Artist Alice Smeets re-imagines 20th century tarot cards through contemporary photography. Having always been interested in spiritual themes and fascinated by tarot cards, Smeet recreates the many different faces of tarot cards using the streets of Haiti as her subject. Her goal was not just to interpret the deck of tarot cards through her lens, but to also have them hold a deep, personal element. Cards like “Justice” and “The Hanged Man” become more intimate by collaborating with each of her subjects represented in this series.
Each Haitian shown in her Ghetto Tarot cards are actually artists themselves. Smeet, aiming to keep authenticity in her work, collaborated with an artist corporation in Haiti called Atiz Rezistans, or “resistant artists”. The photographer worked with these fellow artists to construct her tableaus to capture the captivating imagery in each card. In fact, Smeet includes the work of each “resistant artist” as props in the series. Working in partnership with these artists, she was able to form a relationship and learn what the word “ghetto” means to them. Smeet states that by titling the series Ghetto Tarot, she is giving the word new meaning, a more positive connotation. By exploring this theme of reappropriation, she discovers new ways of changing ideas and implications about certain imagery and words. Smeet explains,
“If we realize that its a choice whether we look at destruction and see despair or to regard it as the start of something new, we can change the meaning of every word, action and sentiment.”
Like floating into a dream, Jason Mitchell’s photography takes you into a new place of existence, stuck between worlds. His series Dream Away displays ghostly bodies in a different state of being, exploring a sense of awakening. Inspired by metamorphosis, his figures are placed in a blank space, not knowing exactly where they are except for in a place of uncertainty. Even still, they seem tranquil and ready for whatever is to come next. Each image contains an ethereal quality, as the figures delicately glide through the air. In this series, we cannot tell if Mitchell’s figures are falling or floating, as there is no sense of direction, like they are underwater. With bright whites and light shadows, the absence of almost all harsh shadows creates an angelic atmosphere around these women.
Hinting at themes of afterlife and a higher state of being, Mitchell’s figures almost do not appear to be human. They are transcending their bodies on a journey of oneself.
“I ask my subjects to explore a loss of control, but a sense that they are being guided, pushed and pulled by another sentient being, as they make their way to a new self. They represent the soul of a magical creature on a journey through the limbo that connects their past understandingto this new unknown.”
– Jason Mitchell
Although all of Mitchell’s work holds a striking beauty, his series Dream Away truly exhibits stunning detail and imagery. Photographs from this majestic series will be on view at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco, CA until May 30th.
The photography of cooking enthusiast and photographer Brittany Wright simply and beautifully displays the natural range of hues held by various types of fruits and vegetables. The Seattle-based photographer states that she has a goal to learn how to cook everything and anything. Sharing cooking ideas and recipes online, Wright began photographing the ingredients to share as well. This love of experimentation with ingredients and flavors eventually lead to photographing the produce, starting her series titled Food Gradients. She arranges each edible item in rows, columns, and clusters according to their pigment or size, which is often attributed to the stage of lifecycle the specific food is in.
Some of the fruits and vegetables Wright chooses for her rainbows of ingredients naturally have a wide variety of colors, like apples ranging from deep reds to bright yellows. Others, however, are discolored for a different reason, because they are rotting and dying. Many of her Food Gradients brilliantly display the lifecycle of the item, showing the beginning of its life all the way to its elegant death. Because of her subject, you would think Wright’s inspiration comes from food photography, but because she sees food and cooking as a creative and artistic outlet, she finds more inspiration from abstract art. (via Faith is Torment)
” I see food as an art, and an opportunity to do something creative.”
Photographer Pavel Samokhvalov captures intriguing images of the nearly-nude body set against day-glow neon lighting. The provocative photos feature models clad in see-through hosiery and whose bodies are bent and contorted towards the camera. Often, their faces are obscured by hair or poses. Samokhvalov will also only shoots part of the torso, zeroing-in on a small tattoo or glitter-covered nipple.
