Russian Wedding Photoshop Disasters

Welcome to the magical land of extreme Russian wedding photos. Prepare yourself for Photoshoppery of head-aching proportions. Witness the wing-sprouting brides and multiplied grooms in inexplicable psychedelic scenarios. Because if there’s anything better than a bride inside a rose, it’s seven brides inside a rose bush. It’s a non-ironic tradition of sorts! The origins of this particular series can be traced to the English Russia blog, but most likely is sourced from the Russian LiveJournal blogosphere, somewhere near neighborhood of those creepy, dangerous playground photos. Enjoy. … Read More

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Crowdsourced Photos of Russia's Creepiest, Most Dangerous Playgrounds

From the self-deprecating domain of the Russian blogosphere that brought you incredibly bootleg movie posters, we present: the horrors from the LiveJournal community “Dedicated to Maniac Psycho Sculptors.” It’s a hub for dumping photos of children’s playgrounds that are more than a little bit… off — perilous swings, rusty slides, cavernous ditches, and, more importantly, the creepiest public sculptures you’ve ever seen. They are decapitated, shattered, and laden with inappropriate graffiti. Some are just dangerous. Some are accidentally suggestive. Some are terrible, decades-old works of folk art carved from tree stumps, now smiling with rotting, termite-gnarled mouths and otherwise looking less than approachable. They are all curious specimens of found art. Or maybe they’re just terrifying. Check out the worst of the worst and decide for yourself. … Read More

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A Voyeuristic Look Inside Swinger and Fetish Clubs

Austrian-born photographer Reiner Riedler has traveled the world documenting what he calls “the fragile beauty of human existence with its desires and abysses.” In his series Pleasure Garden, Riedler ventured into the swinger and fetish clubs of Austria, Germany, and Japan, an artificial world that he found fascinating due to its “glaring hyper-reality.” The vivid photos that he captured range from rather tame shots of empty rooms to more provocative images of men and women in a variety of costumes, seemingly caught mid-act.

“Taking photographs in locations where sexual practices take place is not always a simple matter,” he writes. “I had to unequivocally distance myself from the role of the voyeur—being in places where photography is equated with pornography.” Click through for your own fascinating, NSFW glimpse of the underground world that Riedler discovered. … Read More

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A Provocative Homeless Wedding Album [NSFW]

We previously sang the praises of Ukrainian-born photographer Boris Mikhailov’s portraits of the alcohol addiction-afflicted poor in post communist Eastern Europe. His work is ruthless and difficult; it intrigues and repels. For his new book The Wedding, one particular narrative has been plucked from his Case History series archives. Mikhailov “commissioned” a homeless couple to simulate a wedding, posing for mock portraits and celebrating their union in their own surroundings. The resulting photos have been published in a bound, faux-leather, gold calligraphy-debossed imitation of a traditional wedding album. These are hard to look at, but it’s also hard to look away. Through their playful belligerence, we see the reality of the destitute conditions of the outcasts living in Russia without social support or care. And just maybe, we see wedding ceremonies themselves in a different light. Leaf through a few photos from the “album” in our slide show. … Read More

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Classic Soviet Anti-Drinking Propaganda Posters

With various seasonal festivities just around the corner, we know that some of our readers will be tempted to drink a little drink now and again. Spotted at the Poemas del río Wang blog, we’ve rounded up some of the Soviet era’s classic anti-drinking posters. Heed their enthusiastic, frequently constructivist warnings, lest you too are faced with peer scorn because you “got drunk, swore, smashed a tree” and are “ashamed to look people in the face.”

See, it was only with the forced industrialization of Communism and the influx of villagers into the city that drinking had become such a cultural dilemma. In the 19th century, Russians’ per-capita alcohol consumption “was among the lowest in Europe,” we’re informed. Enter: Propaganda posters. From the evil “green snake” of alcoholism, to the man metamorphosed into a belligerent fist, to the personification of a flawed pipe, dancing merrily alongside its drunken maker the terrible factory worker — meet the mascots of temperance and moderation. Just say “Nyet!” … Read More

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Fascinating Portraits of Russian Metro Drivers

Transportation malaise abounds in these photographic portraits of Russian metro drivers. It appears as though these vintage-esque gems were captured on the rail system’s camera, freezing the angsty expressions of its tired workers for all eternity. As anyone who rides the subway in a big city knows, your “subway face” is an essential coping mechanism (and sadly, survival skill) when dealing with various metro crazies lurking about. These guys definitely looked bored and beat, sporting a permanent subway scowl. Click through for more. … Read More

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10 Terrifying Mythical Creatures You Didn’t Know to Be Afraid Of

Has your lifetime been overwhelmed with terror tales of vampires, witches, werewolves, and zombies to the point that these overly familiar creatures are too boring to give you nightmares? Let’s face it — we’ve fallen into a repetitive freak funk, and we could really use some new ghouls to give us goosebumps. Fetus-licking bat torsos from the Philippines? Sure, why not! Corpse-craving Japanese greed ghosts? Sounds good to us! Gather ’round the campfire and lend us your ears, Halloweenies; we’ve scoured the ponds of Bohemia and the banana trees of Indonesia to bring you some of the globe’s finest frighteners. Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, we call this “The Tale of Other Cultures’ Creatures.” Read it after the jump. … Read More

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Made in Russia: Soviet Design Oddities and Masterpieces

If you thought iconic Soviet design stopped at Sputniks, Lomos, and Kalashnikovs, you’re about to get old schooled. The brilliant, essential book Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design travels back to a time when objects were built for function and uniformity — tilting dolls never toppled, drinking glasses fit exactly a third of a standard vodka bottle, and soda pop was available around every corner via communal vending fountains. Edited by Michael Idov and penned by expats, this insightful little tome is brimming with cultural heritage, humor, and pure design porn. Have a good read and a curious gawk in this slide show of some of our favorites. And please, hold the Yakov Smirnoff jokes. … Read More

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100-Year-Old Color Photos from the Russian Empire

No, color film did not exist in 1909, but chemist-turned-photojournalist Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) had pioneered a revolutionary method to document pre-Revolution Russian Empire and its multicultural surroundings. Using color-filtered plates of glass, he captured a red, a blue and a green channel of each of rivers, railroads, villages, churches of olde. Even more fascinatingly, we can look 100 years back in time on the faces of real peasants, factory workers, noblemen, soldiers, sailors and botanists. Peek into the past with these amazing scenes from 1909 through 1912, courtesy of the Library of Congress. The borders give it an extra magical touch, don’t they? … Read More

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Intimate Portraits of Russian and Ukrainian Prisoners

The prisoner’s eyes expressed a “mesmerizing human blend of fear and cruelty.” That was his first encounter, three years ago, photographer Michal Chelbin tells The New Yorker — a passing exchange of eye contact over a high brick wall somewhere in Ukraine. Drawn in, the photographer returned to the prison and began his new series Locked. He shot portraits without asking questions about his subjects’ crimes. Girls slumped side-by-side on a juvenile hall bed. Young men with tattoos, in slippers. Lanky, fur-hatted boys with James Cagney glares clustering in the prison yard. Looking at the portraits is like intercepting the brimming eye-contact between the photographer and the prisoners. What did they do? Is their punishment fair? Are they guilty? Incorrigible? Proud? Innocent? Before Michal Chelbin’s solo show comes to NYC’s Andrea Meislin Gallery in 2012, meet their eyes in our gallery and judge for yourself. … Read More

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