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Roxana Azar, Photographer

We've been familiar with Philadelphia-based photographer Roxana Azar's work for some time now. Last summer, she took the snaps for our story on fellow Philadelphian Page Neal of Bario-Neal (where Azar also works), and she's the one responsible for the awesome images of the Jessica Hans / Bario-Neal earrings that often appear in our ad spot at the top of this page. But the second she sent us the latest personal series she's been working on, we knew we had to share — especially on a day like today, when we can only dream that spring might be around the corner. Azar digitally manipulates her photos to make them almost painterly or collage-like, but in the series we're sharing today, many of the images began as photographs from gardens where Azar spent her childhood. "I am really interested in using the photograph as a starting point to layer, erase, rebuild, and obscure an image, turning the image into something ambiguous yet playful," Azar says. "Ranging between chaotic clusters of poppies, fruit trees in limbo between positive and negative space, and colorful ecliptic spheres obscuring cactus pears and palms, I focus on gardens from my childhood and those I have newly explored." Scroll down for more beautiful images and then keep tabs on Azar's Tumblr for new work coming down the pipeline.

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Week of March 9, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: Three different projects that push the boundaries of glass, one photograph that suspends your belief in reality, and two books that subvert your expectations of what a book can do or be.

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Week of March 1, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: A glimpse into the past (the three-year-old side table, pictured above, we can't believe we overlooked), present (six can't-miss art exhibitions happening now), and future (four pieces launching in Milan next month).

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Still Lifes by Belgian Photographer Frederik Vercruysse

Still life photography is having a big week on Sight Unseen — yesterday we featured a pair of stylists who built their reputation on it and are now moving into interiors, and today we're highlighting a photographer who approaches shooting interiors just as though they were still lifes. Belgian-born talent Frederik Vercruysse, in fact, describes his entire body of work as "still life photography in the broadest sense of the word," according to his website, applying the approach not just to interiors but to portraits, fashion shows, and the occasional landscape as well (for clients like Wallpaper magazine, Sophie Buhai, and Muller Van Severen). But then, of course, there are his actual still lifes, which we've decided to focus on here. Shot mostly for magazines, they represent the purest form of his aim "to photograph the subject in its purest form."

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Tekla Evelina Severin on the Urban Outfitters Blog

At last year's Milan Furniture Fair, we had an extremely rare — but kind of major — fangirl moment. It wasn't in response to some big-name Bouroullec-type designer with an installation around town or even Anna Della Russo, who you sometimes see flitting from party to party. It was a Swedish interior architect and photographer named Tekla Evelina Severin — better known on Instagram as Teklan — who we met on a lazy afternoon while exploring Venture Lambrate. Severin has hands down one of the most beautiful Instagrams around, so we were insanely excited to meet her, and even happier when this beauty of a story popped up on Urban Outfitters' blog earlier this month. On the occasion of Valentine's Day, Urban asked Severin to provide them with a series of pink photos that said something about the way she sees the world; of her addictive feed, she says, it's "65 percent impromptu and 35 percent planned. Often it's just things I notice as I pass them or when I'm traveling. Or sometimes it's a place I've seen and not been able to get over." Read on for a selection of our favorite images from the story, then click through for even more photos and an interview with the designer. (And if you don't, follow her on Instagram already, will ya?!)

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Barbara Kasten at the ICA Philadelphia

If Barbara Kasten’s colorful, angular compositions look as though they could have been arranged just last week by some prop stylist in Los Angeles — well, consider that a testament to Kasten’s massive, if massively underappreciated, influence. The Chicago-based artist and photographer is currently the subject of a long overdue solo exhibition at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art; Stages spans five decades of work, from fiber sculptures to cyanotype prints to set design to a brand-new, site-specific installation that plays beautifully with the ICA’s interior architecture.

