For monograph Ad Infinitum, the photographer Kris Vervaeke captured small human likenesses etched in porcelain and affixed to hundreds of tombstones in Hong Kong. The dreamy book is potent for its simplicity; every page turn finds a blank white page fixed beside the a weathered portrait of an anonymous soul. Each capture magically veers from the photographic, entering a realm of abstraction evocative of fading memory. With every page, comes that same blankness, which functions to blur the portraits further, reminding the viewer that someday our own human faces will be washed away entirely.
The series works poignantly to make the reader forget—if only for an instant— that it is not composed of ordinary photographs of living, breathing people. Although the tombstones have been worn (in some cases more than others), the artist’s precise and intimate frame invites us to search for markers of human character; if we lose the eyes, we find glasses, and even amongst the faceless we discover hats. With each progressive photograph, the viewer clings to these signifiers of humanity, only to find him or herself frantically making meaning from the most impersonal cracked stone or chipped paint.
Ultimately, though, the images are not portraits but photographs of portraits, poignantly denying us any clear picture of who, when, or what these people were. A person dies. A body deteriorates. A portrait is chosen for a tombstone. A tombstone deteriorates. Someone takes a picture. With every progressive step, individual life fades bitterly into a mysterious realm just beyond our reach, Ad Infinitum. (via Lensculture and The Independent Photo Book)
Living and working in Budapest, Alexander Tinei originally hails from Caushani, Moldova, and his work seems to reflect the historical and current climate of these two places– a certain transition into post communism mainstream. That said, however, I would avoid labeling his work as something political. It feels more personal or social, examining identity as it relates or responds to its fluid environment. The darkness in each image is a certain type of natural blooming that slowly corrodes. Emphasis is not on reckless destruction alone, but the cultivation and freedom to pursue it.
Today is your lucky day. I just happened to stop by the office of one of our book distributors today and he handed me a box containing these 8 SOLD OUT B/D Books. have four copies of Beautiful/Decay Book: 1 with HAND DRAWN covers, and four copies of Beautiful/Decay Book: 6. I was going to keep these for myself but since I’ve gotten so many emails about these I thought I’d make them available to you. Book: 1 is extremely rare and you’d be hard pressed to find it even on eBay.The first 8 people to email us at [email protected] can get these rare books at the usual $20 plus shipping. The faster you email me the more likely you’ll be to get your hands on these so if you are missing that coveted Book:1 or Book: 6 to complete your Beautiful/Decay collection email us now!
Polish fashion photographer, Sylwia Makris, creates photographs that juxtapose an academic portrait aesthetic with a steampunk sensibility. Sylwia’s work resembles dark and dreamlike worlds where bodily expressions, makeup, clothes and the environment itself come together to tell a unique story full of charm and mystery.
Makris’ recent body of work, a series of portraits that resemble the dark and the beautiful, serve as an artful glimpse on our current fashion aesthetic condition- in Makris’ terms, of course. It primarily features pale-white women and men encapsulated in a black background in steampunk formalwear; many are tattooed or pierced, if not wearing dark makeup. The models wear extravagant headpieces that pile up on top of their head like the headdress of wild mythical creatures. She photographs people that are strong or delicate, broken or dynamic. She photographs the faces of our time-and in doing so, she gives a face to our time in her own terms.
The dramatic lighting and over-the-top costumes are not what we deem real, however. Perhaps, what is real, in this case, is Makris’ faith in the strength of an expressive and strong appearance and personality; a belief that through her gothic, steampunk characters, she illustrates very clearly. The intensity and confidence that exudes from her subjects is not to be missed and certainly not to be disbelieved.
So the other day I met this super cool french girl who turned me on to Jean-Philippe Delhomme. Mixing equal parts flattery and satire, his unique vision of the contemporary social scene is bitting and beautiful all at once. Turns out Delhomme worked as an illustrator at Glamour for years creating his signature brand of ‘fictional portraits,’ depicting the outlandish attitudes and behavior of high society. He also runs an awesome blog called The Unknown Hipster, and with a name like that, how could you not fall in love?
Andrew Firth is an Australian artist who turns skulls into creepy, lush landscapes. His work started in 2013, when he decided to channel his ingenuity and spare time into something creative. Each “Bonsai Skull” is artificial, made of PVC plastic cast off of a real human skull. Firth than adorns the dead visages with verdant grass, miniature trees, and graveyards. In one piece, named the “Spring Bonsai Mountain Skull,” a waterfall appears to pour like tears from an empty eye socket. No skull is identical.
Firth’s works are like dark “Treasure Islands,” deriving from his imagination and experience as a boat builder. He creates under the title “Jack of the Dust,” which refers to an obsolete US Navy job designation from the 1800s; this person was the ship’s steward, who worked with the dusty ingredients of flour and biscuits. In Firth’s adaptation, Jack is the name of the skull, and “dust” refers to the matter of death. By upholstering “Jack” in foliage, Firth’s works convey the relationship between rot and rebirth.
From setting hipster traps to designing tourist lanes on sidewalks, Jeff Greenspan’s work consistently employs a certain playful cleverness that questions our social norms in relation to spaces, New York City in particular. The Statue Experiment (pictured above) is no exception. Examining our own reality as far as engaging with art and its contextual expectations is concerned, Greenspan adds a little bowl of change in front of Frank Benson’s statue for a whole new effect. In fact, it just might be the best street performance art performed by an actual object . . . or maybe it’s the audience members who are the real performers? Click on the video after the jump to see what we mean.