When things are tough at home, I sometimes search Instagram for street photographers abroad. It’s not that I’m looking for happy scenes, necessarily. It’s just reassuring to be reminded that the world is so much larger than our national news cycle. (Scrolling through digital feeds is also the safest way to travel these days, not to mention the most eco-friendly.) These are the five accounts that I’ve been turning to lately for quick little doses of our common humanity; other New York Times critics will be posting their own favorites regularly.
The engineer Ali Shokouhandeh started Streetphoto Iran four years ago as an independent forum for views of the country’s daily life. Surprised by the interest it generated, both at home and abroad, he recruited Hamed Mousavi and David Shokouhbeen, both fine street photographers in their own right, to help him edit the feed and find new work. Now it offers an extraordinary curated trip through Iran both historical and contemporary, from a handball game in the ancient city of Yazd to a sea of intricately patterned hijabs, from a fashion shoot beside the pink waters of Lake Maharloo to the very contemporary problem of adjusting Islamic burial practices to Covid-19 deaths.
The photojournalist Ley Uwera’s portrait subjects often have quizzical expressions, as if she’s catching them in the act of sizing her up. It’s a refreshingly forthright approach, one that takes into account both the disrupting fact of her own presence and the difficulty of capturing the complexity of any given locale, whether it’s a displaced persons’ camp or just backstage at a fashion show. That’s not to suggest that she’ll turn down a smile. She’s captured more than a few dazzling grins. But even then, a discreetly foreboding background — like the low, cloudy sky and glittering green heath of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo — keeps the fundamental mystery of the human condition close at hand.
One thing I like about the Hong Kong photographer Jimi Tsang, whose bio line describes him as “obsessed with 35 mm film,” is that he doesn’t abide by Instagram’s format. Full of tilted lines, receding streets, and men turning their backs, his photographs are defiantly rectangular. Apart from the occasional gaggle of orange traffic barriers, they also tend to be black and white. (My favorite shows a solitary man crossing an empty soccer pitch surrounded by soulless office buildings.) To display his rectangles within Instagram’s unbending square, he mounts the images on solid color backgrounds of black or gray or hot pink. It’s an apt aesthetic detail for an artist mourning his uncommon city as it is rocked by turbulent political change.
I’ve been trying to figure out what exactly is so beguiling about Seunggu Kim’s 2017 photo of a swimming pool. There’s the pool itself, of course, with its whimsical mix of premodern Korean architecture and bright blue water, and there’s the photo’s elevated vantage point, which turns pink and yellow flotation devices into so many rainbow sprinkles on a neon ice cream cake. But I think what really does it is the way the building’s design and the photograph’s framing combine to flatten and enclose the whole enormous, crowded rectangle: Like the map in a fantasy novel or a Richard Scarry picture book, the resulting image offers freedom and containment at the same time, a sensation of activity anchored by a feeling of perfect safety.
Shooting mostly in and around Addis Ababa, the photographer and fashion designer Eyerusalem Jiregna bundles simple details like a bright orange hard hat, a patterned skirt, or daisy-shaped barrettes into bouquets of irresistible color. Coca-Cola red, Heineken green, face-paint white, a coral blue wall, or Ethiopia’s own national colors can all be equally alluring if you know how to capture them. Sometimes she lets her colors melt a little, too, as in a striking pair of views of candlelit parishioners celebrating Orthodox Epiphany in Lalibela. Reflecting the flickering yellow light, their white robes glow like molten wax. Either way, though, what she arrives at is an apparently endless series of exceptional moments.
‘Glorified littering’: Junk street art installations popping up around Montreal – Global News
From the Van Horne skate park in the Mile End to NDG’s Saint-Jacques Escarpment, bizarre art installations are popping up around the city.
Prowling panthers, massive abstract beasts — it’s all put together from the imagination of the artist under the pseudonym Junko.
It’s a fitting name, for all the art he creates is entirely made from miscellaneous “trash” that he finds on the street.
“Basically, they’re carefully arranged piles of garbage,” Junko said. “You can call it glorified littering.”
