The Last Meals Of Death Row Inmates Documented By Henry Hargreaves

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In the series No Seconds, photographer Henry Hargreaves recreates and records the last meals of Death Row inmates. He captures not only what they ate, but accompanies the photos with what was on the menu and the crimes they committed. Hargreaves is no stranger to the Beautiful/Decay blog, where he was last seen collaborating with food stylist Caitlin Levin. With this particular project, it’s all him, fueled by his towards incredulousness of the US Death Penalty as inspiration. “In New Zealand (where I’m from), and in fact nearly any where else in the developed world, the Death Penalty is just not even in the conversation.” Hargeaves states. “It is a remnant of an earlier era. This little bit of civility, ‘hey we are going to kill you but what would you like to eat?’ just jumped off the page.”

These last meals are recreated beautifully, and the photographer depicts each with its own style. Some, like the fried chicken dinner of John Wayne Gacey appears greasy and gluttonous. Others, like Victor Feguer’s single olive is a poignantly positioned on a gold-trimmed plate.

Food is a common thread amongst diverse groups of people, and the eating habits and choices made can tell you a lot about a person. In researching the project, Hargreaves tells Vice, “The thing that kind of struck me with these last meals was how many of them were these big, deep fried meals, which we like to call comfort food. Here were these people in their last moments and all they really want was a little bit of comfort.” This is one of the last messages someone on Death Row could send, and their choices make you contemplate the message they might be trying to send. What was Timothy McVeigh trying to say when he ordered two pints of ice cream? We’ll never know. (Via Huffington Post and Vice)

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“We Met On the Internet” Captures Portraits of Couples Who Found Love Through Online Dating

Sarah and Steve, met in a Yahoo chat room

Sarah and Steve, met in a Yahoo chat room

Linny and Pat, met on Craigslist ‘Missed Connections’

Linny and Pat, met on Craigslist ‘Missed Connections’

Mariela and Tiago, met on Tattoodatingsite.com

Mariela and Tiago, met on Tattoodatingsite.com

Cora and Will, met on Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’

Cora and Will, met on Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’

With so many ways of finding love online, it’s no surprise that nearly one-third of married couples in the United States were introduced this way.  In the series We Met On The Internet, photographer Jena Cumbo teams up with writer Gina Tron to document couples whose love stories started from an encounter on the web. Cumbo photographs the couples in their homes and occasionally out in public, while Tron records their story. You might think of Match.com, OKCupid, eHarmony as the way most people find their mate, but in reality, they meet in a bunch of different and sometimes strange ways. We get a glimpse inside of the lives of couples who took advantage of the matchmaking that the Internet has to offer.

Perhaps one of the more unconventional introductions was between Cora and Will (photo directly above), who met through Craigslist “Free Stuff”. Here’s their story:

Cora and Will met because of a Craigslist ‘Free Stuff’ listing. Will had free movie tickets and Cora was the taker. This was back before Craigslist anonymized responses. In the signature of Will’s email, Cora noticed his website. She clicked on it and discovered he was a talented graphic designer. She was intrigued by his work and they kept in touch, and their friendship turned romantic. They are now married and had a daughter in 2011 and a son earlier this year.

We Met On The Internet is an ongoing series, so if you or someone you know met their partner online, you can contact Cumbo. (Via FeatureShoot)

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Erwan Fichou’s Bizarre Photographs Of People In Manicured Trees

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Years before the project Miradors became reality, photographer Erwan Fichou saw a man standing in a tree that looked like a UFO. This image stuck with him and he eventually turned his memory into a reality, working with gardeners to design topiaries of varying shapes and sizes. Afterwards, he invited people off the street to climb those trees and photographed them at the top.This strange and light-hearted series illustrates the interesting progression of what happens when we have a memory. Often times we see things as we walk down the street, file them in our brain, and move on. So, it’s refreshing to see that Fichou returned to this moment and developed something completely new from it. He touches on this idea in a short statement about his work:

