Mark Menjivar Updates His Photographic Series Of Fridges Several Years Later

Midwife/High School Science Teacher, 2008, left, and right, midwife/business consultant, 2012

Left: Midwife/High School Science Teacher, 2008. Right: midwife/business consultant, 2012

A bartender's fridge in 2008 (left) and 2012 (right).

A bartender’s fridge in 2008 (left) and 2012 (right).

Left: The fridge of a carpenter and photographer in 2008. Right: The fridge, with the photographer now a homemaker, in 2012.

Left: The fridge of a carpenter and photographer in 2008. Right: The fridge, with the photographer now a homemaker, in 2012.

Photographer Mark Menjivar wants to know what’s in your fridge. His series You Are What You Eat began in 2007 (it was previously featured on Beautiful/Decay here), and it captured the insides of 60 different people’s fridges. Menjivar thought of the series as a portrait project, with food defining someone’s identity. Several years later, he revisited some of the fridges. The new photographs depict how lives change over the years, as illustrated by food. For some, their habits have changed drastically, while others, more or less, are the same.

 The ingredients in one’s fridge tell us a lot. Not only what kind of food they eat, but do they cook regularly, do they drink alcohol, do they like barbecue. And what about fresh produce? When the photographer met with a midwife and science teacher in 2008, they had started a commitment to eating only local produce. In 2012, with ready-made fruit packs in sight, we can see that commitment didn’t exactly last. The fridge that was chock-full of takeout containers in 2008 was owned by a bartender. Still a bartender in 2012, he has, according to Menjivar, started eating healthier and lost weight.

You Are What You Eat was originally shot for an exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography. Since the release of the series, the exhibition has travelled to 15 cities. In each city, Menjivar collaborates with communities to create a conversation about food issues in their area. The series will eventually become a book. (via Slate)

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Christopher McKenney’s Surreal Photographs Are Disturbingly Beautiful

Christopher McKenney - Photography

Christopher McKenney - Photography

Christopher McKenney - Photography

Christopher McKenney - Photography

 

 

The surreal photographs by Christopher McKenney are haunting, as a (mostly) faceless figure interacts with a deserted environment. The desaturated images are shot in the middle of the woods, a corn field, a lake, and back country roads. Sometimes, we see a ghost. Other times, a man is lit on fire. Whatever the situation, McKenney crafts a quietly desperate image.

The photographer recently told art blog iGNANT that he one day found himself in the woods with nothing but a sheet, chair, and frame. He placed the sheet over his head and photoshopped his body out. He tells iGnant, I like taking away identity when photographing and to leave people thinking. “I only make the photos I do to express myself and what other people see or think is up to them, as long as I make them feel anything I’m ok with that.”

Personally, I experience cognitive dissonance when looking at McKenney’s work. I find a lot of these images disturbing yet beautifully composed.. For instance, the photo Fragile Perspective (above) features someone with a burning box over their head. Formally, the colors are rich and the orange of the fire is stunning against the blues, browns, and grays. But, then I study the content of the photograph and realize that it depicts someone who is essentially set on fire.

Not all of McKenney’s photographs are like that. Other times, they are simply whimsical and nonsensical. In Let Go, a suitcase with a balloon tied to the handle stays on the ground as its owner floats away. Another photograph has a chair in an empty field with a pair of hands (only hands, no body), infinitely holding a mirror. It’s these photographs I enjoy more – ones that are odd, but don’t communicate utter despair. (Via iGNANT)

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Rad, Dude: Michael Galinsky’s Photographs Captures Malls From the 80′s

Michael Galinsky - Photograph

Michael Galinsky - Photograph

Michael Galinsky - Photograph

Michael Galinsky - Photograph

Photographer Michael Galinsky’s series Malls Across America captures what we simultaneously love and hate about the mall. Stale air, artificial light, and swarms of teenagers are all captured in photographs from 1989. It was in the 1980’s and 1990’s that these places were at the height of popularity and a bastion of consumerism; Galinsky’s photos now is like digging up a time capsule.

