For their latest Op-Doc, the New York Times traveled to El Salvador where they caught up with Rich and Dee Gibson, an unusual couple who have spent their entire relationship literally playing with fire. Sparks first flew when the couple met while skydiving. Rich (a Vietnam vet) was the pilot and Dee (formerly employed by the Army Corps of Engineers) was jumping. By 1981 they founded a pyrotechnic business out of Rockford, Illinois and for the next three decades designed orchestrated explosions for air shows.
If the story of the Gibson’s relationship isn’t enough, watch the short documentary above to see what extraordinary passion and love for your craft looks like. The Gibsons mention that in 30 years in the business “no spectator, crewmember, or volunteer has been hurt or injured.” You can read a bit more over on the New York Times.
Here at Colossal we’ve long been fans of photographer Michael Paul Smith whose broad life experiences lead him to the creation of Elgin Park, a fictional 20th century town filled with miniature 1/24th-scale models of cars and buildings. Smith mixes his carefully crafted model sets with die-cut automobiles and real-life backdrops, taking advantage of an optical illusion known as forced perspective. The photos have been a massive hit with the internet, racking up over 70 million views on his Flickr account alone.
Smith recently sat down with documentary director and producer Danny Yourd of Animal to discuss his significant personal challenges and life experiences that are now the driving force behind his photography. This is a must-watch for any creative grappling with aspects of identity or personal history in their artwork. He’s is also on the verge of publishing a new book, Elgin Park, which is available now for preorder. Seen here are some of his most recent photos along with behind-the-scenes views, there’s much more over on Flickr. (via PetaPixel)
While studying graphic design in college, German artist Peter Dahmen was given the assignment of creating a 3D object out of paper. He soon realized a small problem. Regardless of what he designed, there was no safe way to transport it to class on his daily train commute. Instead of risking damage to his project, Dahmen devised a way to make his paper sculpture fold flat like a pop-up book, a fateful decision that changed the course of his life. He enjoyed the challenge so much that be became obsessed with creating more elaborate designs, eventually leading to a full-time career as a paper engineer.
Art and Craft is a new feature documentary about art forger Mark Landis (previously) who is arguably one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history, having tricked over 60 museums in 20 states into believing his masterfully created replicas are authentic artworks. The catch: so far, it appears Landis, who has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, has yet to commit a crime. While he’s caused headaches, confusion, and multi-year investigations, he has never sought to benefit or profit from his forgeries in any way. Instead, he enjoys the performative act of pretending to be a philanthropist who makes donations of obscure artwork to art institutions, many of which unknowingly exhibited the fakes, allowing Landis the secret thrill of seeing his work on display.
For many of us, the idea of flying a kite involves stopping by a convenience store to purchase an inexpensive plastic kite emblazoned with a movie character, and heading over to the local park to launch it into the sky where it’s promptly swallowed by a tree. But for residents living in the crowded favelas of Rio de Janeiro, where resources and park space is scarce, flying kites is do or die. People of all ages take to the rooftops to fight with homemade kites using strings coated with wax and powdered glass in an attempt to cut the strings of competitors. Entire battles are fought between neighboring “turfs,” where real life conflicts between people and neighborhoods are settled through kite wars.
Filmmaker Guilherme Tensol, in collaboration with sports magazine Victory and Brazilian production company Mosquito Project, produced this stylized documentary short titled Kite Fight for the New York Times leading up to the World Cup a few weeks ago.
At the age of 14, photographer Cory Richards had dropped out of high school and was technically homeless. His education, he says, was instead obtained through the observation of struggle. Through various forms of discomfort and adventure he would eventually become the first American to successfully summit an 8,000-meter peak in winter (Pakistan’s Gasherbrum II), and launch an incredible career in photography through the pages of National Geographic.
Brooklyn-based digital media company Blue Chalk recently sat down with Richards to discuss his motivations and driving desire to connect with the people he photographs. (via ISO 1200, PetaPixel)