Sonja Hinrichsen – Snow Drawings

Sonja Hinrichsen - Snow Drawings

Sonja Hinrichsen – Snow Drawings

 

Sonja Hinrichsen is an artist who is interested in engaging the audience. As she explains in the statement in her website, she feels “the responsibility to address subject matters our society tends to neglect or deny, including adverse impacts to the natural environment, social inequality and injustice, and human exploitation. I am not interested in creating lasting artworks, as I believe that our world is over-saturated with man-made products. I like to unfold my work into large immersive experiences, however I prefer that it live on in its documentation only, and – hopefully – in the memories of my audiences.”

The series “Snow Drawings” started in 2009 during her 3-month residence in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It was at first just a few snowshoes walks but gradually evolved into art projects. The last one, in 2014, with the title “We are water“, was composed with the assistance of a team of 50-60 volunteers from the local residents.  She only gave basic instructions to the participants in view of the idea which was going to be drawn and then the creation was all up to them. Each of the performers presented a drop of water and how he/she imagined the movement of this drop – slow, fast, swirling, lingering, straight, curving. On the following day, Sonja Hinrichsen, photographed them from an airplane.

 

Sonja Hinrichsen - Snow Drawings

Sonja Hinrichsen – Snow Drawings

 

 

Pawel Kuczynski – the cruel side of the reality

The works of the Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski are powerful portraits of the social, political and cultural reality we are living in. And sadly, this is the reality we have been living in for centuries. Nothing has changed in the human relationships – wars, money, poverty, hunger, greed, political power and so on. We haven’t learned from our mistakes at all. These works are created exactly to show us the “Matrix” we are still part of and provoke us to question it.

Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski

 

Dinah Fried – ‘Fictitious Dishes’

Dinah Fried  -  Fictitious Dishes

Dinah Fried – Fictitious Dishes

 

Fictitious Dishes is a link between the culinary moments and the contemporary and classic literature where they are mentioned. The author Dinah Fried imagined these moments and conveyed her vision through photographic interpretations. She re-created the meals as described in the books and styled them in a way to feel the ‘spirit of the story’. Moreover, choosing the perspective from above, she puts us, the viewers, in the position of the characters from the famous novels as they were eating these meals, making us present to their experience. Each image is accompanied also with the text from the book that inspired its creation. There are also interesting food facts and entertaining anecdotes about the authors, their work, and their culinary predilections.

 

Bunpei Yorifuji – Wonderful Life with the Elements: The Periodic Table Personified

Bunpei Yorifuji - Wonderful Life With the Elements

Bunpei Yorifuji – Wonderful Life With the Elements

 

Bunpei Yorifuji is a Japanese artist and writer well-known in his country for his series of humorous ads for the Tokyo metro. The world fame however came with his funny and quirky book ‘ Wonderful Life with the Elements: The Periodic Table Personified‘. Picturing them in our human traits, he made them more understandable and easier to memorize. Most of us probably are not very keen on chemistry but this book opens a new vision in the education. Learning is much more productive when it is close to our lives, when there is something that looks familiar. Once you meet these characters, you could not forget them. Personification of difficult issues will not make us serious scientists but surely will help to understand them and keep in our brain cells for much longer period of time.

 

Abelardo Morell – ‘Camera Obscura’

Renowned photographer Abelardo Morell was born in 1948 in Cuba but since 1962 he resides in the USA. His first experiments with the camera obscura technique started in 1988 as a teacher of photography in art college when he covered the windows in the classroom with black opaque plastic sheeting in order to darken the place and no light be visible. Then he cut a small hole in them and his students were mesmerized with the result. On the opposite wall was projected the upside-down image of the scene from the outside. Simple but so powerful. And as he says “It felt like the moment photography was invented.”

Abelardo Morell -Camera Obscura

Abelardo Morell -Camera Obscura

 

An article in National Geographic explains what the Camera Obscure is and how Abelardo Morell applies its principles to his works and if you want to take a closer look of the process see the episode 1 of the BBC series The Genius of Photography  (from the 3th to the 6th minute )

 

Elliott Erwitt – the “amateur” photographer of the absurd moments

Elliot Erwitt

Elliot Erwitt

 

Elliott Erwitt‘s eyes catch immediately the quirky sense of humor in ironic situations that occurred in our everyday life. The ludicrous moments often we are not being able even to recognize, he shows them to us and makes us laugh.

Elliott Erwitt was born in 1928 in Paris but since the mid 40s he resides in New York. In 1953 he joined Magnum Photos following an invitation from Robert Capa.

Why Mr Erwitt’s works are so wildly appreciated? Probably because as he describes himself he is still and will remain always “an amateur photographer”, clarifying though that the word “amateur” means “to love”.

 

Elliot Erwitt

Elliot Erwitt

 

Crispin Korschen – The barking mad world

Crispin Korschen

Crispin Korschen

 

Crispin Korschen is an artist who comes from New Zealand and describes herself as “a lover of all things quirky”. To sustain this statement, here are some of her whimsical greeting cards, but her bizarre style could be recognized as well in all her other works.

“Painting gives me the opportunity to bring to life the characters and images roaming in my head. The stories told by my art works are either my own, inspired from observations and my experiences, or expressions of my restless curiosity”.

 

David Maisel – ‘The Lake Project’

David Maisel‘s aerial series ‘The Lake Project‘ – the surreal beauty of a ‘lake’s autopsy’ as a result of human intervention.

