Saving the Eames House

EamesPrints2

Unfortunately,  the Eames family appears to have run into hard times. The Eames Foundation is selling these 4 original limited-edition prints to help preserve  Charles’ and Ray’s historic mid-century modern home in LA. For every $75 print sold, Herman Miller and Vitra will provide matching donations.

How often does owning a rare piece of artwork also give you a chance to play a part in architectural history? If you haven’t seen the house, it is super cool.
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P.S. apparently there is also an Eames documentary, The Architect & The Painter. Have you seen it yet?

{Images via Eames House 250}

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Mechanical Biology

The 1926 illustration “Man as Industrial Palace” appears in the new monograph “Fritz Kahn – Man Machine.” Originally it appeared in Kahn’s “Life of Man, Vol. III.”

The 1926 illustration “Man as Industrial Palace” appears in the new monograph “Fritz Kahn – Man Machine.” Originally it appeared in Kahn’s “Life of Man, Vol. III.”

These visualizations of the human body as a modernist “industrial palace” by Fritz Kahn were meant to be instructive, developed to educate the public about human health in the 1920’s.

Industrial and technological imagery are juxtaposed with organic, sometimes even sensuous forms in which the complex structure of the human body is rendered into cold, lifeless machinery. Kahn’s illustrations reflect a world that was rapidly shifting to a “new nature” in which people could now fly, voices could be heard and recorded, and work was made increasingly more efficient.

speed_sm

The speed of thought, 1943

sunlight_sm

The effect of sunlight, 1940

Das Leben des Menschen (The Life of Man) was an encyclopedic work of 1600 pages and 1200 illustrations depicting biology as industrial and mechanical processes, adopting avant-garde visual techniques and contemporary styles such as Neue Sachlichkeit, Dada, Surrealism, and Constructivist photomontage.

Ever-concerned with de-mystifying the miracle of life with easily comprehensible words and pictures, Kahn wrote “The cell state is a republic under the hereditary hegemony of the mind’s aristocracy….its economic system is a strict communism.” Unsurprisingly, his books were placed on the Nazi “list of harmful and unwanted writings” and publicly burned. His medical license was revoked, and Kahn (a Jew) was forced to emigrate — first to Palestine, then Paris and eventually, with help from Albert Einstein, the United States.

“Fairytale journey along the bloodstream – Entering a glandular cavity with an idealized cell-scape,” illustration by Arthur Schmitson for Kahn’s “Life of Man, Vol. II,” 1924

“Fairytale journey along the bloodstream – Entering a glandular cavity with an idealized cell-scape,” illustration by Arthur Schmitson for Kahn’s “Life of Man, Vol. II,” 1924

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Fritz Kahn, Man in Structure in Function (Fig. 208), 1943

Here, the reach of an arm longing for a final touch while saying goodbye is shown as an extension of a mechanical body composed of nothing more than discrete parts and electrical impulses. The accompanying text explains the functional analogy:

 “Man and machine exhibit far­reaching similarities. Both derive their energy from the combustion of carbon, which they obtain from plants. Man, the weaker machine, utilizes fresh plants for fuel, while the locomotive, a stronger machine, uses fossilized plants in the form of coal.”

Raoul Hausmann, Dada (Collage for the First International Dada Fair in Berlin), 1920

Raoul Hausmann, Dada (Collage for the First International Dada Fair in Berlin), 1920

Kahn drew on previous and contemporary analogies between functional anatomy and technology as well as themes of modernity present in contemporary art (such as Raoul Hausmann’s Dada collage, above.) The mechanized battles of the First World War (and the widespread use of protheses thereafter) had helped to produce a man­-machine analogue that made Kahn’s illustrations possible.

Forgotten for many years after being exiled by the Third Reich, Fritz Kahn’s work is now being rediscovered by historians, artists, and designers.

The intertwining of science, art and technology: An animated and interactive installation based on the poster of the same title by Fritz Kahn from 1927.

Les Diners de Gala: Dali’s Cookbook of Food, Art and Surrealism

“One can chose not to eat, one cannot accept to eat poorly” – Salvador Dalí

Inspiration for a Thanksgiving Feast?

