Incredible Photographs Look Like Traditional Chinese Paintings

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Using a style known as pictorialism, Chinese artist Dong Honh-Oai was able to create a series of amazing photographs that look like Chinese traditional paintings.

Born in 1929, in Guangzhou, China’s Guangdong province, Dong Hong-Oai left his home country when he was just 7, after the sudden death of his parents. The youngest of 24 siblings, he was sent to live within the Chinese community of Saigon, Vietnam. There he became an apprentice at a photography studio owned by Chinese immigrants and learned the basics of photography. During this time he became particularly interested in landscape photography, which he practiced in his spare time. At 21, after doing a series of odd jobs, he became a student at the Vietnam National Art University.

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Panama’s El Valle de Anton – Where Trees Are Square

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A few miles north of the Panama Canal Zone is the Valley of Square Trees a unique tourist attraction where trees of the cottonwood family have rectangular trunks.

Unique in the entire world, this group of square-shaped cottonwood trees grow in a valley created from the ashes of a giant volcano – El Valle de Anton. Featuring hard-right angles, the trunks of the square trees have baffled tourists and scientists alike, for several years. Experts from the University of Florida took saplings of the mysterious trees to see if they retain the same characteristics in a different environment, and concluded that their square shape must have something to do with conditions unique to the valley in which they grow. Evidence that the cause of this bizarre phenomenon is deep-seated is indicated by the fact that their tree rings, which represent its growth, are also square.

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Japan’s Anti-Groping Women-Only Train Cars

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Groping on public transportation is an international problem, but Japanese railway companies have found an effective way to stop it by introducing women-only train and subway cars.

It’s a known fact that Tokyo is overcrowded and that is most obvious during rush hour, when professional pushers shove people into train cars so the doors can close properly. Unfortunately this is the kind of environment where perverts thrive. Usually most people mind their own business, reading a magazine, checking their email or talking on the phone, but some men prefer to talk dirty to the women next to them and groping them. This kind of molestation or “chikan” as the Japanese call it, happens every day in Japanese major cities, and lost of women choose to be quiet and bear it, because of the way male-dominated Japanese society functions. But ever since Japanese railway stations introduced the women-only train cars, they don’t have to, anymore.

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Which Way Are They Looking?

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Venezuelan artist Jesus Gonzales Rodriguez creates mind-twisting images by putting together multiple photographs of a person and cutting along the edges. Every image is made up of a frontal and side-view photograph pieced together to form an optical illusion in which the portraits look normal at a glance, but only until your eyes detect the outlying visage. The photos below are part of Rodriguez’s “1/2″ project, which you can check out on his Flickr profile. Pretty impressive work…(still trying to figure out which way they’re facing)

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Retired Dentist Creates Functional Miniature Airplane Models

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Young C Park, a retired dentist from Honolulu, Hawaii, spends thousands of hours painstakingly working on fully functional models of famous fighter planes.

Every little part of Mr. Park’s planes is a miniature replica of the original. He spends hours on end manipulating aluminum into chains, cable and hinges for his creations and doesn’t leave his workstation until every part is up to his high standards. It might seem a little extreme considering we’re talking about models, but the 77-year-old retired dentist is very passionate about his planes and always aims to execute perfect replicas of the machines that have fascinated him throughout his life. His 1/16 scale models have retracting landing gear and working controls, but the levers are so tiny you need fine tweezers to operate them.

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A Walk through Shanghai’s Marriage Market

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Feeling lonely? Head over to Shanghai’s Marriage Market, a regular city institution where lonely souls, and especially their parents, come to find suitable partners.

“Female, born 1981, 1.62 meters tall, bachelor’s degree, project director at a foreign company, monthly salary above RMB 10,000, looking for someone born between 1974 and 1982, bachelor’s degree or above with a sense of responsibility for the family.” This is just one of the thousands of sheets of paper that decorate Shanghai’s lively People’s Square on weekends, when hundreds of local parents come here to “advertise” their single children. In a city where being single is a real stigmata, this little matchmaking corner is a last resort for lonely people and parents who hope to see their offsprings settled down. But it’s not about finding someone, it’s a bout finding the RIGHT one, a person who fits a certain description, both physically and socially.

