Hilarious, Touching Photos Of Dogs Dancing And Shaking

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Few images of dogs can capture the magical abandon with which they move and express themselves, but the photographer and animal care expert Carli Davidson has done just that with Shake, a delightful series composed of high-speed, freeze-frame captures of canines mid-shake. Each shot miraculously pinpoints the moment of release; a wakeful stretch, the passionate freedom from a wet, unpleasant bath.

The photographs are comical for the strange elasticity of skin and fur, which seem wobble and move according not to the laws of physics but to the emotional governance of the animals; blissfully, floppy puppy ears swing from tiny heads, as if to take flight from the body. Similarly, hungry, drooling lips express the subject’s uncontrollable excitement.

Within Davidson’s humor lies a beautiful reverence for the canine subjects. The miracle of the animals’ instinctual motion creates sweeping, mystical swirls across the frame; drool, fur, and flesh move in tandem. Eyes open wide with the ecstatic motion of loose skin, and a Komondor’s dreadlocked hair swirls about like Medusa’s wild snakes. After a bath, water droplets and strands of shedding fur compose a starry cosmic landscape, lit radiantly against a black backdrop.

From the Chinese Crested to the Springer Spaniel to the glorious mixed breed, these canine subjects engage in a frenzied and physical expression and enjoy themselves in ways humans rarely do; in viewing their images, we are invited to do the same. Take a look at the joyous images below, and check out the print publication of Shake here. (via Colossal)

Jana Brike’s Uncanny Paintings Capture The Strangeness Of True Love And Sacrifice

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In her series Winter of Love, the Latvian painter Jana Brike reimagines the The Biblical Salome, known for the seduction of King Harod and her bloodthirsty demand for the head of Saint John the Baptist, transforming the icon from infamous sinner to innocent wood nymph, small and delicate as a china doll. Subverting the religious, moral text, she creates a poignant story of intimacy, love, and sacrifice.

In Brike’s eerie narrative, Saint John is replaced by a make-believe Deer King, a creature who harkens back to medieval Christian bestiaries, his horns often serving as a metaphor for Christ’s cross and Crucifixion. Here, the Deer King falls in love with Salome, volunteering his body for her pleasure: “he keeps squandering his life forces to grow flowers from his body, for the nymphs to play with,” explains the artist. In the place of a violent, lusty, and sinful Salome, the artist presents a naive, pure-hearted child who is transfixed by her play and the beauty of flowers.

In this touching biblical allegory, love becomes sacred and tragic; the Deer King offers his head to his beloved, giving her sensual bliss in a bitter, cold winter. The season becomes symbolic of his death, until flora miraculously begins to bloom, as with the mythical Resurrection of Christ. The creative powers of the girl blossom; she is seen as fertile, emerging into womanhood, her lips and vital cheeks pink as the roses.

Using the framework of religious text, Brike’s body of work depicts a romance story where love necessitates sacrifice, where lust isn’t sinful but creative. Nurtured by the Deer King’s affections and tragic death, Salome grows into adulthood; in one image titled “Nurseling,” her dress slips, revealing a pair of milk-filled, life-giving breasts. Take a look. (via MondoPop)

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Ryohei Hase’s Hellish Monsters Capture The Beauty And Terror Of Human Experience

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The subjects of the painter Ryohei Hase’s work are, in his view, sadness and gloom; with his mythical paintings, he builds his own bestiary of wolf-man hybrids and skull-faced monsters, weaving tragic narratives in shimmering grays and black-blues. Like religious triptychs, his paneled images seem to narrate a darkly imaginative story of innocence, violence, love, and redemption.

Hase’s use of baby animals is anything but cute; tiny, effeminate rabbit heads are used to convey a sorrowful isolation that centers around the assumed innocence of the young. In contrast to the animal-headed figures who tear at each other’s throats, a young, downy rabbit head sits atop the body of a young woman as she delicately peers at the ground, her breasts barely poking out of a white brassiere; again, we see her as she lays in her lonesomeness, naked on the ground.

As the narrative progresses, these human beasts fall from innocence into experience, now wolf-headed and like hysterical ancient Greek maenads, women lock bodies with one another in battle, breasts jangling and nipples erect. An antlered man claws at the bloodied head of a wolf; a clan of pig-headed humans gaze at a roasted pig, their cannibalism and cruelty seen in their glistening sweaty brows, their gleaming red eyes. As these animalistic men fall into anarchy, they descend into an evermore hellish landscape.

