Photographer captures Matrix-like poses

Like it or not, Brad Hammonds’ photostream will make you stop and look twice. His recent series, “Falling Through Space”, captures subjects falling precariously midair on the verge of disaster. The end result is not only an incredible photo, but instantly forces his viewers to contemplate and fear the figure’s fate; a sentiment Brad thrives off of.

“If I can create a feeling of apprehension or even question the safety of the figure in my photos, that’s what really excites me and let’s me know I’ve done what I set out to do.”

Brad’s idea behind “Falling Through Space” comes from the concept of emotional delay – how one person can never really experience true sensations of any moment until it’s already passed.

“It’s the idea that the time your brain takes any one moment and processes it, the moment is already behind you,” Brad explains. “There’s no way you can ever experience that moment again except through memory. I try to capture that moment.”

Alley Fall

The subject in these photos is typically himself suspended Matrix-like in space, meanwhile his face and/or body language remains placid or subdued as if he has no idea or are completely unaware of the dangers that lie ahead.

Brad always likes to keep the background as interesting as possible and keep subject in poses that play into these scenes. He tries to keep any digital manipulation to a minimum, however there is a bit that has to be done to keep his own well being in tact.

Together Rotate

“The poses that you see in the photos are as they actually appear in real life,” Brad says. “Nothing is added, changed, or manipulated. The only thing that’s different is how those poses are achieved. Where in the photos I appear to be falling or floating through space, in actuality I’m in a stable position and then later given the illusion in post-production.”

Brad’s personal favorite photo is actually his newest to the series called Bike Wreck.

Bike Wreck!

“The reason I enjoy this photo is because it was the most difficult setup that I’ve had so far, “ Brad says. “I had challenges in working with other props. The positioning of both myself and the bicycle had to be just right to capture this feeling of a bicycle crash. It wasn’t easy.”

Dive

Another favorite is called Dive, which he feels encapsulates the idea of movement, depicting him diving forward what appears to be a high level of intention.

“The idea is that I’m really trying to go somewhere with great force, but as you can see in this photo, there’s nowhere for this figure to actually go.”

Floating In the Presence of Giants

At the end of the day, Brad wants to continue to challenge himself and take different pictures, but also challenge the viewer as well.

“I think it’s very easy for the viewer to look at the photo and see and ask themselves ‘How is this possible?’ But I want to take it further than that, and I want the viewer also to also ask themselves,“What happens next?” And for them to come up with their own endings.”

Visit Brad’s photostream to see more of his photography.

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Explorer’s passionate pursuit of urban decay

“I’ve frozen in fear many times,” says urban exploration photographer Michelle LaCavalier, known on Flickr as ManicMelange Photography. “I’ve experienced extreme heights, evading police or security, squatters, scrappers; you name it, I’ve seen it all.”

“The only thing that gets me through is when I know whatever is waiting for me on the other side is a gem to shoot,” she says.

Michelle’s passion for photographing abandoned and decayed buildings stems from her fascination with human behavior and how people live.

Done

Demolition

“Going into these buildings that have so much history [and] being able to stand in a spot where so many other people before me have made memories, to touch the things these people have touched, just makes me feel more alive,” she says. “It’s incredible.”

Michelle says urban exploration is a lot about who you know and what those people know. It isn’t easy for her to get access into many buildings. And, as a female, it’s often unsafe for her to go alone.

Broken dreams, broken heart, broken home //

“I do my own research about the buildings,” Michelle says. “If the location has a history and a story, then I seek someone who can either tell me how to get in or go with someone who can get me in. It’s a rush to be one of the first photographers in a new space. But as a rule, it’s always smart to have someone with you.”

Michelle readily admits she’s a “touch-everything type of girl” who likes to get the whole experience inside these abandoned buildings. Dangers and unexpected surprises are part of the deal.

Green Mile You were with me, even when I thought I was alone //

“Every step I take has to be slow and focused,” Michelle says. “Floors have soft spots and you can fall straight through. You always have to be careful of rusty nails, glass chards, dirty needles.”

