All posts tagged photo

Antonio Castelló Avilleira

Published March 11, 2013 by Tony

Extreme Hyperrealism
Paintings that look like Photos

Antonio Castelló Avilleira

Antonio Castelló Avilleira‘s works are noted for their incredible perfection of form and apparent simplicity of his motives.  His provocative and extremist hyperrealist style exhibits a unique technical perfection. In 2012 his works were exhibited at the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona and at Galería Espacio Abierto in Madrid, while recently at the Winter Show Plus One Gallery in London.

Hyperrealism is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph and is considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 2000s.
Hyperrealist painters and sculptors make allowances for some mechanical means of transferring images to the canvas or mold, including preliminary drawings or grisaille underpaintings and molds. Photographic slide projections or multimedia projectors are used to project images onto canvases and rudimentary techniques such as gridding may also be used to ensure accuracy.

Sin título - Óleo sobre tabla

Enzo - Acrílico y óleo sobre tabla

Sin título - Óleo sobre lienzo

Grapes  - Óleo sobre lienzo

 Sin título - Óleo sobre lienzo

Neumático - Óleo sobre lienzo



Published March 2, 2013 by Tony


In the history of medicine, over the time, numerous cases of rare diseases or malformations have been reported and documented, and from the time of the daguerreotype on many of them were also immortalized. Singular cases, sometimes so bizarre and abnormal to create real monstrosity. For this reason, in the past centuries, some of these people became phenomena attraction for circuses (freaks) or part of the collections of medical and scientific museums. I cannot deny that during this photographic search, came across some picture and testimonial so disturbing and strong to bring me to exclude some of them, and though these images show unusual syndromes, I tried to select the older one. Where specified, you will find the type of disease, the time, and the name of the subject.

Elephantiasis Cases
[A disease characterized by the thickening of the skin and underlying tissues, due to a microscopic parasitic worms]

Joseph Carey Merrick

Joseph Carey Merrick
(5 August 1862 – 11 April 1890),  was an English man with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity named the Elephant Man.

elephantiasis elephantiasis
elephantiasis Baron Raimund von Stillfried, (1839 – 1911), was an Austrian photographer.
Bellevue Venus- Oscar G. Mason's portrait “Bellevue Venus” portrait.
Oscar G. Mason (1830 – March 16, 1921), better known was an American photographer and radiographer at the department of Bellevue Hospital in NYC.

Hands and Legs Deformity

lobster boy

Grady Franklin Stiles, Jr. (1937 – 1992) known as Lobster Boy”,was a freak show performer with ectrodactyly deformity, in which fingers and toes are fused together to form claw-like extremities.

Marfan syndrome Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder of the connective tissue. People with Marfan tend to be unusually tall, with long limbs and long, thin fingers.
Ella Harper Ella Harper (born in Tennessee in 1873), known as the “Camel Girl“,was born with an orthopedic condition that caused her knees to bend backwards.
Blanche Dumas Blanche Dumas was born on the Caribbean island of Martinique in 1860. and had a third leg attached to her sacrum. Her pelvis was wider than normal and with double genitalia.
Francesco Lentini Francesco Lentini (1881-1966) was born in Sicily with with three legs, and two sets of functioning male genitals.
hugh baily Hugh or Huey Baily was born in Louisiana around 1936 and appears to have had OI or very rare type of dwarfism.
Johnny Eck the “Half-Boy” with his twin brother Robert Johnny Eck, (Baltimore 1911 – 1991), an American freak show performer and was born with a birth defect that deprived him of the entire lower part of the body, starting from the end of the ribcage. Although equipped with pelvis, feet and legs, they were minute, malformed and non-functional.
John Dougs John Doogs, known professionally as Nicodemus, was born in 1863 with two shortened legs and one truncated arm
Acromesomelic Dysplasia Cases of Acromesomelic Dysplasia
Prince Randian Prince Randian or Prince Rardion (ca. 1871 – 1934), also known as The Snake Man, The Living Torso, The Human Caterpillar, a famous limbless American performer, was born with tetra-amelia syndrome.
Sirenomelia is a rare congenital malformation Sirenomelia, known as Mermaid Syndrome, is a very rare congenital deformity in which the legs are fused together, giving them the appearance of a mermaid’s tail.
Mutter Willard Family

