The Unexpected And Accidental Beauty Of Photographs Damaged By Hurricane Sandy

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Photographer Randy Taylor had around 40 years of work archived in a storage facility that he wasn’t allowed access to until weeks after Hurricane Sandy hit. He was aware of the possibility that his work might be damaged, but wasn’t prepared for what he encountered when he arrived at the storage unit. “I descended into the smelly, wet, and dark bowels of the powerless building, which had flooded floor-to-ceiling with contaminated water,” Taylor said via email. “What I found was a jumbled, gooey mess of papers and things 3 to 8 feet high. It took the first day to carve out a vertical space just 2 feet into the unit, so I could merely walk in the door.”

Taylor tried to salvage as much as he could, but the damage and mold was so intense, that he was only able to recoup a few dozen images out of around 30,000 he had in storage. The photographs he selected weren’t based on any method; he just wanted to save as many as possible. After he selected his photographs, he dipped them in an alcohol solution to clean off the mold and stave off further destruction, though the damage has already been done, and will likely worsen with time.

Despite the sad loss of professional and family photographs, photography equipment, computers, and financial records, Taylor is heartened by the attention his Hurricane Sandy photographs are now receiving.” It’s been satisfying to have my images noticed again. Thanks to Sandy, they are truly unique.” ( via juxtapoz and slate)

Fashion Photographer Treats Old Negatives With Chemicals To Create Surreal Distortion

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Dutch fashion photographer Rohn Meijer applies a chemical cocktail to old negatives in order to produce stunning effects of surreal color and distortion. This idea occurred to Meijer when he discovered some old negatives that were damaged by moisture. He then decided to concoct his own chemical-water treatment (the specifics of which he’d like kept secret) that would interact with the silver nitrate on the back of the negatives and enhance the effect of crystallization. Though he does like to treat entire negatives with the caustic bath, he will sometimes deliberately apply the cocktail to certain parts of the photograph in order to draw out or deepen the effect.

“What I’m looking for is the way that colors play out, sometimes a bleeding effect, other times more harsh effects,” he says. “It’s a different kind of developing I’m doing, it’s not done in a laboratory.”

Meijer claims that 90 percent of each batch he creates is trashed, but apparently, he has a large arsenal of film that he doesn’t mind tossing as they were most likely going to end up in the garbage anyway. (via wired)

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Chloe Early’s Sublime Oil Paintings Contrast Beauty and Destruction

 

London-based artist Chloe Early works primarily in oil, creating paintings that set themes of “love, beauty, and innocence” against “worldly symbols of agression” -bombs, bullets, urban development, etc. And we’re talking right up against each other. Subjects as disparate as weapons and flowers seamlessly come together  as one to create a kind of informal pattern. Missiles, engines, and guns -harsh, metallic things- spiral away from lovers and graceful figures. In creating such a sharp contrast of subject matter, Early captures an elusive, sublime moment. That perfect, last second of beauty before everything falls to shit. That enormous show of strength in the midst of destruction and decay. More paintings after the jump.

Yukinori Yanagi Uses Ants to Manipulate National Flags

 

 

Japanese artist Yukinori Yanagi uses a pretty unique technique in his work. For years now, he’s created custom ant farms with colored sand and used the natural lifecycle of ants to manipulate images rendered with the sand. His work using national flags is some of his best. Soviet banners assembled into a pyramid. Japanese Hinomaru fractured by tunneling ants. The strong symbolism inherent in banners and flags lends the work a lot of power. The ants show us that even things that once seemed unshakable are susceptible to decay and eventual ruin, even at the hands of seemingly tiny, insignificant forces. (via)

Kara Joslyn’s Quietly Emotional Paintings

CCA grad Kara Joslyn is based in Oakland. Joslyn works mostly in black and white and mixed media to create stark, quietly emotional paintings. There’s a lot of hardened dignity in the artist’s work. The black and white depictions here of crumbling stone, ancient pottery, and dried parcels of wood can’t help but lend a resolute seriousness to each painting. This (and their stunning visual qualities) allows them to be taken in with purpose, as though something very special is captured and any time spent with the work is not wasted. By rendering material which was once strong and hard in a state of brokenness and neglect,  Joslyn brings us to considerations of the inevitable effects of neglect and time, and the realization that hardly anything remains prominent forever.

Melted Wooden Picture Frames from Bonsoir Paris

 

These are amazing. Duramen is a series of wooden sculptures depicting melted picture frames from French design collective Bonsoir Paris. The level of craftsmanship with these handmade works (sculpted by Adrien Coroller) is tops. The dynamic in play between the fine wood used and the decaying, deathly manner in which it is presented nicely illustrates how even the most supple, healthy aspects of life can easily fall from grace. The picture frame reference is a nice touch, forcing us to call into question our very perception and take into account its tendency to directly affect the practical world. Bonsoir Paris, founded by Morgan Maccari and Remy Clemente, has only been around since 2010, but if they continue to push forward in a direction that allows for the production of more work of this quality, they should do fine. (via)

Olivier Garraud Creates an installation with rotting food, maggots, and flies

 

French artist Olivier Garraud has created Second Life, an installation that encapsulates the life cycle of flies in real time. The piece consists of two parts: an apparatus that allows flies access to food, and a tube filled with maggots and flies connected to an amplifier. Second Life allows us to examine the relatively short life-span of an insect on concise, bare bones terms, generating a context which can be applied to personal events. More images after the jump, and you can also check out a video of the installation in action here.

Matt Bahen- Life in Death

Toronto artist Matt Bahen creates thick oil paintings of desolate scenery and, often, dogs. Tweaked just right, the lighting in Bahen’s work almost renders itself the subject in each respective canvas, creating a sense that the elements most “alive” in his world are not, in fact, animate. Scavenging dogs and dying foliage or crops are often the only living organisms depicted in Bahen’s most recent work. And though a veritable source of  action, these elements often serve more as secondary, blended, narrative connections than primary statements. In keeping with the aesthetics of B/D, this body of work presents a perfect opportunity to  draw as much life from the dead as from the living. Bahen is currently showing at LE Gallery in Toronto in a solo exhibition entitled “After Wolves.” If you’re up that way, do not miss out.