We’ve looked at double exposure photography many times before (here and here and here), but we’ve never seen analog work quite like this arresting series, Jarred & Displaced, by Finnish photographer Christoffer Relander. We often marvel at artists who choose more traditional or “old school” methods of art making, which is the case with Relander’s striking photos here. Rather than capturing his photos digitally, then quickly bringing them into Photoshop for manipulation, Relander takes to the dark room to work his magic. While each composite is brilliant by its own merits, Relander’s process somehow makes his work that much more precious. As if pouring his heart into these very personal photographs was not enough, Relander also collaborated with fellow Finnish photographer and filmmaker Anders Lönnfeldt on a simply exquisite short film about this project, which is a true work of art in and of itself. In his own words, Relander discusses this mysteriously beautiful ongoing project: “For over a year now I’ve been collecting landscapes in jars using analog double exposures—in this project I have realized a childish dream. I play with the idea of being an ambitious collector; conserving my environments into a large personal collection. Most landscapes are from where I grew up, in the countryside in the south of Finland, where my roots still lie. Separation anxiety to my childhood is simply what absorbed me into this project.”
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.”
Full disclosure: we’re having a moment of design envy. And for several reasons. The subject of our aspirational glares is Big Apple-based designer/illustrator José Guizar’s self-initiated, ongoing weekly project Windows of New York. First, we are truly inspired by “daily” projects. We admire the commitment of artists who hone their craft through some sort of consistent work, whether it be daily, weekly, monthly (for example, here and here and here). It truly is a creative exercise, to motivate one’s self to conjure creativity for the sake of it, and at regular intervals, no less. Second, with distractions aplenty, from our Apple i-devices, to social media, to everyday hustle and bustle, being mindful enough to stop and appreciate architectural details around us is easier said than done. Such inquisitiveness and passion are what drives Guizar. Finally, his incredible illustration skills really make this project what it is. In the hands of a less-skilled artist, this undertaking wouldn’t be quite so notable. But Guizar’s spare, yet detailed design approach is perfectly engaging. From his flat style, to his terrific sense of color and composition, to his attention to typography, Guizar’s growing collection of diverse architectural specimens reflects his personal spirit of curiosity and exploration, and should be cherished and admired by designers for quite sometime. Hats off to Guizar for a well-conceived and expertly executed personal project.