Beauty Beyond Nature: Stunning Artistic Glass Paperweights by Paul J. Stankard 

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Honeybees Swarming a Floral Hive Cluster. Photo by Ron Farina.

Though it may seem implausible, these translucent orbs bursting with activity and life are made entirely from glass by New Jersey-based artist Paul Stankard, largely considered to be the father of modern glass paperweights. While many will find his work instantly recognizable, if you’re like me, you might have been unaware that modern glass paperweights existed. Stankard is a pioneer in the studio glass movement and his techniques have helped change the course of artistic glass for the last few decades.

After battling undiagnosed dyslexia for his entire youth (at one time graduating the bottom of his class), Stankard struggled greatly to identify his life’s calling. While in college he discovered scientific glass blowing, the manual process of creating scientific instruments out of glass for use in laboratories. He was instantly hooked and for 10 years worked with industrial glass. Eventually the pressure of a growing family at home lead to an experiment with the creation of glass paperweights in his garage to supplement his income.

When Stankard suddenly directed a decade of industrial glassworking techniques into the interpretation of flowers, bees, vines, and leaves encased in glass, it wasn’t long before an art dealer discovered his work and he began to create art full-time. His pieces now appear in over 60 museums around the world including the Smithsonian, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Louvre.

You can see much more of his work on his website, at the Corning Museum of Glass, and in his book, Homage to Nature.

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Tea Rose Bouquet with Mask. Photo by Douglas Schaible.

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Golden Orbs Floating in a Sphere. Photo by Ron Farina.

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Photo by Ron Farina.

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Fecundity Bouquet. Photo by Ron Farina.

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Golden Orbs Floral Cluster. Photo by Ron Farina.

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Photos by Ron Farina.

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Photo by Ron Farina.

Almost all of the photographs in this article were provided by Ron Farina.

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Long Exposure Photos of Budapest Trams Lit Up with 30,000 LED Lights 

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Photo by Victor Varga

Although Christmas still feels like something in the vast future (or past, depending on your point of view) it certainly doesn’t hurt to think about the wintry season as summer temperatures continue to rise. One of the most mesmerizing Christmas sights we’ve seen are these trams and local streetcars in Budapest decorated with over 30,000 LED lights. The twinkling lights, when photographed with just the right exposure, creates a marveling image that resembles a futuristic vehicle speeding through time. This beautiful tradition of decorating trams was an initiative by the Budapest Transport Company, which kicked off in 2009. If you want to plan a visit you’ll definitely want to check out their website for routes and tram schedules.

Prints of the long exposure images are available from Krisztian Birinyi through 500px. (via My Modern Met)

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Photo by Krisztian Birinyi

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Photo by Krisztian Birinyi

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Photo by englishhungary

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Photo by Andras Csore

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Photo by Centre for Budapest Transport

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Zsolt Andrasi

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Award-Winning GIFs by Micaël Reynaud Warp Space and Time 

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Freelance designer and stop-motion animator Micaël Reynaud (previously) creates animated GIFs unlike any we’ve seen. His process involves the use of video techniques like slit-scanning, time-lapse, and various forms of masking to create what he refers to as “hypnotic very short films.” Indeed many of these animations are pulled from fully realized videos which you can watch over on his Vimeo channel. Reynaud’s work has not gone unnoticed in the art world, the pigeon GIF above was a finalist in the first Saatchi Gallery Motion Photography competition, and he recently won the 2014 Giphoscope International Art GIF contest. You can scroll through dozens of his creations over on Google+.

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Koh Yao Noi: A Beautiful Aerial Tour of an Undeveloped Island in Thailand by Philip Bloom 

This has been shared far and wide around the web over the last week, but if you haven’t seen it yet take a quick gander at filmmaker Philip Bloom‘s (previously) visit to Koh Yao Noi, one of the least developed islands in Thailand. Bloom shot the piece while on vacation using a GoPro camera and a Quadcopter, the details of which he goes into over on his blog. It’s nice to see Bloom making use of technology to quickly establish such a strong sense of place. (via Coudal)

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OK Go’s New Music Video for ‘The Writing’s on the Wall’ Loaded with Four Minutes of Live Optical Illusions 

After a two year hiatus from creating their visually brilliant music videos, alternative rock band OK Go are finally back with their latest mind-blowing clip for ‘The Writing’s on the Wall,’ a single from their forthcoming album Hungry Ghosts. The video is 4-minute barrage of optical illusion techniques performed live in-camera (primarily anamorphic projection) that borrow ideas from artists like Bernard Pras, Felice Varini, Bela Borsodi and maybe even a nod to Jay-Z’s Blueprint 3 album cover. All of the scenes are performed one after another in a single take, but probably took untold months of preparation. Love the last shot that reveals the crew.

Update: A bit more about how they did it over on Rolling Stone.

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