From Vera to Verushka – the unseen photographs of Johnny Moncada

During the 1960s Veruschka von Lehndorff was considered one of the most startling, exotic and unusual models of her time.

An exhibition named From Vera to Verushka – the unseen photographs of Johnny Moncada at Somerset House in London is showing photographs of her  before she writhed around on the floor of Antonioni’s Blow Up! and after she retired from fashion in 1975 where she went on to create the iconically surreal but genius transformation body painting photographs of herself.

Before mutating into all 6ft3 of the Amazonian goddess supermodel which we all know of her, the photographs currently on show at Somerset House in London show her simply as Vera, a young German girl of extortionately effortless style and beauty shot by Johnny Moncada in 1963 and 1964 on the Amalfi Coast. The images project an overwhelmingly cool vision of 1960s Italian glamour and fashion.

After Moncada’s death in 2011, his daughter discovered three thousand of the unpublished photographs in a trunk that had been sealed for over forty years.  The images show Vera in both beautifully staged and informal poses, dressed in the best of Italian fashion including Valentino, Irene Galitzine, Sorelle Fontana, Antonelli, Trico, Biki, Forquet, and Lancetti.  Never previously exhibited, they capture a moment in fashion history and present a rare glimpse of the soon-to-be legendary model, transforming in front of Moncada’s camera into the icon of Amazonian perfection that we came to know simply as Veruschka.

By 1972 Richard Avedon decided that she was “the most beautiful woman in the world”,  during the Sixties and Seventies, she was the highest paid in her profession and appeared on 13 American Vogue covers.  But perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Verushka’s career is her transformation photographs where she created herself into her own art, painting her [...]

Martine Rose SS14 by Sam Bayliss-Ibram and Jayson Hindley

photographer: Sam Bayliss-Ibram stylist: Jayson Hindley makeup: Lo Moorcroft using MAC hair: Sophie Harris models: Aaron, Edward @ AMCK, Peter and Bunny (street cast) stylist’s assistant: Kacion Mayers layout design: Neal Bipin Desai All clothes Martine Rose except for Bunny’s bikini

Photographs from New York’s Punk Culture in the 1980s

The magic of the internet today has blessed us with the discovery of these incredible amateur photographs of the hardcore scene in 1980s New York. This area of punk is perhaps best known as being its most prolific on the West coast of America so its nice to see what was happening on the other side of the country too. However aggressive and raw this scene was in its aesthetics, style and music there is something wonderfully calm and intimate about these photographs. Perhaps that essence is a form of nostalgia that has been translated through these images but nonetheless its lovely to see a more sensitive side to a scene which is all too often labelled off as being stagnantly ruthless.

This is what Sean of Cvlt Nation had to say about the photographs:

Piss-stained streets, CBGB’s matinees, junkies, Reagonomics and no hope were the kind of things that NYC punks had on their plates during the 80′s. I have a different kind of respect for east coast hardcore kids from back then, because we had it good on the west coast. Yeah, we all had parents that did not understand where we were coming from, but many west coast kids had pools in their back yard or you knew someone who did. On the other hand, Lower East Side punks had to deal with a violent urban environment as their back yard. I always felt that the punks on that side had more unity than we did. While we had hardcore gangs that would fight amongst ourselves, L.E.S. heads had to unify because they had cops and street gangs who wanted to bash their heads in for the fun of it! Within all of this madness, some killer [...]

Hentai Addiction

A phrase that has become almost synonymous with an entire genre of pornography for western culture, “hentai” is the combination of the Japanese kanji characters “hen,” meaning strange or weird and “tai,” meaning appearance or condition.  As an adjective it means abnormality or perversion but it has come to be recognized by many as the genre of animated pornography in its entirety. In its Japanese meaning, it can be used in both science and psychology, and does not carry the same singularity that it does for the West.

It was in the 1920s that the usage of hentai really began to solidify it’s meaning in a sexual sense, as German medical texts were being explored and translated. ‘Perverse sexuality’ became a topic of interest and study. During the early 20s Japan developed an industry of publications devoted to the discussion of perverse sexuality with journals comprised of articles submitted by experts, medical professionals and those willing to share their stories and experiences; this was supported by the working classes rising literacy rates that placed reading as a favorite pastime and allowed a ‘low scientific culture’ to develop. (Fruhstuck)

When used in Japanese in its sexual context, hentai seiyoku meaning ‘abnormal sexual desires,’ refers specifically to sexual material of an extreme nature. Anime and manga that depict sexual encounters of the more vanilla variety are referred to as “ero” whereas hentai (in its abbreviated form) refers to perverse or unusual sexual circumstances both same-sex and heterosexual that are dialed up to an Nth degree of fantasy (ladyboys, gang rape, bizarre and/or illicit partners like aliens or monsters).


