Valencia-based duo Anna Devís and Daniel Rueda (previously) add a playful twist to mundane settings and architectural backdrops. Whether flaring a skirt into a wide, cheesy grin, posing to prop up a facade’s stripes, or gripping the tail of a balloon that looks like a tethered sun, their minimal compositions turn geometric elements and open spaces into theatrical sets ripe with humor and joy.
Devís tells Colossal that each narrative-driven image is the result of extensive planning that begins with an initial sketch, involves pairing a concept and location, and later constructing the props. They don’t use any photo-editing software, meaning that every shot is precisely composed on-site with natural lighting, a process she explains:
We carefully set the stage in real life using all sorts of everyday objects, colorful papers, matching outfits, and tons of natural light. At first glance, one would probably think that most of our images are not very difficult to capture because of their modest appearance. But, with the passing years, we’ve learned that achieving this level of simplicity is really, really complicated.
In the coming months, the duo plans to travel to various locales for photoshoots— “there are a lot of beautiful spaces where we’d love to tell a story, but we haven’t figured it out yet,” Devís says—and are in the process of working on a forthcoming book and a few exhibitions. You can find an extensive archive on both Devís’s and Rueda’s Instagrams, and buy prints on their site.
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In 2020 alone, a combination of droughts and a raging bark beetle infestation spurred by the climate crisis diminished Germany’s spruce tree population by record numbers. The European nation lost an estimated 4.3 percent of the evergreen species, which tend to grow in both commercial and naturally established forests in the Bavarian Alps and along the southeastern border. Photographer Kilian Schönberger (previously) visited these regions in the early part of 2021 to shed light on the enchanting beauty of the wooded areas that are undergoing substantial transformations.
Endorsement for Spruce Forests captures the species’ ethereal nature as sunlight filters through fog and morning mist, casting a warm candy-colored glow on the landscape. Pink light illuminates the barren branches that splay outward alongside trees covered in needles, while other shots show the rough, labyrinth-like paths that wind through the hilly terrain. Despite their durable material, the spruce take on a delicate, gentle quality in Schönberger’s photos, which are informed by his understanding of the trees’ natural rhythms:
Huge woods were destroyed by the bark beetle within a few weeks. Since the lowlands are not the natural habitat of the spruce the bark beetles just restored the balance of nature… In the Eastern Bavarian mountain ranges with higher precipitation, I was looking for natural spruce forests and found a wood wonderland. That’s the area where almost homogeneous spruce forests will also grow in the next decades.
Schönberger frequently travels from his home in the Bavarian Alps across Europe, and you can follow his adventures on Instagram. Prints of Endorsement for Spruce Forests are also available on his site.
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In his series Base Quantities, London-based photographer Greg White elucidates the abstract and fundamental concepts of physics. His minimal, graphic images document all seven components (i.e. mass, electric current, temperature, length, luminous intensity, amount of substance, and time) of the arbitrarily defined system used in measuring physical properties. Vividly composed, the visuals include a radiant electric current flowing in a coil, the tonal spectrum of thermodynamic temperature, and a trio of illuminated beams conveying length.
White tells Colossal that the series was born out of a desire to experiment with photographic techniques in a playful, accurate way and is inspired by Berenice Abbot, who dedicated much of her practice to presenting complex scientific principles to the public in a simple and accessible manner. “Researching within the realms of science it quickly became apparent that everything has rules and quantities and so I chose to visualize the quantities. Rules might be next,” he shares. Each representation is derived entirely in-camera, a process he describes:
I wanted the images to only show something through a technique, so for instance without the motion of an object it would appear completely different or without the strobe again it would be different and not be representational of the concept. A lot of the techniques involved (the) motion of an object captured over a long exposure. Some additionally have a strobe effect during the long exposure, others use multiple exposures while shifting the lens for instance, or simply incorporating simple props/fx to distort or reveal a notion.
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More than two decades ago, Noah Kalina started taking a daily self-portrait, a ritualistic practice that’s culminated in a few timelapses collating the images as part of his Everyday project. His most recent manifestation in that ongoing series melds together photos from the last 7,777 days in a striking two-minute compilation that vividly shows how he ages over the 21-year period.
A collaborative effort with sound designer Paul O’Mara and programmer Michael Notter, the timelapse uses five of Kalina’s facial features—his eyes, nose, and corners of his mouth—that Notter aligned in all of the photos to ensure smooth transitions from one to the next. Not all 7,777 portraits make it into the final video, though, because they opted to use the average of 60 faces in each frame, meaning Kalina ages two months every second.
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Herons of Amsterdam: A Photo Series Reveals the Unusually Large Population Living in the Dutch Capital
Spending timing in any major city is likely to bring run-ins with urban wildlife like rodents and pigeons, but in Amsterdam, there’s one long-legged species stalking the streets in unusually large numbers. In her ongoing series Herons of Amsterdam, photographer Julie Hrudová documents the thriving feathered population—it’s grown considerably in recent decades, and in 2017, officials estimated there were 800 pairs living in 25 neighborhoods—swooping down to sidewalks for a meal and confidently strutting into people’s homes.
Often nesting in park trees, the now-ubiquitous birds are known to scour fish markets at close to scavenge the day’s unsold product and visit the zoo at feeding time. They’ve integrated themselves so wholly into the lives of the city’s human inhabitants that it’s not uncommon for residents to supply food and respite to the striped creatures. “They have names for them, like Kiri the heron, who comes by every day for a snack and is not scared to enter the house,” the Prague-born photographer says. “At times he stays for a while and watches TV.”
Last year, Hrudová released a zine compiling many of the images shown here, and she’s currently working on a new book titled Chasing Amsterdam that will be filled with the street photos she takes on a weekly basis. You can follow her sightings around the Dutch capital on Instagram, and check out her curated account StreetRepeat for a survey of the recurring themes photographers document around the world. (via Jeroen Apers)
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In the first two parts of his Miniature Landscape series, director and animator Clemens Wirth (previously) celebrates the vast, awe-inspiring terrain of the earth by adventuring through snowy caverns, across pebbled beaches, and to the green glow of the Northern Lights. With a focus on color and textured elements like rocks and bubbling liquids, Wirth’s short films traverse tiny models built in his studio that mimic real-life landscapes with an uncanny twist. The final piece of the animated trilogy travels beyond Earth to explore outer space, journeying through fields of meteorites, across sand pocked with craters, and toward a volcano spewing lava.
Wirth tacked a short making-of segment onto the end of the galactic short film, which you can watch along with the first two episodes, on his Vimeo.
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Editor's Picks: Photography
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.