Historic Medical Photographs, a photograph from the Willard work at Mütter Museum

myrtle corbin Josephene Myrtle Corbin (1868 Tennessee, 1928 Texas) was born with a dipygus, two separate pelvises side by side from the waist down.
Dwarfism, Gigantism,  Obesity
Francis Joseph Flynn Francis Joseph Flynn (1864–1898), known as General Mite, was an American who performed as a showman at various competitions as the smallest man in the word. The back of one of his Cart-de-Visite photos states that at 16 years old, he was 22 inches in height and 9 pounds.
Carrie Akers Carrie Akers was a double feature in the world of sideshow – she was both a midget and a Fat Lady. While the date of her birth is not certain, Carrie  weighed a purported 309 pounds and stood only 34 inches tall.
tumblr_lxjjjeNmAK1r84gmfo1_400 Medusa Van Allen (1908-1943), “The Sunshine Girl”. After she was born, her bones never grew, (only her head) making it impossible to even sit up. She exhibited with Ripley’s in the 1930’s
John William Rogan (1868-1905) Sumner County, Tennessee John William Rogan (1868-1905),Tennessee, is one of 17 known people in medical history to reach a height of 8 feet (2.44 m) or more.
Robert Wadlow reached 8’11.1” (272 cm) Robert Pershing Wadlow (1918–1940) is the tallest person in history. Sometimes known as the Alton Giant or Giant of Illinois Wadlow reached 8 ft 11.1 in (2.72 m)in height and weighed 439 lb (199 kg) at his death at age 22.
Robert Earl Hughes, over 1,000 pounds Robert Earl Hughes (1926 – 1958) was, during his lifetime, the heaviest human being recorded in the history. Hughes was born in Illinois an at the age of six, he weighed about 92 kilograms (200 lb), while later the highest and confirmed was 1,041 pounds (472 kg).
The Living Skeleton by jack_mord Isaac W. Sprague (1841-1887), Bridgewater MA, called the ”Living Skeleton”, at the age of 12 he began rapidly losing weight despite having a healthy appetite. He apparently suffered from an extreme case of muscular atrophy, having a weigh less than 50 pounds.

[or goiter is a swelling of the thyroid gland which can lead to a swelling of the neck or larynx

goiter struma

Genitals Abnormalities

ectopic_testis genital cysts
scrotal elefantiasis elephantisis
hermaphrodite Mutter Museum archive
Intersex is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, and genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as female/male sex binary. Such variation may involve genital ambiguity.
Mutter Museum Theodore, a four year-old boy with precociously developed adult genitalia. The physician was Dr. Robert King Stone (1822-1872), a professor of physiological anatomy in the National Medical College at Washington. Mütter Museum.
Precocious Puberty Picture-of-Kids-suffering-from-Early-Puberty
Precocious%20puberty As a medical term, precocious puberty describes puberty occurring at an unusually early age. In most of these children, the process is normal in every respect except the unusually early age, and simply represents a variation of normal development. In a minority of children, the early development is triggered by a disease.
early puberty transactions
 Il portoghese Ean (or Juan) Baptista dos SantosJean (or Juan) Baptista dos Santos was born in Portugal around 1843.It was not dos Santos’ three legs that most
excited medical men, but his double genitalia. He possessed two functioning penes and three scrota, the outer two of which each contained a single testis. Wrote the photographer C.D. Fredericks, creator of the only known photograph of dos Santos, in 1865, “….He functionates with both of the penes, finishing with one, then continues with the other.” He urinated and achieved erections with both penes simultaneously.
Parasitic genitals twin parasitic genitals

Hyper –


 [also called Ambras syndrome is an abnormal amount of hair growth on the body.  Extensive cases of hypertrichosis have  informally been called werewolf syndrome]
jo jo The Russian Fedor Jeftichew (1868 – 1904), known as “Jo-Jo the Dog-Faced Man”, became a famous sideshow performer in United States of America.
Stephan Bibrowsky Stephan Bibrowski (Poland, 1891–1932), better known as Lionel the Lion-faced Man, was a famous sideshow performer.
Ambras syndrome A recent example of Ambras Syndrome. A  girl named Supatra, from Thailand, with thick hair growing оver hеr fаce, еars, аrms, lеgs аnd bаck. Nоthing cоuld stоp the hair growth, even laser treatment.

