Israeli photographer Dori Caspi has spent 10 years capturing personal and intimate portraits of the Himba African tribe, a tribe that is facing extinction. For this particular series, Caspi traveled to Namibia 15 times and formed a close relationship with the people of the Himba village. This village has been encountering a progressive amount of challenges, including the intrusion of roads upon their land, and the increasingly severe threat of the AIDS epidemic which has the potential to eradicate the village entirely.
“My camera was never used as a tool of anthropological or research-like documentation of the tribes’ way of life, but always as an instrument with which I could express my love for its wonderful people, and my admiration of their inner and physical beauty. They had opened their hearts and huts to me and with time, as we shared deeper and intimate relations, they became my second family.”
Caspi’s most recent project is taking place in Southern Ethiopia, where he is capturing the tribes from the Lower Omo Valley. “In contrary to my intimate relations with the Himba people, here I have to build trust, to create an atmosphere which would allow me to photograph the tribes’ people in a relaxed situation, yet proud and reserved as they naturally are.”
Joe Black is an artist who uses Pop Art against itself. Collecting iconic imagery (often choosing those which have already been famously exploited by other artists), Black creates large-scale hued portraits using copious amounts of consumer items. One of many artists using collected masses of materials into larger mosiac-style works, Black claims that he is open to using any material as long as it is small and plentiful (past pieces have used Lego pieces, toy soldiers, pins, ball bearings, badges) and relates to the source image. These images, which are best seen from a distance of fifty feet, offer a contextual surprise for viewers upon closer inspection.
Though trained as an artist and painter, Black claims to be uncomfortable labeling himself a professional artist, preferring to consider his work more based on image-making and craftsmanship. One such aspect is the time-consuming application of several thousand smaller pieces which make up his whole images, which Black hand-alters by using aerosol to add tones that give gentle gradients which become the lines and shading of the portrait. (via u1u11)
None of the people photographed for Klaus Pichler‘s newest series, “Just the Two of Us” are dressed in Halloween costumes. For this project, Pichler documents Austrians involved with various types of costume play (cosplay) at home in full costume. By capturing these costumers in their domestic spheres, Pichler allows his subjects the comfort of home, but for objective viewers of the work, the subjects could feel a bit out of place.
“Normally, all the costumes and traditions, they have one thing in common: there is some kind of public use of these costumes,” Pichler explains. Some of his subjects are enthusiastic participants of the Carnival season, which is called Fasching in Austria, while others are part of a LARP – live action role play – community. Pichler even captures portraits of the Krampus and the Perchten – traditional Austrian figures associated with Christmas and Wintertime who are often conflated.
“Who hasn’t had the desire just to be someone else for awhile? Dressing up is a way of creating an alter ego and a second skin which one’s behaviour can be adjusted to. Regardless of the motivating factors which cause somebody to acquire a costume, the main principle remains the same: the civilian steps behind the mask and turns into somebody else…’Just the Two of Us’ deals with both: the costumes and the people behind them.”
Berlin-based artist Sebastian Bieniek‘s double-faced girl portraits are a little humorous, but they also provoke a more menacing or unsettling feeling. With an eye pencil and lipstick, Bieniek draws a face onto each side of the model’s face, using one real eye for each face. After her hair has been strategically placed around her face, Bieniek photographs this subject in the context of daily routines, thoughtfully using objects that appear in everyday environments. For this series as well as his other work, Bieniek enjoys creating a narrative that contains absurd elements and surprises viewers. Junk Culture notes, “Bieniek first came up with the idea one morning while playing in the bathroom with his son. He explains, ‘Wet hair covered one of his eyes, soap covered his ear, he looked in the mirror and said, dad look my face moved!’” This creates a manufactured or mannequin like image, with a hint of humanity evoked with one eye.
Bieniek enjoys engaging and provoking responses from his viewers, something his Facebook page of 54,000 fans attests to. He notes, “Art will be consumed differently, the market is constantly changing. Nearly every day, I make an artwork and post it on Facebook. You no longer have to see art in a gallery or see the original.” (via design boom)
It is almost difficult to believe that these self-portraits by Spanish Eloy Morales are oil paintings. His oil painting are generally executed on large panels such as the one above. Morales carefully blends colors and layers to flawlessly recreate his portraits. He nearly seems to consider each painting a separate test of his abilities. Morales is known to write notes prior to a painting of goals to meet that he felt weren’t met on a previous work. However, there is more to his work then a simple recreation of a photorgaph. Morales explains in Poets and Artists Magazine:
“I am interested in working on reality through the use of pictorial codes, previously understanding that it is a false relation and I always keep in mind that painting is an independent expression. Finding a meeting point that truly represents my vision keeps me going on painting.” [via ignant]
“Over the last decade, Nina Surel has been developing a unique series of mixed media portrait-landscapes that offers a vivid portrayal of what it means to be a modern woman, in a way that is witty, provocative and honest. Ironically enough, she uses the visual language of early feminist literature and the aesthetics of 19th Century Romanticism to make statements about repressed desires, complicated lives, and the interactions of women with their own selves and their surroundings, that are absolutely modern and of-our-time. They are scenes that can only happen deep in the understory of the most primeval of forests, under cover of the bountiful canopy, and they have their genesis even further below, where the oldest roots of these trees are.
Surel employs a wide range of media, such as photography, painting, collage and assemblage. The conceptual underpinnings of the work are in Surel’s own childhood stories, fairytales, and romantic literature.” – from the artist’s website
The paintings of Korean artist KwangHo Shin are most certainly portraits. Though they depart from many of the elements of typical portraits they’re instantly recognizable as such. Shin uses charcoal to build the underlying structure – parts resembling hair, neck, shoulders, and ears. The faces aren’t so much painted as formed by gobs of oi paint. Hints of facial features such as eyes and noses may be ambiguously implied in each piece. However, its really the inner person Shin is after, the echoes of which linger for a moment on the face.
Romanian artist Mircea Popescu‘s series Head Stock unravels the typical portrait. These obsessively detailed pieces are linocut prints – the image etched, inked, and impressed on paper. Portraits often become stand-in’s for the sitter they identify. Instead, Popescu’s faces float independent of bodies and clear facial features. The images seem to be piled with countless layers hinting at a physical face and pointing to something deeper behind it. The complexities of the Popescu’s faces reflect the intricacy of identities behind portraits.