Photography

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Photography Science

Sunlight Illuminates a Full Spectrum of Color As It Filters Through Hummingbird Wings in a New Photo Book

September 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Opal Wings.” All images © Christian Spencer, shared with permission

Poetry in the Sky is a fitting title for a book of the elegant images of Australian photographer Christian Spencer. Slated for release next month, the volume gathers approximately two decades’ worth birds Spencer encountered during visits to the Brazilian Amazon, including macaws, emus, and the species he’s perhaps most notable for documenting: the hummingbird.

Taken when the creatures are mid-flight and beating their wings at incredible speeds, Spencer’s striking photos capture sunlight as it filters through their feathers, emitting a full spectrum of color. The opalescent phenomenon is caused by diffraction and transforms their limbs into tiny, ephemeral rainbows.

Poetry in the Sky contains several photos of the prismatic birds—many of which we’ve featured previously on Colossal—in addition to dozens of additional images of avian life. Pre-order a copy from Bookshop, pick up a print,  and find more of Spencer’s work on Instagram.

 

“Stardust”

“Sundance”

“Hummingbird Rain”

“Holy Water”

“3 Amigos”

 

 



Photography

Aerial Photos Highlight the Rugged, Textured Topographies of the American Badlands

September 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Tobias Hägg, shared with permission

Awash in pale blue light or the glimmers of dusk and dawn, the dry, eroded terrains of the American West appear as otherworldly vistas in the works of Stockholm-based photographer Tobias Hägg (previously). Captured in spring of this year, the aerial images peer down on or out across the vast, rugged landscapes known as badlands. These regions are replete with geological formations and terrain diversity, and Hägg spotlights such shifts in elevation and soil by documenting the rippling, ravine crevices and buttes that overlook the area. Light and shadow dramatize the images and accentuate the textures and depth of the extraordinarily craggy topographies.

Prints of Hägg’s images are available in his shop, and you can find more from photographer, including new a forthcoming book comprising a decade’s worth of work, on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Explosive Photos by Ray Collins Capture the Ocean’s Mercurial Nature As It Erupts in Extravagant Bursts

September 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

“VII.” All images © Ray Collins, shared with permission

Ever fickle, the ocean and all its excitable energy provide endless fodder for Ray Collins (previously). The Australian photographer, who is based in Wollongong, is known for his dramatic images that capture the diversity of textures and forms that emerge from the water. Waves undulate into scaly walls, fine mists erupt in the air, and surges turn in on themselves, creating eerie, patterned tunnels. Each image emphasizes the capricious nature of the water, which Collins shares as the impetus for his practice. “I’m fortunate that my subject, the ocean, is never the same. There are always new emotions and feelings to capture. As long as I show up with a blank slate I will find new and beautiful moments,” he says.

Collins has several books and prints available on his site, and you can find a massive archive of his photos on Instagram.

 

“Tree of Life”

“Siren”

“Scales”

Left: “Aberrant.” Right: “Convergence”

“Matter”

Left: “Fortitude.” Right: “Cauldron”

“Rumble”

 

 



Photography Science

Paul Nicklen Photographs the Colorado River as It Etches Itself Like Veiny Branches into the Landscape

September 27, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

“Written in Water.” All images © Paul Nicklen, shared with permission

It is a common understanding in writing studies that to recount a disastrous event in literal and graphic detail may damper the purpose of the story by pushing the reader away. In order to elicit experiential feelings, writers often learn to employ tools and strategies such as metaphor, poeticism, and structure. This could also be understood as an exercise in empathy because rather than force the reader to feel by summarizing the experience for them, the writer creates an environment where one can reach for closeness and camaraderie in their own ways.

Paul Nicklen, pioneering conservation photographer (previously), calls nature “the first and greatest artist” in his latest collection, the Delta Series. To expand Nicklen’s statement across disciplines, nature may also be the first and greatest writer. In the series, he captures the vestiges of the Colorado River that trickle, roar, and finally, crawl their way down to Baja, Mexico. Though the silt itself is the site of tragedy, traces of freshwater gorgeously spread like branches, or fingerprints, or lungs, or as Nicklen writes, like veins.