Conjoined twins

and Parasitism

[A rare phenomenon of identical twins whose bodies are joined in utero. Parasitic twins occur when an embryo begins developing in
 utero, but the pair does not fully  separate, and one embryo maintains dominant development at the expense of the other.]
Pascual Pignon Pasqual Pinon (1889–1929), known as The Two-Headed Mexican, was a performer with the Sells-Floto Circus in the early 1900s.
tocci Giacomo and Giovanni Battista Tocci were Dicephalic conjoined twins born in Italy between 1875 and 1877.

Cutaneous Horn

Madame Dimanche Madame Dimanche, called Widow Sunday, a French woman living in Paris in the early 19th century, grew, in six years from the age of 76, a 24.9 cm (9.8″) horn from her forehead before it was successfully removed.
Wang exhibit in Ripley’s Museum Wang, a Chinese farmer from Manchuria, had a 13-inch horn protruding from the back of his head. This 1930 photo was featured in Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Others malformations

Monosomy X abortus
Early documented case of progeria, c. 1905._400
Thalidomide effects

Giorgio Sommer

Published October 13, 2012 by Tony


In a previous post dedicated to the German photographer Wilhelm von Plüschow, I also had set out to talk about another famous German photographer, Giorgio Sommer,  who gave so much to Naples, about its culture and natural beauty.  What you will read below has been taken from site.

Giorgio Sommer (1834–1914) was born in Frankfurt (Germany), and became one of Europe’s most important and prolific photographers of the 19th century. Active from 1857 to 1888, he produced thousands of images of archeological ruins, landscapes, art objects and portraits. After studying business in Frankfurt, Sommer opened his first photography studio, during which time he worked in Switzerland, where he made relief images of mountains for the Swiss government. In 1856 moved his business to Naples and later (1866) formed a partnership with fellow German photographer Edmund who owned a studio in Rome. Operating from their respective Naples and Rome studios, Sommer and Behles became one of the largest and most prolific photography concerns in Italy.
Sommer’s catalog included images from the Vatican Museum, the National Archeological Museum at Naples, the Roman ruins at Pompeii, as well as street and architectural scenes of Naples, Florence, Rome, Capri and Sicily. Most notably, Sommer published his comprehensive album “Dintorni di Napoli” (Near Naples), which contained over one hundred images of everyday scenes in Naples. In April 1872, he documented a very large eruption of Mount Vesuvius in a series of stunning photographs. Sommer and Behles exhibited extensively and earned numerous honors and prizes for their work (London 1862, Paris 1867, Vienna 1873, Nuremberg 1885). At one time, Sommer was appointed official photographer to King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy.
Sommer was involved in every aspect of the photography business. He published his own images that he sold in his studios and to customers across Europe. In later years, he photographed custom images for book illustrations, as well as printing his own albums and postcards. He worked in all the popular formats of his day: carte de visite, stereoview, and large albumen prints (approximately 8×10) which were sold individually and in bound albums.

The images are a lot and I’ve chosen only a few to show to you now. Click to magnify.

730px-G__Sommer_1103  736px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_1171_-_Tempio_di_Venere_a_Diana_Baja  737px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__1155_-_Napoli_-_Vesuvio  742px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__2123_-_Sorrento  755px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__3830_-_Pozzuoli_-_Panorama  766px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__1191-_Amalfi  771px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__103_-_Napoli_-_via_Roma_(Monumento_a_Carlo_Poerio)  780px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__0556_-_Sorrento_-_Marina_coll'Albergo_Tramontano  792px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__2501_-_Napoli_-_Eruzione_del_Vesuvio_26_Aprile_1872  Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__1169_-_Capri_-_Marinella  Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__2044_Strada_da_Sorrento_ad_Amalfi_Positano_verso_Prajano  396px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__7102_COMO__Il_Duomo_  477px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_1516_-_MUSEO_DI_NAPOLI  741px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__1210_-_Pompei_-_Casa_del_Poeta  756px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__2066_-_Pesto_-_Tempio_di_Nettuno  759px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__2146_-_Capri_-_Grotta_azzurra  765px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__1297_-_Pompei_-_Strada_di_Stabia  773px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__2012_-_Amalfi_-_Convento_dei_Capuccini_-_Chiostro  800px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__4428_-_Bronzi_-_Museo_di_Napoli_-_Cornell_university_website  G__Sommer_1164  Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__3010_-_Pompei_-_Casa_dei_Vettii  761px-Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__1187_-_Napoli  777px-Makkaronifabrik_Neapel Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__11610_-_Napoli_-_Costume  Sommer,_Giorgio_-_Contadini_di_Capri_-_sec__XIX  Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__2742_-_Scritturale  Sommer,_Giorgio_(1834-1914)_-_n__2796_-_Zampognari     Sommer,_Giorgio_-_Famille_napolitaine  Makkaroniesser



