The internet is quickly becoming smitten with a young photographer/urban explorer who broke into an unguarded rocket facility in Russia. Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo writes:
Her name is Lana Sator and she snuck into one of NPO Energomash factories outside of Moscow. Her photos are amazing, like sets straight out of Star Wars or Alien. Now the Russian government is harassing her.
It was easy to get in. She just went there, jumped over the fence and got right into the heart of the complex through a series of tunnels and pipes, which was very surprising. After all, this is an active industrial installation that belongs to one of the top manufacturers of liquid-fuel rockets in the world. Their engines power the modern Soyuz, the Zenit 3SL, and the Angara and Baikal launch vehicles. Heck, their RD-180 engine powers the first stage of the Atlas V, an American rocket. More importantly, they have specially strong ties to the Russian military.
And yet, she found nobody. No guards, no security. Nothing. Just a few CCTV cameras here and there in rooms packed with huge machinery.
While some of these zones look decrepit and abandoned, the factory is active. In fact, the government is really pissed off about Lana’s adventure. The authorities have sent her letters saying that her situation will get “much worse” if she keeps posting photos from the factory.
Large, beautiful photos from Lana’s adventure at the rocket factory, along with a scanned letter from the authorities warning her of the dire consequences, can be seen at her LJ.
Sometimes, when creative and inspired people get together to collaborate on making imagery in a specific vein that no one’s attempted before, a special kind of magic happens. Case in point, this elaborate photo series independently produced by Jessica Rowell of J-Chan Designs and photographer Nina Pak in cahoots with model Elizabeth Maiden:
Κατάρα της Αθηνάς, η μοίρα της Μέδουσας Αθηνάς: Elizabeth Maiden Μέδουσας: Jessica Rowell of J-Chan’s Designs Photography: Nina Pak Costume Design & Styling: J-Chan’s Designs Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Ancient Greek lore and steampunk culture clash, titan style, in a sumptuous mythos-meets-modernity photo series depicting the Goddess Athena (Elizabeth Maiden) and the Gorgon Medusa (Jessica Rowell).
According to legend, the once ravishing Medusa was cursed with a monstrous appearance after “seducing” Poseidon, Lord of the Sea, under the roof of Athena’s sacred temple. Hence, this series title (which, translated into English, means) “Athena’s curse, Medusa’s fate.”
Rowell pulled “inspiration from Desmond Davis’ 1981 film Clash of the Titans, then put an atemporal spin on things by incorporating several contemporary ingredients that “also felt industrial and familiar to alternative culture.”
Darling Madame Darla Teagarden recently shared this image, saying “Early Parisian Goths, 1910. How amazing were they? Very.”
Oh, indeed! VERYvery. That is some unparalleled late fin de siècle bohemia-infused fierceness, for sure. A bit of Google-fu has helped me trace this scrumptious photo as far back as one Mrs. Inman on Flickr. Inman’s photostream is full of all kinds of wonderful vintage postcard scans… she’s a seriously devoted collector and curator. Her tags indicate that this is a century-old French photo postcard from her vast personal archive.
A bizarre series by Slovakian photographer Tono Stano, White Shadow is actually a series of printed black and white negatives. In this case, however, Stano has gone to the length of painting his models with the idea of printing the negatives so that they would appear to be positives. It’s an effect that is not entirely successful — you won’t mistake these for a regular black and white print — but Stano seems to understand the limitations of the trick and plays with them.
Using bits and pieces of other negatives he tapes eyes over the eyelids of his subjects, fills their mouths with photograph denture. The end results are surreal portraits of some of the more interesting denizens of the uncanny valley. Hit the jump for a (nsfw) video (as well as a few more, nsfw images) in which Stano gives a behind the scenes look at the process.
“Shoe-Shine Mickey Climbing a Fence” by Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick was one of the most innovative and accomplished directors in cinema history, and, as it turns out, a bordering-on-Weegee-level badass when it came to capturing “slice of life” still imagery in NYC as a young man.
(un)Naturally, we can’t have Centaur Week without posting one of Joel-PeterWitkin‘s most famous works, riffing off the classical Greek “Kentauros & Eros” motif…
“Cupid and Centaur” by Joel-Peter Witkin (1992)
(Preaching to the choir, here, but) Is there another photographer living whose sublime darkroom necromancy conveys quite the same level of beauty, horror, ferocity, compassion, grace and grotesquerie as Witkin’s? Doubtful.
These incredible time lapse sequences are pieced together from thousands of photographs taken aboard the International Space Station by crew members and photographers of Expeditions 28 & 29 (August through October of 2011) at an altitude of approximately 217 miles above sea level.
A captivatingly atemporal silver gelatin print from 1995:
“Hall of Thirty-Three Bays” by Hiroshi Sugimoto
(Our 400px column width definitely ain’t doing the composition any favors; it’s worth taking the time to view this stunning image as large as possible.)
The work of Tokyo/NYC-based artist and photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto reflects a lifelong fascination with infinity and eternity. He has “spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, or photographs serving as a time capsule for a series of events in time. His work also focuses on transience of life, and the conflict between life and death.” (via)
The story behind this particular image: these are the fiercely protected, rarely viewed 1001 statues of the Sanjusangendo, a 390-foot-long wooden temple in Kyoto containing thirty-three bays, also known as Sea of Buddha. Sugimoto was determined to show the statues as they were meant to be viewed during the Heian Perod (794-1185). It took seven years for Sugimoto to get permission to enter the “Hall of Thirty-Three Bays” with his camera equipment and capture the eight-hundred-year-old Armed Merciful Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara figures just as the early morning sunlight hit them, simultaneously illuminating one-thousand-and-one haloes. The resulting imagery is both ancient and somehow futuristic, infinite and immediate.
How about some hot, meteorological pornography for your Thursday? Mitch Dobrowner has been photographing storms for only two years, producing stunning images of dark and ominous clouds towering over flat grasslands. The magnitude of these fronts is breathtaking, hulking columns of gas and lightning with the world at their mercy. If you like these, I strongly suggest you head over to lens culture and check out their high resolution slideshow. The detail in these is spectacular.