Architectural photographer Trent Bell takes a different turn in his career to create ‘Reflect’, a poignant series of photographs that feature long-time prisoners and the handwritten letters they’ve written to their younger selves.
Inspired by a close friend of Bells’ whom was sentenced to 36 years in jail, ‘Reflect’ looks beyond the prisoner’s stigma of a past life of crime and instead zooms into a rather positive yet heartbreaking side of their story- one that starts with bad decisions but follows with deep regret, hope, and wishful thinking.
By superimposing the prisoners’ portraits on top of their handwritten letters, Bell creates an instant dual portrait, a visual image that portrays both their current physical being, and the state of their inner selves – a side of them that shows us how much they wished they would’ve made the right decision in their younger years.
“Our band choices can contain untold loss, remorse, and regret […] but the positive value of these bad choices might be immeasurable if we can face them, admit to them, learn from them and find the strength to share.”
Barbara Wildernboar, a South African photographer and sculptor, creates a series of altered books that are visually reminiscent of organic, sea-like organisms. Some emulate the visually striking legs of a star fish, others are reminiscent of wild, but beautiful jellyfish- but most of her work imitate the very beginning of any type of live being, a very basic but important part of life as it is- the shape of an atom or a mitochondrion found in eukaryotic cells.
Wildernboar strictly uses books that she buys in flea markets while she’s abroad; usually, she uses books that are dated and redundant- however, there seems to be a pattern to the kind of books she picks- almost all, if not all, have to do with earth/physical science or biology. This specific detail could or could not be relevant, but the ways in which she shapes and manipulates the paper within the book tells us otherwise. She states the following about this speculation:
Although my work has strong ecological themes, I do not see myself as an activist for environmental change, nor is the body of work to be seen as a green campaign. It is rather a reflection on my personal response to climate and environmental issues that can often leave one feeling overwhelmed and distressed.
Cristin Richard is in the movement of artists whose work is related to the body and identity. Her work examines the human condition and the fact that the body is physically and mentally determined in this condition. It is thus the window of our relation to the world. She transcribes her own personal story through impulses to existential questions.
In this particular work, The Political Aesthetics of the Skin, Richard plays with fashion, sculpture, performance and social commentary in order to bring forth these beautifully made gowns that resemble the look and feel of human skin.
Here, Richard is interested in examining the body, personal identity, as well as sculptural objects in a subtle but powerful way. She explores these themes by creating sculptural dresses that resemble skin color and skin textures made out of animal intestines. Richard’s usage of organic material, is what gives her looks the means to exist as throughly manipulated pieces, an obvious detail that makes her fashion garments have more of a sculptural feel than just regular fashion pieces. After creating the dresses, the Detroit based artist puts together an elegant performance that include women of several skin shades; she purposely finds models that perfectly match the dresses’ skin color tones. Although her pieces are wearable and highly fashionable, here, the dresses go beyond trends.
With the idea of fashion as sculpture, Cristin Richard blurs the line between fine art and fashion. She believes that fashion allows one to create a second skin. It provides an escape that is rooted in the truth to one’s own identity. One can transform themselves into whatever makes them feel good, allowing them to approach society in their own unique way. Through these observations, the artist develops and analyzes the subject of the appearance of one’s self, and also that of one another.
The saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” proves itself to be true with this outstanding series of work by redditor, Shystone.
On this body of work, the artist cleverly juxtaposes paintings of London from the 18th and 19th century with London’s modern-day settings in Google Street View. Taking inspiration from the film “London, Then and Now”, Shystone takes several popular landmarks on Google maps, including Westminster Abbey and the River Thames, and just like a puzzle, he inserts the matching 18th/19thth century painting where it belongs on the GSV’s shot. The beauty of this is how much we think things have changed over time, but truly, as we can see here, everything still kind of remain the same, at least aesthetically/architecturally. The 19th/18th century paintings make us nostalgic for the simpler times, but the Google Maps image makes us cynical about today’s highly industrialized, loud and filthy London. It is interesting to think about how we are looking and thinking about these polar opposite characteristics in a place that has physically changed very little. (via The Atlantic Cities)
Brazilian artist Luciana Urtiga creates black and white portraits that explore different aspects of self-discovery and the notion of multiple selves. By digitally altering her face and body, she creates images that showcase multiple faces/bodies or the absence of her identifiable face. By doing this, Urtiga enables her viewers to embark on a visual journey that seems to be indicative of Urtiga’s personal struggles and successes with self discovery.
