Combining photography and painting, Polish-based artist Michał Mozolewski creates intriguing portraits of mysterious-looking subjects. Pictures of pictures of people are scanned into the computer and later remixed and using a variety of methods. They are set against dark backgrounds and the black and white base images have gestural strokes painted over top of them. The hues of white, cyan, and red don’t evenly cover the photographs and Mozolewski uses varying pressure that adds a sculptural element to the work by emphasizing certain features of the face or body.
The effect that the artist’s technique has on the mood of the work is dramatic. Diffused and distorted photographs combined with Mozolewski’s erratic marks make for a haunting and grotesque portraits that are dreamlike at the same time. There’s a lot left to the imagination with these works, and they communicate sadness but at the same time are provocative and overall very visceral.
Beyoncé Knowles – “Master cleanse diet,” lemon juice, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, salt, and laxative herbal tea
Bill Clinton – “Cabbage diet,” cabbage soup, mixed with other vegetables.
Luigi Cornaro – “Sober Life,” fifteenth-century Venetian nobleman, 400ml of solid food or eggs and 500ml wine.
Lord Byron – “Romantic poet’s diet,” potatoes in vinegar and soda water.
Whether you find it oddly comforting or just downright strange, fad diets have existed long before our time. Photographer Dan Bannino documents the temporary eating habits of celebrities as far back as Henry VIII and as recent as Beyonce. He goes beyond simple tablet settings, however, and crafts moody, rich-looking scenes that are luscious in their color and texture. Bannino describes the inspiration for his series entitled Still Diet, writing:
With this series my aim was to capture the beauty that lies in this terrible constriction of diets and deprivation, giving them the importance of an old master’s painting. I wanted to make them significant, like classic works of arts that are becoming more and more weighty as they grow older. My aim was to show how this weirdness hasn’t changed even since the 15th century. (Via Artnet)
Often in our daily lives, something needs to be taken out of it’s normal context to be seen with renewed appreciation. In Arnaud Lajeunie‘s recent photoseries Water meets colour, colour meets water, the Paris-based photographer explores new waves of seeing the constant ebb and flow of ocean waves by making them more visible, through the use of biodegradable, sugar-based dyes. Arnaud’s interventions tint the surging water with a plethora of colors, which are captured using an extremely fast shutter speed, which produces photos of violent, colorful takes of traditional landscape photography. Taken out of a normal context, one can see more clearly the natural beauty and fury.Says Arnaud, “Here, colour is seen as a raw material, as are the waves and the rocks. Colour adds density and thickness to transparent water, thus enhancing the flux fixation process.”
As writer Eugenia Lapteva notes in an essay on the series, Colours of Absence, “As the colours bleed into the sea, the texture of the water thickens and the motion of the waves is (re)defined, revealing its hidden course and complex networks. The crashing waves, which are carefully contained within the camera frame, pull the viewer into a vortex of frozen shapes and novel configurations that are otherwise indiscernible to the human eye.”
In his own words, the photographer explains, “I rely on the camera as a device with technical features that can give tangible shapes to ever-moving fluxes, in this case the waves. The high shutter speed transcends the human reflex of persistence of vision: it reveals existing shapes that the ‘mortal eye’ cannot perceive on its own.” (via mymodernmet)
Do you know someone who, beneath their clothes, has extensive tattoos? They might look unassuming from the outside, but underneath reveals their impressive collection of body art. That’s the idea behind Vancouver-based photographer Spencer Kovats’ series Uncovered, in which he invites strangers to pose in two photos- one where they appear fully-clothed and the other where we see their ink in all its glory.
The subjects have colorful, full sleeves and backs of intricate designs that showcase the art of tattooing. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the two photos, as someone sheds their skin to who they really are. They look more relaxed and at ease. At the same time, it also challenges us to think about how we judge people and how this changes after we see stripped down.
Kovats is one of 11 photographers participating in the “The Tattoo Project” that began during a long weekend 2010. Hundreds of tattooed people journeyed to shared studio space to pose before the cameras. The photographers captured thousands of portraits that each explored different aspects of body art. (Via Huffington Post)
The fantastical works of Cerise Doucède illustrates the daydreams that we all have. In their series entitled Égarements, the French photographer shows people living their everyday lives, but who are frozen in a moment of contemplation. Around them is disarray, or, their fantasy. A child looks up and sees paper cranes above him while a woman peeling apples is similarly surrounded by the same fruit.
Doucède’s series is alluring in the fantastical sense, as we look at these compositions of where things are out of the ordinary. The photographs are formally striking; it’s visually satisfying to see these things levitate and appear to float in midair, as we’re not used to this sight.