Demolition // Rubble from above Bigroom

Michelle has also encountered a fair share of health hazards inside the locations she visits. Many are dangerous to breathe, such as asbestos, mold, chemicals and animal droppings. To protect herself, she often wears gas masks and respirators which she often incorporates in her shots.

One of Michelle’s favorite locations to shoot are hospital and psychiatric insane asylums.

“The people that suffered, got better, healed, passed away, it’s all there,” she says. “It’s all in the walls, there’s always patient records laying around, you can actually read about someone and see their entire life. I love it.”

Love Factory boat Demolition // Longview

Michelle’s goal is to reconnect her viewers emotionally to these buildings, that are left behind when people move on, and breathe life into them again.

“I consider my photography a method of storytelling,” Michelle says. “To document that these buildings are still interesting, important and full of answers is my passion. When people react to my images with curiosity, questions or fascination, it’s worth every danger I encounter. It’s the ultimate accomplishment.”

Visit Michelle’s photostream to see more of her photography.

To see more urban explorations, check out Jose Vazquez’s story.

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Zev’s ‘Little Folk’ series earns big buzz

Zev Hoover, known on Flickr as fiddleoak, has become an internet sensation with his “little folk” photo series. These miniature worlds — in which he digitally shrinks people into tiny dreamlike scenarios — involve kids sitting on acorns, rafts made of popsicle sticks and paper airplanes as viable modes of transport. His images have generated buzz not only because of his sheer talent, but the fact that Zev is only 14 years old.

“I like to take the viewer along on a magical journey of rediscovering the world,” Zev says in the accompanying video. “I like showing them that even the little things around us are really beautiful.”

Zev started taking pictures as an 8-year-old with an old cell phone camera, before moving up the ranks and getting professional cameras — which ultimately ignited his passion for photography.

bless my sponge bath this is not a fire escape

“I really like cameras,” Zev says. “They’re just beautiful. Lenses are lovely things. And so the actual shooting, I love doing. Also, there’s a moment like no other when you’re done editing a picture, and you sort of sit back and look at it… it’s wonderful.”

Zev doesn’t remember where the original idea for “little folk” came from. He claims it “just sort of happened” one day back in 2011 while on a walk through the woods with his sister. He’s always loved nature and being outdoors.

autumn

tell them I am still here

“I like putting my eye near the ground,” Zev admits, “because you see a totally different world when you’re thinking from the point of view of something smaller than you. Everywhere I go, I see a perfect spot for a little person. Maybe it’s a little rock, which makes for a perfect cave for a person, or perhaps it’s a leaf that would make for a perfect boat… I see that everywhere.”

Zev is inspired by everything in his life — ranging from various Flickr photographers to his current hobbies/interests. Recently, many of his images have been inspired by flight which stems from his hobby of making remote-controlled planes. Before that he was into origami, which is why he used paper cranes in his photos. And before that, he used playing cards after becoming interested in magic.

“I always try and show what I’m interested in my ‘little folks’ series,” Zev says, “I’ve found that they can sort of adapt to anything.”

air draft

His process involves capturing the background first without any people in it — often it’s a collage of pictures or panorama. Then, he’ll go out to a location with similar lighting and take photos of people (usually himself) in various poses. Next, he takes both photos into Photoshop and manipulates them by adding shadows and correcting color so that it all matches.

the gameside

grandfather watch

Zev is extremely humbled by all the attention and success of his photography. “I consider myself incredibly lucky that people like my work, and it encourages me to do more. I think photography is universal. You can photograph whatever is in your life. And if you stick to it, you can really get a nice result.”

Visit Zev’s photostream to see more of his photography.

And, check out 18-year-old photographer Olivia Bee who has worked for the world’s most iconic brands. Watch Olivia’s story.

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The Weekly Flickr: Happy Pride!

From New York City’s historic Stonewall Inn to San Francisco’s famed Castro, gay pride parades across the country were especially exuberant following the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, and allow gay couples to marry once again in California.

