Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Das Park Hotel Built from Giant Sewage Pipes

If your idea of a holiday is to live inside a sewage pipe, then congratulations - you qualify for a night’s stay at the Das Park Hotel in Austria. Three huge concrete drain pipes located in a public park in the Austrian city of Ottensheim is all that make up the Das Park Hotel. The rooms are about two meters across and furnished with a double bed, storage, light, power outlet, and blankets. Other than a circular skylight near the top and a couple of air holes, there are no windows.

The hotel was built by designer Andreas Strauss in 2004. It was originally opened at Linz and later moved to the nearby Ottensheim. A coat of varnish and wall paintings by the Austrian artist Thomas Latzel Ochoa is all that was needed to repurpose these pipes into living quarters.

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Guests who wish to spend a night or two are required to book their rooms at the hotel’s website. Upon acceptance of the booking, guests receive a code to unlock the door to their pipe. The thick cement keeps the interior comfortable and eliminates noise from outside, creating a secure-feeling environment. The concrete walls are cool on hot days and comfortably warn in winter.

All hostelry devices such as toilets, showers, minibar, cafe, are supplied by the surrounding public space. A swimming pool is nearby. The best aspect of this hotel is that it operates on the "pay as you wish" system.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Street Scene Paintings by Max Ginsburg

Max Ginsburg, born in 1931 in Paris, is a social realist painter who draws his inspiration from the energy of New York City and its people. Ginsburg’s fine art reflected and represented his immediate environment: cart vendors, subway riders, street basketball and generally the people of New York, depicting them with unflinching clarity and dignity.

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When Max Ginsburg entered the art world in the 1960′s, the modernist establishment was actively devaluing the place of representational art. By 1980 the art world still continued to embrace modernisms such as, conceptual art. As a result, Ginsburg turned towards commercial illustration to earn a better living. He soon found the same empathy that so frankly depicted his fine art's populist realities could also very deftly fashion populist fantasies, his canvases of subway commuters gave way to images of headstrong women peering out onto wind swept prairies.

Amy Bennett’s Diorama-like Paintings

Brooklyn based artist Amy Bennett uses an interesting technique for her paintings. First she builds miniature sets and then uses them as reference for her remarkable paintings, producing an equivalent to tilt-shift photographs. Amy Bennett likes to tell stories through her models and paintings.

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Levitating Self-Portraits by Natsumi Hayashi

Teenage photography sensation Natsumi Hayashi takes pictures of herself seemingly floating in midair. Equipped with only a tripod or with help from a friend, these self portraits are taken with a 10-sec timer from a distance in various locations around Tokyo. All poses are captured in mid-jump with no aid of a rigging system or Photoshop. What makes her photographs amazing is her ability to remain impossibly relaxed and composed even in mid jump, rendering images that seems to break the laws of gravity. Sometimes it takes her over 300 shots to obtain the perfect “frozen in time” look.

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Dissembled Flowers

Inspired by Todd McLellan's Disassembled Objects, Singapore-based photographer Qi Wei created this beautiful series of images called “exploded flowers", by carefully disassembling different flowers and then photographing in a way that honors their radial symmetry.

From the artist’s website:

The act of disassembly (I hesitate to use the term dissection because this series is not meant to be a scientific treatise) lays bare the various shapes and textures of the flowers, and what is interesting to me is how much more expanded some flowers can get when they are disassembled – the relative surface area to size of a rose is so much greater compared to a larger flower like the sunflower.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Genetic Portraits: Comparing Faces of Family Members

“Genetic Portraits” is an ongoing photo series by Canadian photographer Ulric Collette where he explores the facial similarities between family members by combining the portraits of two members of the same family into one. Ulric concentrates on father/son, mother/daughter and sibling/sibling comparisons creating new faces that look quite normal, but bizarre at times.

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Capsule Hotels in Japan

Capsule hotels are a unique form of accommodations developed for working Japanese men who are too busy to go home. The hotels comprise of individual blocks of small, coffin sized living quarters with just enough room to sleep. Some capsules include a TV, a wireless internet connection, mirrors and alarm clocks. The capsules are stacked side by side in rows normally with one unit on top of the other, with steps providing access to the second level rooms. The capsules are sealed with a door or a curtain and bathroom facilities are normally shared. A locker key is usually provided to each guest to keep baggage in a locker outside the capsules.

