Tag Archives: Africa

Diamond Nights: Africa’s Oldest Trees Photographed Against Starry Night Skies by Beth Moon


In this new series of striking images, San Francisco-based photographer Beth Moon (previously) captures some of the world’s oldest living trees against shimmering night skies in remote areas of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Titled Diamond Nights, the new photos were inspired in part by Moon’s interest in several new studies suggesting a relationship between starlight and cosmic radation on tree growth. Diamond Nights is a progression of Moon’s 15-year journey photographing ancient trees around the world. Moon shares about her process:

The majority of these photographs were created during moonless nights, shot with a wide angle lens and ISO of 3200 – 6400. The Milky Way, a ribbon of stars that stretches from horizon to horizon burns brightly in some of the images. Exposures up to 30 seconds allowed enough light to enter the lens without noticeable star movement. Each location required a lot of experimenting. and different lighting techniques. Sometimes a short burst of diffused light from a flashlight was sufficient, or bounced light from multiple flashlights was used for a softer more natural glow.

You can see many more shots in this online gallery, and read more about Moon’s work on the series on Feature Shoot.










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A Collision of Cultures and Mediums in Paul Louise-Julie’s Sculptures and 3D Paintings











New York-based artist Paul Louise-Julie has spent the last 7 years researching African civilizations and art, including a year-long journey to West Africa and the Sahara Desert. These sculptures (and 3D paintings) are part of a resulting body of work Louise-Julie created in response to his discoveries and experiences there. The pieces represent a successful collision of artistic methods and themes from multiple cultures, blending ideas from Western contemporary art, traditional African methods, and even Japanese-influenced origami and paper craft. The artworks you see here are among his first sculptures. Louise-Julie is also working on a companion graphic novel that will be released gradually starting later this year.

You can see more of his work over on Behance and Facebook. (via Feather of Me, Cross Connect)

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Elaborate Textile ‘Collages’ of African Wildlife by Sophie Standing


With a background in woodwork, ceramics, weaving, dressmaking, and even stained glass windows, artist Sophie Standing consolidates her breadth of talent in these explosively colorful textile collages of animals and insects. Standing was born in England but now lives and works in Kenya where she seeks inspiration in African wildlife, namely some of the world’s most endangered species like elephants, lions, and rhinoceroses. To create each piece she first paints or sketches on fabric and then draws from a vast collection of decorative fabrics acquired from her travels around the world to create a dense patchwork of color and texture. The artwork is then finished with dense line work applied with a sewing machine.

Standing is currently available for commissions, and you can see more of her work closeup in her online gallery. (via Hi-Fructose)










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Sundust: Striking Charcoal & Conté Portraits of Sun Goddesses by Sara Golish


Sundust is a new series of ten portraits of fictional sun goddesses by Toronto-based visual artist Sara Golish. Each piece is meticulously executed in charcoal, conté, and gold ink, and marks a distinct evolution in Golish’s style of portraiture. From her statement about the series which was unveiled at Brockton Collective during the summer solstice:

This year, Sara Golish marks this celebration [the summer solstice] with her new series SUNDUST, a salute to the fertility of the sun goddess through ten portraits of women from the continent most touched by the sun’s embrace – Africa. Compelled by the lack of female personified sun deities, Golish aims to revise and re-examine the male dominated sun god through the recasting of the past in order to re-envision the future. Released on the eve of summer solstice, the ladies of SUNDUST represent and celebrate all that is light, powerful, and life-giving.

A few of the originals are still available, and limited edition prints are for sale through her website. You can see all ten works with detailed descriptions over on Facebook. (via Gaks Designs)





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Vertical Aerial: A Monumental 3-Ton Aerial Mosaic of Johannesburg







Artist Gerhard Marx in conjunction with Spier Architectural Arts recently created an enormous sculptural mosaic of an aerial photograph of Johannesburg, South Africa. Seven professional mosaic artists, together with nine apprentices worked for 5 months to complete the project using natural stone such as marble and travertine, fragments of red brick, ceramic elements and chips of Venetian smalti glass. In the end, the 56-panel aerial image weighs nearly three tons and was presented last month at the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair.

Watch the video above to see how the piece came together, and also learn about another work created through an additional partnership between Spier and artist Sam Nhlengethwa. (via Colossal Submissions)

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A Deadly Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Calcified Statues

Calcified Fish Eagle, Lake Natron, 2012

Calcified Bat II, Lake Natron, 2012

Calcified Swallow, Lake Natron, 2012

Calcified Dove, Lake Natron, 2012

Calcified Flamingo, Lake Natron, 2012

Calcified Songbird, Lake Natron, 2012

Lake Natron in northern Tanzania is one of the harshest environments on Earth. Temperatures in the lake can rise to 140 °F (60 °C) and the alkalinity is between pH 9 and pH 10.5, almost as alkaline as ammonia. Animals who enter the water are almost certainly doomed, save certain kinds of fish that have evolved to survive in such a caustic environment.

While working Africa photographer Nick Brandt stopped by the lake to discover several dead animals on the shoreline. Birds and other small mammals that end up in the water gradually become calcified, turned to stone in the deadly water. Brandt tells NewScientist, “I could not help but photograph them. No one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake.”


These photos and many more are included in Brandt’s new book, Across the Ravaged Land, a third and final volume of photography documenting the disappearance of animals in Eastern Africa. All photos copyright Nick Brandt, courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery. (via My Modern Met)

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Massive Bird Nests Built on Telephone Poles in Southern Africa are Home to Multiple Species of Birds










No these aren’t haystacks stuck in a phone pole. Visit the Kalahari Desert in the south of Africa and you’re bound to run into a peculiar animal called the Sociable Weaver Bird. The birds are called “social” not just because they live in organized colonies, but because they build massive homes out of sticks, grass and cotton that are home to several other kinds birds. That’s right, the nests are so large that birds of other species are welcome to setup shop, not the least of which is the South African pygmy falcon which lives exclusively inside the social weaver’s nests that often accommodate over 100 birds at at time. Via the San Diego Zoo:

The sociable weaver’s nest sees plenty of guests—a regular Kalahari Desert inn! The South African pygmy falcon Polihierax semitorquatus relies completely on the sociable weavers’ nest for its own home, often nesting side by side with the sociable weavers. The pied barbet, familiar chat, red-headed finch, ashy tit, and rosy-faced lovebird often find comfort in the cozy nesting chambers, too. Vultures, owls, and eagles will roost on the nests’ broad roof. Why are weavers willing to share the huge nest they worked so hard to make? More residents mean more eyes keeping a watch for danger. And the weavers often learn from the other birds where new sources of food can be found.

Photographer Dillon Marsh has a lovely series of weaver bird nest photographs titled Assimilation that are well worth a look. (via neatorama)

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