceives herself. She looks beautiful throughout, as she is pregnant, as she ages, in whatever setting she’s in, because she is comfortable in her skin.
The portraits are well composed and creative. In one, Hilmer’s arm imitates the shape of a large driftwood tree beside her. In another, the dynamic composition makes her pose beside her equally naked husband (facing backward) comic but also epic against the tall trees in the background. (Via Lost at E Minor)
In his ongoing project “Mystery Meat”, Texas-born visual artist Peter Augustus explores the disconnect between mass-produced foods and their “natural”, unprocessed form. Augustus’ photo series depicts various fast food dainties with their ingredients stripped down to their primal state: chicken nuggets to chicken feet, BLT to pork legs, etc.
The idea for the project was born after Augustus moved to Hong Kong where he currently resides. Artist was fascinated by the local meat shops, exposing various animal parts to their customers. He claims that Westerners are rarely in touch with “anything that even closely represents what kind of animals we are eating”. Most often, we purchase processed, prepackaged and showcased meat products without even knowing the real source.
The deeper and more disturbing side to Augustus’ work is the very notion of “mystery meat”. What is often marketed as 100 percent meat product, in reality comprises of various contents. The gruesome trend of intransparency is especially present in fast food market.
“I hope to cause the viewer to take into account what the natural form of their food looks like. I think the work highlights a number of important debates, and it is not meant to be repulsive — just to raise awareness. It also touches on the longstanding debate of the quality of chicken and meat products and the use of unnatural fillers and hormones in the animal products we eat daily.”
San Francisco-based body painter Trina Merry has created a series of scenes that blend nude bodies into New York City landscapes such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Guggenheim Museum, Empire State Building, Central Park and the New York City skyline. Due to Merry’s fine attention to detail and composition, the painter’s subjects seamlessly disappear into their surrounding environments.
Of her medium, Merry writes, “My surface is living, breathing human beings making this a highly relevant & immediate medium. I use non-toxic hypoallergenic paint applied with a brush or airbrush. The painting is temporary, like a Tibetan sand painting, beginning to change into another work as soon as I stop painting, changing texture & color.”
Merry has an impressive portfolio of projects on her site, including the Human Motorcycle Project, a project which entailed painting bodies to look like motorcycles. (via visual news)
Chewbacca is a Wookiee. Bipedal and furry, a “big walking carpets,” Star Wars Wookiees run and fight and shoot. In Mako Miyamoto’s photo series, found on his website Neon Werewolf, Wookiees do much more: yoga on the lawn, roller skate in knee socks and satin jacket, swim underwater, water the lawn. In fact, Miyamoto’s Wookiees could be your next-door neighbor…in a furry mask.
“Masks have always intrigued me; being born near Halloween may have had something to do with it. I’ve always been fascinated by how they hide the person behind them while at the same time bring forth pieces of [their selves] that at first glance were shadowed by their expressions.” (Source)
This whimsical series alternates between mash-ups of TV Shows and movies (Star Wars and The Heist; Star Wars and Game of Thrones) and everyday scenes with a twist (salad bar and Wookiee, ping pong and Wookiees, wedding day and Wookiees). Funny and slightly alarming, the masks’ staring eyes, fixed grimaces, and cascades of fur make the scenes bizarre mimicries of life. Each image is individually titled, and they include “Kiss My Ace II”, “Stop Blocking my Fist with your Face”, and “Corndog Airplane.” The series is ongoing—idea after idea, Wookiee after Wookiee. Miyamoto says:
“I get my inspiration from all over; thrift stores, books, movies, open spaces, the coast, clouds, Stanley Kubrick, Portland, John Carpenter, the golden hour, the way that reflections create an unreachable reality, things that are orange, and the ocean. But not necessarily in that order.” (Source) (Via Feature Shoot)
Designers and stylists Isla Bell Murray and Jessica Saia recently featured some bold and edgy San Francisco street fashion over at The Bold Italic. In an effort to correct “street style” blogs that have used streets and their permanent fixtures as mere background to “people style,” the duo have captured a variety of popular and stylish items found on the streets, complete with quotes from the fashionistas they encountered. This humorous series lightheartedly mocks street fashion photography, reminding us not to take ourselves too seriously.
Nick Sethi reveals the intimate aspects of the exceptional lifestyle he shares with his friends in Brooklyn. His photographs provide a glimpse into their mild degeneracy and playfully ironic demeanor. They’re appealing because they lack seriousness and record a snapshot of a genuine culture that is not often accessible, though frequently watered down and imitated in more mainstream circuits. In his ‘portfolio’ series are portraits of his friends, standing with their pants around their knees, or wearing a giant bejeweled ‘SEX’ necklace. The photos have an apathy or melancholy combined with a subtle power emanating from the characters he documents. Although they are obviously staged with dramatic intention, they evoke a fantastically underwhelming air.
His most recent series, more specific in its aims than his overall portfolio, is titled FYEO. It is a curated selection of selfies that women have taken from inside tanning beds. Visually it’s the lights and the rays from them distorting the photographs that are the point of interest. They look like strange psychedelic light tubes in outer space. The selection is well done as he matches the aesthetic between the photographs seamlessly, but also chooses ones with just a tweak of oddity. The Playboy Bunny bellybutton ring paired with a Playboy tanning stamp, or the panties around the ankle create intrigue around these women and their own artistic decision when taking their photographs. Sethi himself is an avid selfy-taker. His HCO series of self-portraits – pictures of him posing throughout a Hollister store – is as entertaining as it is ridiculous and juvenile.
US-based team of scientists has built a robot that folds itself into an origami-inspired shape starting from a flat sheet. The assemblage of such robot doesn’t require any human intervention. It is made from a polymer material which shrinks when heated, also has electronics and motors attached to it. When the heating elements affect the hinges made in paper, the robot starts transforming into a crab-like machine. The whole process takes about 4 minutes before the robot can start walking.
The team behind the project said their inspiration came from the complex 3-D shapes in origami: like in the Japanese paper art, various three-dimensional shapes are constructed from a single sheet of paper. This robot takes origami a step further. According to the developer team, such self-assembling robots can be greatly employed in construction or rescue works.
“[They could be delivered] through a confined passageway, such as a collapsed building, after which they would assemble into their final form autonomously,” states Marc Lavine, senior editor at Science.
Robot‘s small size makes is what makes it very useful because of the easy transportation and storage. Apart from search-and-rescue missions, a more advanced version of the robot could be easily used construction works, especially in places that are hard to reach. The whole project is said to cost $11,000 but with the initial designs in place, the mass-production robots should cost around $100 each. (via NPR)
Watch a short video about the project after the jump.
These bizarre photographs by British artist James Ostrer feature himself and others covered in thick, sticky-looking layers of candy, frosting, and other junk food. Decadent edibles look hardened and become a strange replacement for conventional masks and armor.
Candy and sweets are often associated with joy, but looking at Ostrer’s work its hard to feel that way. They aren’t delightful, but are visceral. Frosting is slathered on haphazardly with licorice used to create outlines. Sometimes, the lines are droopy and it appears that the entire piece is melting. The result is a peculiar and unsettling group of photographs that speaks to the sickening amount of junk food we have available as well as a reinterpretation of the self portrait.
These photos are currently on display in his exhibition Wotsit All About at the Gazelli Art House in London through September 11th of this year.