What is your study background?

My background is in design. I don’t have a formal education in photography. Everything I’ve learned has been self-taught, compelled by an exaggerated sense of curiosity (the best way to learn anything).

When did you start taking pictures and what camera did you use?

I started in my late twenties with a borrowed Canon EOS 3000n film camera. I had very bad social anxiety and found it difficult to leave my parents house. Through boredom, I picked up my sister’s camera and took a few shots in my grandmother’s derelict house. When I got them back from processing I fell in love with photography. They weren’t technically good photos, but they had some kind of energy to them which completely floored me. I couldn’t believe I’d taken them. A couple of years later I moved to Dublin for design school. I started doing street photography as a way of forcing myself to overcome social anxiety. Every time I left the house I felt better. I used the college library to read every photobook I could find. I watched photography documentaries over and over, like ‘Contacts’ and ‘Pen, Brush & Camera’. I kept shooting and then felt confident enough to post work to flickr and instagram. I didn’t get much engagement for months, but it felt good to put stuff out there.

How did you develop your style? Did you start from Instagram?

I didn’t even realise I had a style until another photographer described me as a ‘psychological street photographer’. I think that’s fairly accurate. I’m fascinated by how photography can describe inner emotion, whether it’s a sitting portrait or an isolated subject in a sea of people on a high street.
I started from Instagram but I’m much more influenced by photographers like Larry Fink, Robert Frank, and Harry Callahan, whose brilliant ‘women lost in thought’ series is a big influence. Like him, I shoot with a long lens while walking through busy streets.

Were you always interested in street photography, even though some of your photos look like portraiture?

I love portraiture but I’m not sure if I have the patience or personality type for it. Really good portraiture takes a lot of time and social skill in getting the subject’s guard down. I get around it by taking the portrait without the subject being aware of me.
Street portraiture, by which I mean, anouncing yourself and asking permission, has never really interested me. I think it’s too stiff. There’s just not enough time to get a sincere portrait of someone within 5mins of meeting them. There’s far too much self awareness and tension. You end up with a lifeless document of the surface; their clothes and the environment.

When do you consider someone or something a good shot?

It has to be a photo that goes straight to the heart and blood and takes some time to reach the brain. I’m not that concerned with composition or many technical aspects, except contrast. If it feels like a good shot I’ll usually know right away- as soon as I’ve taken it.

What is the most difficult part of photographing people on the streets?

The hardest part for me, is making myself do it when my social anxiety gets bad. Sometimes I’ll have my gear packed, coat on and headphones in but I’ll stand behind my front door thinking about all the negative things that are definitely going to happen. Always, always I remind myself that once I go out there I’ll feel better. Never have I gone out and felt worse. Bill Cunningham said — “I go out every day. When I get depressed at the office, I go out, and as soon as I’m on the street I feel better”. I relate to that very strongly.

What subject satisfies you the most?

A stranger in a state of grace, who has let their guard down. They’re unaware of me photographing them and I’m given a chance to frame it before I disturb them.
Just as important, is sharing that photo and watching other strangers relate to them.

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christmas
“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star”

And she definitely is one — Francesca Bonato, the star behind Coqui Coqui.

Alongside her partner in crime and soulmate Nicolas Maleville, this dynamic duo keeps the wanderlust souls and adventurous globetrotters dreaming since their first opening way back in Tulum, 2003.

“It all started accidentally!” Francesca says after the small house she and Maleville built turned into a hotel as more friends and family started visiting and needed a place to stay. Initially, the duo moved to Mexico in need of a healthy and organic lifestyle, one that proved not only simple, but genuine as well. After the success of their coconut oil and their first residence, they both somehow felt responsible for Tulum currently being such a trendsetting destination.

Nevertheless, the real heart of Coqui Coqui is the fragrances — the initial project created by Maleville who is a landscape architect and perfumier. The thirteen exotic fragrances represent the spirit of the Yucatan Peninsula and are inspired by the aromas of its lush surroundings, made by combining original scents extracted from Mexico plant-life. Between the different scent notes, I personally fell in love with the Eucaced fragrance because it perfectly matches with my personality: smoky and spicy with a cedar base note!

