Torkil Gudnason: Body Vase
Agency Lookbooks | A. Galerie, Paris
Torkil Gudnason’s Body Vase juxtaposes flora with human curves, eroticism with innocence, and nature with it’s inherent beauty and allure. There is a quality of mysterious fascination within these images - they are charged with a charm that accompanies temptation. The soft, intimate lighting comes from shooting exclusively with daylight – and allows the viewer into a small, private world consisting only of photographer and model.
His images have drama and a sculptural quality that brings to mind the heft and simplicity of Henry Moore or Modigliani - “I like distortion as a sculptural effect,” he says.
Shot over a period of nine months, Body Vase brings together two passions for Torkil – flowers and the human form. It is remarkable that these images were created in-camera, with very little retouching – lending the increased power of authenticity to these images, and leaving us wondering at the beauty that exists within this world.
Luke Cage was created in 1972.
Four years earlier, in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed.
Five years before that, in 1963, Medgar Evers was shot and killed.
Eight years before that, in 1955, a young Black man named Emmett Till was tortured, then shot and killed.
These events, and numerous others with frightening similarity, happened in a line, and in the early years of the first decade to reap the social benefits of the Civil Rights Movement, Marvel Comics gives the fans (and the world) a Black male superhero whose primary superhuman aspect… is that he’s bulletproof.
Not flight, or super speed, or a power ring.
The superhuman ability of being impervious to bullets.
Superheroes. Action heroes. Fantasy heroes.
Is there any doubt the power fantasy of the Black man in the years following multiple assassinations of his leaders and children by way of the gun would be superhuman resistance to bullets?
In American society, the Black man has come a long way from the terrors of the past handful of centuries, only to crash right into the terrors of the 21st century. Some of those terrors being the same exact ones their grandparents had to face and survive — or not.
There are Black men who are wealthy, powerful, formidable and/or dangerous. They can affect change undreamt of by their parents, and their parents’ parents. Their children will be able to change the world in ways we can intuit and others we can barely begin to try and predict.
But a bullet can rip through their flesh and their future with no effort whatsoever.
And so we look at Luke Cage, a man who gets shot on a regular basis, whose body language is such that he is expecting to be shot at, prepared for the impact — because he knows he can take it.
And maybe, in the subconscious of the uni-mind of Marvel Comics, is the understanding that Luke Cage may unfortunately always be a relevant fantasy idea for the Black man.
2012 – Trayvon Martin is shot and killed.
2013 – Jonathan Ferrell is shot and killed.
2014 – Michael Brown is shot and killed.
2015/2016 – Luke Cage premieres on Netflix.
I look forward to seeing if the Luke Cage of that show will have a true understanding of his power and what he symbolizes.”
Toxicnotebook Recommends: American Vampire
"I’m talking about evolution, Dolly."
Cunning, ruthless, and rattlesnake mean, Skinner Sweet has a reputation for cussedness as long as he is ornery. As the first vampire conceived on American soil, however, he’s not your usual creature of the night. Stronger, fiercer and powered by the sun, Sweet is the first of a new breed of bloodsucker: the American Vampire. Forty-five years after rising from his grave, Sweet finds himself in 1920s Los Angeles, where the young and beautiful are drawn like moths to the burning lights of Hollywood. Something beyond simple human greed is at work here, however, as struggling young actress Pearl Jones is about to discover. When her movie-star dreams are transformed into a bloody nightmare, Sweet provides her only chance for survival as well as the power to take revenge.
American Vampire is a return to the vampire’s bloody roots written by Scott Snyder & Stephen King (vol. 1 only) and drawn by Rafael Albuquerque. Pearl Jones is a struggling actress living in 1920s Hollywood with her best friend Hattie Hargrove. When she’s invited to a party thrown by one of Tinsel Town’s biggest producers, Pearl immediately accepts. Unfortunately, the producer is not what he seems, and leaves her for dead…but then a man named Skinner Sweet intervenes.
I really, really, really love vampires, and this series shows vampires at their best: vicious, top-tier predators of the world. Throw in some of the coolest vampire designs I’ve seen and one of my favorite characters EVER (♥♥♥PEARL♥♥♥), American Vampire is one of the best vamp stories I’ve read! Well, it’s tied with the Sonja Blue series for first place, but it’s at the top of the list.
WARNING: While nothing explicit is stated in the text, there are some panels in volume one that are visually similar to sexual assault. Also, this comic is very violent. Please read with caution.
Completed: No (Ongoing)
Publisher: Vertigo (DC)
Level of Violence: VERY HIGH
Number of sweet-looking vampires: ALL OF THEM
For fans of: 'Salem's Lot, By Blood We Live, Ellen Datlow’s vampire anthologies, Vampire Junction, the Sonja Blue series, Daughter of the Night, Sunshine (possibly), Blade, 30 Days of Night, The Soft Whisper of the Dead (possibly), Let the Right One In, Tanith Lee, Richard Matheson, 999, Tomorrow Sucks, Under the Fang, Cirque du Freak (possibly), Traveling Vampire Show (possibly), did I mention I really like vampires already, I am not even close to listing all the vamp stuff I’ve read, classic vamp stories, snarling genuinely scary vamps.