For the past year LA-based photographer Mark Laita has been traveling to various locations around the U.S. and Central America photographing some of the world’s most deadliest snakes, a series entitled Serpentine. Of the project he says:
The sensual attractiveness of snakes, which coexists with their threatening, unpredictable and mysterious nature is truly unique. This dichotomy, in which their beauty seems to be heightened by their danger, and vice-versa, is what I find so fascinating. Add to these contradictions the rich symbolism of serpents and you have a wonderfully compelling subject.
Laita works with collectors, breeders, zoos, and even anti-venom labs who let him photograph their snake collections. But as you can imagine snake handling can be dangerous work. Just last week on a photo shoot in Costa Rica, he tangoed with a Black Mambo (last photo), the longest venomous snake in Africa that can grow up to 14 feet long. So what kind of risk did you take at work today?
For his installation entitled “The Whole World”, artist Chris Sauter of San Antonio, Texas surgically extracted drywall components from the gallery walls and used the raw materials to construct a microscope and telescope. The kicker being that the footprints left by the removed pieces formed an amoeba-like slide and a starry sky. Sauter talks about his work and process in another fantastic documentary from
Walley Films (previously), who are quickly becoming my favorite art filmmakers of all time. Video stills above courtesy Walley Films.
I was unexpectedly delighted by this documentary short on jeweler, artist, and metalsmith Gary Schott who creates these small kinetic sculptures that produce tiny, intimate gestures. The attention to detail in each piece is astounding, from the early detailed sketches and balsa wood models, to the selection of materials, and even the color of fabric—all to create a tiny device, the sole purpose of which is to gently evoke a smile, to express, in the words of the artist, an action of love. The wonderfully produced video was shot and edited by husband and wife filmmakers Mark and Angela Walley of Walley Films out of San Antonio, Texas. (via junk culture)
The Willard Asylum for the Insane was an institution in Willard, New York designed help people with chronic mental illness, and was in operation from 1910 through the 1960s before being closed by the state. In 1995 New York State Museum staff were given access to the secrets left behind decades before when the doors were shuttered. After an initial investigation they became aware of an entire attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building, the personal belongings of patients admitted to the asylum who supposedly never left. In an effort to archive and document the history of the institution photographer Jon Crispin has been given the rare opportunity to photograph the contents of each suitcase and has launched an extremely successful Kickstarter project to help fund the endeavor.
While I fully recognize the fascinating and historical nature of these very personal items, and applaud the museum staff and Crispin for their preservation work, I can’t help but feel a tinge of sadness and unease for the circumstances under which these belongings became separated from their owners. To me they seem like the time capsules of lives arrested, their contents suggesting the hope of a continued life elsewhere: everyday objects for grooming, hobbies, fashion never to be used again. Eerie.
See more contents from the suitcases on Crispin’s blog.
Incredible video shot yesterday on the north edge of Bastrop State Park in Texas, a place I visited several times each year as a kid. All but about 100 acres of the 6,000-acre park have been blackened by fire. To everyone in central Texas right now, please be safe.
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