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The ‘real’ New York: Gritty scenes of NYC street life, 1970

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Avenue C, Lower East Side.
 
The photographer and documentarian Camilo José Vergara uses photographs as “a means of discovery, as a tool with which to clarify visions and construct knowledge about a particular city or place.” Pictures, for Vergara, are the starting point in asking questions or linking to other images or investigating new territories and ideas.

Born in Santiago, Chile in 1944, Vergara started his career as a photographer after he arrived in New York City during the 1960s. He graduated with a B.A. in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, and went on to study an M.A. in sociology at Columbia University. It was while at Columbia that Vergara saw the potential in using photography to document the changes in the city’s urban environment and its influence on social behavior. This eventually led to Vergara’s work in rephotography—literally then and now photography—where he documents one location over a number of years or decades.

In 1970, Vergara began documenting New York street life capturing the children, families and communities living among the city’s urban decay. Vergara’s photographs showed parts of New York that looked like bombed-out war zones, deprived areas suffering the worst of both city and state indifference.

Since this early work in New York, Vergara has documented poor, minority communities in Chicago, Newark, Detroit, Los Angeles and sixteen other cities across the U.S.A. This work has produced an archive of over 14,000 color slides, numerous books, exhibitions and film documentaries. Vergara intends this enormous back catalog to form a basis for The Visual Encyclopedia of the American Ghetto to “visualize how ghettos change over time, understand the nature and meaning of social and economic inequality in urban America.”

For his photographic work, Vergara’s has won a MacArthur “Genius Grant” in 2002, the Berlin Prize in 2010 and the National Humanities Medal in 2013. The following is just a small selection of his photographs taken on the streets of New York during 1970.
 
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Girls with Barbies, East Harlem.
 
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Fifth Ave at 110th Street, East Harlem.
 
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South Bronx.
 
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South Bronx.
 
More of Vergara’s powerful photographs from New York 1970, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Pooping on the beaches in India (NSFW)
10.21.2015
12:06 pm

Topics:
Economy
Environment

Tags:
Mumbai


 
What you’re about to see is a reporter taking you into slums of Mumbai, India where a long time resident gives her an eye-opening tour of how the poor there “do their business.” There is no sewage system in the area, and few public toilets, so folks are forced to defecate on the beaches or in the water. While, yes, there’s a bit of a gross-out factor to this video, I actually found it quite fascinating.

I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ll never take my toilet for granted again. Never. But what I can’t understand is the flip-flops. If I had to make potty in these places, I’d be wearing boots.

 
via reddit

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Biodegradable urns that will turn you into a tree after you die
10.20.2015
11:35 am

Topics:
Environment

Tags:
urns


 
Wow, I really love this idea: Biodegradable urns that “turn you” into a tree of your choice after you die. Just a few days ago my husband and I were walking around a cemetery and he mentioned he didn’t want to be buried and he’d rather be cremated. The whole idea seemed a bit morbid to me at time as I didn’t want to think about him dying nor did I want to think about possessing his… ashes. Like exactly what would I do with his ashes, anyway? Display them on my mantle over the fireplace? No. That’s why I really dig the idea of this biodegradable urn that “turns you into a tree” after you die. It’s kinda poetic, don’t you think?

According to Bored Panda:

The design of Bios Urn allows the seed to germinate separated from the ashes. Once the urn starts the decomposing process the tree roots are already strong enough to contact the ashes and grow through the Bios Urn.

Bios Urn is ready to be used with any seed from a tree, shrub or plant. The urn doesn’t have expiration date, so you can buy it when you want and keep it saved for a long time. And you can also use it with old ashes, just transfer them into the Bios Urn and plant it where you want.

A cemetery full of trees seems quite beautiful to me (although my husband has now informed me that he wants to be “reincarnated” via an urn full of Super Silver Haze crossed with Skunk #1 seeds and then smoked by his friends in a hookah). Bios Urns are inexpensive, too. Each one sells for $145.00.

What is a Bios Urn?:


 
Seeds to choose from:
 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Sad Truth: Nauseatingly profound illustrations of what the world is turning into


 
Everything that’s bleak about the modern world is wrapped-up like a perfect, little package with these illustrations by London-based artist and animator, Steve Cutts. Rampant consumerism. Shitty jobs. Environmental devastation. Disinformation. Nonsense. Billionaire psychopaths. Overcrowded cities—all present and accounted for. We’ve featured Cutts’ work here on DM before with his dark animation about the current lives of ‘80s cartoon characters.

