To avoid becoming prey, leaf insects use mimicry to blend into their surroundings. But in Takumi Kama’s imagined future, when the insect’s natural environment has been completely destroyed, these masters of camouflage will have no choice but to move in with those who took away their home.
Animals and insects are no stranger in the work of Japanese painter Takumi Kama, who recreates them in acrylics with astonishing accuracy and realism. For a recent exhibition at BAMI gallery in Kyoto, Kama came up with 2 different, imaginary leaf insects that camouflage themselves in the city. One is the Hide-mushi, which gets its name from Hideo Noguchi, who appears on the 1000 yen bill (mushi means insect). The Hide-mushi camouflages itself amongst Japanese currency and feeds on paper, which can affect its color.
Then there is the Comi-mushi, which camouflages itself amongst comic books and comic strips. It can often be spotted in bookstores, convenience stores but have also been known to come out on days when garbage trucks pick up paper for recycling.
Kama has painted these imaginary insects with such realism that it can be hard to tell if they’re 2 or 3-dimensional. But rest assured, no currency has been defaced in the name of art. Everything from the insects to the specimen boxes have been painted on canvas. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Using subtle changes in light and shadow, French photographer Pascal Goet subtly manipulates the details of a variety of insects, highlighting their anthropomorphic appearance. Goet does not alter any of the colors associated with the brilliantly hued bugs, but instead focuses on letting areas of the body fade away or become more pronounced. Through this process faces emerge, a human reflection in an otherwise unrelatable species. This aspect is especially pronounced when printed quite large for exhibitions, where the audience has their own face come into contact with an imitation of one.
“An authenticity is vital for my involvement in this work,” said Goet to Colossal. “The large size prints create a genuine encounter between the viewer and these amazing personages, people of a parallel world.”
Goet has been shooting macro photography for the past 26 years. He had a solo exhibition of this work earlier this year at Paris-based Blin Plus Blin simply titled “Mask.” You can see more images of this series on his website. (via Colossal Submissions)
Each year when summer comes along, we all look forward to different things. Some of us head to the beach, others to the mountains for camping. Some look forward to the epicurean delights like watermelon and ice cones. But for a select group of photographers in Japan, Summer signals the arrival of fireflies. And for very short periods – typically May and June, from around 7 to 9pm – these photographers set off to secret locations all around Japan, hoping to capture the magical insects that light up the night.
One thing that makes these photographs so magical is that they capture views that the naked eye is simply incapable of seeing. The photographs are typically composites, meaning that they combine anywhere from 10 to 200 of the exact same frame. That’s why it can look like swarms of thousands of fireflies have invaded the forest, when in reality it’s much less. But that’s not to discount these photographs, which require insider knowledge, equipment, skill and patience.
Fireflies live for only about 10 days and they’re extremely sensitive. They react negatively to any form of light and pollution, making finding them half the battle. Here, we present to you some a selection of our favorites from the 2016 summer season. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)
Tattoo artist Andrey Lukovnikov has been producing a series of tattoos reminiscent of multiple exposure photography where several images are superimposed to create a single image—or perhaps the digital equivalent, clipping masks as used in Photoshop or Illustrator. Colorfully lush backdrops of flowers are ‘clipped’ by the outlines of large insects or birds, creating a visual window into another scene. The Wroclaw-based tattooer shares photos and videos of his latest pieces on Facebook. (via Illusion)
Before old circuit boards find their way to the landfill, Portsmouth, UK-based artist Julie Alice Chappell gives them new life as winged insects. Tearing the boards from old computers and video game systems she cuts and sculpts them into crawly creatures that resemble butterflies, dragonflies and even cockroaches. The upcycled bugs are further adorned with other electrical components that form various appendages. Each piece is one-of-a-kind and she sells them through her Etsy shop.
Commercial photographer Levon Biss typically shoots portraits of world-class athletes—sports players caught in motion. His new series however, catches subjects that have already been paused, insect specimens found at the Oxford Museum of Natural History. The series originally started as a side-project capturing the detail of bugs that his son would catch at home, and is now displayed at the museum in an exhibition titled Microsculpture.
During the course of his selection from the museum’s collection Biss rejected more than 99% of the bugs he came across, only choosing those that were of the right size and color. To capture these subjects in such immense detail, each part of the insect required a completely different lighting setup.
“I will photograph an antenna and light that antenna so it looks as best as it possibly can,” said Biss. “Once I move onto the next section, for example the eye, the lighting will change completely. I work my way across the whole body of the insect until I end up with 30 different sections, each photographed individually.”
Working in this comprehensive manner required between 8,000 and 10,000 shots for each final image, moving the camera just ten microns (1/7th of the width of a human hair) between each shot. With this volume of imagery, it takes over two weeks for Biss to complete each photograph start to finish.
You can see Microsculpture through October 30th at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History where the images are displayed next to their actual specimens. In case you can’t make it to the UK, you can take a detailed look at all 22 of Biss’s images on his interactive Microsculpture website. (via PetaPixel)