Photography

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Photography

Bare Tree Branches Captured in Layers of Eerie Morning Fog by Michael Schlegel

January 2, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Michael Schlegel, shared with permission

Berlin-based photographer Michael Schlegel is fascinated by trees and their splaying branches. From his series featuring a Spanish olive grove to another capturing snow-covered trees in Germany, Schlegel consistently documents native plants around the world. The black and white photographs in his recent Fanal series spotlight trees with bare and twisting branches as they are enveloped by thick fog. The uncanny images were taken in the Fanal region of Madeira, Portugal.

The photographer tells Colossal that he visited the area in March 2019, hoping to experience the region’s cloudy weather.

It was only dense fog all day long and from the moment I first arrived at the trees. I photographed there for five consequent days and really enjoyed the atmosphere of walking around lonely, only being able to see what the fog allows me to and being alone with maybe one or a few of these old, mysterious trees at a time.

In each one of his works, Schlegel tries to shoot exactly what he sees on location. “With my photos I also don’t actively try to express an artistic message or interpretation—I rather simply try to show my vision of how I experienced the location,” the photographer writes. Find more of Schlegel’s monochromatic landscape shots on Instagram.

 

 



Art Craft Photography

Hand-Stitched Flowers and Landscapes Revitalize Found Photographs by Artist Han Cao

December 30, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Han Cao, shared with permission

Calligrapher and fiber artist Han Cao repurposes old photographs by stitching brightly colored flowers and landscapes directly onto each black and white image. Based in Palm Springs, the artist works with found photographs that are 5×7 inches or smaller, attaching multi-colored threads that she hopes alter the old narrative and give new meaning and life to each piece. Often, Cao covers people’s faces, adds tiny, repetitive details to their clothes, or blurs a landscape with her stitches.

Cao writes to Colossal that she purchases most photographs from the flea markets and antique shops she visits while she’s traveling.

There’s thousands upon thousands of vintage photos stuffed inside dusty boxes at these markets—long lost and forgotten by their families, so my work is an attempt to bring them back to life and renew their stories. I’m particularly drawn to images that offer a deeper story—photographs with haunting faces and figures, simple landscapes that can be magically transformed with added dimension and color.

The artist says her plans include creating larger-scale works that use “alternative photograph reproduction methods where I will have more space to explore texture and create extended narratives for these images.” You can follow her mixed-media projects on Instagram and purchase her work on her site.

 

 



History Photography

Striking Photographs Capture Ornate Patterns of Historic Iranian Mosques and Palaces

December 30, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Fatemeh Hosein Aghaei, shared with permission. Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran

Iran-based artist Fatemeh Hosein Aghaei takes mesmerizing photographs that showcase the intricate patterns inside the country’s ancient buildings. The artist mostly features mosques in the Iranian city of Isfahan, which is located about 250 miles south of Tehran and is known for its Perso–Islamic designed structures, boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, tile-filled mosques, and minarets. In her photographs, Hosein Aghaei often looks upward to frame the building’s domes and arches complete with complex colorful designs, sometimes even adding glimpses of the city’s blue skies. The artist tells Colossal that she wants her work to capture and share the beauty of Iran’s historic architecture. Keep up with Hosein Aghaei’s captivating images on Instagram.

Sheykh Abdussamad Mausoleum

Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque in Isfahan, Iran

Dowlatabad Garden of Yazd

Ali Qapu Palace of Isfahan, Iran

Jameh Mosque of Isfahan, Iran

Emam Mosque of Isfahan, Iran

Agha Bozorg Mosque of Kashan

Agha Bozorg Mosque of Kashan

 

 



Art Food Photography

Pearls Puncture and Support Fruit and Vegetables in Photographs by Ana Straže

December 26, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Ana Straže, shared with permission

In her latest series Forbidden Foods, photographer Ana Straže pierces a peeling slice of grapefruit, a cut eggplant, and other fruits and vegetables using small pins topped with pearls to create contemporary still lifes of common foods. The Slovenia-based artist manipulates food and positions the pins in patterns as an attempt to alter the meaning of the every day objects. Straže tells Colossal she hoped the pearls would “help expose and emphasize different shapes and food value, such as emphasizing the structure of the epidermis, helping compositionally insert an object into a given space, complementing the food, and adding a new perspective.”