With the holidays coming up (ahem *cough cough*) I thought it was a good time to bring attention to one of my all-time coveted items: a cookbook celebrating gastronomy and passionate, decadent consumption of food and art featuring elaborate food still lifes, original drawings and paintings by Salvador Dalí.

In 1973 Les Diners de Gala (Gala’s Dinners) was published as a collaboration between Dalí  and a “secret” chef in collaboration with some of the top French restaurants of the time. In true Dali fashion, Les Diners de Dali moves between ‘sado-masochistic pleasure’, ‘acute sybaritism’, Rabelaisian scatology, religious ecstasy, and anaesthetic asceticism.”

Nocturnal Cravings

“Nocturnal Cravings”—Chapter 11: sweets and desserts.

The book also contains nuggets of information such as the following: “I attribute capital esthetic and moral values to food in general, and to spinach in particular.  The opposite of shapeless spinach, is armor.  I love eating suits of arms, in fact I love all shell fish…food that only a battle to peel makes it vulnerable to the conquest of our palate.”

Sodomized entrees

“Sodomized Entrees”—Chapter 4: meats.

In conjunction with the release of the book Dalí also produced a suite called Les Diners De Gala (Released in 1977). The 12 lithograph suite is a surrealist twist on some of Dalí’s favorite meals. These works are a result of Dalí experimenting with mixed media and they are often regarded as some of Dalí’s most unique prints.

“Les Cannibalismes de L’Automne”

With 136 recipes in 12 categories, the collection of strange recipes includes an entire chapter on aphrodisiacs, correct use of atteletes (meat jewellery) and sketches of limbless dwarves eating eggs, among other things.

“Soft Watches Half Asleep”—Chapter 11: sweets and desserts.

 

“The I Eat Gala’s”—Chapter 10: aphrodisiacs.

Here is a newsreel from 1941, in which Salvador Dali designs and hosts a party held in the Bali Room of the Hotel Del Monte, Monterey, California. The event was titled Night in a Surrealist Forest and it was a fund raiser to help European artists displaced by the war.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, here is a recipe from Les Diners de Gala for Young Turkey with Roquefort (after the jump):

Continue reading

Bridge of Balloons

pont de singe by olivier grossetête
image © wilf

Imagine traipsing through the countryside and coming upon this dreamlike floating bridge, suspended by three balloons over a lake in Tatton’s Japanese garden in the UK.  French installation artist Olivier Grossetête‘s work ‘Pont de Singe’ delicately melds surrealism with the technical disciplines of design and engineering.

This piece is an extension of his earlier and more fanciful 2007 work ‘Pont Suspendu’- an installation of even more surrealistic dimensions consisting of three large balloons supporting a bridge-like structure, hovering in the air over Château Ferry Lacombe in Tret, France.

image © duncan hull

image © duncan hull

‘pont suspendu’, 2007
château ferry lacombe in tret, france

via {neatorama}

Slit Camera Photography by Jay Mark Johnson

‘claudio, stella e farfalla’, cetona, italy

California-based artist Jay Mark Johnson has created a series of time-based images that appear to be photoshopped; however, the effect is achieved through a specially built slit camera that emphasizes time over space, effectively condensing motion into sweeping bands of color.

It gets crazier- an object is recognized by the camera according to the rate of movement as opposed to distance or size, so that viewing the image by scanning from left to right is essentially like going backward in time.

The project began as an accidental effect while Johnson was taking high-resolution panoramas with an US85,000 rotating slit-scan camera. He noticed the accidental effects the device was capable of, and began stopping the rotation and focusing in on one small area. By controlling the period of time that the camera registers a scene (which is represented visually by one vertical sliver) Johnson can capture the moving subjects line-by-line. As a result, slow-moving objects appear stretched, while faster objects are condensed.

Johnson’s work strives to deepen our understanding of reality by

showing us that what we see is a product of our cultural traditions and means of perception.'”

