Choreographer, Willi Dorner, brought together a group of artists in New York to participate in his performance piece, Bodies in Urban Space. The artists go around to different parts of Manhattan to confine themselves together into architecturally specific shapes, conveying the idea of the restrictions we face physically, emotionally, and spiritually living in such a structure dominant space.
In December 2006, American photographer Tim Mantoani embarked on a unique and fascinating project to document living photographers with their most iconic images. Since then, he has collected over 150 portraits, ranging from the historic to the contemporary, the cultural to the political. Included among the vast series is Harry Benson and his famous photograph of The Beatles engaged in a pillow fight (1964), as well as Lyle Owerko holding his devastating image of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers (2001). All of Mantoani’s portraits are taken on the “rare but mammoth format of a 20×24 Polaroid,” using a large camera originating from the 1970s (Source). Only a handful of these Polaroid cameras still exist (you can learn more about the devices he uses here). Mantoani’s reasoning for using such unique, classic technology is rooted in a respect and passion for the photographic tradition; as he explains, “If you are going to call the greatest living photographers and ask to make a photo of them and you are shooting 35mm digital, they may not take your call. But if you say you are shooting 20×24 Polaroid, they will at least listen to your pitch” (Source). As further homage to these artists, as well as their impact on the history of photography, Mantoani has had everyone write a story about their iconic image on the bottom of their portrait.
Mantoani’s project is simultaneously intimate and historically significant. It is an undeniably powerful experience to see the faces behind photographs which have defined cultural eras and signified shifts in social consciousness. So often, despite the impact of their work, photographers remain the unseen observers while framing the world in profound ways. We don’t often have the opportunity to connect with the mind and personality behind the lens. Mantoani’s work crystallizes these important artists in the records of photographic history. Suddenly, with the Polaroid and its accompanying, hand-written inscription, we can imagine Steve McCurry in 1984 in the midst of the Soviet War in Afghanistan, capturing the face of Sharbat Gula (“Afghan Girl”), who would wordlessly tell the world an intimate story of hardship and perseverance. In regards to an iconic moment in the history of American music, Jim Marshall’s portrait shows us the face to which — for an intense, fleeting moment — Johnny Cash held aloft his middle finger. These portraits bring the bodily, human presences back into the images and their associated histories.
In 2012, all of these stunning portraits were compiled in the book Behind Photographs, published by Channel Photographics. The book is available in multiple formats, including a regular edition, a slipcase limited edition, as well as a cloth-bound deluxe limited edition that comes with signed collector cards. It is also available as an eBook. The print versions are available for purchase on Mantoani’s website. More photographer portraits after the jump. (Via 123 Inspiration)
Stephanie Davidson’s works are, for lack of a better word, super bratty. Like she totally knows it, too. It’s loaded with post-modern irony lost in the throes of youthful know-it-allness. (My Swedish friend calls them: Besser-Vissers. Better knowers? I always liked this invented word.) It’s kinda like wearing a scrunchie and reading the Babysitter’s Club while blasting Boyz II Men just for the kicks of a patronizingly late 90’s obtuse reference, regardless of how little I actually like it. Or, like staring into a gradient-laden orb slowly rotating a white wizzard in the middle of space. (PS thanks to Jason Redwood for the link.)
The series Genetic Portraits almost works as a casual study. Quebec based photographer Ulric Collette seamlessly blends the faces of two relatives to create one portrait that is hard to look away from. The resulting photographs highlight the differences an emphasize the similarities between siblings, children, parents, and cousins. It is nearly as if the images are a visualization of the genetic traits traveling between generations. Genetic Portraits is also an absorbing record of time’s effect on physical appearance. Eye s, for example, appear to be near exact copies between father and son, separated only by the wear of thirty years.
Initially inspired by an accidental discovery of Marilyn Monroe’s image embedded within the frames of Shinobi—a classic SEGA console game from 1987 Japan—Atlanta-based artist Ashley Anderson‘s multi-media exploration of the icon’s 8-bit image skims across the realm of painting, drawing, collage and animated gifs. The glitchy, pixelled-out nature of the images is indicative of Anderson’s 8-bit aesthetic, but this new body of work somehow begins to morph, to twist, and to move into something more obscure. Loaded with fragments of late 1980’s digital culture, some pieces only offer the faintest recollection of the image, requiring a bit more visual extraction to pull out the digitally reduced visage of Warhol’s Marilyn. As a whole, the investigation is an intriguing peek into the nature of digital reproduction and image appropriation.
The village of Nagoro is remote location hidden in the valley of Shikoku, Japan. Its small town charm remains enchanting, but its lack of work possibilities has driven its residents to leave for big cities in search for a better life. Nagoro is slowly shrinking.
“When I was a child there was a dam here, there was a company, and hundreds of people used to live here.”
In hopes that she could bring back life to her now desolated hometown of Nagoro, Japanese artist Ayano Tsukimi comes up an unexpected solution.
Tsukimi has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.
“I don’t like making weird dolls, but people who blend into the scenery.”
In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, director Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi’s doll-filled world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. (via The Verge)
For her series AMMO, Sabine Pearlman documented a collection of World War II era ammo with some 900 images. The bullets are bisected to reveal its inner workings, like some kind of munitions autopsy. The simple compositions burn off the vaguely violent shroud that envelops the images of bullets and their symbolism. Instead, Pearlman presents the purely technical mechanisms of war, a reification of weaponary. The photographs reveal the surprising amount of innovation and craft dedicated to causing physical harm. [via]