British artist Sophie Derrick paints directly onto her skin and adds colorful layers of swirling pigment to her face and neck. Once she’s completed it, she’ll photograph the result and then paint onto that image. The result is a multi-layered, textured portrait that gives the viewer an incredible sense of depth. Derrick’s painting style is abstract – focusing on bright pinks, blues, oranges, and more – and she’ll vary how the paint is applied. It often looks like she uses a palette knife to make thick, frosting-like strokes, but she’ll also use the paint tube to draw lines on the skin.
“I have a great interest in the materiality and substance of paint, and execute this interest through photography, creating a juxtaposition of the two mediums,” Derrick writes. “My body becomes the canvas for the paint, questioning the traditional concept of painting and portraiture, and the barriers between painting and photography. The body becomes both object and subject in the work.” (Via Art Fucks Me)
Photographer Mark Holthusen shows an unexpected side to cockfighting in his aptly-titled series Pelea De Gallos (Cockfight).Instead of capturing the brutal matches, he went a more tame route. Holthusen rented a photo studio called Hollywood Fotos and invited the Partido Tres Hermanos cockfighting team in Zaragosa, Mexico to have their portraits taken.
Holthusen’s pictures focus on seven different team members that pose with their beloved rooster. Some cradle the bird in their arms with others grip it with both hands. Either way, the majestic-looking creature sits as calmly as the men do.
In a blog post about Pelea De Gallos, Holthusen shares his experience. The team is made up of people who are a dentist, teacher, businessman, and student. “In the end they were nothing but smiles, excited to have their pictures taken.”
However docile these images appear, they are tainted with the knowledge that these birds are forced into a cruel blood sport where death is an outcome. Roosters are specifically bred, fed, trained, and given steroids to make them into killing machines for our entertainment. It’s illegal in the United States but still popular and prevalent in many other countries.
If you enjoy Holthusen’s photos, check out his Second in Show series that we recently featured. It highlights the eerie similarities between show dogs and their owners.
In a professional dog show, the canines are supposed to be the stars, and the humans’ presence fall to wayside. But, just because people aren’t the main focus doesn’t mean that they aren’t picture-worthy themselves. When photographer Mark Holthusen was on an advertising assignment for Purina at the National Dog Show, he was supposed to just take pictures of the dogs. He also snapped these photos while their owners were prepping the canines. The result is a candid series titled Second in Show.
Holthusen set the portraits against a solid black background that highlights the gestures and facial expressions of the owners. Some are seen seriously primping and preparing for the dog’s show, while others look more relaxed and even eccentric. And, you can’t help but notice how the duos (or trio) take after each other. Hair color, style, and demeanor are all eerily similar, proving that people really can look like their pets.
Photographer Cameron Bloom captures the innocence and love in the unlikely friendship between a boy and his bird. His son Noah had found a baby bird alone in the wild around their Australian home. The bird being without a mother, the family decided to take it in and raise it themselves. This bird, affectionately named “Penguin,” was found right after Cameron’s wife, Sam, broke her back. This crucial and difficult time in the family’s life was met with an unforeseen visitor and friend for life. While both Penguin and Bloom’s family was coping with life’s hardships and struggles, a connection between them began and continues to grow into something extraordinary.
Bloom has documented intimate scenes of tenderness between his son, as well as his entire family, and their unique companion. Each image holds radiating warmth that can be felt by the viewer. It is amazing to see a bird share such a strong bond with humans, in a way that we might expect a dog or a human to have. Bloom shows Penguin sitting on Noah’s head, eating at the family’s kitchen table, and even snuggling with them in bed. Each moment is a glimpse of a magical friendship that has been shared with us through the beauty of Bloom’s photography. Beginning this series in 2013, we can see the relationship and closeness grow along with the three sons Rueben, Noah, and Oli. Although Penguin has the freedom to fly out into the wilderness away from her family, their connection is so strong that she never fails to return home every time.
If you love Penguin as much as I do, make sure to follow his Instagram account!
The intensity and electricity in Mickael Jou’s photography can only be matched by his equally immaculate dancing skills. In his series Air Through my Ashes, Jou captures the precise positions of his dance through the lens of a camera. Each movement, leap, and bend is shown being done not on a stage, but through city streets, in breathtaking nature, and even in a grocery store. Jou, now living in Berlin, was trained as a dancer, and started out dancing through the streets of Paris. He got the idea to photograph himself after so many tourists began taking pictures of him as he danced. He then taught himself how to use a camera and turned his dancing into frozen moments in time where he can levitate and defy gravity.
