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Maya Fuhr’s sensual still lifes open us to a world of pleasure and vulnerability

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List09_sha_svaneti_georgia_full_3500_2016-4416 Work / Photography Natasha Sharapova on shooting the last two inhabitants of a rural village in Georgia

Svaneti, an area in the north-west of Georgia, is a place quite unlike anywhere else. Tucked in the rare habitable pockets of the Caucasus mountains (sometimes even clinging to the sides), its villages are a patchwork of higgledy-piggledy dirt tracks complete with free-range cows, bear-like mountain dogs and the hairiest of pigs. Medieval defensive towers punctuate the landscape, built as places for the whole village to wait out enemy invaders – a tactic that worked so well that the Svan language, polyphonic singing style and many of its unique customs (blood feuds included) were just as impossible to conquer as the mountains themselves. The nearest town Mestia is between three and five hours of stomach-churning roads away, and in the harsh winter metres of snow damage this one road so completely that it needs to be laid again every spring. Here you can try to domesticate nature, but it has a will all of its own.

Listioanna11 Work / Photography Photographer Ioanna Sakellaraki's Aidos series explores the importance of shame in Greek culture

“With regards to Greek culture, shaming is a lifelong tradition for positioning someone in society,” says photographer Ioanna Sakellaraki about her decision to focus on the emotion of shame for her series Aidos. “I felt this was a big part of my education while growing up back home. I was aware of it then but was only able to observe it while living abroad and visiting the country sporadically. Photography helped me question this and better understand it.”

Michaeljamesfox-plastics-photography-itsnicethat-7list Work / Photography Michael James Fox's latest book is an unlikely celebration of plastic bags

Plastics is the unlikely celebration of plastic bags and, more generally, plastic objects that have caught photographer Michael James Fox’s eye over the years. Michael spent his childhood reading skate magazines and watching videos of peers with similar interests. Michael’s interest in photography was sparked when a friend gained access to a VHS camera. As time went by, Michael’s attention shifted from film to photography, the latter of which continues to interest him today. “Video making led me to photography when I was 16,” Michael tells It’s Nice That. “At that time I was obsessed with MC Escher and Dali, I wanted to create surreal images of my own. In the darkroom I sandwiched negatives together, experimented with blurring and even painted on prints.” It is safe to say that abstraction continues to be at the heart of Michael’s practice.

Snezhana-von-budingen-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photography Snezhana von Büdingen uses photography to be a "director, journalist, and painter"

Based in Cologne, Germany although born in Perm, Russia, Snezhana von Büdingen’s photography fulfils her need to tell the stories of others. “My ideas for projects always come from chance encounters with people,” she tells It’s Nice That, “It’s from a fascination with these people that a project develops – people that are different, think differently, and have different views on life.”

Fuminagasaka-10men-brightonseries-photography-itsnicethat-4list Work / Photography Photographer Fumi Nagasaka's affectionate take on a family portrait

“About three years ago, I met Sasha at a Starbucks in Brighton Beach while I was working for a location scout,” Fumi tells It’s Nice That. “He was 16 and I wanted to photograph him for my book Untitled Youth, which was published in 2016.” However, after visiting the teen at his Russian family home to get an approval from his parents, the eccentric characters she met inspired her to set up a family shoot.

Mayafuhr-int-list Work / Photography Maya Fuhr’s sensual still lifes open us to a world of pleasure and vulnerability

It is not a secret that we are desperately fond of the nostalgic pastel photographs taken by Maya Fuhr, and her recent collaboration with Nox Shop has stolen our gaze. Making sex toys appear candy sweet, Maya’s recent series features soft, sensual still lifes that juxtapose dildo’s with idiosyncratic memorabilia. Excited by our interest in this project, Maya has drawn from her archive several other collaborations with sex shops. “I want to normalise using sex toys both in solitude and with partners, and create more open conversations among people in regards to what really pleasures them”, she explains.

List Work / Opinion Is design still a (cis)man's world?

In Design as an Attitude, design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn sets out to squash the stereotypes, by celebrating design’s ability to better the world we live in, especially in light of its currently tumultuous future. Arguing that design is a powerful force in all of our lives, she questions why it is often dismissed as a “manipulative commercial ploy”.

Clash-pub-int-list Work / Publication Individual and creative freedom is the lifeblood of the summer edition of Clash

Clash #108 is themed around freedom; “individual and creative freedom is the lifeblood of the summer edition of Clash”, creative director Rob Meyers tells It’s Nice That, “in this issue, we praise the inspiring artists that assert their own unique essence through inventive and distinctive means of expression”. The four cover stars traverse the four poles of what Clash represents musically — high profile pop music, hip-hop/urban music, independent music and a “next wave” artist, and each musician stands true to the theme.

