Network Osaka is a graphic designer. That’s pretty much all I know about him or her. I don’t think they’re from Japan. They’re either from California or Mexico. Past that, Network Osaka has done some really nice print work, often employing a straightforward modernist aesthetic without seeming too derivative of the old masters.
Maybe it’s the compromising poses or the petite models but Haley Jane Samuelson’s beautiful photos remind me of Black Swan for some reason. Not sure if they’ve been published yet but this series would make a great book or set of postcards.
In Robbie Rowlands latest body of work Interventions he looks at the nature of decay. During a residency in Detroit, Michigan he came across several abandoned houses which he ‘refurbished’ by ripping out certain sections and creating track-like extensions which seemed to break free and come alive. The idea behind this was to take a rundown or burnt out structure and bring it back to life, even if that only meant in a metaphorical sense. Rowlands’ narrative addresses invisible or inanimate objects such as walls or floors which only begin to get our attention when they start deteriorating or breaking down. Rowlands uses this as a jumping off point to examine ideas of form, rebirth and transformation. The majority of pieces look similar to wooden roller coaster tracks gone haywire breaking free of their static restraints and possessing a unique beauty. In others, especially those “ripped” from the floor inhabit insect qualities which might just be mistaken for an alien life form in the right light.
Various projects have taken the Melbourne native to different locations around the globe both in his native Australia and abroad. Rowlands’ older work has been featured on Beautful/Decay and can be viewed here.
In an incredible series of photographs titled Surreal Stormchasing Portraits, photographer Benjamin Von Wong visually connects the ferocity of a storm with the growing threat of climate change. To capture these images, Von Wong spent two weeks traveling across seven states, bringing along models and a collection of household objects. He staged people doing ordinary things, such as ironing cloths, lounging in a chair, and playing video games. In each scene, the models act as if they are oblivious to the storm behind them, even as the wind rips at their hair and clothing.
“We live in a rapidly changing world, and whether we admit it or not, our lifestyle is pretty unsustainable for the environment around us,” Von Wong states in the above video. He wanted to use his photography skills to comment on “it’s-not-happening” attitudes towards environmental disaster, and storms became the perfect symbol. He quickly learned of the challenges and dangers of storm photography, however; working alongside Kelly DeLay, the two photographers had to remain alert to developing storms, and when they arrived (all the while navigating dangerous roads), they had no more than 10-15 minutes to set up and tear down the scenes.
For Von Wong, these epic photos are justified by the responses they inspire. “The intent of the series is really just to get people to think—think about the world, think about what’s happening around us, be aware of it,” he says. “And if I can ignite that conversation regardless of the reaction on the series, then I think project will have been a success” (Source). Blending together powerful backdrops and images of ordinary life, Von Wong’s call to attention is clear, unsettling, and ultimately motivating.
This is a picture of a picture projected onto the scene that the picture was taken of. Duh. Needless to say, artist Christian Engelmann likes to mess with people. His art is often interactive and always maintains a sense of playfulness aimed at eliciting exaggerated double-takes. Engelmann tries to jolt people out of their every day state of being and remind us that the universe is full of surprises.
A young photographer named Mahdi Ehsaei has published a book of photographs depicting a little known minority in the Middle East. Afro-Iranians are a group of people descendent from slaves and traders who were brought over from Africa in the 8th century. These illicit transactions were conducted through slave markets in the region continuing through the 19th century. The demographic Ehsaei photographs is interesting because it represents a group mainly unknown in the Arab world.
In his new book Afro-IranEhsaei photographs beautiful children who in their smiles hold a link to their history but most likely are unfamiliar with how their ancestors initially arrived in the region they call home. Using youthful energy he creates a narrative focusing on the future set against a backdrop of the past since many are photographed close to the ocean which is how their ancestors first arrived. In others we see women dressed in traditional African garments, a sign mentioned in Ehsaei’s statement as a way to keep their African heritage alive. This is also true of the segment’s strong culture which is rich in music, dance, oral tradition and ritual.
Ehsaei is of German-Iranian descent and has completed photo essays on boxing, Iran and the nature of photography. He currently resides in Berlin.
Street art has undergone some interesting developments of late. While not entirely forsaking its aerosol heritage, street art has definitely become more adventuresome in terms of medium in the past few years. Artist MRtoll exemplifies this well. While MRtoll’s aesthetic may resemble that of a stencil or poster artist, his medium is a bit more peculiar: clay. MRtoll works the clay into various images or texts then installs them on walls throughout Brooklyn. He often uses his clay in a nearly painterly manner creating impressive two dimensional work. Other times, his work is text based, seemingly a text or a tweet, playful much like its medium.