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The capsules cost 2500 to 4000 Yen per night (about $30 – $50). Since this is cheaper than proper hotel rooms, they are often used by businessmen who worked too late to catch the train or stayed out drinking all night. Capsule hotels are also popular among budget travelers. With continued recession in Japan, as of early 2010, more and more capsule hotel guests were either unemployed or underemployed and were renting capsules by the month.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Deserted Gas Stations

Have you ever stopped at a gas stations to appreciate its beauty? Matt Barnes did. In his series titled ‘Cold Stations’, the London-based photographer captured gas stations in cold winter nights when they are at their most deserted.

Matt Barnes’ photographic subjects are primarily non-human. He aims to invokes William Everdell’s idea that ‘we call “modern” everything that happened to any other culture after it had built its first railroad.’ Barnes applies minimal post production to his photographs, when he applies any at all. His influences are mainly street photography, the New Topographics and Graffiti.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Beautiful Paintings of Summer by Kasia Domanska

Polish artist Kasia Domanska’s paintings of sunny beaches, bright blue sky, beach umbrellas, gentle waves, beautiful women in warm-hued bikinis and children playing in the sand presents a beautiful picture of carefree, lazy and endless summer.

Checkout some of her incredible works.

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Photographing Large Objects as Miniatures Using a Giant Coin

To achieve a miniature, tilt-shift effect on subjects, one typically relies on specialized lenses or post processing in Adobe Photoshop. A Norwegian design studio called Skrekkogle has done the opposite with its Big Money Project. Instead of "shrinking" a subject with special effects, they have created a giant 20:1 replica of a 50 cent Euro coin. They then placed the coin next to large objects and photographed them together, making the objects look like tiny toy replicas.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Photorealistic Paintings by Steve Mills

Boston artist Steve Mills has been drawing and painting since he was a child. He sold his first drawing at the age of 11 and has been selling ever since. He helped pay for his college degree by drawing yachts as a summer job on the docks of Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard. Still, he chose meteorology as his major in college but realized quickly that it was not for him. After working in a factory for a year, he returned to Bridgewater State College as an art major, and graduated magna cum laude in 1982.

Mr. Mills found he had an extraordinary knack for capturing details in his paintings. "I fell in love with it," he says.

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A year out of college, his first solo show in 1983 was a smashing success, selling 33 of 35 originals at the Granary Gallery on Martha’s Vineyard. In 1989 he began his affiliation with Gallery Hencoh in New York City. Between the 2 galleries, Mills has sold almost every piece he has painted. Producing and selling over 500 paintings in his first 20 years has had collectors literally waiting in line outside the gallery before an opening. However, with the time it takes to paint in the photorealistic technique — some paintings taking more than 500 hours — it has proven impossible to do more than one gallery opening a year.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

26th Amphibious Car Meet in Switzerland

This week, owners of more than 50 amphibious vehicles brought their World War 2-era military transporters, jeeps and vintage-style cars to Switzerland‚ St Blaise for their annual European gathering. Fitted with colourful sun umbrellas and decorated with flags, what looked like a motley crew of vehicles carrying families including babies and dogs drove off the port and glided smoothly into the water, before moving across Lake Neuchatel.

For those who are not aware, an amphibious vehicle is one that can be driven on both as well as in water, just like an amphibian.

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Briton Paul Foley was driving an Amphicar, a 1960s German-built cabriolet which was also the only civilian amphibious vehicle to be mass produced, although only 3878 were made. Patrick Amerijckx drove his favorite vehicle the military Dukw truck – 21,147 of which were produced for the US army during the Second World War - and of which an astonishing number are still in use.

Since 1987, the group has met in various locations in Sweden, Italy, Germany and Switzerland and, in 2012, they will head to Norway. This year it is Switzerland's Lifeguards Club of the Low-Lake which is hosting the group as part of St Blaise village's 1000th anniversary celebrations.

Friday, August 19, 2011

New York City Day to Night in One Picture

In his series “Day to Night” photographer Stephen Wilkes spent a minimum of ten hours taking hundreds of shots from the same perspective. Wilkes then wove and blended thirty to fifty parts from various shots to capture a fluid visual narrative of day turning into night within a single frame. His series will be on display at Chelsea’s Clamp Art Gallery in New York from September 8 through October 29.