Jou’s dance positions are turned into still statues that pulsate with energy in each photograph. The incredible scenery of the images is almost as breathtaking as Jou’s suspension in mid air. The series has a kind of magic to it that transports the viewer into a world where your feet never need to touch the ground. What makes each composition so dynamic is not only the sheer power felt in the dancer’s stance, but also the addition of a scarf in the dance movements. This scarf that often appears adds color and balance to the rhythm of each photograph as it floats alongside this multi-talented dancer. Jou combines these two art forms harmoniously to create ethereal and graceful photographs. He explains how using these two mediums further his creative vision and expression:
My self-portraits help me express the emotions that I feel while dancing. Dance is a very powerful art form, and I try to translate my emotions into my photography.
The year 1968 was a tumultuous time in America’s history, and Washington, D.C. was often in the middle of controversy. Following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, six days of race riots erupted in the Nation’s capital. Dr. Darrell Clayton Crain Jr. captured parts of the event and put them on Kodachrome and Ektachrome slides. Thanks to technology, these were scanned in to the computer and digitized. They’re now featured on the Flickr account Posthumous DCC, along with other pictures throughout the years.
If you aren’t familiar with the riots, they started as news spread about King’s death. Crowds began to gather at 14th street and U. Stokely Carmichael, an activist who had parted ways with King in 1966 and removed as head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1967, lead members of the SNCC to different neighborhoods. At first, they politely demanded that stores close out of respect. Eventually, the crowd became out of control and were breaking windows. Widespread looting started by 11PM (as well as in 30th other cities).
Things got worse in the following days. Anger was still evident and it resulted in violent confrontations with the DC police. Buildings were set on fire. Police unsuccessfully tried to control the crowds with tear gas, and eventually the National Guard was brought in. Marines mounted machine guns on the steps of the Capitol and army troops guarded the White House. It was the largest military occupation of any American city since the Civil War.
These vintage images showcase just how bad some of the destruction was. By the time the city was considered calmed down, 12 were killed (mostly in burning homes), 1,097 were injured, and over 6,100 were arrested. The devastation to property was $27 million (over $175 million today). Some neighborhoods in DC didn’t start to economically recover until the 1990’s.
Photographer Samantha Fortenberry’s colorful images reveal the pleasure of a good soak in the tub. Her aerial photos are part of an on-going series called Suds and Smiles, and it features people alone in their bathrooms. Naked, they revel in water as the space is peppered with familiar objects, and it reflects their personality. “I have taken my models and either asked them to collect an array of items that mean something to them, or I designed them a set based on an idea of their choosing,” she writes in an email to Beautiful/Decay.
As we gaze at Fortenberry’s subjects, we act as voyeurs to their pleasant time. There’s genuine looks of joy on some of the model’s faces, and when juxtaposed with the bright colors and playful objects, we too derive some pleasure from it.
Suds and Smiles also celebrates the figure. “With this series I also wanted to display the nude human body in a natural and beautiful way,” Fortenberry writes. “I want to collect a wide variety of people in all shapes and sizes to display the various form of beauty each person has.”
The tumbler B4-XVI berforesixteen has made a hilariously clever and all too accurate comparison between contemporary Hip Hop artists and paintings made before the 16th century, making everyone involved look quite ridiculous. When you first look at the fashion styles of centuries old paintings, you would not think anyone today would ever dream of looking like that, let alone a celebrity. However, if you think about it, what kind of person would wear flashy jewelry and frivolous fur coats? Well, Hip Hop artists! Their extreme amount of “bling” and often baggy clothing somewhat resembles the capes and jewelry of royalty depicted in classic paintings.
What makes the comparisons so on point is not just the uncanny similarities of clothing and accessories, but the position, stance, and even the facial expressions of both parties. I mean, what a lucky coincidence that Kanye West happened to be standing next to a priest for a hilarious comparison between himself and a painting of saints! Not to mention this goes perfectly with his infamous “Yeezus” complex. One aspect of Hip Hop style is missing from the series of 16th century paintings is the notorious “grill.” But don’t worry; there is instead a painting of two men proudly displaying their teeth while “mean-mugg’n” the viewer. This series of entertaining resemblances just goes to show you that every fashion style will make a comeback! (via Fubiz)