Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber (previously) collaboratively produce detailed dioramas caught in the throes of natural or manmade chaos. From 2005 to 2015 the pair created a series titled The City, which imagined the post-apocalyptic interiors of abandoned violin shops, malls, and natural history museums. Empire, a follow-up suite of miniature scenes, serves as a companion to this series by looking at the same imagined future from an exterior point of view.
Nix and Gerber’s new scenes move away from a focus on water-damaged and rusty interiors to explore broad outdoor environments recently devoid of civilization. Scaffolding and bridges crumble as plants begin to poke back through cement cracks, subtle hints that nature has begun to reclaim its land.
“Empire presents a world transformed by climate uncertainty and a shifting social order as it stumbles towards a new kind of frontier,” the pair explain in a statement. “These places are eerily beautiful but also unsettling in their stillness and silence. Long ago, man entered the landscape and forced nature to his will. Once grand and emblematic of strength and prosperity, these landscapes now appear abused and in decay, and it is uncertain how they will continue to (d)evolve.”
Each labor intensive model can take up to 7 months to produce, which often means that Nix and Gerber will only finish two photographs a year. The handcrafted dioramas are built from cardboard, foam, and glue—impermanent supplies which are deconstructed and recycled after each shoot.
“I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but I am also fascinated by what a changing world can bring,” Nix told Colossal. “I think this is part of why we make the work we do, to try to reconcile these different attitudes.”
The pair will exhibit images from Empire at their upcoming show at Chicago-based Catherine Edelman Gallery from March 2 to April 28. You can see more of their miniature scenes from both The City and Empire on their Instagram and Facebook.
Share this story
You might need your glasses for this one. Quantum physicist David Nadlinger from the University of Oxford managed to capture an image that would have been impossible only a few years ago: a single atom suspended in an electric field viewable by the naked eye. The amazing shot titled “Single Atom in an Ion Trap” recently won the overall prize in the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) science photo and imaging contest. You can see the atom in the shot above, the tiny speck at the very center.
To be clear, the photo doesn’t capture just the atom, but rather light emitted from it while in an excited state. From the EPSRC:
‘Single Atom in an Ion Trap’, by David Nadlinger, from the University of Oxford, shows the atom held by the fields emanating from the metal electrodes surrounding it. The distance between the small needle tips is about two millimetres.
When illuminated by a laser of the right blue-violet colour the atom absorbs and re-emits light particles sufficiently quickly for an ordinary camera to capture it in a long exposure photograph. The winning picture was taken through a window of the ultra-high vacuum chamber that houses the ion trap.
Laser-cooled atomic ions provide a pristine platform for exploring and harnessing the unique properties of quantum physics. They can serve as extremely accurate clocks and sensors or, as explored by the UK Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub, as building blocks for future quantum computers, which could tackle problems that stymie even today’s largest supercomputers.
“The idea of being able to see a single atom with the naked eye had struck me as a wonderfully direct and visceral bridge between the minuscule quantum world and our macroscopic reality,” shared Nadlinger. “A back-of-the-envelope calculation showed the numbers to be on my side, and when I set off to the lab with camera and tripods one quiet Sunday afternoon, I was rewarded with this particular picture of a small, pale blue dot.”
Share this story
For more than 40 years Japanese truck drivers have been piling on lights, patterned fabrics, and other over-the-top adornments to their work trucks, creating moving masterpieces covered in LEDs. This tradition of decorated trucks or “Dekotora” originated from a 1970s Japanese movie series inspired by Smokey and the Bandit titled Torakku Yaro or “Truck Rascals.” Drivers first began decorating their vehicles in the style of the comedy-action films in hopes of being cast in upcoming films. Eventually the extravagant trucks became a way of life for many workers, with decoration costs to produce such elaborate vehicles sometimes running over $100,000.