But the celebrations didn’t stop there. From London to Sydney, revelers painted the world in every color of the rainbow, and showed that in different languages, “love is love”.

We asked you to “Show Your Pride” and share pictures from this weekend’s celebrations. Happy Pride!

After you’ve watched the video, be sure to check out the photos in The Weekly Flickr’s Flickr Pride gallery.

Queens Pride 2013 30 LA PrideSun 156

London Pride 2013 (167)

Gay Pride 2013, Lyon Queens Pride 2013 15

Photos from magneticart, danimaniacs, Izzyexile, and laurent.a

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Stories of the faceless woman

"The question of why I don’t show faces in my photos comes up a lot," says photographer Patty Maher, known on Flickr as Patty.

"It’s not something I set out to do," she says in today’s Weekly Flickr episode, "but the mystery and anonymity allows me to tell stories that are more universal. A faceless woman can be anyone, and that’s exciting."

Patty is a self-taught photographer and began taking photos only three years ago. Most of her work is self-portraiture within the countryside settings of her Ontario neighborhood. Patty’s main inspiration are stories that can be told through her photography.

"I love to consider a particular setting and then think of what story could take place there," she explains. "I tend to draw on a number of sources for inspiration: fairy tales, different periods in history, poetry, works of art, etc."

Follow the light The hills

In the beginning, Patty started out taking photos of herself. "I used to feel that I had to show my face because they’re self-portraits," she says. "So I spent a lot of time trying to take very attractive pictures of myself."

However, Patty quickly realized that she began focusing more on what she looked like, rather than the story she was trying to convey; it became distracting. To change this, she took herself out of the picture entirely.

Inside Out When the shoes don't fit

"I thought about using myself more as a prop and say what I wanted with with photo, rather than having the photo about me," Patty says. "So once I started getting my head around that, it opened up a whole new world for me."

Patty began using models in her photos — dressing them up in wigs and period costumes. Over time, her photography became centered around the stories she was trying to portray.

She waits for her dreams to return When dreams escape

One of Patty’s favorite photos is She Carried Her Dreams. She was trying to get the idea across of someone carrying their own dreams in their suitcase — all the while escaping and waiting for more dreams to come.

"I really feel that that happens in life," Patty explains, "We have certain dreams that we’re hoping for, and those dreams might not pan out; but if you’re open, other dreams can happen. That’s really very much what photography has been for me, a dream arriving a bit later in life, and I’m totally thrilled to be following that dream."

Looking back at you The Facing

One of the most important aspects about Patty’s photography is allowing the viewer to create their own personal experience.

"The fact that I don’t show faces allows people to potentially write themselves into the story that I’m trying to tell," Patty says. "Any picture I take, it could be any woman. It could be the viewer, it could be someone they know — their mother, their sister, their aunt — whatever they want it to be. And that’s really a goal of mine, to be able to move people in some kind of way. When someone says my photo has made them feel something, it’s the highest compliment I could ever receive."

Visit Patty’s photostream to see more of her photography.

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North Korea’s modern luxuries revealed

Last Friday we heard from Toronto student Benjamin Jakabek, known on Flickr as benyjakabek, who described his rare visit to North Korea and shared the photos he took of the country most will never lay eyes on.

This week he’s back to talk about a side of North Korea that took him by surprise. Before leaving for his trip, Benjamin anticipated a rigid, institutionalized system based on communist philosophy with limited access to the outside world. But after a week traveling throughout the country, Benjamin found pockets where the country seemed advanced beyond his expectations.

“Some of my favorite pictures were ones that showed modernization,” Benjamin says in the video below. “I never really thought that would actually be possible in North Korea.”

One of the things that shocked Benjamin was Pyongyang’s metro system. He was taken aback at how well decorated, clean and beautiful the stations were.

“It was very impressive and really over the top,” Benjamin recalls. “But the strange part was they had two stops that were really nice and then the rest of them they didn’t want to show you. When we went on the subway we saw six stops — two we stopped at, the other four we weren’t able to get off. It was really bizarre.”

