Erik Johansson’s Photos Appear So Realistic You Might Believe They’re Real

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Swedish photographer Erik Johansson creates surreal photographs that capture the supernatural in the everyday. Although they’re obviously doctored, his skills make the compositions look as though they’ve really happened. We see a lot of things that take place in open spaces and nature, and Johansson’s subjects are shown literally sewing up a landscape, effortlessly rowing through a green field, and setting the ships in a painting free into the ocean.

Johansson looks at photography as a way to collect material and to realize the ideas in his mind. He looks at every new project as a challenge to make it as realistic as possible, and he often succeeds. It’s part of the fun that goes along with Johansson’s work, because we generally think of photography as a documentation of something that actually happened; seeing wintered ushered in via someone’s bed sheets, for instance, creates a delightful confusion. We know that there’s no way that this picture is possible, but Johansson has crafted it so realistically that for a second we might believe it.

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The History Of Military Uniforms From The 11th Century To The Present

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Huscarl, Battle of Hastings, 1066

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Mounted Knight, Siege of Jerusalem, 1244

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Fighting Archer, Battle of Agincourt, 1415

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Yorkist Man at Arms, Battle of Bosworth, 1485

In his series Soldiers’ Inventories, photographer Thomas Atkinson showcases the change in military kits of British soldiers over the course of 1,000 years, from 11th century to most recent days. His documentary starts with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and spans throughout twelve other combats, including battle of Waterloo and the war of Afghanistan. The shift is riveting – from daggers to iPads carried alongside guns.

To gather his artifacts, Atkinson visited living history communities which use these collectives for battle re-enactments. His displays look like neatly organized puzzles and reminds of the established military order these soldiers faced every day. Atkinson says he would spend hours aligning the gear, starting with bigger pieces and filling in the empty spaces with smaller attributes.

“It’s a slow process, a bit like a game of Tetris – you place a few key items and then start to fill in the gaps. Sometimes you have to go backwards or start again because it isn’t working. I wanted to arrange objects in a way which would illustrate and give clues as to what they are – objects pertaining to food are grouped together, as are items which relate to the rifles and weaponry and so on,” Atkinson told DPreview.

Atkinson’s retrospective unfolds a great deal about the change in our warfare. First off: development in design which is best illustrated by the shift in armour: from colourful vibrantly colored vests, to camouflage. According to Atkinson, “the fact that certain objects recur is more fascinating than the ones that evolve“. Best examples of it being a spoon, helmet and something to kill the boredom with: from 16th century playing cards, to magazines and iPads. (via Wired)

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Photos Of Life In Retirement Highlight The Fun Had In Old Age

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There’s a city in Arizona that caters exclusively to retirees and where residents must meet be a minimum of 55 years or older. This unique place is called Sun City, and Los Angeles-based photographer Kendrick Brinson documented it in her series titled Sun City: Life After Life. It’s home to 42,500 individuals, with 10,000 of them in their eighties, and has a youthful energy about it. There are dozens of recreational activities including synchronized swimming, cheerleading, dancing, car shows, and much more.

Brinson’s photographs reveal day-to-day life in Sun City. We see that the mood is cheerful and bright, as the clear desert sky makes the bedazzled outfits appear even shinier. Here, it’s an enclave of folks getting old, and they want to keep it that way. Grandchildren under the age of 18 are only allowed to visit for a limited amount of time, as to not disrupt the mood of the place by reminding the residents of their age.

As people enter their twilight years, probably after working for decades and raising kids, it seems that they are encountering a second youth. It’s one that’s filled with experience and wisdom, rather than naivety, but still full of fun and little responsibility. The elderly seem to realize that they aren’t invincible (as so many teenagers do), but that they are entitled to enjoy the rest of their lives however they like. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Photos of Woodstock Music Festival Capture Peace, Love, and Rock ‘n’ Roll

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It’s been over 45 years since the iconic Woodstock Festival first took place. In 1969, nearly half a million music lovers made their way to the Catskills for the event that offered peace, love, and rock’n’roll. Thirty-two bands performed at there, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Who. Two LIFE photographers named Bill Eppridge and John Dominis capture not only the music, but of the crowds, muddy fields, and lush woods where young people celebrated their youth.

The epic festival was originally supposed to be a ticketed affair, with booths set up to charge the $24 admission. But, they were never installed thanks to the unexpected surge of music fans, and the surrounding fences were torn down. This act declared that Woodstock was a free event. Over the course of just a few days, these documentary-style photos tell us a lot. They depict the communal living and the aftermath of a five-inch rainfall that turned everything into a giant mud pit. Concert-goers are seen receiving medical care, bathing nude in the streams, and standing as one giant mass with lighters in the air.

John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival recalls a 3:30AM start time (delayed because of rain), and how incredible the experience was:

We were ready to rock out and we waited and waited and finally it was our turn … there were a half million people asleep. These people were out. It was sort of like a painting of a Dante scene, just bodies from hell, all intertwined and asleep, covered with mud.

And this is the moment I will never forget as long as I live: A quarter mile away in the darkness, on the other edge of this bowl, there was some guy flicking his Bic, and in the night I hear, ‘Don’t worry about it, John. We’re with you.’ I played the rest of the show for that guy.

