While teaching at the Ansel Adams Workshops in Yosemite National Park in the 1970s Roger Minick began photographing sightseers. Interested in this American activity Minick wanted to capture the “cacophony of clicking shutters” and waves of tourists seeking photographic proof that they had made it to a famous vista.
Minick’s photographs portray unique narratives of what is mainly America’s middle-class. Poignant and humorous all at once, the images show varied individuals with intriguing and sometimes seemingly strange stories. What is interesting is that, so far as a viewer can tell, all the subjects have only one thing in common: their desire to be in famous places in nature. Sometimes stereotyped Minick’s images successfully portray the American tourist as being wholly distinct.
Moreover, set against iconic backdrops the images become more than just portraits. They demonstrate a juxtaposition of nature and culture. As David Pagel wrote in the LA Times in 1997, “these supple works use the discomfort most people feel when confronted by nature’s inhuman scale as a metaphor for the precariousness of culture in a democratic society. Awkward and uncertain, sometimes fun and at other times frightening, this quiet anxiety is a big part of these pictures’ power.”
Last week, we featured remarkable photographs of snails by Vyacheslav Mischenko; the Indonesian-based photographer Nordin Seruyan takes similar yet wonderfully unique shots of the astonishing insect life flourishing in Southeast Asia. The magical images feature absurd little creatures that seem to spring from a budding daydream, and amongst brilliant pinks and purples, their spidery eyes and buoyant, spindly legs take center stage.
In their unknowingness, the beautiful creatures are movingly personified; Seruyan often positions his subjects slightly off of center, as if to amusingly suggest that they are simply dropping in for a portrait session. Beady eyes gape open expressively; antennae twitch thoughtfully, and wings brush against one another. Arachnids, normally pictured as frightful, carnivorous creatures, appear quaint (twee, even!) amidst soft, inviting petals that seem to blush bashfully with color.
The high resolution and vivid saturation of Seruyan’s photographs document even the smallest detail of the insect body: the space between a doubled set of wings, the articulation of twiggy limps, the coarsest fuzz that envelops the body. Within this magical miniature world, viewers are invited to imagine narratives for the creatures. Small as the smallest water droplet, a beetle bows his tiny head for a drink, balancing himself atop a weighted blade of grass. Moths mate amongst flower petals fit for the finest honeymoon bedchamber.
These tiny beings and their delightful goings-on serve to remind us of the wonderfully diverse, colorful, and textured planet we inhabit, and the artist entreats us that we might “discover the beauty of the little world.” Take a look. (via Design Taxi)
Berlin based architect Diébédo Francis Kéré grew up in the west African nation of Burkina Faso. Kéré is the founder of Schulbausteine für Gando, a non-profit organization that provides aid in education, health and infrastructure for Gando, his home village in Burkina Faso. He uses his architecture firm, Kere Architecture, as an agent in his quest to strengthen Gando. Kere Architecture has built office buildings, schools, libraries, and opera houses in Burkina Faso in addition to its many completed projects around the world. Check out this public library in Gando: clay pots, provided by members of the village, are embedded in the library’s ceiling to provide “natural illumination and ventilation”. (via)
The performance group TRIIIBE (identical triplets) hit Wall Street with a guerrilla performance just as Wall Street banks prepare to pay year-end bonuses to top management at the same time asking for government bailouts, The three were dressed as businesswomen carrying briefcases overfilled with money while panhandling the public with tin cups. TRIIIBE set up in front of the New York Stock Exchange and the American International Building, home of the insurance giant AIG.
Richard Hughes is an artist living and working in London. Although there hasn’t been any recent work from him, one of my favorite pieces would have to be Loveseat, 2005. From 2003 to 2008, he has produced a variety of works that one way or another seem to address this methodical juxtaposition between urban decadence of objects and organic matter.
Speaking of “festering goodness/grossness”, check out these music videos directed by artist, pervy collage-ist, animator and I guess sort of a Japanese equivalent of Paper Rad, Sekitani Norihiro. They’ll be sure to accompany you into seizures induced by metal death, mashed sound bits and flailing bloody organs. Also be sure to get a good look at the artwork on Sekitani’s site (which is hosted on Geocities, RIP Geocities free hosting!).