New Zealander photographer Chris Sisarich took these photographs while on an assignment in Egypt. At the time he was shooting a tourism campaign, but every moment that he had free he would turn his lens onto these incredible empty landscapes. I love how these barren views show the hostility of the desert, as well as the surrealisim of the marks left by man.
Sisarich summarizes these images particularly well:
It was hard to tell whether I’m looking at all that’s left after a futile attempt at taming the desert, or witnessing the first tentative steps towards creating somewhere people can live. These are spaces defined by their negative space, blessed with light – which is sliding in from all directions.
For me, these pictures look more like photos from a science-fiction film then anything on Earth. The complete set is called ‘Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere’ and it can be viewed here.
Loretta Lux is a photographer whose work instantly grabs your attention. I was flicking through an old journal of mine when I came across one of her images and it has stuck with me all day. Her portraits of children are as beautiful as they are unsettling, and as mesmerizing as they are eerie.
Lux is originally from Dresden but now living and working in Monaco. She creates her photographs with a combination of techniques including paining and digital manipulation. As times it can take her up to three months to produce a single image. For me, there’s a Norman Rockwell quality in her work and yet where Rockwell imbues his images with humor, Lux’s photographs seem far more restrained.
The way in which each photograph is manipulated means that her portraits fall into the uncanny valley, and from here the viewer begins to question whether or not these children are actually real. Personally I believe that they feed into that sub-genre of horror that plays on a ‘fear of children’. It’s not too hard to draw a connection between the images above and that of say Damien in the Omen or the famous twins seen in The Shining. Then again, perhaps that reading says far more about me then it does of Lux’s work. Maybe judge for yourself and check out the rest of her work online here
Jarno-Erik Faarinen is a musician and producer from Finland who records under the name of Fotoshop. The other day he contacted me to let me know that he’d just released his debut album Lifeforms, and I’ve been listening to it ever-since! Faarinen’s sound sits somewhere between M83 and Washed Out, and although he channels a number of familiar reference points he manages to create something truely unique and exciting along the way.
The album’s opener Too Little, Too Late demonstrates exactly what Fotoshop does so well. His combination of vocals, beats and disoriented synths layer together to construct a slow-building anthem that holds a terrific synth-beat that just rips right through the whole track. Faarinen’s vocals are particularly nice, adding a shoegazer effect to the whole thing. Lifeforms is available for download from Fotoshop’s bandcamp page and it comes highly recommended.
For a number of years the English painter Graham Crowley has been creating these striking paintings inspired by the landscape of Rineen on the west coast of Ireland. Often described as “one of the most distinguished living painters in the UK today”; Crowley is a painter’s painter – an artist completely caught up in the world of paint. He is an artist whose work can be read as reflections on what it means to be a painter, and particularly to be a painter who is living and working at the start of the 21st century.
One part of Crowley’s practice that I find particularly interesting is how, over the last 20 years, he has completely changed his style. His landscapes of Rineen look almost unrecognizable when compared with the work he had been producing during the 70s and 80s. This idea of an artist changing their style is something which has been discussed on this site before, and it is something which I find really interesting.
In an interview with a-n Magazine in 2010, I was delighted to read Crowley’s response when asked about this change in style. “It’s only right that [these paintings] should be different to those that I made when I was 26″ he says, “I’m a different person.” Crowley also talks about how his work isn’t wrapped up or guided by what he describes as ‘product identity’, he just creates what he feels he should be creating. If people feel that this might betray his market identity, then so what “..if that’s all they’re worried about then tough”.
It’s refreshing to read of an artist of Crowley’s calibre who still just cares about staying true to their own creative voice and who are willing to change creatively as they change as a person. You can view more of Crowley’s work (including images of earlier work) online here.
I’ve a lot of love for LEGO, and so when I saw Swedish programmer Hans Andersson‘s Time Twister clock I just knew I’d have to share it. His creation is noisy, slow and indeed the epitome of chunkiness, and yet it’s a beautiful creation.
For me, the raw simplicity of Andersson’s design is really attractive and the way in which his creation goes about slowly-revealing each of it’s digits is almost hypnotic. When I watched the video above, showing his design in motion, I was shocked at how much anticipation and excitement I felt just simply watching the time being revealed.
Hans has also built some other amazing creation including two puzzle-solving robots which are pretty incredible. One can solve sudokus and an other one can solve a rubik’s cube. Both are well worth checking out.
Don’t ask me why, but there’s certainly an 80′s technopop revival going on, and let’s be honest, that’s no bad thing! Over the last few months this blog has featured tracks from the likes of Washed Out, Geoffrey O’Conner and College, each of whom have been channeling the 80′s in their own unique synth-inspired ways. Today I’d like to add the Brooklyn-four piece Ice Choir to that list and share with you their first single Two Rings which they released just last week.
Coming across like a mixture of New Order, Pet Shop Boys and Tears for Fears – Ice Choir is the personal project of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart member Kurt Feldman. Their track Two Rings features some sweet vocals and some terrific icy synths. It is the first single from their as-yet-untitled debut album which is due out next year. The single is available to buy as a limited-edition pressing here.
I love the work of Japanese illustrator Tatsuro Kiuchi. Above are a few of the illustrations taken from his 2009 children’s book Let’s Go Out For A Ride. It looks like a really wonderful book. It tells the story of a boy and his father who take a day trip to the top of a mountain and on their they ride on various forms of public transport. Not only are Kiuchi’s wood-cut illustrations beautiful, but they’re also busy with activity – the kinds of images you’d spend all day getting lost in as a kid.
‘Lets Go Out For A Ride’ is only one of a number of great projects on Kiuchi’s site. I also really adore his illustration work for the The Folio Society’s edition of Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea which you should take a look at. You can view the complete collection of his work online here.
Of the four artists nominated this year for the Turner Prize, it is the work of the Ilfracombe-based artist George Shaw that resonates most with me. Shaw’s landscapes focus on the mundane and he capture the melancholic beauty that can be found amid the overlooked and the everyday. Shaw finds this best in his hometown of Coventry and amongst the garages, houses and monuments of his youth.
His paintings of the Tile Hill council estate evoke memory and through the simplicity of his images he still somehow captures the bleakness and romanticism of the landscape. Shaw describes this best by saying: “I paint the paintings of all the times and all the thoughts I lack the language to describe.” I find Shaw’s work to be incredibly refreshing against that of the other Turner Prize nominees, and his take on contemporary art is really enjoyable. If you’re interested, I’d recommend checking out the video interview The Guardian did with him last week here. On December 5th I’ll definitely have my fingers crossed for Shaw when they announce the winner of The Turner Prize.