Los Angeles-based Thomas Alleman
's commentary on the ubiquitous and perturbing images that constitute American Apparel's ad campaigns.
"American Apparel is an internationally-known purveyor of hip sportswear. Their advertising campaigns are controversial for their depiction of very young women who're sexualized in strangely-poised photographs. In Los Angeles, where American Apparel manufactures its line, the company has for many years licensed about a hundred small billboards in ethnic and working-class neighborhoods, where those ads are placed at eye level."
"The sexual fantasies portrayed in those sleek, graphically simple ads are surrounded by the very complicated reality of LA's visually chaotic urban landscape, whose grit, anarchy and blight are at odds with the blithe spirit of those strange billboards. My photographs document the "dialogue" between LA's built environment and American Apparel's groovy, pervy teenage daydreams." - Thomas Alleman.
"Two ads, on the advertiser's website and Instagram page, for a skirt which was featured in their 'School Days' or 'Back To School' range:
a. The website ad on www.americanapparel.co.uk featured an image of a girl wearing the skirt, a top and white underwear, bending over to touch the ground, photographed from behind from a low angle. Her crotch and buttocks were visible.
b. The ad posted on the advertisers' UK Instagram page featured an image of a girl wearing the skirt and a top leaning into a car, photographed from behind from a low angle. Her buttocks were visible.
American Apparel (UK) Ltd said the images which appeared in their advertising featured non-airbrushed, everyday people, most of whom were not professional models. They said their approach was not graphic, explicit or pornographic, but was designed to show a range of different images of people who were natural, not posed and real. They said their models were happy, relaxed and confident in expression and pose and were not portrayed in a manner which was vulnerable, negative or exploitative."
A quick intro, courtesy of Wikipedia
"Irish Travellers, also called pavees, tinkers or gypsies, are a traditionally itinerant ethnic group who maintain a set of traditions. They live mostly in Ireland as well as having large numbers in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Their origin is disputed."
"My project 'The Travellers' gives insight into the everyday life of Ireland's largest minority group. This group has a nomadic origin, stemming from the tradition of migrant workers. As this tradition no longer exists, the travellers are looking for a new identity within the Western European society of the 21st century. Both the travellers' traditions and their way of life are so different that they are met with little acceptance by the rest of the Irish society. The travellers live in a kind of parallel world with rules all of its own and traditional gender roles, a world to which outsiders have little access."
"To this day, some traveller families live by the roadside illegally - mostly without electricity, running water or sanitation, even though the government has provided halting sites for the travellers where they can stay with their caravans.
I travelled to Ireland with a VW bus in order to photograph the travellers the first time in 2011. I wanted to capture the travellers' way of life and their values in pictures. In doing so, I did not want to romanticize them, but rather show their everyday life. A life where people still hunt rabbits and where horses play a vital role. But it is also a life that contains hardship and boredom from an early age.
Since my first encounter with the travellers, I have been in touch with one large family. Over time, I have gained their trust. Consequently, I was allowed to live with them so that I and my camera became part of their daily lives."
Among other acclaim, Birte received a CNN Journalist Award in 2014, was Category Photo Winner PDN Annual 2013, and a Critical Mass 2013 Top 50.
Gorgeous images from Leonardo Fabris
who lyrically states "The Vitiligo disease patches move to the rhythm of its development as the dancer's body moves to the rhythm of music. Through his pictures the photographer is able to create an elegant comparison between the subject and the disease."
Indeed he gives great dignity to dancer and disorder. Delightful.
I got fixated on Shan
when publishing his deserted idols series. Here's 'Blow'. I think these are simply brilliant!
"'Blow' takes a metaphorical, almost surreal, look at modern-day consumerism and how it affects our inner state."
All images © Shantanu Bhattacharya
© Shantanu Bhattacharya
I'll let Shan explain these as he does it so well:
"The relationship between Hinduism and idolatry is a complex one. In Yajurveda it has been said that God Supreme or Supreme Spirit has no 'Pratima' or material shape. He cannot be seen directly by anyone. His name is so great that only the Name is enough to invoke him. He pervades all beings and all directions. Thus according to the Vedas God neither has any image nor he resides in any particular idol or statue.
Yet we find that Hindu temples are filled with images or idols of gods and goddesses. And a fair percentage are worshiped at specific days of the year through idols made up of straw and clay. On that particular day, they are dressed in costly fabric, treated with paint, subjected to readings of holy mantras and receive offerings from devotees. Curiously, however, once the day gets over, these idols lose their divinity and are disposed of."
"The most common explanation goes like this - as the mind cannot concentrate itself on a formless being one has to assume God in some visible object or image. Devotees believe that God made Man in his own image. So it seems only natural that man has also constructed his God by his own image. Perhaps it also becomes easy to stop treating an idol divine after the ritual if that idol is of a humanoid shape."
"Meanwhile, the cityscape gets filled with these humanoid figures as the devotees no longer know what to believe in them."