What’s interesting about pictures isn’t their function, to represent reality, but their dynamic potential, their ability to spark and build projections, interactions, narrative frameworks—mechanisms that structure reality[…...]an image is the result of movements that are temporarily sedimentary or crystallized in it[…...] Beyond metaphors, we must understand that, paradoxically, our contemporary sensitivity predisposes us to prophesy, not history. We live in a world of images that precede reality; we’re not looking to see, unless it’s déjà-vu. (Via This is Paper)

 

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Landscape Photography Of Processed Foods Includes Valleys Of Fruit Loops

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In the photographic series Processed Views, valleys of Fruit Loops surround a lake of milk, while marshmallows create a hazy, pillowy landscape. Shot as a collaboration between Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman, the photographs interpret the frontier of industrial food production as the line between science and nature grows thin. In a statement about the work, the pair writes, “As we move further away from the natural sources of our food, we head into uncharted territory replete with unintended consequences for the environment and for our health.”

These photographs are simultaneously appealing and disgusting. Ciurej and Lochman have set the scene and produced grandiose, often idyllic looking landscapes that mimic splendor you’d find in the natural world. However, when you remember that these a mixture of real food and unpronounceable chemicals additives, it’s hard to find them as attractive. The crashing waves of syrupy sticky Coca-Cola is not somewhere that  I’d like to visit.

The style of Processed Views references the work of Carleton Watkins (1829-1916). He is famous for his photographs of the American West, framing it as a land of endless possibilities. Ciurej and Lochman go on to write about the photographer, who was commissioned by the corporate interests of the day including the railroad, milling, and mining industries. “Watkins embodied the commonly held 19th century view of Manifest Destiny – the inevitability of America’s bountiful land, justifiably utilized and consumed by it’s citizens,” they write. Now seen as the land of excess, the series is a metaphor for the manifest destiny of processed foods. (Via Makezine)

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Beautiful Photographs Relentlessly Capture A War-Torn Lebanon Without Victimization

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Amidst the violence and chaos ravaging parts of her native Lebanon, the photographer Rania Matar does not aim to make sweeping political statements about the Middle East; with her complimentary bodies of work titled Ordinary Lives and What Remains (now on display at Houston’s Bank of America Center), she hopes to capture the resilience of the human spirit. Fighting the photographic and documentary urge to re-victimize survivors of war, she offers a more nuanced picture of the lives of Lebanese women and children.

Much of Matar’s work explores global representations of femininity—in a recent monograph, she published images of adolescent girls inhabiting a space between freedom and familial responsibility, the childhood bedroom— and in Ordinary Lives, the artist’s powerful sensitivities color the otherwise bleak black and white war-torn landscape. In “Broken Mirror,” a young woman meticulously adjusts her veil before a shattered mirror, her perception of self seen as fractured by her environment but preserved within her emotional core. Similarly, “Dead Mother” captures the veiling process as a ritual connecting female youth to a monolithic photograph of the matriarch, an undercurrent of modern political and social debate serving as a relentless backdrop.

What Remains operates as an arguably less subjective series of architectural photographs, documenting the aftermath of 2006’s war between Israel and Hezbollah. The series separates itself from Ordinary Lives in its deliberate use of color; the bright blues and yellows read like surrogates for the displaced families that once inhabited the violated spaces, offering a powerful tonal continuation of the striking and complexly seen human spirit captured in Ordinary Lives. Where we once viewed children, embracing the walls in rich gray tones, we are offered  a Winnie the Pooh wall hanging, daydreaming beside an empty closet. Take a look.

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Suzanne Heintz Photographs the American Dream With Her Mannequin Family

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Photographer Suzanes Heintz is a self-proclaimed spinster. As a single woman, she got fed up with the bombardment of questions about when she was going to get married. Tired of being pittied, she decided to confront this issue head on. She purchased two mannequins – one male and one female child – and the series Life Once Removed was born. Dressing up and posing with her fake family, she stages witty representations of the American Dream. Ski trips, vacations, and stereotypical romantic moments are all acted out by Heintz, and she sets the scene perfectly. These colorful images feel saturated, in both how they look and the emotional exuberance of the her expression and body language.

Heintz rejects the notion that to be a successful woman means that you have to fulfill a laundry list of achievements, not limited to an education, career, home, family, accomplishment, and enlightenment. In an interview with Feature Shoot, she explains why she created Life Once Removed:

I’m simply trying to get people to open up their minds and quit clinging to antiquated notions of what a successful life looks like. I want people to lighten up on each other and themselves, and embrace their lives for who it has made them, with or without the Mrs., PhD. or Esq. attached.

All of these photographs are shot on location. When Heintz lays her head in mannequin’s husband’s lap while in the park, it’s totally real, and an important aspect to Heintz’s series. She goes on to say:

While I need the public to act as character and context for the actual photo or video, I also need their responses to make the effort a success as an instigator for social change. The reaction can vary from a raised eyebrow with a head turn, to a blast of laughter, to taking their own snapshots while posing with the mannequins. It depends a lot on the location. But most importantly, it stops people in their tracks long enough to ask me what the heck I’m doing. Because the project is so audacious and flat-out funny, it helps me reach the public, and actually get them to let their guard down long enough for me to have a conversation with them. (Via Feature Shoot)

 

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Emma Howell’s Hand-Made Camera Prints Photographs Onto Glass

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In the age of digital photography and Instagram filters that make things look fakely old, glass artist and photographer Emma Howell uses a technique that is opposite of the easy, fast-paced methods popular today. Not only does she go to painstaking lengths to print an image, but she uses the unconventional surface of glass. Howell crafts hand-blown vessels and prints landscape images on them using the technique of the wet plate collodion – a photographic process that predates the Civil War. The result is a subtle and moody piece that’s a conversation between photography and form. She tells Wired Magazine, “Most people are not able to experience a place that is unaffected by the human presence. So I’m creating a way for others to experience this in a way that’s more than looking at a flat print of the cliché beach we all see and know.” The shape of the glass informs what the image is. A ripple or imperfection is meant to echo waves in the landscapes.

Howell’s pieces are irregularly shaped, so she had to build her own camera to accommodate them. She studied how large format cameras were constructed and sawed a barrel in half to act as the camera’s body. Afterwards, she fashioned a mount that allowed her to attach a traditional lens to the barrel. After six weeks of trial and error, she had a working design and began shooting.

The process of transferring an image to glass is very involved. Howell hikes to remote areas with a miniature chemistry lab and darkroom in tow, working on the fly to mix up photosensitive chemicals, coat glass, expose shots, and develop the image – all in the span of 15 minutes.(Via Wired)

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David Lynch’s Factory Photography Is As Surreal As His Films

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If you’re familiar with the films of David Lynch, then you know the subtle uneasiness that he makes you feel. It doesn’t just stop with movies, as Lynch is also a photographer.  Between 1980 and 2000, he shot monochromatic images of factories in Berlin, Poland, New York, New Jersey, and England. The result is a book of photographs titled The Factory Photographs, selections of which are currently on view  at The Photographers’ Gallery in London.

It’s clear that the filmmaker’s eye transfers effortlessly between the moving picture and a static one.  These landscapes are beautiful, but desolate and haunting; Their moodiness makes them feel as if they are of a different time and dystopian future. “I love industry. Pipes. I love fluid and smoke. I love man-made things. I like to see people hard at work, and I like to see sludge and man-made waste,” Lynch writes in his book.

The photographer practices transcendental meditation, and his penchant for delving into the strange and unconscious part of ourselves is not lost on these photographs. In the exhibit’s press release, Lynch says, “I just like going into strange worlds. A lot more happens when you open yourself up to the work and let yourself act and react to it.” These provocative images invite us to do the same. (Via Fast Company)

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