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Tony Ray-Jones made photographs of people–and cows and horses–being themselves. We find it hard to take our eyes off them. And once you do, they’re impossible to forget.

Bravo Mr Jones (1941 – 1972).  And thank you.

See a show at the bbc here 

Here at less, we are fans of a lot of uncommissioned public art, namely the kind that 1) makes you smile 2) makes you admire how well it is made and 3) makes you glad no damage was done in providing you with this unexpected smile.  The category of u.p.a. that succeeds most often on all three scores is the kind that people stick on walls with paste.  Like this swell white rabbit.

As you can see he’s just a little guy on the run caught in full motion on a nice blue/grey wall, found here

Here’s a white dog or doggish creature  stuck on a wall in a lavatory in Melbourne, where quality public art of the non-commissioned kind seems to thrive.  This colour spewing critter is the invention of an artist named Ghost Patrol, who is said to be one of Melbourne’s most prominent artists.  See here.

According to the internet, at least, the top spots for really good stick-on art are Australia (Melbourne and Fremantle) and England (Bristol and London)

This fine little two dimensional shamrock green dachshund lives in London.  He was spotted by the keen-eyed, generous, prolific photographer mermaid99, bless her heart.  Find the pooch and much much more from the mermaid here.

Looking for the uni-coloured dachshund is this colourful kitty, another mermaid 99 find in London  here.

pretty weird squidman in Mexico City.

And here’s a lovely bird, a swallow stuck up in Rye, East Sussex England.  The artist goes by De Wilde when he’s outdoors.  See this fine woodcut and more here

The finders of this paste up, called “Hello Stranger”, on a lamp post in North Oakland CA, are Alex and Allison who rightly point out that it is equal parts pretty and sinister, as all good childrens’ tales should be, we think.

This is just swell, another one from Melbourne.  Thanks to we heart it 

Why is it that “Steve” is the perfect name for this little white dino?  Go here to meet Steve and other Fremantle sights.

These two bandits are having a lot more fun than Bonnie and Clyde.  Found here at a site called Oakown Art (“an exposé of cool public art & culture in and around oakland, california”).  The artist goes by “Get Up”.

Below, three finds of our own in Paris, 2011.

On this one old wall you’ll find a white paste up figure of indeterminate species grasping maybe a large slice of pizza and a coffee (?), a nifty green octopus attacking…Popeye (?), and a whole bunch of tulips.  Also way at the top, a space invader.

And here’s a dapper masked fellow with a rosy fleur for his sweetheart.

And here is another sweet little space invader eyeing/protecting a sweet little cafe.

Space Invader is all over Paris (and quite a few other places too).  These are also stick-up art but made of ceramic tile not paper so they last and last.  They have become part of the fabric of Paris, not a poke in the eye, but an unexpected treat for those who love the sight of children at play without supervision.  This image from here

Let’s give London the last smile:

Again thanks to mermaid99  for this fox. Find it here.  The artist is Surianii.

For many of us, it’s time to head back to school. This image from Shorpy here.  There’s lots to learn, of course, and lots of fun to be had outside the classroom.

There’s The Gym Club.

 

The Science Club

 

The Home Economics Club from 1929, when home economics was more important than nuclear physics.

 

The Senior Nature Club, 3 nature-loving young men and 25 young natural women.

 

Here’s a Pep Club. I feel better already.

 

The  Guys Who Know How to Line Up Club

 

The Thespian Club, not to be upstaged by Pep or Nature or Home Economics.

 

The W Club Service Group is just for being Wonderful, we think.

So play safe out there, learn a lot, have fun.  At school, it seems there’s always something for everybody.

The Trigonometry in Tutu’s club.

Martin Parr is one of those photographers who takes pictures that any one of us might have taken, but we didn’t.  And if we did, you just know they would not, not in a thousand tries, make you want to keep on looking at them the way these do.  What does Mr Parr do that we can’t do?  Good question.

Above, a famous photo of his taken at the seaside in New Brighton, Merseyside, England

Pink lookout hut on the pier in Cardiff, Wales

A shop and its keepers in Cambridge England

A great selection of Martin Parr pictures, mostly taken in the UK, can be found at the website of the Guardian newspaper here.

When he’s not in England, Mr Parr is often in a sunny place, like Mexico.

Above is from a book of his called ‘A Fair Day: Photographs from the West Coast of Ireland’ found here .

This book ‘Bad Weather’ was his first, and it is just so amazing you think about the pictures in it days and days after you see them.  Make that years.

Mr Parr himself looks like he’d blend in to the crowd almost anywhere.

He’s wishing he was a fish, and she’s wishing he was too.

Now these two have a future, unlike the couple above them,  but they’ve each got their own ideas about things, despite the matching sweaters and hair.  It’s all there isn’t it?  update, 29 July 2011: This image was featured in an interview with Martin Parr.  It is in fact a photo by Dutch photographer Ed van der Elsken, an influential, innovative photojournalist admired by Mr Parr (thanks Chantal).

Great photographers of the life that’s going on all around us preserve a momentary glimpse of an ongoing story.  You can’t help feeling that the action and sound will begin any second.  Now.

Felix Chev in LA at LA PLaces

Sign for Uncle Jer  found at smashing magazine.

The Chief offers steamed HEAT or steamed MEAT.  Either way, sounds good after a long day.  From here.

Planet of the Baobabs.  Yes it is.  See here

Billboards are sometimes the best show in town.  More here.

This is just a really nice little spot, because of the signs.  Go here

Bath and laundry.  Of course.  Multitasking with a splash.  Here

Swell.  from askpang.

Las Vegas signs, down, but not forgotten.  Go here

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