Israeli photographer Rubi Lebovitch has a sort of subversive sense of humor, and for the record, we love it. Though his photographs themselves are pretty straightforward, Lebovitch has the uncanny ability to find the absurd in the ordinary. There’s a great cerebral quality to his work, in which the viewer is not guided by a predetermined story arc, but instead can deduce any number of things from his unexpected and beautifully absurd work. For his series Home Sweet Home, Lebovitch utilizes an intimate domestic setting for a veritable fun house. There is a certain charm in Lebovitch’s hyperbole, and ironically enough, you too can display it in your own home in a tidy coffee table book (available here). In his own words, Lebovitch discusses his book: “My photographs deal with domestic scenes captured in straightforward images…characterized by mystery, vagueness and absurdity. I create a twist in familiar sights and build new contexts, thus endowing the scene with new meanings. Mundane objects and domestic spaces are transformed into something strange and surprising. My images do not contain a clear-cut story or plot. The characters are inscrutable to the viewers and difficult to identify; their relationship with the world around them is senseless and they fail to communicate. Rationality is substituted by a twisted and exaggerated worldview. I employ a multiplicity of objects, allowing the objects to grow stronger and take over reality; they occupy and control the space. The scenes depicted in the photographs emphasize what usually remains hidden: the repressed, which cannot be described. The anxiety these scenes arouse undermines the peacefulness and security usually associated with home.”
Via rubilebovitch.com and loeildelaphotographie.com
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.”
Most designers know that sometimes in order to really grab an audience’s attention, you need to be edgy, perhaps even controversial. This notion is not lost on Brazilian-born, Hamburg, Germany-based art director Felipe Nunes Franco. His refreshingly unexpected approach to soliciting something as virtuous as organ donation, of all things, is both tongue-in-cheek and thought provoking. For his series, Everyone Has Something Good, Franco skillfully illustrates how even notorious bad guys, both real and fictional, literally have good hearts. Franco’s subjects include Bin Laden, Hitler, Darth Vader and (wait for it) Justin Bieber! Given the sad state of the world, this series could really be ongoing. We’d love to see more!