German photographer Loretta Lux captures surreal portraits of children, portraying them in a way that makes them appear as if they’re porcelain dolls. Young boys and girls stare towards the camera and with expressions that you can’t get out of your head. As they look beyond or at you, their large eyes look as if they know deep, dark secrets. Pastel and faded colors contrast with the mysterious feel that these works evoke.
Lux studied painting at Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich and uses this influence in her images. Some pieces take up to a year to complete, and her process involves a combination of photography and digital manipulation. She’ll strip the background and then place her subjects into muted, minimal environments. The flatted backdrop and realistic foreground confuse your eye and help craft these strange images.
Photographer Denise Prince challenges our perception of beauty and aesthetics by interchanging professional models with physical trauma survivors in her latest photography and video project Tractatus 7. Using a catalog by a high-end Italian fashion house Missoni, Prince replicates the superimposed glamour with a pinch of cruel, muted reality.
The provocative project, originally titled Replication and Breakdown of the Missoni Estate Line Catalog, is a juxtaposition between our approach towards reality and the events that take place beyond that fantasy. Prince raises a question of what happens to our designed reality when a traumatic event occurs? To her belief, people who have undergone severe traumas have an improved capacity to face the human condition.
“My sense is that when we see people with evidence of physical trauma we initially see them as people who were “not safe” and are reminded, ultimately, of our own mortality. I deeply believe that engaging with what we think we fear and yet gives all meaning to life (death – to the extent that this work is a reminder) brings with it a sense of greater peace.”
Prince uses her uncomfortable and grotesque way of storytelling to share the subject’s experiences (accidents, birth defects or assault) in an attempt to surpass standards of representation with the public, which is often deaf and blind to such events. Photographer is committed not to position her models as victims: “I work with people who have sufficiently recovered, established a new relationship to fantasy <…> At this stage <…> they are open to play, <…> to serve as an object of desire, to social risk taking.”
Tractatus 7 opens to public September 7 and will be running until September 27 at University Park in Austin, Texas. (via feature shoot)
Chinese artist Li Wei’s photographs defy gravity with himself often at the helm. They are the documentation of reality that involves sometimes-dangerous stunts that the artist says aren’t doctored by computers. Instead, he uses mirrors, wires, acrobatics, and more to give the illusion that people are flying and have transcended above cityscapes.
In a 2012 interview with The Creators Project, Wei says “we are all controlled by someone else. Our thoughts and actions are all controlled by an unseen force.” These images demonstrate an effort to break free of constraints and limitations, and teeter the line between fantasy and reality. Specifically, Wei is talking about the rapid change in China’s economy, but they hold a wider-reaching message. His photographs could be seen as a meditation on our consciousness, hopes, and desires of wanting complete freedom but having to live within the confines of society.
Mikey Billings, 29, Statesville, N.C. Degree: B.A., Film studies, Full Sail University Career Goal: Film or music industry Current Job: Working part time at a malt shop Student Loans: $80,000
Annie Kasinecz, 27, Downers Grove, Ill. Degree: B.A., Advertising and public relations, Loyola University, Chicago Student Loans: $75,000
Monica Navarro, 24, Escondido, Calif. Degree: B.A., Literature and writing, University of California, San Diego. Career Goal: Librarian Current Job: Library volunteer, Home Depot Worker Student Loans: $44,000
Gabriel Gonzalez, 22, Suffern, N.Y. Degree: B.F.A., Graphic design, School of Visual Arts Career goal: Graphic designer Current job: Graphic designer and production assistant Student Loans: $130,000
In today’s economy, it’s not uncommon for recent college graduates to move back home with their parents. According to The New York Times Magazine, 1 in 5 people in their 20’s and early 30’s find themselves in this particular situation. The phenomena is fodder for photographer Damon Casarez’s recent series Boomerang Kids, which was shot in eight states and over 14 cities. His poignant images paint portraits not of people who are lazy, but those who have massive student debt, or see their current situation as a means to achieving their own American Dream. They exist in a strange limbo where they’ve grown up but still aren’t entirely self-sufficient adults.
Even for those not living at home, this series might resonate with you on some level. Student loans and a general high cost of living can make anyone feel like it’s hard to make the ends meet. After all the possibilities offered in college, the real world is generally not as kind. But, these images don’t feel hopeless; they feel hopeful and demonstrate the changing landscape of growing up. (Via Feature Shoot)
In the photographic works by Kevin Corrado, human limbs and objects intersect with the landscape. They are painted over, dipped, and blend in the with the horizon line. The series entitled Transfer best showcases this idea as different hands are encased in varying colors of paint. Corrado talks about how this is not only a connection made design-wise, but our notions about the things we see. He writes:
The project began as a playful idea of the ocean being a giant sea of blue paint rather than water. The idea of a blue sea is so engraved into our minds, even though in most cases, water is not actually blue. In all three pieces, a hand becomes covered in paint by touching a landscape of that color. In its entirety, the project speaks about our intense connection between common landscapes and their assigned colors. Possibly something that was instilled in us during our elementary days. The project also addresses my role as an artist, and what color I will choose for my landscapes, even though my tool of choice is a camera (a tad bit ironic). A painter is given the task to paint a tree, but that painter must choose to use green paint.
The quietly compelling images play with our sense of scale; hands are huge, looking like giants and whose veins appear large enough to line up with the choppy waves. (Via Slow Art Day)
Star Wars is a popular franchise that spans decades, so it’s no surprise that it has crept up in many artists’ work. We’ve seen it in paintings, expressed through Legos, and it’s even influenced engagement rings. Clearly, the fictional story has resonated with many. Cedric Delsaux can also count himself as someone who finds inspiration from Darth Vader, droids, and the vehicles made famous in the films. He’s expertly inserted Star Wars characters into desolate urban areas that look abandoned and dismantled. The results are images both poignant and haunting; and, given what we know about the characters, Delsaux sets the scenes for alluring narratives that are like a suspenseful novel. Something is going to happen, but we aren’t sure what.
His bleak and stylish works have caught the attention of many, including George Lucas himself:
Over the years, many artists have interpreted Star Wars in ways that extend well beyond anything we saw in the films. One of the most unique and intriguing interpretations that I have seen is in the work of Cedric Delsaux, who has cleverly integrated Star Wars characters and vehicles into stark urban, industrial – but unmistakably earthbound – environments. As novel and disruptive as his images are, they are also completely plausible.
Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.
Was your high school experience as glitzy as the one in photographer Akasha Rabut’s series Edna Karr? (The title comes from the school in New Orleans where the documentary-style photographs were taken.) We see cheerleaders, the dance team, and marching band getting ready to perform in these quiet behind-the-scene shots . Girls are applying their makeup, fixing hair, and sitting idly before they hit the city streets of a parade and come alive.
The series is a balance of high and low energy. As people kill time on their phones the scene is still. But when the kids are moving, Rabut captures the spirit of the performance, with sequins gleaming. The faded, low-saturation image are reminiscent of vintage photographs, and if it weren’t for the cell phones, we might just believe it. This plays to a sense of odd nostalgia for high school, a time when many of us wanted to feel grown up but just weren’t quite there. It was activities like the band or dancing that helped define the experience, and is a symbol of a relatively simpler time. (Via It’s Nice That)