From the clean rooms where satellites are built to the Rubik’s cube a European astronaut carried into space, Edgar Martins’s photo series Rehearsal of Space is a vast photographic chronicling of the facilities, programs, and technology used by the European Space Agency and its affiliates.
Martins has taken great pains to make the photos more than just documentary. They’re meant to ignite the imagination, like a good sci-fi movie. His task was to imbue inanimate objects with meaning in a larger statement about humanity’s interest in space. He also wanted to convey the dazzling complexity and breadth of a space agency’s operations.
“My focus from the very beginning was to try to bring an audience that wouldn’t normally have access to the ESA facilities or ESA culture or their programs,” he says, “and because of that I needed to find an approach that really went beyond the traditional documentary approach.”
For two weeks this month, all eyes will be on Sochi as it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics. But for most Russians, this city by the Black Sea is a place of rest and recuperation, not elite athleticism.
“Sochi is the unofficial summer capital of the country,” says Maria Plotnikova, a Russian photographer who lives in Buenos Aires and documented Sochi last summer. “It was established as a fashionable resort area under Joseph Stalin, who had his favorite ‘dacha’ built in the city. In these times, Putin and Russian prime minister Medvedev take rest in Sochi.”
Despite two centuries of tension with the local Circissian people that stems from a disputed genocide, Sochi has for generations served as a place of leisure and recuperation. Built on a former malarial swamp, once the land was reclaimed, Tsarist Russia began erecting retreats on the Black Sea shore around the town.
In the mid-20th century, resorts for traditional spa treatments called sanatoria were built to serve the esteemed groups in Soviet society — metalworkers stayed at the Metallurg sanatorium; miners at the Ordzhonikidze sanatorium; and the party elite at the Rossiya sanatorium. Throughout the 1950s and ’60s, workers and peasants received sanatorium vouchers to reward hard work. They would travel great distances with their families to enjoy some hard-earned R&R. Today approximately three million tourists visit Sochi each year.
“The old generation still feel nostalgic about the Soviet times of the resort. Sochi always was very quiet and cozy town, and only in recent years everything has changed because of the grandiose Olympic construction,” says Plotnikova. “I wanted to show the traditional life of this city on the eve of the Winter Olympics.”
A boy plays on a pile of debris packed up and scattered by the sea during Typhoon Haiyan in Hernani, Eastern Samar. @benjaminras is currently working on a new project about the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Leyte and Eastern Samar provinces of the Philippines. #featureshoot @featureshoot @benjaminras
If you’re not paying attention yet, photographer Ben Rasmussen is photographing the devastation left by Typhoon Haiyan. He’s posting to Tumblr and Instagram - it’s worth a follow.
Yes, that’s makeup.
There’s a good reason we see more paintings of faces than paintings on faces: The face is not a good canvas. That’s what makes these photos by Moscow photographer Alexander Khoklov so impressive: They collapse three dimensions into two and defy the eye to discern whether what it’s seeing is really a photo.
Nineteen eighty-four was not like 2014. When Steve Jobs launched the Macintosh, he had to generate excitement about a product — a computer — that was unfamiliar to most people, if not downright scary. His creation would eventually entice them into changing their minds, but first, they had to be intrigued enough to learn about it.
The Macintosh was new, but the media would have to be old. There were no tech blogs, no Facebook, no Twitter, and certainly no Mac rumor websites. There were no websites at all. So Jobs had to generate his own campaign to tell the world about the computer that he would announce on January 24, 1984, 30 years ago today.
Fracking is one of the most contentious energy issues in America, pitting the promise of cheap fossil fuels and good jobs against environmental concerns in an often acrimonious debate. Six photographers banded together to bring a nuanced look to the issue through the eyes of those directly impacted by it.
The Marcellus Shale Documentary Project began in fall of 2011 and became collaborative effort by photographers Noah Addis, Nina Berman, Brian Cohen, Scott Goldsmith, Lynn Johnson and Martha Rial. The project is named for the Marcellus Formation, which stretches hundreds of miles from West Virginia through Pennsylvania into New York. The formation, deep beneath the Appalachians, holds stratified shale deposits rich in natural gas. But only recently has horizontal drilling and hydraulic-fracturing made extracting it feasible.
A story as large as fracking and its impact on Appalachia demanded a large team of photographers. Each photographer brings their own perspective, and serves as a sounding board for the others.
“Part of the shape of the project was this idea that it was genuinely collaborative,” says Cohen. “It wasn’t just a bunch of photographers who happened to be covering the same thing. It wasn’t that we carved up the visual landscape in a specific way, but in meeting together we each knew what the other one was doing, how they were approaching a particular subject, where we overlapped and where we diverged.”
The subjects in Jennifer Greenburg’s photos not only dress like it’s the 1950s, they also drive cars and decorate their houses as if Eisenhower were still in office. They’re part of the Rockabilly community, which Greenburg has spent more than a decade photographing.
These people just won Throwback Thursday forever.
Daniel Gordon’s photos put viewers on the slope of an uncanny valley, a glitch between the real and the fabricated. In place of authentic objects, Gordon uses printed photos of the items folded to mimic their real-world appearance, creating a mockery of the original object in beautifully constructed collages.
“I like photographs that aren’t just one thing,” says Gordon, “that are complicated, with blurred lines between themes such as the grotesque and the beautiful, humor and terror, wholeness and fragmentation, or innocence and corruption.”
Olivo Barbieri has spent 10 years making artfully distorted aerial photos of 40 cities around the globe, creating twisted viewpoints of familiar sites that make sly reference to modern art. Although he gained attention early on with a tilt-shift technique that makes real locations look like models, his photos go beyond gimmickry into the realm of philosophy.
“I asked myself what could happen if I detached from earth and I used a flying object such as a helicopter,” says Barbieri, whose first language is Italian. “After September 11th I wanted to understand what you feel when you turn upside down your point of view: From a threatened terrestrial being to a flying and threatening object.”
His work is available as a photobook called Site Specific. The title is taken from contemporary art, where it refers to a temporary installation that is specific to its location. To reinterpret the idea of site specific, he says, “I wanted to get away from the world, from the noises, sounds and words. I wanted to represent the world as a temporary installation in transition, and a possibility that only art gives us, consider it unreal, unfinished, in order to be able to interpret it, judge it, change it.”
If you’re playing with your mashed potatoes at dinner, it’s a safe bet you’re socially uncomfortable or preoccupied by something. Unless, of course, you’re with Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida, in which case you’re probably helping them craft their next work of art. Their MINIMIAM series uses fruit, vegetables, and sweets as the edible backdrops for surprisingly engaging dramas played out by figurines like those used in model train sets.
“This scale is really interesting as it allows you to work in the very small,” says Javelle. “The size of the figurines is perfect for creating surprising scenes with very ordinary elements.”
The food often provides inspiration for the wide variety of cleverly crafted scenes the married couple composes. The surface of a sprinkled donut becomes a rolling golf course, the innards of a gourd an alien landscape with a healthy dash of Ridley Scott. Other times, the figures fuel the idea.
“For example, one of first images is a figurine of a man with a mower mowing, which gave us the urge to cut a kiwi,” says Javelle, “especially since a new breed of hairless kiwi appeared at our super market!”