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)
Chances are if you’ve on the internet over the last few years you’ve run into a few amazing bird murmuration videos, like this one from Islands and Rivers or the one we featured on Colossal from Neels Castillion, where countless numbers of starlings flock together and move almost impossibly in concert. Artist Dennis Hlynsky, a professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, wondered what would happen if he could better trace the flight paths of individual birds, what kinds of patterns would emerge from these flying social networks?
Hlynsky first started filming birds in 2005 using a small Flip video recorder, but now uses a Lumix GH2 to record gigabytes of bird footage from locations around Rhode Island. He then edits select clips with After Effects and other tools to create brief visual trails that illustrate the path of each moving bird. Non-moving objects like trees and telephone poles remain stationary, and with the added ambient noise of where he was filming, an amazing balance between abstraction and reality emerges. The birds you see aren’t digitally animated or layered in any way, but are shown just as they’ve flown, creating a sort of temporary time-lapse. Above are three of my favorite videos, but he has many more including the movement of insects, ducks, and other animals.
While vacationing on the Maldives Islands, Taiwanese photographer Will Ho stumbled onto an incredible stretch of beach covered in millions of bioluminescent phytoplankton. These tiny organisms glow similarly to fireflies and tend to emit light when stressed, such as when waves crash or when they are otherwise agitated. While the phenomenon and its chemical mechanisms have been known for some time, biologists have only recently began to understand the reasons behind it. You can see a few more of Ho’s photographs over on Flickr.
For over 20 years environmental artist and photographer Martin Hill has been creating temporary sculptures from ice, stone, and organic materials that reflect nature’s cyclical system. Often working with his longtime partner Philippa Jones, the duo create sculptures and other installations that “metaphorically express concern for the interconnectedness of all living systems.” Speaking specifically about the use of circles Hill shares:
The use of the circle refers to nature’s cyclical system which is now being used as a model for industrial ecology. Sustainability will be achieved by redesigning products and industrial processes as closed loops—materials that can’t safely be returned to nature will be continually turned into new products. Of course this is only one part of the redesign process. We need to use renewable energy, eliminate all poisonous chemicals, use fair trade and create social equity.
In an unparalleled feat of natural selection the Orchid Mantis (Hymenopus coronatus) from Southeast Asia has evolved to look almost exactly like an orchid flower in order to lure unsuspecting prey. If looking like a plant isn’t impressive enough the clever insect also changes color from pink to brown according to its environment. (via Boing Boing)
Photographer Massimo Margagnoni explores aspects of nature and climate change through his stark black and white landscape photography. Of my favorites are his long exposure images of waterfalls in Norway and Iceland, many more of which you can see on Flickr. The award-winning Italian photographer has been published in National Geographic and recently published a book of his work, Fotografia dell’essere.