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Frida Kahlo: Her final years, in black & white and color
07.31.2017
11:45 am
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Monday, I’ve got Frida on my mind, and I’ll tell you why. You see, I’ve been thinking about Frida Kahlo and her paintings and the bravery with which she countered the many unbelievable difficulties in her life. Most of our problems are but very small potatoes when compared to the physical and emotional hardships Frida endured. The cards were really stacked against her. The likes of you and me have it easy by comparison.

As I’m sure you’re all aware, it all really started when Kahlo was involved in a near fatal road accident in 1925. The bus she was traveling on collided with a tram. Frida was impaled on an iron handrail, her pelvis, several ribs, legs, and collar bone were all fractured and three of her vertebrae were displaced. She was bedridden for several months as she recuperated. The fact is: her health never really fully recovered from the damage done, and Frida was in and out of hospitals for most of her life. Her original plans to study medicine at university were now impossible, but rather than give up and succumb to self-pity, Frida Kahlo recalibrated her ambitions and decided to become an artist. She said this was her chance “to begin again, painting things just as I saw them with my own eyes and nothing more.”

A mirror was placed on her bed, enabling Kahlo to paint her own portrait. She later said that she painted self-portraits because she was so often alone and “because I am the person I know best.” After her recuperation from her accident, Frida mixed with her old school friends. She became a communist and she met the artist Diego Rivera, whom she married in 1929. It was to be a tumultuous, passionate and painful relationship. Frida later said:

There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the tram, the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.

For his lack of looks, Rivera was apparently irresistible to women. He carried out several affairs during their marriage. In constant physical pain from the accident, Frida now suffered the devastating emotional pain caused by Diego’s serial philandering. The pair divorced in 1939 but remarried again in 1940.

For all the years dedicated to art, it wasn’t until the last years of her life that Frida had her first solo exhibition at the Galería Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico, in April 1953. It was thought she would be too ill to attend, but her four poster bed was installed in the gallery and Frida was taken by ambulance for the exhibition’s opening.

By this point, Frida was in constant agonizing pain. One leg was amputated due to gangrene and a series of different infections meant she underwent several operations. She also had to deal with the damage of another one of Diego’s affairs which led her to attempt suicide in 1953. Yet, Frida ultimately overcame these problems and decided it was best that she lived. She moved the focus of her art away from herself towards the greater more pressing issue of making the world a better place for everyone.

I must struggle with all my strength to ensure that the little positive my health allows me to do [work which] also benefits the Revolution, the only real reason to live.

In her final year, Frida produced work like “Marxism Will Give Health to the Sick” and “Frida and Stalin.” She died in July 1954. The last words she wrote in her journal were:

I joyfully await the exit—and I hope never to return—Frida

Looking at photographs of Frida Kahlo, I can’t help but marvel at her strong features and character. And also how she must have taken the time every morning to “prepare a face to meet the faces” as T.S. Eliot put it. Frida crafted her own image which she maintained like an artwork throughout her life. During her final years, many photographers visited Frida at her home in Mexico. Most of the following pictures were taken by Gisèle Freund who visited Frida and Diego in 1951. The two arresting B&W head portraits of Frida were taken by Marcel Sternberger in 1952. The color portrait of Frida in hospital holding a sugar skull was taken by Juan Guzmán circa 1951.
 
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More photographs from Frida Kahlo’s final years, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.31.2017
11:45 am
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Girls just wanna have fun: Teenage fashion of the 1980s
07.28.2017
11:03 am
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So, this is what Mom wore in the eighties. And maybe you did too.

Big hair, teased and permed to perfection, crimped, hot rollered, feathered like Farrah’s, with a side high tail,  or a whale spout. Colors were in. High colored fluorescents like something Disney had puked up. Pastels and neon, tartans and stripes. Leggings and leg warmers, dancewear, and Spandex, revealing cotton shorts with vests, tracksuits. Jordache jeans, ripped jeans, and stone washed jeans. Fanny packs, scrunchies, and shoulder pads. Reebok, Adidas, and Swatch. Everything was either way too loud or just a tad too soft like something granny might wear. There was no in between in the 1980s.

