identity

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Art Photography

Model Moostapha Saidi Questions the Audience’s Gaze with Highly Stylized Portraits Shot by Justin Dingwall

January 9, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Photographer Justin Dingwall recently collaborated with South African model Moostapha Saidi on a series of images that speak to themes of perspective and of perception. “A Seat at the Table” was informed by Saidi’s experiences living with the skin condition vitiligo, in addition to conversations between the photographer and model. Taken at face value, the images showcase a man with missing skin pigment, but as the South Africa-based photographer explained to Colossal, the ideas and symbolism are more than skin deep.

Brightly colored and stark white sets contrast Moostapha’s dual-toned skin in each of the images. Dingwall uses precious stones and googly eyes as a commentary on the way that Moostapha is objectified by strangers who stare, point, and see him as an other because of the way he looks. “I worked with the old saying ‘a seat at the table’ to represent the idea of an opportunity to be heard, to be seen, to have a voice and an opinion, and in this way to make a difference,” he explains to Colossal. “The images that I have created with Moostapha aim to start conversations about preconceived ideas and perceptions based on appearance, and how what we see affects what we think.”

Dingwall says that during his first collaboration with the aspiring model he learned about his story and about the disease that, at first, was a challenge and later became a source of pride and confidence. “Vitiligo is a topic that I did not know much about and I am always interested to expand my world through my art and learn about something that is not seen as ‘usual,'” Dingwall tells Colossal. “I decided to create a body of work that engages with this topic on a much deeper level, and that raises questions about perspective, as well as how the media and representations subjectively perceive the world and other people.”

Because of his appearance, growing up was difficult for Moostapha, Dingwall says, but things have changed. “Through these challenges he has gained strength and confidence from looking so different. He no longer sees his vitiligo as a hindrance, but as something precious and unique… As in previous bodies of work, I hope in these images to highlight beauty in difference. In these images it is now Moostapha who is staring back at the viewer. Questioning our gaze.”

“A Seat at the Table” has helped Saidi pursue his dream of becoming a model, as he is now signed to one of the top agency’s in South Africa. In 2019 Justin Dingwall plans to create more images in the series, has three new bodies of work planned, and a few upcoming exhibitions in Europe. Follow him on Instagram for future updates and to see more of his photography.

 

 



Design History

When TV Logos Were Physical Objects

May 15, 2017

Christopher Jobson

It goes without saying that nearly everything made with graphic design and video software was once produced using a physical process, from newspapers to TV Logos. But some TV stations and film studios took things even further and designed physical logos that were filmed to create dynamic special effects. Arguably the most famous of which is MGM’s Leo the Lion which first appeared in 1916 and would go on to include 7 different lions over the decades.

Recently, television history buff Andrew Wiseman unearthed this amazing behind-the-scenes shot of the Office de Radiodiffusion Télévision Française logo from the early 1960s that was constructed with an array of strings to provide the identity with a bright shimmer that couldn’t be accomplished with 2D drawings. The logo could also presumably be filmed from different perspectives, though there’s no evidence that was actually done.

Another famous physical TV identity was the BBC’s “globe and mirror” logo in use from 1981 to 1985 that was based on a physical device. After filming the rotating globe against a panoramic mirror, it appears the results were then traced by hand similar to rotoscoping. One of the more elaborate physical TV intro sequences was the 1983 HBO intro that despite giving the impression of being animated or created digitally was in fact built almost entirely with practical effects. You can watch a 10 minute video about how they did it below. (via Quipsologies, Reddit, Andrew Wiseman)

Update: It turns out the BBC Globe ident wasn’t rotoscoped or animated, instead it was recorded live using the Noddy camera system and the color was created by adjusting the contrast. Thanks, Gene!

 

 



Craft Design

New Sportswear Logos Embroidered With Flowers and Vegetables by James Merry

March 28, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Iceland-based artist James Merry (previously) uses sportswear logos as the basis to his embroidered designs, planting thread-based mushrooms, strawberries, and various flowers on top of Nike swooshes and the ADIDAS logo’s three bars. Although you might not guess it from the simplicity of his sportswear alterations, Merry is a key collaborator with Björk, and has designed many of her costumes for tour and film. You can see more of his blossoming sports logos and elaborate costume designs on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Craft Design

Artist James Merry Embellishes Sportswear Logos with Embroidered Plants

August 5, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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As part of a recent series of embroideries, artist James Merry softened the bold logos of sportswear companies by adding stitched flora to vintage clothing. For instance a glacier flower and moss grow from an old Nike sweatshirt, and a FILA logo is topped by a mushroom cap. Merry is a longtime collaborator with Björk and creates many of her extravagant costumes for stage and music videos, and you can read a recent interview with him over on i-D. (via Quipsologies, Booooooom)

 

 



Design

Seb Lester Perfectly Renders Ten Famous Brand Logos with Calligraphy Pens

May 6, 2015

Christopher Jobson

Over the past few months, London-based designer and illustrator Seb Lester (previously) shared a number of hand-lettered logos on Instagram. Using only calligraphy pens, some minor preparation coupled with years of experience, the identities for brands like Coca Cola, Converse, and the New York Times seem to spring forth, perfectly formed, from his exquisitely controlled hand. Lester just released this video featuring ten of his favorite attempts. See many more here.

 

 



Design

Reclaimed Paper Insects by ‘Soon’

September 23, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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This fantastic set of paper insects was created from reclaimed paper by Belgium-based ad agency Soon for paper company IGEPA Benelux. The critters are part of a visual language used in a brochure advertising a new line of recycled paper. You can watch the entire Soon team toiling away on the project in this making of video. (via Lustik)

 

 



Art Photography

In Her ‘Self-Portraits with Men & Women’ Photographer Dita Pepe Seamlessly Integrates into the Lives of Others

September 1, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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When meeting somebody for the first time, or maybe just viewing a portrait, the brain goes into overdrive for a few seconds to quickly form a first impression. Whether we like it or not, rapid assumptions are made based on age, gender, race, culture, physical appearance, the surrounding environment, and especially other people present—all things that help form who we are, real or perceived. Since 1999, Czech photographer Dita Pepe has explored this idea of identity and environment in two photographic series titled Self-Portraits with Men and Self-Portraits with Women, where the photographer seeks to completely assimilate into the lives of other people.

In the beginning, Pepe first posed with people she knew, but now works with people from all walks of life with vastly different backgrounds and family structures, often incorporating her own daughters into the portraits. Each photograph is shot on location where a family or person lives, or engages in their hobbies or daily life. Pepe goes to great length to appear as if she belongs in each portrait, a chameleonlike quality that some compare to the works of Cindy Sherman; however, unlike Sherman’s studio portraits, Pepe’s images appear more like hasty snapshots, bringing a strange level of believability and authenticity to each portrait.

Pepe most recently collaborated with writer Bara Baronova on a new book of photography titled Love Yourself, and you can see more portraits with both women and men on Feature Shoot and at Lens Culture.

 

 

A Colossal

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins