Lina Manousogiannaki’s Photos Of Aging Superheroes

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Batman holds a gun to his own head at the edge of an empty swimming pool. Captain and Mrs. America sip mixed drinks under palm fronds. Spiderman naps on the couch. These are our Superheroes, candidly captured in their off hours. But they’re not the Superheroes we’re used to underneath their familiar suits. These Superheroes are aged, white-haired and wrinkled, and somehow completely wrong. The characters we know may die, but although they live for decades they never grow old. Our heroes stay perpetually strong, alluring, and complicated, and always, always young.

Lina Manousogiannaki’s costumed heretics of “Superheroes Gone Old” represent more than the inevitability of old age. To her, the aging superheroes they serve as reminders of the damaged Greek political system, one that politicians and people of her parents’ generation have been unwilling or unable to change.

[The series] was conceived as homage to the generation of my parents, the same one as our politicians. They have been pretending to be heroes ever since the collapse of the military junta but time has caught up with them. My heroes are old and they are afraid of everything that they can’t control. … The heroes of another time can no longer save me as they have pretended to do for so many years.

There is anger in Manousogiannaki’s writing that isn’t reflected in her images. These heroes are worn out, slightly absurd, certainly pathetic. And yet, there is the suggestion of pride here, of perseverance. They haven’t divested themselves of their worn finery. They haven’t stopped fighting. In a country with a struggling economy and generational discord, the heroes are stooped and sad. Manousogiannaki’s intent may be to put them aside and lead her own fight, but these archetypical heroes seem to be saying that it will be harder than she thinks. Read More >


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Andi Schreiber Documents Middle-Age And The Need To Be Desired

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Andi Schreiber refuses to disappear. In her ongoing series, “Pretty Please”, she documents life as an aging suburban mom in a youth-obsessed culture. “Middle-aged mom” must be one of the least sexy descriptors around, redolent of yoga pants and stretch marks and sun-damaged skin. Yet as the years have passed, Schreiber has continued to feel young and sexual, even as she’s felt that society has closed those roles to her. She says:

“When I was in my thirties I heard the expression “Invisible Forties.” I couldn’t imagine how sexually inconsequential I’d feel throughout this decade.”

The powerful documentary style photos in “Pretty, Please” beg you to look. Honest and vibrant, they are not always comfortable. Victoria’s Secret has trained us to expect sexy lingerie on a young, taut body, not on folded and stretched skin. And yet, why isn’t this just as beautiful? Grow old or die, those are the only options. Why can’t we appreciate the child-scarred body of a woman who wants to be seen?

Self-portraits are interspersed with images from Schreiber’s life. A drop of blood on the toilet seat symbolizes her ebbing fertility; the lit interior of her closet holds neatly hung clothes and shelves of shoes, but also, stashed up and away, naked kewpie dolls, whimsical and eerie.

“You get into your 40s and things are very different, your perspective changes, and the way the world looks at you changes as well.”

In “Pretty, Please” we’re looking at Andi Schreiber and she’s looking back. This is definitively her — her life, her body, her blood — and yet this desire to be seen, to be valued on her own terms, could also represent the scores of middle-aged women who chose family and stability and have had their sense of self sacrificed to their suburban houses, and diapers, and carpools.

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Anastasia Pottinger Captures The Vulnerability Of Aging In Portraits Of Sagging And Wrinkled Skin

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Anastasia Pottinger’s “Centenarians” project began when a 101-year-old woman asked Pottinger to be photographed in the nude. After documenting the woman’s form, Pottinger realized she was looking at something special and beautiful, and decided to create this stunning series. Pottinger uses light and shadows to reveal the detailed landscapes of aged skin, displaying the patterns and compositions to be found as the result of our skins’ transformation over time; in some of her images, it is difficult to discern the particular part of the body being photographed.

Pottinger says, “The response to the images has been remarkable. Viewers are visibly moved by what they are looking at. Whether it’s wondering, ‘Is this what I’m going to look like?’ or remembering a loved one – the response seems to be universally emotional on some level.”

Pottinger admits it has been difficult to recruit other subjects for this project, though she maintains their anonymity. She asks to be contacted via her website or phone if someone (100 years or older) would be interested in being photographed. She lives in Columbia, Missouri. (via fast company)

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Former Playboy Bunnies Photographed Decades Later In Provocative Portraits

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When the renowned photographer Robyn Twomey visited the Former Playboy Bunny Reunion, she shot simple and engrossing headshots of women who had been Playboy Bunnies decades before, hoping the capture the complex and often contradictory nature of their former field. On one hand the women are mesmerizingly assertive, and yet, traces of vulnerability and self-consciousness mark their wrinkled brows.

Often, the women appear empowered by their sexuality, and their expressions border on the confrontational. Abandoning any show of passive feminine gentleness, a woman spangled in hot pink costume jewelry adopts a laissez-faire posture normally associated with masculinity, pursing her lips into a smirk and tossing her shoulder back with calculated attitude. Another makes an orgasmic facial expression, relaxing her lips around her open mouth, boldly pressing her breasts towards the camera.

Yet within these powerful and stunning individuals lies a poignant anxiety over growing older, one that boarders perhaps on self-doubt, expressed through a turn of the eye, a furrowed brow. A few turn away from the camera, staring into to the corner of Twomey’s tight frame with strained smiles or almost bashful eyes, their features and the passage of time made more noticeable by make-up that glistens under the bright lights.

Each woman is deeply sympathetic and beautiful, but the work calls into question the ethics of societal pressures enforced by brands and magazines like Playboy. When budding sexuality is valued above all, and when young women are both objectified and exalted, where does that leave aging women? The work is far from an indictment of its subjects; instead, it captures the complexities of a controversial industry that toes the line between supposed empowerment and potential degradation. What do you think? (via BUST and Feature Shoot)
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Uncanny Photographs Explore The Aging Human Body

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For her undergraduate project Young and Old, the freshman photographer Kelsey Duff photographed two models: the first is 18, and the second is 65. By excluding her subjects’ faces from her close frame, she catalogs the aging process as it might apply to an everywoman figure; despite trademark tattoos and painted toenails, each woman is stripped of clothing and other common markers of individual identity. Avoiding the impulse to capture moments of conventional portraiture, she shoots isolated sections of each woman with an imaginative fascination, pulling apart the body and fixing each piece within precise borders.

Despite its repetitive and almost anthropological vantage point, Duff’s camera work avoids any sense of coldness or sterility. The choice of warm natural lighting imbues the series with a romance that highlights tone and shadow. As if the subject of a yellow-filled Baroque landscape, the three-dimensional erosion of flesh through stretch marks, scars, pores, and wrinkles are dramatically and reverently seen. Even the clothing change from black skivvies to white underthings reads as part of a years’ old fading process.

The ever-present backdrop of shifting daylight and plain white bed sheets serve to visually condense years into a single dawn or dusk; as Duff follows her visual narrative, the time-lapse between her two subjects flattens, forming a poignantly timeless archive of the evolution of the female body. Caught at two poles of the same lifetime, young and old woman engage in a physical dialogue, exploring beauty and eternity hand-in-hand. Take a look. (via BUST)

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