In Nara, Japan, Sika deer are not restricted to forests or parks, but rather mingle in the urban center much like humans—congregating in green spaces, browsing open shops, and even lining up neatly to pass through turnstiles. Although viewed as a burden in a most of the country, in Nara the deer population is sacred and protected by law. Beyond the Border, an ongoing series by Kanagawa-based photographer Yoko Ishii, captures the deer in everyday moments across the city, from collectively passing down a major street, to pausing to feed their young below a stoplight.
Ishii was inspired to photograph the ways the animals interact with common city infrastructure after observing a pair of deer paused at an intersection in 2011, and especially loves photographing them while the city is at its most bare. “These picturesque moments when early in the morning the deer can be found standing in the middle of desolate intersections, not bound by man’s borders and laws, yet inhabiting a man-made city is fascinating and inspiring,” she explains in a statement about her series.
Beyond the Border explores how the animals exist outside of the basic rules and regulations strictly crafted for the city’s human population, instead living free amongst the many pavement markings and stoplights. Ishii published a book of her photography titled Dear Deer in 2015, and will be included in this year’s Auckland Festival of Photography in New Zealand from May 31 to June 16, 2019. You can see more of her recent work on her website and Facebook. (via Īgnant)
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National Geographic’s 2019 Travel Photo Contest has been running since March 18, and will continue to accept submissions until May 3, 2019 at noon Eastern Standard Time. Each week, the publication has been unveiling a selection of entries received the previous week. Images from week four include a split-shot capture of an adolescent humpback whale, a candid moment of a mother loon feeding her chicks, and squiggles of headlamp-sporting skiers careening down the French Alps.
Entrant categories are nature, cities, and people, and the grand prize winner will receive $7,500 along with a post on National Geographic’s travel Instagram account. Find out more about content requirements and participation on the Travel Photo Contest website.
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In honor of the final season of Games of Thrones, German photographer Kilian Schönberger (previously) has translated his ethereal photography of central Europe’s icy landscapes, mystical castles, and foggy forests into a photographic tribute. Inspired by the frozen fantasy world of George R.R. Martin’s books and by the geography of his native lands, Schönberger’s alternate storyline imagines snow-covered trees as menacing White Walkers, towering mountain ranges as The Wall, and ancient stone structures as home to the highborn families of Westeros.
Schönberger tells Colossal that the photographs published in his online tribute were taken in forests along the German-Czech border, in the rocky canyon landscapes of Saxon Switzerland, Saxony, and East Germany, inside of an ice cave near Germany’s Lake Königssee, and at the foot of the Dolomites this past winter. Using his background in geography studies and his knowledge of meteorology, Schönberger says that his process as a photographer involves a lot of preparation and waiting so that he can capture the “genius loci” (the pervading spirit of a place) at just the right time.
“Since I grew up myself in a remote forest area, my childhood was shaped by the local fairytales and a lot of experiences out in nature,” he said. “And that is what’s still visible in my work today. I try to capture the scenes that inspire people to make up their own stories with my photos as a visual backdrop.” To see the images in context with Schönberger’s narrative, check out the photographer’s Behance portfolio. To see even more of his landscape photography, follow him on Instagram.
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Photographer Karen Jerzyk explores themes of loneliness and isolation through her ongoing series, The Lonely Astronaut. Sparked by her purchase of an authentic vintage high-altitude space suit in 2017, Jerzyk has been traveling the world taking photos of women in the suit. Each subject is alone, placed in a deserted yet evocative environment, from an abandoned theater to an old-fashioned bedroom. In some scenes, the astronaut engages with their surroundings—reading a book or talking on the phone—where in others, the character stands apart from the world they inhabit.
Although many of the scenes have a fantastical tone, the photographer clarifies that she uses only practical effects to create the images. In staging the floating astronaut with butterflies, “I had the model on her stomach on a stool and had real taxidermy butterflies on wire and composited a bunch of shots so I could multiply them,” Jerzyk explains.