Ahegao – “weird face” a close-up of a flushed, overly exaggerated orgasmic expression usually featuring the characters mouth open, tongue extended and eyes rolled [...]

Interview with New York Tattooer Mina Aoki

After viewing Mina Aoki’s work, one might never guess that she’s only been tattooing a few years. Aoki, who began working at New York’s Daredevil and Fun City Tattoo shops as an after-school job at 14 years old, later apprenticing and ultimately working as a tattooer, has been cited by many as a rising talent and, more importantly, as someone with an unparalleled passion for the trade. Her tattoos–full-bosomed ladies with long, smoothly shaded hair, her disembodied eyes and mouths, romantic roses, and crisp tribal work–are not only impeccable but always incredibly sexy. We recently caught up with her to talk about her inspirations, work, and influences, ranging from 70s pornography to fantasy novels.

You started working at Fun City and Daredevil when you were only 14. How did you start working there? Had you been interested in tattooing prior to getting that job?

I started working at both Fun City and Daredevil in the summer of 2006, almost 8 years ago. I was 14 at the time, which sounds pretty wild since I was so young.

My father was actually a client and friend of Brad Fink, the co-owner of Daredevil. I remember going into Daredevil for the first time when I was 12. It was in the old location, 174 Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side, and it was right when the shop was being extended, so Brad gave my father and I a tour of the space. I remember seeing Michelle [Myles] there, and even though I didn’t know who she was yet, she looked so cool to me; she was this beautiful blonde woman, covered in tattoos, sitting at the drawing table drawing for her next appointment. That was when I realized that [...]

“If I die of AIDS – forget burial – just drop my body on the steps of the F.D.A.” David Wojnarowicz


Thanks to New York University’s Fales Library the journals of multimedia artist and social activist David Wojnarowicz have been digitalized and made available to view in full online. Containing personal tales of the unsung hero’s travels across Europe and America and correspondence with those he became associated with alongside the developmental processes of his art and film work, the catalogued pages are dated from 1971 to 1991 shortly before the artist’s own death from an AIDs related illness in 1992.

The artist was known to be the lover of photographer Peter Hujar (most noted for his photography of American actress Candy Darling on her deathbed) before his death from AIDS complications in 1987, after which the Wojnarowicz’s work became heavily concerned with and driven by the social and legal injustices inherent in the response to the AIDS epidemic, summed up so succinctly a jacket worn by the artist at a demonstration emblazoned with the words “If I die of AIDS – forget burial – just drop my body on the steps of the F.D.A.” [the American Food and Drug Administration at the centre of controversy surrounding the mismanagement of responses to the AIDS epidemic].

Sadly the battle against the injustices highlighted in his work continued long after his death, even recently in 2010 the Smithsonian removed and edited footage from Wojnarowicz’s short fiilm A Fire in My Belly following complaints from members of religious groups, his journals act as a lasting reminder of the need to demand the basic rights that are so sadly still denied in the shadows of the often not so far flung corners of the world.

See the papers in full here.

Alex Heir of Death/Traitors pick us his ten favourite record covers.

Alex Heir was born in 1984 and graduated from the Pratt Institute in 2006 with a BFA in Printmaking. He currently lives and works in New York City, running his clothing label Death/Traitors founded in 2007 and does illustration for the clothing. He also plays in the NYC post-punk band SURVIVAL and industrial hardcore band L.O.T.I.O.N. At Sang Bleu’s we’ve asked Alex to choose his ten favourite record covers.

‘I think this list does a nice job of illustrating the aesthetic that I really enjoy; that middle ground between ugly and beautiful, where the slight imperfections of a powerful piece make it all the more exciting to look at. These aren’t the works of “masters,” but I find myself drawn to rugged pieces like this more than piece by more technical draftsmen. ‘

You can have a look at Alex’s recently released book on Sacred Bones which is available here