In addition to learning about the fragrances, Francesca explained to me how the duo became involved with the local Mayan community after creating an environmentally sustainable system called Hacienda Montaecristo. This features a collection of hand-crafted products using natural fibers and local techniques revisited with a contemporary touch. One of their trademarks would certainly be the hand-crocheted Hammock in different natural hues.

When you think about Coqui Coqui, it is more than just a perfumeria, residence or spa. It is much more than just a chic hideaway in a secluded destination. It is a full sensory experience from which one can truly let go and become immersed within the perfumes, flavors, colors and food. The latter being a unique component that is a tailored mix of Mexican, Italian and Argentinian influenced cuisine.

Even though each of the residences offers a one of a kind story and design concept, they all are related by their ability to connect with nature. It is the sophisticated simplicity and authentic lifestyle of understated luxury that are the common concepts shared between all the Coqui Coquis.

As I arrived in Coba I was suddenly shrouded from the primitive yet suggestive atmosphere of this place. Coqui Coqui Coba sits within Mayan ruins in a jungle setting, by a charming lagoon. This two-towers palapa-roofed hideaway resembles the ancient design of a Mayan temple, consciously conceived in local limestone with soft and neutral tones, two plunge pools and a rope bridge that connects the two towers. The interiors are minimal with a bohemian and colonial touch, fresh linen and hand-crafted local objects. The best memory was waking up early before sunrise, listening to the birds and the jungle slowly coming alive.

In the historical centre of Merida, the capital of Yucatan – the Epicerie, a one-suite residence established in a old french townhouse will make you savor la belle époque with a marble bath, two standalone bathtubs and velvet finishes. A romantic mix of local and colonial traditions above the Coqui Coqui boutique and perfumery and a small café dining area where you can delight some handmade chocolate. You will be surprised to find a spa hidden on a tiny backyard immersed in the green!

I feel blessed to have been the first one to have experienced Coqui Coqui’s latest residence in the small colonial town of Izamal. Just few blocks away from the convent of San Antonio de Padua, Casa de los Santos is a old house lays in part on the basement of an ancient Mayan pyramid, sharing the same walls with it. In addition to the perfumeria and the boutique it boasts Bonato and Maleville’s personal collection of old wooden statues of saints and virgins that they collected from all over the world during their travels.

Now Francesca & Nico live in a cabana by the sea in Bora Bora, Polinesia where they’ve just launched in the summer their new collection of perfumes & cabinet of curiosities. This time around the duo is inspired by the island’s local flora and fauna. Who knows what and where it will be next, but one thing’s for sure: this creative and passionate couple will keep inspiring us with their elegant simplicity and soulful authenticity for time to come.

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David Beckham has been an icon for  many years. He is not only a great football player but also he represents an ideal of beauty. In his career Beckham was represented by the sportswear brand Adidas for over 20 years, and for this anniversary they decide to work together to create a footwear capsule. The shoe model in question is the Adidas Predator, shoes that he used in the different great clubs where he played, like Manchester United, Real Madrid, A.C. Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.

The project includes three types of Adidas Predator that take their name from the t-shirt number that he had in the different clubs: “23” worn during his time spent at Real Madrid and LA Galaxy, this shoe is also called “Triple White” stadium boot; “32” worn during his time spent at PSG and A.C. Milan, this shoe is also called “Triple Black” and it is a street shoe; and the famous “7” worn during is Manchester United and England National team’ s career, this shoe are also called “Triple Red” and it is a futsal shoe.

Photo Courtesy Adidas Website

 

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k11

K11, also known as “The World’s First Art Mall”, is the concept developed by New World Development.