List-img-accent-mag Work / Publication Accent Magazine on mocking, mimicking and surpassing the mainstream

Since its launch as an online photography journal in 2013, the look, feel and approach of Accent Magazine has been constantly evolving. In its fourth print issue, which launched last month, Accent editors Lydia Garnett and Lucy Nurnberg are doing their own spin on the celebrity gossip magazine, drawing inspiration from the likes of dentist-waiting-room-giants Hello! and OK!

List_climbing_the_ladder_2018_oil_on_canvas_40_x_55cm Work / Art Mia Wilkinson’s unapologetic nudes are a study of how women are sexualised on and offline

From Marlene Dumas, to Jeff Koons or even Titian, the line between what constitutes art and what is porn has been much debated over the centuries and rarely has a simple answer. With their voluptuous, fleshy figures and expressive brush strokes, Mia Wilkinson’s depictions of the female form are an exploration of this malleable line, using her joyous, powerful and sometimes grotesque portrayals of the female body as a method of challenging male objectification and reconfiguring the gaze. “I love the female form because it’s an interesting shape, it doesn’t all look the same. There are so many different bodies out there,” she says.

Ally-cappelino-list Work / Advertising David Lane and Agnes Lloyd-Platt go back to school for Ally Capellino’s AW18 campaign

Photographer Agnes Lloyd-Platt and creative director David Lane, of Lane and Associates, have teamed up once again to bring us the latest campaign for accessories brand Ally Capellino. Each one is set in a distinct and authentic world (you might remember last season’s which was shot in a garden, or the previous one set in a restaurant kitchen) and this is usually determined by the founder herself. “We tend to take whatever Ally is obsessing about and run with it” explains Agnes (who is also Ally’s daughter); the concept for the SS15 campaign, for instance — which paired models with different pastel-coloured shades of hair, with accessories in corresponding colours — was inspired by the fact Ally herself had pink hair that week.

Diary_july_724x474 Regulars / Diary July diary: this month's must-see events and exhibitions

Summer is officially in full swing, and we’re enjoying the long evenings and our fair share of ice creams here at It’s Nice That. It’s not just the sun that’s getting us excited for July, however, as there are a host of art shows and exhibitions taking place around the UK and the rest of the world. From Michael Jackson’s impact on the art world, to an investigation on how Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood has changed over the last 20 years, check out the It’s Nice That team’s top picks for July below. h3. Michael Jackson: On the Wall
28 June — 21 October 2018
National Portrait Gallery, London

Hellocollective-art-int-list Work / Art Hell’O Collective paints poetic nonsensical worlds inspired by mythology

Hell’O Collective is an artistic duo composed of Jerôme Meyden and Antoine Detaille; the friends met over graffiti, but soon left “spray paint in favour of paper” and painting. Currently on show at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Mons, a Belgium city where they both studied, is a presentation of their “last, or first” ten years of work. Too young for it to be called “a retrospective”, the duo describe it more as a “state of play”. Being their first museum project, it features a diverse range of mediums — drawings, paintings, sculptures, videos and murals. It illustrates the collective’s evolution over the course of the last ten years. “Homogeneity is one of the most important things we have developed” Jerôme and Antoine explain, “it is not easy for a lot of people to work together, but for us, it’s easier than working alone; after all these years we’ve found almost the perfect combination”.

List09_sha_svaneti_georgia_full_3500_2016-4416 Work / Photography Natasha Sharapova on shooting the last two inhabitants of a rural village in Georgia

Svaneti, an area in the north-west of Georgia, is a place quite unlike anywhere else. Tucked in the rare habitable pockets of the Caucasus mountains (sometimes even clinging to the sides), its villages are a patchwork of higgledy-piggledy dirt tracks complete with free-range cows, bear-like mountain dogs and the hairiest of pigs. Medieval defensive towers punctuate the landscape, built as places for the whole village to wait out enemy invaders – a tactic that worked so well that the Svan language, polyphonic singing style and many of its unique customs (blood feuds included) were just as impossible to conquer as the mountains themselves. The nearest town Mestia is between three and five hours of stomach-churning roads away, and in the harsh winter metres of snow damage this one road so completely that it needs to be laid again every spring. Here you can try to domesticate nature, but it has a will all of its own.

Listthe_twins_220x190_oil_on_canvas_2018 Work / Art Francisco Rodríguez’s eerie paintings combine his childhood diet of cartoons and industrial landscapes

Growing up in Santiago, Chile, artist Francisco Rodríguez loved watching cartoons from the US and Europe but especially from Japan. “Japanese animation was extraordinarily famous during the 90s in Chile, maybe because they were cheaper to buy,” Francisco tells us. “Throughout my childhood, I was very influenced by these cartoons – it makes me think this could be one of the reasons why my paintings are quite graphic with solid colours and very delimited drawings.”

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