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Russia to Open Space Hotel by 2016

A Russian company by the name of Orbital Technologies plans to build the world's first space hotel as a commercial alternative to the International Space Station. The hotel which is officially called Commercial Space Station will orbit at a height of some 350 kilometers above the earth and will have room for seven guest in four cabins with the most incredible views you're likely to get out of a window.

Passengers will be taken aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket. While floating above the earth, guests will be able to watch TV and surf the internet. In the gravity free space cabins guests will have the option to sleep either vertically or horizontally. Washing will be done with wet-wipes, and toilets will use flowing air to move waste through the system and waste water will be recycled and filtered along with the air. Food prepared on earth will be freeze dried before being carried to the hotel. Also alcohol will be strictly prohibited.

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A five-day package, not including the two day trip in both directions aboard a Soyuz rocket, will cost close to a million dollars. Orbital Technologies says that the design and development of the space station is underway, and it is expected to launch in 2016.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anti-Gravity Yoga

Antigravity Yoga is the latest fad incarnation of yoga for New York's fashion-conscious. A contraption consisting of a hammock suspended from the ceiling allows people to stretch in entirely new directions, including upside-down.

AntiGravity Yoga is a fitness regimen designed by Christopher Harrison to increase one's overall health and physical agility while having fun and creating beauty. The technique was originally created for athletes and gymnasts and has since been modified and perfected for the everyday athlete incorporating components from dance, Pilates and calisthenics.

Also see The Bear Who Practices Yoga, Yoga Dogs by Dan Borris

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Salar de Uyuni in Boliva: World’s Largest Salt Flat

Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa), located in southwest Bolivia, near the crest of the Andes, is one of the most visually captivating place in South America. Photographers flock here everyday to capture the stunning landscape created by amazing geological formations, geothermal springs and brine lakes. Covering an area of 10,582 square kilometers, it is the world's largest salt flat. Salar de Uyuni is estimated to have a reserve of 10 billion tons of salt.

Some 30 to 40 thousand years ago, this area was part of a giant prehistoric lake called Lake Minchin. The lake underwent a series of transformation between several vast lakes, and when it dried, it left behind two modern lakes, Poopó Lake and Uru Uru Lake, and two major salt deserts, Salar de Coipasa and the larger Salar de Uyuni.

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In the dry season, the salt planes are completely flat expanses of dry salt, but during the wet season, the neighboring Lake Poopó overflows and floods Salar De Coipasa and Salar de Uyuni covering both deserts with a thin sheet of water that looks magnificent under the vast open sky.

Underneath the surface of the Salar is a lake of brine 2 to 20 meters deep. The lake is covered with a solid salt crust with a thickness varying between tens of centimeters to a few meters. The center of the Salar contains a few "islands", which are the remains of the tops of ancient volcanoes which were submerged during the era of lake Minchin. They include unusual and fragile coral-like structures and deposits that often consist of fossils and algae.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Models of Broken Houses by Ofra Lapid

Inspired by photos of decaying houses which Israeli artist Ofra Lapid found on the Internet, Lapid created a series of incredible detailed small scale models of these abandoned homes.

I’m not entirely sure, but it seems like Lapid printed the pictures on paper/cardboard before shaping them into houses.

The series Broken houses is based on photographs of abandoned structures neglected by man and destroyed by the weather. The photos are found in the web while pursuing an amateur photographer from North Dakota who obsessively documents the decaying process of these houses. His photographs are used to create small scale models. Afterward, in the studio, the models are photographed again, omitted from their background and placed in gray.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Imprint Left Behind by Birds Crashing Into Glass Windows

When an owl crashed into the window of a Kendal home owner in the district of Cumbria, England, and left behind an almost perfect impression of himself on the glass, BBC asked its readers to send in their own photos. Below is an amusing collection of bird imprints.

But first, the original imprint of the poor owl. Experts said the silhouette was left by the bird's "powder down" - a substance protecting growing feathers.

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Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival 2011

Scarecrows of all shapes and sizes, including some rather familiar faces, come to life at the annual two-week Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival in this north Yorkshire village. During this event villagers comes with the most outlandish scarecrow designs ever. Visitors to the festival can spend the day wandering around the village enjoying the scarecrows and they can also take part in a treasure hunt. Scarecrows first came to Kettlewell in 1994 when a fund raising event was organized for the local school which serves much of Upper Whrfedale with its villages, isolated hamlets and remote farms. The enthusiastic response of parents and residents led to over 100 scarecrows appearing in gardens, open spaces, hidden corners and even on rooftops. The event was successfully repeated and, growing year by year,now attracts thousands of visitors over a nine day period in August.

