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The Shrunken Cities of Ben Thomas’ Photography

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Ben Thomas photography

These are not photos of miniatures or models.  Rather these are images from photographer Ben ThomasCityshrinker series and are actual cities around the world.  Thomas uses what is called a ’tilt-shift technique’.  Among other things, the technique basically corrects the distortion caused by perspective.  This correction often has the appearance of miniaturizing the camera’s subject.  Thomas’ images present the world as if it were a toy.  Some of the world’s largest cities seem to shrink into playful places.  The images turn a lighthearted eye onto some of our favorite places. [via]

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Beautiful/Decay Presents…5 Reasons to Subscribe

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“Why should I subscribe to Beautiful/Decay,” one may find themselves wondering, “when I can pay over 33% more to purchase it on newsstands? And besides, running the risk of Beautiful/Decay selling out before I get a hold of my hand-numbered, limited edition copy is so exhilarating, it’s practically legalized gambling!”

In addition to the popularly publicized reasons of saving money and never missing a copy, Beautiful/Decay has actually closely guarded, for centuries now, a highly secret set of reasons to subscribe. Until today, that is. In collaboration with artist  C.W. Moss, Beautiful/Decay is proud to present a hand-painted watercolor series, illustrating 5 new reasons to subscribe.  Stay tuned every this week for 4 more great reasons to subscribe!

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Miracle Paintings: Wild Child Dan Colen Gets (Kind Of) Sober

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Dan Colen has been dubbed in the past one of Warhol’s Children, a famous or notorious – depending on which critic you’re asking – New York post-pop prince. His earlier work was made of gum and simulation bird droppings, and although his artwork received heavy criticism for imitating or ridiculing artists and the high-art community, he continued to be successful and his career flourished. It seems there’s always a place for the unaffected artist-rock-star character type.

Recently, Colen has taken a more subdued approach to his practice. In light of the death of his good friend and artist contemporary Dash Snow, who died of an overdose in 2009, Colen has tried to curb his own lifestyle choices. This slow down is reflected in his artwork, namely his current exhibition at Gagosian: Miracle Paintings. Perhaps in the context of another artist, paintings of star streams and neon explosions would be a bold subject, but in comparison to his whoopee cushion installation Blowin in the wind, the medium is much more conventional and less provoking.

The feeling in the paintings is of excitement and solemnity. They’re easier to digest but still pack a visual punch. There’s life, death, and tranquility. It’s probably a pivotal moment in Colen’s career. Will he be able to remain successful without the contrarian stunts he is known for? It should also be considered that these paintings are much more pleasant to consume: Is he riding the comfort of his position in the New York art community, or pushing new personal boundaries? Personally I enjoy this series, but could also see how some of his fans might be disappointed in the relatively understated nature of the works.

Miracle Paintings is on at Gagosian until October 18th.

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Amit Shimoni Reimagines World Leaders As Hipsters

Amit Shimoni Illustration

Amit Shimoni Illustration

Amit Shimoni Illustration

Amit Shimoni

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite world leaders would look like as hipster, ponder no more. Illustrator Amit Shimoni reimagines presidents, prime ministers and radicals into modern day trendsetters in Hipstory. With an overall, uncanny resemblance to Mad Magazine’s Alfred E Neuman, Shimoni’s portraits of dignitaries such as John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, and Ghandi give new meaning to nose-rings and Ray Bans. His lighthearted link to the past, just another reminder of our voracious appetite for turning the old, cool again. Even in jest, his subject’s hairstyles remain constant. Who knew JFK’s windswept wave would be in style 50 years later, or that Ghandi’s baldness would be a current fashion statement for both male and female? A few inside jokes include Kennedy rockin’ a Marilyn tee and a tropical patterned baseball jacket on Nelson Mandela.

