New Zealand-based illustrator Henrietta Harris, previously featured here, continues to compel the eye with her alluring and dreamily distorted portraits. In her pastel-toned watercolors, she renders the human figure fluid and infinite. Seemingly caught in moments of a romantic introspection bordering on spiritual transcendence, her subjects dissolve into swirls, scribbles, and line.
Here, Harris’s artistic process is inextricably fused with the completed portrait, and the creative act of art making is just as significant as the subject itself. Quick, doodled lines of primary and secondary colors become equally as material and substantial as the multiple-toned and shaded flesh itself, and the artist’s stream of consciousness thrillingly interrupts any objective reflection of reality. Individual identities collapse to form a whirlpool of ecstatic color, and the body itself becomes a cosmic landscape, revolving, twisting, and floating like a strange fleshy galaxy.
The intense movement of Harris’s work is balanced only by her soft, muted colors and the hushed expressions of her subjects. Peering sleepily downwards, her watercolor muses exude a quiet yet concentrated aura, as if lost in a meditative trance. Two-dimensional lines like static electricity course through three-dimensional bodies, slicing their features in two, and still they stare forward resolutely. Deconstructed perhaps by their own imaginations, they surrender themselves to the hand of the artist, which leaps and coils whimsically across the page. Take a look. (via The Inspiration Grid)
Since the first photograph, photography has ushered forth in producing a consequential depiction of truths through the containment of fleeting moments in a tangible and archival format. Instances in time are revealed as light falls upon sensitized paper, asserting the presence of each photograph’s content. The picture plane remains uniform, constricted by its own variable, physical dimensions: a synthetic simulacrum of a three-dimensional reality that will forever remain in constant flux. And yet, in spite of presenting elements of proof based within reality, the upheaval of the actual authenticity of the photograph has found itself under siege.
Through a variety of executions, the following artists working with the photographic medium twist this truism in unique and awe-inspiring ways, abolishing preconceived notions of photography through a re-presentation of the photograph. In their reconsideration of the ordinarily static picture plane, form is pushed beyond the confines of the image through the destruction, manipulation or interference of the photograph.
Pieter Hugo’s “Kin” is the photographer’s closer look into his motherland and a personal approach to the incredible human diversity surrounding him. Hugo’s photo series from South Africa depicts the issues of race, social status, economical despair, sexuality and his own place in such “fractured, schizophrenic, wounded, and problematic place”.
Despite being complicated in content, Hugo’s photographs carry a distinctly serene, calming style and the sense of connection between the photographer, camera and the subject. Regardless of who’s in frame, an unknown homeless drifter, domestic servant, or his pregnant wife, Hugo captures their essence and tension in a simple static shot.
“[Kin] is an engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being ‘colonial driftwood. [South Africa] is a very violent society and the scars of colonialism and apartheid still run very deep. Issues of race and cultural custodianship permeate every aspect of society, and the legacy of forced racial segregation casts a long shadow.”
Based on his photographic approach, Pieter Hugo raises questions to himself and searches for answers through his work. How should one live in this diverse society? Should one accept the historical aftermath for granted or try to change it? How to raise a family in these circumstances?
For his series “Face Cartography,” the photographer Daniel Boschung creates an unnerving portrait of the human face, bringing it into a hyperrealistic focus that exceeds even the powers of the naked eye. Each high resolution likeness is composed of approximately 600 individual shots, each of which boasts the astounding size of 900 million pixels. The artist programs an ABB industrial robot to scan the entirety of his subjects’ faces, forcing them to sit still for up to 30 minutes per session.
Boschung’s photographs are visually jarring in part because they allow us to scrutinize the features of others in ways that are not possible in daily life. We rarely get close enough to view another’s pores and nose hairs; even if we did, our eyes would focus on a single spot, and the rest would fade into our peripheral vision. “Face Cartography” presents its subjects’ flesh with a depth of field beyond that of human vision, and as we move our eyes across the page, we need not fear that they will move, blur or obstruct our view. In this way, the portraits are uncomfortably intimate and unsettlingly vivid.
