Tag Archives: fire

Artist Cai Guo­-Qiang Sends a 500-Meter Ladder of Fire into the Sky Above China

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Sky Ladder, realized at Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, Fujian, June 15, 2015 at 4:49 am, approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Photos by Lin Yi & Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio.

In the early morning hours of June 15, a huge white balloon filled with 6,200 cubic meters of helium slowly ascended into the sky above Huiyu Island Harbour, Quanzhou, China. Attached to it was a 500-meter long ladder coated completely with quick burning fuses and gold fireworks that was then ignighted by artist Cai Guo­-Qiang (previously) who has become known for his ambitious pyrotechnic artworks.

Titled Sky Ladder, the piece burned for approxmiately 2 minutes and 30 seconds above the harbor and was the fourth and final attempt to realize the performance. Guo­-Qiang had earlier attempted Sky Ladder in Bath (1994), Shanghai (2001), and in Los Angeles (2012), to varying degrees of success, but never considered his vision complete until now. He first imagined a ladder of fire as a child and has pursued the idea for 21 years. He shares about this last successful iteration of the event:

Behind Sky Ladder lies a clear childhood dream of mine. Despite all life’s twists and turns, I have always been determined to realize it. My earlier proposals were either more abstract or ceremonial. Sky Ladder today is tender, and touches my heart deeply: it carries affection for my hometown, my relatives and my friends. In contrast to my other attempts, which set the ignition time at dusk, this time the ladder rose toward the morning sun, carrying hope. For me, this not only means a return but also the start of a new journey.

Unfortunately there’s no official video of the performance available yet, but a few shaky cell phone videos have emerged. You can see more images of the performance on the artist’s website. All photos by Lin Yi and Wen-You Cai courtesy Cai Studio. (via Booooooom)

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Terra Flamma: Stunning Long-Exposure Photographs of California Wildfires by Stuart Palley

The El Portal Fire burns on a hillside  in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park on Sunday evening July 27, 2014. The community of El Portal was under a mandatory evacuation. By Tuesday the blaze had burned nearly 3,000 acres.  Long exposure image.

The El Portal Fire burns on a hillside in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park on Sunday evening July 27, 2014. The community of El Portal was under a mandatory evacuation. By Tuesday the blaze had burned nearly 3,000 acres. Long exposure image.

The Etiwanda Fire burns shortly after dusk on April 30, 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Long exposure image.

The Etiwanda Fire burns shortly after dusk on April 30, 2014 in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. Long exposure image.

The news of deadly wildfires ravaging California has been as awe-inspiring as it is terrifying. Great swaths of forests, mountains, fields, and entire neighborhoods can be incinerated in moments leaving nothing unscathed. For the last few years, Los Angeles-based photographer Stuart Palley has been shooting these fires as they rage across Southern California as part of a series he calls Terra Flamma.

More than just capturing flames or firefighters, Palley focuses instead on the entire landscape surrounding each event. By utilizing long exposure techniques he incorporates trails of sparks, the lights of firefighting aircraft, and even the stars above to create images that speak more to the strange beauty of wildfires than simple editorial documentation.

Though Palley often jumps at the opportunity to photograph a fire at a moment’s notice, he’s also well prepared. He takes a number of precautions including completion of the US Forestry Service’s “Introduction to Wildland Fire Behavior” to better ensure his safety.

You can follow more of Palley’s work on Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

The French Fire burns overnight in the Sierra National Forest near the town of North Fork, CA on August 1st, 2014. The blaze was burning in steep, rugged, and remote terrain.

The French Fire burns overnight in the Sierra National Forest near the town of North Fork, CA on August 1st, 2014. The blaze was burning in steep, rugged, and remote terrain.

The Way Fire burns on August 19, 2014 in the Sierra National Forest near Kernville, CA overnight.  Long exposure image.

The Way Fire burns on August 19, 2014 in the Sierra National Forest near Kernville, CA overnight. Long exposure image.

The Meadow Fire burns overnight near Half Dome in Yosemite National Park early Monday September 8, 2014. As of Wednesday the fire had burned over 4,500 acres and was 10% contained.  Long exposure image.

The Meadow Fire burns overnight near Half Dome in Yosemite National Park early Monday September 8, 2014. As of Wednesday the fire had burned over 4,500 acres and was 10% contained. Long exposure image.

