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)
This is one of those things you might never believe if somebody told you, and yet even when faced with the evidence in photos, video, or Google Maps, you find yourself questioning reality (and maybe shaking off a serious case of the heebie jeebies). Welcome to Nagoro, a small village tucked into the valleys of Shikoku, Japan, a place where old residents are being replaced by life-sized dolls.
The work is part of a project by longtime resident and artist Ayano Tsukimi who returned to the village after an 11-year absence to discover many of her old neighbors and friends had left for larger cities or simply passed away. The town itself is dying with a dwindling population of about 35 people.
While gardening one day, Tsukimi constructed a scarecrow in the image of her father and was suddenly struck with the idea to replace other friends and family members with similar dolls. Over 350 dolls and 10 years later, her work continues. She places each doll in a place she feels is important to the memory of that person, so strolling through the down you might discover these inanimate memorials working in fields, fishing in rivers, or passing time in chairs along the road.
After the death of her grandmother in 2010, animator and illustrator Gemma Green-Hope was called to help sort through some of her remaining posessions. What she discovered evoked not only memories, but also resulted in a new understanding of who her grandmother was by cataloging the objects she left behind. Green-Hope transformed the old books, clothes, jewelry and photos into this touching stop-motion portrait. Also, spoiler: her grandmother shot a spider. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
This short clip about artist and maker Zina Nicole Lahr may be as tragic as it is beautiful. Earlier this fall Lahr approached her friend Stormy Pyeatte and asked if they might shoot a quick video for her portfolio. The video was shot and edited in just two days and demonstrates Lahr’s insatiable desire to build, invent, and “bring life to something inanimate,” a process she called her “creative compulsive disorder.” Almost unthinkably, Lahr was killed in a hiking accident in Colorado on November 20th, a few weeks after this was shot.
I didn’t know Lahr, but if this brief glimpse into her life is any indicator it’s clear she possessed an extremely rare spirit that feels completely genuine and infectious. It seems she was involved in practically every genre of creativity we normally cover here on Colossal. Make the most out of every day, folks. Lahr certainly did.
It seems like fate that Ashrita Furman was born in 1954, the same year the first Guinness Book of World Records was published. As a child the New York native became fascinated with the annual record books but due to his lack of athleticism never dreamed he could ever accomplish something worthy of a “record.” Years later in 1978, with very little training, he entered a 24 hour bicycle race in Central Park where he surprisingly finished in third place. The near victory sparked something deep inside Furman, and the following year he set his first official record by doing 27,000 jumping jacks. Furman now holds more Guinness records (148) than anyone in the world.
In this life-affirming documentary short from Brian McGuinn we learn about Furman’s extremely bizarre life, and watch has he prepares to climb Machu Picchu. On stilts. (via Booooooom)
On June 15, 1969 in Battaglia, Italy a man named Bruno bought a few jugs of wine, some sausages and a few other items and set up a tiny food stand underneath a tree to see if anyone would show up. By the end of the day he had sold almost everything and the family restaurant, Ai Pioppi, was born. The next month he had a chance encounter with a blacksmith who didn’t have time to make a few hooks for some chains. Bruno decided he would learn to weld himself and enjoyed it so much he began to dream up small rides he could build to entice new customers to Ai Pioppi. It turned out to be brilliantly successful.
Now forty years later, the forest around the restaurant is packed with swings, multi-story slides, seesaws, gyroscopes, tilt-a-whirls, and bizarre kinetic roller-coasters for adults and children. In this artfully filmed 10-minute documentary by a team over at Fabrica, we get the chance to meet Bruno, see many of his rides in action, and learn a bit about his philosophy on existence and death.
For this post I also included a few photos courtesy Oriol Ferrer Mesià who visited Ai Pioppi in 2011 with several friends. You can see many more shots here and here.
The next time I’m in Italy I think this is at the top of my list.
This fantastic bit of filmmaking blends music video and documentary in a new clip for British rock group Django Django’s 2010 track WOR. The subjects of the video are Allahabad’s Well of Death riders who risk life and limb daily to earn money at local melas (fairs) by driving cars and motorcycles inside a temporary cylindrical structure about 25 feet high and 30 feet across. The cars are held in the air by centripetal force and needless to say there’s very little room for error. The Well of Death is extremely risky for both performers and audience members, but regardless, it frequently draws a huge crowd as evidenced in this video. Directed by Jim Demuth, based on an original concept by Vincent Neff. More music video documentaries, please. (via Vimeo)