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


Medieval Emoticons: the Delights of Seeing Art from Long Ago in a (Funny) New Light

I’m a big fan of medieval art and representations. That’s especially when they are cherry picked around a subject. I previously loved these Ugly Reinaissance Babies, now I’m absorbed by these ‘Medieval emoticons‘, and in general by the website where I found them. Discarding Images is a real treat.

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When blessing is what you do for a living: Orthodox priests blessing stuff

This is not the kind of stuff you normally see on Passepartout, but I simply cannot help myself! I find it important for you to know that orthodox priests are in the habit of blessing everything, and once they start, they never stop. In the Orthodox tradition – in which I was born – people ask priests to bless, for example, a new house. But we don’t need to limit ourselves to that, obviously. Everything is ‘blessable‘. A tank, a horse, a spacecraft – all splashed with the holy water – in exchange for a more or less symbolic financial compensation. How much is this related to faith…I don’t know. But it also doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can just think and make a top 3 things you need to be blessed. Things will be arranged.

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Jack and the beanstalk: mesmerizing photos of Hong Kong’s flats

I have a friend who came to The Netherlands from Hong Kong and she was surprised that here you can see the stars at night. Apparently, in Hong Kong that is quite a luxury because of the light pollution. If to that you add the sight of these enormously high flats and the knowledge that the place is one of the most densely populated places on earth, you get a mental picture of this unique and crowded place. And to complete those mental pictures, see some real pictures below.

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The hip, the artsy and the unnecessary: certain kinds of photos I’m really tired of seeing

I look at photos all the time. I search for them, I analyze them and I try to understand what they say. And there are some types of photos I am really tired of. And huh…they are everywhere. Aesthetically, they are fine or good or very good. It’s not this what bothers me. Many of the photos that strike me as unnecessary and bore me to death are well composed and good quality. Yet, there’s more than that to a photo. I’m usually looking for concept, connotations, the feeling they give, the story they tell. I expect photos to give something to my eyes, my heart or my mind, and preferably to a combination of at least two of these. And below you can see some kinds of photos that I’m really tired of seeing.

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Fictitious Dishes

Fictitious Dishes: some of literature’s most famous meals made real

Literature helped me survive most of the long and boring days of my (first 12 years of) formal education. I secretly read in class, keeping the book on my knees, under the desk. I love stories and what they taught me, and up to this day I believe that ‘skipping class’ and diving deep into my books is one of the best choices I ever made. It was during that period that I read most of the stories from which designer and writer Dinah Fried took the inspiration for this project. She cooks, designs and photographs some of the most famous meals from some of the most famous novels. And seeing each of these photos, feels like the first time you watch a film made after a book you really loved.

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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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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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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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The Diary of Tortov Roddle: the surreal and the dreamy anime story

This surreal animation is my newest discovery. A friend sent it to me tonight and so I plunged in Tortov Roddle’s world, a curious place with surprising encounters. Tortov Roddle travels on his long-legged pig, there’s peaceful music in the background and no voice over to disrupt this dreamy adventure.

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It doesn’t get more bitter-sweet than this: Mark Nixon’s portraits of old teddy bears

Have you ever noticed how many stories an object from your past can tell? How those stories become alive once you rediscover an item long lost? We live our lives surrounded by objects and they’re not just things, but significant things. They absorb our lives. And they keep it there for later remembrance. And this photo project is the best illustration of this.

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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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The real Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin

Winnie the Pooh is one of my favorite childhood characters. When I was about six, my father gave me a small book he had since he was a child himself – ‘The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh’ – with the original drawings.

The book was written by A.A. Milne and Christopher Robin, the boy in the book, was actually his son, named Christopher Robin Milne. Winnie was a bear the boy had and apparently many other of his toys borrowed their names for most characters in the story.

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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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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 Pichler, 2013

‘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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The Act of Killing (2012, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer)

The Art of Killing is intriguing and I have mixed feelings about it. I find it daring, original, surreal and often so unbelievable that it makes you wonder whether what you see is acted or not. And then I find it obscene, questionable and eventually unnecessary.

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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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DOF Magazine: The Black Cat Issue

Florentijn Hofman's Floating Duck Sculpture Arrives In Hong Kong

Rubber Duckie travels the World

This Rubber Duck travels the World. Designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, Rubber Duck appeared in different places, from Sydney to Sao Paolo and from Hong Kong to Pittsburgh.

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Black Sea 5

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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