The Shirley Fire burns at night off of Old State Rd near Lake Isabella, CA while a helicopter circles overhead and crews work on a slopover. Long exposure image.  The Shirley Fire burns overnight near Lake Isabella, CA on the evening of June 15, 2014. By morning the fire had burned 2200 acres and was 10% contained. At least two structures were lost. Date 20140615 Date 20140615

The Shirley Fire burns at night off of Old State Rd near Lake Isabella, CA while a helicopter circles overhead and crews work on a slopover. Long exposure image.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along it's northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night. The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along its northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along it's northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night. The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along its northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along it's northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night. The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Thursday June 18, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 10,000 acres and was 5% contained. The Lake Fire burns along its northern flank at night in the San Bernardino National Forest Late Thursday night.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday June 19, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 13,000 acres and was 10% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday June 19, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 13,000 acres and was 10% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday June 19, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 13,000 acres and was 10% contained.

The Lake Fire burns in the San Bernardino National Forest Friday June 19, 2015. By evening the fire burned over 13,000 acres and was 10% contained.

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A Pyrotechnic Artwork by Cai Guo-Qiang Explodes into a Blossom on the Steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

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images via chrisstorb

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In 2009, Cai Guo-Qiang was commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art to create a site-specific explosion event on the front facade of the museum. The project, titled Fallen Blossomsused a gunpowder fuse, metal net, and scaffolding to activate a blossom pattern for 60 seconds, temporarily setting the columns of the building ablaze.

The fuse for the flower was lit on December 11 at sunset for a large audience. The title for the event and corresponding exhibition is derived from a classical Chinese proverb “hua kai hua luo” which comments on the extreme loss felt when a life is ended unexpectedly. The title and event were also meant as a tribute to the Museum’s late director, Anne d’Harnoncourt.

Guo-Qiang currently lives and works in New York, but was born and trained in stage design in China. Not limited to one medium, Guo-Qiang works in installation, drawing, performance and video art. During his 9-year stay in Japan he explored the use of gunpowder in his work which eventually led to his large scale explosion events. Guo-Qiang was notably the Director of Visual and Special Effects for both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (via cerceos)

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A Smoldering Bouquet of Roses Photographed by Ars Thanea

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As part of a reference photoshoot for an illustration project by Warsaw-based creative studio Ars Thanea, a bouquet of roses was set on fire and photographed as they smoldered in the dark. The glow of the dying embers is strangely evocative, it would be amazing to see an entire series of different flowers photographed like this. You can see the final illustration and how they caught the images over on Behance. (via Boing Boing)

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Kaboom! A Couple Falls in Love While Skydiving and Spends the Next 30 Years Creating Pyrotechnic Shows

For their latest Op-Doc, the New York Times traveled to El Salvador where they caught up with Rich and Dee Gibson, an unusual couple who have spent their entire relationship literally playing with fire. Sparks first flew when the couple met while skydiving. Rich (a Vietnam vet) was the pilot and Dee (formerly employed by the Army Corps of Engineers) was jumping. By 1981 they founded a pyrotechnic business out of Rockford, Illinois and for the next three decades designed orchestrated explosions for air shows.

If the story of the Gibson’s relationship isn’t enough, watch the short documentary above to see what extraordinary passion and love for your craft looks like. The Gibsons mention that in 30 years in the business “no spectator, crewmember, or volunteer has been hurt or injured.” You can read a bit more over on the New York Times.

Cymatics: New Music Video for Nigel Stanford Merges Music and Science Experiments

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With a host of audio-based science experiments from sine waves blasting through streams of water, to visualizations of audio frequencies using sand, and sound waves traveling through flammable gas, this new video by Nigel Stanford has it all. Titled Cymatics, the music video was created for the first single from his new album, Solar Echoes. If you want to learn more about the science, there’s plenty of behind-the-scenes footage with explanation behind each experiment on his Vimeo channel. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

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Artist Steve Spazuk Paints with Fire

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This is a lovely video profile of artist Steve Spazuk (previously) who has developed a unique way of “painting” using the soot left behind from candle smoke. While it seems like he just holds a candle to paper and draws with the smoke, his range of techniques are a bit more subtle. Spazuk often doesn’t know what images he intends to make but instead explores patterns and shapes found in the soot to guide the artwork. He also employs stencils and a reductive process akin to etching, where he scrapes images into the soot with feathers and paint brushes. You can see more of his recent work on his website. Directed by Patrick Peris. (via iGNANT)

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