Mad Quickies

Mad Quickies: Wet-Plate Photos, Live-Action Mulan, Rad Skate Parks and More!

Welcome back to civilization, all you earthlings who had, I hope, a superbly long weekend! I’ve collected a few notable moments in what’s going on in notable art-and-science endeavors. Let’s light this candle!

Brief on text, this interview with Shane Balkowitsch—Wet Plate Photographer Captures Powerful Portraits of Native Americans—is brief on text but is satisfying scroll of extraordinarily poignant images.

“Inspired by the great historic photographers of yesteryear, Shane Balkowitsch has focused his artistic practice on taking wet plate photographs. Eschewing modern cameras, the only piece of photography equipment the North Dakotan uses is his wet plate camera. And it’s with this technique that he has been able to document the rich local culture of Northern Plains Native Americans.”


Thanks to the release of their first teaser, Disney’s live-action Mulan looks more like a period drama.

Jennifer Oullette reports: “Disney has dropped a teaser for its forthcoming film, Mulan, giving us our first real look at the studio’s live action remake of the classic 1998 animated film.”

(Mild spoilers for the 1998 Disney animated film below.)

“Both films are based on the Chinese legend, “The Ballad of Hua Mulan,” telling the story of a young woman in the Northern Wei era (spanning 386-536 CE) who takes her father’s place when each family is required to provide one male to serve in the emperor’s army. In this version, Hua Mulan is already a well-trained fighter—the Arya Stark of Chinese legend—and she serves for 12 years with none of her fellow soldiers ever suspecting her true gender.”

Teaser video included.


In his recent project, photographer Amir Zaki ensures that You’ve Never Seen Skate Parks Like This Before.

“When you think of skateboard photography, you probably picture a skater flying through the air while performing some recondite feat of physical wizardry. In Amir Zaki’s photographs, though, skaters themselves are nowhere to be seen. Zaki grew up skating in Beaumont, California, and has the greatest respect for practitioners of the sport. But when he turned his own camera on the skate parks of his home region, his interest was more in the parks than the skating.”

“There’s a whole history of skateboard photography, but everything is focused on the performer,” Zaki explains. “There are lots of photographers who do that, and they’re very good at it. But I wanted to do something different.”

In an expansive visual tribute on the death of the legendary poet, Maya Angelou has been reimagined through mural art.

“More than two dozen artists honored the poet, artist and activist with murals at the Los Angeles high school that bears her name. … More than half of the artists live in Los Angeles, but others came from as far away as Miami, Switzerland and Spain. Some of the pieces are photo-realistic; others are illustrative, geometric or abstract. Many include words or references to her poems.”


Ok- I get that fashion show presentations are rarely ready-to-wear items and are more performance art means high-level unattainable prototype ideas. I also understand that sometimes these fashion shows, especially capital C couture can be more performance than fashion.

That said: what the christ is going on here: San Kim channels fetishistic Freudian theories in inflatable fashion collection. “University of Westminster student San Kim presented a line of inflatable couture for his graduate fashion collection inspired by Freudian theories of psychosexual development.”

My favorite moment of this textually stoic treatment of this “collection”? This comment: “In a bid to also make the garments as sustainable as possible, he made the jeans from a squared pattern to minimise the amount of waste during production.”

Seriously, I applaud this young person’s work, sense of humor [I mean, C’MON], and even sense of environmental concern—well, at least for the elements that aren’t plastic.


To illustrate an example of wet-plate photography, I chose these long-gone folks, taken by an unknown photographer.


Geologic Universe, vault-keeper. Sheer Brick Studio, principal. Empty Set, designer. Bethlehem Mounties, media. WDIY 88.1FM NPR station programmer. Skepchick.

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