It’s lighthearted and fun to imagine these historical figures in youth of today clothing and accessories, but deeper meanings prevail. It’s no secret that fashion has the power of showing what side of the fence you’re on. A visual signifier that immediately lets the world know who you’re with. In Ghandi’s portrait, the passive resistance peacemaker is painted in Grateful Dead rainbow t-shirt. If he were alive today, he would most definitely be pro-vegan protesting police brutality. Margaret Thatcher, on the other hand, looking rebellious in riot grrrl gear, could be fronting a punk rock band singing political injustice. The only sour apple of the bunch is Honest Abe. Appearing uncomfortable and moody in rockabilly jacket and gold chain, his apparent awkwardness might mean this trend can only be recycled back so far. The portraits are available for sale on the artist’s site in various incarnations including prints, t-shirts, cell phone skins and more.  (via Fubiz)

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Amazing Photographs Capture The Strange Eyes And Hair Of Insects

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The lens of the Indonesian photographer Donald Jusa has miraculously allowed us to see into the eyes of tiny, wholly bizarre creatures; with his macro camera, the artist is able to capture the most minute details of the insect body. At times, the faces of these beings seem entirely foreign; as viewers, we search for marks of human feeling and features, but the multiple eyes and strange limbs transfix and confound our perceptive powers.

Unlike some macro photography cataloging the lives of insects, Jusa does not capture the  surrounding environment or even the entire body. Instead, his photographs read like strange portraits; against a colored backdrop, the miniature creatures seem absurdly to sit for the artist, proudly displaying their features. Fixed perfectly within the boundaries of the frame, Jusa’s non-human subjects are magically motionless, as if frozen between periods of buzzing and flight. At such close range, the viewer experiences the texture of insect flesh and bone; our eyes scan coarse, moistened hairs.

Jusa’s insects, magnified many times over and seen in such fine detail, tone, and resolution, resemble strange beasts, unrecognizable as the tiny creatures that they most certainly are. As we peer at them and their multiple eyes stare back, we might feel affrighted or startled by their clarity, the very fact of their largeness. It is unnerving to imagine our own faces reflected a thousand times over in these complex, repeating ocular lenses, and yet magically, we can interpret the tiniest hint of recognition within the insect eyes. Take a look. (via Demilked)

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Taryn Simon

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At this summer’s TED Conference, photographer Taryn Simon gave this excellent talk (which is having embed problems) about her work. TED’s description: Taryn Simon exhibits her startling take on photography — to reveal worlds and people we would never see otherwise. She shares two projects: one documents otherworldly locations typically kept secret from the public, the other involves haunting portraits of men convicted for crimes they did not commit. I’m not sure which is more impressive – the photos themselves or Simon’s gall in asking to document some of these subjects. Some of these photos are after the jump, many more are included in her lecture.

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Ralph Lagoi & Kate Lace



Artists Ralph Lagoi & Kate Lace’s
recent series entitled “Love Land Invaders,” is a portfolio of fashion, art, and “luxurious pop” set in some of Japan’s extraordinary love hotels. I feel like I am peeping in on some superhero’s intimate moment!

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Arne Svenson’s Photographs Of Death Portraits Created From The Bones Of The Dead

Arne Svenson - Photography

Arne Svenson - Photography Arne Svenson - Photography

These sculptures are made from the bones of dead people. The photographic portraits of these sculptures are made by Arne Svenson. What results is Unspeaking Likeness, a strangely captivating series of death portraits, collected here.

For four years, Svenson sojourned from coroner’s offices to law enforcement agencies allover the country, snapping photographs of facial reconstruction sculptures which were built by forensic artists and molded from unidentifiable victims’ skeletal remains, with the intention of resolving crimes.

The narrative hidden behind each “face” is a mystery, and, as viewers, our own hearts tense with sadness when considering each subject’s lurid last moments of life. It’s almost too much; so, we reject the idea of reconstruction in relation to rejuvenation. It feels psychological, how we need to detach. The “face” in the context of Svenson’s portraits are not representative of an emotional life nor physical body; instead, it’s a mask or doll with a troubling echo, seemingly touched by the hands of Frankenstein.

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