Through the epic series are notes of love and redemption within a fallen world; a gentle wolf head welcomes a collapsed women into his realm, lovingly bracing her fully-human body. Men die, their skulls ripped from the back of their heads, and yet they keep running, peacefully and determinedly looking into the future. In fallenness, there’s color and seduction; a rainbow-encased lioness wears only a pair of barely-there panties, and a dead fish man drifts to the bottom of the ocean, leaving a magnetic fiery glow in his wake. (via Juxtapoz)

Impossibly Teeny Tiny Crochet Animals To Melt Your Heart

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Imagine your favorite teddy bear and or snuggly stuffed animal shrunken down to fit atop your fingertip, and you have the magical creations of Su Ami, an artistic company in Vietnam devoted to creating delightfully miniature crochet animals. The family run business includes only 5 expert craftsman who work to imbue the tiny woven creatures with unique and touching personalities.

Because of the animals’ itty bitty frame, each stitch is noticeable, highlighting the careful handmade nature of the work. In each turn of the yarn, we imagine the delicate movements of human fingers, and each being becomes impossibly precious. Heightening their dearness is the fact that delightful creatures are so easily lost; like microscopic pets, their vulnerability inspires us to cherish them and hold fast to their tiny bodies. In this way, the pieces recall the nostalgic yearning of a child for his toy.

Despite their smallness, each creation has an impressively distinct character.  With the slightest opening of the mouth, a gecko exudes a curious and playful attitude; a long-beaked bird stares in awe of her own crochet egg. Two squirrels tell a story, peering up at the sky in unison; similarly, a parent elephant watches over her child, whose plastic button eyes seek approval. A lion turns his head with a poignant frown, as if startled by his own size. All animals great and small, from the littlest snail to the tallest giraffe, inhabit the same magical space, cautiously yet courageously exploring the large world they miraculously inhabit. (via Demilked)

Touching Portraits Of Dogs Yawning, Laughing And Barking

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Meet Noodles, Loli, and Scout, the radiantly emotive canine subjects of the photographer Elke Vogelsang’s personal project “All Good Dogs…” For the series, the artist captures the psychological lives of her trio of rescue animals, each honestly and earnestly displaying his or her own personal inclinations and attitudes.

Vogelsang explains that all her dogs love participating, knowing that they will get rewarded with treats and play; often it’s hard to limit a shot to one or two dogs, as Loli (the diva), Scout (the patient daydreamer), and Noodles (the excitable trickster) all vie for her camera’s affections.

What emerges from this unique and intimate play between dog and human is a touching archive of self-expression, a whimsical catalog of physical impulses and profound yearnings shared between species. Vogelsang’s lens treats the animals’ instinctive movements with the utmost care and fascination, capturing their desires (for treats, for activity, for love) by tracing the slightest movement of a pink tongue or a snout prickled with excited whiskers. Viewers are invited to empathize with a tilt of the head, a glint in the eye.

The artist’s sensitivities and attention to detail allow for effortless harmony not only between artist, viewer, and canine but also between individual dogs. Noodles, Loli, and Scout feed off of one another’s energies and restraint, moving with astounding purpose while remaining in synch with one another. In one image, two share a powerful yawn or bark, opening their eyes and mouths wide to the camera. Aligned in a perfect tryptic, the three are shot in black and white, each with their noses sniffing upwards and their lips carefully parted.

Simultaneously earnest and humorous, this standout series reminds viewers of the wisdom and longings of our canine friends, who are indeed “All Good Dogs…” (via Colossal and Bored Panda)

Soulful Portraits Of Deceased Animals Laid Down To “Sleep”

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After the death of a dear friend, the photographer Emir Ozsahin was struck by the poignancy of life and grief, choosing to confront by creating heartbreaking images of deceased animals. In his series Pastel Deaths, he captures lifeless creatures in gentle tones, hoping to undo the fact of their tragic deaths with the naiveté of a child incapable of processing mortality: with the utmost innocence, he poses a dog beneath a blanket and offers the grey-nosed canine a book to read.