The Hong Kong-based company specialises in properties, infrastructures and services. Previously to the creation of the above-mentioned Art Mall, the group dealt with issues bounded to property speculation, such as the “Leung Chin-man appointment controversy” where there seemly was a collusion between the government and NWD’s interests: in 2008 Leung Chin-man (former Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands) was also named Deputy Managing Director and Executive Director of New World China Land Ltd.

k11
From Wikimedia Common: Baycrest – 維基百科用戶 in cc

The titanic creation of K11 started in 2005 and took 4 years. The mall is part of a gigantic skyscraper known as The Masterpiece: a highly critiqued 64-floor building that has  been held responsible for the destruction of historical sites, and for “damaging the existing community by contributing to gentrification”.

All these controversies aside, K11 claims to be the world’s first art mall, integrating elements of art, people, and nature. HK$20 millions were spent in order to place numerous art pieces in each floor -mostly from local artists-, personally hand-picked by the K11 Founder and Chairman, Adrian Cheng.

The idea of entwining Art and shopping is certainly not new, but despite the often paired duo having many precedents – e.g. Pacific Palace, Honk Kong-, it probably has never encountered such development. It certainly raises a question:

does Art belong in the public place?

Off-line commerce has struggled to find a way to fight back on-line shopping rapid growth: malls were clearly forced to redouble their efforts and to offer more than the mere opportunity to shop and shopping centres are nowadays the evolution of a community center. In this constant battle Art can be a weapon, mostly for its iconic value, for example in marketing this strategy is developed into a “museum-like” approach: l’objet d’art is re-allocated close to luxury items, underlying their values. This methodology is not different from what K11 does: contemporary art and luxury shopping, a Chimera that may encounters critiques though.

For example, Joshua Roth (head of UTA Fine Arts) about Pacific Place similar approach said:

“at the end of the day, artists make art because they want to share it with people; the idea that hundreds of people will see their work is an exciting thing.”
In this sense such approach tends towards a democratisation of Art: far from elitism, the work of art is collocated in everyday life; yet it contributes to the commodification of a product of creativity, which is not appreciated for its intrinsic value, but for its connection to the luxury industry.
Art, inserted in the quotidian life, does not get more appreciation, it just get more common: gazes get used to it and are no longer able to distinguish it from a piece of furniture, since there is no aim to understand it.

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ghetto

The first twenty-one pages are stories written by people close to Devin, like his mother or writers, who also talk about what happened to Freddie Gray in Baltimore, the Afro-american guy who was severly injured by the police and who died because of the injuries.

Dwight Watkins, who once was a drug dealer, but then he decided to gain back his life and he is now a writer, D. Watkins, and he published his memoir The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir. Watkins met Devin in 2012, before becoming a New York Times best-seller, in a bar after drinking some shots. They bonded immediatly because both of them come from Baltimore, even though from different sides of the city. No one knows where you will find friendship.

Our friendship was birthed that night. […] No one – and I mean no one – captured nature, beauty, and life like Devin. He should never be referred to as an overnight success story […].

Even the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation and professor of African American studies at Princeton University, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor decribes Devin Allen’s work as an eye on the true life in Baltimore’s community, through his camera and his sensitivity. “He gives a deeper meaning to the movement slogan Black Lives Matter”.

All rights – Time Magazine – Photo: Devin Allen
From the barbershop to the corner to the introspection captured on the faces of the neighbourhood youth, Allen’s camera brings his unique portaiture to life and contributes a perspective on the Baltimore Uprising that has been rendered nowhere else.

Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood, founder of BridgeEdU, and bestselling author of The Other Wes Moore and The Work, is a close friend of Devin and praises his work not because of their friendship but because it helps people understand what actually happened behind the death of Freddie Gray and how is life on the streets of Baltimore. Devin’s work is a celebration of black culture and communities, not only from Baltimore but from all over the world.

See Devin’s work and understand its impact and the souls on both sides of the lens.

Aaron Bryant, Curator of Photography and Visual Culture at the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institute, defines Devin Allen as a social critic, and his works help see how black communities live and how little things have changed since Martin Luther King’s speech.

