Laura Dodsworth Photographs 100 Real Women’s Breasts In “Bare Reality”

 Copyright Laura Dodsworth

Copyright Laura Dodsworth

UK photographer Laura Dodsworth took 100 photos of women’s bare breasts for her project Bare Reality. Her goal is to present a non-Photoshopped spectrum of bodies of women aged from 19 to 101. It’s not just about appearances, though. Dodsworth also gathers personal stories about the participants and narratives about the way women feel about their breasts.

“More than simply part of our bodies, breasts represent sexuality, motherhood and femininity. When we talk about breasts we talk about intimate aspects of our lives as women, such as growing up, sexuality, motherhood, breastfeeding, relationships, body image, health, cancer and ageing.”

There has been a lot of attention paid to the portrayal of women’s bodies recently. Natural beauty and non-surgically altered physiques have started to appear more frequently in ad campaigns and fashion magazines. During European summers, it’s more common to see topless women of all sizes and shapes. In the US, the breasts we tend to see outside of our mirrors and homes are youthful or enhanced. It leads to a skewed view of reality; what to expect from one’s own body and what to expect in a partner.

These real women with real bodies are all different. Some are marked by age and time, others by disease. Small, large, upright, and sagging, each portrait has a story, including: “I’m one of the lucky ones,” “Breasts make you feel like a proper woman,” and “My milk went when Hitler marched in.” Dodsworth writes:

“I have always been fascinated by the dichotomy between women’s personal lives and how they are depicted in the media; between how we feel about breasts privately and how they are presented for public consumption. Bare Reality is, for me, the inevitable result of being a woman, a feminist and a photographer.”

 

Dodsworth’s is currently holding a kickstarter campaign to publish a book of this project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Manipulated Photos Of Perfectly Symmetrical Faces Question Conventional Beauty

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Photographer Alex John Beck uses photo manipulation to explore the idea that symmetrical faces are the most beautiful in his series “Both Sides Of”. After taking portraits of a diverse collection of people, he digitally divides them. He then duplicates each side, matching right half to right and left to left, creating two new portraits of perfectly symmetrical faces. The original portrait is not shown.

It’s not a new idea—Julian Wolkenstein’s 2010 series “Symmetrical Portraits” is very similar. Wolkenstein’s website, echoism, also allows users to upload their own pictures to be made symmetrical by an open source program on the site.

Turkish photographer Eray Eren does a version as well, though his include a third, non-manipulated shot for comparison.

Still, the quality of these images is excellent, and they continue to evoke questions relating to beauty and character. It’s tempting to create a narrative for the “people” in these portraits—so similar but not the same—to look from one image to the other and measure attraction and interest. Both created faces are absolutely symmetrical, theoretically proving the commonly held belief that symmetrical faces are the most appealing. And yet, they’re not. The artist says on his website:

“The less symmetrical they are initially, the more different the characters suggested by each face. The more symmetrical faces betray their owners more subtly, however, one side proves clearer, the other more inward looking.”

Movie and video game animators have long struggled with the issue of how to make a realistic human face that can hold up to high definition viewing. It’s incredibly difficult to create faces that look different from all angles, in different moods, on different days. Often it’s the overly symmetrical features and consistency of appearance that make the characters obviously unreal. The asymmetry in our faces is what makes us human. (via Feature Shoot)

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Beautifully Painted Scenes Of Death And Tragedy

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A beautiful car crash. A lovely death. Chilean artist Fernando Gomez Balbontin paints haunted and haunting scenes in his series “Thoughts About Life and Death.” The subject matter is difficult, though not gory. Crumpled cars rest on roadsides, smashed and crushed beyond repair—these can’t be anything but fatal crashes. The figures next to the devastated vehicles are often otherworldly. A seeming specter of death wears a dark hood. Girls’ faces are obscured with blobs and blotches of color. Is it blood? It’s impossible to be sure. A priest stands next to one ruined car, the pope another. A man flees the scene.

