I know it wasn’t easy for you. That is, those inevitable years, often landing around middle school, when we all seem to exude an uncontrollable weirdness. While doing our best making our way through that awkward phase, it often seems like it’ll never pass. However, designer Merilee Allred offers proof that it does indeed pass. Her Awkward Years Project captures not-so-award looking people showing off their awkward years photos. While the project does illustrate that us nerds, geeks, freaks, fashion illiterate, and all around weirdos do pull out of it, it points out something more important: when it seems like no one will go easy on you, perhaps especially when things seem this way, own it.
Myoung Ho Lee, with the aid of assistants, cranes, and ropes, places blank white canvases behind trees in various natural settings throughout South Korea– in order to bring a part of the background into the foreground. According to The New York Times, the artist only digitally retouches “the trace of his own hand” because “If the mechanics of the artwork were visible, it would be easier for people to recognize the scale and the method . . . I want to hide them, to infuse a magical and vague aspect to my work, so that viewers may question and try to find answers themselves.”
Photographer Joe Maloney revisits the art of summer slumming along the east coast in his retrospective show “Asbury Park and The Jersey Shore, c. 1979” at Rick Wester Fine Arts. Maloney, according to The New Yorker, chose Asbury Park specifically because the area was “distinctly working-class, non-affluent, semi-urban, slightly run-down beach town, with a music culture and a vibrant street life.”
Most striking about this collection, however, is not just the “Darkness On The Edge of Town” vibe meshed with beach resort kitsch, but even more so, the intense level of isolation that vacation culture embodied before cell phones, Wi-Fi, and the Internet at large. Each portrait seems quiet somehow: subjects full of secrets and aspirations. Its a trapped or estranged sort of quiet that I strangely miss . . . and maybe long to reclaim.
We often think of bodies as opposed to landscapes. The figure belongs to the portrait and natural scenery to the landscape – bodies inhabit the landscape. For Carl Warner‘s series of photographs, though, the bodies make the landscape. Twisting torsos, bent limbs, crevices, and folds are given finer than the typical attention. Layering of bodies and parts with such focus on detail create landscape like images. Mountains, caverns, and valleys seem to rise out of the figures and become a land of skin. [via]
Giuseppe Colarusso‘s photographs and their clever manipulations betray a certain sense of humor. His simple images of everyday objects are modified in such a way that they are rendered useless. He portrays flimsy handled silverware, cyclops sunglasses, bottle sans top. A commodity with out a use has no value – a sort of capitalist existentialism. On the other hand, perhaps its just funny.
Katya Grokhovsky‘s series Untitled Heroic is deeply complex and familiarly conflicted. For the series Grokhovsky makes use any medium necessary – photography, performance, video, and even a cardboard cut-out installation. The artist seems to attract and repel. The series is at once confrontational, seductive, and wonderfully volatile. By way of her statement, Grokhovsky says that Untitled Heroic is, “A series of performances for photography and video, culminating in a large-scale cutboard cutout installation, whereby a female artist is dealing with frustrating desire to both attract and reject the notion of a male gaze.” Grokohovsky’s work is also the subject of an upcoming solo exhibit at New York’s Galerie Protégé.
What may be most affecting about Richard Renaldi‘s series Touching Strangers is how clearly he captures something that can’t even be seen. For the series Renaldi posed strangers together to be photographed in poses with an intimacy typically reserved for families or friends. Arms around shoulders and waists, hands on hands, fingers interlocked are subtle gestures. Between strangers, though, they reveal a powerful privacy we carry around with us, a sacred space rarely breached. Once a viewer discovers the subjects are strangers, these otherwise banal photographs suddenly become intensely unsettling.
Blending the natural with the artificial world is Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s bread and butter in photography, and this applies not only to his staged documentary subject matter, but also his lighting. Whether it’s incorporating neon signage, cheesy ballroom glowing fixtures, another camera’s flash, or even a hidden light in the pavement, each technique helps shine a light on the ordinary as extraordinary from business men to hustlers– the majestic glow does not discriminate.
So, before the day gets too stressful, let’s relax with a little meditation on each powerful mesh of light. Feel free to share your own favorite lighting tips or tricks in the comments as well.