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

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Picture This: a Photoseries of Metal Fans and Their Cats

I started learning English when I really really wanted to understand Metallica’s lyrics. There was a long time in my life of metal music and dark outfits. And there was also a long friendship I had with a cat named Getzoo. I found her in the forest and man, was she a character… So Alexandra Crockett’s photo series (she was also a metal fan some time ago) really speaks to me.

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The Way of the Reindeer: photos of the Mongolian Dukha people

It looks romantic but it’s actually a really tough harsh life. So tough and so harsh that it’s actually disappearing. The Dukha people live in the North of Mongolia and they domesticated reindeer but the current population is now estimated between 200 and 400 people. Many moved to the cities and the herds diminished. The remaining people make most of their money from tourists buying their crafts and riding the reindeer. Hamid Sardar-Afkhami documented the life of this shrinking community in these beautiful and poetic images.

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Chewed: photos of dogs’ second best friends

And when I thought a photo series cannot get more bitter-sweet than Mark Nixon’s Much Loved, I discovered Ron Warren & Arne Svenson’s Chewed. No big philosophy, just a series of dogs’ second best friends: chewed stuffed toys.

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The kitsch update: Elena Eremina’s still life with hamsters

It’s official: all the good kitsch comes from Russia. Or at least a good part of it. I hope you’ve seen Svetlana Petrova’s cat, Zarathustra, making classical paintings ‘better’. Or Svetlana Novikova’s crazy coloured animal paintings. Well, Elena Eremina photographs her hamsters, in the kitchen, after her husband and child go to sleep. The result is this photo series with a Flemish still life painting air in contrast with these too-cute-to-sweet sentimental scenes. I find this contrast surprising, terrible and lovely at the same time.

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What’s it made of: close-ups on animals’ skin that make you want to touch (or not)

Yusuke Sakai got a simple idea, and as usual, the simple ideas are the most touching. For Skins, he photographed just that, the ‘skins’ of different animals, so close you can see the texture, can imagine what it might feel like to touch. It is a somehow peculiar experience to look at these photos, because they make these animals come closer and at the same time become somehow alien. Some I’d like to touch, some I rather not and either way I can already feel on my fingertips the sensation I could have.

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Pay attention: portrays of an orangutan and all that magic point to an environmental issue in Indonesia

Look what I found! This chimp – Man of the Forest, photographed by Ernest Goh touched me and made me wonder. Yes, I know, you’ll say Bianca, this is precisely what you talked about in your previous post. It’s called anthropomorphism and this is what you’re doing right now. And how could I deny that? And eventually…why not? As long as we see, and feel and keep in mind that it’s more than ‘just a monkey‘. He is much more. And he’s in danger.

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Do they resemble us or we resemble them? A photo series inviting us to question our relationship with animals

Wikipedia says that anthropomorphism is the attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being. And I think that’s one of the most imaginative and empathetic things we do: we see faces and gestures and symbols in things, and most of all, in animals. We want to recognize ourselves in the world outside and we project what we know and how we are in places where they don’t exist. But doing that makes our lives more playful. And it helps us relate better to animals for example. And this is precisely what London-based photographer Tim Flach is counting on. His More Than Human photo series is an eye-candy with a twist.

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Oversized: surreal photos of animals in the middle of the city reminding they used to be welcome there too

Liu Di is a Chinese photographer and his Animal Regulation series is about breaking mental patterns of what our cities look or should look like, and have a thought of two about animals and how urban growth impacts them, or to be more accurate, excludes them from our life. Now that’s a good subject for reflection, and I know a thing or two about this. I could tell you about the fox I met in my street because we’re basically expanding our neighborhood on her land and she kinda lost her way. I could tell you about the hedgehog shelter I volunteered at, where wounded hedgehogs come to get better after being hit by something while trying to cross the street, because they do remember their home used to be on the other side. Or I could say nothing, nothing at all, just wish everyone not to see concrete and flats out of their windows, but green and animals, or even a giant bunny or an elephant (my guess is that the huge frog won’t be most people’s first choice).

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Not your usual family picture: portraits of farm animals

Glossy magazine-like, Rob MacInnis‘ photos of farm animals point at two issues: the way we consume images, and the way we consume these cool fury guys. I find the images bitter-sweet. I’m not so touched by the consuming images issues, but certainly touched by the thought of the ‘real life and destination’ these animals have.

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The pack: photos of working dogs in New Zeeland

This might be the shortest post I have ever written. This week I didn’t manage to put anything new on Passepartout. There’s IDFA (and I will write about it later in the week) and there’s me being busy with all sorts of other stuff. And it seems like even Andrew Fladeboe‘s working dogs seem to get more time for themselves. There’s work and then there’s play, and these loyal shepherds are good at both.

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Human/Animals: a portrayal of the many nuances our relationship with animals has

Corey Arnold is a photographer and a professional fisherman. I don’t know how being a photographer influences the fishing, but how his fisherman life impacted his photography, well, that’s very clear. In his photo series Human Animals he portrays the complex relationship we have with animals and points at things we often ignore, don’t think of, consider normal. The photos are great especially because there’s something raw and honest in many of them, something uncomfortable and yet true. The big picture is actually made by the puzzle of all these human-animal relation instances he photographed. And there’s a bit of all of us in this big picture.

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No place to call home: the sadness of animals in the zoo

I’m one of those people who jumps over the ‘not allowed’ fences in the zoo, pets the zebras and sometimes feeds biscuits to the bears. And now I’m one of the people who’s heart is broken, and who is not sure whether she should jump more fences or less or push them all down. Toni Amengual‘s photo series called Necrofilia I portrays the sadness of animals who got this awkward job that they never asked for, that is to be in a confined space for entertainment and observational purposes. But living in captivity impacts their psychological well-being. And facing this reality is not entertaining at all.

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The stuffed employees: photos behind the scenes of the natural history museum in Vienna

Klaus Pichler is by far one of my favorite photographers. I love the unusual subjects he finds and the way he makes those subjects seem even more curious and interesting than they are in the first place. I previously wrote about him and his Just the Two of Us series of portraits of cosplayers and their homes (cosplayers are those people who dress up like all sorts of characters). And now here is Skeletons in the Closet, a look behind Vienna’s Museum of Natural History, in those rooms where stuffed animals pile up (and come alive at night?).

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150 meters above the ground: beautiful wildlife in Botswana

I can bet that if I give you a map of Africa right now, you won’t be able to show me where Botswana is. I can also bet that after seeing these eye-candy photos you’ll want to fill this gap in your knowledge. Marcel Proust’s famous quote – the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes – may apply. American photographer Zack Seckler got new eyes from 150 meters above the ground and discovered just this: a mix of patterns and out of this world beauty.

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The night bunch: Traer Scott’s photos of nocturnal animals (I want to touch)

Remember my post about animals that are at home when you’re not? Well, this is a different one. At night, when you’re sleeping, these ones are not. That’s all you need to know. And then look at this eye-candy photos made by Traer Scott and gathered all together in a book called Nocturnal.

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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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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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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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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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