Although the art form is now seeing a decline after it reached its peak in the ’80s and ’90s, the Utamaro-Kai Association of Dekotora drivers has begun to help raise funds for various charity initiatives, including areas of the country that have been hit by the recent Tsunami. Photographer Todd Antony‘s latest photographic series documents the men behind the association, taking a peek inside their cabs to view the personalization that goes into each piece of machinery. You can view more of Antony’s recent projects on his website and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
Share this story
Montreal-based fashion designer and creative Raku Inoue (previously) continues his Natura Insects series with a focus on brilliantly colored moths and butterflies. The delicate insects were created from seasonal leaves and blooms, with pastel petals and green leaves composing those made in late summer, and warmer tones and brown leaves forming the works made in mid-fall.
The artist learned the importance of utilizing seasonal materials while studying the art of Ikebana—the Japanese art of floral arrangement. This training taught Inoue to respect the nature he works with and only use what is most abundant, rather than focusing on what might look most attractive. Often after a rain he will collect the petals that have fallen to the ground, using these naturally-provided elements rather than searching for flowers still connected to their tree or stem.
You can see more arrangements from his continuing series on Instagram.
Share this story
One of the most ubiquitous sights in any city around the world is the humble park bench: a meeting spot for friends, a place to grab lunch or perhaps a smoke, and maybe a quick snooze. Usually such mundane activities fade easily into the background of our busy lives and we would hardly stop to notice the goings on around a small public meeting spot, but for Ukrainian photographer Yevgeniy Kotenko, one such bench has turned into rich body of photography spanning over a decade titled On the Bench.
Starting in 2007, Kotenko began to shoot a local park bench outside the window of his parent’s fourth-floor kitchen window in Kiev. Sandwiched between a children’s playground and a walking path, the area proved to be a hotspot of colorful characters. Alcoholics, families, and lovers all congregate on the exact same bench during different times of the day, and when observed with Kotenko’s patient eye an almost Shakespearean drama begins to emerge over a decade of photos.
“I wasn’t thinking of making a series or a project,” shares Kotenko with Colossal through a translator. “I didn’t select any particular time frame or set of situations to capture. Not until 2012 did my friends tell me that I should put together an exhibition of these photos.”
The stark contrast in situations—from a picnic table to an impromtu emergency room—results in a fascinating documentary in the lives of local residents and passersby. “I never invested the photos with any particular intention or idea of what I wanted my audience to see,” Kotenko adds. “They will see what they want to see. These photographs are more like a documentary.”
You can see dozens more photos from the On the Bench series on Facebook, and you can follow Kotenko on Instagram. Thank you to Jen Carroll for contributing to this piece. (via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
Share this story
Toronto-based photographer Adam Klekotka had visited Niagara Falls several times during his time in Canada, but never journeyed to the massive waterfall during winter. After two weeks of record-setting temperatures this January (which led the Canadian news to report that parts of the country were colder than the surface of Mars) Klekotka decided to explore the icy waterfall at night, discovering an illuminated scene that appeared more like a deserted alien landscape than natural wonder.
“The temperature was about -20C, but due to cold wind and high humidity, it felt like it was way below -30C,” Klekotka told Colossal. “After some time of shooting, my hands were really frostbitten. Because of the small buttons in the cameras, I had to handle them without gloves. Additionally the drops of water were freezing on the front glass of the lens and I had to clean it every couple of seconds.”
Klekotka captured the glowing waterfall from several angles, including an observation deck encrusted with a thick layer of icicles. You can see more of Klekotka’s otherworldly images on his Instagram and browse a selection of his small prints on his online shop. (via Colossal Submissions)
Share this story
Photographer Craig Burrows (previously) continues to explore a unique photography method called ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence that uses high-intensity UV lights to excite fluorescence found in some plants, animals, and various objects. Burrows chooses to focus on flowers, creating colorfully vivid interpretations of jade blooms, daisies, and irises that seem to practically glow from within.
Upcoming exhibitions of the artist’s work include the Preview of the Spring 2018 Flower Show in Greenwich CT and the col.lab gallery at Tokyo Polytechnic University. Burrows shares with Colossal that he is currently looking for venues to shoot larger scenes with UVIVF in addition to his existing body of work with smaller objects. You can follow more of his work on Flickr.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Photography
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.