Hoshitango Imachi © Reed Young
From another of Reed Young
's intriguing photo series, we bring you Life After Sumo. "They're chefs and bar owners, but also hip-hop singers and TV comedians. After retiring from the ring, the road for champions of the legendary Japanese sport divides. But their second life, to be invented, is built precisely on discipline and hard work. Only to discover that the spirit of fighting is in their blood and always will be. I strongly recommend you visit this series on Reed's website
where he writes extensively about sumo wresting, and interviews some of the ex-wrestlers that he photographed. Good stuff.
Above: Hoshitango Imachi is a 44-year-old Argentinean who moved to Tokyo when he was 21 to attend the University of Chuo. After arriving he become a sumo wrestler so he could support his family back home. Now he's an official Japanese citizen and works as a professional wrestler for the Japanese company DDT (The Dramatic Dream Team).
Konishiki Yasokichi is a 45-year-old retired sumo wrestler and one of Japan's most recognizable celebrities. Now that he's retired from the sport that made him so popular, he's become a hip-hop artist and host of his own children's television show. He was the heaviest sumo wrestler of all time weighing 580 pounds (264 kg). Two years ago he underwent gastric bypass surgery and has lost much of the weight that previously threatened his good health.
Yoshitoku Tashiro is a 33-year-old retired sumo wrestler who now works as a writer. He recently published a best-selling book about the real life of a sumo wrestler, including topics such as how to meet a girl, how wrestlers travel, what they eat, and what they do in their spare time. He originally wrote the book with the intent of teaching young wrestlers about the kind of life they might lead, but it ended up selling more to the masses out of curiosity for a sport that is rarely covered with a personal viewpoint.
Yasuyuki Hirose is a 32-year-old retired sumo wrestler who's become famous in Japan for his part in a comedy trio that performs on TV. His obesity related difficulties are often the topic of the group's jokes. In particular he's known for being able to drink a two-litre bottle of orange Fanta in only ten seconds.
Naoki Hino is a 32-year-old Chanko restaurant owner. Chanko is a stew that's eaten in large amounts by sumo wrestlers to gain weight. Because of Sumo's popularity, Chanko restaurants are becoming extremely successful among the general public. But Naoki's restaurant has the advantage of being one of the few owned by a real sumo wrestler.
Sanyutei Utamusashi is a 41-year-old retired sumo wrestler who practices the art of Rakugo, a form of entertainment that involves complicated yet comedic storytelling. Every day at noon hundreds of businessmen and women fill the plastic covered seats of this auditorium to eat their lunches while watching him perform.
Tokyo-based photographer Kuraya Takashi
describes the images in his missing pets project as "once just records of normal days" that now have another role: to jog people's memories and locate the lost.
I feel much the same way he does: "The story of the subject pleases me, with aches and tint of guilt at the same time."
I was excited to get an update from productive Mr Francisco Salgueiro
, "Portuguese best seller author and photographer, won this year's Greatest Photo Contest of the World by the iconic french magazine Photo." His last post was really popular and these new images are just as great, with a light-hearted look at front of house and a slightly darker look behind-scenes from multiple circuses in Portugal.
's photographs of her friend Kay in the final stretch are currently showing at Soho Photo
, here in New York City. In a personal yet completely relatable journey for the photographer, and following Kay's journey to the end which reflects so many inevitable others, she produced a quiet series, showing how her friend held herself dealing with terminal cancer.
"Life and death, the fragility of human connections, the certainty of the end; all are joined to what our spirits manifest as we confront our greatest losses, whether in our past, future or the elusive boundary between them - this precise moment.
"Waiting Room is a foray into this territory we all share. We know death is waiting; yet we persist. This work explores the waiting, the persistence and the places we live while dying. Places largely separated from life.
"Waiting Room project is about Kay. She was 54. She was dying of cancer. She soon found herself partly paralyzed. I visited her often. Everyone approaches death differently. Kay had an amazing dignity that grew from her acceptance of her situation. She knew she was dying; she could barely move. She knew her life was circumscribed by a bed on the 12th floor of a Manhattan nursing home.
"Sometimes Kay was happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry. Dying, she remained very much alive. Waiting Room is the story of Kay's time at the boundary between life and death and the place where she spent that time. Through Kay's story, I tell the story of all of us." Ellen Jacob.
Wonderful well-rounded project from
British photographer Tim Allen
, that not only beautifully documents true artisans in five practices, but raises money for charity. The series were all made around England's south east county of Kent. Here's Tim's story:
"In 2013 I photographed local fairgrounds and I had the idea to have a small book made of it which I then sold to raise money for charity. I chose the National Ankylosing Spondylitis Society as I'm a sufferer of the condition who is lucky enough to be responding brilliantly to treatment and wanted to give something back. After raising £450 for NASS I decided to work on another book this year, but this time the subject matter would be broader. I've always appreciated good craftsmanship and after spending an afternoon doing research I found lots of interesting potential candidates for my project. 6 months later I had 5 shoots completed and produced the book, "Artisans," which is now on sale. I've also decided to continue the project and have several other shoots lined up already, hopefully for my third book next year."
Easthope Stained Glass Studio