See pictures from last year’s Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival.

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Long Exposure Photos of Night-time Air Attacks

The ever increasing power and precision of modern artillery in recent years have attracted a great deal of attention to night attacks. It’s obvious that the advances in science and weapons technology makes it desirable to deliver attacks under the cover of darkness.

Modern war is mostly air raids, missile attacks and bombings that can be carried out even at night. Using sophisticated and cutting-edge, missile guidance systems and other state-of-the-art technology one can strike the enemy at precise targets causing maximum damage while incurring minimum loss to self. Night attacks also have an adverse psychological effect on the enemy.

Although there can be no justification for war, the following image gallery captures the fascinating beauty (if I may be allowed to use the word in this context) of war.

Also see a somewhat similar Long Exposure Shots of Airline Takeoffs and Landings

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Heart Attack Grill: Taste Worth Dying For?

The Heart Attack Grill is an outrageously unhealthy, hospital-themed, American fast food hamburger restaurant in Dallas, Texas, that serves high-calorie items with deliberately provocative names. This over-the-top eating establishment, whose tag line is “Taste worth Dying For,” has become internationally recognized for embracing and promoting an unhealthy diet of incredibly large hamburgers and greasy fries.

The menu includes "Single", "Double", "Triple", and "Quadruple Bypass" hamburgers, ranging from 230 to 910 g of beef, "Flatliner Fries" cooked in pure unadulterated lard, and “ButterFat Shake” with the world’s highest butter fat content, so their website says. The "Quadruple Bypass Burger", the biggest item on the menu, is made of four meat patties totaling 2 pounds, practically a whole tomato and about half an onion, 8 slices of cheese and 16 slices of bacon for a total of 8,000 calories.

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Jon Basso poses with waitress Mary Brasda, dressed as a nurse, inside his fast food restaurant, "The Heart Attack Grill"

Customers are referred to as “patients,” their orders are called “prescriptions,” and the scantily clad, cleavage-baring waitresses act as “nurses”. A tag is wrapped on the patient's wrist showing which foods they order and a "doctor" examines the "patients" with a stethoscope. Customers who weigh over 350 lb (160 kg) are served free food. Anyone who finish a Triple or Quadruple Bypass Burger are rewarded by wheeling them out of the restaurant in a wheelchair by their "personal nurse”. This is a restaurant that clearly intends to kill you, and they are very forthcoming about it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

‘Astronaut Suicides’ by Neil DaCosta

Astronaut Suicides is a humorous photo series by Neil Dacosta where he staged actors, donning spacesuits, attempting suicides following the end of the U.S. space program.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Monastery of Ten Thousand Buddhas

High above a lush hillside in the New Territories town of Sha Tin, Hong Kong is the Monastery of Ten Thousand Buddhas. It is not an actual monastery as there are no resident monks - instead, it is crowed with more than 13,000 statues of Buddhas of all shapes and sizes. To reach the monastery one must first climb over 400 steps up the hillside, the path lined with life-size statues of Buddhas.

“The entire path upwards was lined with Buddha statues, statues different from any Buddha I'd seen at a previous temple,” writes blogger Andy Carvin. “In fact, each statue was probably unique. There were thin Buddhas, chubby Buddhas, bald Buddhas, hairy Buddhas, Buddhas with walking sticks, Buddhas with dogs and dragons and frogs, macho Buddhas, androgynous Buddhas.”

Once inside the monastery, you are accosted by more statues – Buddhas in the garden, Buddhas in the pavilion, Buddhas in the tower. The walls inside the temple is lined with thousands upon thousands of miniature Buddhas.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Glass Beach at Fort Bragg in California

Glass Beach is an unusual beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California that is abundant in sea glass created from years of dumping garbage by the residents near the coastline. Glass Beach is a unique beach, not because it was made by man, but because of the way nature has reclaimed a garbage dump, and how time and the pounding surf have corrected one of man's mistakes.

Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump. Fort Bragg residents threw whatever household garbage they had over the cliffs above and into what is now Glass Beach. They discarded lot of glass, appliances, and even cars. By the early sixties, some attempts were made to control what was dumped, and dumping of any toxic items was banned. Finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and closed the area.