David Maisel - The Lake Project

David Maisel – The Lake Project

 

Owens Lake in California was once a 200 square-mile lake in a fertile valley. Drained for the water needs of Southern California in 1913, when the Owens River was diverted into the Owens Valley Aqueduct, now it is transformed into an arid landscape.

“For decades, fierce winds have dislodged microscopic particles from the lakebed, creating carcinogenic dust storms. Indeed, the site has become the highest source of particulate matter pollution in the United States, emitting 300,000 tons annually of cadmium, chromium, arsenic and other materials. The concentration of minerals in the remaining water yields blooms of microscopic bacteria, turning the liquid a deep, bloody red.”

From an eye bird view, however, it looks quite fascinating. David Maisel captured abstract scenes of color and texture bearing a resemblance “to river of blood, a microchip, a bisected vein, or a galaxy’s map – a strange beauty born of environmental degradation”, as he described it.

The project was mainly made 2001-2002 and is available as a photo book.

 

Inge Löök – Merry Aunties

Inge Löök - Merry Aunties

Inge Löök – Merry Aunties

 

Inge Löök was born in 1951 and comes from Finland. She is a gardener when it is warm outside and an illustrator when it is cold and rains. Nature is her main inspiration as well as two cheerful ladies who were next door neighbours in her childhood. Admiring  their constant energy for life, she created a beautiful series of these sappy ‘aunties’ as they enjoy every moment and always having fun together. 

Explore Inge Löök’s official site, where her works are available for purchase as postcards, calendars, tote bags, card sets, pillow cases and match boxes and follow her on Facebook not to omit new comings.

 

It’s all in our heads

Have you heard about Madame Jeanne Calment?

Well, she is officially, until nowadays, the person with the longest confirmed human lifespan record. Lifespan is defined as the age of the oldest living individual of a species. For us, humans, thankfully to Mme Calment it counts to 122 years and 164 days and to verify her age a thorough scientific study has been made more than in any other case.

So, what was the mystery of her life? Hold on tight reading her confession: “I have an enormous will to live and a good appetite, especially for sweets.” And indeed, she was eating nearly 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of chocolate per week, smoking cigarettes from the age of 21, and never gave up her two glasses of port – one before lunch and one before dinner.

I bet you did not expect that following such a “healthy” lifestyle is the key to the advanced age! At least, it seems I am on the right path as far as it concerns the sweets, though still I am not sure if I would like to reach her remarkable age. But ask me again when I turn 100. You never know…

The surprise is not only her gastronomy habits but also the fact that she was no athletic type at all. Her only regular activity was riding a bicycle which she continued up until her 100th birthday. She explained that it was the best way of visiting her friends in the nearby villages.

And yet she lived until 122! How is it possible then? We have been constantly bombarded with recommendations how to prolong our lives and none of them corresponds to Mme Calment’s lifestyle.

She was born on the 21st of February, 1875, died on the 4th of August 1997, and lived her entire life in Arles, France. Since she turned 100 she got into the spotlight of many researches confirming that “she never did anything special to stay in good health”

At first it was supposed that her longevity might be coded in her family genes as Calment’s father lived to the age of 94 and her mother to the age of 86. Also, it probably didn’t hurt the circumstance that her parents and husband were rich people, thus enabled her a life of comfort. Though not wealthy rich she had enough money to feel no anxiety for the daily surviving.

However the observations show that there are a lot of rich people in the world and people who live to a ripe old age, but none up to 122! The secret ingredient should be something else.

 Madame Jeanne Calment

Ultimately it was concluded that it was her perception of the stress that set the frame of her life. She is quoted for saying, “If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it.”

Though Calment never had to work and worry about financials, no one can say that she did not experience a stressful life. She lost one by one all her beloved at their youth. A dessert of spoiled preserved cherries killed her husband at the age of 46 and her only daughter died at the age of 36 of pneumonia. After her death, Calment raised her grandson, who became a doctor but also died at the age of 36 in a car accident. And do not forget that she was an eye-witness of two world wars and France was a battlefield in the both of them. I suppose you will agree that there were adequate painful moments in her life to turn it upside down.

However, she lived them through and remained the same charming person. Most of the evidences about her are dated in her late age but they sustained her own philosophy that she really had an enormous desire to enjoy life. For example, she took up fencing lessons at age 85! I suggest that she started it just for fun. There is also a story that on one of her birthdays which were a sort of family holiday in Arles, after one such party, somebody took leave by telling her, “Until next year, perhaps.” She retorted: “I don’t see why not! You don’t look so bad to me.”

She was in a very good shape until the latest years of her life. It was after she turned 120 when her physical condition got worse and did not allow her to continue living in her usual way. Although blind, almost deaf and confined to a wheelchair, Calment never showed any signs of senile dementia and remained spirited and mentally sharp until the end.

Telling you this story, I wanted to illustrate that obviously neither genetics, nor exercises or nutrition can guarantee a good health condition and a long life. It is the mind that determines them. I am not saying that we should have to quit to care about our physical shape, but if assume that it is the visible building material of our ‘house’ called life, our thoughts are the invisible glue that sticks together the different blocks. Our perception of the world that surrounds us and our reactions to the events in it defines the stability of that ‘house’.

Otherwise, why didn’t smoking, drinking or eating sweets lead Calment to an early grave? Because the thought is more powerful than the lifestyle. Because it’s all in our heads.