These found photographs of teenage girls from the 80s certainly give some idea of what the decade was like for mostly affluent, mainly white people back then. It’s a better portrait than say that CNN documentary series, as it doesn’t concentrate on the headlines but on what people looked like, what they wore, and how they had fun.
 
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Flashback in time with more photos of 80s teen fashion, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.28.2017
11:03 am
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Tattoo You: Vintage photographs of women getting tattoos
07.26.2017
10:48 am
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Janet ‘Rusty’ Skuse—once Britain’s most tattooed lady.
 
Let’s try and imagine just how shocking it once must have been to have seen a young lady decorated in tattoos out shopping on the high street. It must have been quite something. These days, it’s almost de rigueur for young ladies to sport tatts. This morning, for instance, while taking the train to work, on came three young girls who barely looked old enough to be out of junior high let alone inked with a set of rather splendid tattoos. One had an eagle on her shoulder. Another had a snake curled from ankle to thigh, while the third flexed a bloody heart on her bicep. To be honest, it all seemed quite ordinary and utterly mundane. The last time I was ever surprised by a tattoo was when a friend (hi Bert) had a massive, thick, heavily veined penis tattooed on his thigh right down to his knee, no less. It was certainly a talking point when he wore shorts—but that was obviously the idea.

Tattooing has been around longer than we care to think—way back to the Stone Age apparently—and its ubiquity today tells us there is nothing outsider-ish, or edgy in having a drawing inked on the flesh. But at one time, well within living memory, a heavily tattooed woman would be considered dangerous and suspect and could probably only find work in a traveling freak show (right next to the Bearded Lady).

Which brings us to this fine selection of women going under the needle and having some fanciful designs made upon their bodies. In their own way, each of these women was a pioneer of body art at a time when only criminals, sailors and lowlifes sported tattoos.
 
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A soldier has her arm tattooed in tattoo parlor in Aldershot, England, 1951.
 
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1940.
 
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1964.
 
More ladies getting tatted, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.26.2017
10:48 am
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Girl gangs: Portraits of Chicano girl culture from the 1990s
07.21.2017
09:36 am
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Artist Guadalupe Rosales established and curates Veteranas and Rucas an Instagram account dedicated to documenting Chicano youth culture of Southern California in the 1990s. What started out in 2015 as a way to reconnect with lost friends and half-remembered acquaintances from her own teenage days soon developed into a richer, broader, far more important history of the lives of women (and men) raised in SoCal and beyond.

Veteranas and Rucas serves as a digital archive where strangers, close friends and family share a virtual space that speaks a language many of us can relate to….The attention that the Instagram has received has resurrected a part of history that hasn’t been talked about or well documented—yet so many people were excited to see it come back. Working on Veteranas and Rucas made me realize how important this subculture is.”

Rosales who grew up in LA asks people to submit their own photographs of life in SoCal during this period. Her site takes its name from the words “Veterana” which means “someone who has put in work or time in the gang culture,” and “‘ruca’ [which] is what you call your chick.” Anyone who knows these words, Rosales adds, will be able to connect with her and Chicano culture.

Photographs carry complex messages. They make solid a person, a moment, a feeling, or some shared event of deeply personal significance. They also capture the space within which these fleeting moments take place. Rosales documents many of these neighborhoods which have been lost with the rise of the behemoth urban gentrification devouring and repopulating these once mainly ethnic and working class areas.

In 2000, Rosales quit LA—just a few years after a cousin was killed in Boyle Heights. She moved to New York where she witnessed another kind of gentrification taking place in the city. This led Rosales to gradually reconnect with the friends and people with whom she had grown-up. The connections she renewed inspired Rosales to start her archive of ‘90s Chicano youth.

“What I’m interested in posting is women that look like strong women….They look tough, and I like showing photographs like that because I want to say that women can be attractive when they’re strong women.”

See more from Rosales Veterana and Rucas here.
 
