Before-and-After Photos of Kids’ Toys Tell Stories of Love

A child is the ultimate before-and-after project, and if you’ve ever watched one grow, you might have noticed: something happens between child and favorite toy friend over time. Returning to the friend again and again for comfort feeds the child, who grows bigger and less dependent even as the toy withers. There’s an exchange taking place. Sure, there’s simple wear-and-tear involved. But as any parent who’s tried to replace a lost buddy with a new one exactly like the other one can tell you, only that specific buddy will do. Once the exchange has started, it can’t be handed off. German photographer Katja Kemnitz  noticed this dynamic with her own daughter, and it inspired her to create the Too Much Love series. Kemnitz’s child carried a plush dog everywhere with her, and flatly refused a shiny new one. The mother was struck by how much “soul” this and other broken-down stuffed animals seem to have absorbed, and set out to document the rigors of exchange over time. Like so many before-and-after photographs, with Too Much Love you can start to feel, with reflection, the dense layers of story and growth that span past and present. Images via Ufunk.  

A Blind Man Experiences a Portrait of Himself for the First Time

Laguna Beach-based artist Andrew Myers was showing his work at a local fair when he noticed a blind man being led through the exhibits, and having the work described to him. Myers was showing a series he called TFL (aka Topographical Facial Landscapes, each a textured portrait made up of thousands of screws),  and invited the man, without explanation, to come touch the pieces. The man lit up. Moved by the experience, Myers worked with his representatives at Cantor Fine Art to find and produce a project specifically intended for a blind audience. Here’s a short video the gallery produced about the experience; you can read more detail about it, including Myers’ creative process, below. This is the photo portrait of George Wurtzel from which Myers worked. Wurtzel is a blind woodworker and teacher working at Enchanted Hills, a summer camp for the visually impaired outside of Napa.  He teaches visitors how to use tools to become artisans themselves. Myers is a sculptor by training, working with oil paint, charcoal, bronze, cement, and found objects. He uses drywall screws and oil paints for his TFL series. First he draws the portrait from its photo reference. Then he drills his grid in preparation for the screws. He envisions the subject’s face… Continue reading A Blind Man Experiences a Portrait of Himself for the First Time

This Artist Will Squeeze Your Heart With These Images

We’re big believers here at Mylio in the concept of photograph as time machine. And so is fine art photographer Chino Otsuka. In the video below, she describes the concepts behind her project Imagine Finding Me, in which she digitally composites her present-day, adult self into childhood photos from the family album. Such is Otsuka’s artistry that if you didn’t know what you were looking at, you’d think these were a series of non-descript snapshots, very much like those sitting sandwiched in their billions in binders and shoeboxes everywhere. But they’re so not. Otsuka clearly understands the complex set of emotions old photos – especially old family photos – can trigger; she describes how such pictures show layers of time, and are vehicles for taking us on memory journeys. “I think that’s exactly what you do when you look at the family album; that’s what you do in your mind. There’s so many different layers, so many mental time travels that go on inside your head. To a certain extent I was able to show that in an image, in a very simplistic form.” –Chino Otsuka The results are at once quiet, unpretentious, poetic verging on mystical, and it-just-slowly-seeps-in powerful.… Continue reading This Artist Will Squeeze Your Heart With These Images

Man Proposes to Woman 148 Times. She Notices Once.

Ray Smith of Grimsby, UK knew he wanted to marry his longtime girlfriend, Claire Bramley. He also knew he wanted the marriage proposal to make an impression. “Originally the plan was to get engaged…in a hot air balloon. But then we found out the news that the little baby was coming along, so that put a spanner in the works.” –Ray Smith So instead of renting a balloon, Smith made a laminated card that read Will You Marry Me X-heart-X, carried it with him everywhere, and under the pretense of documenting the pregnancy, used it to clandestinely photo bomb his own selfies. For five months. He also loaned the card to family and friends and asked them to do the same. The plan wasn’t without its risks: like, who doesn’t want to see the picture after it’s taken? Claire did. So Ray would take a couple, then show her a redacted version. So fun. The long windup started in June, with Ray proposing Christmas Day. Here’s to a redemption of the selfie, and Congratulations to both! See the lovely tribute video that Ray put together (including all 148 photos) at the bottom of the page here, as well as an interview… Continue reading Man Proposes to Woman 148 Times. She Notices Once.

These 3 Photographers Reveal the Odd Art of Organizing Your Food

There’s something calming and gratifying about objects sorted and organized – a human neurological quirk that’s made its way into affinity groups and bestseller lists, and is shared by many of us here at Mylio (and, we suspect, by you too). The three creatives below are definitely on board with organizing, with three takes on food still lifes that are both fun and satisfying. What must their dinner plates have looked like growing up? Links will jump you down the page: Lernert & Sande: Cubes Sam Kaplan: Pyramids Unwrapped Brittany Wright: Food Gradients Lernert & Sande When the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant wanted an arresting image for their special photo documentary project about food, they reached out to artists Lernert & Sande. The duo’s finished effort: nearly 100 perfect 1 x 1 x 1-inch raw, comestible cubes. You can buy prints of the work here. And for those of you who don’t think the image is quite organized enough, take heart: one obsessive netizen has — wait for it — assiduously labeled each of the cubes. Via boredpada. Sam Kaplan New York-based commercial photographer Sam Kaplan shoots plenty of assignments for clients, but his Pyramids Unwrapped project was a personal effort, reflecting… Continue reading These 3 Photographers Reveal the Odd Art of Organizing Your Food

