I only recently learned about the artist called JR. I must have been blind or totally in a different universe that I haven't seen his work before, because when you look at the size of his images than you literally have to be blind or in another universe to miss them.
He is loved and respected for his superlarge portraits of people that he posts in street art style on buildings of Parisian slums, on walls in the Middle East, on broken bridges in Africa or in favelas in Brazil.
It is not the size of the images alone though that make his work so outstanding. It is the people he portrais and also the specific places where he post them.
He first became well known when he photographed young people of the Parisian suburbs notorious for crime and anti-social behaviour. By glueing their images in XL-size across the bourgeois Paris city centre he brought their human side closer to the rest of the city who normally would distance themselves from their un-welcomed neighbours.
One of the most powerful projects he has done in my view was his "Face2Face" installations which is by some regarded as the biggest illegal photo exhibition ever. In 2007 he posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities, and on both sides of the massive security fence barrier that seperates the two communities.
I love that project. Showing these people who are so bitterly divided by their historic and religious disbutes next to each other on photos pulling funny faces had something so disarming and unifying.
He recently won the TED-Prize which granted him £100.000 to spend on a project of his choice. If you don't know TED yet then please check it out. It is a magnificient project that is dedicated to spread knowledge about the most incredible ideas, inventions and projects by some of the most exceptional individuals on this planet.
On of them is definitely JR. As part of the TED-prize-project he invited the whole world to participate in his latest photo initiative "Inside Out". If you have a camera, a gallery space or even just a wall and want to tell a visual story about the people in your city, neighbourhood or community then you are most welcomed to take part.
Read all about it here: www.tedprize.org
If you want to know more about the artist JR himself then click here: www.jr-art.net
Or watch this brilliant video where he looks back and forward on his projects.
And you can get more info and incredible videos of TED here - seriously I highly recommend it - you will be inspired: www.ted.com
And here some more of JR's remarkable photographs: