On May 12th, the Nepal earthquake striked, killing dozen and injuring thousands. With a magnitude of 7.3, the earthquake was so large that it affected those living in India and Bangladesh. Documentary photographer Probal Rashid, who currently lives in Bangladesh, documented the aftermath through his lens. These photographs tell a heartbreaking story of those directly in the middle of the chaotic and horrific outcome of such an earthquake. Rashid masterfully reveals poignant images of mothers, fathers, and children living in the current state of their homes and villages. The emotions seen in his photographs strike you to your core, as you are shown a child looking right back at you in the midst of this catastrophe.
Allowing us to see a different aspect of the lives of the people affected by the earthquake, Rashid includes images of the remnants of people’s homes and belongings, creating a more intimate connection. A haunting photograph of the inside of a house in ruins displays an empty couch and chairs, with photographs of the family up on the wall. The city’s culture as well as its people was damaged, as we see a piece of beautiful architecture now almost completely destroyed. Rashid rightly has no sensor, as his photojournalism displays an uninhibited truth. Witnessing so much destruction, Rashid also finds compassion. Although so much desolation can plainly be seen, there is also a sense of hope. The photographer also chose to capture people trying to help; citizen’s aiding one another.
As humans often identify with each other, it is always difficult to see photos with this kind of content. However, it is very necessary for us to see and understand what is happening to others in a place we may not know very much about. Probal Rashid provides us with a better grasp on how the earthquake has affected Nepal and its people in this unforgettable series.
German artist Martin Roller constructs assemblages of objects in hilarious and astonishing ways in his body of work. Taking found object from the streets of Berlin, he photographs interesting mash-ups of everyday objects and remnants of trash, transforming their original function. Setting the scene similar to commercial photography, each newly created object looks as if it is on display in an ad, waiting to be bought. Who knows, maybe Roller’s banana shoes will be the next big thing, although they are not exactly wearable. This colorful and clever series is both aesthetically appealing, with its perfect color blocking, and intriguing, as each item is not altered digitally.
At first glance, you may think that Roller’s images are digitally spliced photographs that together create the finished product. Although this would take some skill, each object is more impressively built by the artist’s own hand, and therefore, actually exists in real life. Roller explains that we live in an age where technology has given us endless possibilities that are accessible to a vast majority of people. Because these digital alterations, as well hand-cut collages, are so common today, these techniques are of no interest to him. He instead aims to assemble his own “collage” from a more realistic source, the objects themselves. Each image displays an amazing combination of real life objects, with an eye on modern design.
Menstrual Designer Jen Lewis and Photographer Rob Lewis are redefining body politics in their series Beauty in Blood. Together, they create breathtaking images with an unlikely, and, more often than not, taboo material; menstrual blood. The idea of using her own bodily fluid as a medium came to Jen Lewis after deciding to use a different kind of feminine care product; reusable collecting cup that she would use and then dump its substance into a toilet. She explains that seeing such a bright, red liquid swirl around stark, white porcelain was absolutely stunning. Believing that menstruation is a beautiful, natural part of life that is all too often avoided, the artist decided to capture it in remarkable photographs to open up a dialogue and shed some much needed light on the subject. Jen Lewis explains that this series is not meant to be shocking or vulgar, but exactly the opposite. Her and her partner Rob create each striking image through a process of design, care, and selection.
This series is a celebration of femininity, a look into a healthy part of every woman’s life that we are often taught to be ashamed or embarrassed of. This dynamic duo aims to change the social norm of menstruation being hidden or taboo in society by allowing the viewer to get up close and personal with a natural part of life, not to mention part of the cycle that creates life. Each image claims the true and honest beauty that this significant and momentous part of life deserves. The aesthetic appeal and allure this series holds breaks down the politics of women’s bodies that contemporary society tends to control. Jen Lewis elaborates on this subject. (via FeatureShoot)
“In my experience, women and men are hungry for an authentic dialogue about menstruation and all that encompasses. It is clear the time is now to stand up and speak out on behalf of menstruation. It is a natural, messy but beautiful part of life.”
Artist Alice Smeets re-imagines 20th century tarot cards through contemporary photography. Having always been interested in spiritual themes and fascinated by tarot cards, Smeet recreates the many different faces of tarot cards using the streets of Haiti as her subject. Her goal was not just to interpret the deck of tarot cards through her lens, but to also have them hold a deep, personal element. Cards like “Justice” and “The Hanged Man” become more intimate by collaborating with each of her subjects represented in this series.
