We’ve always known that as far as street style goes, Tokyo rules. Inhabitants of the city don elaborate outfits and express a strong point of view through their appearance. Photographer Thomas Card’s new book Tokyo Adorned highlights more than 130 photos of these iconic looks. From Lolitas to cosplay to Yamanba, he captures girls who wear gas masks, laced top-hats, and plastic backpacks shaped like bat wings.
The photographer traveled to Tokyo a year after the devastating tsunami hit. “The country experienced an upsurge of national pride,” he writes, “and participants in street fashion increasingly celebrated their unique placement within the Japanese culture at large.”
Card removed his subjects from context (the street) and photographed them in front of a white background. Here, their outfits take center stage, an we’re able to focus on all of the incredible details and painstaking effort that goes into crafting these personas. Some of them are dark while others ooze innocence. Card’s series is a refined, delightful look at the intricacies of these subcultures.
With all this outrageous dress, does the line between personality and appearance ever become blurry? You have to ask yourself, what kind of person wears a full-sized teddy bear as a necklace? Card insists that his subjects know that people are staring, and they have a sense of humor about it. In an interview with Slate, he explains, “Everything from the names they choose for themselves to the particular arrangement of items and accessories and clothing often reflects a particular sense of humor. One woman’s name translates to ‘Barbecue.’ The humor of that is not lost on her.” (Via Fast Company)
Chances are that you’ve probably never seen a dog made to look like Disney’s Pluto. Well, it exists. Photographer Paul Nathan captured the odd world of creative dog grooming in his series (turned book), Groomed. It features professional groomers who use semi-permanent hair dyes and blowouts to style pets. Last year, Nathan traveled to Intergroom, one of the largest international dog and cat grooming conferences, and documented dogs that look like leopards, flamingos, and even people.
Groomed is strange, unexpected, and even shocking if you’ve never seen a dog made up like this. It might seem a bit cruel to subject these animals to this type of star treatment, especially when it comes to coloring their fur. The photographer explains in an interview with Feature Shoot that the priority is to make sure the dogs are comfortable. “In most cases the colors are done in stages on different days, usually in sessions of no more than three hours with plenty of breaks for the animal.” He states, later adding, “There is a vast variety of hair coloring products for dogs. They are all non-toxic and semi-permanent. Depending on the kind of coat the dog has it can last from a few washes to a few months.”
With that off your conscious, you can focus on how amusing these dogs are. They represent a relatively unknown subculture in grooming, and it’s only at events like Intergroom where groomers flex their creative muscles. They are responsible for their designs and take pride in them. And, the campy fun doesn’t end there – the people are often dressed to match the dogs they’ve styled. (Via Feature Shoot)
In photographer Susan Dobson’s series Sense of an Ending, she taps into our fascination of abandoned buildings. We ask ourselves, what happened to these places? Why is no one there, and how did they come to be in such disrepair? The once majestic-looking structures now sit among ruins and overgrown vegetation, and these haunting images remind us that everything built will eventually turn to dust. Dobson often frames her compositions so the homes look tiny when compared to a large, ominous-looking sky.
The photographer’s intention was that these works were timeless. They could point to a post apocalyptic future or relics of the past. In a short statement about her work, Dobson explains:
I am interested in how photographs have the ability to sit outside of any definitive time period, and to feel dislocated in time. It allows for associations to be made with a range of historical periods. For me, the series evokes images I have in my mind of the ruins from WWII that were still evident in Germany when I lived there as a child. (Via Flavorpill)
Zacharie Gaudrillot-Roy is a French photographer whose Facades series is a personal exercise in land and city-scape photography, with one major difference. In each photo, the Lyon-based Gaudrillot-Roy digitally edits each image so that building itself is erased, leaving only the structure’s front, or facade, present. Now on his third iteration of the series, each village or city building carries ominous, almost surreal connotations of civilizations being abandoned, wrecked by recession, or left to slowly disintegrate. However, the images retain a still, quiet beauty, and are haunting in their simplicity.
