Nina Katchadourian: Aviation Artiste

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Courtesy of Nina Katchadourian

Gadling has reported on the quirky photographs of frequent flier Nina Katchadourian before. Best known for her toilet-seat-cover self-portraits (really), the California-born photographer was first inspired on a 2010 flight from New York to Atlanta. Today, she’s also gained quite a following for her iPhone in-flight portraits called “Seat Assignment.”

CNN has compiled a slideshow of some of Katchadourian’s best work – including photographic mock “disaster scenarios, seat-buckle seatmate portraits, snack sculptures, and more.” Relying only upon the materials at hand, including in-flight magazines, sweater lint, pretzels and sugar packets, Katchadourian manages to create work that’s witty, absurd and, somehow, profound. We love.

Airplane Lavatory ‘Laviator’ Self-Portraits Get Artsy

airplane lavatory laviator Flemish portraitThree years ago, Gadling’s Heather Poole snapped a self-portrait in an airplane lavatory, started a Flickr group and the “laviator” trend was born. Over a hundred official members later, California-based artist Nina Katchadourian has taken the laviator to a new level by creating Flemish Renaissance-style self-portraits on a 14-hour flight.

Katchadourian started with a basic paper toilet seat cover and a camera phone, and then introduced a few scarves to create different backgrounds and airplane accessories ranging from an eye mask to a neck pillow to build a group of portraits. The resulting photographs resemble Dutch masters you might see in an art museum, but savvy travelers will recognize some of her props from around their airplane seat.

This isn’t Katchadourian’s first appearance on Gadling. We’ve previously admired her work with maps, and Mike Barish found a kindred spirit with her “Skymall Kitties” video.

Want to put your own spin on the laviator portrait? Snap a pic on your next flight and add it to the Flickr pool. You might even usurp my title as cutest laviator.

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[Photo courtesy artist Nina Katchadourian]

“Gate rape” is Urban Dictionary’s Word of the Year. Thanks TSA!

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TSA
patdowns have gotten a lot of coverage here on Gadling. The tragicomic lengths TSA officials go through to grab some booty keep us safe have created a whole Internet subculture of jokes and rage. There’s even a blog called The Daily Patdown to showcase pictures of security officials looking for the next underwear bomber.

Now the fine folks at Urban Dictionary have named “Gate Rape” as the Word of the Year for 2010. Nobody knows who coined this sadly appropriate phrase, but it’s catching on. For some reason people don’t liked getting groped, especially if they’re Indian diplomats. Perhaps we will be seeing civil and criminal suits for gate rape in the near future?

Urban Dictionary has lots of travel-related slang, such as Travel Nazi and Heather Poole’s greatest invention: Laviating!

Happy Christmahanakwanzaka everybody!

[Image courtesy TSA. You wouldn’t believe what I had to do to get it.]

Gadling Take Five: Oct. 17–Oct. 23

Each time I read through posts for Gadling Take Five, I look for those that may have been missed by readers. I also look for posts that may fit together in some sort of cosmic theme. It’s often hard to choose five. While browsing the offerings this week, it seems this was a week of great ideas. This week I found a gold mine.

Here are ten great ideas:

