Lying on a bed of lilacs, here are a dozen of women being themselves and embracing it. A statement a lot of women have trouble owning, according to Carey Fruth who has made the decision to show that there is only blond tall thin American standards in movies. By making these series, she speaks to women and gives them the powerful message of acceptance and freedom of their own bodies.
Inspired by one of the scenes in the movie American Beauty where a middle aged man is fantasizing about a teenage girl, she decides to take the power back from this perfect girl and to give it to women out there, that are as beautiful but not perceived as such by society. The models posing sensually are all volunteers, acquaintances to the photographer. They come from different backgrounds, ethnicities, have different body shapes, ages.The girls are not directed during the shoot, they are just told to be themselves. The result are these beautiful women revealing their femininity, authenticity and vulnerability.
Through her work, Cary Fruth wants to fight positive image by having women accepting their bodies: “by stepping into a fantasy dream girl world and by letting go of that fear, they free themselves up to direct that energy they once wasted on telling themselves that they weren’t good enough to elsewhere in their life”. She also wants to prove her peers that there is no failure when it comes to telling the truth in photography. Apparently most photographers are “scared that if they do something all inclusive and different from the current ideal of beauty that people will not come to their business”. The success of the ‘American beauty’ series is the living proof that good things come to those who believe. In every aspect, Cary Fruth’s concept and photographs are feeding us with positivity and hope.
Lina Scheynius is a Swedish model-turned-photographer who skillfully captures both the rawness and tenderness of intimate moments. Inspired by “the forest, books, sleep, music, trains, light, [and] maps,” her images are portraits of ephemeral beauty, peace, and quiet desire, distilling life into the haze of a nude, mid-afternoon dream (Source). Recalling moments of post-coital bliss, the models (often, Lina herself — see her Diary images) sit and lay on unmade beds as sunlight kisses their warmed flesh. The power of touch is explored, as hands grasp together or press into the sole of a foot. Elsewhere, in a flash of intensity that eclipses the whole world, eyes meet in a dark room. Lina’s photography even finds powerful sensuality in unexpected places, such as flesh-toned blossoms or breathless horizons of undulating clouds.
While some of Lina’s photographs recall stronger erotic images — the hand curled into a circle, or lifted undergarments — it is candid, but never crude; emotional and arousing, but never sensationalized. The use of natural light makes the images even more genuine, washing out the skin and warming it at the same time, illuminating soft hairs and creases. Her entire approach is organic. As she writes on her FAQ page:
“I take the day as it comes. I work with natural light so if there is a cloud over the sun then that will effect the mood of the day / picture. And I work with a small automatic camera that allows me to move around a lot. And I never give more directions than I have to, avoiding [the need] to force things.” (Source)
Brushing the edges of Pop-Surrealism, Bill Dambrova’s expressive paintings explode with color and anatomical imagery. His work is hard to ignore, as his cartoon-like style hits you in the face with exaggerated facial and bodily features. Each piece is like a louder, more graphic and fun illustration from a medical or anatomical textbook. His technique is both abstract and representational, as he paints unnaturally colored organs and molecules moving through his compositions. Pulling inspiration from physical healing and spiritual growth, Dambrova’s work explores the stories and memories held in each of our biology, exposing humankind internally. The artist’s work uncovers not only human anatomy, but the insides of animals as well, unifying our biology. Each painting beautifully shows us the commonality in the biology in living things, while still exploring the unknown. This Phoenician artist investigates themes in science, animism, and archetypes in his work.
Although Dambrova’s work holds traditional imagery, such as animals and a human heart, they are shown in a different light. In his work, bodies are split open, organs function outside the body, and rays of organic light flow through each being. Each composition Dambrova constructs is as intricate as the human anatomy itself, with each color and shape intertwined with the next. The very talented artist is one of the recipients of the Contemporary Forum award given to emerging artists in Arizona. His work can be seen on view now through May 31st at the Phoenix Art Museum.
Aleah Chapin‘s oil painting series The Aunties is an intimate, realistic, immodest look at a women’s world, as seen and experienced by a woman. The models featured are actually the artist’s mother’s friends, women who she has grown up with, and with whom she has a personal, unadulterated knowledge of. Chapin hasn’t spared any detail in her oversized portraits – we see the female figure in all of it’s beauty. Breasts are saggy, stomach rolls are bunched up, stretchmarks are on full display, pubic hair untamed and exposed, and thighs are dimpled with fatty cellulite.
Full of tender moments between mother and son, or groups of friends, her work is a strong counterpoint to the idealized and unrealistic female body images we are confronted with daily. She says about the subject:
Most women have issues and I’m not immune to that. We’re told that our bodies are supposed to be a ‘certain height, certain size, certain weight’. But the pictures we see are completely unrealistic; they’re very Photoshopped. We all know it when we look at them in magazines and yet, we still compare ourselves. That’s why we need images that show all sorts of bodies – so we can accept every size and shape. (Source)
Chapin paints women in a playful, relaxed, completely natural state. She tries to capture a childlike spirit, which is in all of us, no matter our age or gender. She says:
We generally care more what we look like – probably too much at times, me included. Young women are still trying to fit in. I think when you get older you care less –that’s not a negative thing at all. You’re just more accepting. When you get past a certain age you become invisible – and that’s a whole other problem. For me, it’s about finding beauty in every imperfection. (Source) (Via Hi Fructose)
Moroccan interior design company Habibi Interiors invites us to watch master craftsman create beautifully hand carved terra cotta tiles. These tiles are used in the creation of zellige (also known as zillij, or zellij), a form of Islamic tile work that uses geometric patterns to form mosaics that decorate various surfaces. The most common shapes used are the star, square and cross. The mosaics only portray geometric patterns due to the fact that historically, islamic artists were working in accordance of aniconism, the forbiddance of portraying sentient beings. This art is a primary characteristic of Moroccan architecture. Traditionally, a house decorated using zellige was a sign of a high class family. It is not only the creation of the mosaics that is considered an art form, the sculpting of the tiles is also a highly skilled process. The art is handed down through the generations by maâlems (master craftsmen) and is a long process that begins during childhood. As shown in the video, the tiles are crafted by making clay sheets that are ten by ten centimeters long. The tiles are then painted. Afterwards, the desired shapes are traced onto the tiles and then carved down slowly by hand. Each small piece is crafted perfectly to fit within its neighboring piece. The tiles are then patterned into place and sealed together.
Today’s daily dose of inspiration comes from Michael Ostermann. His work is a mixture of vector art and surrealist imagery. Some of his work reminds me of horror flick cover art… all bad acting aside, the cover would be awesome. Very skilled illustrator/designer. Ostermann currently resides in Austria.
A good deal of contemporary art blends characteristics from disparate practices: sculpture and painting, painting and photography, video and installation. However, the work of Alex Schweder is a rare mix. Much of his work is equal parts architecture and performance art. Schweder investigates the way people interact with living spaces, and the way these spaces interact with their occupants. The result is often a playfully surprising structure. Some structures balance or rock depending on the movement of the inhabitants. Other structures are photosensitive, their inhabitants leaving stronger impressions the longer they linger. Regardless of the ‘performance’, his work encourages approaching ideas of the home and its occupants as almost a living relationship.