Malls Across America began in the winter of 1989 at the Smith Haven Mall in Garden City Long Island. Galinsky travelled from North Carolina to South Dakota, Washington State and beyond photographing malls. We can look at this series as a source of amusement and anthropological study. There are ostentatious 80’s fashions (a lot of big hair) and the beginnings of 90’s grunge.

In many of these photographs, we are the voyeur. I get the feeling that Galinsky took these photographs on the sly, trying to be inconspicuous about it. He captures images through plants, behind people on escalators, and standing outside stores as women are conferring about clothing choices. Because Galinsky makes us both the voyeur and the viewer, I can’t help but feel a little bad for spying. But, considering all the 80’s movies that included mall hijinks, it feels oddly fitting.

These malls still exist, they are just dead. My hometown mall still looks eerily familiar to what’s in these photographs. If this series makes you feel nostalgic for your own mall, you can buy a book of Galinsky’s work. Aptly titled, Malls Across America, it was released this past summer. (Via It’s Nice That and Gizmodo) Read More >


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Eddy De Azevedo Recreates Rothko Paintings From Discarded Lighters

Eddy De Azevedo - Photography Eddy De Azevedo - Photography Eddy De Azevedo - Photography

Eddy De Azevedo used discarded lighters he had found and assembled them to into reimagined Mark Rothko works. Using Rothko’s color field paintings as a guide, De Azevedo created a photographic series using hundreds of lighters. He carefully collected and arranged the objects, which vary in color, size, and luminosity. When grouped together, his photographs are pleasing to look at as a whole or for their individual details.

The lighters work well as an interpretation of Rothko’s paintings. The original color fields are not flat colors, but vary in intensity, hue, and brush stroke. Much like these paintings, De Azevedo breaks up large areas of colors by staggering lighters and placing opaque and translucent ones next to each other.

De Azevedo is interested in the impact of a simple image. It’s why he is inspired by painters who work with large color fields. To him, these pieces have cross-cultural appeal. We all have a relationship to color, albeit all a different one. De Azevedo further enhances these paintings by adding objects. The lighters, paired with color, can be rich with meaning. In this way, he is creating an image that is more complex just beyond recreating Rothko’s works.

These images are just one part in De Azevedo’s series titled Walking My Dog. As the artist would go on long walks with his pet, he noticed all of the debris present along the ocean shore. He began collecting all of the scraps, which included more than 600 lighters, 1000 bottle caps, 200 fisherman gloves, and 2000 plastic bottles. De Azevedo has recycled this discard into appealing and colorful works of art. But, the staggering amount of material he has to work with is a good reminder of how much waste we actually produce, and our responsibility to take better care of the environment. (Via Feature Shoot) Read More >


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Scott Dalton Photographs Of Mexican Faith Healers

Scott Dalton

faith healers

Scott Dalton

Scott Dalton, an award-winning photographer and filmmaker based in Houston, Texas documents the pilgrimage devoted to Mexican faith healer, Niño Fidencio, in Espinazo, Mexico.

Through the years in Mexican cultural history, Curanderos (Faith Healers) have served an important role in peoples’ medical and spiritual lives. In fact, many of these healers become celebrities, as their miraculous healing creates huge followings. In the early 20th century, El Niño Fidencio became one of the country’s most celebrated healers; today he is regarded as a folk saint by thousands of his devotees, or, as they call them, fidencistas.

In 2009, Dalton traveled to Espinazo to document the festivities devoted to El Niño Fidencio.

“What interested me in the project was just the idea of faith, and how it takes a variety of forms in peoples’ lives. This project just looks at one part of that, but I think it serves a reminder of how important faith is for so many people throughout the world, and how we all come to terms with our own belief system within the context of our own society and environment.”

