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Photography book Inside North Korea exposes the beauty of North Korea's intimate spaces

Tom_hegen_salt_series_its_nice_that_thumb-11 Work / Photograhy Tom Hegen's awe-inspiring aerial landscapes show the scars of human industry

“I focus on landscapes that have been heavily transformed by human intervention and document the marks that we have left on the earth’s surface in order to meet our daily needs,” says Munich-based photographer Tom Hegen of the environmental agenda behind his incredible abstract landscapes. Tom has been creating aerial photographs for the past four years, scaling the skies with a self-built quadrocopter (or drone) but also using hot air balloons, helicopters and planes.

List8 Work / Photograhy “I’ve tried to prove that being a woman doesn’t mean weakness”: Fatemeh Behboudi on photographing Iran

“Documentary photography is very young in Iran,” Tehran-based photographer Fatemeh Behboudi tells It’s Nice That as we chat about her decade capturing Iranian life and culture over email. “Art, especially photography, has a weak position in Iran and documentary photographers work without any support and with extensive restrictions and therefore, we’re lagging behind. But in recent years, a large number of people have shown interest in documentary photography in Iran, which can be a good opportunity if proper grounds are provided for it.”

Leonmark-photography-itsnicethat-list Work / Photograhy Leon Mark’s refined and infinitely stylish photography

Leon Mark’s photographs are refined, graceful and infinitely stylish. The London-based photographer has worked with the likes Vogue Italia and Chanel, cementing his name across the fashion industry. This is partly due to Leon’s ability to capture the distinct personalities of his sitters, extracting their idiosyncrasies with his lens. “I got into photography by studying film and cinema. I’ve always been interested in fashion and art so I started to focus more on the mise en scène of cinema which pushed me towards photography. That, in turn, let me to fashion photography,” Leon tells It’s Nice That. Working mainly across Europe and the US, Leon shoots both film and digital, and is currently working on short fashion films.

Samrock-watchingthefrench-photography-itsnicethat-20 Work / Photograhy Sam Rock's series Watching the French reimagines sports photography

London-based photographer Sam Rock’s series Watching the French is a tribute to the warm, indulgent days of family outings and tennis-watching. After graduating with a degree in industrial design and engineering, Sam found himself unsure of his next steps and started toying with the possibility of photography. “They say boredom breeds creativity. I was essentially bored and started experimenting with a skill that was immediately accessible. I would lock myself in the attic of my parents’ house and ingest photo books and magazines. That, and a chance opportunity to move to New York, embedded me in the world of assisting, which is essentially an apprenticeship in photography. I’ve found something which took over my life, all day, every day, and I’m so grateful for that,” the photographer tells It’s Nice That.

Steve-smith-animation-itsnicethat-list Work / Animation Steve Smith's music video for Moaning references the chaotic energy of 90s MTV idents

Sometimes it only takes a few seconds before we’re completely sold on a piece of work and that was definitely the case with Los Angeles-based animator Steve Smith’s latest video. We last wrote about Steve in February of this year where he explained how his work is inspired by “Home Depot and his dog, Shoe” and we’ve been hooked ever since.

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 inhabitable 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.”

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.”

Ashleyarmitage-advert-int-list Work / Advertising Photographer Ashley Armitage directs the first-ever shaving advert to feature female body hair

It’s no secret that female product commercials tend to recycle the same, tired clichés. Shaving commercials feature women pointlessly shaving already hairless armpits and unrealistically stone-smooth legs. Chicago-based photographer, Ashley Armitage, has teamed up with Billie, a female-first shave and body brand, to produce the first ever advert to feature women’s body hair. Long overdue, the commercial sees girls reclaiming and celebrating natural beauty. Set to Princess Nokia’s “Tomboy”, Ashley describes her directional debut as “dreamy, playful and lighthearted”, and it appreciates women for what they are, rather than pushing them towards unrealistic, ridiculous ends.

Amandaeliasson-snowwhitecologne-animation-itsnicethat-2list Work / Animation Amanda Eliasson's powerful animation reflects on the painful reality of drug abuse

Channel 4, The Barbican and School of Life; these are just some of animation director Amanda Eliasson’s clients. With her vibrant style and abstract compositions, it’s no wonder Amanda has attracted attention from some of the creative industry’s most respected institutions. Despite graduating with an MA from the Royal College of Art in 2017, animation wasn’t always on the cards for Amanda. Initially, the young animator applied to train as an air traffic controller but sent an application to Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm on the side. It was during her time at the Swedish design school that Amanda fell in love with animation and the exciting narrative opportunities it offered her.

Listpg_13 Work / Publication Dark Igloo’s book Centerhold celebrates the hand modelling of Playboy magazine (NSFW)

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, Playboy was having a moment. Yes, there were tits but there were also excellent writers (Doris Lessing, Vladimir Nabokov, Ray Bradbury) and interviews with the likes of Miles Davis, Malcolm X and James Baldwin. The rigorous attention afforded to its literary output also extended to its art direction, with set designers and stylists creating lavish Renaissance-style backdrops for its models to lounge in.