While raising questions regarding the extent to which conditions have changed since the 1960s, Devin Allen offers a cultural critique that forces us to face certain sociopolitical realities.

The last story is from Allen’s mother, Gail Allen-Kearney, who speaks about the transformations inside Baltimore’s community with a lively language that resembles the fluidity of speaking language.

My son, my daughter (I’m married to her dad), and now my granddaughter […] are going to understand the good, the bad, and, most of all, the beauty, love, and peace that we have – that our people have and deserve.

After these stories, there is a little written contribution from Devin, who explains the words ghetto and uprising connected to his reality. Then the book starts with the photographic part.

 

A Beautiful Ghetto is the first part of photos that takes the reader and viewer on a journey through the streets and lives of Black people living in Baltimore. There are street photos, portraits, details and landscapes, that behave as a giant eye looking around and observing every little thing that happens around it. It is all about the people and the beauty of humanity.

Uprising is the second part and the photos here are all focused on the revolution on the streets of Baltimore. The iconic picture that made Devin famous and that is the cover of this book, spreads on two pages and shows in all its majestic importance. Maybe not for a reader outside the Black culture, but it still remains an iconic photo. There are portraits of cops and Black people, street photos and detailed pictures. The last photo is significant for the narrative of the book: a guy touching and sitting in front of a graffiti dedicated to Freddie Gray.

This book is a visual story of the uprising. It’s also the story of Baltimore, Freddie Gray, and so many countless others who grow up, work, raise their families in places like Baltimore. This book is to challenge the stigma, to show the beautiful side of the ghetto, and hopefully to inspire others to love, respect, and invest in our communities. This book is for you. 
Devin Allen

PSG

The Canadian brand Nobis and the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club announce an exclusive collaboration.
The limited-edition bomber “Alpha PSG” was born from the “PSG x Nobis” project and represent their values of excellence.

Kevin Au-Yeung, president end co-founder of Nobis, is happy to have created a new link between the city, the football club and the hight fashion brand. The bomber also has an advertising value because it was created in conjunction with the opening of a new Nobis pop-up store in Paris.

Available in blu and black, the bomber cost 899 € and has various technical features including a canadian goose feather padding, hermetic seams, a removable eco-fur collar and pocket with fleece lining.

 

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Who is Katty Huertas and where do you come from?

I was born in Colombia and moved to the States around 6 years ago. I like to paint, draw and knit and I live with my husband and our two cats.

What is your study background?

I did two years of university in Colombia for visual arts with a focus in graphic arts, so mostly printmaking, illustration and all that. When I moved, I transferred and finished my degree in arts in Miami. While I was in school I didn’t want to specialize so I did a bit of everything. I tried painting, ceramics, animation, typography, etc. I liked it all.

How did you develop your style? Who inspired you?

The medium I work in influences the look of my pieces, for example, for my traditional paintings I really enjoy working with pastel colors since the material is so tactile. I also like painting with “pretty” colors since it can contrast with some of the subjects I’m dealing with. On the case of my digital drawings, my color palate is less restricted as I have infinite options. But in way, I think I’m still defining my style.

Second Skin II

What materials do you use for your illustrations?

For illustrations, I work digitally using a tablet and Photoshop. Because most of the commissions come with a deadline this is the most effective way to achieve what I want. It also makes me less afraid of experimenting as I can always use the “undo” command.

When you have to create something, how do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration from a lot of things. From the mirror, songs, people I see on the train, my cats, the news. Anything you look at can be interesting if you are in the right mood.

katty
Lenny Letter

As a Colombian girl, how is living in Baltimore?

I technically live between DC and Baltimore and I commute to DC every day, so I would say I live more in DC than Baltimore. But living here is different than Colombia.

Before moving here, I lived in Miami for a few years, and the culture there was more like Colombian culture. But in general, I really like it, I love seasons and like the fact that a lot of people in DC are not really from DC but from all over the world.

