Akif Hakan’s photography portfolio is full of both personal and commercial fashion photography. He’s got many beautiful images on his site but the image above captured my eye. I love the optical effect of the hand disappearing behind the hair. Akif also has great series on glamour goths, urban fairies, and other bizarre fashionistas from around the world.
I’ll start this post by saying that I’m not a fan of Lady Gaga’s music but you can’t deny that this video is one of the most bizarre, creative, disturbing music videos that has been made in the last couple of years.
Directed by Jonas Åkerlund (Madonna, Prodigy), the epic 8 minute video starts slow but right around the 3 minute mark all hell brakes loose as she is tossed off a balcony and left a bloody mess, riding around in a tricked out wheelchair with a bedazzled neck brace, dancing in crutches and bustier and matching helmet. The costumes alone deserve an award.
Anton Kusters is a Belgium-based photographer specializing in long-term projects. In 2011, he published his first photobook on the Yakuza, the Japanese organized crime families, that he photographed for two years.
Tell us about your Yakuza project.
‘YAKUZA is a personal visual account of the life inside an inaccessible subculture: A traditional Japanese crime family that controls the streets of Kabukicho, in the heart of Tokyo, Japan. Through 10 months of negotiations with the Shinseikai, my brother Malik and I became one of the only Westerners ever to be granted this kind of access to the closed world of Japanese organized crime.
‘With a mix of photography, film, writing and graphic design, I try to share not only their complex relationship to Japanese society, but also the personal struggle of being forced to live in two different worlds at the same time; worlds that often have conflicting morals and values. It turns out not to be a simple black versus white relationship, but most definitely one with many, many, many shades of grey.’
Swiss artist Daniele Buetti’s light box constructions feature punctured holes that emit light from beneath the surface of the image creating a glowing highlight to the images of the distressed models and adding poetic text and musings to her provocative works.
Sort of in the same vein as cultural greats like Cindy Sherman, Korean artist Jo Seub explores self portraiture. But he often gives the effect that Ren & Stimpy had on me as a child who had yet to find humor in the grotesqueness of human (animated mangy animals) condition. An article by art critic Moon Young-Min on the artist’s website explains the “reason for his aesthetics of the frivolous, for his use of comedy as an art form; today’s younger generation understands comedy. Jo demonstrates clearly that one can communicate seriously while at the same time being funny…Jo Seub is not only skeptical about the ideology and religion that he is satirizing but he is also rebelling against the excessive weight and seriousness of the doctrinarian teaching and its rigid methodology. In fact, anti-Communism under the military dictatorship in South Korea, which took place in the context of South-North confrontation, is not much different from the anti-imperialism inculcated in North Korea.”
The relationships of women to themselves and their environment fuel the narratives of Jennifer Nehrbass’ paintings and are formed from the binary oppositions between the images. By dismantling the roles and stereotypes of beauty and femininity Nehrbass examines the psychology that leads women to go to extremes to maintain beauty and style.
As many of you know Beautiful/Decay was started in 1996 as a black and white zine. We may have gone full color and grown in distribution but at the core we’re still a DIY operation that holds true to all of our original zine roots. That’s why I was so excited to hear that a group of talented LA creatives had put together the LA Zine Fest taking place this Sunday (2/19/2012). Dozens of past B/D featured artists are taking part and they have some great panels (including our pal Katie from Synchronicity Space and Henry Rollins) lined up for you to enjoy. I just wish I had known about it sooner so we could have taken part in some way. Perhaps next year!
I’ll be heading down to check out all the DIY goodness and I hope you will too. Watch a promo video for the fest after the jump!
Izumi Keiji’s figurative sculptures seem to ridicule their subjects’ oblivion, in a playful way. Does anyone else find it humorous his poor sculptures are trying so hard to be normal, but can’t contain their bizarre idiosyncracies? It’s almost as if Izumi takes delight in rendering a white T and blue jeans, business-only bun wearing woman into a magical, blue lagoon water-fall headdress goddess with rainbows erupting from her armpits, as if about to take off in flight. She stands sort of delicately, both aware and inanimately unaware of her liminal position between a world in which anything is possible, and the mundane one you and I reside in. Not to be missed is the casual wear young man whose “afro” is turning into a martian below, completely unbeknownst to him…who knows, maybe I have a giant bolt of lightening erupting from my armpits, and I just don’t know it?