Vittorio Ciccarelli’s photographic series titled Invisible captures parts of the world that we pass by – what we look at, but don’t really see. The artist highlights fast food chain signs, lamp posts, factory windows, and more in these simplified and beautifully-designed images. Ciccarelli’s works feature vibrant blues, reds, and yellow hues, and it’s clear that he caught these places on a good day.
By zeroing in on just a couple of sets of windows or a portions of a sign, he creates abstract compositions. We now focus on the formal aspects of the work rather than where or what the image is of. Sure, we might recognize that the two lights are the top of a lamp post, but that seems secondary to the gorgeous shapes and how they interact with the cloudless blue sky. When you look at these places just so, as Ciccarelli has done, you see how peculiar the seemingly “invisible” things in the world really are.
Joel Parés is a U.S. Marine-turned-photographer who’s created a series titled Judging America that illustrates the prejudices we often have against people who are different from ourselves. As the old saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and that’s what you’re liable to when you first see these stylized photographs.
Each image is broken up into the two parts – a stereotype of a particular societal group versus who the character actually is. The tattooed, gun-toting gangster turns out to be a Harvard graduate, a decorated stripper is a buttoned-up widowed mother of three kids, and more. You get the picture here – Parés is demonstrating that talented, incredible people come in all different packages.
“Many of us judge incorrectly by someone’s ethnicity, by their profession, and by their sexual interest,” Parés told PetaPixel. “The purpose of this series is to open our eyes and make us think twice before judging someone, because we all judge even if we try not to.” (Via Bored Panda)
Italian fashion photographer Lucia Giacani’s series Under My Skin shows just what kind of editorial liberties are taken in this interesting-yet-bizarre photoshoot. Originally shot for Vogue Italy, the colorful images feature a high-fashion model clothed in gorgeous garments while she dons unconventionally-colored makeup. It complements the props used in the photo; surrounding her are medical anatomy of the animal kingdom. Rabbits, goats, and chickens are all halved so we can see their insides.
Giacani’s photographic style is very clear and visual. Nothing is hidden in obscurity, and we see a lot of interesting details in the spotlight. The juxtaposition of the two main elements – the woman and the anatomy – creates a strange narrative. It makes us ask ourselves questions, like, who is this person? How do the two seemingly disparate subjects relate to one another? It’s this ambiguity that makes for a compelling and ultimately unforgettable image. (Via Illusion)
Photographer David Waldorf seeks to capture the truth in people’s eyes, and his series Trailer Park documents the people that live in these types of places. The slice-of-life images are in Sonoma, California and are partially what you’d expect from a place like this: double-wide trailers, faux wood panelling, and fake astroturf are visible. There are some peculiar elements to them as well. We see a picture of a woman in a wedding dress with a fire blazing in the foreground. She’s holding a shirtless man’s hand, and the scene is bizarrely reminiscent of the iconic painting American Gothic by Grant Wood.
If you aren’t familiar with a trailer park or have never been to one, Waldorf’s series offers a fascinating look into the goings-on. The plots where people live are technically mobile, but are decorated with performance. Some of the images detail the struggle of the working class – like the family of four that lives in these small spaces – while other photos are just plain odd, and seem like a throwback to the 1980’s except in present day. Time moves slower there. (Via Boingboing)
Long before the magic of Photoshop and its ability to manipulate came the work of Herbert List, a surrealist photographer working from the mid-1930’s through the 1960’s. His black and white images feature fake scientific models with their skin cut away and their guts partially exposed. This isn’t a particularly unusual sight- they are things you’d see in a classroom or museum – and show historical ways of practicing medicine. But, it’s how he frames the images that gives them an unnerving feel. Compositions are tightly cropped and provide us little context for what’s around them; it creates an air of mystery.
List was influenced by the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, which is evident as we see these statues that seem to exist in a void. They’re moody and strange, and List’s documentary-style photographs show how strange things are when presented a deliberate way. (Via Boing Boing and My Amp Goes to 11)
As a generation in Palestine confronts misery, violence, and rejection, the hip hop scene is an outlet to express themselves. Photographer Pierre Mérimée and journalist Jacques Denis capture the young people involved in this scene in their new book, Intifada Rap. In it, we meet MWR’s Mahmoud Shalabi, the girls of Arapyot, and the “veterans” on the scene, including Said Mourad, the voice of the first Intifada.
The book’s press release describes it as:
A dive into the heart of the Palestinian hip hop scene, Intifada Rap bears witness to the incredible strength of the musical movement, from the suburbs of Tel Aviv through to Ramallah. Pierre Mérimée and Jacques Denis’ work shines a glaring light on the reality of Palestinian rap while offering an unprecedented view into the daily lives of a generation confronted with misery, violence and rejection, fighting back against it all to escape their imposed fates. Far from the shocking image of television news and the continual discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the two journalists have documented the day to day lives of youth facing a dark future, for whom hip hope is more than just an escape. Armed only with their words, these men and women on the cusp of their twenties express their need for freedom, hope and equality through lucid texts and heavy beats.
Photographer Claire Rosen uses self portraiture as a way to transport the viewers into a world of fairytales. Through her aptly named series Fairy Tales and other Stories, she creates fantastical worlds where the isolated subjects surround themselves with scenes of nature, piles of books, and more. Often, their faces are obscured in the darker, more introspective version of these classic stories.
Rosen’s work mirrors her unconscious, and she explains in her artist statement:
Inside my dreams, I am someone else. I create characters, like alter egos, presented as recognizable archetypes. The figure inside the image often looks away from the viewer, the face hidden by the turn of the body or by a mask. I hope that the viewer will imagine themselves inside fairytale, and interpret the narrative of the image as one might interpret a fairytale, searching for hidden meeting inside the story.
This series speaks to living in the 21st Century, a time when we are constantly bombarded with noise, information and moving images. Still imagery, by contrast, allows us to shut out the noise and hear ourselves. I use photography to both escape and convey the overwhelming nature of our modern reality.
The pastoral setting of this work recalls a simpler time, while reminding us of humanity’s attempt to conquer the enormity of nature. I draw on themes in classic fairytales – beauty, chastity, and passivity – not as a comment on post-feminism, but as an expression of a more universal experience. My aim with the use of folklore is to suggest the continuity of the human condition: outside, the physical world changes with dizzying speed; inside, our cerebral world remains timeless.
In Thailand, the term ladyboy is a nickname for transgender women, and they are a population often met with intolerance and prejudice. Their place in society is explored through photographer Soopakorn Srisakul’s series Mistress, in which he captures the daily life of his girlfriend and four other ladyboys. They all work at bars and as call girls in the infamous red-light Nana district in Bangkok.
Srisakul’s images are his journey in understanding his partner and the others experiences. There are few positions that are hiring transgendered women, so this community typically finds work in department stores, makeup counters, and cabaret venues. Those that are bargirls generally make better the better wages, which allows them to save up for gender reassignment surgeries.
Mistress presents us with poignant pictures of both work and home. There are moments of dark clubs, sure, but there are also quiet scenes in bright bedrooms. Srisakul writes:
They go out working, come back to their room, go relaxing outside, occasionally go back to visit family in the countryside, and then go to work. They, like anyone else, just try to get by. They laugh for joy, cry for sorrow, they work to earn a living, and they have an argument with their boyfriend, just like anyone else. In this sense, what makes them so different from us as to warrant a harsh treatment from the moral society, and do they deserve it at all? (Via Feature Shoot)