Some people have an innate understanding of nature, and our place in it. Very few have the dedication to capture the most foreboding environments, even though these landscapes often offer the most complete portrait of the diversity and beauty of our planet. Niccoló Bonfadini is one of those few. The photographer (and environmental engineering student) captured these sensational landscape photographs while travelling through the Finnish lapland in the dead of the winter season.
With snow piled high and enveloping even the tallest trees, the Monza, Italy-based photographer offers a panoramic view of the very nature of winter. Taken at sunrise in temperatures reportedly ranging from -40°C to -15°C, Bonfadini’s photos show the plains and trees transformed into a world of towering clouds and endless white, carved with ice and snow. And with the snow covering everything (and all visual stimuli removed), the power of the season, and Life’s ability to persist through even the most brutal of environments, is shown.
Says the photographer and ardent traveller, “From the rugged mountain peaks to the fury of the ocean, from the snowy winter panoramas to the dense forests, the landscape never fails to impress and inspire those who observe it. Landscape photography is one of the most difficult kinds of photography. The artist has to be patient and determined to trasform what is ordinary in something extraordinary. But, above all, the photographer has to feel the beauty and the majesty of Nature.” (via mymodernmet)
Louis Fortier’s works are that kind of fascinating that is all at once grotesque, perhaps even borderline repulsive, and so incredibly bizarre that you can’t look away. Devoted to the head, Fortier has spent the past decade exploring the subject. Using numerous wax or plaster heads, made using his own as a model, Fortier manipulates, deforms, collapses and reconfigures the head’s natural shape. The repetition of the body part reveals a deep fixation with the human face, identity and individuality. Probing into an analysis of genetic manipulation and cloning Fortier’s heads speak to the idea of multiple selves, or the personalities/ lives we might have had.
This idea of numerous variations on a single motif also raises questions about the idea of chance and unpredictability. Removing the casts from their mould before they are solidified, Fortier then allows metamorphoses to occur. Fortier seems to be wondering about the idea of nature versus nurture and where the artist’s hand fits into the equation. Partially directing the manipulation and partially leaving the results to chance, each of Fortier’s heads becomes a different variation of himself. In making these atypical self-portraits, Fortier analyzes the artist’s ability to destroy and create his identity.
The human figure is at the forefront of the research and production of the young Korean artist Dongwook Lee. His remodelling of the body is an obsession that had led him over the last few years to breathe life into a new human species, an army of figures characterised by two leitmotifs: Dongwook’s man is always to be found naked and in miniature. On one hand, working on a microscopic level links him up to a long tradition of interest in the skilful rendering of minute details in a small-scale reality; on the other, it reflects a desire to cover up, camouflage or conceal these “figurines” in the backwaters of the most banal normality to which they might instinctively belong. One pokes his head out from the shell of a snail; another cries out desperately from behind a dry twig like a malignant wood spirit; yet another is to be found squashed inside a syringe, as if ready to be injected to another body along with all his dramatic charge. Their nudity seems to reflect the will to do away with the mystification of the human body, to show it without frills, without any indication of social status. It is here that Dongwook would appear to denote a break with the cultural traditions of his origins.
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Photojournalist Brett Gundlock delves deep into the everyday lives of Canadian Neo-Nazis in his emotionally conflicting series The Movement. The imagery presented is shockingly conflicting as we are shown moments of intimacy between the group’s members, and are also haunted by the many symbols embodying Nazi racism and violence. Isolating themselves from conventional society, the Neo-Nazi’s underground world is shown through photographs full of bloody walls, Canadian Red Ensign flags, and Swastikas.
Gundlock provides private, personal situations of a dark and troubling minority in a somewhat unlikely place; Canada. Interested in marginalized groups of society, Gundlock explains that his relationship with this series is complicated due to the obviously upsetting Neo-Nazi ideology focusing on White Supremacy. Gundlock describes his experience with this underground culture:
“The symbol of white skin is penetrated and marked with the black inks of Nazi symbols. Crime becomes the bullet point to their alternative résumés. Their existence requires a distinction between themselves and mainstream Canadians, people they understand and reinscribe as “the enemy.” A self-fashioned minority who believes they should be the majority, the Neo-Nazi enclave animates the tensions of a culturally diverse Canada.”
Gundlock’s sociological approach to his documentary style photography creates an informative and engaging dialogue in The Movement. Gundlock asks a very important question in his statement on this series, why do some Canadians become Neo-Nazi Skinheads? Perhaps it is the human need for community and belonging that drives some people to join such a hate-filled group. Often, people join these groups for a sense of entitlement, importance, or a sense of belonging. Gundlock’s photographs point a keen eye on a controversial part of society that many do not wish to face.
You can view Brett Gundlock’s newest series by checking out his Instagram.
Martin Feijoo’s drawings are inspired by what he imagines the clouds in the sky to look like. His blog offers an image of his own artwork alone, as well as a comparison between the original photograph of the clouds. It’s fun, if you can manage not to peak, to look at the clouds first and see what you see before looking at Faijoo’s images. His style is illustrative and bold, which helps to see his images quite clearly in the clouds on their own. He might pursue more play between the cloud and his image as he continues with this series, to blur the lines more between reality and his imagination.
Feijoo speaks about his inspiration to start the series on his website:
When I was a child I was told that clouds’ shapes were created by expert balloon twister clowns who live in the sky, so that they can keep entertaining children. On my last trip to Mexico I remembered this and I started to photograph clouds on the road. The result is Shaping Clouds, a series of illustrations where I drew the first thing that came into my mind when I saw these clouds that I imagine someone made for me.
Paris-based Lebanese Illustrator and artist Lamia Ziadé has a “Pop Art” style identified by bright patterns and childishly feminine materials. She is a fan of playing with the historically and socially inappropriate- depicting women flaunting their sexuality, engaging the viewer’s curiosity in the subject’s (often deadpan) gaze. Her work seems to also be concerned with war: she participated in an exhibition titled “Hotel’s War”, addressing the 1970s when different militias involved in the war took over several luxurious hotels in Beirut and forcefully transformed them into their own territory.
London-based artist Oddly Headdepicts classic films in his series titled Hollywoodland, but it’s all with a dark(er) twist. Using iconic scenes and images from the likes of Poltergeist, Jaws, and The Wizard of Oz, he interjects different narratives. The drowned Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes is still but in Oddly Head’s telling it overlooks happy beach-goers. Likewise, celebrity Simon Cowell’s face appears on the Poltergeist TV rather than its original eerie glow.
By stripping the shocking/memorable parts of the original scenes, Oddly Head takes some luster away from Hollywood. Instead, he’s made them seem trivial, silly, and completely changes the tone. Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music suffers a distressingly-painful fate and is hitched to crosses. This much more sinister than its mostly-cheerful tone. Singing in the Rain also has the same treatment. As Gene Kelly belts out his the lyrics, a homeless man sleeps next to a graffitied door. Hollywoodland is part absurd and part amusing, and will definitely make you look at these films in a different light.
If you enjoy Oddly Head’s work, check out his intricate prints made from thousands of tiny vintage images.