Surreal And Unnerving Photo Manipulations Question The Nature Of Reality

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For his surreal photo manipulations, the Buenos Aires-based digital artist Martin De Pasquale contorts his own body to imbue the mundane rituals of daily life with a sense of humor that sometimes veers into the realm of terror. With the wonderfully oxymoronic title “Impossible Photography,” De Pasquale’s work stretches the medium to its limit, boldly questioning our assumption that the photographic object necessarily reflects reality. Though indeed impossible, the strange and comical mishaps— and horrors— of the work speak to very real existential anxieties.

Here, the human body emerges as mechanical, much like the the camera itself. Like the gears of an advanced automaton, heads and faces are replaced with ease, and the treat of mortality is abated with ever-renewed body parts. In some ways, the impossible photographs recall the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, a thought experiment which asks if a ship remains essentially the same after each of its parts are replaced. Here, the ship becomes a human being; in the daily grind of life, our protagonist is continually deconstructed and reassembled. Does he become generic, or does he hold fast to his identity?

In so questioning the individual, De Pasquale’s imaginative images challenge the notion of replication, which in turn examines the very nature of the photograph. Seen here many times over, the self is given over to a mysterious—and frightening— sort of duplication, giving rise to unnatural yet indistinguishable bodies that are ultimately mere simulacrums of the original. Take a look. (via Demilked)
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Woman’s Face Photoshopped In 27 Countries To Compare Beauty Standards In Different Parts Of The World

Left: Original portait; Right: Morocco

Left: Original portait; Right: Morocco

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We’ve all seen the “Before and After Photoshop” versions of photographs, displaying the ways in which various media distort our perception of ideal beauty. But what would these images look like in other countries? With her series Before & After, Esther Honig, a radio journalist based out of Kansas City, asked just that. With the help of Fiverr, a website for freelancers, she got in touch with artists from forty different countries; emailing each a self-portrait, she wrote, “Hi, my name is Esther Honig. Make me look beautiful.” When they did not understand the assignment, she simply told them to make her look like the most popular fashion models.

When artists from twenty-seven countries replied, she was astonished with the results. Some edits were so dramatic that she yelped aloud; others, like the image from Morocco, in which she was given a hijab, stole her breath. Some cultures favor a bare face where others apply makeup. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the work is the overwhelming presence of Western feminine ideals: pale white skin, pink cheeks, a dainty nose, and wide eyes contoured with trimmed brows.

In the end, the series expresses the extend to which often oppressive beauty ideals are meaningless; where a woman is declared beautiful in one culture, she might be plain in another. Yet for all women, regardless of ethnicity and background, the pressure to be beautiful remains, propagated by the whims of the contemporary media. Writes Honig, “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.” (via Buzzfeed)
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This Is What People Would Look Like If They Were Shredded Into Thin Lines

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“Scribbled Line People” is a digital collaboration between New York-based illustrator Ayaka Ito and programmer Randy Church. Part of a “3D Motion and Particle” course, the two decided to embark on this project after discussing how to create an interface that could incorporate 3D scribbled lines into photography. Mutually inspired by Rachel Ducker’s wire sculptures and Erik Natzke’s Flash paintings, the duo uses both Flash and Photoshop to reconfigure photographic subjects into shredded images that are gracefully incorporated into their background compositions. Ito says, “Our objective in approaching the visual, was to create a series of answers to show how scribbled lines could develop normal portraits into abstract art.” (via the creator’s project) Read More >

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Fairytale Princess Mugshots Are Both Alarming And Totally Awesome

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Normally, fairytale princess characters are the epitome of chastity and innocence. With her series on folk stories, the Spain-based illustrator Marilen Adrover turns the concept of feminine modesty and purity on its head, presenting the gruesome mugshots of legendary heroines. Far from her days of resting piteously in a glass coffin, Snow White, an icon of the selfless domesticity of any ideal wife or helpmate, is arrested for sexual misconduct. Little Red Riding Hood, blood smeared across her once naive rosy cheeks, is taken in on murder charges. Poor, young Goldilocks, no longer a helpless child in search of shelter, has lived a life of crime, and she is reprimanded for breaking and entering. Lewis Carroll’s sweet Alice has grown disillusioned with the real world, turning to her own dangerous wonderland of psychotropic drugs.

By placing these icons of feminine docility and martyrdom in the context of contemporary crime, Adrover cleverly subverts the traditional madonna-whore dichotomy that persists narratives about young women. Like an angst-ridden teen, each vixen stares at her captives teasingly, hoping to challenge their authority. They are no longer defined by their histories of idyllic pastoral innocence, but they certainly cannot be pegged solely as unruly miscreants. Both beloved and dangerous, they refuse to conform to a single fantasy, playing with our culture’s deeply ingrained prejudices and assumptions.

In another ambitious series, Adrover explores the painful pressures facing the bodies of women, presenting evocative portraits of eating disorders and plastic surgery. Her imagined manifestation of anorexia is a bloody red orb, shining outwards from the belly of a woman. In her vision of orthorexia, the orb is blue. Each image, evocative of watercolor painting, subtly explores the persistent emotional traumas and obsessions that burden the human spirit. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)
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Svetlana Petrova Inserts Her Fat Cat Into Famous Paintings

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I first encountered Russian artist Svetlana Petrova’s renderings of classic paintings, modified to include her very large, fat cat, a couple of years ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find the artist is still re-creating paintings, and that her work has recently become a part of a gallery show in Abingdon, England.