‘swept away #2’ from the belgrade series

‘bauen wohnen streifen #4’ from the hamburg series
‘carbon dating #1’ from the hazard series

‘constatino sott’ acqua 2′

‘bauen wohnen streifen #4’ from the hamburg series

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Priscilla Electric Lodge #47-0

via {huffington post}

Russian Street Artist Turns Derelict Buildings Into Whimsical Creatures

‘the keeper of the keys’ by nomerz

‘glutton’, st. petersburg

a detail showing ‘glutton’s’ teeth made from trash

Russian street artist Nikita Nomerz uses graffiti to repurpose abandoned buildings, trees, and debris in various cities including his home town of Nizhniy Novgorod. Nomerz’s project involves traveling around Russia on a quest to find and transform these unwanted structures into strange, quirky characters.

A video showing the making of the ‘keeper of the keys’

via {designboom}

Weekend Links + Friday Fiction Photo

{copyright Serenity Bolt Photography}

I took this photo last winter in Butte, Montana. An old hotel, a laundromat, a moving truck…surely there is a story here.

It’s up to you to tell it.

Your submissions can be as long or short as you want. I’ll post the winning entry next week. I can’t wait to find out what happened here!

Now, some links for your weekend perusal:

Timeless, simple gold and brass jewelry from South African designer Karin Rae Matthee.

Learn the surprising reason why it’s dark at night with this animated video.

Really beautiful Pendant lamps from recycled books.

How to make easy ghosts to put on a Halloween cake. Super cool!

Lessons learned from writing love letters to strangers. Ahhh…

A good list of things to do for fall at Orchid Grey.

And finally….this week’s selections from I Need A Music Guide (and I always need a guide!)

10 Rules for Students and Teachers (and Life)

“Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail, there’s only make.”

This beautiful and quite moving list titled Some Rules for Students and Teachers is often attributed to John Cage, who passed away twenty years ago this week.

The list was actually created by artist and educator Sister Corita Kent as part of a project for a class she taught in 1967-1968 and posted as the official art department rules at the college of LA’s Immaculate Heart Convent.

The list was popularized by Cage, whom the tenth rule cites directly, and often attributed to him.

Have a thoughtful weekend as you mull these over, readers.

For more of Cage’s musings on life and art, see the excellent biography Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists 

Where Do Good Ideas Come From? The Twilight Zone!

“Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized.”

In this short clip from the vintage TV special Writing for TelevisionRod Serling, creator of the cult-classic The Twilight Zone, articulates the nature of creativity in just 64 seconds:

{clip via {Brain Pickings}

“Ideas come from the Earth. They come from every human experience that you’ve either witnessed or have heard about, translated into your brain in your own sense of dialogue, in your own language form. Ideas are born from what is smelled, heard, seen, experienced, felt, emotionalized. Ideas are probably in the air, like little tiny items of ozone.”

When you feel like you can’t create, when there’s a death grip deep inside your chest that is keeping you inert (I dunno, that’s what it feels like to me…) remember these words of wisdom from the Terral Manifesto:

“You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.”

You will never be sorry that you got up and created something, no matter how small. I promise. 

Photography Crash Course: 10 Quick Tips

Photography Crash Course Series
photo copyright {Serenity Bolt Photography}
It’s time to turn that dial! You know what I’m talking about….that safe little “A” on your camera where you’ve been hiding out, or perhaps you’re more of the adventurous type and have scooted it over to “P” a few times? Well, it’s time to step it up. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to start experimenting with your camera. It’s not like there’s any risk involved- no one has to know how many crappy photos you deleted before you got that one amazing shot!

Here are just a few quick tips to get you started:

1. Shoot, shoot, shoot. I remember watching an interview with Jay Maisel, a world-renowned street photographer, and that was the one thing that he stressed the most. You have to get out there, every day if possible, and just take a lot of pictures. It increases the chance that you’ll photograph something spectacular. There has never been a day that I’ve taken my camera out with me for the day and regretted it. You’ll see the world differently, I promise.

2. Count to 10. Take the time to frame your shots. Don’t shoot with the intention of cropping later. You’ll save time, and you won’t lose any image quality by zooming and cropping away at it in post-processing. As war photographer Robert Capa said, “zoom with your feet.”

