Using Adobe Illustrator, Minini’s elegant lines are collected and create stark and moody black and white animals. Its not just an interesting stylistic choice, but each design is enhanced by his strong graphic sensibilities. Seeing the potential for slithering lines to form together in creation of a snake is one thing, but understanding the form so as to subtly create a colony (or cloud as they are also referred to in groups) of sleeping bats is an intelligent, innate choice. (via colossal)
Dogs of all shapes and sizes have hearts of gold, and yet it’s said that black dogs are routinely ignored and denied adoption based on the color of their silky fur. The photographer Fred Levy hopes to shatter negative stereotypes about the dark hued animals, perpetuated throughout our culture perhaps by the ominous depictions of the creatures in media, with the Black Dog Project. Capturing furry friends ranging in age and experience, the artist pins his regal subjects against a black backdrop, narrating a poignant story of canine love and courage.
Set against the soft darkness behind them, the animals appear lonesome and curious. Presumably told to sit for the shot, they cock their heads, let drop their downy ears, and look to the viewer for approval. The moving, miraculous tension in the animals’ bodies recalls the ever-willing canine anticipation the blessed “come,” a nod of recognition, an offer of affection, a release from being alone.
Levy’s stunning lighting records the nuances of the black fur, celebrating the shade that is so often overlooked; the silky stands catch the light in such a way that haloes their faces, gives heavenly, royal meaning to their curved backs and furrowed brows. Levy maintains each subject’s rich personality; the wizened senior Faith perks up her ears, and the therapy dog Max patiently holds our gaze with intent amber eyes.
Says Levy of the project, “I’ve found that it’s really important to share the idea that there are always so many dogs in need of a good safe home, regardless of what the dog looks like […] Maybe someone will see this and consider the gravity of owning a pet, no matter what color it is.” To learn more about the Black Dogs Project, check here, and take a look at some of the enchanting photos below. (via Huffington Post and Design Taxi)
The photographer Vyacheslav Mishchenko spent much of his childhood in nature; following his father on mushroom hunting expeditions, he often crouched to the ground in rapt fascination with the tiny, slimy, and colorful wonderland of bugs. As an adult, he returns to this kingdom of imagination, cataloguing the daily lives of snails.
Breaking from the objectivity of traditional nature photography, Mishchenko’s soulful images read like a children’s storybook, filled with unexpected emotionality and suspense. The expertly-shot macro images frame the miniature snail landscapes in miraculous detail, seducing viewers into a world of Alice In Wonderland mushrooms and plump fruits. Shot from the vantage-point of teensy, unsuspecting creatures, the world seems vast and dazzlingly fertile.
The delicate creatures, seen so vividly, become startlingly powerful, their muscular bodies twisting and writhing around newly-budding stems. In this strange and enchanting visual narrative, snails become lovers who gently kiss, seemingly forming one long, sticky body in their embrace. They curiously extend towards succulent forbidden fruits that drip with raindrops; as if in some natural Eden, they hide their bodies in fantastic shells.
Reflected many times over in perfectly rounded dewdrops and in the artist’s own lens, the snails seem to verge on the point of self-awareneness. As if to evoke the metaphor applied to Helena and Hermia, the young heroines of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, two snails arch their bodies over twin cherries, ripe and red. It’s miraculous what goes on beneath our feet, and I cannot think of better set of images to get us in the mood for spring. (via BUST)
The artist Hugh Turvey lives his life in x-ray vision; since her began creating his vivid, colored x-ray photographs, titled xograms, he views the world and its objects as something to be dissected, unveiled, and understood. Turvey’s strange x-rays are made thusly: he begins by positioning his subjects on light-sensitive paper, then overlays them with photographs and adds color so as to enhance depth.
X-ray technology, which we so often associated with sterile medicine, healthcare, and the danger of internal injury, finds an oddly tender home in Turvey’s work. Dense objects become visual synecdoches, stand-ins for living subjects; in one image, a coat becomes personified, its zippers, seams, and wrinkles suggesting human posture. Femme Fatale pictures the artist’s wife’s foot: contorted, stressed, delicate.
When placed alongside these relatively personal images, x-rays of suitcases, phones, and first-aid kits no longer retain the cold, effective objectivity we are accustomed to seeing during TSA screenings and the like. Instead, we are offered a satisfyingly voyeuristic glimpse into the private lives of others as seen through a tumbler or a martini glass, and we are transfixed by the mundane, incidental objects of existence.
Turvey’s portraits of animals are particularly poignant, indicating the complex internal lives of creatures we too rarely consider. A fish is confined to a painfully isolating bowl, his boney frame drifting to the top for food, and a small dog reveals soft, beautifully coiled internal organs as he wears a cone around his head. Similarly, a curious rabbit is shown in dark, moody browns evocative not of medicine so much as psychology and spirit; his wide eyes peer above the hat. These deeply sympathetic animals are made all the more delicate by Turvey’s process, their curiosities and concerns expressed through the barest physicality. (via Smithsonian Mag, The Guardian, and National Geographic)
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 Shakehere. (via Colossal)
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)
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)
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)