Does your work reflect the place that you live in, the people that surround you?

I think so. Currently, my work is shifting from exploring my own identity to looking at my surroundings more so I think the place and people around me are inducing the change. I’ve been in this area of the country for a little over a year and I’m still being exposed to many new things. I remember when I first moved, I kept seeing the deer traffic signal, which I’ve never seen before, and I loved it! That’s when I did the little animation of the deer jumping inside the signal.

Deer crossing

Does the present political situation affect your career and life?

It does, a lot. On the personal side, being a woman, an immigrant and a human being, it breaks my heart to read all the changes the new administration is making. Regarding my work, I’m producing less, and when I create something new, I feel more self-conscious about sharing it. Most things seem very trivial compared to what’s happening in the world. I’ve read about it and I know I’m not the only creative person who feels this way.

skela

Skela has combined her EP with a poetry zine and comic book self written on the ethos of music starring herself as a villain/superhero. Skela has built a small but dedicated fanbase through her music & poetry. Not only, but also through her efforts as a feminist, by working with companies like Pro Mujer, What’s In Your Box? and Unbound Box. She has received support from feminist focused channels & companies like Feminist Voice, Dolores Haze and Glazed NYC.

Who is Skela and where does she come from?

Skela started off as a name I used to scribble on desks and sneakers. Then she grew into this alter ego when I realized that I couldn’t pursue music alone. She became all of the things I needed. She was confident and beautiful and strong and capable. Now I feel more like Skela than Alex (my real name). I don’t know if that means I learned how to be those things on my own or if Skela is slowly taking control over my life. I’m cool with either.

Do you have a music study background or did you learn on your own?

Self-taught. Learning music theory is on the to-do list. Along with learning french and embroidery… it’s a long list.

When did you start thinking of making music seriously?

Hmm basically when I tried to do all the “right” things. Go to school, get a job, blah blah blah. I should have been happy or whatever but I wasn’t at all. I took it seriously when I decided I deserved to form my own definition of content.

How long have you been working on your EP?

When I was making it, it felt like it was taking forever but now that I look back, the EP really only represents a little sliver of my life. Music is so cool like that. You get to score your own life and turn all your memories into little movies.

I really like the decision of creating a comic book and a poetry zine to accompany your music. How did you think it?

I signed the EP to Hero Records so that’s their whole thing. Every artist becomes a character and builds out their own story into a comic book. It’s really cool because they totally get that music is visual. The poetry zine was my way of trying to give more background to the music, give little easter eggs to people to try to find.

Did you already know Nicolette or did you call her especially for your comic?

I’ve actually known Nicolette since the second grade. We reconnected over music & art a few years ago and ever since she’s been my go-to. I think she’s one of the most talented artists I know. Definitely an honor to be able to work so closely with her.

What does your music talk about?

I’m trying to talk about more than just love and people running in circles around one another. I mean, all that is so much fun but for me, music is two things: speaking my mind and trying to heal. I hope this EP accomplishes the first thought bubble.

Your style is quite pop and dreamy. Who are your musical inspirations?

My inspiration is everywhere because I listen to a bunch of different artists. People have so much to say and so many interesting ways of doing so that I’m all over the board. Finding new artists for me is like turning to the next chapter of a book you’ve been reading for seventeen hours straight and the only thing you’ve had to eat is coffee and gum.

Here’s what I’m listening to right now

What is your biggest dream?

I don’t know if it’s the biggest but right now the most towering dream and goal I have is wanting to make an album and tour the world. It feels so daunting but I’m working towards it everyday.

afrotopia

Afrotopia is the 11th Rencontres de Bamako which takes place in an Africa and is benefitting from a Western enthusiasm that neither terrorism nor social, political or military conflicts can shake. A new generation of African thinkers and cultural activists are renewing interpretative frameworks and are staking their hopes on Africa providing solutions.