The artist explains that in his photographs “emotions are completely missing;” because his subjects must hold the same position for a longer period of time, fleeting emotive expressions do not register on the composite image. In this way, the work might be read as a powerful reflection on gestalt visual psychology, which proposes that the sum of the parts of an image do not necessarily reflect the whole. The up-close high-resolution parts that compose the final image are certainly transfixing, but when added together, do they accurately reflect the person photographed? What do you think? (via Design Boom)
When the photographer Douglas Sonders met Emma, a Pit Bull, black Labrador mix, he was touched by her gentle disposition and knew he had to take her home. With his ongoing personal project Not A Bully, the artist hopes to change public perception about so-called “bully dogs,” breeds like Pit Bulls, Boxers, Rottweilers, French Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers, who together make up 40% of shelter dogs.
Tests by the American Temperament Tests Society conducted in 2009 displayed excellent behavior and tenderness on the parts of these breeds, and yet unfair prejudice continues to cloud the judgement of adoptive families, and many dogs go without finding a permanent, loving home. Emma, for instance, was nearly put down and subsequently went nine months in the foster-care system before finding Sonders.
Through a series of poignant images, Not A Bully hopes to change all that. Sonder’s canine portraits are shot with the same careful reverence displayed in his commercial and editorial captures of celebrities; seen in high resolution and saturated in rich color, the animals are desperately emotive. Personalities shine through expectant eyes and eager tongues; the dogs pant excitedly, peer curiously at the viewer. Set against the most brilliant black fur, radiant topaz eyes shine bright, and chests perk up at attention, revealing soft and tender patches of white fur. Similarly, heads bow down slightly below the center of the frame in a show of trepidation and approval-seeking. These deeply-feeling creatures—capable of joy, fear, wit, and wisdom— are clearly anything but bullies. (via My Modern Met)
Photographers James and Karla Murray spent ten years documenting New York City’s ever-evolving storefronts, and recently published their decade-long project into the popular book, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York. Of the project, the photographers say, “STORE FRONT provides an irreplaceable window to the rich cultural experience of New York City as seen through its neighborhood shops.”
The strength of the series is found in it’s wide-lens, capturing a time when opening a small business in New York was actually a viable option, and comparing that to the gentrified and corporatized Manhattan of today. This can be seen in vivid and stark contrast in photos like the Delightful Coffee Shop in Harlem being replaced by a ubiquitous Dunkin’ Donuts (above). Many of storefronts shows lost clients due to the ever-increasing rent, business which remain empty today, which has a depressing, darkening effect on the people who still remain in the community. James Murray says of the idea behind the series, “until you place them side-by-side and really look at the two photos, you cannot get the true sense of loss experienced by the neighborhood.”
Cats often get a bad reputation because of their strange, idiosyncratic ways and moody temperaments, but are nowhere near as misunderstood and misjudged as the metal music community. A new book, Metal Cats by Alexandra Crockett, looks to change both of these stereotypes simultaneously, and show both Metalheads and feline’s cuddly sides.
From a feature on Bored Panda, “The people posing in these photos represent bands with names that are anything but cuddly – Napalm Death, Cattle Decapitation, Murder Construct, Skeletonwitch and Lightning Swords Of Death. But despite these fearsome band names and their black leather, spikes, tattoos and muscles, it’s clear that they share a close relationship with their loveable animals just like the rest of us.”
The musicians featured are also playing a series of benefit concerts at four cities along the United States’ west coast, with proceeds (as well as a portion of the book’s sales) going to no-kill animal shelters at each respective city visited. (via boredpanda)
Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada is known for his culture-jamming renegade advertising disruptions, and even more so for his large-scale charcoal portraits of local residents on the buildings in their neighborhoods (previously featured here). But his newer works have gotten bigger, so large many of them can be seen from Google Earth.
“Working at very large scales becomes a personal challenge but it also allows me to bring attention to important social issues, the size of the piece is intrinsic to the value of its message,” says the Cuban American artist. “Creativity is always applied in order to define an intervention made only with local materials, with no environmental impact, that works in harmony with the location.”
Works like WISH (above) took several years to complete, and involve a time-consuming process which begins by using a plotted grid system and only recently available Topcon GPS technology to map the area. 30,000 wooden stakes were applied as markers to an open area in Belfast, Northern Ireland’s Titanic Quarter shipyards, resulting in a portrait drawn by volunteers using nearly 8 million pounds of sand, rock and soil. The massive scale of the project is balanced by the delicacy of its subject, an anonymous local girl Rodríguez-Gerada met while planning the project (via blog4uuntitled).