Petrova’s mother died in 2008, leaving her cat, Zarathustra, behind. She claims her mother spoiled the cat, contributing to Zarathustra’s large stature. Petrova was very depressed after her mother’s death and wasn’t able to make art until a friend suggested she create an art project using the cat, and thus, Fat Cat Art was born.

Petrova says, “I’m a professional artist, and I was fond of Internet memes, and I thought maybe I can make an Internet meme who would at the same time [be] a work of art. And I did this.” But her confidence in her work was at first met with some hesitation. “I thought that I could hold an exhibition, but gallery owners said: ‘This is not art, this is just cats.’ I asked: ‘Why is a shark in the formaldehyde art, but and a cat in a classic painting is not art?’ Nobody could give me an answer, and these people began to avoid me saying that I am mad.” Eventually, though, her cat art won the hearts of the gallery in the UK.

Petrova has been most recently inserting her cat into movies, and she welcomes suggestions for fat cat placements via her Twitter, or the project’s website, whose disclaimer reads: “We are real. All the artworks at this site are real. Nobody’s opinion about Us, Our art or this site will ever disturb Our suprematism.” (via archie mcphee and huffington post)

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Famous Paintings Photoshopped Like Modern Fashion Models

gif_565x396_21efa2Titian, Danaë With Eros, 1544gif_565x362_fed333Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1486gif_565x313_698da2Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Grande Odalisque, 1814gif_565x558_b68f2aRaphael, Three Graces, 1504–1505

Unfortunately, today’s media offers a limiting vision of female beauty, urging all women to have slender waists and full chests. Bodies that deviate from this standard are tossed by the wayside by publishers and media giants, photoshopped into figures that conform to an often impossible ideal. But it wasn’t always like this; Baroque painters like Titian and Peter Paul Rubens idealized fuller figures, imagining their nudes with sensuous curves of the flesh.

Lauren Wade, a senior photo editor for Take Part, has seen firsthand the digital nipping and tucking that goes on behind the scenes in the publishing and entertainment industry. In response to the societal obsession with “perfect,” unrealistic female bodies, Wade has digitally altered Renaissance, Modernist, and Post-Impressionist masterpieces to mimic the ways in which fashion models and celebrities are edited today. By releasing a series of gifs showing the extreme lengths to which industry standards alter the human form, she hopes to bring awareness to the fact that what we see in the magazines is entirely unrealistic and to remind us that “beauty” comes in all shapes and sizes.

Here, the female subjects of Paul Gauguin and Edgar Degas, once considered to be idealized, get uncomfortably slim waists and oversized breasts. Raphael’s three graces, once representing the characteristics of female perfection— charm, beauty, and creativity— are also cruelly altered. The goddess of beauty herself, Botticelli’s Venus, doesn’t conform to 21st century societal standards, and she too is deeply changed. Even Titian’s Cupid gets a makeover. Wade’s work reminds us that definitions of “beauty” are in constant flux; as the centuries pass, we set one arbitrary ideal before another. In the end, aren’t all figures lovely and worthy of artistic representation? (via Design Boom)
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John Wilhelm Creates Hilarious Photo-Manipulations For His 3 Small Daughters

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In the surreal photographic worlds of father of three John Wilhelm, the imaginative play of childhood is a force to be reckoned with; motivated by childhood memories of video games and television, the university IT director spends his free time dreaming up fantasies for his three daughters, 6-month-old Yuna, 2-year-old Mila, and 5-year-old Lou.

Wilhelm’s impressive body of work, composed of images heavily-manipulated in Adobe Photoshop, is simultaneously touching, thrilling, and humorous. Most children have fantasized about the tale of Little Red Riding Hood, seduced by the adventure of it all and by the terror of the Big Bad Wolf, but this father’s retelling of the classic fairy story is a little bit different; here, the girl is just as wild and free as the wolf, for instead of being fooled into believing that the beast is a peaceable gentleman, she howls with him, tossing her head ecstatically.

The bravery of the small children is highlighted again in a poignant image in which Mila offers a tiny bunch of yellow flowers to a wizened, toweringly large buffalo, whose magnificent, uncouth hair stands in stark contrast with the girl’s miniature peacoat and knitted pom-pom hat. In these fantastical images, the smallest of humans can be the most powerful; the littlest of all, Yuna, is often shown as wreaking havoc on her befuddled parents, who wear space masks to feed her or change her diapers. Indeed, this mischievous bunch is subject to no one’s will but their own, and in this visual play land, they are granted everything they could ever wish for. (via Demilked and Bored Panda)
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superheroes Placed In Iconic Images Of The Past

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Digital artist and graphic designer Kode Logic (aka Boss Logic) is used to taking existing imagery and adapting, changing and repurposing it. With his newest series, Playing With History, the Melbourne, Australia artist samples some of the most recognizable photos in the history of the medium, and either subtly or blatantly alters them by including superheroes and villains.

Ranging from the construction workers who built New York’s skyscrapers palling around with Spiderman, or an alternate history where Mortal Kombat’s four-armed boss Goro menacingly watches over Ellis Island on the Statue of Liberty’s plinth, Kode Logic plays with both humor and irreverence (exemplified by two separate Kennedy edits – one with Marty McFly skitching on his hover-board, the other featuring The Watchmen’s The Comedian preparing to assassinate the president). Explaining the project (and a premise shared by many from the digital and web-based design and art communities), Kode Logic says, “…as a digital artist we are the new breed of artists and we are all trying to innovate our own style to be remembered and past on as a foundation you laid down…” (via albotas)

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