Posts by: Pelle Cass

Witty, Mysterious Photos Mix Fact and Fiction, Past and Present



Lying Still, Birthe Piontek’s series of found and staged self-portraits and set ups, quivers with an air of threat, transformation, and mystery. In the bright melancholy light of Piontek’s rooms, visual evidence accrues. Red string hangs on the wall in a pelvic triangle. A woman writhes in the sky. Dark berries obscure a woman’s mons pubis. Bedsheets hang from empty windows. A woman’s back is alarmingly bruised in the bold pattern of a Marimekko print. We feel a loud hush, something like the theatrical quiet before or after a crisis. Or maybe it’s the beat before a punch line.

Self Portraits Examine the Disparity Between Who We Are When We Wake Up and The Person We Present to the World

Mel Keiser

Mel Keiser

Mel Keiser’s Becoming Mel is a series of paired self-portraits—one taken immediately upon waking, the other after she’s put herself together for the day—repeated each day for a month. The series resembles a before-and-after beauty feature, but Keiser, a brainy Chicago photographer and artist, has more on her mind than lip gloss and hair style. Her work asks you to look at the gap between sleep-blurred Mel and bright-eyed Mel and rethink what you know about identity and the self.

Sexy Self-Portraits of a Middle-Aged Woman Explore the Imperfections and Insecurities of Real Life



Andi Schreiber, a Westchester, New York, photographer of middle age, lives in a world of bright, clean color, spotless mirrors, and men’s suits hanging complacently in dry cleaning bags. But this is merely the comfortable backdrop for the sometimes uncomfortable series she calls Pretty, Please. Here, Schreiber turns an unflinchingly honest camera on her own flesh to explore her changing role as a female and as a sexual being. “I’m older now — and it shows,” she says. Undaunted, she continues, “I want my body to be useful. Disappearing is not an option.” Unlikely, given Schreiber’s wicked visual wit and glamor.

Wonderland of Dough: Photos of American Convenience Stores that Have Sold Million-Dollar Lottery Tickets


Fast Freddie’s, Wakefield, MA.

Site of the first winning $10 million scratch ticket in the country. The store received the maximum bonus commission, which in MA is $50,000.


Elizabeth, recovering scratch ticket addict.

Elizabeth used to spend as much as $100 each week buying scratch tickets: “I was convinced it would solve all my problems.”

Edie Bresler’s series of photographs, We Sold a Winner, at first could be taken for a simple Pop typology — a collection of pictures of convenience stores in all their colorful, cheesy glory. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find the Boston photographer and teacher found something else at the brightly lighted shacks, sheds, and cinder block cubes of Playland Market, Cassie’s Corner Shop and Minihan’s Handy Store. Dangling over gaudy ranks of Cheetos, M&M’s, and bottles of Five Hour Energy Drink are festoons of lottery tickets. They bark slogans like “Set for Life” and “Wonderland of Dough.” They are at the heart of Bresler’s project. She photographs stores that have sold million-dollar tickets.

‘Portrait of Partnership’: A Photographer’s Homage to a Failed Relationship (NSFW)



A woman stands against a gray sky, the low light of the sinking sun glints off her glasses. Her hair is in a bun. She is attractive, but not conventionally beautiful. It’s the same person in all the photographs, somehow, but she looks different in each one: soft-faced and girlish in one, sharp-nosed and intelligent in the next. Her face is often turned away or obscured, lost in thought. The colors are muted, but scrubbed clean. The settings are elemental, simple, and still — almost streamlined. This slightly eerie, indeterminate place could be the future. This is Beth.

Stunning Photographs of Flowers Taken from an Unexpected Angle

Tony Mendoza

Tony Mendoza

The trim, pleasant-faced man wore a nicely pressed white shirt, tan slacks, wire-rimmed glasses, and a neat white mustache. He spoke softly and looked like a recently retired engineer. He pointed to three large cardboard portfolios, and asked what I’d like to see—the dogs, the babies, or the flowers. Squirm. Okay, the flowers.

Suddenly, wildly colored anthropomorphic shapes writhe against a dull gray sky. Science fiction cities spring to life, pods spinning, occasional hovercraft zipping by. It turns out the hovercraft is really a bee. And these are the flower photographs of Tony Mendoza, a sly 72-year-old recently retired professor of photography at The Ohio State University, Cuban immigrant, prep school and Ivy grad, former architect, published novelist, and Guggenheim fellow. He could be the best photographer you never heard of.

Photographer Transforms Found Dolls Into Strange Self-Portraits

Caleb Cole

Boston-based photographer Caleb Cole adds mutton-chop sideburns, male-pattern baldness and slightly bushy eyebrows to dolls he finds at flea markets. Cole performs this alchemy to make them more closely resemble himself—and not incidentally, the elfinly morose figure of his best-known series of photographic self-portraits, Other People’s Clothes. Now, in red-headed shades of embroidery thread and acrylic paint, Cole puts his face onto sculptural objects, any of which could be—simultaneously—both pudgy baby and portly gent.

Photographer Captures Offbeat Moments During Daily Wanderings

Kate_Joyce_PhotographyOmar’s Burmese Python

From 2009 to 2012, Chicago-based photographer Kate Joyce sent monthly newsletters with mini-portolios of seven images to friends, colleagues, and clients, usually along with a poem or a quotation. Her impulse to keep in touch by way of images predates the Instagram craze. When she stopped doing the newsletters, she decided to pull the best of them and put them into the series Soliloquies, so named to capture the idea of a person expressing her innermost thoughts out loud.

Photographer Uses Embroidery to ‘Pixelate’ Family Snapshots


Los Angeles–based photographer Diane Meyer’s photographs seem to be ordinary snapshots of family members and scenic outings until you notice that a technical glitch has left parts of the photo grossly pixelated. However, it’s far from a technical glitch—it’s Meyer’s handiwork. Tired of seeing her work on screen only, in 2011 Meyer began to embroider directly onto the surface of her photographs in swatches of color that look like pixels, albeit big, fuzzy ones, giving her photographs an undeniable physical presence. Meyer’s cross-stitches seem to toggle from thread to pixel and back again, reminding us of the imperfect natures of memory, photographic representation, and the omnipresent LED screen.

Clever Photos Document Property Lines in Suburban Landscape Design


“Where two plots of suburban land meet, a visual dialogue begins. This point of contact, on the property line, reveals communication between neighbors through landscape as an extension of the self,” says California-based photographer Roberta Neidigh about Property Line, a clever series in which she explores the boundaries we create, both intentional and not. She recently told us more about the project.

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