Remarkable Photos Highlight the Athleticism of Pole Dancing

First, it was all about sex, the centerpiece action and primary attraction of grimy, sweaty strip clubs. Then it became about fitness, with singletons and soccer moms taking classes at shiny, sweaty fitness clubs. But for whatever reason, pole dancing has never really gotten its due as an athletic achievement — though Dutch photographer Bart Erkamp is doing his part to change that. In his series Pole Fitness (which we spotted via Design Taxi), Erkamp showcases pole dancers at work in their practice environment, with poles installed in living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms. In doing so, he makes the previously sexualized object into a utilitarian domestic accoutrement, while spotlighting the tremendous athleticism of the endeavor. … Read More

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’90s-Era Postcards of D.C. Punk Luminaries and Their Cars

Washington, D.C. artist and curator Cynthia Connolly hails from the early DIY scene and was a longtime employee of indie punk label Dischord Records (owned by Minor Threat’s Jeff Nelson and Ian MacKaye). Her postcard photo sets featuring D.C. punk musicians and their cars recently caught our attention on Dangerous Minds. From Connolly’s website about the origins of the series:

Musicians from D.C. and their Cars (or later renamed Favorite Mode of Transport) was first created for the Chicago based and nationally distributed ‘zine, Speed Kills in about 1994. I wanted to contribute to my favorite ‘zine at the time, called Speed Kills, of which its topics usually covered indie and punk music and old cars. I owned a 1963 Ford Falcon, and at the time, my musician friends were all buying old cars. I then decided to create a photographic body of work that included the obvious: musicians from D.C. who owned old cars.

See what kind of car Allison Wolfe, Jenny Toomey, and Ted Leo were driving circa 1994, below. … Read More

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Chilly Photos from the Coldest Village on Earth

The next time you start complaining about the cold, think of these photos from Amos Chapple who documented the Russian village of Oymyakon. The rural locale has one of the lowest recorded temperatures for any permanently inhabited spot on Earth. According to the Daily Mail, due to Oymyakon’s subarctic temperature, residents are unable to grow food, so they live off reindeer, horsemeat, and fish. Meanwhile, digging a grave for a funeral in Oymyakon can take up to three days, because the ground is permanently frozen. And you can forget about turning your car off. Most locals leave them running, otherwise it can be impossible to start them again. “Oymyakon’s lowest recorded temperature is -67.7°C (-90°F) in 1933 while the average for January is -50°C (-60°F),” reports Beautiful/Decay. Chapple captured the desolate beauty of the Oymyakon landscape during his brave excursion. … Read More

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Subtly Beautiful Animated “Cinemagraphs” of the World Around Us

The humble graphics interchange format might have long since passed into history, replaced by more efficient formats like JPG and PNG, were it not for its capacity for rudimentary animation. In the 21st century, this capacity has seen the GIF make a comeback as a vehicle for digital art. These images, by French artist Julien Douvier (which we spotted on Faith is Torment), are more staid than the extravagant, surreal GIFs of net artists — they play like Harry Potter-esque animated photographs, giving the impression of a single animated image rather than a short loop of film. Douvier calls the resultant images “cinemagraphs,” and they’re like staring through a window into another world; the animations are so subtle that it takes a moment to realize the water you’re looking at is rippling, or that the corn is swaying softly in the breeze. There’s more of Douvier’s work at Behance. … Read More

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12 Endlessly Fascinating Album Covers from 2014

We’ve brought you the

SBTRKT — Wonder Where We Land

For his second album, Aaron Jerome — aka UK producer SBTRKT — employed a whole team of folks to create the cover: art direction and design from

Arca — Xen

To fully understand the amorphous being at the heart of Alejandro Ghersi (AKA… Read More

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Intimate Photos of People Looking at Art

Art theoretical texts about looking at art and the dynamic of the white cube abound, but London-based photographer Mark Blower is recording his findings with his camera. Simply titled People Looking at Art, Blower observes the gallery audience and captures intimate, contemplative moments with the work. “Some [art] invites physical interaction, climbing over, sitting on etc., which seems to put people in a more playful mood, where other shows are much more ‘look but don’t touch,’” Blower told Cool Hunting. “I also really like photographing people looking at the work while reading the press release, trying to find a way into the subject matter.” From the formal to the interactive, these exhibitions invite visitors to experience a spectrum of emotions, all glimpsed by Blower’s camera. … Read More

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Photographer Dresses Dogs in Elaborate Costumes for Best Christmas Cards Ever

Photographers tend to make killer Christmas cards, and British lensman Peter Thorpe is no exception. On and off for two decades, he’s snapped his dogs in over-the-top get-ups, from a mock fish ‘n’ chips feast to camel drag to a full-on Scrooge outfit. This year marks Raggle’s last appearance in front of the camera before her leisurely retirement, so in her honor, do click through and get your holiday-themed dose of cute animal.  … Read More

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Haunting Photos That Imagine the Effects of Our Freshwater Crisis

National Geographic reports that although nearly 70% of the world is covered by water, our freshwater supply accounts for only 2.5% of that amount. “In essence, only 0.007 percent of the planet’s water is available to fuel and feed its 6.8 billion people.” They estimate that by 2025, 1.8 billion people (two-thirds of the world’s population) will live in water-scarce areas due to wasteful use and climate change.

Georgia photographer Ansley West captures the crisis surrounding our freshwater supply in her ongoing series Seven Rivers, first spotted on Co.Design. “The photographs are not aimed at documentation but rather the depiction of unseen changes occurring on all rivers,” West explains on her website. “The constructed images I make on each negative show the possibilities and effects of industry, global warming, agriculture, power and the unquenchable demand for fresh water. We stand at a precipice in the history of water. How we approach the health and use of our rivers now will determine the life span of fresh water.” Take a closer look in our gallery. … Read More

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Diorama-Inspired Photos of Mongolian Nomads and the Effects of the Changing Landscape

Korean photographer Daesung Lee’s Futuristic Archeology series, first spotted on Booooooom, places the spotlight on the desertification of Mongolia and its effect on Mongolian nomads. Juxtaposing a billboard that features an image of the landscape it is set in, Lee hopes to “accomplish a sense that the lives of these nomadic people occur between this reality and a virtual space of a museum” — suggesting that in the future, this aspect of Mongolian culture might only exist in a photograph. Lee advises that 35% of Mongols live a nomadic lifestyle and depend on the land for their survival. But nearly 850 lakes and 2000 rivers and streams have dried up, transforming 25% of the land into desert over the past 30 years. “Potentially 75% of Mongolian territory is at risk of desertification,” Lee writes. The diorama effect of the photos is striking, but the message is dire. … Read More

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You Don’t Have to Embrace Lumbersexuality to Love the 12 Beards of Christmas

“Lumbersexual” is the worst kind of buzzword — not only is it pegged to a dubious trend, but it’s an egregious perversion of language. (Like “metrosexual” before it, the word describes an aesthetic, not a sexual orientation.) And yet, there’s still delight to be taken in the spectacular beards of its so-called adherents, particularly during this coziest time of the year. For a new photo series aimed at both spreading seasonal cheer and (according to her Bored Panda post about project) raising awareness for men’s health and prostate cancer, Stephanie Jarstad decorated some truly impressive facial hair to resemble Christmas trees, reindeer, and even stockings hung by the chimney with care. If you’re taken with these portraits (spotted via Design Taxi), you might consider buying them in poster or holiday-card form for the beardo in your life. … Read More

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