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

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This simple feeling of comfort: the art of Frances Baruch

I cannot remember what I was searching for when I came across Frances Baruch‘s work. What I remember is this feeling of comfort I had looking at the pictures of her gentleness-inspiring ceramic work of people and animals. It was that feeling I sometimes have when I discover something that resonates with me and that feels…’true’.

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SPOTLIGHT: Tuffi the Elephant and Her 1950 Train Jump

Hey you all, Passepartout is back. I said it would be June, I kind of meant the beginning of it, but the 26th is still in June so no one can deny that I am true to my word.

Now…have you ever seen this photo?

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Fairytale: a Photo Series Imagined by a Child and Made Real by an Adult

I saw these photos and thought I’d like to live inside them. Then I read all sorts of things about the series. I’m not a big fan of big and twisted metaphors that completely lose touch with reality. But I’m a big fan of these images and the ‘magic is everywhere if you bother to see’ feeling they give me. So from everything I found about the project, I will skip the metaphors and keep with me these magic and atmospheric photos and also their name, Fairytale, which I believe it suits them perfectly.

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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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Nature and freedom: Antoine Bruy’s photos of Europeans living off the grid

I don’t like jokes about husbands and wives, and I don’t like comments about dreadful Monday mornings and happy Friday afternoons. Yet, here I am, pretty sleepy and confused on a Monday morning, sitting in my office, dragging myself through the hours, wanting to be somewhere outside instead of here. And it’s in this kind of moments – sometimes powerful, sometimes just a thought – when opting out sounds free and romantic and natural. Sounds like the way it should be. And I’m not alone in this.

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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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The comfort of taking a break from being you: Tom Broadbent’s portraits of Furries in their homes

What you do when you’re a Furry is that you dress up as a fluffy character and you meet up with other fluffy characters and you chat and have and hang around. You can also do other things, like you dress up as a fluffy character and then go fishing, or cut a leek or iron your stuff. What you don’t do is two things: reveal your identity and talk to journalists. I think there’s something liberating in being a cartoon and I am currently looking for something liberating, so I am considering becoming a Furry journalist, perhaps I’d be the first ever. And perhaps Tom Broadbent will add me to his collection of photos of people who like to dress up like this.

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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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Sheep and the way of nature: a photo series about shepherds in the Caucasus

In a way I can only partially explain, this photo series reminds me of home. I’m not from the Caucasus and I never owned a sheep in my life, but this is more than just facts, it’s more about a feeling. The nature, the snow, the sheep all remind me of home because my home is a little bit like that too, and I have seen the men who live with sheep since I was small. I’ve seen the mud too, and the difficult life. And now I miss seeing it again.

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Hidden Kingdoms (2014, BBC-Earth team)

BBC docs about nature and animals are super beautiful, but not precisely my kind of docs. It’s often difficult for me to begin watching them and if I do begin watching, it is difficult to stay awake to the end. But this one’s different. Hidden Kingdoms is a mini-series nature documentary that makes you see life from different animals’ perspective. And it’s for sure one of those beautiful and sensible films that can make you feel reassured that the world is actually beautiful and not as bad as the news say. Well, at least until the bird catches the mouse and other terrible scenes of behaviors I don’t agree with.

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The magic, the kitsch and the love: Svetlana Novikova’s surprising animal art

What? You don’t like this? No, no, this cannot be. It’s 7 in the morning, autumn is coming, days are shorter… Can you tell me without blinking that you can take a look at this tomcat below and not get a warm and fuzzy feeling? I certainly do get that feeling and with this discovery, my love for kitsch art got an upgrade. These remarkable paintings are made by Russian painter Svetlana Novikova, and on her website she says her goal is to create one of a kind, exclusive original pieces of art that have a personal emotional impact. It seems to me she succeeds pretty well in doing that.

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The silent drive: Volkswagen Beetle joins The Silent evolution

Some time ago, I wrote about the magical underwater world created by Jason deCaires Taylor in Cancun’s National Marine Park, in Mexico. 400 sculptures create an artificial home for fishes and crustaceans and everyone else needing a home after having been displaced by the humans messing up with their natural habitat. The Silent Evolution is an unusual conservation project, and the result does not only benefit nature but also creates a magical underwater world. And now, a real size 8 ton Volkswagen Beetle has been added.

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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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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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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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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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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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There’s so much space: the surreal art of Quint Buccholz

I recently discovered these airy and surreal images made by German painter and illustrator Quint Buccholz. I found them surprising, sometimes funny and sometimes truly touching.

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Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat: the visual documentation of a friendship

Aw! How did I miss this one? I only recently discovered these photos of a grandma Misao and her friendship with this white odd eyed cat. The photos have been taken by Misao’s granddaughter. Miyoko Ihara has been photographing her grandma for 13 years. 8 years ago grandma found this white cat in a shed and named her Fukumaru (fuku means good fortune).

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