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Now, over 30 years later, nature has reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding waves have cleansed the beach, wearing down the discarded glass into the small, smooth, colored trinkets that cover the beach today. You'll still see the occasional reminder of it earlier life, such as a rusted spark plug, but for the most part what you'll see is millions of pieces of glass sparkling in the sun.

In 2002, the California State Park system purchased the 38-acre Glass Beach property, and after cleanup it was incorporated into MacKerricher State Park. The area is now frequently visited by tourists. Though not officially permitted, many still scour the beach for interesting curios and glass to take home as souvenirs.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Spectacular Photos of The Himalaya by Anton Jankovoy

The Himalaya (which literally means "abode of snow") or the Himalayan mountain range in Asia, is home to the world's highest peaks including Mount Everest and K2. To comprehend the enormous scale of this mountain range, consider that Aconcagua, in the Andes, at 6,962 metres is the highest peak outside Asia, whereas the Himalayan system includes over 100 mountains exceeding 7,200 m.

The main Himalayan range runs west to east, from the Indus river valley to the Brahmaputra river valley, forming an arc 2,400 km long, which varies in width from 400 km in the western Kashmir-Xinjiang region to 150 km in the eastern Tibet-Arunachal Pradesh region.

Some of the world's major river systems arise in the Himalayas, and their combined drainage basin is home to some 3 billion people (almost half of Earth's population) in 18 countries. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia; many Himalayan peaks are sacred in Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

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Eye-Popping Sculpture-Paintings by Shintaro Ohata

Japanese artist Shintaro Ohata has a unique characteristic style – he places sculptures in front of paintings and shows them as one work, a combination of 2-D and 3-D – the two perfectly blending into each other. In a recently concluded exhibition entitled ‘Everyday life’ in Tokyo, Ohata said, “Every ordinary scenery in our daily lives, such as the rising sun, the beauty of a sunset or a glittering road paved with asphalt on a rainy night, becomes something irreplaceable if we think we wouldn’t be able to see them anymore. I am creating works to capture lights in our everyday life and record them in the painting.”

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Melting Wax Sculptures by Urs Fischer

At this year’s Venice Art Biennale, Swiss contemporary artist Urs Fischer had visitors in rapt attention at a full-size, extremely convincing wax replica of Giambologna's 16th-century sculpture The Rape of the Sabine Women. It is actually a giant candle, and burning. Melting wax is running in rivulets from the glowing hair of a Sabine. Gradually this beautiful statue will self destruct into a waxy lump during the months-long show. Facing it is a life-size realistic figure of a man who is also a candle, melting down by the minute. Also seen is a realistic looking wax chair.

The 54th Venice Art Biennale will be accessible  to the public until November 27th, 2011.

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Creative Double Exposure Photos by Dan Mountford

Dan Mountford did an amazing job with these double exposure photographs. I love the way how both photos blend into each other almost seamlessly. These photographs were achieved right in camera – no Photoshop layers were used, except for color manipulation.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Underwater Photo Exhibition at Artificial Reef in Florida Keys

Austrian artist Andreas Franke, an avid diver and professional photographer, has put up a photo exhibition at a depth of 93 feet on the Vandenberg shipwreck off Key West. 

Franke explored the Vandenberg – a 523-foot former military ship – last year, and took several photos of the wreck. When he returned to Austria and examined his photos, Franke wanted to add life to what he saw as a dead ship, which was sunk as an artificial reef.

"Even though there is so much life, marine life, all over and around it, the shipwreck itself, to me, is a dead thing," Franke said. "But I thought that if I put people on it, then there would again be life on that ship."

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So, he digitally added people to his photographs of the wrecked ship – a little girl on the weather deck, holding a butterfly net, as if trying to capture some of the fish swimming around, a couple waltzing inside the ship, and a bartender is pouring a drink for a passenger. Twelve oversized artistic images encased in 3 millimeter plexiglass and mounted in stainless steel frames sealed with silicone were then attached to the starboard side with strong magnets.

Bubble Baba Challenge 2011: Rafting on Sex Dolls

More than 800 people rode inflatable sex dolls down Vuoksa river rapids, 90 km from St Petersburg, at the ninth annual Bubble Baba Challenge 2011 - a bizarre but popular Russian race event. Anyone over 16, and of either sex, is allowed to take part in the competition. All they are required to do is swim in the complicated rapids of the Vuoksa river near St. Petersburg, on a plastic inflatable sex doll in a race that last little more than three minutes.

