Carla Richmond’s Poignant Photographs Of Women Wearing Ex-Lovers’ T-Shirts

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When all else is gone, it is often the things we most take for granted that endure, like an old, torn t-shirt. For her collaboration with writer and actress Hanne Steen, photographer Carla Richmond collects intimate portraits of the brokenhearted, women wearing shirts left behind by ex-lovers. Hanging loosely about the contours of bodies they do not quite fit, the shirts and their wearers remain anonymous, their words recorded only in unending, stream-of-consciousness style poetry.

Alone in Richmond’s tight frame, against a simple and unembellished background, the women clutch at the forgotten fabric, hugging themselves and bracing against the intrusions of memories. The irresistible poignancy of the work lies in the inextricable nature of the banal or incidental with the profound and monumental. The shirts’ unexplained tears, accidental stains left by the passage of time, and obscure graphic lettering collide with mournful faces, eyes both resolute and pleading. These t-shirts, gifted by accident or on purpose, serve as the painfully insufficient evidence of great loves, irretrievable losses, and things unsaid.

At times, the shirts themselves become integrated into the very fabric of their wearer’s being. A woman wears a grey-blue shirt and dusts her eyelids with shadow of the same hue; similarly, a scarf or ring might match the color of a now-faded garment. As the only tangible remnants of something that exists no longer, the shirts become reminders of something in danger of being forgotten, a soft comfort that may be turned to in quiet, private moments. (via Feature Shoot)
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Andy Prokh’s Playful Series Captures Love And Friendship Between A Girl And Her Cats

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Russian-based photographer Andy Prokh captures images of his 6-year-old daughter, Katherine, and her pet cat, LiLu, as they grow up together. With the recent addition of a new feline to the Katherine and LiLu friendship, Prokh has now been photographing the friends as a trio. The threesome play chess, do homework, have tea, and play games with each other. Each photograph tells a story, each story resonating with childhood’s creative imagination. Prokh’s use of black and white enhances the whimsy and nostalgia evoked by his images. Prokh says he takes photographs of the friends because he loves them and believes “a photographer must love what he shoots.” Equally as impressive as his playful, fine art aesthetic is Prokh’s ability to stage and pose his pets, as cats are creatures not generally known for their obedience of human commands. You can check out Prokh’s full gallery of this series on his website. (via my modern met)

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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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Vintage Porn Transformed Into Poignant And Loving Pieces

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The artist Stephen Irwin’s work reinterprets the erotic; by scratching away and obscuring unnecessary content from found vintage porn imagery, he constructs a more emotionally climactic vision of love making. Like faded, far away memories of sexual encounters, his images only recall the most poetic and visceral sensations: the insertion of a finger, the flicking of a tongue, private moments of masturbation.

Unlike the work of someone like Von Brandis, Irwin’s images challenge the pornographic inclination to objectify the body, evoking moments of mutual bliss that transcend the material form. Irwin’s hands, limbs, and genitalia stand in for individuals, blurring their identities and ultimately pin-pointing a moment of worshipful self-actualization. The point of orgasm is elevated to spiritual heights when mouths cry out to the heavens. In a particularly sensual piece, the careful insertion of fingers into the vagina harkens back to illustrations of the doubting Thomas fingering the wounds of Christ.

These moments of ecstasy, however, are painfully brief; body parts emerge for an infinite blankness, vanishing just as soon as they appear. A deliberately messy black marker erases the figures, leaving only shadows in its wake; again, a shaded limb fades into whiteness, as if pushed down by a firm hand on the buttocks. The artist’s choice to use vintage images operates as yet another reminder of the temporality of climax.

These images are gloriously unstable and unreliable; for many, it’s impossible to tell if the original pornography was a sketch, painting, or photograph. Here, the lines between fantasy and recollection, between the corporeal and the spiritual, are miraculously indistinguishable. (via Juxtapoz)
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Paul Schneggenburger’s Haunting Long-Exposure Photographs Of Couples Sleeping Together

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In “Sleep of the Beloved,” the photographer Paul Schneggenburger takes 6 hour exposure shots of slumbering, snuggling, writhing couples. The artist asks each pair of lovers to lay their weary bodies on a bed in his own apartment, his dark sheets lit gently by candlelight. The movements of the beloveds, sometimes sweeping and sometimes jolting, are all captured on film.

