For his latest series, French photographer and digital artist Cal Redback has created slightly unsettling portraits of people fused with nature. Many of his subjects are inspired by those of fantasy and horror, as in his version of “Treebeard” of The Lord of the Rings or “Hellraiser”. Redback adds a plant-like appearance to his own characters by photographing them and then digitally manipulating the image in Photoshop. Botanicals sprout from their cheeks and eye sockets in beautiful and sometimes painful looking displays, even more alarming by their casual demeanor.
Throughout human history, stories about wild and elusive giants have been told on almost every continent. Iceland-based French multimedia artist Philip Ob Rey has reimagined such monsters in a photo series of sculptures made of VHS tapes. Rey created “V” HS Project, a set of 5 series of black and white photos and accompanying short films, in contemplation of the future of the human race. Set against the gray skies of Iceland’s landscape, the photos portray nightmarish figures wandering a cold and post apocalyptic world.
Swedish artist Susanna Hesselberg’s latest work plummets deep into the ground Alice-in-Wonderland-style. “When My Father Died It Was Like a Whole Library Had Burned Down” (named after Laurie Anderson’s song “World Without End”) is a mind bending reproduction of a library inherited by the artist from her father, created for Denmark’s Sculpture by the Sea exhibition series. The biennial festival, which closed on July 5th, boasted 56 site specific installations along the Danish coast. Hesselberg’s mysterious contribution is vertical tunnel framed by a piece of glass that allows viewers to peer into a dark tower books only visible by their spines. Hesselberg wanted to recreate the depth of loss or losing control, as one might experience when a loved one dies.
German photographer Bartholot appreciates the unexplained. Bartholot is not looking to copy a kind of reality or life; his photos celebrate artificiality and design. His digital images merge his own sense of fashion with surrealism and usually start with a single thought or mood. They have been described as a combination of sculpture and photography, also reflecting his interest in colors and textures. For his latest collaboration with the Spanish creative studio Serial Cut, he created a series of photographs of draped unmasked characters.
Toronto based photographer Robyn Cumming often uses the figure as her canvas, rather than main subject, in her experimental imagery. Her subjects’ personalities come through in their poses and the unexpected elements that she mixes into the picture. In her “Lady Things” (2008) series, for example, she completely obscures their faces with things like flowering shrubs, birds, and smoke. While simultaneously unsettling and seductive, there is a compelling mystery in the obscurity of Cumming’s work. It leaves the viewer to reconsider how we collect information about each other visually and use that to define a person’s character.
Lebanon remains at the heart of fierce conflict, which makes toy photographer Brian McCarty’s “War Toys” project an ongoing effort. The project is currently focused on representing the perspectives of Iraqi, Syrian, Kurdish, Palestinian, and Lebanese child refugees as a result of continuous war. Covered here, he has also visited West Bank, Gaza Strip, Israel, Ukraine, Sudan and Colombia. Today, there are over 1 million refugees alone – out of a total population of 4.8 million in Lebanon. Since 2014, McCarty has been working throughout the region to gather various accounts from Lebanese and Syrian children in cooperation with the Kayany Foundation and his team, including art therapist Myra Saad.