 

“Arbol de Vida”

These lines not only tell the story of the “megadrought,” a term scientists use to describe the impact of the climate crisis since the year 2000 on an already dry West—as of June, both the U.S. and Mexican governments have agreed to release water from irrigation canals and restore the ecosystem in Baja—but they also craft the effects of reduced snowpack, thirstier soil, and higher temperatures into a grand metaphor for the interconnectedness of life. Even in the midst of ruin, nature speaks in symbols. With its last breath, the river reaches for its kin: the ocean. Unable to meet that immense body, the water carves its final words into the landscape. The familiar shape of its sprawl reminds us that we are inseparable, intimately woven into each other, and share responsibility for every living thing around us until the very end.

Nicklen’s Delta Series is on view as part of Evolve, which opens on October 1 at Hilton-Asmus Contemporary in Chicago. See more of the photos on his website and Instagram.

 

“Arterial Shadows”

“Amber Crossroads”

“Painted Forest”

“Arterial Poetry”

 

 



Photography

Brilliant Star Trails Sweep Above a Fierce Tangle of Lightning in a Striking Photo

September 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

Image © Marc Sellés Llimós, shared with permission

Back in June, Marc Sellés Llimós photographed multiple instances of illumination in a single nighttime sky. From the village of Manlleu, Osona, where he lives and works, Sellés Llimós captured a fierce thunderstorm as it raged on the other side of the Serra de Bellmunt mountain in Carcassonne, France. The 380-image composite shows a brilliant tangle of lightning below sweeping star trails, produced with a slow, six-minute exposure. According to NASA, which featured the work as one of its astronomy photos of the day, the trails reflect the Earth’s daily rotation around its axis, and the extent of their curvatures represents the distance from the north pole.

Head to Instagram to purchase a print and to see an archive of Sellés Llimós’s photos.  (via Peta Pixel)

 

 



Design History Photography

Photos by Noritaka Minami Document the Famed Nakagin Capsule Tower Prior to Demolition

September 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

“B1004” (2011). All images © Noritaka Minami, shared with permission

An icon of Japanese Metabolism, the Nakagin Capsule Tower stood in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo from 1972 until it was demolished earlier this year. Conceived by the famed designer Kisho Kurokawa, the building featured two central concrete towers, with 140 individual pods slotted into the main structures. A circular window allowed light into the small modules, which were created with the intention that they could be removed and replaced as needed.

This flexibility was an essential component of Metabolist architecture, which fused the concept of megastructures with organic growth, meaning many of the designs of the period embraced prefabrication for its ability to “regenerate” every few decades. Unfortunately for the Nakagain Capsule Tower, though, structural issues prevented the pods from being easily swapped, and the building fell quickly into a state of disrepair.

 

“Facade” (2010)

Until it was disassembled back in April, the complex served as a beacon of the pre-war movement that began in the 1960s and was one of the few remaining structures of its kind—Kurokawa’s similarly futuristic Capsule Hosue K is still in use in Nagano woods. Today, some of the tower’s capsules are being shipped to museums and institutions or converted into single accommodations, and one company is also working to digitally preserve the building.

Artist Noritaka Minami documented the complex prior to demolition, and his photographs of the facade and residential units are on view this week as part of 1972/Accumulations at MAS Context Reading Room in Chicago. Framing the living quarters from the same angle, the images compare the structural similarities and personal effects of each space. The photos, most of which Minami took between 2010 and 2021, capture a certain intimacy within the austere uniformity and preserve what once was an architectural innovation.

1972/Accumulations runs from September 22 to December 8. See more of the series on Minami’s site.

 

“A503” (2017)

“Artificial Land” (2021)

“A703” (2017)

“B605” (2021)

“B807” (2021)

“B702” (2012)

“A905” (2018)