The Biennale will be called Afrotopia, also the title of the book by Senegalese writer Felwine Sarr, and it reflects the commitment to ensuring that this historic and pioneering event for photography is integral to the new forces for change, by embracing them and taking part of this change. Curator of this edition is Marie-Ann Yemsi, born in Germany to German and Cameroonian parents, she founded her own agency, Agent Créatif(s) with a focus on African creatives.

The title-manifesto Afrotopia conveys a contribution to a world in which it is necessary to invent the resources of the future. The plan for the next Biennale is envisaged as a creative space for artists to invent using their own language. The artistic project is built around this contemporary area of focus and it invites us to reconsider the issues and objectives through a collaborative dynamic and the introduction of a Committee of curatorial advisors, in a participatory spirit that gives the artists an active forum to make themselves heard.

Girma Berta – Moving Shadows II

For the exhibition 40 committed and faithful proposals have been selected from amongst 300 applications received. These proposals are the witnesses to the issues faced by the continent. The exhibitions designed with guest curators form a consistent ensemble and explore in greater depth the themes and concerns of the artists in the exhibition. More than ever, this edition takes stock of the diversity of image uses and offers an energetic narrative of the fertile crossover of perspectives. The National Museum of Mali will become the Biennale Village, where a forum will bring people together to explore ideas and exchange views on different artistic, cultural and social themes. The format will be unstructured and open to all disciplines, with speakers from all fields, such as philosophers, poets, musicians, historians, sociologists, writers.

Youcef Krache – 20 Cents

Inclusiveness and sharing is central in this Biennale with the Malian public. All the exhibition venues are suitable for school visits within the scope of an educational programme. The Biennale will also reach out to an audience with little access to art thanks to Ciné Photo Mobile, a convivial artistic project inspired by travelling cinemas and open-air screenings. Designed with the collaboration of Anna-Alix Koffi, Ciné Photo Mobile will present a selection of photographs from the Biennale’s exhibitions to a musical accompaniment in public squares in various districts of Bamako. Lastly, galleries, community centres and cultural activists have prepared fringe events that will spread throughout the entire city.

Lola Keyezua-Stone Orgasms

tinalilienthal

Born in Bonn, Germany, Tina Lilienthal lives and creates all her work in London. She graduated from the Royal College of Art, and after that she established herself as designer for fashion jewellery. Tina has academic posts at the Royal College of Art, De Montford University, and London College of Fashion and she was recently appointed as consultant for the new Condé Nast Center of Fashion & Design in Shanghai.
Based in the trend-setting area of Shoreditch, TINALILIENTHAL jewellery is part of the celebrated British fashion scene. Her jewellery has received prestigious international press such as features in VOGUE, ELLE, TANK Magazine,  NYLON and can be seen all over the globe. With a loyal fan base and finding place on the necks of many eccentric style conscious fashionistas, including Keira Knightly, Kelly Osbourne, Pixie Geldof and Alexa Chung, TINALILIENTHAL has quickly become a cult label.

She has teamed up with the American luxury brand Nordstrom and the sports brand Nike for a new collection of necklaces. The idea is to create a range of colourful and modern quartz crystal necklaces for women, who love unique pieces of jewellery. NxN is a women’s-only lifestyle shop that blurs the lines of fitness and fashion introducing curated limited-edition products each month.

Quartz stones are minerals from the family of silicates and usually come with a prismatic hexagonal shape. The most used quartz is the clear with one, but it’s easy to find different colours, such as in the NxN collection. It is usually used in spiritual meditation because of its emotional, physical and chakra healing power. It is believed to be living creature, old and wise, and that it can influence the energy in one’s body, opening the mind and heart to a higher guidance. Not only on a spiritual level, but also in everyday use, quartz crystal is valued for its piezoelectric and pyroelectric properties, by which it can transform mechanical pressure or heat into electromagnetic energy, and vice versa. Its ability to focus, amplify, store and transform energy is used throughout the technology world in ultrasound devices, watches, microphones, radio transmitters and receivers, memory chips in computers and other electronic circuitry.