whales

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Photography Science

A Photographer Captures the Unusual Way Sperm Whales Sleep

July 4, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

© Franco Banfi / Licensed for use on Colossal

Photographer Franco Banfi and a team of scuba divers were following a pod of sperm whales when suddenly the large creatures became motionless and began to take a synchronized vertical rest. This strange sleeping position was first discovered only in 2008, when a team of biologists from the UK and Japan drifted into their own group of non-active sperm whales. After studying tagged whales the team learned this collective slumber occurs for approximately 7 percent of the animal’s life, in short increments of just 6-24 minutes.

The image, Synchronized Sleepers, was a finalist in the 2017 Big Picture Competition in the category of Human/Nature. You can see more of the Switzerland-based photographer’s underwater photography on his website and Instagram. (via kottke.org)

 

 



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)

 

 

 



Art

Shipwrecks and Deep Ocean Scenes Encapsulated Inside Translucent Whale Sculptures

February 5, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Image provided by Isana Yamada

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Image provided by Isana Yamada

Japanese artist Isana Yamada' s project Samsara is composed of six translucent whales mounted on thin pedestals that give each of the sculptures an illusion of movement. The whales, illuminated from within, provide a window to strange worlds locked inside their resin-coated bodies: churning submarine volcanoes, fluffy white clouds, and even polar bear skeletons that float within. The project, staged at Tokyo University of the Arts, references the circle of existence found in Buddhist traditions with each whale displaying a separate scene. The whale that represents the human dimension contains a sunken sailboat, imagery that symbolizes a difficult voyage or plight.

Yamada’s work will also be shown in an exhibition of sculptural works at the Artcomplex Center of Tokyo from March 1st through 6th. You can see more of his work on his Facebook page here. (via My Modern Met)

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Images by @muzintansaki

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Image provided by Isana Yamada

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Image provided by Isana Yamada

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Image provided by Isana Yamada

 

 



Design

Kujira Carbon Steel Knives Mimic the Form of Whales

July 12, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Designed by blacksmith Toru Yamashita in Japan’s Kochi-prefecture, these high carbon steel knives are designed in the form of five different whales, the blades forming the baleen mouth of each species. The Kujira blades were originally made for children as a tool for sharpening pencils or cutting paper, but have since been marketed abroad as a general purpose utility or chef knife. At about $50 each the knives aren’t cheap, but it appears the whale shape is strangely perfect for small hands and with the right care they would probably last a lifetime. Some of the models are available through Hand-Eye Supply, but it looks like a few are sold by Yoshihiro Cutlery on Amazon. (via Core77, Attics of my Life)

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Art

A Beached Whale in the Forests of Argentina

May 15, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Argentinean sculptor Adrián Villar Rojas creates enormous sculptural works that seem like remnants of a science fiction movie set, or bizarre moments from a surreal dream. One of my favorite pieces is My Family Dead (2009), in which he created a life-size blue whale in the woods outside Ushuaia, Argentina. The beached cetacean is pockmarked with tree stumps, making me wonder if it’s being slowly claimed by the forest or perhaps it’s a native resident. Beautiful.