© Franco Banfi / Licensed for use on Colossal
Photographer Franco Banfi and a team of scuba divers were following a pod of sperm whales when suddenly the large creatures became motionless and began to take a synchronized vertical rest. This strange sleeping position was first discovered only in 2008, when a team of biologists from the UK and Japan drifted into their own group of non-active sperm whales. After studying tagged whales the team learned this collective slumber occurs for approximately 7 percent of the animal’s life, in short increments of just 6-24 minutes.
The image, Synchronized Sleepers, was a finalist in the 2017 Big Picture Competition in the category of Human/Nature. You can see more of the Switzerland-based photographer’s underwater photography on his website and Instagram. (via kottke.org)
Anja Wulfing adds large animals into the black and white scenes of found vintage photographs, turning the attention away from the somber faces of its subjects and to the creatures that pose quite naturally behind their backs. The surprising inclusions are painted in by Wulfing, and often take the form of birds—such as crows, owls, ducks, and the occasional rooster. The animals either join the members of the photograph or merge with its occupants, sometimes replacing the heads of those posing to create hybrid and humorous creatures.
You can see more of Wulfing’s subtle animal additions on her Instagram and Behance. (via Lustik)
In 2005 Kito Fujio quit his job as an office worker and became a freelance photographer. And for the last 12 years he’s been exploring various overlooked pockets of Japan like the rooftops of department stores, which typically have games and rides to entertain children while their parents are shopping. More recently, he’s taken notice of the many interesting cement-molded play equipment that dots playgrounds around Japan.
The sculptural, cement-molded play equipment is often modeled after animals that children would be familiar with. But they also take on the form of robots, abstract geometric forms and sometimes even household appliances. Fujio’s process is not entirely clear, but it appears he visits the parks at night and lights up the equipment from the inside, but also from the outside, which often creates an ominous feel to the harmless equipment.
Speaking of harmless, the nostalgic cement molds have been ubiquitous throughout Japan and, for the most part, free of safety concerns. That’s because the cement requires almost no maintenance; maybe just a fresh coat of paint every few years. The telephone (pictured below) is evidence of how long ago the equipment was probably made.
The sculptural cement equipment was a style favored by Isamu Noguchi, who designed his first landscape for children in 1933. Many of his sculptural playground equipment can be found in Sapporo but also stateside at Piedmont Park in Atlanta.
Fujio has made his photographs available as part of a series of photobooks (each priced at 800 yen) that he sells on his website. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Brooklyn-based photographer Ben Zank has an eye for the unusual. Strange juxtapositions, awkward inconveniences, and often the ongoing struggle of life itself are all expressed through his surreal photography. Zank often portrays figures (some of which are self-portraits) as physically encumbered with faces obscured or turned away from the camera, seemingly in the throes of personal conflict. Yet despite the adversity in each photo, the element of humor seems constantly present. It’s hard not to laugh and smile at the absurd predicaments he conceives of for each shot, reminding us all to take a step back sometimes and just laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.
Zank shares his work almost exclusively through Instagram and prints of some photos are available through Opium Gallery.
If you’re like me, the only possible reaction to these recent photographs by marine biologist Alexander Semenov is “What is that? What is that?! WHAT IS THAT!?” Semenov is the head of the diving at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station where he brings nearly a decade of underwater photography experience to a wide variety of research and exploration projects. He focuses mostly on invertebrate animals found in the Arctic ocean: squishy, wiggly, translucent creatures from jellyfish to worms found deep underwater, most of which have never been documented with such detail and clarity.
Semenov shares about his work in an artist statement:
My key specialism is scientific macrophotography in natural environments. This practice makes it possible to observe animals that cannot be properly studied under laboratory conditions, such as soft bodied planktonic organisms or stationary life forms living on the seafloor. My personal goal is to study underwater life through camera lenses and to boost people’s interest in marine biology. I do this by sharing all my finding through social media and in real life through public lectures, movies, exhibitions and media events.
Seen here are a collection of images from the last year including expeditions to the Southern Kuril Islands, the Southern Maldives, the White Sea, and the Mediterranean, but there’s hundreds of additional photos on Flickr.
Alitta virens swimming
Siphonophore from the Sea of Okhotsk
Tubastraea faulkneri – Sun Cup coral
Unidentified hudrozoan jellyfish
Toronto-based filmmaker Jonah Haber recently premiered a new experimental short film titled Glow featuring dancer Niamh Wilson shot against a giant glow-in-the-dark backdrop. As Wilson moves through the piece a strobe illuminates her silhouette leaving a trail of shadowy figures against the background. What a fun idea. The film serves as the official video for Yes We Mystic’s track “Working For The Future In The Interlake“. If you liked this also check out Michael Langan and Terah Maher’s art film Choros.