As the subjects’ fleshy tones and unconscious turning blur the lines between individuals, each couple emerges as a vital, breathing organism; the two appear to move as one, thrusting themselves beyond the confines of the charcoal bed. The long exposure serves to flatten time, creating the illusion of synchronized movement; couples appear as if reaching for one another at one precise moment, as if driven to touch, to bridge the gap between two separate dreamscapes.

Schneggenburger captures lovers at their most vulnerable; in the place of lucid, posed faces, the portraits offer slackened features glazed over by sleep, revealing startlingly intimate communications. As each pair enters into a wordless conversation, they express secret desires with the utmost abandon. Some grab and cling urgently to one another; others press their semi-nude bodies close. Pairs of lovers distance themselves, carving out private, isolated nooks within the bedding.

Each recorded face, filmed over the course of a long night, betrays countless emotions and yearnings. Capturing dreamy moments of peace and restlessness within each single frame, “Sleep of the Beloved” blurs the lines between the erotic, the lonesome, and the blissful, painting a beautifully complex, honest, and raw portrait of love and intimacy. (via Lost at E Minor and Demilked)
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Angelo Merendino Photographs His Wife’s Battle With Terminal Cancer

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Five months after being wed in Central Park, while most couples are settling into a new blissful life together, Angelo Merendino and his wife Jennifer received troubling news: Jennifer had breast cancer.

Of this diagnosis, and the journey that ensued, Angelo states, “With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, ‘You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.’”

Angelo took his wife’s request seriously and his photographs, collected here, document not just her struggle with cancer, but also a certain compassionate way of looking– a presence from behind the lens that is not exploiting nor agenda-driven. Each black and white image from Angelo shows the necessity of bearing witness or being a vulnerable presence that is sharing in the difficult and very human experience of love and loss.

Angelo additionally notes, “We loved each other with every bit of our souls. Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.”

For those of us touched by cancer, we can relate to Angelo’s statement — sickness is not just about the disease, it’s about relationships: how we deepen with one another by practicing empathy and how this feeling palpably echoes long after someone passes. Capturing this feeling in art, the way Angelo has, connects not just two people, but many millions more.

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Graphic Designers Embark on Strange 40 Day Dating Project

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40 Days of Dating – All Videos from 40 Days of Dating on Vimeo.

It’s difficult to tell if it is performance art, a design project, or just a weird way to date.  However you classify it, graphic designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman have flung themselves into the project straightforwardly titled 40 Days of Dating.  Exasperated with the New York City dating scene, the designers turned to each other.  Each deals with the opposite problem – Jessica jumps in too quickly, Timothy’s reluctant to take the plunge.  The two good friends decided to date each other for forty days – the amount of time often thought required to quit a bad habit.  However, the dating project entails a bit more.  First, there are six rules:

  1. We will see each other every day for forty days.
  2. We will go on at least three dates a week.
  3. We will see a couples therapist once a week.
  4. We will go on one weekend trip together.
  5. We will fill out the daily questionnaire and document everything.
  6. We will not see, date, hookup, or have sex with anyone else.

The daily dating adventures of the couple were then uploaded to their in fashionable design style.  Would love and dating be redeemed or their relationship irreparably ruined?  40 Days of Dating was set to find out.

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Michelle Jane Lee: A Labor of Love

I feel like most people dream of falling in love one day, but what if that day turns into a year – and then another?  What if the act of falling in love becomes an all-consuming force that necessitates the creation of your own color-coded language?  What if your name is Michelle Jane Lee, and this series of ‘what ifs’ has actually been your life for the last three years?   The end result of that experience might resemble a thirty-foot love letter and a mountain of other drawings representing your unmentionable thoughts and desires for a woman that would ultimately come to reject you.  A hard pill to swallow for most, but Lee seems undeterred in her pursuit of the unattainable.  After all, true obsession is captivating – for both artist and audience in this case.  Her work is incredibly personal, absolutely honest, and exceptionally beautiful.  If you are in or around Los Angeles on April 7th - I recommend that you attend the opening reception of her most recent solo exhibition at Gallery 3209.

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