You can see additional photos by John Dominis and Bill Eppridge to learn more about Woodstock.

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Norman Rockwell’s Reference Photos For His Iconic Paintings Revealed

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Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) was a celebrated 20th-century American painter and illustrator, whose works became the imagery depicting everyday life in the States. It appears, Rockwell’s photo-realistic artworks were often accompanied by staged photographs which artist then used as a reference to paint his nostalgic scenes.

Storytelling is a natural part of all of Rockwell’s paintings. Often disguised, the true story would reveal itself through the smallest details which the artist always considered beforehand. Take his illustration called “Marriage Counseling” (below): the intention is clear but there are many unfolding details like the man’s black eye or even the books stacked in the shelves reading Van Eyck and Giovanni Bellini. Due to these impeccable narratives, even the reference photographs become works of art.

“There were details, accidents of light, which I’d missed when I’d been able to make only quick sketches of a setting. A photograph catches all that.”

At first, Norman Rockwell was hiring professional models but after awhile he switched to having his friends and neighbors posing for the photographs. For example, the tattooed sailor (below) was also Rockwell’s neighbor, Clarence Decker. During his career, artist produced over 4,000 original works and snapped more than 20,000 reference shots. The collection was revealed by the Norman Rockwell Museum and its curator, Ron Schick. It was also turned into a traveling exhibition and book titled “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera”. (via NPR)

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Ethereal Photos Of Fireflies In Motion Capture The Lyrical Quality Of Their Light

take3 take4 take6 take1Japanese photographer Takehito Miyatake’s images capture darkened compositions with illuminated trails of fireflies and forests. The ethereal works are lyrical in their treatment of light, and we see it dancing throughout fields, streams, and into the night sky. It captures not only the beauty of nature, but of the way that darkness can feel magical.

Miyatake’s work is influenced by two things: the devastating Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2011, and waka, a classical form of Japanese poetry. These types of poems are written in 31 syllables and arranged in five lines, of 5/7/5/7/7 syllables, and they are meant as an expression of the human heart’s response to nature. The photographer considers his work similar to the poetry form, as “snapshots” of the forces that have shaped and destroyed Japan.

In an interview with Mia Tram, Associate Photo Editor at TIME, Miyatake talks about an influential piece of Waka poetry, stating:

The poetry of Kubota represents what I saw and felt when I took these images. When I photograph, a mystic feeling comes over me. I sometimes admire the mysterious legends that are a part of Japanese folklore that express a fear of nature. I believe Waka also intends to capture this sort of fear of the mystic beauty of nature. (via Lightbox)

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Dreamlike Food Photography Creates Alternate Edible Worlds

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Russian self-taught photographer Dina Belenko creates alluring still life images which she calls “photoillustrations”. Combining creative and well arranged compositions with photography and a little bit of photo manipulation skills, Belenko creates beautiful food photography starring various inanimate objects: food products, utensils and other props.

According to the photographer, “every object around us keeps our emotions, expectations, feelings”, thus photographing things and capturing their soul can be equated to making powerful human portraits. To create her daydream-like photographs, Belenko uses simple everyday materials: sugar cubes, coffee, paper cutouts, clay models, etc. To get more exquisite accessories, like dentistry or jewelry tools, she delves into old closets or visits flea markets.

Belenko also feels the need to manifest the possibilities behind still life photography. According to her, it is one of the least popular genres in Russia, mostly pictured as a boring composition of flowers and fruits.

“I prefer still life because the role of chance is incredibly limited here. You may feel as a director <…> Each failure is your own failure, but every victory is also completely yours.”

Belenko is participating in an ongoing project called “An Endless Book”. Each week, participants have to upload an artwork under a self-selected topic. At the end of 2015, a huge panoramic image will be made featuring all of their works. You can read more about it at the official website.

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Ambivalent Photographs Of Bolivian Witchcraft Reveal The Clash Between Tradition And Modernity

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In their book Waska Tatay, French photographer Thomas Rousset and graphic designer Raphael Verona document the cryptic reality of Bolivian witchcraft. During their trip to the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Rousset and Verona encountered the magical world of shamanism, spiritual healers and ancient mythology. Their book exposes the collision between old and new, mystical and mundane, spiritual and physical.

The ambivalence of Waska Tatay begins from a first glance. Book’s abstract cover of fading yellows and blues is contrasting with the actual matter. The clash continues throughout Rousset and Verona’s style of photography, which is tossing between reportage and staged portraiture. Finally, the grotesque ambiguity reaches its top when the subjects in all their ritual garments are photographed in their mundane surroundings. This incoherence between content and form exposes the viewer to the grim reality of tradition in today’s world.

“We decided to mix two languages: one very staged and those that are very snapshot. We mixed a lot to create ambiguity for the reader, in knowing what’s real and what’s fiction.”

Rousset and Verona claims to have tried to zoom the old fashioned world into today’s reality. The picture of a Bolivian girl standing in a tree is an iconic example of their idea: “You could see that the girl is a witch, trying to talk with divinities or evils but her voice to God is replaced by a cell phone,” says Verona. According to the photographers, what they witnessed in Bolivia was a sense of magical realism which they wanted to broadcast to the viewer. The book Waska Tatay is available on IDPURE. (via Wired)

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