Katarzyna Majak‘s “Women of Power” photography series captures the faces and dress of earth-worshipping Polish women who are powerful among their particular spiritual sectors. The vast majority of Poland’s people (90%) are practicing Catholics. When Christianity was introduced to Poland a few centuries ago, it erased most traces of paganism, witchcraft, and shamanic traditions. The women Majak photographs – ranging in age from their 30’s to their 80’s – represent the very small minority of Polish women who practice alternative spirituality. For many of these women, this series depicts their first public display of power. They “practice a wide range of spiritual paths and spiritual systems. A few are traditional healers (so called ‘whisperers’ who mix religion with primeval superstitions to heal and remove spells using prayers) whose traditions survived on the Belarusian border. Some are women who had grandmothers who could ‘see’ or were herbal healers and who are working to revive what would otherwise be dead traditions.”
Another riveting documentary from my files. If any of you hope to have a genius artist baby in the future you’ll want to watch this doc.
My Kid Could Paint That is a 2007 documentary film by director Amir Bar-Lev (who also directed 2000’s Fighter). The movie follows the early artistic career of Marla Olmstead, a young girl from Binghamton, NY who gains fame first as a child prodigy painter of abstract art, and then becomes the subject of controversy concerning whether she truly completed the paintings herself or did so with her parents’ assistance and/or direction. The film was bought by Sony Pictures Classics in 2007 after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival. Marla’s father, an amateur painter, describes how Marla watches him paint, wants to help, and is given her own canvas and supplies.
The shapes of Rorschach tests are intentionally flawed and ambiguous — allowing us to draw conclusions about a person’s psyche based on what organic matter they claim to see growing in the inkblots. In her series, Mirrors, photographer Traci Griffin flips that concept. By applying symmetry to natural subjects, they are rendered unnatural and too perfect for this world.
Cinco is a multidisciplinary design studio in Argentina that combines film, photography and graphic design to create some amazing work. the above music video for Vertical Montanas is a perfect example of their lo-fi hi-fun approach.
In photographer Filippo Romano’s fascinating series titled Nomadic Sellers, he documents the roaming salespeople of Africa. The images are mostly focused in eastern Nairobi and specifically in the slum of Mathare, which has a population of 600,000 people within 3 square miles. Each portrait features the peddler and their wares against the washed-out backdrop of the city streets.
We see the men with shoes and bras tied around their necks and arms full of music and wooden utensils. Their earnings are meager, and the goods they sell make a tenth of what pesticide peddlers yield. Those salespeople have most lucrative product and stand to make between 1,000 to 2,000 shellini (10 to 20 euros) in profit.
Romano notes that selling on the streets and going door-to-door is one of the most common trades in the African world. A seller who travels with goods on their back has most likely created their job through the necessity to fend for themselves. They are entrepreneurs.
Nomadic Sellers points to the infectious nature of global consumerism, and how even the far parts of the world want to own a pair of Nikes. At its very core, the series is an intriguing look at the innate human desire to own stuff, no matter how necessary or frivolous it may seem. (Via Feature Shoot)
Jarmila Mitríková and Dávid Demjanovič are a fascinating artistic duo adding spice back into a traditional form of art-making. They hail from Slovakia and employ a technique called pyrography, which involves burning into plywood and shading the images with wood stains. This particular way of mark making was popular with people mostly during socialism in former Czechoslovakia. A style with is linked with folk art, domestic crafts and cultural traditions, the pair tap into their own history and national identity.
In their hybrid style you can see christian traditions, folklorism, pagan rituals, superstitions, myths, local legends with links to WWII and socialistic history, all with the backround of real slovak scenery. (Source)
Mitríková and Demjanovič play to their strengths of storytelling and creating very strong, personal images. We see very graphic scenes being played out – hunting rituals, exorcisms of some type, sacrificial set ups, and masked people involved in cult-like activities. With titles like Guardians of National Spirituality,Procession With Nazi, Cult of Goddess Morena, Dance Plague and Evacuation of Slovakian Elites, they focus on a time of secret societies and unknown mysterious behavior; they speak of a time when not everything was understandable, or explainable.
Typical for their practise is working with mystification and creating thematic series, where they focus their attention on one subject from our present or history….. when they work with real slovak subjects, using their style of storytelling, they create absurd, comic situations and new contextual reading. (Source)
This talented couple manage to recreate a sense of wonder, secrecy, ambiguity and riddles. They put a contemporary spin on an ancient art of wood burning and telling campfire-stories.