The word "baba" is Russian for "peasant woman," but is also a crude term with sexual connotations.

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The unusual sporting event was dreamed up by mastermind and organizer Dmitry Bulawinov. He said the idea of floating down the river in the embraces of a rubber woman was conceived as a joke at a party where the men got drunk and the women didn't show up. While considering the possible uses for a rubber woman on a camping trip, someone suggested that a sex doll would make a handy flotation device. Thus the 'Bubble Baba Challenge' was born.

The event was first held in 2003, and has been taking place every year without fail.

(Warning: images in this gallery may not be safe for viewing at work. Viewers discretion is advised.)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Intricate Paper Architectures by Christina Lihan

US-based artist Christina Lihan combines her skills as a trained architect with her sheer talent of paper modeling to build intricately detailed paper relief sculptures of some of the most famous buildings around the world. Mounted in shadowboxes and ranging from two to six inches deep, her subjects ranges from the Eiffel tower and Taj Mahal to private residences and American cities.

Lihan begins her work by photographing and sketching the site, generally creating scaled charcoal drawings that she then enlarges to the planned size of the finished piece. She lays out the buildings directly over these sketched forms, and cutting out details in place and ultimately assembling all the components into the finished composition. All carving, scoring, cutting, and folding is completed by hand.

Despite her architect background, Lihan admits that she doesn’t construct any pieces with a measured perspective, relying simply on her aesthetic senses.

Hyper-realistic Fashion Paintings by Marilyn Minter

Marilyn Minter is an American born photographer and painter currently based out of New York. Over the years, Minter has received varying reactions and responses to her works as she combines high-fashion and glamor with pornographic undertones. When she exhibited Porn Grids, a series of paintings based on hard-core pornographic imagery, she was more or less shunned from the art world. It was during the end of the '80s, when few female artists had explored such a taboo subject. Despite the criticism, she continued to build her own narrative, upping the ante with projects like Food Porn, in which she depicted fruits and vegetables in suggestive states. Eventually she created the sensual style of hyper-realistic photographs and paintings she is known for today.

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Minter begins her process by staging photoshoots of her subjects using traditional film over digital. She then turns them into paintings created through the layering of enamel paint on aluminum. The last layer is applied with fingertips to create a modeling or softening of the paintbrush lines

Marilyn Minter on Artnet.

Spectacular Opera on Lake Stage at Bregenz

Since 1946, the Bregenz Festival ‘Opera on the Lake’ in Austria has been home to some of the most incredible outdoor stages ever built. Lake Constance is often used during the festival as an extension of the stage, which this year was transformed into a 24 metre-high figure of Jean-Paul Marat, inspired by the depiction of his death in the 1793 painting by Jacques-Louis David. The stage design also includes an open book which served as the doorway from which members of the cast emerged, and a large gold mirror.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Horse Who Refuses To Have His Moustache Trimmed

First, I never knew horses could have moustaches. I don’t know what gave me that impression, maybe because I have never seen one grow, but then, I haven’t seen that many horses either. But even if you have spent your childhood in some old country farmhouse and grew up together with the horses, I’m pretty sure, you haven't seen a moustache as dandy as that on Alfie. At an impressive seven inches long when unfurled it is, his owners believe, the longest in Britain.

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While most horses have their moustaches snipped every six months, his has been growing for five years and he is said to growl if stable hands try to give it a trim. Alfie, who is kept at stables in Bitton, near Bristol, is a very headstrong horse and is very proud of his moustache.

‘It was bizarre when I first saw it and my first inkling was we need to shave it off. But he does not let you anywhere near it. You have to be very brave to try and tackle his curls’, says stable manager Hayley Coxteth, 20.

Horses have whiskers around the muzzle to help them judge the distance of food and other objects, but moustaches are usually seen only in Friesian breeds.

Dave Prince, from the British Horse Society, said: 'Whilst some horses do develop moustache-like hair growths, they don't tend to be anywhere near as long or thick as this and are usually higher up the muzzle.

'I can't say whether this is any sort of record but it is certainly the thickest and longest I have ever seen. It would be interesting to see if anybody else has a horse that can rival it.'

Explosive Paintings by Ben Grasso

Brooklyn-based Ben Grasso creates graphic works featuring suspended architectural structures decomposing into wooden planks as if suddenly losing the power to hold itself together.

