Over the last three years photographer Jem Cresswell has photographed humpback whales during their annual migration to Vava’u, Tonga, swimming with the great creatures in the vast waters of the southern Pacific Ocean. Cresswell’s series Giants captures the individual personality of the great whales, each of which seem to pose specifically for his underwater camera.
“I was initially drawn to the whales’ gentle nature, sheer size and the feeling of insignificance in their presence,” said Cresswell. “Over the past 3 years returning to Tonga, I have sought to capture intimate portraits of these complex and conscious animals, bringing the viewer into the world of these mystical giants.”
In addition to being intrigued by the animals’ size, the Australian-based artist is also fascinated by their brains. In 2006, spindle cells, which were only thought to be present in humans and great apes, were also found to exist within the brains of humpback whales. These cells, which are tied to social organization, empathy, and intuition, were found to be more than three times as prevalent in humpback whales than they were in humans.
This sense of humanness is one of the reasons that Cresswell chooses to shoot his underwater subjects in black and white. “The main focus of the project concerns the whale’s sense of character and consciousness,” he explained to Colossal. “To me, black and white avoids distraction and draws the viewer directly to the subject. Black and white also has a sense of timelessness to it, which I feel represents how long these creatures have been around for.”
Cresswell will continue photographing humpback whales in the future, but at the present he is taking a break to work on a new series focused on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. You can get a behind-the-scenes perspective of Cresswell’s underwater shoots on his Instagram and in the short video below. (via My Modern Met)
Sunburned GSP#552( Mojave/ expanding), 2012. 8″x10″ unique gelatin silver paper negative. Private collection.
Photographer Chris McCaw uses the power of the sun to burn markings into his photographs, destroying small areas to appear like the sun itself. McCaw stumbled upon the technique for his series Sunburn after forgetting to close the shutter during an all night exposure. The light of the morning sun destroyed his efforts from the night before, reversing the tonality of the work in a way that has inspired McCaw to continue to experiment with injuring the surface of the photograph.
“The subject of the photograph (the sun) has transcended the idea that a photograph is simple a representation of reality, and has physically come through the lens and put it’s hand onto the final piece,” said McCaw in an explanation of the series. “This is a process of creation and destruction, all happening within the the camera.”
The resulting image from McCaw’s technique shows the landscapes he photographs with a burnt hole or streak where the sun appeared overhead. Often McCaw will combine several works to showcase the sun’s movement—charred dots or a thick line marking its arched path.
Currently McCaw’s Sunburn series is included in his solo exhibition Times and Tides at San Francisco-based Haines Gallery. You can view more images from his Sunburn series on his website. (via Juxtapoz)
Sunburned GSP#202 (SF Bay/expanding), 2008. 16″x20″ unique gelatin silver paper negative. Collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. All images via Chris McCaw.
Sunburned GSP#839 (Every 30 minutes, Arctic Circle, Alaska), 2015. Four 4”x10” unique gelatin silver paper negatives. Private collection
Sunburned GSP#288 (Pacific Ocean), 2008. 11″x14″ unique gelatin silver paper negative. Private collection
Sunburned GSP #676( San Francisco Bay), 2013. 8″x10″ unique gelatin silver paper negative.
Indonesia-based watercolor artist Elicia Edijanto (previously here and here) depicts loving relationships between wildlife and children set against atmospheric backdrops painted in black watercolor. “My subject are often children and animal because they are honest, sincere, unprejudiced and unpretentious,” shares Edijanto. “They give me so much inspiration for [a] particular mood or atmosphere, such as tranquility, solemnity, and also wilderness and freedom, which I put on my paintings.” Seen here are a number of recent paintings from the last year or so, some of which are available as prints and originals via her website. You can follow her works in progress on Instagram.
It’s not often that you walk down the street and encounter an artwork that warms your heart or brings a smile to your face, but for Brazilian street artist and muralist Alex Senna, positive emotion seems to be his visual currency. His lanky black and white characters are often found in a variety of hopeful, loving, and positive scenes from a pair of lovers embracing to a family riding a bicycle. To intensify their emotional depth Senna often gives the flat characters broad shadows that stretch out larger-than-life across urban walls. You can check out more of Senna’s work on Instagram.
Stemming from a past of ambitious collecting, photographer Christoffer Relander utilizes mason jars as vessels to capture the environments that surrounded him during his childhood in Finland. The project, Jarred & Displaced, utilizes double exposures shot on medium format film to combine pristine images of jars with black and white landscapes, collecting scenes shot within forests, neighborhoods, and on top of steep ridges. Each of the images is completely analog as Relander decided to eschew all digital processes for the series.
“With analog multiple exposures I’m able to manipulate my photographs in-camera,” said Relander to Colossal, “this project was not created or manipulated in an external software such as Photoshop.”
The wooded landscapes captured in his photographs are mostly from the countryside in the south of Finland, an environment Relander missed and wished to revisit as an adult. You can see a behind-the-scenes look at Relander exploring these scenes in a short film directed by Anders Lönnfeldt below. (via PetaPixel)
Regan, North Dakota, 2011
Photographer Mitch Dobrowner travels the U.S. and sets up his camera in front of apocalyptic storms that rise above rural fields in Oklahoma, Kansas, and North Dakota. Inspired by photographers like Minor White and Ansel Adams, he captures breathtaking landscapes that remind us of nature’s raw power by juxtaposing the endless flat plains of the southern and midwest states with dramatic weather formations. Lightning strikes and tornadoes feature heavily in Dobrowner’s black and white images that at times look like moments right out of the first few minutes of the Wizard of Oz.
Dobrowner has exhibited in galleries across the U.S. and internationally since 2005 and is represented by Photo-Eye Gallery in Santa Fe and Kopeikin Gallery in LA. You can see much more of his work on Facebook. (thnx, Laura!)
Vortex Over Field, 2015
Strata Storm and Bales, 2015