An Intimate Series About Aging and Time Compiles Portraits of Photographer Nancy Floyd Every Day Since 1982
For four decades, Nancy Floyd has fostered a routine around confronting aging directly. Every day since 1982, the Oregon-based photographer has taken a portrait of herself perched on a chair in her living room, standing on the front porch, or posing wherever she’s spending the day for her series, Weathering Time. A forthcoming volume published by Gost compiles thousands of these images in a visceral rumination on what changes as we age.
Each black-and-white photograph frames a posed Floyd, who continually exudes a calm, laid-back temperament, and chronicles the way time impacts her body, relationships, and environment, honing in on her experience as a woman in the United States. Although the images are profoundly intimate and personal—many show her pets, stints in hospitals, and her parents aging—they simultaneously broach the universal. Floyd devotes an entire section to the “Evolution of the Typewriter,” and the project creates a broad visual timeline of advancements in technologies, fashion trends, and larger cultural shifts.
At the moment, the series is comprised of more than 2,500 photographs, 1,200 of which are laid out in simple grids in the 257-page volume. Floyd used a film camera for the first 36 years of the project, a choice that allowed her to take a blank image when she was unable to photograph herself, and only switched to digital last year.
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Nicole Havekost describes her towering figures as exhibiting the contradiction of “sublime embarrassment… Bodies are magical and glorious and gross and bewildering. Bodies are civilized and feral.” Through hand-sewn sculptures, the Rochester-based artist explores the ways aging affects peoples’ figures and the emotional process of adjusting to a new reality.
She stitches large anthropomorphic works from industrial felt, shaping bodies that are bulging and covered with knots and uneven seams that serve as a reminder of restoration. Havekost explains:
These are the visible representations of the making and mending, repairing and refinishing, we are engaged in as human beings on a daily basis. It shows where we have been and marks where we are going. My figures show their imperfect repairs outwardly, unlike most of us who put on our best public faces. As I have aged, I have become more of a partner to my body. To have a body and accept its imperfections is a privilege and that is what I continue to explore in my work.
Coupled with the varying stitches are the figures’ loping movements and gestures: they lean against the wall, slouch on the floor, and stretch stiff limbs, exposing their “lived-in bodies. They are soft but hold their shape and are in poses open to nurturing and comfort though they have already given so much. They are protectors that need protection,” the artist says.
Although much of Havekost’s work centers on smaller creatures, this collection is monumental in scale and a natural progression from the doll-sized pieces she’s made previously. The nondescript works loom within the 18-foot gallery at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, where they’re currently on view through June 26, 2021. “The idea of these figures really owning the space, of the audience having to adjust to their size and presence is what really drove the increased scale and bulk of the pieces. I owed it to the figures to let them be as big as they needed to be,” she says.
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We’re not crying, you’re crying. Music’s ability to improve the mood and boost cognitive skills in people with dementia has long been documented. “Music is no luxury to them, but a necessity,” wrote neurologist Oliver Sacks in his 2008 book Musicophilia. “It can have a power beyond anything else to restore them to themselves, and to others, at least for a while.” Such is the case in this video of former NYC ballet dancer Marta C. González who was given the opportunity to listen to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, a piece of music we can assume she performed numerous times as shown in the interspersed archival clips from the 1960s. The music seems to awaken the choreography stored deep in her brain as she begins to spontaneously perform from her wheelchair. González founded and directed her own dance ensemble called Rosamunda.
The video was recorded last year in Valencia, Spain and published by Música para Despertar (Awakening Music), a non-profit organization that brings music to patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dimensia to help raise awareness of its therapeutic impact. (via Kottke)
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Dramatic Decaying Flowers in Tiffanie Turner's Solo Show "What Befell Us" Challenge Notions of Beauty and Perfection
In her latest solo exhibition, What Befell Us, California-based artist Tiffanie Turner explores notions of aging, imperfection, and perishability. Massive flower blossoms including dahlias, garden roses, ranunculus, and strawflowers are formed from Italian crepe paper and span more than five feet across. While in her previous work Turner strove for the ideal phenotype of each flower, in What Befell Us the artist pushes past perfection to investigate our collective relationship to flaws and damage.
The artist shares with Colossal that she felt strongly pulled to focus on climate change and environmental peril in her latest show. She expresses concern that humans’ resistance to perishability with plastic and preservatives also hastens irreparable damage to the earth. And, as a woman experiencing aging in a superficial society, Turner saw personal parallels with our global obsession with freshness and perfection. She explains:
When I started to choose my specimens for this show, instead of superimposing formal imperfections onto these pieces, I sought out flowers that are beautiful even though they are not perfect. For example, the two strawflowers in the show are two sides of the same coin. One is still bright and colorful, but its center is deformed as it starts to lose moisture. The other is older, its petals slumped back from the fading, greying center. Each are “imperfect”, but both are undeniably still beautiful. Why just keep trying to create more beauty. Why can’t we just see more things as beautiful?
What Befell Us is on view at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco through June 15, 2019. Follow along with Turner’s latest work via Instagram. And if you’re inspired to create paper flowers of your own, the artist’s in-depth instructional book is available on Bookshop.
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LATA 65 is connecting art between generational divides, matching older citizens of Lisbon with a relatively young form of art—graffiti (“lata” means “can” in Portuguese). Through workshops attendees learn the history of street art while making their own stencils and tags, ultimately incorporating their work in murals across the city. These bright colors go into run-down parts of the Lisbon, and each new artist is aided by the help of well-known street artists.
The goal of LATA 65 is to eliminate the many cliches that come with street art by widening both its audience and participants. Through introducing the art of graffiti to a different group of makers, the project hopes to create a solidarity between all groups involved while adding some colorful designs to the city along the way. (via mashkulture, Messy Nessy Chic, CollabCubed, and mental_floss)
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Editor’s note: Watch the whole thing. With sound. Don’t skip around. Just let it play, or else you’re missing out.
Aging is fascinating thing to document in film and photography, from Noah Kalina’s 12+ year portrait a day project to Diego Goldberg’s family portrait series that began in 1976, it’s interesting to see how many different approaches there are. This new clip titled Danielle from filmmaker Anthony Cerniello tries something I’ve never seen before and packs an amazing punch.
Last Thanksgiving, Cerniello traveled to his friend Danielle’s family reunion and with still photographer Keith Sirchio shot portraits of her youngest cousins through to her oldest relatives with a Hasselblad medium format camera. Then began the process of scanning each photo with a drum scanner at the U.N. in New York, at which point he carefully edited the photos to select the family members that had the most similar bone structure. Next he brought on animators Nathan Meier and Edmund Earle who worked in After Effects and 3D Studio Max to morph and animate the still photos to make them lifelike as possible. Finally, Nuke (a kind of 3D visual effects software) artist George Cuddy was brought on to smooth out some small details like the eyes and hair.
The final result is pretty remarkable, if a little bizarre. Not quite out of the uncanny valley, and yet pause the movie at any moment and it feels like you’re looking at a plain portrait. While it plays the transitions are just slow enough that you’re only vaguely aware anything is happening. It’s amazing as it is weird. He tells me via email:
I wanted to make a person, I felt like I could tell a story with that, but it ended up feeling slightly robotic, like an android. I’m OK with that. Things never come out the exact way you plan them, but that’s the fun. The score I imagined would tell this woman’s life, with events speeding by as she aged, but in the end I thought it would be more interesting to go with an abstract piece of sound, and my friend Mark Reveley really came through because I love how it sounds.
Cerniello normally edits commercials and music videos for the likes of 30 Seconds to Mars and Kings of Leon, you can see much more of his work over on his website.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.