Pyongyang Metro   Pyongyang Metro

Benjamin also noted that not everyone had access to the metro. “It was apparent that the average person can’t really go there. First of all, you’re lucky if you’re in Pyongyang and second of all, a lot of these luxuries are held back for the military elite.”

Benjamin was also surprised to encounter Pyongyang’s Fun Fair — a huge outdoor space with carnival rides cheap enough to make the fair one of the few places accessible to the general public.

Pyongyang Fun Fair   Pyongyang Fun Fair

“What’s funny was this wasn’t just a little carnival,” Benjamin explains. “They had very high tech rides like the drop zone and stuff like that. Something you would see at a Wonderland or a Six Flags. One of them was very high tech where you would lay down and it would do all sorts of flips and things on a track. You just would never expect to see that in North Korea.”

Night Time View from the Yanggakbo Hotel

Benjamin found these modern luxuries, such as bowling alleys, fascinating in country closed off from the rest of the world. “You kind of just show up there and it’s a strange combination of being like stuck in 1950s Stalinist Russia mixed with these little tokens from the West,” Benjamin says. “It’s so surreal.”

To see more of Benjamin’s photography, be sure to visit his photostream.

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Life inside North Korea: Between concrete and cherry blossoms

Thoughts of North Korea tend to conjure up images of organized military parades, nuclear missile tests and large crowds worshiping a supreme leader; today that’s Kim Jong Un. But there’s so much more to be known about this mysterious country, which has isolated itself from the Western world for decades.

It’s not every day the veil of secrecy surrounding the Northern part of the Korean peninsula is lifted. But in this episode of The Weekly Flickr, Benjamin Jakabek, known on Flickr as benyjakabek, shows a glimpse of what ordinary life looks like for North Korea’s 25 million citizens.

“I wanted to know what it’s really like,” Benjamin says of his long-standing curiosity of North Korea in the accompanying video. “And when I finally had the chance to go, I found out it wasn’t at all what I expected.”

Benjamin, a political science major at a Toronto university, researched North Korea for years, followed the latest news developments and finally wanted to experience it first hand.

“It’s one of the last places on Earth that’s untouched by modernization and information,” Benjamin says. “It’s incredible to think about. We live in a society where we have access to all sorts of information. But there, they block everything off and they generally don’t allow anyone in. All we know is what they want us to know. And that’s kind of one of the main drivers of why I went there, just curiosity.”

Kim Il-Sung Square Kim Il-Sung Square

After looking into various tour groups that organize trips into North Korea, Benjamin chose one that had the best relations with the DPRK, allowing greater access and fewer photography restrictions. North Korea has its own ministry of tourism known as the Korean International Tourism Company (KITC) that gives out permits to overseas tourist companies. These overseas companies gather tourists and send them to North Korea where the KITC takes over the tour.

Benjamin admits he was surprised he got a permit so easily. “It only took just a couple months,” he says. “I guess I kind of credit that to the fact I’m just Canadian, but also I’m a young person with no real political agenda. I just went there to see things, and I guess that’s their favorite kind of tourist.”

Street Scenes

Nampo Street Scenes

When he arrived in Pyongyang, Benjamin recalls becoming very anxious upon realizing he lost control over his surroundings.

“You are in a sense trapped,” Benjamin explains. “I went on a tour and you really have to stick to that tour, and there’s no breaking away from it. When they take you around, it’s very coordinated, scheduled, and they try to show you the best of North Korea. They really try to make it seem like a great place, so the whole time you’re trying to peek behind the curtain, while they’re putting on a show.

Waiting for the Bus

Street Scenes

Benjamin describes North Korea as very 1984-esque – extremely uniformed and contrived. He recalls waking up at 6 a.m. and hearing loudspeakers in the distance playing Communist chants and songs; oddly similar to the morning call to prayer in Muslim countries.

“It’s kind of eerie when everyone’s wearing the same thing,” Benjamin says. “Especially when you’re from the West, where everyone’s kind of competing to look different with different clothing.”