Fidencistas believe that modern-day curanderos can channel the spirit of Fidencio; these photographs show many of the rituals provided by these modern day healers. To us this looks unusual, cinematic and surreal, but to them these ritualistic activities only mean their salvation. Dalton said he witnessed transformations, in which the eyes of curanderos would roll back and they’d assume a high-pitched voice- taking Fidencio’s spirit in order to heal. (via Slate)

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Laura Plageman’s Subtly Distorted Landscape Photographs Will Make You Do A Double Take

crumpled Photography

distorted  PhotographyLaura Plageman - PhotographyLaura Plageman - Photography

Photographer Laura Plageman carefully distorts her photographs in a way that is so subtle that it makes you do a double take. Using photographs that she has shot, she folds, tears, and crumples idyllic-looking landscapes. This is done in such a way that at first glance, these Plageman’s slight alterations make perfect sense. You wouldn’t necessarily question the melting tree line until you begin to study the photographs.  Once you do, you can see that the mood of these images has changed. And, that’s exactly what Plageman wants. From her artist statement:

Her images explore the relationships between the process of image making, photographic truth and distortion, and the representation of landscape. She is interested in making pictures that examine the natural world as a scene of mystery, beauty, and constant change transformed by both human presence and by its own design.

Plageman titles of all her pieces as “Response to…” I see the the way she manipulates her photographs as a way of responding to the environment that she’s captured.   These aren’t negative interpretations or an ill-will towards these landscapes. Instead, they add another layer of story-telling to what already exists. The creased paper adds depth, and tearing adds a new horizon line. What exists beyond what we now can’t see. Rather than showing us a landscape we’ve seen many times before, Plageman creates a totally new narrative by just a few considered folds.

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Mathu Andersen’s Unreal Androgynous Instagram Selfie Transformations

rupauls makeup artist rupauls drag race makeup androgynous makeup

skeleton makeup

Mathu Andersen, creative producer on RuPaul’s Drag Race, creative director on Drag U, and RuPaul’s personal hair and makeup artist, crafts intricate selfies for his personal instagram account.

With his talents on board, he make himself up to portray diverse whimsical androgynous personas that comment on gender aesthetics.

Andersen was recently recognized on Instagram’s very own account for his skeletal Halloween look, gaining the photo almost 500,00 and Andersen a ton of new followers.

“…I like being that special thing that people can stumble upon and perhaps even get excited enough to share with others and I like to be left to my own devices and whimsy.”

His portraits are inspirational pieces of art that influence new make-up techniques in runways and up-scale fashion photo-shoots.

Follow Mathu on instagram at (@mathu7).

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Ulrich Collette’s Spliced Portraits Shows Incredible Genetic Similarities In Relatives

Ulrich Collette

Father / Son: Denis, 60 & Mathieu, 25 years

Ulrich Collette

Grandmother / Granddaughter: Ginette, 62, & Ismaëlle,12

Ulrich Collette

Daughter / Mother: Marie-Pier 18 & N’sira, 49

Ulrich Collette

Father / Son: Denis, 53 & William, 28 years

Photography has long been used to document the scientific process and display visual evidence, so when Ulric Collette began to use the medium to show how genetics can exhibit itself, it was both the obvious similarities, and differences, that caught everyone’s attention. Working out of Quebec, Canada, Ulric, a self-taught photographer and graphic designer, began the photoseries in 2008 where family member’s faces were spliced together to create portraits that compared physical appearance with contrasting ages. The process seems like a no-brainer, but it was truly born from an accident. The photographer explains, “I was attempting to create something totally different with another project, and in the process I came up with the first picture, me and my then 7-year-old son,”. Realizing the easily viewed comparison between generations when shown spliced together, Ulric began to enlist the help of others to show the effects of genetics. He continues, “I decided to try the same process with a few family members and the project was born.”

Collette uses specific portraits edited down from hundreds of tightly-controlled photos, to create his finished works. Acknowledging that even with the advances of editing software, it is still very difficult to find an appropriate match that works, he explains the difficulty of the project, “I need to take a lot of pictures in a controlled environment of each model, compare the picture to one another, chose the right ones and stick them together in Photoshop” .

The photographer used many of his own family members to investigate these connections, including his daughter and mother (above, Ginette & Ismaëlle), and even himself and his own brother (below, Christopher & Ulric). Collette explains, “The reaction to the project never ceases to surprise me…A few of the ones I’m in shocked me – me and my brother Christopher, for example, we totally look the same!” (via huffington post and bbc)


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