Published October 29, 2011 by Tony


Liu Bolin
, a 35-year-old man from Shandong, China, is able to camouflage himself in any surroundings, no matter how difficult they might be, and for this is known as “the Invisible man”. The artist  paints himself to blend into the background of photographs and with no post-production or Photoshop manipulation. Liu works on any set – chosen with care – for up to 10 hours at a time, to achieves the right effect and he’s successful since passers-by sometimes don’t even realize he is there until he moves. The talented Liu Bolin says his art is a protest against the actions of the Government that persecutes artists and for this he shut down his art studio in 2005. It’s about not fitting into modern society but, despite problems with Chinese authorities, Liu’s works are appreciated at an international level.
Here’s what he says – “…my art is cultural. It represents the diminishing humanity in today’s society. I use my art to be retrospective on culture…the environment and fast economic development.” –
Pretty amazing and inspiring, Liu’s performance art gives back a result unique and creative.














Wilhelm von Plüschow

Published March 26, 2011 by Tony

Mediterranean trait

Note, anybody who doesn’t like nude photographs and of young people mainly, ought to stop looking at this post.

Accidentally I hit on some picture of Wilhelm von Plüschow a German photographer (1852 – 1930) who stayed in Naples from the early 1890s. He became known for his nude photos of local youths, predominantly males (but also females) like his cousin Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856-1931) who spent many years in Taormina and became a famous photographer for the nude photos of Sicilian people, instead. He came to Naples more times to meet Plüschow and so, among his archive there are some portraits of Neapolitan people too. Anyway, they both also took many landscapes that helped popularize tourism to Italy and that today have their importance under a historical aspect, also if there are other photographers specialized in this genre that I intent to find and see their old landscapes about Naples and surroundings.

The images they produced are considered to be a landmark for the beginning of the homosexual photograph. Pluschow pictures are more erotic than the ones shot by Baron von Glœden who was more an aesthete and whose works suggested a setting in the Greece or Italy of antiquity. Timeless and enticing images in search of a sublime beauty in the Mediterranean world he felt allured.

Apart from nudity – that could nettle someone – I was interested to see the models feature because any population has its own physical characteristic and it is interesting to check as they change in the time.

In Italy – divided by different regions – there are different lineages and it is amazing to see as some of them still are clearly visible nowadays – as a stereotype characterizing a region or a country.

This post started deliberately by the word “accidentally” because this blog is dedicated to Neapolitan culture priory while one of the last post concerned a tour in Sicily and – strangely enough – I found something about Naples and Sicily at the same time and looking at the different portraits I often were able to set who was Sicilian and who Neapolitan. Undoubtedly Sicilians have very strong and unmistakable feature but we anyhow are considering two populations of the Mediterranean area in southern Italy that had many things in common. Among the numerous photos of Gloeden I chose the one took in Naples or those whose people feature had some ‘Parthenope’ distinctive trait.

A boy

A boy – Wilhelm von Plüschow, Boy as a saint portrait – no date – 19th-century.

Nino_Cesarini – Portrait of Nino Cesarini by Wilhelm von Plüschow.
Male nude

Male nude – Wilhelm von Plueschow, Male nude, Naples, 1890-1900 nearly. Catalogue: 36.117.

Vincenzo_Galdi – Wilhelm von Pluschow, Nude portrait of Vincenzo Galdi (1895 ca.), at Posillipo, Naples, ca. 1895.
Male nude

Male nude – Wilhelm von Plüschow, Male nude. Naples earlier than 1907.
Boy and girl

Boy and girl –Boy and girl at Posillipo (Naples). Photo by Wilhelm von Plüschow, dating from the 1890s, from the book Der Körper des Kindes und seine Pflege by Carl Heinrich Stratz.
A girl

A girl – 1909 (Publication) – 10-year old girl with mamma areolata. Photo by Wilhelm von Plüschow from the book Der Körper des Kindes und seine Pflege by Carl Heinrich Stratz.
Italian girl

Italian girl – 13-year old italian girl. Photo by Wilhelm von Plüschow from the book Der Körper des Kindes und seine Pflege by Carl Heinrich Stratz.
A boy

A boy – Picture by Wilhelm von Plueschow. Naples or Rome, before 1907.

