As part of a new series of experiments aboard the International Space Station to study how plants grow in microgravity, astronauts have planted and cultivated an entire flower garden. This weekend, astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted a signficant step in their research: this firey zinnia bloom, the first flower grown entirely in space. Plants like lettuce have aready been grown and eaten aboard the ISS, but the VEG-01 project is meant to explore how astronauts will eventually grow more complex foods like tomatoes. (via Neatorama)
Subtly influenced by Greek mythology, photographer Petros Koublis waits for scenes to unfold rather than push preconceived concepts onto the natural environments that surround him. This patience gives him access to moments of complete serenity on the outskirts of Athens, snapshots of wheat being pushed softly by the wind and singular animals caught by chance in the center of the frame.
“It’s all a matter of openness, letting everything flow through my soul undisturbed,” Koublis told Colossal about his process. “The olive groves, the pine forests, the sea, or even the peacefully grazing animals in the meadows—they’re all part of a very intimate experience with nature. They are part of us on an emotional level that goes beyond our present state as it reaches back to a forgotten memory of our origin.”
The Greek photographer does not attempt to transform his subjects, but allows them to alter his own approach to each image. Beginning his artistic practice originally as a painter, Koublis began to explore the medium of photography in 2000, studying in Athens, Greece. Koublis’s first photobook INLANDS was published early last year by Black Mountain Books. You can keep updated on his photography on his Facebook page here. (via Feature Shoot)
Winner, Julian Rad / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
There are quite a few annual wildlife and nature photography awards these days, and it’s nearly impossible to keep up with them all, but if there’s room for just one more distinction, I suppose it’s the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. Founded this year by wildlife photographer Paul Joynson-Hicks, the competition is open to anyone with outrageous and weird photos of animals doing, well, funny stuff. Collected here are some of the winners and highlights of the 2015 competition, you can see more here. (via Photojojo, My Modern Met)
Silver Runner Up, William Richardson / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Highly Commended, Alison Buttigieg / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Highly Commended, Charlie Davidson / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Highly Commended, Graham McGeorge / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Highly Commended, Julie Hunt / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Highly Commended, Marc Mol / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Tony Dilger / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Highly Commended, Yuzuru Masuda / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
Artist Andy Thomas recently shared a montage of new sound art pieces titled Synthetic Nature that shows his beautifully bizarre digital sculptures as they move in response to audio. The virtual organisms are constructed using a host of software (3ds Max, Realflow, Quantum force, Fume fx, Krakatoa, Frost, etc.), with the end result being ‘programs’ that visually react to an array of audio inputs. Different frequencies or tones cause the piece to behave in varying ways based on Thomas’ own manipulated audio of flora and fauna recorded around Australia. You can see more of his experiments on Vimeo, and he also creates wild digital images available as prints on RedBubble.
Licensed from Caters / Alan McFadyen
For the last 6 years, Scottish wildlife photographer Alan McFadyen spent an estimated 4,200 hours seeking the perfect shot: a symmetrical image of a kingfisher diving into its own refelection in search of prey. Last month, after 720,000 exposures he finally got it. McFadyen certainly snapped hundreds of other successful images along the way, but this particular photo—as it existed in his imagination—eluded him for years.
“Kingfishers dive so fast they are like bullets, so taking a good photo requires a lot of luck – and a lot of patience,” McFadyen told the Daily Mail. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that female kingfishers only rarely dive, so timing is essential.
McFadyen owns Scottish Photography Hides which rents out hides in pristine locations in Southwest Scotland for use by wildlife photographers. You can explore more of his photography on Flickr. (via PetaPixel)
This towering ginkgo tree is located within the walls of the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in the Zhongnan Mountains in China. Every autumn the green leaves on the 1,400-year-old tree turn bright yellow and fall into a golden heap on the temple grounds drawing tourists from the surrounding area. You can see more photos here and here. (via F*ck Yeah Chinese Garden)
All images courtesy Joanna Bird Gallery unless otherwise noted
As a child, Danish artist Steffen Dam loved poring over his grandparents’ collection of scientific books and cabinets of insects. This fascination of how we catalogue and understand the natural world followed through to his artistic glass career, where Dam creates highly detailed “Cabinets of Curiosities” that mimic oceanic specimens suspended in glass jars and plates. The pieces are usually displayed inside light boxes to better illuminate every minute detail from the fragile tentacles of a jellyfish to a flourish of bubbles that seem to dance around many of his specimens.
A quote from David Revere McFadden’s essay Between Art and Nature, The Glass of Steffen Dam:
Steffen Dam invites the viewer to relish the sheer beauty of his “specimens,” but also to reflect on the meaning of nature as a mirror of the human mind and spirit. Dam has “captured” nature in his work, but he assiduously avoids simple imitation of life; the artist shies away from what he refers to as “cheap tricks in glass.” He seeks to strike a “balance between fiction and reality.” While his work is in no way intended to serve as pedagogic tools, as specimens in “cabinets of curiosities” often were, they are intended to engage the eye and stimulate the imagination. Knowledge about the forms, structures, surfaces, and colors of true natural specimens is not to be found in Dam’s displays of crystal cylinders, but another kind of knowledge—that of the visual poetry of endlessly varied forms—is freely offered. Dam’s little creatures, although frozen in glass, remind of how we read and feel both time and change.
Dam most recently had several pieces on view at Chicago’s SOFA Expo through Heller Gallery. You can also see several additional works at Joanna Bird.
Photo by Christopher Jobson for Colossal / SOFA Expo Chicago
Courtesy Heller Gallery