Photography

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Intimate Photos Capture the Daily Lives of Cuba’s Transgender Community

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Photographer Mariette Pathy Allen, who has documented transgender lives around the globe, took her lens to Cuba to show trans* lives in the slowly loosening environment of Raoul Castro’s rule. As America opens a new relationship with Cuba, and as we ponder the concept of transgender images in the media in the wake of Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover reveal, her photos provide a fascinating look at the community beyond statistics and celebrities — and beyond America’s shores.
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Photo credit: Kirk Weddle. Courtesy Modern Rocks Gallery

Nirvana Goes Swimming in Rarely Seen Outtakes From Kirk Weddle’s ‘Nevermind’ Photo Shoot

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Will it surprise anyone to learn that Kurt Cobain was, in the words of photographer Kirk Weddle, “not a water guy at all”? Weddle, who had previously shot Nevermind‘s iconic naked-swimming-baby cover, gathered the members of Nirvana together in Los Angeles a month after the album’s release for another underwater photo series. This time, it was Kurt, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl themselves who ended up in the pool. Despite the cold temperatures and early-morning call time (10 AM!), the pictures turned out great — and, like the Nevermind cover, the session has since become a classic. Now, Austin’s Modern Rocks Gallery is displaying a generous selection of outtakes from the shoot. While some have previously been published online or appeared in the recent Cobain documentary Montage of Heck, others will be entirely new to… Read More

"Ebony Jet" by Michael James O'Brien

Taking Wigstock: Michael James O’Brien’s ’90s Drag Portraits Capture an Explosive Moment in Queer Visibility

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In the 1990s, drag shimmied into the American mainstream in films like The Birdcage and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. If you grew up in this era, it was likely through these imaginary portraits of the drag world that you came to have a vague understanding of drag’s traditions and manifold sensibilities. Meanwhile, documentaries like Paris Is Burning and Wigstock: the Movie gave those who were interested in drag beyond its potential for moving straight audiences with introductory comedy narratives a closer, anthropological look at the celebratory scene — one that provided room for ecstatic transgression and self-exploration towards the end of a devastating era for the queer community.
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Photo credit: Jakub Pavlovsky

Charming Photos of a Bookworm Reading in Unexpected Public Places

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Prague-based photographer Jakub Pavlovsky has one motto: take the time to read — anywhere, anytime. His self-portrait series Book’s Calling, which we spotted on Lost at E Minor, features the artist sitting cross-legged and buried in a book in some rather unusual and beautiful spots. Pavlovsky pays no mind to the crowds that bustle around him while sitting in the middle of the street. He reads atop public sculptures, on bridges, in the middle of a subway car, in a field, and other unusual spots. The photographer’s Instagram account is full of inspiring images that make us want to grab our favorite book and head outside to take a seat wherever we damn well please. Pavlovsky has also donated several hundred books to local retirement communities to further promote the love and importance of reading, hoping to encourage others to do the same.
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Photo credit: Alice Smeets

Stunning Photos of a Haitian Art Collective’s Ingenious Interpretation of the Tarot

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Since 2007, award-winning photographer Alice Smeets, who we discovered on Supersonic, has been traveling to and living in Haiti, documenting the country and its people. Moved by Haitian spirituality and a group of artists in the slums of downtown Port-au-Prince known as Atis Rezistans, Smeets collaborated with the group to create a stunning photographic version of the tarot deck. Replicating scenes from the popular Rider-Waite deck with found objects and original works of art, featuring the Atis Rezistans as models, the artists titled the series The Ghetto Tarot.
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Photo credit: Bela Doka

Photos of a Bizarre College-Age Fan Club That Worships Putin as a Pinup

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Most Americans seem to know Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, from the controversial, anti-Putin Pussy Riot protests and the many GIFs that mock his absurd attempts at establishing a hyper-masculine image in the media. But there is a segment of the Russian population that idolizes the political figure, including a group of teens and 20-somethings who look at Putin as a kind of pinup.
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Photo credit: Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney

Revealing Close-Up Photos of Creatives’ Pencils

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Most people reach for their laptops or iPads when giving shape to their ideas. But for all our conveniences, there are some things that a computer just can’t do like the humble pencil. In a new photo series by Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney, first spotted on Photojojo, the duo captures close-up images of the pencils used by artists, designers, writers, and tastemakers. Most of the subjects are British, and we would love to see more women involved with the project, but you needn’t be familiar with those featured to appreciate how unique their tools are and the way tiny details reveal personality traits. Browse the series in our gallery, and get to know the secret life of the pencil.
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Nothing Is Embarrassing: On Kim Kardashian’s Strangely Liberating Book of Selfies

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Selfish, Kim Kardashian’s new 445-page book of selfies, is a bit of a party trick. Pull out the compact, three-pound art book at a social function, and people clamor to flip through the hundreds of near-identical selfies that chart Kim’s evolution both as a human and as a brand (is there a difference?). Some took a meta selfie with the book, Kim’s damp bosom and dewy face overshadowing their own smiles in the foreground.
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Photo credit: Lisa Sorgini

The Ethereal Beauty of Drowned Flowers

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Sydney-based photographer Lisa Sorgini’s has a penchant for flowers. The artist, who we discovered on Fubiz, captures their natural beauty in her series Flotsam, which finds colorful blooms drowned in water. Tiny air bubbles create the illusion that these petals are Shakespeare’s Ophelia, reborn. Sorgini’s bouquets are water flowers, sturdy emergent plants, but the photographer depicts them as vulnerable in their own environment when encountering the human touch.
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Photo credit: Andrew B. Myers

Fascinating Photos That Explore the Confluence of Digital and Analog

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As someone who’s a fan of isometric video games like SimCity and ’90s RPGs in general, the work of photographer Andrew B. Myers (which we spotted via Feature Shoot), caught my eye for one simple reason: it looks like it’s straight out of one of those games! But it’s not, and the closer you look, the more the subtleties of Myers’ work reveal themselves. These are real objects, set out like a sort of virtual still life: his images aren’t all isometric, but whatever the perspective, these images seem to explore a sort of uncanny border zone between the digital and the “real.” You can see more of Myers’ work at his website.
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