Couple – Picture by Wilhelm von Plueschow. Two nudes.
On a terrace

On a terrace – Five youths on a terrace. Naples and Mount Vesuvius in the background were painted into the picture by von Gloeden (or an assistant). Kiermeier-Debre/Vogel: Wilhelm von Gloeden – auch ich in Arkadien (Cologne 2007), p. 111. Barandum cat. #151, reg. #45.
A boy

A boy – Wilhelm von Gloeden, “A boy“. Catalogue number: 52. Francesco Gallo, W. Von Gloeden. Fotografie originali, Comune di Taormina (Tipolitografia Pino,Catania) 1981, p. 23.
Two naked boys

Two naked boys – Wilhelm von Gloeden, Two naked boys, one with an amphora, the other one wearing a Passion-flower. Catalogue number: 79. Around 1895.

Ahmed – Wilhelm von Gloeden, “Ahmed“, Picture number 227 (1899) – Italo Mussa, (Malambrì, Taormina 1980, p. 39.
Italian boy

Italian boy – Wilhelm von Gloeden, “Italian boy posing as Bacchus“. Catalogue number: 299.Janssen, Volker (editor), Wilhelm von Gloeden, Wilhelm von Plüschow, Vincenzo Galdi. Italienische Jünglings-Photographien um 1900, Janssen Verlag, Berlin 1991.

Boys – Wilhelm von Gloeden, “Love and Art”, catalogue number: 0941. Gloeden, Wilhelm von, Amore e arte, Nino Malambrì, Taormina 1999, p. 70.
boys in Pompeii

Boys in Pompeii – Wilhelm von Gloeden, “Neapolitan boys in Pompeii“. Catalogue number: 1052. The photo was taken during a visit by Gloeden’s cousin, Wilhelm von Plueschow, in Naples, evidenced by the fact that the model on the right is Vincenzo Galdi, who was model to, as well as the lover of Plueschow. “deponiert 11-3-1899”, but earlier. Source: Giovanni Dall’Orto.
boy at Pompeii

Boy at Pompeii – Wilhelm von Gloeden, “Neapolitan boy at Pompeii“. Catalogue number: 1074. source: Online auction (ebay).
Love and Art

Love and Art – Wilhelm von Gloeden, Catalogue number: 1121. from “Love and Art” (Amore e arte), Nino Malambrì, Taormina 1999, p. 77.

Portrait – Wilhelm von Gloeden, Catalogue number: 1185. From Love and Art (Amore e arte), Nino Malambrì, Taormina 1999, p. 91.
Boy in the cloister

Boy in the cloister – Wilhelm von Gloeden, male nude in the former cloister of what today is Hotel San Domenico in Taormina, in Sicily, around 1899. source: Sicilia mitica Arcadia, p. 52.
Three nude boys

Three nude boys – Wilhelm von Gloeden, Three nude boys. The picture was shot on Gloeden’s cousin Wilhelm von Plueschow’s terrace in Posillipo (Naples) in the first stage of his work (1890-1900).

Pietro – Wilhelm von Gloeden, Picture number 434. From album “Pietro. Farewell to Naples“.Source – Janssen, Volker (editor), Wilhelm von Gloeden, Wilhelm von Plüschow, Vincenzo Galdi. Italienische Jünglings-Photographien um 1900, Janssen Verlag, Berlin 1991, p. 9.

Here’s now some images where we can see the strong and unmistakable trait of Sicilian guys.

Siclian boy
Siclian guy (note the distinctive Sicilian trait)
sicilian boys
Sicilian boys

At the end I want to add two pictures of Giorgio Sommer (1834-1914). Born in Germany, became one of Europe’s most important and prolific photographers of the 19th century. Active from 1857 to 1888, he produced thousands of images of archeological ruins, landscapes, art objects and portraits.

Spaghetti eaters

Spaghetti eaters – Giorgio Sommer, Spaghetti eaters, before 1886. Photograph, albumen print, 22.8 x 18.4 cm. Numbered #6444.
Famille napolitaine

Famille napolitaine – Giorgio Sommer, Famille napolitaine (neapolitan mother searching for lice in her son’s hair).

This last few lines have been added recently because, long since, this post is the most visited page of my blog and I would like to know the real reason. Thus, I will be glad if any visitor could leave a short comment (also if anonymous) explaining the (real) reason of his/her visit. Thank you a lot!