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More Veteranas and Rucas, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.21.2017
09:36 am
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Gorgeous color Autochromes of American women from over 100 years ago
07.18.2017
08:50 am
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‘Woman’s face’ (circa 1915).
 
A clairvoyant once told me I’d soon be working on a very big book. Her words sounded good. I considered their promise. I was a would-be middleweight tyro hoping to type out my magnum opus by twenty-one. A month or two later, there I was, just as she had said, working on a very big book in a university library but not the one I had imagined. This was a big book of last wills and testaments. My job was to work through this massive tome, transcribing the details by hand and then typing them up into a computer file.

The work was repetitive, dull, and mind-numbingly boring. The only respite was smoking weed with a workmate every lunchtime to loosen up the old synapses into some creative daydreams. There weren’t even the luxury of pictures to make the work just a wee bit more interesting. I’d spend the afternoons imagining faces of the people named in the book. Names like:

Ada Derwent, spinster, 79, born 1798, died intestate July 18th, 1876.
Robert MacFarlane, lamplighter, 46, born 1823, died intestate August 1st, 1869.

Who were these people? What did they look like? Where did they live? What were their lives like? That kinda thing. Nothing too original, or too taxing—just giving long-forgotten names substance. Up popped Cruickshank illustrations, scratchy-nibbed sketches that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Dickens’ novel or b&w photographs of grimy-faced Victorian laborers.

I worked my way through two or three of these thousand page books before quitting. I was none the wiser to what all these people looked like or discovering more about the lives they lived other than the written facts of birth, death and what they left behind.

If there had been pictures, my understanding may have been better. By which meander, I come to these beautiful color Autochromes of women from over a hundred years ago. We can see their faces, their clothes, their surroundings, and glean a sense of their lifestyle. Photographic portraits can tell us more about the subject than a listing of the facts as we tend to look at pictures in a far more positive way than we do at words. We look for connections that tell us about who we are, what we feel, and what we think.
 
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‘Dancer wearing Egyptian-look costume with wings reaching to the floor’ (ca. 1915).
 
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‘Woman posed as sphinx’ (ca. 1910).
 
More century-old color Autochromes, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.18.2017
08:50 am
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Beautiful vintage portraits of the last of the traditionally tattooed Māori women
07.12.2017
10:57 am
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Moko is the name for a Māori permanent body marking. It was originally carved with bones creating a scarring on the skin rather than a tattoo made with a needle and ink. Each moko is unique to the wearer. It depicts the story of the wearer’s family, their ancestral tribe, and their position within that group. The moko is created by the Tohunga tā moko. Māori men have moko on their faces, backs, buttocks, and thighs. Women mostly have a moko kauae on their lips, chins, and necks, and occasionally on their foreheads.

In Māori culture:

A moko on the face is the ultimate statement of one’s identity as a Māori. The head is believed to be the most sacred part of the body. To wear the moko on the face is to bear an undeniable declaration of who you are.

After the Brits colonized New Zealand, ta moko declined as a cultural form. This was partly due to the Tohunga Suppression Act of 1907, which outlawed Māori medical practices. As these were closely linked to Māori spiritual and cultural traditions, the Māoris lost much of their culture and became what was termed as a “lost race.” The Act was eventually repealed in 1962.

These photographs of Māori women were taken circa 1900-1910. These were among some of the last women to wear the traditional moko kauae before its resurgence in recent decades.
 
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More beautiful portraits of Māori women, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.12.2017
10:57 am
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Through a Lens, Darkly: Weegee’s photographs of death and disaster
07.12.2017
09:27 am
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Murder was easy. The stiff would lie on the sidewalk for an hour or two until the wagon took his body downtown to the morgue. The stiff was slumped in the doorway of an Italian cafe, head to the door, feet on the sidewalk. Weegee sized up the scene. Every other photographer was taking the close-up. Bloodied face. Bloodied hands. Legs at strange angles. Weegee clocked the people hanging out of their tenement windows looking down on the scene below. Moms, Dads, kids reading the funnies. This was the drama. One stiff was the same as another. Weegee wanted his pictures to show some humanity. He walked back about a hundred feet. Set up his camera. Used flash powder and Kazam! There was the whole scene. The corpse. The blood. The cops. The balcony seat of people looking out to see what had just happened. Drama. Humanity. Crime.

Weegee came out of Złoczów now part of the Ukraine. He was born Arthur Fellig in June 1899. He emigrated with his family. They landed New York 1909. Lived in the Lower East Side. His father was a hatmaker and part-time rabbi. Weegee took whatever work came. He became a janitor. Got the nickname “Squeegee Boy.” He hung around with the bums on the Bowery. Started taking photographs. First passport pictures, then commercial work. At the age of thirty-five, he upped his game, quit commercial work, became a freelance news photographer.

He went out nights, hung around the police station waiting for the stories to come in over the teletype. Off he went taking pictures of murders, fires, fender benders, wacko kids on their way to juvie hall. He spent two years with no accreditation following the police all around town. In 1938, the cops gave him his own police radio. Weegee could tune in and pick up on what was happening. Most times he got to the crime scene before the cops. The cops thought he must be psychic. This gave rise to the apocryphal story his nickname was the phonetic spelling of “Ouija.” Weegee added a darkroom to the trunk of his car. He took his picture, developed it at the scene, put his print on the back, and sold it to the papers. During his ten years at police headquarters, Weegee said he must have photographed 5,000 murders—“at least one murder every night.”

Weegee wanted to capture the perfect picture. He always claimed he photographed things just as he found them but this wasn’t always so. The famous pic of rich tiaraed dames in white furs off to the opera with a dirty-faced down-and-out lady beside them was staged. The bum was a drunk from a bar in the Bowery. She was paid a few drinks to stand next to the patrons going to the Met. Even so, it’s a damn fine photograph.

Taking people’s pictures wasn’t easy. At first, Weegee felt nervous, scared, but he knew he had to show confidence. He had to be in control. When he was, he found out people liked getting their pictures taken. One day his editor asked him why was it that when cops arrested perps and threw them in the back of the wagon, the criminals always covered their faces? Weegee came up with a solution for that. One night, Weegee asked a moll if she wanted the picture the papers used just to be her mugshot? Cause that’s certainly what they’re gonna use. Wouldn’t it be better if he took a good picture the way she wanted to be seen, well-lit like a Rembrandt, looking her best rather than some guilty lowlife? After that, most perps wanted Weegee to capture their best side.

Weegee photographed a world of crime and violence, murder and death. He changed the way we look at the world. He made an art form of the crime scene, which appealed to both the sensation-hungry readers of the tabloid press and the leafy, middlebrow, intellectuals. Weegee’s photographs created a style that is often copied but never bettered. This is film noir. This is every classic gangster movie you’ve seen. This is life as it happened.
 
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More of Weegee’s shots of death & disaster, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.12.2017
09:27 am
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Fallen Angel: Evelyn McHale’s ‘Beautiful Suicide’
07.11.2017
11:14 am
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Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America. On average there are 121 suicides every single day. Fifty percent of these are achieved with firearms. Just over a quarter are the result of hanging or suffocation. Poisoning makes up about fifteen percent. 

In 2015, seven out of ten suicides were white males, with the highest percentage being middle-aged men. A total of 494,169 were taken to the hospital due to attempted “self-harm.” That works out to an average of twelve people self-harming for every successful suicide. However, most suicide attempts go unreported which means there is an estimated one million US citizens who attempt suicide every year.

For those who have no access to a gun or to poison or worry that hanging might leave them paralyzed from the neck down, then jumping off a tall building or a bridge is the preferred choice for about five percent of all suicides. Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is the top spot for those who choose to jump. To date, around 1600 people have jumped from the bridge—an average of one person jumping to their death every two weeks. However, approximately one in fifty survives the fall—usually with life-changing injuries. Part of the attraction to jumping is the spectacle, as one Golden Gate suicide survivor Ken Baldwin explained in 2011:

“Jumping from the bridge was going to force people to see me….To see me hurting, to see that I was a person, too.”