3. Pay attention to lighting. Don’t shoot in direct sunlight, especially if you’re photographing people. It’s really unflattering! Try to pay attention to the quality and direction of the light around you. Late afternoon and early morning are great times to shoot. Mid-day (when the sun is harshest) is not so great.

4. Learn the basics of exposure. ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. You can print and laminate these cheat-sheet cards to keep in your camera bag. Once you get these down, that “M” button will be your friend because it means you have total control over your photographs. After all….you’re smarter than your camera, right?!

Example of a slow shutter speed:

Example of a high shutter speed:

Now about aperture…

Things you should know about your aperture:

  • The aperture is the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken.When you hit a button to take a picture, a hole opens to allow the camera to  capture the scene — the aperture you set effects the size of that hole. The larger the hold, the more light goes in, the smaller the hole, the less light.
  •   Aperture is measured in f-stops (you will see it referred to as f/number, like f/2.8, f/4, f/22, etc.).
  • Moving from one f-stop to the next doubles or halves the size of the amount of opening in your lens. Simply put, it doubles or halves the amount of light coming into your camera.
  • The one tricky thing you MUST remember — large apertures (where more light is let in) have SMALLER f-stops, and small apertures (less light) have LARGER f-stops. In context: f/2.8 lets in much more light than f/22.
  • The depth of field (DOF) is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.
  • Large depth of field means that most or all of your image (meaning both foreground and the background) is in focus, or sharp. For this effect, you want a larger f-stop, meaning a smaller aperture or less light getting in.

Most of the background here is in focus, giving it a large depth of field and a small aperture:

Shallow depth of field means that only a part of the image is in focus, and the rest will be blurry or fuzzy. For this effect, you want a smaller f-stop, meaning a larger aperture or more light.

Example, the background is blurry, leaving only the subject in focus, which is a shallow DOF and a larger aperture:

One way to keep all this straight in your head: small f-stop numbers mean small DOF, and large f-stop numbers mean large DOF (depth of field).

…and now moving on, a few more things to consider:

 4.  Check the background. Make sure there’s nothing “growing” out of your subject’s head….like a tree or a telephone pole.

5. Hold steady! This one might seem obvious, but it’s a good idea to get in the habit of holding your camera with one hand supporting it from underneath. This helps to keep it nice and level, as well as reduce camera shake.

6. Pay attention to composition. Start with a few articles on composition. Learn the rules from more experienced photographers. There is a wealth of information out there- use it!

7. Forget the flash! Learn to take pictures in low light by using the right combination of high ISO (this is not complicated, higher numbers mean a brighter picture) shutter speed, and aperture (lower is better for low-light situations because it lets in more light). If you must use a flash, use a diffuser (this can be as simple as holding a napkin above the flash). Your subjects will thank you for it, I promise.

8. Study the greats. Identify what is is about their work that draws you to it. It’s not a bad idea to try and copy the style of photographers that you admire. You can learn a lot by trying to figure out what motivated them to get the shots you love. You’ll find that your own style emerges on its own after a while.

9. Move around. Do you want every photo to look like it was taken from the same point of view (about yay high…er…exactly the height of your face!) Crouch down, lean over, experiment with angles…it’s waaay more fun!

10. Experiment away! Remember, it doesn’t cost anything to go crazy with your camera. Take a hundred pictures of the same bathtub with different exposures (just don’t show them to anybody). It’s the best way to learn your camera inside and out.

11. Bonus tip: Focus on the details. Don’t just look at the big picture. Sometimes it’s the little things that capture the feeling of a place or situation. This is also a good way to make color stand out in your photos. I love to take vivid close-ups- it never fails to turn the everyday into something extraordinary.

Already got a few awesome shots you’d like to make prints of? Learn how to make unique canvas prints at home with my easy How-To Guide: Canvas Photo Transfer.

A few resources:

Digital Photography School is a great website with a huge stockpile of articles on every subject imaginable.

Also, check out this helpful (and hilarious) video 50 PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS IN FIFTEEN MINUTES

Kelby Training is a subscription-only site by photoshop guru Scott Kelby. For 25 bucks a month, you can watch as many videos as you want. I subscribed for a month, watched a ton of videos, and unsubscribed! This is entirely acceptable.

