While visiting the town of Gulu in Northern Uganda, Italian photographer Martina Bacigalupo discovered a very unusual set of studio portraits. Despite being perfectly composed, none of them featured a subject’s face as they were all cut out leaving blank rectangles in the photograph. Oddly enough, it appeared to be a common practice in Gulu for taking ID photos.
Bacigalupo visited Uganda searching for ways to document this community, which was suffering from violent conflicts. The first faceless photograph she had stumbled upon lead her to meet Obal Denis, the owner of the oldest photography studio in town, the Gulu Real Art Studio (est. 1973).
“The portraits were well composed, with subjects seated on a chair or on a bench, with a blue, white or red curtain behind them, in various poses and modes of dress. Obal <…> told me the secret behind those pictures: he only had a machine that would make four ID photos at a time, and since most of his clients didn’t need four pictures, he therefore preferred to take an ordinary photograph and cut an ID photo out of it.”
For Bacigalupo, these ‘leftover’ images were the purest form of representation of Gulu’s society. She gathered the unused prints and interviewed clients of Obal’s studio. To most Ugandans, who suffered from more than two decades of war, taking new ID photos marked important changes in their lives: getting a driver’s license, starting a new job or applying for a loan. The value of such events is perfectly conveyed through the subject’s pose, gesture, clothing and other subtle details.
In his project “Scrublands”, French photographer Antoine Bruy pulls down the curtain on the mysterious back-to-the-land movement and its members. His series documents the lives of several communities who isolated themselves from the civilized world and have been living in the wilderness for more than 20 years now.
In 2010, Bruy embarked on a hitchhiking journey across Europe. With no specific destination in mind he wandered from one place to another hoping to find those secluded communities of people who abandoned their modern lifestyle, freed themselves from social constraints and chose to live in the wilderness. He would spend days and weeks together with them, helping in everyday chores and taking photographs of their daily routines.
Photographer notices that despite different locations and professional backgrounds (from philosophy teachers to engineers), these communities and their members are all linked to each other through handmade buildings and agriculture-based living. Bruy has plans to continue his project next year by exploring the United States. (via featureshoot)
Guia Besana, born in Italy and based in Paris, has created a photography series titled “Under Pressure” that portrays women in contemporary society with its neuroses and complexes, but with an artistic and stylistic flourish – one evocative of tales from a storybook. Besana stages scenes, creating single, still images that are representative of a fictional story reflecting the pressures women face to be perfect including themes of marriage, burn-out, conflict with body aesthetics, excesses, and other questions involved in a woman’s identity. Besana’s thoughtful series is at once dark and playful and demonstrates the photographer’s artful vision- she has an eye for composition, patterns, and style, and creates a striking fine art aesthetic that pairs beautifully with the theme of contemporary women’s identities. (via dark silence in suburbia)
Twitter user @TechnicallyRon has spent a fair amount of time creating clever and humorous graphics for his very active account. His recent experiments with taking the format from the Daily Mail (a tabloid-format UK gossip paper) and replacing the newspaper headlines with actual user comments might fall more into a category more darkly revealing than humorous.
While some of the comments veer towards inane internet message board chatter (example, “I don’t know which Kardashian this is.”), the results often head to darker opinions that are better left unsaid, hence their prevalence behind the safety of computer screens (such as the misogynistic comments about women over 50, below).
As this story is still developing, @TechnicallyRon has not made any opinions public about these works, or if the series will continue. (via thepoke).
Julia Fullerton-Batten’s models seem naked in their nudity, and this is not just a clever play on words. John Berger, in his book Ways of Seeing, explains the difference: “Nakedness reveals itself. Nudity is placed on display. The nude is condemned to never being naked. Nudity is a form of dress.”
Here, in Fullerton-Batten’s Unadorned series, each model is indeed nude, as Berger suggests, posed on display, manipulated by the photographer to convey an idea, however . . . because he or she wears a certain type of nudity in the vein of old world masters from the 15th – 17th centuries . . . and because they are arranged in contemporary settings by female hands . . . and because their bodies are curvy and soft, as opposed to thin and hard . . . what results is also a fascinating feeling of nakedness: a complex historical/sociological revelation of us as a species in relation to gender, weight, and image.