by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

One’s manner of dress can lead to powerful transformations. Switching up the ways we present our gender identity or our occupation can inspire us to act in ways we wouldn’t otherwise. While this can be empowering, photographer Juha Arvid Helminen investigates the ways uniforms denoting positions of power can grant their wearers permission to commit inhumane acts. “In 2006, I witnessed the so-called Smash ASEM ‘riot,'” writes the artist. “There I personally saw the dark side of the Finnish police. How young men hid behind their uniforms and hoods and anonymously committed misconduct. Later I witnessed the reluctance of the justice system to punish those in uniforms.”

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Though their work can be described as digital art, Ransom & Mitchell are very hands-on with their process. To create the fanciful worlds that they photograph, the San Francisco-based duo sews original costumes, makes props and builds sets. Experts in studio lighting, they imbue their works with a magical ambiance, only adding digitally-painted details to render that which can’t be done in real life. For the upcoming group show “Rough & Ready Sideshow” at Bash Contemporary in San Francisco, Ransom & Mitchell will be exhibiting a new series of photo-illustrations that hearken back to circus freak shows. While there are obvious ethical issues with sideshows themselves, the artists’s vintage-inspired new works are loaded with nostalgic humor, kitsch and illusions. Aunia Kahn, Stefanie Vega and Alexandra Manukyan will also be participating in the exhibition. The opening reception will be held on October 11 and the show will be on view through November 8.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Though they’re created digitally, Can Pekdemir’s portraits mimic the high-contrast values of daguerreotypes. Pekdemir conjures up strange, furry creatures using 3D modeling software, giving them hefty forms and believable textures. The results look as if these characters walked into the artist’s studio and posed for the camera. Presented as framed, archival prints, his pieces could pass for photographs. Pekdemir seems to be testing the boundaries between two and three dimensions, virtual and physical. We often take photography to be a truth-telling medium, but Pekdemir exploits this assumption to engage his viewers with these fictional personalities. Take a look at some of his recent work below.

by Nastia VoynovskayaPosted on

Known for his uplifting, large-scale photographic portraits of ordinary people, French artist JR recently travelled to New York’s Ellis Island for a site-specific project on the famed historical site. The island once housed the largest immigrant processing center in the nation, filtering millions of newcomers to the States from the 1890s through the 1950s. Ellis Island now houses an immigration museum, though parts of it have been left untouched. JR was invited to reinvigorate the destitute, abandoned buildings on the island’s south side with his project “Unframed — Ellis Island,” opening to the public on October 1.

by Nathan SpoorPosted on

Kyle Thompson is a young photographer on the rise. He began shooting at age 19 in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois, and in the last couple years has amassed a substantial body of work that shows a surprisingly adept and concise voice for such a young artist. This work, just released in a book titled Somewhere Else is comprised mostly of self-portraits taken in various abandoned locations found while on a road trip traveling the country.