During the 19th century, Kensington Avenue in North Philadelphia was a symbol of abundance and prosperity. It once was nationally recognized as one of the leaders in the textile industry. Today, Kensington Avenue is abundant in prostitution, drug lords, drug addicts, and poverty.
Photographer Jeffrey Stockbridge, intrigued by Kensington’s history and current situation, creates Kensington Blues, a collection of photographs that capture the essence of the infamous North Philly Avenue and its urban decay by focusing on its daily activity, its inhabitants, and its cluttered,dirty landscapes in decay.
Stockbridge deliberately chooses to work with a large format (mostly used in early photography), not only for its obvious perks in quality, but also, it seems, to juxtapose the histories of two very different times in Kensington Avenue. With a 4×5 camera, Stockbridge slows down the current hectic and toxic flow in Kensington in hopes of shining a light onto his subject’s day-to-day struggles and their surroundings- making us, the viewers, reconsider our quick judgments about them and what they do on a daily basis.
The photographer records new found observations though images, audio recordings and journal entries. (Via Ignant)
Barry Underwood’s images are documentations of full-scale installations that are built on-site in the landscape. Using illusion, imagination, and narrative, his photographs explore the potential of the ordinary. Approaching his photographs with a theatrical sensibility, much like a cinematographer or set designer would. By reading the landscape and altering the vista through lights and photographic effects, he transform everyday scenes into unique images. Light and color alter the perception of space, while defamiliarizing common objects. Space collapses, while the lights that he installs appear as intrusions and interventions. This combination renders the forms in the landscape abstract. Inspired by cinema, land art, and contemporary painting, the resulting photographs are both surreal and familiar. They suggest a larger narrative, and yet that narrative remains elusive and mystifying.
Taking every day industrial objects as his starting point artist Steven Montgomery turns nuts and bolts into huge sculptural forms. Not only are they built on a scale much larger than their original size but instead of metal he uses ceramic to achieve highly detailed forms. By taking these objects and turning them into art Montgomery is able to record the evolution of society through the physical structures which hold it all together. His forms range from relief painting to monumental sculpture and impact the viewer with both bright and muted hues. His use of an unconventional material such as ceramic to complete his process allows for illusory aspects to filter in. These highlight nuances which might be lost using other materials. The glazed aspects of ceramic give it a beautiful surface which lend an aesthetic which would probably be lost if another was used. His infinitely accurate attention to detail almost make it hard to believe these are made from the porous material and despite the subject matter have the same precious beauty as porcelain Chinese drums and figures.
In the purest sense, art should record the present time in which we live, Montgomery follows this path focusing on the internal infrastructure of society to achieve this goal. His work gives credence to the inanimate objects which helped shaped our culture recording the times in which we currently live.
Myleen Hollero is a freelance photographer based in San Francisco. Her website boasts a collection of “photographs, mental notes and observations on timing, space, memory, people and some things in between.” Hollero’s photographs portray movement and, just as fluidly and richly, the sounds associated with the particular space; they put your senses to work! Kind of like the link between smell and memory.
Olaf Breuning commissioned a series of coffins to be created by Ghanaian casket makers. The design of eccentric coffins actually has a long history and tradition in Ghana, so to some this work is actually not that peculiar. Still, it’s not every day you see a coffin in the shape of a melting popsicle. More images of the coffins and the process of making them after the jump.
Something is not quite right with Nandan Ghiya‘s portraits. Indeed, several are titled Download Error. Ghiya’s antique portraits of upper class men and women from the past seem to be physical manifestations of garbled JPEG files. Each portrait is collaged and each frame carefully modified in a ways that resemble corrupted digital photographs. The now forgotten subjects of these portraits may have sought posterity through these images and the artist seems to communicate this in a familiar visual language of the digital. He uses life documented through JPEG’s, glitches, and error messages to reflect the modern plastic identity.
Tattoos, historically, have been on the bodies of sailors and prisoners. It’s only in relatively recent years that they’ve entered mainstream society and lost some of their negative social stigma. Arkady Bronnikov collected photographs of tattooed Russian prisoners between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s. The amount he obtained was massive – 918 images worth – thanks to his position in the government. As a senior expert in criminalistics at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs for over 30 years, part of Bronnikov’s duties involved visiting correctional institutions of the Ural and Siberia regions. He interviewed, gathered information, and photographed convicts and their tattoos, which gradually helped him build this comprehensive archive.
The images were later acquired by FUEL, a London-based design group, in 2013. Some of the photographs and official police papers authored by Bronnikov from the Soviet period will be published by FUEL in two volumes, the first of which was just released. Now, they are part of a current exhibition titled FUEL present: Russian Criminal Tattoo Police Filesat Grimaldi Gavin in London until November 22 of this year.
When these photos were taken, Bronnikov wasn’t concerned with composition or style. They were meant to act as a record and served a purely practical purpose. The gallery explains, “Their bodies display an unofficial history, told not just through tattoos, but also in scars and missing digits. Closer inspection only confirms our inability to comprehend the unimaginable lives of this previously unacknowledged caste.”