Yet there’s beauty among the wreckage. The colors are often candy bright. A geometric structure floats, untethered, dripping in a way that’s reminiscent of tears, or blood. There are lots of these drippings in the works, adding an organic element to the mechanized disasters.

Balbontin paints the loveliest skies—peach and purple, cyan and gold. Nothing should go wrong underneath those skies, and yet…

“Denying death is denying life. So perhaps it is necessary to understand that tragedy is not the supposedly reality of death. Tragedy is about not accepting this possibility and consequently, not having enough time to live.”

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Japanese Artist Daisuke Ichiba’s Intricate Drawings Interweave The Disturbing And The Grotesque

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Life is an inextricable combination of beauty and awfulness, good and evil, and Japanese artist Daisuke Ichiba captures these dichotomies in his highly detailed, densely populated drawings. Drawing is just one of the media that Ichiba has mastered — he is also a painter, filmmaker, and photographer. No matter the form, though, his content grapples with the reality of life and its grotesqueries.

“Choosing to create work that is only beautiful feels artificial. Thus I paint both. You cannot sever the two. The expression that results is a natural chaos. In my work I project chaos, anarchy, anxiety, the grotesque, the absurd, and the irrational. By doing so I attain harmony. This is my art. Put simply, I paint humanity (the spirit).”

At first glance it’s possible to miss the disturbing elements of Ichiba’s work. The Indian ink compositions are dense and unusual for Japanese art, which tends toward clean lines and minimalism, although they do include Japanese iconography such as the schoolgirl and cherry blossoms. Influenced by his early admiration of comic book art and manga as well as the loss of his mother at age 8, his works fuse vile, often many-eyed, monsters into domestic scenes. Figures are missing features—an eye here, a mouth there—and the occasional introduction of color feels threatening, reminiscent of spreading blood.

He meditates on sexuality and death and the intangible cord that ties them together. Ichiba’s haunting tableaus are a type of contemporary shunga (Edo-period erotic scrolls), in which beauty navigates chaos with one eye closed. (Source)

The impassivity of the deformed figures is striking in the work. Both human and monster accept their fates. The faceless children and severed heads represent the darkness in all of us, ubiquitous and unquestioned.

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SD Holman’s Portraits Of Female Masculinity In BUTCH: Not Like The Other Girls

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Photographer SD Holman uses her talent as a portrait photographer to capture women who fall outside of the traditional gender binary. In her series “BUTCH: Not Like the Other Girls,” masculine women are not oddity or other. These are photos of women who identify as butch captured by a butch woman—they are women defining themselves. In this way, Butch has much in common with the current social campaigns stripping women of makeup, enhancements, and retouching and declaring them more beautiful without the artifice. This is part of Holman’s intent with the show—to use the Butch identity as an example of one of the classifications through which women are objectified. The difference though is the hate and fear that Butch women have faced as transgressors of societal constructs of femininity. Holman says:

“Butches and all gender variant folk walk in a world that is really hostile to them, so we tend to look inward.  I was inspired to show their beauty by my wife Catherine, a femme who loved butches, and encouraged me to do this when I started talking about it.”

The rich diversity of butch women is evidenced here. Just as there isn’t one way to be a woman, Butch includes women of all shapes and colors and styles. The fluidity of gender is apparent in each photo.

Holman is an artist. Her portraits are classically beautiful, with their artful lighting and dramatic contrasts. The subjects mostly gaze through the lens to the viewer, unapologetic and authentic. There is no contrivance in these images, no sense of willful provocation nor is there any sense of apology. Author Amy Bloom writes, “Intimacy is being seen and known as the person you truly are.” These photos are intimate and groundbreaking, brave and matter-of-fact, beautiful and handsome.

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Spellbinding Death Masks And Sugar Skulls

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For Epitaph, British photographer Rankin teams up with Beaty Editor Andrew Gallimore to create spellbinding death masks inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead and Roman Catholic All Souls Day. Like the sugar skulls, or calavera, used to celebrate the holiday, these elegant masks put a vital and lively spin on death. Decked out in intricate beading and filigree, their models look luxurious and festive.