The photographer does a lot of editorial work, specifically in the fashion realm. His background is cinematography from the Moscow Film Institute, and this training can be seen in his work. The images tell a story, and each fuschia-colored background is one piece of a larger puzzle. They double as character studies, showcasing a product while at the same time providing subtle clues about the nature of the pieces and the people who wear them. (Via Scene 360)
Norwegian artist Andreas Lie fuses wild creatures with landscapes in a subtle collection of animal portraiture. Using two different photographic images, he creates a double exposure where woods, water, mountains, and even the Northern Lights are contained within the bodies of beasts. Polar bears, foxes, and wolves are all featured, and their torsos become one with the ground.
The textures of trees (like evergreens) often works in Lie’s favor. It mimics the look of fur so while these images are undoubtedly surreal, they also look natural. And, that’s part of their appeal. They combine visually disparate elements of the natural world in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. It comes in a nice, animal-shaped package.
Lie sells his work via Society6. Check it out for prints, clocks, tote bags, and more. (Via Blu)
Artist Pawel Bajew is a master of contorting the body and creating an oddly beautiful scene constructed from simple objects. In his series titled Freaks, the photographer creates surreal images of seemingly mutated bodies and disembodied limbs. However, disfigured his figures may appear, this effect is created mainly through simple minimal objects under the clothing or strangely placed props covering identifying parts of the body like the face or limbs. His cleverly placed mannequin parts and wigs form surreal scenes, some filled with isolation, others with humor. Each strange situation is not unlike a film still; holding dramatic poses and staged lighting. His figures seem tormented in some way, with the bodies twisting and bending in abnormal ways. The faces are often hidden in this series, distorting the identity of the person and causing an eerie, psychological effect on the viewer.
This intriguing, Polish-based photographer also captures amazing portraits full of detail and originality. His portraits are filled with self-portraits as well as others, embodying an eclectic group of eccentric individuals. Each subject seems like a fictional character, filled with exaggerated expressions and over the top costumes straight out of a novel. Bajew’s portraits are not without humor, as some figures have funny expressions, but also have a darkness about them, just like his series Freaks. His body of work as a whole personifies a distinct mood and peculiar atmosphere about it that leaves it distinguishable and unique.
Society has long had a fascination with dolls and the creepy connotations that come along with them, with such horror films as Child’s Play confirming our worst nightmares. Photographer Annie Collinge is no exception. Her own uncomfortable feeling associated with dolls has created a bizarre fascination inspiring her series 5 Inches From Limbo, which includes photographs of dolls with their human counterparts. Collinge find vintage, strange looking dolls in thrift shops and flea markets, and finds a person in the flesh that resembles the doll. She even dresses her humans to mirror their doll, creating a surreal vision of a person alongside their miniature, porcelain self. Eerie as it may sound, her photographs are relentlessly intriguing while still holding an odd beauty.
Originally hailing from London, the artist had traveled to Manhattan when she found her first doll for the series. The inspiration came when she spotted a vintage doll that boar a surprising likeness to her Aunt Yolanda, outfit and all. After this encounter, she searched for interesting, antique dolls or people that look somewhat like dolls themselves to start the next pairing. She will then find a doll to match her subject, or dress a person to fit the part. Either way, each chosen person displays a striking resemblance to each unique doll, with cherub faces and big round eyes. You may be wondering where all of the dolls end up after the photograph is taken. Well, although a little disturbed by them, the artist keeps each and every one. Dolls often seem to hold a life of their own, and with the help of Collinge, her dolls have now transformed into real life human beings, however unnerving it may be. (via Featureshoot)
Japanese photographer Osamu Yokonami’s voyeuristic series Assembly features groups of young women who all dress the same. The eerie images are shot from a distance, making the viewer feel as if they’re spying on the troops. And with their backs turned towards the camera, you don’t know exactly what their motivations are. Although they don’t appear to be causing any mischief, we can’t be so sure.
Yokonami writes about Assembly, stating:
Each person has their own personality. I try to keep a bit of distance between us in this work. Then, the existence of each person disappeared and the existence of the group appeared instead. The strength and beauty as a collective entity stood out more by being in nature. I was attracted to the expressiveness of the group. (Via WeTheUrban)