The dark, eerie feel of the images help the work to become an even clearer visual testament to the the struggles of being young in today’s tough world. Who do I want to be? Where do I want to be? Should I try out different professions, and live with different people? or maybe it would all become easier if I just became invisible? These are all questions and thoughts that are visually conveyed by her work.
Simple, but strong and powerful, her work conveys universal themes that regard existential questions, most of which are more often encountered by young adults struggling to find their way in the world. (via IGNANT)
Beccy Ridsdel, a UK based ceramicists makes an interesting and truthful (to some) statement:
I know we all have our own opinions, but I think craft is technical and art is meaningful (or a reason for being made, beyond the thing itself). Overly simplistic? Probably, but for ceramicists this can be a big issue as ceramics is almost universally seen as craft regardless.
Ridsdel poses an interesting question here, one that not many contemporary artists are asking themselves simply because we are living in a world were art, for the most part, is conceptual. But what happens when someone like Ridsdel, who has the ability to make pottery, or plates, in this case, wants to make her craft both functional and a conceptual art piece?
I chose to make a series of definitely craft objects – bone china plates, mugs, jugs – and ‘dissect’ them.
Here, Ridsdel presents to us an interesting series of ceramic pieces that shows both her craftsmanship but also her creative thinking process. These endearing and fun plate and tea cup sets allude to something more than just eating and drinking. While still remaining functional, the cups and plates work as a signifier that brings to mind ideas of surgery and cosmetic alterations. This concept is ingeniously embedded within the multi-layers plates, and the surgical tools placed near them. (via Colossal)
Amidst the overwhelming violence seen in Ukraine’s recent riots, Gizmodo’s Jesus Diaz (an outsider) decides to create visually stunning, but heartbreaking images that explore Ukraine’s reactions to the sudden cultural and political changes.
By taking some of the techniques applied by Sergey Larenkov on his famous series, The Ghosts of World War II, Diaz creates images that merge shots of Kiev from before and after the Ukraine riots using the same vantage points. Through this technique, a masterful trick made possible by the almighty Photoshop, the viewer is able to experience two polar opposites: a happy, peaceful Ukraine, and a chaotic Ukraine.
Looking at the dramatic contrast between happy people enjoying the sun and peace and the anger of people behind in barricades is disheartening.
Ever wonder how your favorite celebrity/fictional characters would look like if they were covered in tattoos? Maybe your overly pretentious, inked hipster friends would be a little bit more accepting of your unhealthy obsession with the royal family…
In that case, thank your friends at Shopped Tattoos, a Tumblr based online gallery created by Cheyenne Randall that curates images of celebrities that were photoshopped to look like heavily tattooed, ordinary people.
ShoppedTattoos carefully selects/creates images that not only look timeless, but that feature celebrities that are relevant, and usually known for their refined, clean look. Some make more sense than others (for instance, Edward Norton in American History X, or Jonny Cash fit the tattoo profile), but for the most part, it is a bit shocking to see the royal family, or the Kennedys for that matter, covered in tattoos.
Although silly, I think that this project brings forth a series of questions that deal with the future of celebrity/fictional characters and their public appearance. Would our future celebrities be heavily tattooed? Are tattoos becoming mainstream, and plain ordinary (not part of a counter-culture)? Those are things we’ll have to observe in the distant and near future.
In the meantime, you can check up on more images on here.