Égarements points to the moments of banality in our lives where we turn to daydreams. Our reality might not be very exciting, so these fantasies come as a form of escapism from the monotony of the everyday. A more optimistic way of looking at this series might be that these people are so engaged in what they are doing that they go beyond what is in front of them to entertain grand possibilities. Maybe we’ll go with that. (Via This Isn’t Happiness)
Before the insanely popular Lil Bub or the hilarious Doge memes of today was the photography of Harry Whittier Frees, a man who was capturing dogs and cats in odd-yet-amusing situations long before you and I were around. He fashioned a career from these adorable pictures and used them in postcards, calendars, and children’s books. The positive reception (and the fact that it made him wealthy) further proves that our obsession with cuteness is timeless. Some things really do remain the same.
These strange images show cats and dogs in dresses and bonnets, performing household chores like hanging clothes to dry or watering the plants. While it’s hard to deny the cute factor, you can’t help but feel a little uncomfortable by the unnatural positions these actors are posed in. It’s reminiscent to the work of Walter Potter, whom we recently shared here. Although there is a certain similarity to the stiff adorableness, you can feel better knowing that Frees’ animals stayed alive for their photo shoots.
Photographing these tiny creatures was no simple feat and Frees would only photograph three months out of the year. He writes about his experiences in his book Animal Land on the Air:
Rabbits are the easiest to photograph in costume, but incapable of taking many ”human“ parts. Puppies are tractable when rightly understood, but the kitten is the most versatile animal actor, and possesses the greatest variety of appeal. The pig is the most difficult to deal with, but effective on occasion. The best period of young animal models is a short one, being when they are from six to ten weeks of age. An interesting fact is that a kitten’s attention is best held through the sense of sight, while that of a puppy is most influenced by sound, and equally readily distracted by it. The native reasoning powers of young animals moreover, quite as pronounced as those of the human species, and relatively far surer. (Via Co.Design)
It is fair to assume that while most of us know that our world, our living spaces, and even our bodies are covered with microscopic organisms, we do like to not be reminded of it. Photography student Marcus DeSieno’s recent photoseries begs to differ, offering a beautiful yet disturbingly close look at our microscopic natural surroundings. Parasites is an ongoing project “investigating a history of scientific exploration through images of parasitic animals.” Taken with a Scanning Electron Microscope and then exposed onto dry plate gelatin ferrotype plates, a process which combines classical and cutting-edge photographic techniques. The final images are archival pigment prints from the scanned ferrotype plates and printed larger for these abject animals to confront the viewer at a one-on-one scale.
“Photography and science have had an intrinsic relationship since its’ invention in 1839. It did not take William Henry Fox Talbot long until he was using his calotype process to capture what was under the lens of his microscope. The indexical nature of photography has pushed the reaches of science ever forward into the 21st century. These technologies allow us to peer in to the unexamined corners of the natural world reminding us that the universe around us is much greater than ourselves. In this realm of scientific curiosity, photography has a intriguing relationship with the invisible, allowing us to see the world that we cannot. Parasites explores these themes of science and wonder and, at the same time, confronts a personal fear of these parasitic organisms that attach themselves to humans. Embedded in the work is an engaging dialog with photographic history, its\’ shifting modes of representation, and its’ material possibilities. Parasites investigates the role of shifting photographic technologies in contemporary culture and their abilities to capture a mysterious and unseen world.”
Tragedy can yield new ways of working and thinking, especially in the case of artist Jess Landau. After a lifelong friend committed suicide in 2013, she was struck trying to come to terms with the loss, and it lead her to explore new ways to cope with the event. What resulted was a stunning series that conveys the fragility of life itself as expressed through nude figures on eggshells.
Before she landed on eggshells, Landau decided that the traditional materials of wood, papers, etc., just weren’t cutting it. She wanted something more delicate. The decision to use the shells coincided with her learning to use liquid emulsion, a chemical that makes paper light-sensitive and allows images to be projected onto it in a darkroom. “Liquid emulsion will only adhere to surfaces that have a tooth — shiny and smooth surfaces like glass and certain plastics don’t work unless you sand-blast them,” the artist explained to Huffington Post. “Eggshells have an appropriate texture for the emulsion to cling to.”
First, Landau photographed the models with a 35mm Minolta camera and then developed the images by hand in a wet lab using traditional darkroom methods and a few modifications. Because of the eggshells’ curved shape, Landau applied several layers of evenly-distributed emulsion to to them. The exposure would vary depending on the shape of the shell, making the process for each slightly unique.
The effort that went into the production of this series had therapeutic results in addition to its beautiful aesthetic qualities. “Life is fragile and temporary, and it should be cradled in the palms of our hands — which is the process that I engaged with as I delicately created each of these works manually, with my hands.” The nude bodies represent vulnerability of its subjects, and printed on a delicate surface demonstrates the fleeting nature of life itself. (Via Huffington Post)