After a visit to Tokyo in 2014, self-taught photographer Xavier Portela became frustrated by how static and two-dimensional his images appeared. His photographs didn’t capture the emotions, acute stimulation of senses, or electric feeling one experiences while gliding through the bright lights of a foreign city with jet lag-induced insomnia. To explore this vibrancy and atmosphere Portela began to manipulate the colors in his images, amplifying their saturation to make each reflect what the brain remembered, but the original image couldn’t convey.
“When you are taking photographs on the streets you have way more than just a frame, you have variables like temperature, noise, people, smell,” Portela tells Colossal. “You have tons of details that make our senses and brain record a specific ‘scene’ of that moment. When you got home and you look at your photographs on screen, you only have a frame in two dimensions. It’s frustrating how much information you just lost… I wanted my shots to look like as if they came straight out of a manga. Vibrant and electric.”
Portela’s series Glow is an ongoing archive of urban images from his trips to Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, New York City, and more. Each photograph is edited with a wash of neon-inspired pink, blue, and purple lights. Although previous series have included photography taken on the street, more recently he has begun to produce aerial views of the sparkling cities below. You can see more images from the Belgo-Portuguese photographer and filmmaker on Instagram and Behance. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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British photographer Luke Nugent captures a wide range of style, beauty, and personal expression in his creative photo shoots, for which he often works with London-based hair stylist Lisa Farrall. Nugent highlights women of color in his varied series, from the more subdued everyday styles in Emancipate to the Afrofuturism-inspired Armour, which was a finalist for the 2016 British Hair Awards.
Nugent studied photography at London’s University of Greenwich, and has been shooting professionally since his late teens. He creates work for a variety of commercial and editorial campaigns, with a focus on fashion, portraiture, and music. You can see more of his photography on his website, as well as Instagram and Behance. (via Scene360)
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Poet and textile artist Miranda van Dijk prints found images onto delicate faux floral arrangements made from canvas, cotton, or voile. The vintage images are transferred onto the textile plants using a digital printing technique, and are either hidden in the curve of a petal or are displayed prominently on one of the plant’s leaves. These works are then imbedded in a natural environment, allowing her sculptures to blend into wildflower gardens and other lush scenes.
For her series Sensitive Survivors, van Dijk modeled her pieces on twelve different forms of weeds. “Before the idea came up, I was obsessed by weeds,” the Dutch artist tells Colossal. “I saw them everywhere. Between my tiles in the garden, the playground. I found them so strong yet so fragile at the same time.”
Recently van Dijk published a book titled Sensitive Survivors (written in Dutch) which presents poetic connections between her handmade plants and the individuals printed on their forms. You can buy select pieces from Miranda van Dijk from her Etsy store, and learn about about her work on her website and Instagram. (via Anna Marks)
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Photographer Mandy Barker creates deceptively eye-catching images to document the pandemic of plastic debris in the world’s waterways. Barker, who is based in Leeds, UK, works closely with scientists to collect trash from our oceans and beaches on the edges of nearly every continent. One research expedition covered the debris field (stretching to Hawaii) that resulted from Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake; she has also explored the Inner Hebrides in Scotland with Greenpeace.
Barker manipulates her findings in Photoshop, mimicking the manner in which ocean water holds these objects in suspension. Swirls of colors and patterns draw in the viewer’s eye, only to realize that these visually appealing compositions consist of garbage that animals have attempted to chew, plastic pellets, tangles of fishing line, and water-logged soccer balls. The artist describes her work in a statement on her website:
The aim of my work is to engage with and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. The research process is a vital part of my development as the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work.
Barker is currently a recipient of a 2018 National Geographic Society grant. Her work is on display through April 22nd at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, at Photo London Art Fair in May 2018, at the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg in June, 2018, and at BredaPhoto in The Netherlands in September 2018. The artist’s book, Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by Smithsonian. You can see more of Barker’s photographs on her website as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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This past February architectural photographer Andres Gallardo Albajar traveled to the Great Wall of China where he was able to take in a rare sight—one of the seven wonders of the world without a single soul to be seen. Albajar had expected to create the same tourist-filled images as others who visited the architectural feat, however when he arrived he found a thick fog encapsulating the structure. The dense cover may have been a deterrent for tourists, but this particular weather added further mystery to the deserted landscape Albajar captured in this recent series.
“I was expecting big amounts of people, even lines to access or things like that, but for my surprise there was very few people, which allowed me to capture the wall with no people, which in my opinion helps to create a more surreal and magic feeling,” Albajar tells Colossal.
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The small fishing village of Houtouwan on the Chinese island of Shengshan has been abandoned since the 1990’s. Due to increased competition with nearby Shanghai and a depleted fishing supply, residents were forced to find work in other towns, leaving their own coastal village to the whim of Mother Nature.
Today the ghost town is only visited by tourists curious to see the vine-wrapped homes and other buildings swallowed by untamed greenery. Shanghai-based photographer and videographer Joe Nafis visited the area last year with fellow photographer Dave Tacon. It took them nearly 36 hours to reach the village due to lack of ferries or connection with other towns in the area. Once in town, Nafis explored the area on foot, as well as from above with his drone.
“Using the drone to explore the village first was a good idea as the paths were not well maintained and overgrown,” Nafis tells Colossal. “Some of the buildings were in tatters, while others looked like they were going through a remodel. It was all very strange. On the Sunday there were a few tourists, about ten to fifteen, and then on Monday we were the only people in the village other than the three to four that still lived there.”
You can view drone footage from the photographer’s visit to the overgrown village in the video below. He recently released an aerial time lapse video focusing on Shanghai’s urban development over the last seven years on his website, and more video-based projects by Nafis can be found on his Instagram and Vimeo. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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The Dizzying Patterns of Movement at Athletic Events Captured in Composite Photographs by Pelle Cass
Photographer Pelle Cass documents the flurry of activity and movement that occurs at sporting events in a unique series of masterfully edited images titled ‘Crowded Fields.’ The Boston-area artist attends local college games, and takes upward of one thousand photographs over the course of an hour or two. Cass then spends dozens of hours editing the photos to arrive at the final composition.
Although the images are highly manipulated, with over five hundred Photoshop layers involved, Cass notes that each and every figure remains in the original location and position that they were in at the time the photo was taken. His compositional effort is to understand and convey the visual story that unfolded over the course of the sporting event. The artist explains to Colossal, “I scroll up and down, over and over looking for figures I think are interesting. It’s a little like slow-motion Tetris, trying to fit various shapes into various spaces. Then, with luck, a set of coincidences or a kind of gesture or spatial idea begins to emerge.”
Cass, who has been taking photographs for nearly fifty years, developed his current technique over time. The specific idea of using sporting events as his canvas took a decade to evolve. He describes his motivation to create these dizzyingly complex images: “I think that conventional single-exposure photographs distort by their inhuman briefness. The eye never sees a single moment… When you come home from a hockey game, you might remember a few specific images of big plays, but otherwise your memory of a game is a bit more like a general impression of many-figured bustle and activity.”
You can see more of Cass’s photography on his website and Instagram, including his ongoing series ‘Selected People,’ thematically similar composite images of people in public places. Cass also has photographs on display at the New Mexico Museum of Art through October 7, 2018, as part of the exhibition ‘Shifting Light: Photographic Perspectives.’ (via Booooooom)
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Editor's Picks: Photography
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