Passepartout is all about documentaries and visual stuff I find worth seeing.


Left behind: the silence of dogs left in cars

Did you every look in the eyes of a dog and think he looked like a boy in the body of a dog? I did. Many times. And these photos bring back those feelings. (I think it’s called to anthropomorphize, can you pronounce it?). Perhaps because photographer Martin Usborne reenacts his childhood fear of being left behind in the car. Or perhaps because the quietness and loneliness of these dogs, waiting for their master, is simply beautiful and expressive. Animals in general, and dogs in particular censor nothing of their feelings, and Usborne projects human worries, sadness and restlessness in their bitter-sweet portrayals.

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Pink is for girls, blue is for boys: a photo series about the colour/gender divide

In The Pink Blue Project, Korean photographer JeongMee Yoon takes a close look at how artificial the gender/color division is. How plastic it looks. And how false. After she noticed her young daughter choosing pink constantly, she starting to question the reasons behind that choice, so she photographed children among their pink and blue possessions. The result speaks for itself.

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Irreversible goodbyes: photos of people wearing the t-shirts of lost lovers

Some years ago, I was in the train traveling from Amsterdam to The Hague, and the train stopped in Leiden. I was sitting in the last wagon and I remember looking outside the window and seeing at the end of the platform, a young man, crying. I can still see that image, what he looked like, the way he was sitting, inconsolable.  I remember because I could almost feel what would be like to hold him and feel his warm strained body. And I had the same sensation when I first saw Carla Richmond and Hanne Steen‘s project Lovers’ T-shirts.

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Watermark (2013, directed by Jeniffer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky)

Edward Burtynsky’s work is unique. I really believe that without his Manufactured Landscapes, you simply cannot have a dimension of the scale, extent and impact of industrialization. His Watermark project – of which I wrote before for Feature Shoot – ‘portrays’ water – an element scarce in some places and taken for granted in others – in such a meaningful way. In general, Burtynsky’s images are beautiful, but that’s not all they are. His images also give a visual dimension to macro-issues that otherwise would remain distant and abstract.

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The kitsch update: Zarathustra – the obese cat – improving some famous paintings

I really really think kitsch is underestimated. And Svetlana Petrova’s huge red cat stays proof of that! There’s something so hilariously-disturbing in seeing these collages, that they really blow my mind. And someone who comes up with the idea of adding an obese cat called Zarathustra to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, well, that’s someone I’d like to meet.

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Childhood days: a documentation somewhere in France

Many kids, the delights of growing up with cats and a lot freedom. And a bit of chaos.  A documentation of life somewhere in France. Sounds a bit idyllic? Well, it really is. Alain Laboile is taking these photos of his 6 children, and seeing them made me miss childhood friends, idle days and a certain simplicity.

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Sum it in a shape: when big concepts and graphic design meet

Big concepts don’t necessary need many words. Even though they represent abstract and often complex ideas they can be skilfully summed up in a shape. This is what  Genis Carreras did. He is a designer based in London and he created these intuitive shapes for some of the most important concepts we know. He called them philographics. And most of them seem to sum things up just right.

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The perfect travel partner: Craig Armstrong and his Millie

Traditionally, non-human adventure partners are not cats. Robyn Davidson, the woman who crossed Australia by foot, was accompanied by a dog and four camels (see Tracks, a new film made after the book she wrote). And Rory Steward, who traveled across Afghanistan and wrote The Places in Between afterwards, did a long part of the trip together with  Babur, an afghan dog with no teeth, which he ‘recruited’ for his trip in a village. But these are different stories.

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Sugar and spice: the enchanted art of Leszek Kostuj

I discovered these surrealist paintings this morning. I woke up to one of those greyish Dutch days, when the pavement and the sky seem to blend. The contrast with this enchanted world felt quite amazing. Looking outside and then looking at this bunch of surprising and unusual characters, I wished I could spend the day in one of these paintings. Not sure which one in particular, since each one tells a different story.

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Messy, wet and funny: unusual images of dogs shaking their heads

This photo series is called SHAKE. It’s summer, so please. There are no metaphors in it, no ‘meditation upon’ this and that subject. Just dogs shaking their head, but what a cool idea! These photos reminded me of Seth Casteel’s amazing photos of underwater dogs.

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Inappropiate: amazing photos of endless winter seen in august

I know, this is totally out of place. Unless you’re living in Australia, you now look outside your window and it’s still summer. But I cannot help posting these amazing photos of winter and snow. Their feeling of immensity and quietness makes me homesick and makes me long for those winter days when I’m back to my parents’ place and I look outside the window in the morning and it’s cold, white and quiet. You must understand.

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Bear Linden Leg: a soviet animation as old as I am

This 1984 animation was made after a Russian folk tale. I really love the drawings and the voices the animals have, a bit too dramatic and theatrical, and too human to belong to animals. These deep grave voices and a certain bitter-sweetness are a characteristic of most old-school Soviet animations. These animations are largely unexplored in film theory and history, especially outside Russia. And many of them are great and tell stories about friendship and values. Take a look at Hedgehog in the Fog as well, it is probably one of the best Soviet animations ever.

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A Cat a Day Keeps the Doctor Away: International Cat Day

There is an international day for everything. For too many things. But cats certainly deserve one and I recently discovered this celebratory selection. These black and white photos are all about the details and charms of homey felines. In case you didn’t grow up with one, it’s not too late to discover the magic of purring.

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Big love story: 1200 pigs and their papa

A man and his 1200 pigs (!!!). And a lot of love and playfulness. That’s all you need to know and that’s what you will see in this photo series.  Another simple and touching story from Japan, humans and animals together – reminding of Misao and Fukumaru the Cat.

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Andy Prokh4

The two of us: the delights of growing up with a cat as a friend

Russian photographer Andy Prokh takes photos of his son and their Russian Blue. This touching half-kitsch photo series depicts the best kind of friendship I know.

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Mistaken for Strangers (2014, directed by Tom Berninger)

I love The National so when I discovered this documentary, I thought it would get me some charming insight into this band, its members’ lives, the lyrics and the magic. And I did get some insight. But a very different one from what I imagined.

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If you’re not home, they are: photos of animals living in abandoned houses

It’s almost worth leaving your home to see what happens. This photo project made my day today. The thought of these curious faces appearing from around the corner might be frightening for some. But to me it seems delicious!

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