If a picture paints a thousand words, these pieces are Molotov cocktails for the mind.


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dark, foreboding figures made from VHS tapes
07.17.2015
11:21 am

Topics:
Art
Environment

Tags:
Iceland
Philip Ob Rey

The Lavas' Whisper
The Lavas’ Whisper
 
The “V” HS Project is a stunning series of photographs designed by French multimedia artist, Philip Ob Rey. The photos were shot in Ob Rey’s home of Iceland in collaboration with painter, Louie Otesanek, and photographer Mailie Viney.
 
Unknown Ashes - Unknown Voices
Unknown Ashes - Unknown Voices
 
Ob Rey’s eerie subjects were constructed using old VHS tapes in nearly their entirety (as well as other materials such as stone, shells, feathers, and seaweed), then shot in various locations around Iceland from the snow-covered mountains, to the icy, windblown ocean. The figures, while foreboding, also possess the classical elements of Haute-Couture, which makes sense as Ob Rey grew up surrounded by the dizzying world of Parisian high-fashion.

While reading Ob Rey’s striking mission statement, it appears that the artist may have been attempting to present his visual take on what will become of the world as we know it, and what will rise after it has all turned to ash. Some have even said the work is in part a social commentary on the “death” of the VHS tape, and that with their creation, Ob Rey has provided a way for VHS fans to finally say goodbye to their long-treasured physical media of choice. That seems a bit labored. Overthinking it.
 
Submarine Wings and Seeds
Submarine Wings and Seeds
 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Climate change? No worries! We’ll escape deadly heat by becoming mole people like these Australians!


 
The town of Coober Pedy, Australia has been the opal capital of the world since 1915—that’s 100 years of one little town producing most of the gem-quality opals for the entire planet. You’d think by now they’d have turned the place into some kind of reasonably bustling little hamlet—maybe with a Starbucks franchise and a strip club at least? But Coober Pedy is unbearably hot and dry, with dust storms and 110 degree temperatures on the regular. So what’s a poor opal-miner to do? Go underground, of course!

Yes, the roughly 1,700 inhabitants of Coober Pedy live in the beautiful caverns left over from opal mining—there are nearly 1,500 houses connected by tunnels, with all the modern amenities and a glossy coating sealing the exposed rock walls to prevent constant dust accumulation. Not only that, the town has stores, a bar, a church, a museum, an art gallery and a hotel—it’s a legitimate town, not just a tourist attraction. The Coober Pedy name comes from a less-than-flattering aboriginal word meaning “white man’s hole,” but not only do the caverns provide safe, clean shelter and keep a comfortable temperature in blistering heat, there are actual bits of opal in the wall. It’s really quite a striking interior.

So when climate change bakes the surface of the earth, we’re all down to become modern mole-people, right?
 

In Coober Pedy, the dead are closer to the surface than the living.
 

Entryway to tunnels.
 

Coober Pedy home.
 

The town has an underground museum and art gallery.
 

Serbian Orthodox Church entrance and arch.
 
More Coober Pedy after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Crazy POV footage of daredevil base jump off Bolivia’s ‘Death Road’
07.06.2015
02:04 pm

Topics:
Environment
Sports

Tags:
base jumping

Grim markers along the Death Road in Bolivia
Grim markers along “The Death Road” in Bolivia
 
More than 25,000 biking aficionados come from all over the world to ride the North Yungus Road in Bolivia, known by locals as “The Death Road” or in their native tongue, “El Camino de la Muerte.” “The Death Road” starts at a staggering 11,000 feet in the snowy Andes mountains, and takes riders on a 40+ mile, adrenaline-fueled trip through the Amazon Rainforest.
 
