portraits

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Photography

Giants: A Black and White Series Captures the Complexity of the Humpback Whale

May 30, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Over the last three years photographer Jem Cresswell has photographed humpback whales during their annual migration to Vava’u, Tonga, swimming with the great creatures in the vast waters of the southern Pacific Ocean. Cresswell’s series Giants captures the individual personality of the great whales, each of which seem to pose specifically for his underwater camera.

“I was initially drawn to the whales’ gentle nature, sheer size and the feeling of insignificance in their presence,” said Cresswell. “Over the past 3 years returning to Tonga, I have sought to capture intimate portraits of these complex and conscious animals, bringing the viewer into the world of these mystical giants.”

In addition to being intrigued by the animals’ size, the Australian-based artist is also fascinated by their brains. In 2006, spindle cells, which were only thought to be present in humans and great apes, were also found to exist within the brains of humpback whales. These cells, which are tied to social organization, empathy, and intuition, were found to be more than three times as prevalent in humpback whales than they were in humans.

This sense of humanness is one of the reasons that Cresswell chooses to shoot his underwater subjects in black and white. “The main focus of the project concerns the whale’s sense of character and consciousness,” he explained to Colossal. “To me, black and white avoids distraction and draws the viewer directly to the subject. Black and white also has a sense of timelessness to it, which I feel represents how long these creatures have been around for.”

Cresswell will continue photographing humpback whales in the future, but at the present he is taking a break to work on a new series focused on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. You can get a behind-the-scenes perspective of Cresswell’s underwater shoots on his Instagram and in the short video below. (via My Modern Met)

 

 

 



Craft Illustration

New Colorful Paper Portraits Comprised of Densely Quilled Paper by Yulia Brodskaya

May 9, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Spirits

Paper artist Yulia Brodskaya (previously) continues to produce elegant paper portraits, mixing geometric and organic forms through paper quilling to establish the details of each face. Over the last few years Brodskaya has been commissioned to create pieces for dozens of corporate clients from Starbucks to the New York Times, but still pauses to work on this portrait series that has slowly evolved over time. You can see new works and process photos on her Instagram and she’ll be speaking at the Reasons To: conference in Brighton this September.

Embrace

Girl with peacock earrings

Nature warrior

 

 



Photography

Affinity: Compelling Studio Portraits of Animals Photographed Against a Stark Black Backdrop by Brad Wilson

May 2, 2017

Christopher Jobson

All photos © Brad Wilson

From lumbering African elephants to diminutive cockatoos, fine art photographer Brad Wilson appears to look into the soul of unusual animals from the far reaches of the planet, isolating each bird, mammal, or reptile against a deep black backdrop. The images are part of the Santa Fe-based photographer’s ongoing Affinity series that explores human’s relationship with animals, both positive and negative, while highlighting the fragility of each subject with the aid of soft studio lighting. From his artist statement:

In the midst of our modern human civilization with all its technological complexities, animals still remain stark symbols of a simpler life and a wilderness lost. Perhaps these images can stand as a testament to this other fading world, and remind us, despite the pronounced feeling of isolation that too often characterizes our contemporary existence, that we are not alone, we are not separate – we are part of a beautifully rich and interconnected diversity of life.

Wilson is represented by PhotoEye Gallery, and you can see more of his work on Instagram and in the 2014 book Wild Life. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Art Illustration

Portraits of People with Beards and Hairstyles Brimming with Life by Olaf Hajek

April 25, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Incorporating aspects of South American folklore, mythology, and religion, Berlin-based artist Olaf Hajek depicts thoughtful portraits of women and men infused with elements of life—often in their hairdos. Over the last few years Hajek’s illustration work has appeared in major publications from the New York Times to the Guardian, but he also exhibits his acrylic paintings on wood and cardboard in galleries around the world. His most recent collection of work is being published in a forthcoming book titled Olaf Hajek: Precious, and one of his pieces was selected for the Communication Arts Illustration Annual 58. You can see more of his work on Saatchi Art.

 

 



Art

Geometric Portraits Constructed with Reclaimed Wood by ‘Strook’

April 11, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Working with recycled wood doors and paneling pulled from old houses, Belgian artist Stefaan De Croock aka Strook (previously) constructs both large and small-scale geometric portraits. Each piece is designed individually using multiple fragments of cut wood which he mixes and matches to form a sort of color palette. He also creates similar works on canvas.

Strook’s most recent piece was an enormous wooden assemblage for the Crystal Ship, a new art festival in Ostend, Belgium now in its second year. You can see more of his recent work on Instagram. (via Arrested Motion)

 

 



Art

Prismatic Portraits by Lui Ferreyra Form a Collision of Geometry and Color

April 10, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Denver-based artist Lui Ferreyra (previously) has spent the last decade honing a technique that portrays faces, hands, and landscapes as dense fields of geometric color. While evoking a tone that clearly references the digital age, Ferreyra also draws inspiration from artists like Chuck Close and Egon Schiele who famously worked with aspects of pointillism and geometry. Seen here are a collection of drawings and sketches, but he utilizes a similar fragmentary style for oil paintings as well. You can follow Ferreyra on Instagram and see more of his work at William Havu Gallery.

 

 



Art

Monochromatic Portraits Obscured by Colorful Abstract Markings by Guim Tió Zarraluki

April 5, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Barcelona-based artist Guim Tió Zarraluki paints pieces tied to memory and how it is obscured over time, covering the faces of his subjects in bright swaths of oil paint. His research as of late has brought him to topics such as how things slip into oblivion or are saved forever on our technological devices, areas which are abstractly displayed within his work.

In his latest series No Name Project, the individuals have minimal lines that mark their faces’, while in Now, Remember swirls and concentric circles take over the entirety of each visage. You can see more of his portraits from past series on his Instagram and Facebook.

 

 

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