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The Dissected Flowers of Fong Qi Wei

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Singaporean photographer Fong Qi Wei likes to pick apart flowers by hand and rearrange them on blank a canvas, creating incredible works of art.

In a series entitled “Exploded Flowers” 33-year-old Fong Qi Wei disassembles popular flowers like the rose, lotus or orchid, carefully rearranges  their components on a blank white canvas and then takes photos of them. The results are totally different than the flowers themselves, but just as beautiful and impressive. ” “Each of the images are done in one sitting, simply because flowers are amongst the most perishable things – so I cannot leave it half finished and work on it the next day as some petals may have wilted or dried up by then. I find that there is always a surprising amount of detail which we do not usually notice in flowers.” the artist says about his exploded flowers.

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Mind-Boggling Spiral Illustrations Are Made of a Single Line

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In one of the most impressive advertising ideas I have ever seen, Singapore-based art director and designer Chan Hwee Chong uses a single long line to create spiral recreations of famous artworks.

In an inspired advertising campaign for Faber-Castell, designer Chan Hwee Chong demonstrates his unbelievable talent by creating spiral illustrations inspired by some of the most popular masterpieces in history. Using the above mentioned company’s pens, he starts with a blank canvas, and by drawing a continuous line in a spiral he somehow manages to make detailed reproductions of the famous works of art. The level of precision and control in Chong’s creations is simply amazing, and although I watched a short video of him in action, I’m still not sure how he manages to achieve such detailed reproductions with a single line.

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Bian Lian – The Ancient Chinese Art of Face Changing

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Bian Lian, or Face Changing, as it’s known in the western world, in an old dramatic art associated with Chinese opera from the Sichuan Province. It is considered a part of China’s cultural heritage and is the only art form to be ranked as a level two national secret.

The skill and speed with which Chinese artists change their beautifully-painted masks has captured audiences’ imagination for centuries. Performers gracefully raise their hands, turn their heads and swing their arms, each time boasting a new mask. The secret of how they manage to change from three to twenty masks during a single performance without anyone realizing the trick has fascinated people since it started being practiced, during the Qing dynasty, around 300 years ago. It is said Bian Lian actually started out as a survival technique. People painted all kinds of designs on their faces to frighten wild animals, but as time went by it became a dramatic art performed on stage. Another legend tells of a people’s hero, a Chinese version of Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor, who whenever cornered by guards would change his appearance to confuse them and escape.

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Zaira Pulido’s Human Hair Embroideries

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Zaira Pulido is a Colombian artist who uses long strands of human hair instead of thread to create embroidered works of art.

Bogota-based Zaira Pulido has been asking every one of her friends and people she’s into for strands of their hair to use in a series of embroidered artworks. She uses the human hair instead of the usual thread and creates various works, like embroidered portraits of her friends (each made with their own hair), an embroidered comb or a replica of her bra. I noticed some people find working with human hair disgusting, but personally I like seeing hair used as an art medium, and Zaira Pulido’s work is right up my alley.

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Japanese Artist Paints Incredible Portraits on iPod Touch and iPad

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Japanese artist Seikou Yamaoka uses a $2.99 application called ArtStudio, and his fingertips to create incredible-looking portraits on his iPod Touch and iPad. And he does it all during a long train commute.

It’s amazing what some people can do with their hands, but Seikou Yamaoka’s work is even more impressive considering he only uses his fingertips. By tapping and sliding his fingertip over the 3.5-inch screen of an iPod Touch, he creates beautiful portraits that look a lot like they’ve been painted with watercolor. That’s actually the talented artist’s goal – to produce  images that look more like watercolour paintings than digital artworks. He uses ArtStudio, a cheap application available on the Apple App Store to create complex colorful images over several hours, during a train commute to work. He starts with a blank canvas, draws an outline of the face he’s about to reproduce and carefully adds strokes of color until it looks like a real painting. Apart from his unusual talent of using Apple’s gadgets to create portraits, Yamaoka likes to paint the old fashioned way, using watercolor or oil-based paint.