Bikers traveling the Death Road in Bolivia
Brave bikers traveling the Death Road
 
Bikes stop to admire the Death Road in Bolivia
 
While at times it may appear to be an idyllic trip full of waterfalls and mythical, untouched vistas, the road lives up to its name, claiming approximately 300 victims a year. The grim reminders of those who lost their lives on the Death Road are marked by crosses. And there are entirely too many of them along the treacherous route. Originally constructed by Paraguayan POW’s that were captured during the Chaco War (1932–1935), the road was formed using only picks and shovels. Some ravines along the one-lane route plunge more than 1,500 feet straight down. Naturally, as it is a road of death, there are precious few guardrails, if any at all, to protect those brave enough to ride the road.
 
the Death Road in Bolivia
 
Roadside markers on the Death Road in Bolivia
 
Base-jumper on the Death Road in Bolivia
Base-jumper on the Death Road
 
Some of the braver (if not brainless) bikers are also known to “base jump” off the road into whatever lies beneath.There are loads of tour companies that offer guided excursions of the road and people who run them have told stories of young tourists showing up to ride hungover (yikes), or of overzealous bikers armed with GoPro cameras on their helmets that only aid in distracting them from the very real dangers of the road.

Of course not every biker that tries their luck on the Death Road are foolhardy or unprepared for the intimidating trek. Many who take on the Death Road are legitimately skilled thrill-seekers in search of their next challenge. While base jumping into a blissful looking rainforest may be appealing those who live to die another day, I’d just rather watch people doing it. So if you just nodded your head in agreement to my last statement, please enjoy the following video of a guy base jumping off the Death Road. Viva la DEATH!
 

POV video of a base jumper on the Death Road

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
‘Testicle-biting’ fish with human-like teeth found in New Jersey lake
06.25.2015
02:59 pm

Topics:
Animals
Environment

Tags:
Pacu fish


 
This will be my second post about New Jersey in the past couple days. Hey New Jersey, you turnin’ into the new Florida?! Anyway, a South NJ resident and his son were fishing in a man-made lake called Swedes Lake in Burlington County and caught a Pacu fish which isn’t indigenous to the area. If you notice, the Pacu fish has human-like teeth.

Now you may have heard about this Pacu fish before which has a hilarious reputation for only attacking men’s balls. The truth is, the rumors about this Pacu fish feasting on male testicles is pretty much more of an urban legend than actual fact. The Pacu “folklore” started in Papua, New Guinea with the nickname for the fish they coined translating as “ball cutters.” Now I’m not saying the Pacu fish has never attacked a dude’s balls before—they’re not known to be the friendliest fish, either—it’s just not as common as most people would have you believe.

The real threat with this fish is that it’s not indigenous to the area and could mess with the whole ecosystem, i.e. spreading disease and spurring fiercer competition for food.

More than anything, the Pacu fish is in need of a good dentist. Lookit that tartar buildup. Daily flossing is a must!


 
via Death and Taxes and 6 ABC

 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Wailing babies and children projected onto clouds of smog in horrifying message about air pollution


 
China’s air pollution is a serious issue, one that can be downright deadly, especially for small children. Predictably there is a lot of brutal Chinese environmental art out there, but this is one of the most legitimately creepy stunts I’ve ever seen—projections of wailing children and babies on columns of smog. My first impression of the spectacle was, “Oh, it must be a Chinese artist making an environmental message!” Nope, the installations and associated video are actually an advertisement for air purifiers. Yes, despite all those nifty overtures to communism, China is very much a country that runs on capitalism. The company’s statement on the ad:

Xiao Zhu wanted to stand out in a market that was almost as congested as the air. A market where half a million people, mostly children, have died due to air pollution related illnesses. So we decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits—the factories—by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium. People took notice, and the word spread.

Clear the air. Let the future breathe again.

Oh wow, I feel so hopeful about the future now that there’s a product to remedy this problem!

Remember kids, if capitalism caused the problem, you can certainly count on capitalism to solve the problem! (Right?)
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Fascinating photographs of an abandoned Chinese fishing village reclaimed by nature
06.10.2015
01:35 pm

Topics:
Art
Environment

Tags:
Mother Nature


 
Nanning-based photographer Tang Yuhong takes us on a lovely photographic journey through an abandoned fishing village in China. We see Mother Nature claiming back what was once rightfully hers.

The village is located in the Shengsi Islands, near the mouth of the Yangtze River. What I wouldn’t give to take a boat trip on the Yangtze to visit these small islands. If these amazing photos are anything to go by, I wonder what other treasures the islands hold?


 

 

 
More after the jump…
 

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
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