Taken from recent research into the development of eyes in spiders, this microscopic image shows what a common house spider looks like as it develops inside an egg. For some reason, it’s disturbingly… cute? This little cthulhu-like spider embryo is nearing the final stage before hatching and appears to be stuck in a tiny self hug. You can learn more about the embryonic origin of eyes in common house spider over on BioMed Central. (via Reddit, Göttingen University)
The winners of the 2016 World Press Photo contest have just been announced, and the selected images accurately reflect a year of tumult and beauty from across the globe. The winning image titled Hope for a New Life by Australian photographer Warren Richardson depicts a harrowing moment on the Hungarian-Serbian border as a man passes a baby through barbed wire in August of last year. The self-taught photographer camped with a group of 200 people attempting to cross a border for nearly a week while capturing images of their predicament. He shares:
I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone.
Seen here is a selection of our favorite photographs, but you can see an entire gallery of the 59th World Press Photo Contest winners here. The finalists were selected from 82,951 photos made by 5,775 photographers from 128 different countries. All photos courtesy photographers and/or their respective representatives, provided here with permission from the World Press Photo Contest.
Last week while visiting Le Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, photographer Loïc Lagarde captured this awesome view of the tidal island at night with the Milky Way spanning the sky above, further highlighting the near fairy-tale nature of the historic landmark. The island has held strategic fortifications since the 8th century and is famous for the dramatic shift in surrounding tides that vary roughly 14 metres (46 ft) between high and low and high water marks. Despite being visited by nearly 3 million people annually the island has a population of just 44 permanent residents. Lagarde says the photo was made without multiple exposures or blending and is a ‘true’ representation of the moment. You can see more of his photos on Instagram.
Somewhere in Virginia on the outskirts of private farmland sits the completely bizarre sight of nearly 40 giant U.S. president busts crumbling amongst the weeds. The mammoth heads—each estimated to weigh in excess of 7,000 pounds—were originally commissioned from Houston artist David Adickes as the centerpiece for Presidents Park, a ten-acre open-air museum with presidential sculptures and informational plaques located in Williamsburg, Virginia. First opened in 2004, the museum closed just 6 years later due to lack of attendance and most of the heads were eventually moved to a private farm where they sit today.
Photographer Patrick Joust recently made a trek to the presidential graveyard and shot these amazing photos of the eroding statues. The pieces are already faded and peeling from the elements and display a number of structural scars from repeated moves. The post-apocalyptic scene is reminiscent of the final moments of Planet of the Apes, or a modern take on the giant mysterious heads sprawled across Easter Island. The artist also sculpted a second set of presidential busts which were on display near Deadwood, South Dakota in an outdoor park setting operated by the artist himself. After closing the heads are now scattered—Abraham Lincoln’s bust now rests in front of the the Lincoln RV Park in Williston, North Dakota, and Theodore Roosevelt’s bust sits outside the Roosevelt Inn in Watford.
Update: This post has been updated to include the artist’s name as well as refer to a second set of presidential busts that were originally on display near Deadwood, South Dakota.
Beijing-based photographer Ryan Deboodt (previously) recently returned from a trip to Laos where he spent two days exploring Tham Khoun Xe, one of the largest active rivers caves in the world. Stretching nearly 4.5 miles (7km) underground, the cave system is extraordinarily remote and Deboodt was permitted to photograph and film beyond where tourists are normally allowed to visit. The immensity of the subterranean space is staggering, with an average ceiling of almost 200 feet (60m) and width of 250 feet (76m) it’s hardly imaginable a space like this could exist underground.
Deboodt brought an arsenal of camera and video equipment as well as a drone to capture the expansive interiors of Tham Khoun Xe, much of which he edited into a short video included below. You can follow more of his cave photography from around the world on Facebook or Instagram, and read an interview about the endeavor on Smithsonian.
A few years ago photographer Viktor Egyed accidentally stumbled upon the town Szödliget a few miles outside of Budapest, and to his delight found this small abandoned fishing village filled with clusters of A-frame huts. Deciding the weather was not ideal, Egyed came back a few years later when he was able to capture the town in a hazy fog, the perfect condition to highlight the glasslike reflections of the structures in the lake below.
The feeling of the small lakeside town is just as dreamlike as the imagery suggests. “This small abandoned fishing lake has its own very unique atmosphere,” said Egyed to Colossal. “It is an idyllic place for people who want to escape from the rushing of life for a little while.”
You can see more of Egyed’s photographs on his Behance page here.