The moment Mr. Baldwin let go of the rail and began to freefall downwards, he quickly realized that:

“...everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable – except for having jumped.”

He was lucky enough to survive to tell his tale after being pulled out of the water by the coast guard.
 
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Suicide has had a bizarre, and let’s be honest, dumb romantic appeal since Cleopatra was bitten by an asp. This notion was further endorsed by the English Romantic poets, in particular, Thomas Chatterton who poisoned himself at the tender age of seventeen—supposedly in fear of having caught a dose of the clap. This trend to romanticize suicide carries on to present day which sadly suggests we never learn from our mistakes. And I can ‘fess up to being that special kind of stupid having survived two suicide attempts. As Dorothy Parker noted—it ain’t worth it and we might as well live.

The photograph that perhaps captures this strange romantic idea about suicide as somehow “beautiful” was taken by student Robert Wiles on Thursday, May 1st, 1947. His photograph shows the body of Evelyn McHale atop a limousine parked outside the Empire State Building on 33rd Street, New York. Evelyn was a 23-year-old bookkeeper with the Kitab Engraving Company. She had just returned to New York from celebrating her fiance Barry Rhodes’ 24th birthday on April 30th, in Easton, Pennsylvania. Rhodes later said he had no idea of Evelyn’s intentions:

“When I kissed her goodbye she was happy and as normal as any girl about to be married.”

At some point on the train journey back to the city, Evelyn made her mind up to commit suicide. Arriving at Penn Station, Evelyn is believed to have entered the Governor Clinton Hotel where she wrote her suicide note which read:

“I don’t want anyone in or out of my family to see any part of me. Could you destroy my body by cremation? I beg of you and my family – don’t have any service for me or remembrance for me. My fiance asked me to marry him in June. I don’t think I would make a good wife for anybody. He is much better off without me. Tell my father, I have too many of my mother’s tendencies.”

The most telling part is Evelyn’s line about having “too many of [her] mother’s tendencies.”

Evelyn was the sixth of seven children born to Vincent and Helen McHale. In 1930, the family moved to Washington D.C. where her father worked as Federal Land Bank Examiner. This was the year Evelyn’s mother Helen quit the family home leaving Vincent to look after the children. It’s not known why Helen McHale moved out.
 
Read more about the ‘beautiful suicide’ of Evelyn McHale after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.11.2017
11:14 am
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Gavin Evans’ magnificent portraits of Bowie, Björk, Iggy, and Nick Cave
07.10.2017
11:18 am
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David Bowie.
 
The Monday morning mailbag arrived with its usual gifts of bills, party invites, ransom demands (which I really must get around to paying), and “Dear John” letters. I was about to tip all this largesse into the bin when I noticed a postcard from a dear friend Christopher. It was the usual greetings of “Having a lovely time” and “Wish you were here” kind of thing but what saved it from the trash was the front photograph of David Bowie by Gavin Evans.

Now we all have favorite photographers and one of mine is certainly Mr. Evans who has taken some of the most magnificent, gorgeous, and iconic images of the past two decades. The photograph of Bowie shushing with a finger to his lips like he did in the promo for “China Girl” has been used on numerous magazine covers, photospreads, TV documentaries, and pirated for Internet memes, urban graffiti, and even tattoos. Its ubiquity one would hope should have made Mr. Evans a very rich man—but somehow (sadly) I very much doubt that.

Another of Evans’ Bowie photographs—a color portrait in which he wore blue contact lenses—captured a vulnerability that I’d never seen before (see picture above). It was as if Bowie allowed his guard down for just a moment and had unknowingly (or perhaps willingly) revealed a more vulnerable and intimate side. The picture was taken in 1995 for a Time Out cover. A couple of years later, Bowie contacted Evans and asked for a print of this picture to hang in his office. Bowie explained to Evans that this was his favorite portrait.

That’s the thing I like about Evans’ work—he has an uncanny talent for capturing the very essence of his subject matter. His photographs make the gods flesh. Look at his portraits of Nick Cave which reveal something of the man behind the public persona or his series of photographs of Björk which capture a tender and humorous side sometimes lacking from more traditional photo shoots. Or just look at his portrait of John Hurt where you can see the pores of the actor’s skin and peer right into his soul.