Each Haitian shown in her Ghetto Tarot cards are actually artists themselves. Smeet, aiming to keep authenticity in her work, collaborated with an artist corporation in Haiti called Atiz Rezistans, or “resistant artists”. The photographer worked with these fellow artists to construct her tableaus to capture the captivating imagery in each card. In fact, Smeet includes the work of each “resistant artist” as props in the series. Working in partnership with these artists, she was able to form a relationship and learn what the word “ghetto” means to them. Smeet states that by titling the series Ghetto Tarot, she is giving the word new meaning, a more positive connotation. By exploring this theme of reappropriation, she discovers new ways of changing ideas and implications about certain imagery and words. Smeet explains,
“If we realize that its a choice whether we look at destruction and see despair or to regard it as the start of something new, we can change the meaning of every word, action and sentiment.”
Like floating into a dream, Jason Mitchell’s photography takes you into a new place of existence, stuck between worlds. His series Dream Away displays ghostly bodies in a different state of being, exploring a sense of awakening. Inspired by metamorphosis, his figures are placed in a blank space, not knowing exactly where they are except for in a place of uncertainty. Even still, they seem tranquil and ready for whatever is to come next. Each image contains an ethereal quality, as the figures delicately glide through the air. In this series, we cannot tell if Mitchell’s figures are falling or floating, as there is no sense of direction, like they are underwater. With bright whites and light shadows, the absence of almost all harsh shadows creates an angelic atmosphere around these women.
Hinting at themes of afterlife and a higher state of being, Mitchell’s figures almost do not appear to be human. They are transcending their bodies on a journey of oneself.
“I ask my subjects to explore a loss of control, but a sense that they are being guided, pushed and pulled by another sentient being, as they make their way to a new self. They represent the soul of a magical creature on a journey through the limbo that connects their past understandingto this new unknown.”
– Jason Mitchell
Although all of Mitchell’s work holds a striking beauty, his series Dream Away truly exhibits stunning detail and imagery. Photographs from this majestic series will be on view at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco, CA until May 30th.
The photography of cooking enthusiast and photographer Brittany Wright simply and beautifully displays the natural range of hues held by various types of fruits and vegetables. The Seattle-based photographer states that she has a goal to learn how to cook everything and anything. Sharing cooking ideas and recipes online, Wright began photographing the ingredients to share as well. This love of experimentation with ingredients and flavors eventually lead to photographing the produce, starting her series titled Food Gradients. She arranges each edible item in rows, columns, and clusters according to their pigment or size, which is often attributed to the stage of lifecycle the specific food is in.
Some of the fruits and vegetables Wright chooses for her rainbows of ingredients naturally have a wide variety of colors, like apples ranging from deep reds to bright yellows. Others, however, are discolored for a different reason, because they are rotting and dying. Many of her Food Gradients brilliantly display the lifecycle of the item, showing the beginning of its life all the way to its elegant death. Because of her subject, you would think Wright’s inspiration comes from food photography, but because she sees food and cooking as a creative and artistic outlet, she finds more inspiration from abstract art. (via Faith is Torment)
” I see food as an art, and an opportunity to do something creative.”
Photographer Pavel Samokhvalov captures intriguing images of the nearly-nude body set against day-glow neon lighting. The provocative photos feature models clad in see-through hosiery and whose bodies are bent and contorted towards the camera. Often, their faces are obscured by hair or poses. Samokhvalov will also only shoots part of the torso, zeroing-in on a small tattoo or glitter-covered nipple.
The photographer does a lot of editorial work, specifically in the fashion realm. His background is cinematography from the Moscow Film Institute, and this training can be seen in his work. The images tell a story, and each fuschia-colored background is one piece of a larger puzzle. They double as character studies, showcasing a product while at the same time providing subtle clues about the nature of the pieces and the people who wear them. (Via Scene 360)
Norwegian artist Andreas Lie fuses wild creatures with landscapes in a subtle collection of animal portraiture. Using two different photographic images, he creates a double exposure where woods, water, mountains, and even the Northern Lights are contained within the bodies of beasts. Polar bears, foxes, and wolves are all featured, and their torsos become one with the ground.
The textures of trees (like evergreens) often works in Lie’s favor. It mimics the look of fur so while these images are undoubtedly surreal, they also look natural. And, that’s part of their appeal. They combine visually disparate elements of the natural world in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. It comes in a nice, animal-shaped package.
Lie sells his work via Society6. Check it out for prints, clocks, tote bags, and more. (Via Blu)