The series conveys this youthful optimism and poignant refusal to accept death with the use of tiny fixtures that could easily reside within a child’s dollhouse: a bed on which a bird might lay his beak, a straw nest for a guinea pig, a tiny, sudsy bathtub for another, darkly featured bird. The artist’s relentless striving to erase the fact of and his own personal knowledge of death is utterly heart wrenching; we follow him as he personifies each creature with a soft pair of miniature pajamas, a stuffed toy, or a pair of fallen glasses.

The juxtaposition of the dead with the artist’s infant-like insistence upon life results in a painfully intimate conversation with death and with each once-living being. Ozsahin’s subjects are so unflinchingly peaceful in their eternal slumber that the viewer must approach them only with utter care; the eye holds each for a moment like a tender newborn baby, then sets him down to rest. As viewers, we waver between acknowledging the facts and whispering to ourselves quietly, “No, look, he’s just sleeping.” While using once living creatures as subjects normally raises ethical flags for me, Ozsahin’s images read like Victorian post-mortem shots of humans, serving to tenderly and lovingly memorialize each creature. (via Feature Shoot)

Lauren Roche’s Visceral, Evocative, And Singular Paintings

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lauren-2 figures and an animal_4_770In Lauren Roche‘s paintings, like the best portraiture, there exists a story found in discrepant details. Amidst heavily applied broad stroke of paint and drips, black dots appear to be lactating from human and animals, insinuating teets as opposed to breasts. Teeth are bared in grinless maws not typically associated with people or their pets. And yet there exists an honest and humble beauty in Roche’s rendering of her subjects. Explaining that many subjects are taken from faces of friends and pets, as well as old photographs used for reference, the Minneapolis-based artist adds,

“The figures in my images are facets of my subconscious and take action in a pictorial language and don’t transfer into names for me. I like to leave the interpretation of personality up to the viewer, because that’s what I do.”

Roche’s paintings possess a rawness that cannot be denied, balanced in equal measure by a deft rendering of facial expressions. Perhaps the beauty of these paintings comes from their singular nature, and their anachronistic charm, evocative of a different era of capturing images. When asked the purpose of a focus on portraiture, particularly in an uploadable Digital Age, Roche responds,

“The purpose of portraiture is to give the maker and viewer the space for an interpretation of the subject that is private and flexible, fluid and idiosyncratic. Its difficult to compare portraiture to a cell phone picture because the process is so different. Drawing portraits is like a form of meditation and reflection for me and taking a cell phone picture feels more like a superficial gesture to prove that I’m enjoying myself.”

Roche’s work will be featured in the upcoming Two Dark Horses at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, MN, alongside Andrew Mazorol and Tynan Kerr (who when painting collectively go by AMTKpreviously featured here) and Lindsay Rhyner. The exhibition, named after one of Roche’s paintings (top of page) opens this Friday, March 21st and runs through April 26th, 2014.

Photographs Of Abandoned Dogs Explore Artists Own Crippling Depression

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By photographing emotionally troubled dogs suffering from abandonment and aggression, the artist Martin Usborne chronicles his own painful struggle with depression. His recent series “Nice to Meet You” tenderly traces unknowable canine narratives by carefully placing the animals behind surfaces and materials: a wet glass pane, a cloud of smoke, pressed flowers.

In distancing the viewer from each creature, the artist paradoxically allows for a heightened level of intimacy with each dog; behind a haunting waterscape or transparent white shroud, each set of eyes glistens and each pointed nose seems to poke through the barrier, begging for closeness with the viewer.

In distorting space with long exposure times and unevenly textured surfaces, Usborne also blurs the notion of time; the animals appear ghostly, shadowy, and otherworldly. As each image leads us farther into this ethereal and lonesome dreamscape, we bear witness to the profound confidences of these gorgeous creatures, and they stare back, inviting viewers to empathize.

Ultimately, Usborne’s canine subjects recall our own murky and lonesome pasts, mirroring the dark places that we normally keep hidden within ourselves. In juxtaposing everyday statements like “I’m fine” and “I also work at the bank” with the charged photographs, the artist paints a portrait of isolation; he himself often repeated automatic phrases like “Nice to meet you” and “You look great” when in the midst of his depression. These animals, partially hidden by fog and fabric, serve as surrogates for we who hide behind words. If only for a moment, these vulnerable faces of dogs remind us that we are not alone; in lending us their quiet companionship, they become our confidantes. (via Design Boom)