Working along a single stretch of coastline in Sian Ka’an, Mexico’s largest federally-protected reserve, artist Alejandro Duran collects countless bits of trash that washes up from locations around the world. So far he’s discovered plastic debris from dozens of countries on this shore of the Caribbean coast which he utilizes for site site-specific installations for an ongoing project titled Washed Up. By creating aesthetically pleasing landscapes from a disheartening medium, it’s Duran’s hope to create a harsh juxtaposition that draws attention to the global catastrophe of ocean pollution. He shares in a statement about Washed Up:
Over the course of this project, I have identified plastic waste from fifty nations on six continents that have washed ashore along the coast of Sian Ka’an. I have used this international debris to create color-based, site-specific sculptures. Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment.
More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament. The resulting photo series depicts a new form of colonization by consumerism, where even undeveloped land is not safe from the far-reaching impact of our disposable culture.
Australian skateboarder Oliver Percovich created the non-profit Skateistan in 2007, a grassroots project that connects youth and education through skateboarding in Afghanistan. The organization, which has since grown to an award-winning international NGO, caught the attention of London-based photographer Jessica Fulford-Dobson and inspired her to visit the program in Kabul in 2012—especially after learning 45% of the students were female.
In Afghanistan skateboarding has spread to become the number one sport for women, as they are forbidden to ride bicycles. Soon after arriving and entering the girl’s world, Fulford-Dobson was accepted by the young Afghan skateboarders. She photographed the girls with natural light, helping to expose their personalities through simple portraits. Within the images you can see the girls’ natural confidence, images that capture the subjects both posed and candidly skating through the indoor facility.
“I met so many impressive women and girls in Afghanistan: a teacher as tough and determined as any man; young Afghans in their early twenties who were volunteering at an orphanage and were passionate about being seen as strong and willing to fight for themselves, rather than as victims of circumstance; and girls who were being educated to be leaders in their communities and who were already thinking carefully about their own and their country’s future,” said Fulford-Dobson.
The octopus is a fascinating creature. And its well-documented intellect has led more and more scientists to believe that humans may not be alone in their ability to comprehend and solve challenging problems. In addition to opening jars and predicting the outcomes of soccer matches, we can now add ‘taking photographs’ to the ongoing list of skills these 8-legged invertebrate can learn.
To promote their water-resistant camera, Sony recently teamed up with the Sea Life Aquarium in New Zealand to teach an octopus named Rambo to take pictures of visitors from inside her tank. The camera was mounted on her tank “When we first tried to get her to take a photo, it only took three attempts for her to understand the process,” said one of the trainers. “That’s faster than a dog. Actually it’s faster than a human in some instances.” (via PetaPixel)
Artists and Their Cats from Chronicle Books, edited by Alison Nastasi
Although many have been considered an artist’s muse, none have served as repeatedly as the common feline. Often basking directly beside our world’s famous artists, cats have consistently served as creative companion and confidant. New from Chronicle Books is Artists and Their Cats, a collection of intimate portraits featuring many of the past century’s most recognizable artists and their feline counterparts.
Editor Alison Nastasi writes in the book’s introduction, “Many artists buck notions of a stereotypical temperament, but researchers have long speculated that creative individuals share common attributes—which mirror those of cats.” More than 50 pairs are highlighted throughout the book—cats perched on laps, desks, and even atop heads. Included in the cat compendium is everyone from Basquiat to Matisse with images of Picasso and Georgia O’Keeffe in-between. Salvador Dali himself graces the cover with cane and noted Colombian ocelot Babou. Artists and Their Cats is now available in the Colossal Shop.
Over at Kitchen Ghosts, photographer Daria Khoroshavina and food stylist Olga Kolesnikov have been creating cinemagraphs that detail the creation of entire meals. Some are more like step-by-step recipes, while others just document the general preparation of different ingredients. They also run a Tumblr of additional food prep GIFs at Buttery Planet. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
The stories of a unique bond between a child and their pet are as timeless as they come, but rarely does the pet have wings. Such is the case with photographer Cameron Bloom whose son Noah happened upon a baby magpie in 2013 when the family was out walking near their home in Newport, Australia. After consulting with a veterinarian, the family learned to raise the orphaned bird, who they affectionately named Penguin.
A year later, the curious bird has deeply integrated with the family. Despite being free to come and go outdoors, she always returns to the Bloom household where Cameron, his wife Sam, and their sons Rueben, Noah, and Oli eagerly await her return. On rare occasions, Penguin even shows off her adopted family to other magpies who have followed her inside the house.
Just yesterday, New York Times bestselling author Bradley Trevor Greiveannounced that he’ll be writing a book about Penguin and the Blooms, accompanied by Cameron’s photography. You can see more on his website. All photos shared here courtesy the photographer. (via Beautiful Decay, ABC)
Australian photographer Ray Collins first picked up a camera in 2007 and used it to photograph his friends surfing around his home after long shifts working in a nearby coal mine. His attention quickly shifted from his friends to patterns and forms he noticed in the waves. Collins, who is colorblind, was also drawn to the interplay of light and water, perhaps more attune to contrast than the nuance of color. He poetically refers to this switch from coal miner to fine art photographer as a balance between his “black life and blue life.”
The accolades, awards, and sponsorships have been heaped on Collins leading to the publication of his first book, Found at Sea, he also has a wide variety of prints on his website, and you can follow his photography day-to-day on Instagram. (via Laughing Squid)