This Photoshop Expert Hilariously Skewers our Social Media Madness

Plenty has been written about the slippery slope side of Photoshop — how its use in fashion and advertising promotes unrealistic body images, how it messes with truth curves along with tonal curves. We’ve even contributed a few lines to the canon. But Photoshop (Wizard? Troll? Gadfly? Artist?) James Fridman has done us all one better with his ongoing social media series, run from his site, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Followers send in pictures with requests for Photoshop enhancements, and Fridman responds in careful-what-you-wish-for fairy tale fashion: granting the wish, but with unexpected – and usually hilarious – results. But as lowbrow as the humor can get (‘make my boobs really big’, for instance, yields something with steel cables and a construction crane, you get the picture), Fridman’s work has the hold-up-a-mirror-to-society edge of legit satire. The underlying theme: this currency of digital imagery we all trade in now has created some serious narcissism, and it needs some gentle mocking to keep it in perspective. Emphasis on gentle, though: Fridman’s series implicitly undermines the dishonesty of Photoshopped images, but it’s never mean, and includes the occasional dose of almost parental reality checking. A woman who asks that her Vitiligo… Continue reading This Photoshop Expert Hilariously Skewers our Social Media Madness

3 Artists Who Straddle Time with Old and New Photos

We’ve explored examples of photography as time travel — time slipping, time collapsing, time-telescoping, and more. With one small (but fun!) variation, the images from the three photographers below share a theme of time straddling: using a photo, in the place it was originally taken, as a picture-window into the past. (How long before VR goggles help us not only see through time in still imagery, but allow us to walk around in the past?) Notice how each artist approaches the same concept differently, and with different effect. Julien Knez’s windows into historical Paris remind us of how well-preserved the city is (and, subtly, why that is); in contrast, Babak Fakhamzadeh’s work in Freetown shows us the decay that’s set in in many post-colonial African cities. Far afield from both is Francois Dourien’s ongoing project: more whimsical, yet with a sly nod to how popular culture – as delivered by our smartphones – can become the goggles through which we view our physical environment. Links will jump you down the page: Julien Knez: Paris then and now. Babak Fakhamzadeh: Freetown, Sierra Leon then and now. Francois Dourien: Pop culture images superimposed over IRL. Julien Knez Taking advantage of living in what’s possibly the… Continue reading 3 Artists Who Straddle Time with Old and New Photos

Organizing EVERYthing in Your Life Would Look Like This

Conceptual artist Rachel Perry started her art career late in life, when she was already a working mother, and so gravitated naturally to working with whatever found and collected objects she had at hand. Perry’s Lost In My Life project is in many ways a culmination of this magpie instinct, illustrating the sheer volume of material our homes accumulate simply through daily living, their subtle accretion over time, and how organizing them reveals their true burden on us. Recently I’ve been pirating my own work to make new projects, turning sculptures created as discrete works into set-ups in the photography studio. Literally absorbed in my work, “Lost in My Life” references the endless organizing, cleaning and shopping that form the business of living. — Rachel Perry It’s been pointed out that much of the detritus Perry collects for these pieces – twist ties, takeout containers, bread tags – are designed to preserve things, yet end up burying and obscuring her instead. What would our own streams of consumption, painstakingly collected and organized, look like? Rachel Perry’s collaborated with Vogue, the New York Times, and oddly, Johnson & Johnson; be sure and scroll to the bottom of this page for a video… Continue reading Organizing EVERYthing in Your Life Would Look Like This

15 Deceptively Sweet Portraits of Kids Surrounded by What They Eat

You may or may not be fed up with tired of the endless carousel of Instagram food posts (because really, y’all, how many pictures of just-so lattes and bowls of berries can one civilization consume?) — but the fact remains that photos are great tools for documenting what goes into our bodies. And in the hands of the right artist, photos are especially useful for exploring how what we eat relates to bigger concepts of health, culture, and sustainability. For example: we’ve featured Henry Hargreaves’ mashup of electronics consumer culture and fast food, and James Ostrer’s primal sugar-fiend fetishes. And for insight into how we relate to our immediate environment, we’ve seen Paula Zuccotti’s oddly satisfying catalogues of every personal item people touch in a day. Here, with his Daily Bread series, Gregg Segal takes a similarly bean-county approach to Zuccotti’s: everything kids eat in a week, at a glance. I began to look more deeply at food – what we’re eating and throwing away. The conversation about what we should and shouldn’t be eating is growing louder, but how much – if at all – are our diets changing? To find out, I’m asking kids to keep a journal of everything… Continue reading 15 Deceptively Sweet Portraits of Kids Surrounded by What They Eat

This Artist Uses a UV Lamp to Sunburn Photos into Pale Skin

We’ve featured artists before who produce fascinating twists on this whole painting-with-light thing — projecting portraits on the rainforest canopy, for instance, or growing them from living walls of grass. But French artist Thomas Mailaender took the practice to an entirely new, wince-inducing level with this performance art piece, Illustrated People: using pale skin as stand-in for photo-sensitive paper, he deployed a strong UV lamp to literally burn in a camera negative image. Like Victorian-era sun prints, only pre-cancerous. Sunburn photos. No darkroom, we can assume, required. The negatives were borrowed from the enigmatic Archive of Modern Conflict, a London-based organization as opaque as its collection is eclectic. These sunburn pictures, which Mailaender published in a book alongside other non-dermal images from the Archive, are so meta you may need a whiteboard to map everything out: photo portraits of photo portraits, subjects ‘printed’ onto other subjects, then printed onto paper, here now ‘printed’ into pixels. And then…healed. And gone.