Christopher’s Bowie postcard is now pinned to the wall. I browsed for more of Evans work and was happily surprised to find a selection of his most powerful and iconic work is currently on tour. Then something even better, a selection of Evans’ beautiful prints are availble to buy. Now every home can have a Gavin Evans on their wall.
 
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David Bowie.
 
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See more of Gavin Evans majestic photographs, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.10.2017
11:18 am
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The Erotic 3-D Photography of Jiří Růžek (NSFW)
07.06.2017
10:19 am
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Jiří Růžek is one of the word’s best glamor and erotic photographers. He is described by critics and fans alike as an artist who has redefined the genre by producing fine art out of glamor photography.

Růžek considers himself just a photographer who takes nude portraits. He describes his work as Uglamour—a term he made up from the words “Ugly” and “Glamour.” He says his intention is to create “natural and straightforward photographs showing true and believable emotions.” This is what makes his photographs stand out and why many describe his work as fine art.

Born fifty years ago in Litoměřice, Czech Republic, Růžek is now based in Prague where he runs a studio, a workshop, and an exhibition space. His work has been exhibited across the globe and published in magazines and books by the likes of Taschen, Random House, Gmbh, and Constable & Robinson. Even with all this success, Růžek still finds time to run group and one-to-one photographic courses and private shoots.

But you really don’t need to know all this unless, of course, you wanna sign-up for a workshop or maybe be one of his photographic models. What I really want to share is Růžek’s gorgeous erotic 3-D Anaglyphs. These photos are stereoscopic pictures made from two red and cyan filtered colored images. Růžek’s 3-D photos have a sensuous beauty that recalls Edward Weston‘s nudes or Helmut Newton‘s provocative erotica but all are captured with Růžek’s own style. You’ll need your 3-D glasses to get the full effect.

See more of Jiří Růžek’s work here.
 
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See more eye-catching 3-D beauty, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.06.2017
10:19 am
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Smoking babies, toddlers with guns, sex doll love & other hilariously inappropriate stock photos
07.05.2017
10:37 am
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Just looking at these pictures makes me think a stock photographer’s life must sometimes be quite fun. For example, photographing strange and bizarre scenes that at first seem utterly inappropriate but once given a headline almost make perfect sense.

Toddler shoots Mom with loaded .45 found in her handbag

or

Jealous wife stabs husband over dirty texts from his lover

or

Shopping Mall Santa is a Serial Sex Perv!


You get the idea.

What I want to know is there a weird stock photography office where you can apply for this job? Do they have a photographic editor who sits chomping on a cigar like J. Jonah Jameson barking out demands for pix of “Granny Shoots Mugger” or “This Baby Smokes a Pack a Day Just like Daddy!” or “Evil Babysitters let Kid snort cocaine!”

These pictures all scream National Enquirer, if not the Daily Mail. Not enough aliens or Elvis to be of much use to the Weekly World News.

Andy Kelly is a video games journalist who, quite understandably, finds this kind of stock photography hilarious. One day while browsing through the “perfect, smiling models eating salad, high-fiving each other, and pointing at flipcharts in boardrooms” Kelly came across the image of an obese man by a Christmas tree cradling a bottle of booze and pressing the barrel of pistol against his head. The photo was intended to represent some very serious issue like say, seasonal affective disorder or maybe the rise in suicides at Christmastime. But, as Andy noted, the image was “presented so bluntly, in such an absurdly literal manner that it accidentally became funny.”

So was born Kelly’s Dark Stock Photos—“Extremely fucked up stock photography.”

Kelly started his Twitter feed last month. It already has a healthy following around 81k. Kelly’s careful as to which photographs he shares as many are just waaaay too depressing and a “disproportionate number” feature violence against women—which sadly reflects the kind of world we live in.

Yet, the darkly comic photographs Kelly does share raise plenty of questions like who buys this stuff? Why do they exist? and is there really a place where I can apply to get this dream job?

If this tickles your funny bone (and why wouldn’t it?) and you want to see more then follow Dark Stock Photos.
 
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More weird stock photo pix, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.05.2017
10:37 am
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Painting with Light: Incredible portrait photographs of young outsiders
06.23.2017
06:19 am
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‘Iris’ (2011).
 
At a cursory glance, I thought I was viewing some small figure detail from a Baroque painting or maybe a canvas by a Dutch Old Master. The richness, depth, and subtly of light fooled my eye. This was the photographer’s intention—to make the viewer re-examine what is seen.

The photographer is Pierre Gonnord. He previously turned his talents to photographing the last coal miners working in the pits at Asturias and Castilla y León, Spain. His portraits gave these men a dignity and nobility. They were “a tribute” to the lives being destroyed by economic cuts and governmental indifference—or as Gonnord described it “social genocide.”

Now Gonnord has thrown focus on to a series of painterly portraits of young people. He is specific in who he chooses to photograph, selecting “the person, the individual, alone in the margins of his social group…”

‘When I travel and meet a community, I have time enough to establish contacts and connections, to know individuals that move me for their charisma, sensitivity, intelligence, shyness, beauty … and this is why I decide to invite them (and no others) to do a portrait’

Gonnord takes his time photographing his subject and almost makes it sound almost like a forensic process:

‘Installed in the silence of a room, generally a very small space, sometimes with daylight, sometimes with a lamp, a flash, just one spot … in a short distance, in the same living area, I can talk with the individual, my fellow, a chosen human being, and looking at him I repeat once again this old ritual. A very short moment. Probably the most ancient since man has been on Earth. Strip little by little all the details, and in silence try to catch what maybe is under the skin’

His passion for portrait photography offers Gonnord the chance learn what he describes as “life experiences” allowing him to:

‘Learn from others, listen, watch, see, feel, express. It’s to open one’s eyes to the world, to know other universes, other realities in order to go beyond one’s own small frontiers in the urban environment and enter little by little into the sharing and the understanding of humanity’

and

‘To look into the eyes of these models is to feel in a certain way that we are looking at our own essence as human beings.’

See more of Gonnord’s portraits here.
 
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‘Attia’ (2010).
 
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‘Sophie’ (2012).
 
See more of Gonnord’s beautiful portraits, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.23.2017
06:19 am
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Almost Grown: Sublime photographs of American teenagers 1969-1984
06.09.2017
09:08 am
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Charlie, Jones Beach, 1976.
 
Teenager: that tricksy time when you’re no longer a child but not quite yet the adult. When hormones light fires and the good ole triumvirate of sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock’n'roll drop by to shake everything up.

Joseph Szabo was teaching a bunch of such teenagers at Malverne High School, Long Island in 1972. Szabo was 28-years old—ancient to most teenagers—and was finding it a hell of a difficult to connect with his young charges. He had all but given up trying when he decided to start taking photographs of the kids in his class. This then led to his photographing all the kids in the school. Then all the kids in the neighborhood. He didn’t discriminate. He just wanted to document every kind of student he could find and let his photographs tell their story.

The kids responded to Szabo’s interest. They soon let him follow them down to the beach, or out to their hangouts and homes after school. Szabo’s pictures moved from posed portrait against wall or on beach to youths caught unawares like nobody was watching.

These kids lived in a world they described as “doing nothing” because they were neither at work or at play. It was this unselfconscious spontaneity that Szabo captured so perfectly that made his photographs stand out. They are beautiful and sublime depictions of a golden season when the world is still magical and mysterious before the first frost of adulthood brings cynicism and fear.

Szabo’s work has inspired movie directors like Sofia Coppola and Cameron Crowe and a shopload of fashion directors on shoots for every glossy magazine you can think of. Now in his seventies and retired from teaching in 1999, Szabo still takes photographs of the teenagers and adults he meets on his travels. But nowadays people are more cagey about having their picture taken and it ain’t so easy to connect in the same way. But Szabo still manages to capture those unguarded epiphanic moments when no one else is looking.
 
