In his latest series, “I Have Something To Tell You”, Adrain Chesser uses his own illness, AIDS, in order to catalogue the pure, raw emotional reactions of his friends and family as they are told the terrible news . The Florida-born photographer, snapped portraits of his loved ones moments after he shared this life-changing information.
“When I thought about having to disclose my illness to my friends I would panic, which didn’t make sense, because I have an amazing group of friends who are all very loving and supportive”
Filled with a series of genuine reactions ranging from shock to panic to sadness, Chesser’s loved ones do not hold back. The beauty of this project relies on these subjects’ faces- most which reveal intense, unfiltered emotion. Chesser had long used photography as a method of interpreting and understanding his own emotional life– a “spiritual practice”, he calls it in a interview with Huffpost. The images, past and present, served him as tangible memories that later aide him to further understand past mistakes, or hidden victories. In this case, Chesser uses the camera as a mediator-a placeholder between two entities that feel broken, yet bonded by a painful experience.
Chesser believes that the diverse reactions of the 46 different people he photographed (without their prior knowledge of the project) reflect each individual’s personal experience with death and illness. He remembers everything from tears, to laughter, stoicism and confusion after confessing his diagnosis. (via HuffPost Arts)
Portland painter Alexandra Becker-Black is talented beyond her years. Her paintings, soft-spoken and carrying the nearly absent weight of a shadow, illuminate the body in its pure and natural state. Becker-Black has a sophisticated approach in utilizing negative space to its full potential, creating an atmosphere that the body seems to emerge out of, in an ethereal, ghostly way; as if called forth. Perhaps due to her strong yoga practice, Becker-Black incorporates many yoga poses into her work, featuring women twisting their bodies elegantly in pose. A revolving theme of flight and birds is woven into most of her imagery; birds soaring overhead or perched on top of the figures. An allusion to freedom and flight; or pushing ones self to points of self actualization. Taken from Becker-Black’s website, this analysis by Shu-Ju Wang is an excellent summary of her work:
“Once recorded, she works with the still images but continues to purge from the already naked form, choosing only what she needs and adding only what is absolutely necessary. You see muscles tense and strain against gravity; you see figures in serene repose; you see energy suddenly released when a small flock of birds fly out of a woman’s opened hands. All of this is conjured up in front of your eyes even as a torso fades to gray or a leg disappears, creating work that is ethereal and luminously beautiful, haunting, evocative and complex.”
The way the tones and color melts away brings peace to the otherwise strained poses and moods that the figures themselves are experiencing. The implied motion is a driving force for the notion of change and evolution. Always moving forward, the beauty on the canvas in direct correlation to the act of living, breathing, being.
Since the weather in LA has been unusually cold and crappy the last couple of days I thought i’d bring some sunshine and warmth in by posting this music video for Sleepy Sun called “Golden Artifact.” It’s a trippy, sun drenched, psychedelic voyage through peacock feathers and butterfly covered islands.
Camgirlsproject was created by former fashion student Vanessa Omoregie who began the ongoing series about a year ago. The project seeks to investigate the female image within the context of the internet by presenting images of classic paintings that feature webcam selfies in the place of the painted nude female form. All images are user-submitted and present the viewer with a reappropriation or reclamation of female nudity as something to be celebrated and not shamed for.
The term – camgirl – originally applied to anyone who recorded themselves via webcam doing anything, not just sexual acts, but has been more currently associated most strongly with sexual behavior. Omoregie says, “The name has connotations of its own.The project hopefully makes people rethink what they know about the term and how they view girls who choose to be in front of a camera -sexual or not.”
Something you may notice about the submissions is that these modern-day nudes overwhelmingly represent lean, white, hairless bodies, almost a complete reflection of the bodies in the classic paintings. As a black woman, Omoregie is disappointed that more women of color and varying body types have not submitted to the project, although she has herself participated and tries to encourage more women to submit. Her hope was that women who are not typically represented by the media would feel more comfortable presenting their bodies in this sort of space, but so far, submissions of more variance have been few and far between.
While not currently taking submissions, Omoregie will be inviting followers to contribute to future projects of hers through this project’s site. She has also suggested that people follow her personal blog in order to keep up with forthcoming projects. (via telegraph and animal)
Who Killed Biggie Smalls?, mixed media on masonite, 2003
Pennsylvania-based illustrator Jim Horwat has an affinity for pop culture. His works frequently reference popular narratives, like the mystery of Notorious BIG’s death, and the plots of various movies, especially well known horror flicks. His strongest pieces are the ones that try to explain as much of the story as possible in one big frame, creating a pastiche of images not unlike some of Will Eisner‘s sequential artworks.
Mymo of My Monsters is an artist currently working in Berlin and New York.
From her about page: “Mymo’s works are conceived using methods of free association similar to Surrealistic procedures; that is to say, the figures have the closest possible relationship to their surroundings.”
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Mrs. Sinou: “I refuse to do it to my children. This will stay on my face only.”
Mr. Boudo: “It is not easy to hit on girls with that. Especially, the Ivorians. I think it is not very attractive.”
Mr. Konabé: “Our parents did this not to get lost in life. When you went somewhere, you could not get lost.”
In the large Ivory Coast city of Abidjan it was once common to see Hââbré, the ancient custom of scarification. Today only the older people wear scarifications and when Joana Choumali decided to photograph them for her series “Haabre, The Last Generation 2013-2014” she had a hard time finding people to pose for her.
“Scarification is the practice of performing a superficial incision in the human skin. This practice is disappearing due to the pressure of religious and state authorities, urban practices and the introduction of clothing in tribes.”
Choumali photographed the participants against a neutral backdrop in the attempt to remove any stigma or judgment from the images. On her website she pairs two images for each portrait—one from behind and one from the front or side, showing the scars. This is an interesting choice which seems to reinforce the idea that the scarification serves as an identity card of sorts. Where people are interchangeable from the back, they are marked and classified and unmistakable from the front. The images are also accompanied by quotes.
“Opinions (sometimes conflicting) of our witnesses illustrate the complexity of African identity today in a contemporary Africa torn between its past and its future. This “last generation” of people bearing the imprint of the past on their faces, went from being the norm and having a high social value to being somewhat ‘excluded.’”
It’s intriguing to note that while Hââbré is becoming extinct in Africa, it is gaining popularity as “body modification” in other areas of the world. According to National Geographic “over the last seven or eight years scarification has become remarkably widespread in the U.S. and Australia and across Europe, from London to Prague.” Is it cultural appropriation or appreciation? Will these scars start as emblems of individuality and end up, as in Africa, visual reminders of regret? (via feature shoot)