The ongoing series is an extension of the photographer’s previous work Garden of Eden, a project that centered on women’s expulsion in the Old Testament. “Through contemporary ways, I want to capture food in a unique approach with a slight sensual touch,” Straže writes. “With the Forbidden Food series, I’m trying to discover the limits of aesthetics and notice the importance of simple everyday things.” You can see more of the photographer’s food-based work on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Crates Stacked in Beverage Yard Form Color-Coded Rows in Aerial Photographs by Bernhard Lang

December 19, 2019

Grace Ebert

All images © Bernhard Lang, shared with permission

Munich-based photographer Bernhard Lang (previously) is known for his aerial shots that capture the inexact repetition and geometry of everyday life. His latest project, “Crate Stacks,” focuses in on a German beverage production yard, a facet of an industry that employs about 60,000 people in more than 500 companies in the country. Captured in November 2019 while Lang was flying in a small plane over the area, the series shows thousands of crates sorted by color and assembled in long lines. Tiny squares and circles comprise the lengthy rectangular rows, highlighting the height differences of each stack. The artist says the shots remind him of “the computer game Tetris or graphic bar diagrams.” More of Lang’s prized work can be found on his Instagram and Behance, and some pieces are available by request on his site.

 

 



Photography Science

Tiny Ice Crystals Simulate a Halo Around the Sun in Photograph by Michael Schneider

December 12, 2019

Grace Ebert

Photo by Michael Schneider, shared with permission

On a November trip to the Arosa mountains in the Swiss Alps, Michael Schneider snapped a photo using his iPhone 11. The Zurich-based photographer and writer says the image he captured as the fog dissipated shows small ice crystals in the clouds, which break up the sunlight. The crystals’ insides reflect the sun, which is then broken again as it leaves the inside chamber, resulting in the halo of light.

Gizmodo’s Mika McKinnon elucidated the phenomenon when a similar shot was taken a few years ago.

Ice halos happen when tiny crystals of ice are suspended in the sky. The crystals can be high up in cirrus clouds, or closer to the ground as diamond dust or ice fog. Like raindrops scatter light into rainbows, the crystals of ice can reflect and refract light, acting as mirrors or prisms depending on the shape of the crystal and the incident angle of the light.

You can find an analysis by Mark McCaughrean of the atmospheric optics at work in the image below. Keep up with Schneider’s travel writing and the frozen landscapes he frequents on his Instagram. (via Kottke)

Photo annotation by Mark McCaughrean

 

 



Photography Science

Colored Micrographs Magnify Pollen Seeds, Plant Cells, and Leaf Structures in Photographs by Rob Kesseler

December 5, 2019

Grace Ebert

Medicago arborea. All photographs (c) Rob Kesseler, shared with permission

Using scanning electron microscopy and a mix of microscopic, scientific, digital, and manual processes, artist Rob Kesseler develops colored micrographs of the intricate patterns within pollen and seed grains, plant cells, and leaf structures. The highly magnified photographs feature specifics of cellular composition that are undetectable without magnification.

Kesseler tells Colossal that as a child, his father gifted him a microscope, marking a pivotal moment in his creative career. “What the microscope gave me was an unprecedented view of nature, a second vision,” he writes, “and awareness that there existed another world of forms, colours and patterns beyond what I could normally see.” The artist says his use of color is inspired by the time he spends researching and observing, and that just like nature, he employs it to attract attention.

Kesseler calls the intersection between art and science “a process and a product, a morphogenetic synthesis of two expansive cultures and a way of examining the world through a series of filters.” And he has hope for the relationship between the two disciplines, saying, “I like to think we are entering a new age where after a century of separation, artists and scientists are again working together, sharing ideas that reflect our age.”

Currently the chair of Arts, Design and Science at Central Saint Martins, Kesseler also is a fellow of the Linnean Society, the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Microscopical Society. His most recent work includes a project with journalist Mathew Tucker of the BBC and a collaboration with Dr. Louise Hughes at Oxford Instruments. Both deal with the impacts of climate change on the plant world.

You can find more of Kesseler’s painstakingly created photographs on his Instagram and in his books featuring pollen, seeds, and fruit. (thnx, Mike!)

Santolina chamaecyparissus

Avena fatua

Scabiosa cretica

Salix caprea

Daucus carota

Anemone hortensis

Viburnum

Allium