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Three Friends, 1976.
 
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Anthony and Johanna.
 
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Priscilla, 1969. It became the cover for Dinosaur Jr’s album Green Mind
 
See more of Szabo’s iconic pictures, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.09.2017
09:08 am
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Playboy Playmates recreate their iconic covers 30 years on
06.07.2017
09:57 am
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Monique St. Pierre, Playmate of the Year, June 1979.
 
Marilyn Monroe was the first Playboy cover girl featured in the magazine in December 1953. That copy of Playboy wasn’t actually dated as publisher and editor Hugh Hefner didn’t know if there would ever be a second issue. Marilyn was also the magazine’s first “Sweetheart of the Month,” a title which changed to “Playmate of the Month” with Playboy’s second issue in January 1954 when Margie Harrison became the magazine’s first ever centerfold. Marilyn’s iconic photo spread only appeared over pages 16-18. Since then, Playmate of the Month has continued right on up to present day with Elsie Hewitt featured as Playmate of Month for June 2017 and Brooke Power featured on the cover as Playmate of the Year.

There was a well-told urban myth about the glamorous Playmates featured on the cover that claimed they were given a marking, out of twelve, according to Hefner’s tastes. This was based on the stars printed on the cover either on or next to the letter “P” of Playboy. This rumor alleged Hef was giving “stars” for either the cover girl’s looks, or performance in bed, or even how many times the old goat had slept with her. This was never true. The stars which appeared on the cover between 1955 and 1979 denoted regional or international advertising for that particular issue.

Playboy is now synonymous with America and American values as Mom’s apple pie, the Stars and Stripes, and Abraham Lincoln. That Hefner’s magazine and his multi-million dollar porn industry have achieved such a strange (shall we call it?) respectability says much about the dynamic changes in culture and morals over the past six decades.

A selection of Playmates was recently offered the opportunity to replicate their iconic covers some thirty years on from their original appearance. Playmates Candace Collins, Monique St. Pierre, Cathy St. George, Charlotte Kemp, and Reneé Tenison, among others, were photographed by Ben Miller and Ryan Lowry as part of this project. As can be seen from the photographs below, the results are quite incredible.
 
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Monique St. Pierre, 2017.
 
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Candace Collins, Playmate, February 1979.
 
More then and now Playboy Playmates, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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06.07.2017
09:57 am
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Cum for Me: Intimate photographs of men and women at the point of orgasm
05.18.2017
09:04 am
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Kristina.
 
We reveal ourselves in unguarded moments. Those instances of joy, happiness, fear, and anger—when emotions burst forth uncontrollably. Photographer Alina Cara Oswald had been thinking about such times and thought of creating a photographic project that captured women and men at their most intimate, unfettered, and emotionally reflexive moment when reaching orgasm.

Oswald didn’t believe she would find any models willing to masturbate in front of her and the camera. However, after talking about the idea, she did photograph a good friend and then herself reaching climax.

I started talking to people about my project and asked them very open and directly if they want to take part. And more and more people said yes. So I started photographing them. The project became bigger and bigger. I put my whole energy and thoughts into it. I was organizing everything and made many appointments. Most of the time I went to the model’s home, I brought some wine and some relaxed energy with me. I talked a lot to the person and then I setup my equipment. Then it was time for a hand-job.  Mostly I was in the same room, sometimes I went out and just came in at the end to take the photo. Sometimes I had couples and they helped each other. Sometimes the people watched porn or looked at erotic pictures. Afterward, we laughed and talked about it.

What fascinated Alina was not the photograph of someone cumming but “the process of how it arises and how a content can be presented and communicated.”

How can a piece of paper, which has just two dimensions, influence the third dimension? Can I communicate emotions and content through pictures without you knowing what it is about?

Alina titled this series of portraits Moments.

Based in Munich, Germany, Oswald studied photography, screenprinting, digital animation and communication at the city’s art college. She graduated in 2016. You can see more of Alina’s work here and here.
 
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Joel.
 
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Sarah.
 
See more forthcoming attractions, after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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05.18.2017
09:04 am
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