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.

Paolina-russo-aidan-zamiri-fashion-film-itsnicethat-list Work / Film Irony, sportswear and self-obsession: Paolina Russo and Aidan Zamiri's creative partnership

Fashion designer Paolina Russo and filmmaker Aidan Zamiri are a creative partnership – and real-life couple – who fuse their differing design backgrounds to produce work both individually and collaboratively. The pair both studied at Central Saint Martins (CSM) on BA Fashion Design and BA Graphic Communication Design, respectively and, although studying apparently opposing subjects, it was here that their impressive and intriguing dual practice first originated.

List Features / Art From the Royal Court to @TabloidArtHistory: social media’s influence on art criticism

“When I was growing up everyone would read Artforum,Jerry Saltz tells me over the phone. Jerry is a senior art critic at New York Magazine, the winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for art criticism and an avid social media user with over a million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “I, of course, never understood a single word that was in there. But that was what was cool. So that was what I read.”

List_kissi_ussuki_yellow_coat_724 Work / Illustration Vilnius-based illustrator Kissi Ussuki on her love affair with the colour pink

Sometimes creativity thrives best under limitations. “I usually get overwhelmed by the variety of colour choices I can make so telling myself I can only use, let’s say, five colours at a time makes my work easier and decisions quicker,” Vilnius-based illustrator Kissi Ussuki tells It’s Nice That. “I don’t really know how to explain my love for pink, it’s just a very uplifting colour and I really loved the pink shade of acrylic paint when I was choosing those first paint bottles at a local store.”

Alicetye-gilbertandgeorge-printedpages-illustration-itsnicethat-list Work / Printed Pages How Alice Tye tackled the daunting task of painting a portrait of Gilbert and George

Gilbert and George, the matching artist duo who go everywhere and do absolutely everything together, are one of the most recognisable faces in contemporary art today. The past year has been a marathon of winning accolades for the duo as they returned to fill galleries with The Beard Pictures and Their Fuckosophy, picked up their title as royal academicians and celebrated 50 years of creating work together.

Listcoexist_film_4k_dc Work / Animation Michael Marczewski’s Coexist series combines stock video clips with surreal CGI worlds

From Women Laughing Alone with Salad to the Distracted Boyfriend meme, awkward stock photography can be really good for a laugh. Animator Michael Marczewski’s latest series Coexist makes use of footage found in the depths of stock clip archives for similarly humorous – and at times surreal – ends, mixing snippets with his weird computer-generated worlds.

Lucy-hardecastle-uniqlo-art-itsnicethat-10 Regulars / Ones To Watch 2018 Glassblowing and focus stacking: Lucy Hardcastle's sculptural response to Uniqlo's AIRism

As part of our Ones to Watch 2018 campaign, It’s Nice That is working with Uniqlo to explore a variety of its products through a series of creative commissions. The first in the series sees visual artist Lucy Hardcastle interpreting the technology of AIRism from a new perspective. In our previous article, we revealed the five sculptures Lucy has created and, today, we dive deeper into her process to give an insight into how they came to be.

Nicer-tuesdays-june-recap-list Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays From a devastated Cristiano Ronaldo to embroidered animation: what we learnt at June's Nicer Tuesdays

While the majority of the world watched Argentina play Nigeria in the world cup, we at It’s Nice That made our way to the Oval Space for our monthly event, Nicer Tuesdays. The evening is always host to a range of disciplines and last night was no exception. Atelier Brenda, Robert Rubbish, Season zine and Nikos Livesey took us behind the scenes of graphic design, illustration, publishing and animated embroidery, shining a light on each of their creative niches. Check out what we learnt below:h3. Text can be as effective as images

Specialeditionco.-int-list Work / Digital Special Edition Co. create digital collages which explode on the screen like fireworks

Special Edition Co. is an experimental creative collective comprised of two designers, Sam Small and Trent Roach. Based out of Kansas City, Missouri, it is these makers “primary mission to collaborate on innovative projects with artists internationally,” the designers explain. “Overlapping our aesthetic with other creative mindsets often produces unique and exciting outcomes,” as well as the digital age, “offering endless opportunities to link with other artists.”

List Sponsored / Miscellaneous Meet the shortlist for the MullenLowe NOVA Awards

It’s that time of the year again. Students up and down the country are eagerly curating their work in order to present it at their degree shows for the public to see. This year, for the eighth year running, global marketing communications agency network, MullenLowe Group, returns to sponsor the Central Saint Martins annual show. In addition to being the official sponsors of the degree shows, MullenLowe Group also runs the MullenLowe NOVA Awards to shine a light on the brightest young talent emerging from the world-renowned art, design and performance college.

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