La Llareta (up to 3,000 years old; Atacama Desert, Chile)
Spruce Gran Picea #0909 – 11A07 (9,550 years old; Fulufjället, Sweden)
Welwitschia Mirabilis #0707-22411 (2,000 years old; Namib-Naukluft Desert, Namibia)
Antarctic Moss #0212-7B33 (5,500 years old; Elephant Island, Antarctica)
Jōmon Sugi, Japanese Cedar #0704-002 (2,180-7,000 years old; Yakushima, Japan
Underground Forest #0707-10333 (13,000 years old; Pretoria South Africa) DECEASED
Since 2004, Brooklyn-based contemporary artist Rachel Sussman has researched, collaborated with biologists, and braved some of the world’s harshest climates from Antarctica to the Mojave Desert in order to photograph the oldest continuously living organisms on Earth. This includes plants like Pando, the “Trembling Giant,” a colony of aspens in Utah with a massive underground root system estimated to be around 80,000 years old. Or the dense Llareta plants in South America that grow 1.5 centimeters anually and live over 3,000 years. This is the realm of life where time is measured in millennia, and where despite such astonishing longevity, ecosystems are now threatened due to climate change and human encroachment.
Sussman’s photographs have now been gathered together for the first time in The Oldest Living Things in the World, a new book published by the University of Chicago Press. Sitting at the intersection of art, science, and travelogue, the book details her adventures in tracking down each subject and relays the valuable scientific work done by scientists to understand them. It includes 124 photographs, 30 essays, infographics and forewords by Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Carl Zimmer.
Vo Anh Kiet (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam). Finalist: Travel. Terraced fields during harvest season. Mu Cang Chay, Vietnam, September 2012.
Carol Lynne Fowler (Seeley Lake, Montana). Finalist: Americana. A champion bronco bucks a champion rider at the Helmville Rodeo. Helmville, Montana, September 2013.
Sergio Carbajo Rodriguez (La Garriga, Spain). Finalist: Travel. Portrait of a young Suri boy going with his father to take care of the cattle. Ethiopia, August 2013.
Graham McGeorge (Jacksonville, Florida). Finalist: Natural World. McGeorge spent a quiet 6 hours trying to get the perfect image of this eastern screech owl out of its nest. Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, April 2013.
Christopher Doherty (North Palm Beach, Florida). Finalist: Natural World. Breath at sunset, captures a sea turtle at a dive site called Black Rock. Kāʻanapali, Hawaiʻi, August 2013.
Karen Lunney (Brisbane, Australia). Finalist: Natural World. During their annual migration, wildebeests are forced to find new river crossings in the Serengeti-Mara region. “The animals were being taken by the unfamiliar currents of deep water and had to struggle to get close to the far bank. There were few rocks on which to land and the initial orderly progression soon became a desperate struggle of clambering,” says Lunney. Mara River, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, September 2013.
Nidal Adnan Kibria (Dhaka, Bangladesh). Finalist: Travel. Action Hero. As part of a show called “Well of Death,” a biker performs a stunt at a village fair to celebrate Rath Jatra, a Hindu festival. Dhamrai, Bangladesh, June 2012.
Vincent Cheng (Burnaby, Canada). Finalist: Travel. A group of locals playing billiards by Namtso Lake. Tibet, China, June 2013.
Dina Bova (Petach Tikva, Israel). Finalist: Altered Images. “Babylon—Made in Italy is inspired by the story of the Babylon tower, the painting by Pieter Bruegel and by a trip to the beautiful Cinque Terre in Italy,” says Bova. Cinque Terre, Italy, October 2013.
Aspen Wang (Hong Kong, Hong Kong). Finalist: Natural World. Penguins on Ice. “Although my photo hardly does justice to describing the tenuous balance in Antarctica’s ecosystem, it has served to crystallize in my memory one of the last stretches of untamed and inarticulate lands on earth,” says Wang. Antarctica, December 29, 2010.