  • When Alison was at Litquake in San Francisco she discovered The Bookmobile, a former actual Bookmobile that has been turned into an experiential gathering place for readers, if you will. If you see the Bookmobile somewhere along the Lincoln Highway this year, step inside. You might encounter a famous author driving it. The material being gathered during the Bookmobile’s journey will be turned into a documentary.
  • A good idea worth considering is reducing the number of traffic signs. Although Aaron is a swell driver, he’s given some thought to how he might be better at it if there were fewer signs to distract him. There is research to prove him right. Fewer signs have been shown to decrease accidents.
  • As world travelers, we’re often introduced to problems we wouldn’t have been otherwise. In Tibet, blindness is a problem. In Sean’s post on the Planeterra Foundation, you can read more about the organization’s wonderful idea to tackle blindness and how you might get involved.
  • Kraig, who knows a thing or two about adventure travel, highlights the reasons why hiking the Continental Divide Trail is a good idea. In the case of hiking this trail, Kraig suggests a good idea is to plan for extremes. For example, on one section there’s a lack of water. On another, you’ll be on the look out for grizzles.
  • Here are two airlines with great ideas. KLM is giving away personalized luggage tags. Scott tells you how to get them. Virgin America is considering testing out this good idea. Those without carry-ons can board first. Alison did think about how this good idea might not be so good after all.
  • If you’re on a long flight, Tom has come up with great ideas for how to be more productive. Since one of my favorite things to do on a plane is zone out, Tom’s tips are extra handy.
  • For anyone looking for where to have a destination wedding. Look no further than St. Maarten. Katie has the scoop on why having a wedding on this island is a great idea. It’s free.
  • You probably came across Annie’s post on 10 things not to forget to pack when you go on a trip. Pajamas is one of them, something I consistently forget.
  • Here’s a good idea that might be a bit weird. I found out about GoGirl, a device that helps women pee like men.
  • And here’s a shout out to Heather’s grand idea even though it’s already found great press. It’s such a great idea, I had to include it. Heather has turned Laviator into a household word. I still have yet to become a Laviator. It’s probably because of my tendency to zone out on a plane. One of these days, though–one of these days.

Galley Gossip: Laviators – the best of the best contest!

Last week a producer from ABC Nightline News contacted me about doing a story on the laviators – THE LAVIATORS! I know, it’s weird, I can’t believe it myself. But one of their corespondents actually happened across my blog after surfing around Youtube where they found people doing all sorts of bizarre things in airplane bathrooms. Of course I asked if he’d seen my video, 25 ways to use a maxi pad in flight, but he had not, so I emailed it to him right away. What he had seen, it turns out, was Michelle’s funny laviator music video featured below.

Michelle really stepped it up a notch,” the producer said matter of fact over the phone.

“That she did!” I agreed. Then I added, “She’s also the one responsible for getting the word ‘laviator’ into the urban dictionary! Now if only we can get the word ‘lavatar,’ as in a laviator avatar, in there as well.”

The producer laughed, and then went on to describe the club as “hysterically weird” and asked what might compel someone to take pictures of themselves in the lavatory.

Honestly, I’m still trying to figure that one out myself, and I’m the first official laviator! Although I’m pretty sure it has something to do with boredom. Or maybe it’s just exciting to do something a little risque – and weird – on an airplane. Then again, it could be all of the above. Who knows. All I know for sure is the end result is fun.

After pitching his story idea, the producer assured me he’d be back in touch. That was over a week ago and I still haven’t head from him. Well that got me thinking. Let’s have a best of the best laviator photo contest!

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That way ABC Nightline News will have no choice but to feature the club on their award winning show when they see just how amazing the laviators truly are. How about if I narrow it down to a few of my favorite shots and you be the judge? Come on, what do you say? Don’t be scared. It’ll be fun! Winner gets a free Laviator T-shirt donated and designed by Windtee, a maker of aviation T-shirt art. All you have to do is click on the photo gallery above, choose your favorite laviator, and then scroll down to the bottom of this post and cast your vote by Tuesday, October 27! That’s it.

Not a member of the laviators club yet? What the heck are you waiting for! On your next trip pack a camera in your carry on bag and then, when the seat belt sign is turned off, nonchalantly slide it into a pocket before making your way to the lav. Once behind the locked door, start clicking away. Don’t be shy. Get creative! As soon as the flight touches ground, make sure to email your photo to me – Heather DOT Poole AT weblogsinc DOT com (or submit it to the Gadling Flickr pool) – and I’ll include it in the official laviator photo gallery. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even make it into the best of the best laviator contest, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll see yourself on ABC Nightline News. Hey, you never know!

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