Street Scenes

A Bus Ride Home

Pyongyang is a city of 2 million people, and Benjamin was shocked to not see one single advertisement.

“It was strange because there’s no cultural reference,” Benjamin explains. “You go to another city, almost anywhere else in the world, and you kind of see recognizable brands, marketing – everything like that. You get a sense of familiarity and maybe a sense of home. But in North Korea, it’s just nothing. There’s no connection or cultural reference you can relate to or talk about.”

Instead, Benjamin saw propaganda – huge murals, posters and enormous bronze statues of their former leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim jong-Il.

Munsudae Grand Monument

Kim Il-Sung Apartment Towers

“It was difficult at times,” Benjamin admits. “Because the Korean mentality is kind of reserved, and so you wouldn’t see that many outgoing people. However, you would see little moments of happiness, especially with the kids. You can see them laughing and playing in the local playground – just like any place in the world.”

One of the best parts of Benjamin’s visit was attending May Day celebrations. It’s one of the few times during the year when the country allows tourists to walk around freely for three hours. Benjamin finally had an opportunity to interact with locals and see what life was really like.

May Day Park Celebrations!

May Day Picnics

“Honestly, I was really surprised at the Korean hospitality,” he says. “They literally waved at us to come sit down at their picnic, share a bit of the bulgogi beef they cooked on their little grill, grandma’s passing around drinks… it was just a moment you’d never think would happen in North Korea.”

When Benjamin finally left North Korea, he had a different view of the country than when he arrived.

Smiling Traffic Lady

“I was kind of surprised because you realize that they’re just like everyone else,” he says. “Also, just being surrounded by happy North Koreans struck me because I didn’t think it was possible. It’s amazing.”

May Day Park Celebrations!

Model Cooperative Farm Family

“The best way to describe North Korea is concrete and cherry blossoms,” Benjamin says. “You show up there and see these large, concrete, Stalinist architecture, stoic government buildings, and they’re contrasted against these beautiful cherry blossoms. And it kind of shows this contrast between the government and just how beautiful the people are.”

Visit Benjamin’s photostream for more of his photography.

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NYC’s massive subway project

Last month, workers completed the installation of the spire atop One World Trade Center — making it the tallest building in the western hemisphere. The event was covered by media across the globe as a monumental achievement that took over 10 years to complete.

But there’s an equally massive construction project taking place underneath New York City that many are unaware of: the building of the Second Avenue Subway.

Patrick Cashin, a staff photographer for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York, has documented the construction from the very beginning.

After 90 years of planning and delays, the Second Avenue Subway is the first line to be constructed in New York City since 1932. The $4.5 billion transportation project will improve access to mass transit and reduce overcrowding and commuter delays on the east side of Manhattan.

Phase one began in 2007 and included the excavation of new tunnels eight stories (80 feet) beneath Manhattan’s Upper East Side, as well as access shafts at 69th and 72nd Streets.

Patrick began taking pictures of the site when the first hole was big enough for workers to climb into.

SAS_7925 SAS_4798

“When I arrived on the scene in 2009, it was just a lot of mud and dirt,” Patrick says. “But as I kept going back, this hole kept getting deeper and deeper and soon it extended several blocks.”

Construction workers brought down and assembled a 485-ton, 450-foot long tunnel boring machine to drill through the mountain of bedrock. The machine used a 22-foot diameter cutterhead to mine 7,780 feet into two tunnels.

“I think when you’re down there for all of 10 seconds, you know that this is a dangerous place to be,” Patrick says. “When the boring machine is on and cutting, it’s loud and extremely dusty. I understand there’s about 800 workers spread out all over the project. Each are drilling, paving, moving rocks – everyone’s constantly in motion.”

SAS_3724 SAS_4820

Patrick visits the site every few months and each time marvels at the progression. What was once walls of thick black rock suddenly became large, empty cavernous spaces.

“What’s really impressive is when you walk through where the tunnel boring machine had cut the 22-foot hole,” Patrick says, “And and then BOOM, you’re in this huge cavern. It’s this huge hole where the 72nd Street Station is going to be, and it just hits you how big, how much digging they had to do to get this cavern made. It’s just amazing.”