Smithsonian Magazine just announced the finalists of their 11th Annual Photo Contest. This year’s competition saw a whopping 50,000 submissions, from which 60 finalists were selected in 6 categories including: Natural, Travel, People, Americana, Altered, and Mobile. The contest is now open for a Readers’ Choice vote which runs from today through May 6, 2014. Vote here. All photos courtesy Smithsonian Magazine and the respetive photographers.
Created by University of Queensland PhD student Daniel Stoupin, this remarkable macro video of coral reefs, sponges and other underwater wildlife, brings a fragile and rarely-seen world into vivid focus. Stoupin shot some 150,000 photographs which he edited down to create the final clip. He shares about the endeavor:
Time lapse cinematography reveals a whole different world full of hypnotic motion and my idea was to make coral reef life more spectacular and thus closer to our awareness. I had a bigger picture in my mind for my clip. But after many months of processing hundreds of thousands of photos and trying to capture various elements of coral and sponge behavior I realized that I have to take it one step at a time. For now, the clip just focuses on beauty of microscopic reef “landscapes.” The close-up patterns and colors of this type of fauna hardly resemble anything from the terrestrial environments. Corals become even less familiar if you consider their daily “activities.”
Stoupin discusses Slow Life as well as the threats to the Great Barrier Reef that inspired him to make the video in a detailed entry over on his blog. (via Kottke)
This is a fantastic feat of photography and editing by Vincent Brady who shot this montage of firefly timelapses in 2013 at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri and around his home in Grand Ledge, Michigan. To make the timelapse Brady had to master several different cameras, learn about photo stacking, 360° panoramas, and even how to pilot a pontoon boat to get all the requisite shots. While we’ve seen several articles here on Colossal featuring long-exposurefireflies it’s still fascinating to see them in motion like this. You can read about Brady’s adventures on his website, and learn more about the science of fireflies on It’s Okay To Be Smart. (via It’s Okay To Be Smart)
Our favorite photographer of everything creepy and crawly under the sea, Alexander Semenov, recently released a number of incredible new photographs of worms, several of which may be completely unknown to science. Half of the photos were taken at the Lizard Island Research Station near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia during a 2-week conference on marine worms called polychaetes. Semenov photographed 222 different worm species which are now in the process of being studied and documented by scientists.
The other half of the photos were taken during Semenov’s normal course of work at the White Sea Biological Station in northern Russia where he’s head of the scientific divers team. We’ve previously featured the intrepid photographer’s work with jellyfish (part 2, part 3), and starfish.
In North America, Europe and many other parts of the world, bee populations have plummeted 30-50% due to colony collapse disorder, a fact not lost on artist Aganetha Dyck who for years has been working with the industrious insects to create delicate sculptures using porcelain figurines, shoes, sports equipment, and other objects left in specially designed apiaries. As the weeks and months pass the ordinary objects are slowly transformed with the bees’ wax honeycomb. It’s almost impossible to look at final pieces without smiling in wonder, imagining the unwitting bees toiling away on a piece of art. And yet it’s our own ignorance of humanity’s connection to bees and nature that Dyck calls into question, two completely different life forms whose fate is inextricably intertwined.
Born in Manitoba in 1937, the Canadian artist has long been interested in inter-species communication and her research has closely examined the the ramifications of honeybees disappearing from Earth. Working with the insects results in completely unexpected forms which can be surprising and even humorous. “They remind us that we and our constructions are temporary in relation to the lifespan of earth and the processes of nature,” comments curator Cathi Charles Wherry. “This raises ideas about our shared vulnerability, while at the same time elevating the ordinariness of our humanity.”
If you want to learn more I suggest watching the video above from the Confederation Centre of the Arts, and if you want to see her work up close Dyck opens an exhibition titled Honeybee Alterations at the Ottawa School of Art on March 3, 2014. A huge thanks to Gibson Gallery as well as Aganetha and Deborah Dyck for their help. All photos courtesy Peter Dyck and William Eakin.
The World Photography Organization just announced the shortlist for the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. This year’s contest received more than 140,000 entries from 166 countries. The judges will announce the final winners in March and April of this year, but for now here are a selection of highlights from the shortlist courtesy the World Photography Organization. (via Next Draft)