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

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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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A new phase for the World Press Photo Awards? – some thoughts about the 2014 winner

There are three issues I am critical about when I look at photojournalism. One is making suffering look aesthetically pleasing and pretty. Even if contextualized well, such photos contribute to a visual imaginary that’s distorted. And I have an ethical problem with that.

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The design of life – 10 cities seen from above

They say that seeing the Earth from outer space puts problems and human life into perspective. It seems to me that seeing cities from above puts human evolution, urban development and culture into perspective. And not only. Besides a certain aesthetic and feel these photos have, they also tell complete stories of the past and the present. And while some city views make you dream, some remind of Burtynsky’s Manufactured Landscapes.

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Capuchin monkeys get old too: Isa Leshko’s portraits of aging animals

Animals are getting old too. This is what it looks like. There’s also certain ‘this is how it feels like’ in these images. There’s a certain tenderness and something tactile, and I wonder whether it is only me feeling like stroking all of these ‘elderly guys’.

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‘Just the Two of Us’ – Klaus Pilcher’s portraits of cosplayers in their homes

I knew about people dressing up as manga characters. I knew about their gatherings. But for some reason, I didn’t know they were called cosplayers. Cosplaying is not only about manga, but in general about dressing up as a character of a movie, book or video game. Becoming someone else for a while is a way of breaking free from a stressful or unsatisfactory life. And some of the cosplayers spend months making their costumes.

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Seat Assignment – 15th century Flemish style portraits taken in plane lavatory

This project is delicious! Nina Katchadourian took these 15th century Flemish style self-portrays in the plane lavatory during flights. She got the idea spontaneously while on a domestic flight in 2010, she took the photos with her cell phone and there’s really nothing else than this lady playing with toilet paper and other things found in the lavatory.

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The Roma Journey – photos from seven countries

There are certain mental images associated with the Roma. There is the romantic view, the dreaming and eternally free gypsy traveling the world with his horse and caravan. Then there’s the victim view, the Roma always mistreated and abused. And last there is an image of aggressiveness, the dirty Roma, the Roma criminals. (Something worth mentioning is that if one portrays them romantically, it seems acceptable to call them gypsies –  while if they’re portrayed as victims or criminals there’s the politically correct name – Roma. Adding to this, I find it quite interesting that if I google ‘gypsy’, the images I see are of that romantic view, while if you google Roma/Romani I get all the misery in photos. Try.).

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Stories from a 13,000 km trip around the Black Sea

Photographer Petrut Calinescu and writer Stefan Candea traveled 13,000 km around the Black Sea. Even though the photos have been taken in different countries (they started the journey in Romania, went to Bulgaria, Turkey and on) they have a certain common feel coming from these places’ shared past. The traces of the Soviet era are mixed with each country’s local flavor. One can sense this influence not only in architecture (on which the Soviet era left its the most visible footprint) but also in the clothes and small objects surrounding the people.

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The oldest (known) cat pawprints

Medievalist Emir O.Filipovic found these inky pawprints on a page of the 13th volume of ”Lettere e comissioni di Levante’, a collection of letters and instructions that the Dubrovnik government sent to its merchants and envoys throughout southeast Europe. In short, an official 15th century Federal Register.

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Watch Online Animation: Walt Disney and Salvador Dali’s surrealist animation

What does Walt Disney and Salvador Dali have in common? Nothing, you might think. But that’s not true. Between 1945 and 1946 Salvador Dali collaborated with Walt Disney’s John Hench on an animated film called Destino.

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Poland Flavour in Images – The Work of Tomasz Wiech

Tomasz Wiech just made my day. “Poland is a country of endless Carnival and great disappointment. The Carnival is obvious, and the disappointment is explicable, because things were expected to be different” he said. And I have the feeling I know what he means.

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The art of making the common surprising

Gilbert Legrand transforms common usual objects into characters. After you see these surprising transformations, your tap can never be just a tap, your brush just a brush.

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What are you made of? (surprising portraits of people you know)

This is for all the moms out there who tell their kids not to play with food. Nor open drawers. Nor go through boxes, make their hands dirty and make a mess on the floor.

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What does an Arab man look like?

So. What does he look like? Does he have a beard? A long “dress”? A camel? What is the expression on his face? And most important, how do you feel about him when you see him like that?

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The medium is the message: cliches in movie posters

I found these collages visually captivating and entertaining, considering these (cliche) posters keep appearing, same style, same colors and same films in the end… and yes, they do already contain a message in themselves (hello Marshall McLuhan!).
So take a look.

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The Earth is not flat

“If everybody could do this once, it would completely change the face of global politics, religion, education, everything…” says James May upon his return from this amazing once in a lifetime (or maybe not) trip.

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Manufactured Landscapes (2006, directed by Jeniffer Baichwal)

I don’t think anyone can have the vaguest idea of the scale, extent and impact of industrialization on the Earth, until they see Edward Burtynsky’s photos and this amazing documentary. In Manufactured Landscapes, large scale changes of the environment have a bitter beauty and it’s something of their massiveness that’s necessary to perceive in order to get it. Get what? Get a mind image of what we talk about when we talk about over-consumption, overly-populated cities, about way too cheap labor force and about the price of being an ‘individual consumer’.

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World Press Photo 2012 Winner: the photo is wonderful but how does it serve our understanding?

This year’s World Press Photo winner is Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda and his picture of a Yemeni mother holding her son, wounded during protests against president Saleh. After winning the award, the photo was subject to a lot of debate and criticism, mainly because its composition has been likened to Michelangelo’s Pieta and also because of its Renaissance style of lighting.

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