Calavera, normally colored in vibrant greens, reds, yellows, and blues are often eaten after the holiday; adorned in glittering stars and blooming daisies, these living skulls look like sweet confections. The female faces, painted in black, become a youthful template for imaginative explorations of an afterlife that awaits us after old age. As if from another world, their gray-green eyes stand starkly against coal-toned flesh. Rankin and Gallimore infuse the editorial with a hefty dose of high-fashion edge, introducing elements like metal spikes and and chains. These harder elements blend seamlessly with the iconography of the Day of the Dead; in one mask, a red clown nose made of punk-rock studs puts a contemporary spin on the timeless tradition.

Rankin is not new to the theme of death. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, he was compelled to break cultural taboo surrounding the dead, to face head-on his fears of dying. For last year’s photo series ALIVE: In the Face of Death, published by Hunger Magazine, he photographed those effected most by death, giving voice to grieving family members and to resilient individuals living with terminal diseases. Here, his enthusiastic lens provides solace from the fear of the unknown, inviting us to celebrate those we’ve lost as we mourn them. (via Trend Land)

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Agnieszka Rayss’s Captivating Photographs Of Extreme Bodybuilders

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For her series Beautiful Bodies, the photographer Agnieszka Rayss shoots off-beat images of bodybuilders; in the process, the artist both defines and challenges the notion of physical attractiveness. Each provocative shot, capturing a builder scantily-clad in a bikini or a speedo, is a powerful testament to the human desire to craft our bodies according to our wills; depending on the viewer, they might read as either a condemnation or an affirmation of extreme fitness practices.

Unlike Brian Moss, whose enchanting portraits of bodybuilders can be found here, Rayss works within a distinctive color palette; rich copper, teal, and white hues dominate her images, granting them a moody and otherworldly quality. Rayss’s subjects all seem to rely heavily on bronzers, defining their muscled figures with deep tans. In this way, they look inhumanly sculptural, like bronze statues of ancient warriors. Their metallic sheen stands in place of clothes; though nearly nude, they look somehow impenetrable, thickly armored.

Beautiful Bodies is set in an undefined location that we might presume to be a gym. Against a muddy-colored wall, the bodybuilders appear rough and powerful; the walls are marked with their chalky handprints, lending the models some inherent and mysterious grit. In relative repose, Rayss’s subjects display their bodies, caught between moments of exertion. As viewers, we are forbidden from seeing the extreme exercises that caused paint to be scratched away from the gym surfaces, but the mere presence of these formidable bodies create an atmosphere of inescapable suspense and anticipation. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)

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Intimate Photographs Of Young Women Capture Private Beauty Routines

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In Rituals, the photographer Noorann Matties catalogs the strange, mystical moments between woman and mirror, capturing young ladies in private moments of self-preparation and styling. As her subjects stand barefaced before public and private mirrors, work in eyebrow pencil, lipgloss, and mascara, seemingly memorized by and in poignant discovery of their own features.

Shooting many of the women from behind so as to capture the self in dialogue her reflection, Matties seemingly preserves the innocence of the experience, allowing the girls to engage with themselves undisturbed and unaware of onlookers. These sacred rituals, haloed in early morning sunlight and fluorescent lightbulbs, celebrate the quiet moments before the start of the day. In the instant before her subjects present their faces to the public, Matties stops the clock, preserving the beautiful self-absorption afforded by secrecy.

The inconsistent, accidental lighting serves only to heighten the sensuality of individual skin and hair tones, textures, and shapes; a towel hangs, left over from the night before, and reflections distort serendipitously in still-wet shower doors, affording the photographs deeper psychological meanings.

The repetition of these rituals is expressed through careful self-examination and knowledge; these women have seemingly memorized the curves of their brows, the textures of their skin, the movement of hair moved effortlessly and invisibly into a bun. The poignancy of these photographs, then, lies in part in the efficiency of the grooming activities; to the voyeuristic viewer, these intimate seconds are precious; to the girls, they’re routine, automatic, forgotten until the next morning. Take a look at the series, originally published in Inconnu Magazine, below. (via BUST and Inconnu)

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