Grasso’s paintings are feats of engineering. His is an architecture of the apocalypse, but one whose seams thread shapes we can as yet not fully determine. Excitement and surprise are as much part of this wildly imagined landscape as is a more measured, even nightmarish, uncertainty. Here the whacky, the sublime, and the catastrophic converge upon us unremittingly, but not without grace.

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Paintings by Rebecca Campbell

Rebecca Campbell was born and raised in Salt Lake City in 1970, the youngest of seven children in a strict Mormon family. By age twelve, Campbell had begun to develop a critical eye, questioning the parameters of the church and the role it ascribed to her gender. This led to her departure from the church. Campbell did not bow to pressure to conform to the societal norms, but instead spent her teenage years developing her passion to make her art, which included sculpture and installation, as well as painting and drawing. Campbell left Utah to study at Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, Oregon, receiving her B.F.A. in 1994.

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About her work, Rebecca Campbell says:

All of my work comes from a very personal place but I think it’s important to leave room for people to imagine their own stories too. When I paint someone I don’t think of it as a portrait. I think of it as a symbolic painting of “a girl”, or “a woman”. I think this creates openness in the work that allows it to transcend a specific time and place. I’m also interested in showing dreamlike states. For me dream states are symbolic of the inward reflection that makes all creative acts possible.

'Giant Mermaid' Sculpture in Hamburg's Alster Lake

A giant sculpture of a woman bathing in the picturesque Alster Lake in Hamburg, Germany, has caught the attention of both tourist and locals. The 12-foot-tall floating artwork was designed in three pieces by artist Oliver Voss, advertising executive and head of the advertising academy Miami Ad School. The sculpture was sponsored by a cosmetics company named Soap & Glory.

I’m not sure why this sculpture is called ‘mermaid’ as one can distinctly see her legs.

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Photo: Axel Heimken / AP

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Photo-realistic Paintings by Yigal Ozeri

Yigal Ozeri was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, but lives and works in New York. Ozeri is acclaimed for his hyper-realistic large-scale cinematic portraits of young woman together or alone often naked or semi-naked in lush landscapes under expansive skies.

Ozeri first shoots photographs of his models and digitally works on them in his computer using Photoshop. Then he prints the photos and uses them as a guide to paint with oil on large canvas.

You wouldn’t know these are paintings would you?

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Sculpture Exhibition at Salisbury Cathedral

More than 20 figures have been placed around Salisbury Cathedral in Salisbury, England, in an exhibition by figurative sculptor Sean Henry. The exhibition titled 'Conflux: A Union of the Sacred and the Anonymous', features over 20 contemporary sculptures of dramatically different scales occupying vacant plinths and open spaces on both the inside and exterior of the iconic 13th century building. The exhibition, which opened in late July, includes many of the sculptures the artist has created over the past 12 years along with new works which will be shown for the first time at the church. This exhibition brings to the Cathedral the biggest single group of polychrome sculpture since the Reformation and runs until the end of October.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guillermo Srodek-Hart’s ‘Interiors’

Guillermo Srodek-Hart was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1977. In the late 90s he studied lithography but it was in 2001 when he discovered photography while studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. There, he met photographer Jim Dow that became one of the most important influences in his professional career as well as in his personal life.

Guillermo Srodek-Hart is interested in photographing interiors that “reflect the way people display objects destined for consumption in a devotional manner”. For this he sought out the most authentic old stores that he could find around Argentina and photographed the interiors. He describes the scenes that he captures:

"Many times I am asked, "Why aren't there any people in your photographs?" My answer is "Look closely, they are all over the place." My photographs are filled with traces of human presence: objects, furniture, stuff hanging from the walls, accumulations on display. They speak to me of the invisible, that which can't be seen but is there, stories to be imagined, and, ultimately, the acknowledgement of our own transience in this world."

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Closing Ceremony of 14th FINA World Championships

The 14th FINA World Championships or World Aquatics Championships came to a close in Shanghai, China, on July 31, 2011. FINA World Aquatics Championships is an biannual event for aquatic sports such diving, swimming, open water swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo. More than 2200 athletes from a total of 181 nations took part in the 16-day event.

Below are some pictures from the closing ceremony at the Crescent Lagoon Outdoor Diving Pool in Shanghai, China, Sunday, July 31, 2011.

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