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Week of February 16, 2015

A weekly Saturday recap to share with you our favorite links, discoveries, exhibitions, and more from the past seven days. This week: two new designs by American Design Hot List alums, a solo show by a master of Mono-ha, and various accoutrements for the chicest breakfast table ever, including marble egg cups and this epic speckled pitcher by BTW Ceramics.

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The Hollyhock House Shot by Gaea Woods

If you'd happened to wander into L.A.'s Barnsdall Art Park in the middle of the night last Friday, you might have assumed there were concert tickets, or some newfangled iPhone model, about to go on sale the next morning: even into the wee hours, a line of people three hours long snaked all around the property. Amazingly enough, though, the massive crowd had turned out not to buy something but to experience the re-opening of Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark 1921 Hollyhock House, which we overheard certain over-caffeinated line-goers describe as "super hyped." Built in 1921 in the so-called California Romanza style, the theater and home turned museum had been closed to the public for more than three years for restoration, and the city was celebrating the unveiling of its face-lift by giving the public continuous free access for 24 hours. We figured the best way to mark the occasion was to send a photographer to shoot the house after dark, a task we entrusted to the up-and-coming L.A. photographer Gaea Woods.

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Doty/Glasco at CES Gallery

We had never heard of the photography husband-and-wife team of JR Doty and Joe Glasco — or the LA gallery CES — before this exhibition announcement arrived in our inbox today, but as soon as we saw the photos we were hooked. The two photographers began collaborating professionally back in 2013, and their current work draws from an archive of more than 40,000 images that were taken on a road trip across America over the last year. Doty and Glasco photographed specific locations, like Utah and California, because of their unique geological conditions. "The images represent the essence of nature with an emphasis on the phenomena of time as it affects the landscape’s topography, such as rippling water, striations of marble and the constant changing of landforms," the press release reads.

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Elizabeth Atterbury, Artist

While the Maine-based artist Elizabeth Atterbury has done amazing things with just simple shapes cut into paper and steel, lately she's been getting a wee bit more ambitious — building a 3-by-4-foot sandbox in her studio and photographing compositions she's raked into it, or using a bandsaw to carve grill bricks into arcs and zigzags then documenting the crumbly results. Aside from photography — which she studied in school — she also exhibits sculptures in clay and painted wood. You can see them in person now through May 10 at Colby College Art Museum in Waterville, Maine, or pick up a copy of Atterbury's 2013 book with Bodega gallery, "In the Middle, an Oasis."

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Recreation Center’s Ceramics

There's a kind of genius in the way that Josephine Heilpern runs her ceramics studio, Recreation Center. Maybe not in the fact that she does everything — from designing to fabricating to filling orders — 100% on her own, with no help, running herself perpetually (yet gleefully) ragged, but more in how she knows exactly when to keep things simple versus when to let her imagination run wild. In the three years since she's been making the mugs, lamps, and mobiles we've been fortunate enough to stock in our online shop, she's barely changed her design formula, hewing to basic shapes and consistent patterns that resist becoming tiresome with daily use, yet on her site and her popular Instagram feed, she markets those objects with all the visual pizzazz of a 28-year-old raised on internet culture. When we invited her to shoot some of her creations exclusively for Sight Unseen, she turned up the styling charm, busting out the dollar-store props and studio scraps to bring her aesthetic vision to life.

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Daniel Everett, Photographer

Utah-based artist Daniel Everett has a BFA in photography from Brigham Young and a master’s from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. But it may have been what happened between his two degrees that had the biggest impact on Everett’s career. “I’d done an internship as part of my undergraduate degree with Edward Burtynsky, and after I finished my undergrad, I traveled with him for just over a year,” Everett remembers. “If you know his work, Burtynsky photographs, like, manmade manipulations of the landscape: the largest open-pit copper mine, or the largest oil field. We were always traveling to some superlative location — the biggest, the widest, the greatest — and I got really interested in the in-between places that we passed through: the nondescript, transitory spaces like subway systems, airports, parking garages, and hotels. Spaces that are meant to be legible regardless of the language, and where the aesthetics are governed by function.”

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