SAS_9959 SAS_7423

The intended Second Avenue station is 110-feet high and 75-feet wide. Patrick admits being down below the city streets almost feels like being on another planet.

“This thing is definitely an engineering feat,” Patrick says. “These caverns are man-made — created from scratch. It feels like you’re in the center of the Earth but really we’re right underneath the busiest city in the world. It’s incredible.”

Patrick feels that with every picture he takes, he’s documenting a piece of history.

SAS_6239 SAS_9989

“10 years ago there was nothing there, and now there’s this big cavern; there are these two tubes running underneath the streets. To show the progression and how it’s being built from start to finish is pretty exciting.”

Visit the MTA’s photostream to see more of their photography.

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Pop icons in unfamiliar scenes

Looking at JD Hancock’s photostream, it’s easy to understand why he proudly admits to being a self-proclaimed geek. JD loves taking photos of his favorite childhood characters ranging from comic books to science fiction and adventure movies. It’s his creative approach, however, that makes his work unique.

“I go out of my way to make my photos fun and whimsical,” he says in the accompanying video. “I love putting well-known pop culture icons in situations you normally wouldn’t see them in — just to get a laugh out of the viewer.”

To put it simply, JD describes himself as “a kid at heart.” When he first joined Flickr in 2005, JD was amazed by the level of photography on the website and was moved to create images of his own. Unfortunately, he did not have the time to go out to shoot incredible landscapes or portraits.

Influenced by macro photographers like Nicolas Vallejos, JD became interested in tabletop photography and decided to create small scenes to capture with his camera.

Happy April Fools Day!

“I looked around the house and thought, ‘What could I take pictures of?’” JD says. “Finally it hit me. Toys! I’ve got my toys, my kids’ got toys. I realized instead of taking pictures of real life, I could use the characters in my house.”

Using his family’s kitchen as his photo studio, JD used whatever materials he had available, such as flashlights, plastic cups, sticky notes and raisin boxes.

“I really like the idea that I can create a whole world in my kitchen,” JD says. “I’ve gotten to the point where I can get setups done really quickly, then I can spend a lot of time on actually taking the photo and positioning characters the way that I think they should.”

Pretty Penny The New Girl

After posting several pictures on Flickr, JD quickly discovered people responding positively to his work. Viewers loved the juxtaposition of seeing their beloved characters in not-so-familiar scenarios.

“I feel like it’s sort of like a behind-the-scenes of what that character is really like in their day-to-day lives,” JD explains. “For example, the thing about Stormtroopers in Star Wars is they’re serious guys helping Darth Vader to keep a tight grip on the universe. But really, they’re just kind of regular guys. I’ve always thought it would be kind of fun to get a picture of what those guys look like after hours or between raids.”

"It's Fun To Stay At The ..." Military Maneuvers

One of his most popular photos is called Four Storms And A Twister.

“I really liked the idea of the Stormtroopers goofing off and trying to get away with doing something fun,” JD says. “Because what they’re supposed to be doing is something awful. But all they want to do is let loose and have a good time!”

JD pushes his creativity further with every photo he takes. One of his favorites is Berry Hard Work — a photo inspired simply by noticing large strawberries in his local grocery store.

Berry Hard Work Setup (3/11) Berry Hard Work Setup (6/11)

“I saw these strawberries and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just climb all over one of those things?’” JD says. “It was a fun setup, but very challenging. I had to slice the strawberries very, very carefully to make it look like it could have been done by one of the little guys. But in the end, I was happy with the result.”

"That's a big Twinkie." Thunder Of Hooves

Over the years, JD has been continuously surprised by the positive feedback he’s received regarding his work, and says it only encourages him to do more. As a result, his photography has been featured in the New York Times, CBS News, Mashable — it’s even been on an album cover.