Using things found on the street like car tires, bike frames, even shoes, everything is a workable piece in Junko’s creations.
Car bumpers are a common staple in his creatures.
“They’re definitely a popular item for me,” he said with a laugh.
Over the past few months, he has put together some six different statues around the city and abroad, all varying in size from small to towering.
A timber frame made from recycled wood holds the installations together.
“I’ve been making art my whole life,” Junko said. “My art has always been around creating creatures and characters. This is a new chapter in that.”
He says finding the junk isn’t that hard in the city but finding the right piece can be.
“Sometimes it’s extremely easy. I’ll be walking and find something and carry it home,” he said.
While shying away from the spotlight, Junko says he isn’t trying to make a point with his art, which he says speaks for itself.
“There no deep hidden meaning, it’s just a way to expressing myself,” Junko said.
That so-called trash is getting a lot of likes and recognition on social media and on the street.
“There is a lot of art in the neighbourhood, so it’s good, I’m not against it,” resident Nick Barry-Shaw said.
Juno sees his form of expression as a legal grey zone.
“The people are into it but I’m not sure about the city, though,” Junko laughed.
He said that unlike graffiti, his street art is not vandalism but simply “an organized pile of trash.”
So far, all four art installations in the city have not been taken down, according to Junko.
The young artist says there is a lot more art to come and people should keep their eyes peeled.
“I’m just getting started so, yeah, you can expect more work,” he said.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Fine art in your mailbox: local artist creates unique postcards – TheRecord.com
WATERLOO — A new postcard art project will use snail mail to rekindle memories of travel while sharing evocative original artwork.
Art galleries are closed due to the pandemic, and opportunities for local artists like Paul Roorda to display and sell their artwork are sparse.
“I just wanted to find a way to get my art out there so people can see it,” Roorda said.
His project “Somewhere Anywhere Postcards” is a series of hand-printed postcards that feature abstract landscapes, vintage stamps and messages of hope.
Roorda photographed different parts of an old, weathered wall. The lines and markings reminded him of beautiful landscapes, the ones you typically see on postcards from tourist destinations.
The postcards are small works of fine art, Roorda said, from the imagined landscape of the weathered wall he photographed, down to the vintage stamps he found and attached to each individual postcard.
The photographs were processed using an age-old technique known as cyanotype. Roorda mixes chemicals and brushes them onto paper. He then exposes the photographs in the sun and develops each photograph in water. The result of this process creates cyan-blue prints.
“I wanted to stay true to the vintage nature of the art,” Roorda said.
He has also written hopeful messages on the back of each postcard to uplift people during the pandemic as it keeps everyone indoors this winter.
“Right now with COVID we are surrounded by our walls, and we can see walls around us as barriers. I wanted to write something about seeing past those barriers at a time when people are feeling discouraged.”
Roorda is fascinated with vintage and antique items as well as found objects. Three years ago he created mini art galleries out of metal cash boxes and attached them to utility poles throughout Waterloo.
Roorda was ordered to remove them by bylaw officers, but was later granted permission by the city to temporarily display his art. The project was called “Time Stops” and each piece featured a musical element, found objects and messages.
Roorda’s postcard project is supported by a grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. He launched “Somewhere Anywhere Postcards” last week and has already mailed postcards to addresses across Ontario and to Europe.
Roorda’s postcards can be found in his online shop at www.paulroorda.com.
Watch: Marty One-Boot's art of the Yellowknife Snowcastle pour – Cabin Radio
Snow is like concrete, they say.
To build Yellowknife’s Snowcastle – even this year’s amended design, which is more like a castle grounds than a castle itself – you need to know your construction methods.
Putting together the walls that hold snow structures together requires plenty of carpentry to build wooden frames, then a snowblower and some nerve while you stand under a blizzard of snow and compress it with your feet.
Martin Rehak – Marty One-Boot, to give him the nickname he acquired after this exercise once went wrong – described the process to Cabin Radio. Here’s a little look at how preparations are going ahead of this March.
Camera, editing: Ollie Williams
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