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The Wedding House – World’s Smallest Five-Star Hotel

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At 2.5 meters wide and with just 53 square meters of floor space, the Eh Häusel (Wedding House) in Amberg, Germany is the world’s smallest hotel, and a five-star one at that.

From the outside, the Eh Häusel looks like it’s been pushed into the narrow space between two neighboring buildings, but it’s the interior that’s supposed to impress its guests. The hotel is set up on 6 staggered floors and has all the features you’re used to finding in a luxury hotel, including a very comfortable bed, fireplace, fine furniture, flat screen TV and spa bathroom. Guests from as far as China or Mexico pay 240 euros to spend a night at the world’s smallest hotel, and believe it or not the Eh Häusel is fully booked many months in advance. Of course that’s partly due to the fact that’s it’s so small it can only be occupied by one couple at a time.

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Duzzle Art – Doug Powell’s Puzzle Piece Mosaics

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Mosaic artist Doug Powell uses thousands of puzzle pieces to assemble mosaic portraits that capture facial features right down to the finest features.

We’ve featured some of Doug’s work on OC a while ago, when he created a space shuttle mosaic exclusively out of keyboard keys. But he is actually most famous for his unique skill of putting puzzle pieces together as detailed mosaics, which he calls Duzzle Art. If you’re wondering what that means, he just replaced the “P” in puzzle with a “D” from Douglas to personalize his art.

Doug Powell started experimenting with random jigsaw puzzle pieces in 2001, but it wasn’t until 2007 that he began assembling them into portraits. Throughout the years he has developed and refined his technique to the point where he can now reproduce detailed features like lips or eyelashes. The artist never paints any of the puzzle pieces he uses in his mosaics, he only cuts and shapes some of the pieces to make his works even more realistic. Each of the Duzzle Art masterpieces numbers thousands of individual puzzle pieces, and Doug claims he has an inventory of over one million pieces, enough to fill an average size above-ground pool.

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The Camel-Riding Robot Jockeys of Arabia

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Camel racing is a really popular sport throughout the Arab world, and owning a heard of specially-bred fast camels is apparently considered a symbol of wealth and power. But it’s not the animals we should be talking about, it’s their weird-looking robot jockeys.

Obviously, robot jockeys aren’t exactly an integral part of the old camel racing tradition. In the old days, children and light young men were used to whip the camels to victory, but in recent years things had  really gotten out of hand, and crackdowns on the black market revealed around 40,000 kids from South Asia had been kidnapped or sold by their families to become, among other things, camel jockeys. Welfare organizations started reuniting the children with their families, offering them shelter and food until they could return home, but a solution to camel jockey trafficking had to be found urgently. The United Arab Emirates banned children under the age of 16 from competing in camel races, and a Swiss company called K-team realized the business opportunity and began creating light robot jockeys known as “Kamal”, in 2003.

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Would You Believe These Were DRAWN by an 18-Year-Old?

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Rajacenna is an 18-year-old self-taught artist from the Netherlands who draws the most realistic portraits I have ever seen, using only pencils.

I’m a big fan of realistic drawings, and I’ve previously featured amazing works like the pencil drawings of Paul Lung, the ballpoint pen portraits of Juan Francisco Casas, or Cristina Penescu’s detailed scratchboard masterpieces, but at only 18 years of age Rajacenna is in a league of her own. Born in 1993, she started modelling for various Dutch companies when she was only 4, and at 5 years old she made her first appearance on television. She starred in films, soap-operas and tv-series and at 12 she became the host of Kinderjournaal, the first Dutch web-tv for kids.

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