Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich created the non-profit Skateistan in 2007, a grassroots project that connects youth and education through skateboarding in Afghanistan. The organization, which has since grown to an award-winning international NGO, caught the attention of London-based photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson and inspired her to visit the program in Kabul in 2012—especially after learning 45% of the students were female.
In Afghanistan skateboarding has spread to become the number one sport for women, as they are forbidden to ride bicycles. Soon after arriving and entering the girl’s world, Fulford-Dobson was accepted by the young Afghan skateboarders. She photographed the girls with natural light, helping to expose their personalities through simple portraits. Within the images you can see the girls’ natural confidence, images that capture the subjects both posed and candidly skating through the indoor facility.
“I met so many impressive women and girls in Afghanistan: a teacher as tough and determined as any man; young Afghans in their early twenties who were volunteering at an orphanage and were passionate about being seen as strong and willing to fight for themselves, rather than as victims of circumstance; and girls who were being educated to be leaders in their communities and who were already thinking carefully about their own and their country’s future,” said Fulford-Dobson.
Artists and Their Cats from Chronicle Books, edited by Alison Nastasi
Although many have been considered an artist’s muse, none have served as repeatedly as the common feline. Often basking directly beside our world’s famous artists, cats have consistently served as creative companion and confidant. New from Chronicle Books is Artists and Their Cats, a collection of intimate portraits featuring many of the past century’s most recognizable artists and their feline counterparts.
Editor Alison Nastasi writes in the book’s introduction, “Many artists buck notions of a stereotypical temperament, but researchers have long speculated that creative individuals share common attributes—which mirror those of cats.” More than 50 pairs are highlighted throughout the book—cats perched on laps, desks, and even atop heads. Included in the cat compendium is everyone from Basquiat to Matisse with images of Picasso and Georgia O’Keeffe in-between. Salvador Dali himself graces the cover with cane and noted Colombian ocelot Babou. Artists and Their Cats is now available in the Colossal Shop.
Prophecy is the latest dog portraiture project from New York-based photographer Sophie Gamand (previously) that examines the extremely strange and comical appearance of various hairless dogs. Gamand worked mostly with two types of dogs, the Chinese Crested and the Xoloitzcuintli (commonly the Mexican hairless dog), breeds that archaeologists have dated as being more than 3,000 years old. From her statement about Prophecy:
The physical qualities of hairless dogs and the mystery surrounding them inspired me to create a gallery of faces like old wise men or philosophers, shamans from a different era, maybe a different universe. Gamand imagined her models as prophets or mad scientists, grabbing us and planting their eyes deep into ours, shaking us and shouting, as Philippus the Prophet in The Adventures of Tintin would: “The judgment is upon you! The end is near!” Nature looking straight at us and begging us to repent.
The series includes some 20 individual portraits, many more of which you can see on her website.
For the last 20 years, unassuming Dutch photographer Hans Eijkelboom has traversed the world, picking a spot, be it in Shanghai, New York, or Paris, and meticulously photographed what he saw. “I take between 1 and 80 photographs a day, almost every day, 12 months a year,” he says, referring to his “Photo Notes” project, which has now been turned into a book titled People of the Twenty-First Century. The “Photographic Journal,” published by PHAIDON, is the largest, most comprehensive work of his to date, and includes thousands of photos that, together, create a fascinating picture of mankind.
The “anti-sartorial” photographs of everyday people capture specific visual themes – people in red jackets, men with bare chests on roller blades – that are grouped together with the date, city and time range they were taken. And this combination and repetition is what makes the photographs so powerful. Viewed separately, they would hardly even catch our eye.
“I don’t use this diary to show what happens in my life but as a method of visualizing the development of my world view,” writes the artist. Much like the way stalagmites form in caves over hundreds of years, Eijkelboom’s landscape is the result of a methodical fixation to the banality of everyday life. Hans Eijkelboom’s “People of the Twenty-First Century” is available for around $26 (Via Citylab)
When scouring through the minute details of artist Cayce Zavaglia’s embroidered portraits (previously), it’s difficult imagine each work is scarcely larger than 8″ x 10″. Her process, which she refers to as both “thread painting” and “renegade embroidery,” begins with a photoshoot of each subject, namely friends, family, and fellow artists. Roughly 100-150 photos are winnowed down to a single selection which she then begins to embroider with one-ply embroidery thread on Belgian linen. She shares via her artist statement:
Over the years, I have developed a sewing technique that allows me to blend colors and establish tonalities that resemble the techniques used in classical oil painting. The direction in which the threads are sewn mimic the way brush marks are layered within a painting which, in turn, allows for the allusion of depth, volume, and form. My stitching methodology borders on the obsessive, but ultimately allows me to visually evoke painterly renditions of flesh, hair, and cloth.
Zavaglia is also interested with the backs of her portraits, a tangled mesh of thread and knots resembling a more abstract version of the exacting portrait on the reverse. In a return to her roots as a painter, she creates gouache and large format acrylic paintings of the backsides, effectively creating a painting of an emboirdery of a photograph. Included here are several works from the last two years including works that will be on view at Art Miami this December through Lyons Wier Gallery. (via Booooooom)
When it comes to fancy studio portraits of pets, it’s no surprise people are willing to hire photographers for loving photos of their cats and dogs, we’ve even seen cameras thoughtfully trained on chickens and exotic snakes, but commercial photographer Kevin Horan decided it was high time for an artistically neglected group of barnyard animals to step into the spotlight: goats and sheep. In 2007, Horan moved from Chicago to Whidbey Island, Washington where he approached a neighbor about photographing one of his sheep. The neighbor agreed and his portrait series Chattel was born.
British artist Nick Gentry (previously) created a new series of portraits by painting on cut film negatives, part of an ongoing effort to repurpose obsolete media—he’s widely known for his paintings on floppy disks—which he uses as a backdrop for his portraiture. The new pieces are part of an upcoming show titled Synthetic Dreams at Robert Fontaine Gallery in Miami in November. You can see some of Gentry’s most recent work in his online gallery.