Says the photographer, “The façade is the first thing we see, it’s the surface of a building. It can be impressive, superficial or safe. Just like during a wandering through a foreign city, I walk through the streets with these questions: what will happen if we stick to that first vision? If the daily life of “The Other” was only a scenery? This series thus offers a vision of an unknown world that would only be a picture, without intimate space, with looks as the only refuge.” (via skumar’s)
German photographer Robert Schlaug creates Limited Area, a series in which we get to know landscapes, not as the usual sublime, endless terrains, but simply as a place that is contained and eventually terminated. In essence, Limited Areas reflects the “limits of human experiences via everyday landscape photographs.”
“Sometimes we feel we’ve run into a wall or stand in front of a precipice, not knowing how to proceed further. Or suddenly there opens up before us an insurmountable wall, and we know no way out. Even our thoughts and our imagination constantly finds their limits.”
By digitally manipulating the images, Schlaug re-creates something that we are used to seeing in our computer screens- a corrupted file, a glitchy image. Precisely, he drags down streaks of color across each section of his photographs; the result, a visual experience that he hopes will “raise awareness in times of total sensory overload.” His images, turn into colorful abstractions that will perhaps remind the viewer of the grand Abstract Expressionist works from the 1950′s. (via Phaidon)
Catherine Nelson’s newest series Expedition is comprised of hundreds of photographs, collaged and digitally “painted” together to make five imaginary landscapes. Using her experiences in the creation of visual effects for feature films like Moulin Rouge and Harry Potter, Nelson assembles the countless photographs into one seamless, vibrant, and surreal image. This style of working isn’t new for the artist, and we’ve previously featured her incredible floating worlds before.
In a short statement, she describes what her motivation was for her style, writing:
When I embraced the medium of photography, I felt that taking a picture that represented only what was within the frame of the lens wasn’t expressing my personal and inner experience of the world around me. With the eye and training of a painter and with years of experience behind me in film visual effects, I began to take my photos to another level.
When you see the images up close, you appreciate at her photo manipulating skills even more. They are flawlessly put together and not to mention rich with great details. She features luscious greens of all kinds, plants, animals, and even humans, making references to mythologies like the story of Narcissus. All elements were inspired by Nelson’s memories of growing up along the east coast of Australia. (Via Colossal)
Christopher Rimmer’s haunting photography series Sign of Life chronicles two towns that are slowly being buried by sand. The desolate and surreal works were shot in the diamond mining towns of Elizabeth Bay and Kolmanskop in South Western Namibia. Here, we see the hospital, ballroom, power station, theater, casino, and more slowly filling up of sand. The amount of it makes these places indistinguishable from one another as well as uninhabitable as the spaces are totally devoured.
The juxtaposition of the once-ornate interiors and the giant drifts of sand is fascinating. We see how the material, which is the same thing that’s used to build children’s sandcastles, is really destructive, as it takes doors off its hinges and works of filing rooms to the brim.
With Sign of Life, Rimmer explores the ultimate futility of human endeavor. The now ghost towns depicted in the work were extremely wealthy due to diamond mining and were once a symbol of growth and prosperity. After the diamonds ran out, the last resident moved away in 1951 and left the town to the elements. Now, they are no match for nature as it destroys the structures residents worked so hard to build. (Via Yellowtrace)
In reaction to a story by NPR’s Planet Money team about the financial collapse and its effect on Southwest Florida housing market, the The Big Picture photography column at Boston.com spent some time scouring Google Earth to document exactly how man-made structures and development planning has altered the land, coast and the way we cover that natural beauty we desire so much.
The resulting pictures show, in stunning simplicity, just how alien the natural landscape of Florida (or most of the Earth for that matter) has become. Ranging from densely-packed communities to barely finishing plotting, the photographs show the natural beauty of the land being lost, and mostly replaced by poorly-planned, short-term solution living situations. They also simultaneously insinuate humanity conquering nature like a plague of locusts, as well as demonstrate our efforts being over-run by nature, like every civilization of the past. (via boston.com)