Swimming In The iPool Han Solo's Big Adventure

“My photos are really a labor of love,” JD says. “I like the idea of trying to be a photographer that shows someone something they’ve seen before, but in a completely different way. I have been a fan of geeky stuff since I was a kid, and the idea that other people are getting some enjoyment out of it makes me extremely happy.”

Visit JD’s photostream for more of his photography.

Are you looking for more macro photography? Check out our previous episode: Tiny worlds in drops of water

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3D masterpieces on pavement by Tracy Lee Stum

Most artists spend a lifetime trying to find both success and passion with their art. Tracy Lee Stum, known on Flickr as Tracy Stum, has definitely found both of them in her career. She makes a living by traveling the world to create interactive 3D street art — beautiful chalk masterpieces on sidewalks and other public walkways.

“I love what I do because I get to take a piece of pavement and transform it into this amazing, imaginary world,” Tracy says in the accompanying video. “And the great thing about it is people can actually step into and be a part of it!”

Tracy says she was born an artist who loved drawing and painting as a child. She studied art in school and became a successful mural painter. Her discovery of street art, however, was a total accident. In 1998, she happened upon a street-painting festival in Santa Barbara, CA, and was immediately drawn to it.

“I went over there and thought, ‘Oh my god! Here are hundreds of people, down on the pavement making these amazing masterpieces with chalk pastel.’ It was incredible,” Stacy says. “I mean this was museum-quality work! I thought to myself, ‘I have to do this.’ This is my tribe. This is my people. I want to join up!”

'Electro Jellies' 'Spirit of Victoria'

When Tracy first started, it wasn’t easy. Being a successful muralist she applied the same technique to the pavement, but quickly realized the environment was much different. Right away she became aware there was a certain way to sketch a drawing, even a certain way to apply the chalk to the surface — it was all very new. But along the way, she found the street-art community to be very helpful, and they guided her through the process.

3D Street Painting - Desert Baby 2

One interesting fact about 3D street painting is that it’s meant to be viewed from one spot. All these pieces are designed to be viewed in person or through a fixed camera from the same vantage point. Artists like Tracy have to be mindful of this placement and draw to scale from that specific viewpoint.

3d-Streetpainting-Life of Pi 'Machu Picchu' 3d Streetpainting

“It’s very interesting actually to see the drawing from the backside or the side,” Tracy says, “because it looks like an abstract image and you don’t know what it is. The minute you put your eye where that camera is supposed to be, you definitely have that ‘wow’ moment and understand what it’s all about.”

After a few years, Tracy’s art opened many opportunities, and she soon began a full-time career as a street artist. One of her favorite pieces was a rendition of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Sony commissioned Tracy to draw the piece at a DVD launch party of “The Da Vinci Code” in New York. Not only was it her most high-profile event, but she also earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

“It was a very beautiful experience for me,” Tracy says. “You know, three weeks into chalking, I worked on the tablecloth alone, and I was ready to kill myself! But in the end, everyone enjoyed it, and I walked away with the Guinness Book of World Record for the largest chalk painting by an individual. It was so surreal.”

'Hot Asphalt' 3d Streetpainting

Despite the occupational hardships — such as working in 100 degrees heat, adjusting to different time zones, and arching/posturing for different drawing positions — Tracy loves her job. Her favorite part is interacting with the public.

Grand Canyon - 3d Streetpainting Vortex 3d Streetpainting

“I’m a natural showman,” Tracy says. “I get out there, and I love it. You get to educate people about the art form. They get so excited because you surprise them with something they never could have imagined, and it adds a little extra life to their day… and mine!”

Looking back, Tracy admits she’s had an amazing journey so far. She’s been working for over 15 years and produces anywhere from 30 to 50 paintings a year.

“I could have never imagined having this ever in my life,” Tracy says. “If someone had come to me years ago and said ‘You’re going to be drawing on the ground, traveling around the world, inspiring people,’ I would have just looked at them and said, ‘What planet are you from?’ I’m just really excited about where it’s all going.”

Visit Tracy’s photostream to see more of her artwork.

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Posted by Ameya Pendse
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