Happy Shooting!

xo Serenity

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

The Burning House: What Would You Take?

If your house was on fire, what would you grab?

This is precisely the question that Foster Huntington asked himself, first photographing the belongings that he would take, and then asking a few friends to do the same. His experiment soon turned into a blog called The Burning House, and later became a book after he traveled around the country collecting submissions from as many diverse sources as possible.

“Today, developed countries are consuming more than ever before. This culture of consumption is often fueled by people’s desire to define themselves by the

possessions they amass. The Burning House: What Would You Take? takes a different approach to personal

definition. By removing easily replaceable objects and instead focusing on things unique to them, people are able to capture their personalities in a photograph.”

From the introduction to the book

Name: Miguel

Age: 36

Location: Porto

Occupation: Bike shop owner

List:

The picture you gave me and the leather box we found together.

Mom and dads old camera and mom and dads old leather bag.

The shoes I can’t live without.

Your smell #1 and your smell #2.

The notebook where I draw while you laugh.

My iPod to listen to beautiful tunes while thinking in our next home.

Name: Brody

Age: 6

Location: New Hampshire

Occupation: A kid

List:

Wedgehead

Garfeild cup

Lego helicopter

Bumblebee Transformer

Chip

yellow belt

piggybank

wallet

weaving

(not pictured) Lego Camera used to take photo

Name: Kate Molins

Age: 26

Location: London, UK

Occupation: Clapper / Loader

List:

Buster Kitten – 2 yr old cat

My mum’s ashes

Photo album / scrap book

iPhone

Grandmother’s watch

Dad’s watch

My watch – 16th birthday present from my mum

Macbook

Passport

8mm Camera – 24th birthday present from all my friends

Dad’s “I Love Tits” Mug – in small print, “from the British Ornithological Society”

Limited edition GONZO, Hunter S. Thompson photo book – 21st birthday present from my mum

Lemmy, Buster Kitten’s brother

My uncle’s old Leica CL

Diary & notebook of VALUABLE ideas & info from the past year

Portable hard drive with millions of photos and other important things

Name: Joshua Lee Bacon

Age: 20

Location: Boone, Iowa

Occupation: Student

List:

Favorite pants.

Favorite underwear.

iPhone.

Box full of all my prints and negatives.

Buffalo box full of treasures and special snapshots.

Passport.

Chinese cigars.

Some cash.

Photo of my grandparents.

Photo of a friend.

Field notes and pens.

Vivitar and telephoto lens.

I would want to take more records, but the first one I would grab would be this Envy Corps 7 inch.

Some old letters.

Wallet.

Name: Brenda Bell

Age: 60

Location: Pinetop, Arizona White Mountains (wild fire country May/June)

Occupation: Homemaker

List:

My dog, Baby Val and treats for him

My husband Larry and treats for him

Peanut butter and crackers, peanuts, candy and gum

Bumblebee Transformer

A spork (spoon/fork)

Hand warmers

Wool hat

Lots of money (small dimensions) and change

Emergency first aid kit and zip lock bags

Matches

Name: Kristi Dahlstrom

Age: 27

Location: Germany

Occupation: Literature Teacher

List:

Great Aunt’s Violin (& Bow)

US Passport

Photograph of Siblings

2 Letters

Journal

New American Standard Bible

Rilke’s Book of Hours

T.S. Elliot Collected Poems

MacBook Pro

Black Flipflops

Name: Luca

Age: 42

Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

Occupation: Pricing analyst

List:

My collected writings

My Field Notes still to be used

My current notebook

the Midori Travellers Notebook On Writing by Stephen King

From Hell by Alan Moore

Important photographs

The stove moka I had for the past 10 years (because nothing looks as bad after a proper coffee)

The belt my dad had when he was in the army

The beret I had when I was in the army

Fountain pen and pencil, with my favourite brown ink

My grandad’s petrol lighter

Opinel knife Bookbinding tools

Reading glasses and sunglasses

iPhone 4S (used to take the picture)

Name: Alejandro Sosa

Age: 36

Location: Venezuela

Occupation: Technology consultant

List:

Everything is recoverable, except my daughter

weaving

(not pictured) Lego Camera used to take photo