Archives for posts with tag: fascinating

Autumn is finally upon us, and time for all things pumpkin spice (don’t get us started), as well as corn mazes and such. Which got us thinking… have you ever seen rice paddy art? Originating in Japan, rice paddy art is achieved when people plant rice of various types and colors to create giant pictures in a paddy field. Inakadate, a Japanese village in the prefecture of Aomori is thought to be the birthplace of this fascinating art form that dates back not thousands of years, but to the early 1990s. As a way to revitalize their village, officials of Inakadate decided to cleverly capitalize on a natural resource of 2,000+ years as a way to boost tourism and celebrate their culture. Since then stunning aerial masterpieces have been created year after year, gaining Inakadate recognition not only through local tourism but also through astounded onlookers by way of the internet (much like yourself). Media company Great Big Story, with their uncanny ability to tell stories, recently produced a beautifully shot piece profiling Inakadate, which garnered their stunning landscape and ingenuity further attention.

Via greatbigstory.com and vill.inakadate.lg.jp

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With one of his latest masterpieces, Wreck, Brooklyn-based sculptor/artist Jordan Griska beautifully juxtaposes opulence and misfortune in a truly provocative way. Painstakingly crafted from over 12,000 individual pieces of mirror-finish stainless steel over the course of almost two years, Griska’s Wreck tells the story of a (life-size) Mercedes-Benz S550 involved in a fatality wreck. We are absolutely in awe of this piece, and Griska multi-disciplinary approach, from 3D modeling technology, engineering proficiency, precision laser cutting and good old fashioned hand assembly. Not only is this fascinating sculpture beautiful, but it also evokes very relevant and stimulating sociopolitical concepts surrounding wealth and debauchery. Griska says it best: “The perfect geometry and flawless materiality of the piece reflect the inspiration of idealized digital design, in stark contrast with the grimness of the reality it represents. Beauty, technology and engineering collide with death and reality.”

Via jordangriska.com

Jordan Griska's Wreck on view at Pier 9 today till Sunday, 11 – 7. Across from @fringearts #pcwreck

A post shared by Philadelphia Contemporary (@philadelphiacontemporary) on

Not speaking to strangers is a lesson learned early and practiced often, but this fascinating ongoing photography series flies in the face of such prudence. Mumbai-based photographer Jay Weinstein attempts to break down barriers during this particularly vigilant time in world history, one smile at a time. Aptly titled “…so I asked them to smile”, this minimalist photography project explores the smiles of strangers, and how facial expressions truly transform perceptions and soften even the most hardened of appearances. Weinstein captures strangers in two different poses: one without a smile and one while smiling. See for yourself… with no other context (Weinstein does not provide life stories, names, occupations, confirmed religions or ethnicity), it’s striking to see how a simple smile can humanize a perfect stranger. Weinstein describes the genesis of this compelling sociological experiment in his own words: “December 2013. I was on a photography trip to Bikaner, in the deserts of Rajasthan, India. Near the busy train station, I saw a man I wanted to photograph. I hesitated. The look in his eye and his stony, stern face intimidated me. It’s always that moment of hesitation that kills a shot! I ended up avoiding him and photographing other subjects until I heard his jovial voice, “Take my picture too!” Camera lens focused, my finger poised to fire. ‘Smile’, I called out. And he was transformed. His face radiated warmth, his eyes sparkled with a humor I had completely missed. Even his posture softened. I knew then what my next project would be. So I asked them to smile was born. I wanted to document the effect of the human smile on a strangers face.”

Via soiaskedthemtosmile.com

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With the latest Apple releases, so too will come the flood of YouTube videos of folks “testing” the new devices in all sorts of precarious scenarios (submerging your new iPhone in a vat of soda, then freezing it for 12 hours, anyone?). New Zealand-born, Brooklyn-based photographer/artist Henry Hargreaves (whose stellar work we’ve discussed here and here) takes a more cerebral approach to a practice that is no less cringe-inducing to us gadget geeks. Hargreaves, along with his stylist partner Caitlin Levin, whose incredible collaborations almost always employ food as the medium, juxtaposes said electronic devices with fast food in their series Deep Fried Gadgets. While we do shudder slightly at the sight of intentionally defacing these gizmos that we hold in such high regard, we certainly appreciate the concept and commentary, not to mention the fascinatingly engaging visuals. In Hargreaves’s own words, “I like to play with food and the juxtaposition of different worlds. I found a video of some Japanese kids trying to deep fry a PSP and eat it, it didn’t work and they made a mess of it, but I loved the idea and thought it could be expanded and photographed in a beautiful way. Electronics have become almost a holy device, the way a new apple device sends people out of their minds. But as soon as the next model comes out the last is immediately forgotten. This is a commentary about the similarities between tech culture and fast food. Quickly devoured and then discarded because of our appetite for the newest product.”

Via hargreavesandlevin.com

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Tattoos are often very telling. Each and every one seems to have a story behind it, and for those who are covered, it’s like a novel. British photographer Alan Powdrill brings some of these stories to light, with his latest project and exhibition, aptly titled Covered. Looking at Powdrill’s portfolio as a whole, we love his edginess, which seems to be a common thread. Here, Powdrill features subjects who are literally walking canvases, their bodies covered in ink, underneath their everyday garb. This series presents a nice juxtaposition, and gets our minds racing about the evolution of the indelible artwork for each subject, and which unassuming individuals in our own community might be adorned in tattoos in a similar fashion. Powdrill really gets to the heart of photography here… storytelling is fundamental, and his work is quite poetic. Fascinating project, and very well executed.

Via alanpowdrill.com

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In much the same vein as the incredible work of Christopher Boffoli, Japanese artist/designer/art director, miniature photographer Tatsuya Tanaka’s playful take on macro photography is really memorable. Tanaka’s miniature dioramas, if you will, are almost like stepping into the mind of a young child, pushing his broccoli around the plate while his imagination runs wild. Tanaka says, “Everyone must have had similar thoughts at least once. Broccoli and parsley might sometimes look like a forest, or the tree leaves floating on the surface of the water might sometimes look like little boats. Everyday occurrences seen from a pygmy’s perspective can bring us lots of fun thoughts.” A key word here is everyday. Tanaka has actually committed himself to releasing one of these each day, a project aptly titled Miniature Calendar, and has been doing so since April 2011. Yes, everyday, folks. The body of work here is tremendous, and Tanaka’s perspective is fascinating. This is obviously just a very small sample of an incredible project that’s worth following. Just ask his impressive social media following: 35K on Facebook, 242K on Instagram, 88K on Twitter. Tanaka’s mission is simple: “It would be great if you could use it to add a little enjoyment to your everyday life.” We couldn’t agree more.

Via miniature-calendar.com

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