Jerzyk shares with Colossal that the astronaut series taps into her own affinity for exploration and her social anxiety. “I think at one time or another, we can all relate with The Lonely Astronaut—things in life can get bad, but there’s still no denying the beauty and wonder of the world, and we need to push on and keep exploring.”
The Boston and New York-based photographer will be capturing subjects in a pop-up scene at PS Kaufman Gallery in Los Angeles on May 16-17, as well as vending at the Oddities Flea Market on May 18-19, 2019. Jerzyk will also be at the Chicago Oddities Flea Market on August 24-25, 2019. You can explore more of Jerzyk’s unusual worlds on Instagram and Behance, and find prints of her photographs on her website. (via designboom)
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The first-ever recorded image of a black hole has just been released—and it doesn’t look like you might think. Though one might guess that a picture of a black hole would be not much to look at, the image shows a glowing reddish-orange ring that almost pulsates under the viewer’s gaze. This landmark visual was created using the power of the Event Horizon Telescope. As of today, the group of eight Earth-based radio telescopes has successfully captured and documented the first-ever direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.
The black hole is at the center of Messier 87, a galaxy located in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It is located 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun. The National Science Foundation explains on their website:
Black holes are extremely dense pockets of matter, objects of such incredible mass and minuscule volume that they drastically warp the fabric of space-time. Anything that passes too close, from a wandering star to a photon of light, gets captured. Most black holes are the condensed remnants of a massive star, the collapsed core that remains following an explosive supernova… Using powerful observatories on Earth, astronomers can see the jets of plasma that black holes spew into space, detect the ripples in space-time from black holes colliding, and may soon even peer at the disc of disrupted mass and energy that surrounds the black hole’s event horizon, the edge beyond which nothing can escape.
You can learn more in this press release and watch a livestream below, or on YouTube, of the National Science Foundation’s press conference on the image resulting from the Event Horizon Telescope project.
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Mikael Chukwuma Owunna, a queer Nigerian-Swedish artist raised in Pittsburgh, has spent the past two and a half years photographing Black men and women for a series titled Infinite Essence. Hand-painted using fluorescent paints and photographed in complete darkness, Owunna’s subjects are illuminated by a flash outfitted with a UV filter, which turns their nude bodies into glowing celestial figures.
Owunna tells Colossal that the series was his response to the frequent images and videos of Black people being killed by those sworn to protect them: the police. The photographer’s friends, family members, dancers, and one person he connected with on Instagram serve as models for the project, which is named after an idea from his Igbo heritage. “All of our individual spirits are just one ray of the infinite essence of the sun,” Owunna explains. “By transcending the visible spectrum, I work to illuminate a world beyond our visible structures of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia where the black body is free.”
Having struggled with his own body image (and with his identity as a gay African man, which has inspired his previous work), Owunna says that the response to the project has been powerful, both from the public and from the models. “One of the models, Emem, broke down in tears looking at their pictures saying that they had always dreamed of seeing their body adorned with stars and that these images were beyond their wildest imagination,” he said. “They then told me – ‘every black person deserves to see themselves in this way’ and how the experience was life-altering for them.”
After seeing Owunna’s work via an NPR feature, a 60-year-old Black woman told the photographer, “I’ve hated my body all my life, but–for a glorious instant–that photo made me feel good about it.”
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After viewing a display at a golf trade equipment show, Ohio-based photographer James Friedman was inspired to create an abstract series that focuses on the internal structures of standard size golf balls. The enlarged prints of chipped, broken, and sliced balls reveal complex and colorful cores that contrast the hard, white uniformity of their exteriors.
Friedman varies the cutting style from ball to ball, with some cleanly sliced into perfect halves and others roughly carved down to their rubber, resin, and metal centers. The abstract textures they form is both a result of their construction and a result of the artistic process. “For some viewers, my photographs from this series, titled Interior Design, allude to celestial bodies and the sublime,” he wrote in a statement on his website. “For me, their serendipitous structural exquisiteness and their subtle and passionate arrays of colors have inspired new exploration in my photography.”
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