If you’ve ever wondered how a diving beetle swims through the water or manages to rest just on the surface, the answer is in part because its foot is infinitely more complicated than your own. As seen above, this microscopic image of a male Acilius sulcatus (diving beetle) by photographer Igor Siwanowicz reveals the extraordinary complexity of this aquatic insect’s tiny appendage. This is just one of many examples of Siwanowicz’s work as a neurobiologist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus. His brilliantly colored images show the tree-like structures of moth antennas, the wild details of barnacle legs, and the otherworldly shapes of plant spores. The photos are made with a confocal laser-scanning microscope capable of “seeing” vast amounts of detail beyond what you might capture with a traditional lens-based microscope. You can see much more of his nature photography here. (via Synaptic Stimuli, Wired)
Indonesian artist Dedy Shofianto creates unusual kinetic sculptures of insect-like creatures by carving almost every component from wood. Though powered by hidden electronics it’s the exquisitely detailed mandibles, wings, antennae, and gears of these hybrid creatures crafted from locally sourced jati (teak) wood that take center stage. It would seem that a lifetime of wood craftsmanship would have been brought to bear on each piece, all the more impressive considering Shofianto created these pieces when he was only 24 years old while still in school—he graduated from the Art Institute of Indonesia just last year. You can see more of his kinetic works at Redbase Contemporary Art.
Forget your run-of-the-mill cutesy balloon dogs and crowns twisted at kids birthday parties, Japanese artist Masayoshi Matsumoto (previously) elevates the inflated craft of balloon animals to an entirely different level. The Japanese artist uses a multitude of balloon colors and shapes to sculpt creatures you might not normally associate with the children’s party activity including insects, giant isopods, baboons, and scaly lizards. You can see more of his latest works in this gallery.
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)