Greek artist Nikos Gyftakis created this wonderful series of swirling self-portraits between 2004-2005. The works are made with oil pastels on canvas and are actually quite large, with a few of the pieces taller than 5′ (1.5m). You can see many more from this series and more of his recent work in his work gallery. (via empty kingdom)
Photographer Rakesh JV captured this phenomenal portrait of a girl having her face painted prior to the Maha Shivaratri festival in India, an annual Hindu celebration in reverence of Lord Shiva. During the festival people offer sacrifices through various means, kids are dressed up as gods, and older individuals are known to inflict pain on themselves through a variety of self torture. Rakesh has traveled all around the country the last few years and has captured a wealth of incredible portraits and scenes that are well worth a look.
Back to the Future is a documentary short about Argentinean photographer Irina Werning’s incredible photography project where she recreates cherished old photographs of people. I always assumed that Werning must be obsessed with details to take photos that so closely resembled images made decades earlier, but I didn’t expect the amount of labor that goes into making a single shot. From arranging the right wardrobe, to creating backdrops and perfectly mimicked bad lighting, let alone traveling to meet each of her subjects, each photograph is really a significant undertaking. Filmed by Jamie Jassett.
You’re walking down a street in Brooklyn, gnawing on a piece of gum that’s past the point of flavorful.. In a hurry, you spit it on the ground without a second thought and continue about your day. Hours later, a mysterious woman arrives, surreptitiously collecting the sticky gum from the sidewalk and dropping it into a clear plastic bag which she then carefully labels. Flash forward a month later: you’re walking through an art gallery, and there, mounted on the wall, is a familiar face staring back at you. Astonishingly (or terrifyingly), it’s a 3D print of your face generated from the DNA you left behind on that random piece of gum that now appears in a petri dish just below the portrait. A few years ago this would have seemed like science fiction, the stuff of films like Gattaca, but to information artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, it’s how she makes her artwork here in 2013.
They say inspiration can strike anywhere. For Dewey-Hagborg, it happened in a therapy session. While staring at a framed print on the wall, she fixated on a tiny crack in the glass into which a small hair had become lodged. As her mind wandered, she imagined who this seemingly insignificant hair belonged to, and, more specifically, what they might look like. After that day, she became keenly aware of the genetic trail left by every person in their daily life, and began to question what physical characteristics could be identified through the DNA left behind on a piece of gum or cigarette butt.
Sample Location 6. January 6, 2013 at 12:25pm; Wilson ave. and Stanhope St. Brooklyn, NY; MtDNA Haplogroup: D1 (Native American, South American); SRY Gene: present; Gender: Male; HERC2 Gene: AA; Eye Color: Brown
Stranger Visions is the result of her fascinating, if slightly disconcerting, line of questioning and experimentation: 3D printed portraits based on DNA samples taken from objects found on the streets of Brooklyn. Dewey-Hagborg worked with a DIY biology lab called Genspace, where she met a number of biologists who taught her everything she now knows about molecular biology and DNA. Via an interview with the artist:
So I extract the DNA in the lab and then I amplify certain regions of it using a technique called PCR – Polymerase Chain Reaction. This allows me to study certain regions of the genome that tend to vary person to person, what are called SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.
I send the results of my PCR reactions off to a lab for sequencing and what I get back are basically text files filled with sequences of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs, the nucleotides that compose DNA. I align these using a bioinformatics program and determine what allele is present for a particular SNP on each sample.
Then I feed this information into a custom computer program I wrote which takes all these values which code for physical genetic traits and parameterizes a 3d model of a face to represent them. For example gender, ancestry, eye color, hair color, freckles, lighter or darker skin, and certain facial features like nose width and distance between eyes are some of the features I am in the process of studying.
I add some finishing touches to the model in 3d software and then export it for printing on a 3d printer. I use a Zcorp printer which prints in full color using a powder type material, kind of like sand and glue.
The resulting portraits are bizarre approximations of anonymous people who unknowingly left their genetic material on a random city street. So how accurate are the faces created from this genetic experiment? The artist likes to say they have a “family resemblance” and no, unlike the scenario depicted above, a person has never recognized themselves in any of her exhibitions. Yet. There are some things such as age which are virtually impossible to determine from DNA alone, so Dewey-Hagborg casts each portrait as if the person were around 25 years old.
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg with a genetically derived self-portrait.
Dewey-Hagborg will be giving a talk with a pop-up exhibit at Genspace on June 13th, and QF Gallery on Long Island will host a body of her work from June 29th through July 13th. You can follow the artist via her website and also her blog. All imagery courtesy the artist. (via smithsonian)
Slovenia-based photographer Matej Peljhan recently teamed up with a 12-year-named Luka who suffers from muscular dystrophy, to create a wildly imaginative series of photos depicting the boy doing things he is simply unable to do because of his degenerative condition. While he can still use his fingers to drive a wheelchair and to draw, things like skateboarding and swimming are simply not possible.
After having a conversation with Luka about his understandably normal desire to play sports or go swimming, Peljan was struck with the idea to create a non-digitally manipulated series of photographs showing the boy conquering a number of imaginary physical feats. The photographer used sheets and other props as a backdrop and shot Luca from above to capture each image, showing clearly the boy’s strength and shared sense of humor. See more photos from the series on the photographer’s website. All images courtesy the artist. (via peta pixel)
Two new portraits this morning from one of my favorite artists Kumi Yamashita (previously). The first one is part of her Constellation series titled Mana #2. The portrait is made from a single unbroken sewing thread wrapped through a dense network of galvanized nails, a process that takes several months. The second artwork, Mother #2, is part of her ongoing Warp and Weft series where Yamashita works with a panel of black denim and then meticulously cuts threads from the fabric to form an image. If you happen to be in California, both works will be in a group show from April 20th through June 1st, 2013 at Scott White Contemporary Art in La Jolla. You can also now follow the artist over on Facebook.
French artist Bernard Pras works almost entirely within the realm of assemblage and anamorposis, a visual illusion where a distorted projection—often made from paint or a collection or objects—must be viewed from a specific vantage point to reconstitute the intended image. His latest piece, a portrait of Malian actor Sotigui Kouyaté, is comprised of numerous objects including clothes, paint, wood, rubber, and other objects found or scavenged around the installation site. Only when viewed through the lens of his camera is the image clearly visible. Watch the video above to see everything come together. Pras currently has a solo show at MazelGalerie in Brussels, Belgium and you can see a collection of his work here (flash).
From the folks over at Tumblr Storyboard, shot an interesting vignette about barista Mike Breach who began experimenting with small coffee and milk foam portraits in a hotel kitchen where he works. Breach draws quick, intricate portraits that are enjoyed by a single person for only a moments before being consumed. He says the drawings in and of themselves are “kind of a joke” but he’s more concerned about the brief connection he’s able to make with an individual and how it impacts their day. Luckily he snaps a quick photo of each one which you can see on his Tumblr. (via vimeo)