Photography

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Art Photography

AfroArt Photo Series Challenges Beauty Standards with Young Black Models

August 10, 2019

Andrew LaSane

All Images: Kahran and Regis Bethencourt. Styling by LaChanda Gatson, Shanna Thomasson and Angela Plummer

Husband and wife photography duo Regis and Kahran Bethencourt of CreativeSoul Photography capture images of children that celebrate the beauty, culture, and heritage of afro hairstyles. Often dressed in ornate African-inspired garb, Black girl and boy models are crowned with afros, twists, and braids as symbols of strength and grace.

The Bethencourts, based in Atlanta, have been working together for 10 years and began photographing children with natural hair in 2013. The “AfroArt” series began when they noticed a lack of diversity in the industry. The way the children in the series are styled and posed against warm backgrounds recalls the regal oil portraits painted of upper class men and women during the Renaissance movement. “We decided to showcase kids with natural hair to empower them (and others in the industry) to embrace it and for the kids to be proud of their culture and natural curls,” the photographers tell Colossal.

“When we first started out we were primarily working with child models, but now more than half of the kids have never modeled before,” they added. “Many parents hire us so that their child can get the experience of feeling empowered for the day. We will typically guide them on set to make them feel comfortable. Most of them just see it as a fun experience, but they usually leave the studio feeling a little more proud and self-confident.”

CreativeSoul Photography has an online shop where images from the AfroArt series can be purchased as prints, calendars, and other products. They also recently signed a book deal, so keep an eye out for that at your local bookstore. In the meantime, follow CreativeSoul Photography on Instagram for more striking images and future updates.

 

 



Photography

Bolivia’s Powerful Cholitas Luchadora Wrestlers Photographed by Todd Antony

August 9, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Todd Antony, shared with permission

Photographer Todd Antony (previously) documents Bolivia’s best-dressed wrestlers in a new series, Flying Cholitas. The women, who are indigenous Aymara, compete in their sport wearing voluminous petticoats, colorful skirts, and long-sleeved lacy tops rather than in the minimal, form-fitting spandex worn by many athletes around the world.

These ensembles resemble ones that Aymara were expected—sometimes even required—to wear during five centuries of oppression under Spanish occupiers. The wrestlers wear these ensembles to show pride in their history and take back their visibility. Similarly, the identifier “cholita,” originally a derogatory term, has been reclaimed in recent years by indigenous Bolivians as a point of pride.

If you’re curious to see the athletes in action, Luisa Dörr and Michael James Johnson were commissioned by Apple to shoot a short documentary on the flying cholitas, which you can watch below. Aymara architect Freddy Mamani has also championed indigenous Bolivian aesthetics with his buildings, which we’ve covered previously on Colossal.

Explore more of Antony’s wide-ranging photography on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Flower-Filled Portraits by Diaja Celebrate Natural Beauty in the African Diaspora

August 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photographer and designer Ceres Henry embellishes her portrait subjects with floral body paint and fresh blossoms in her Adam & Eve series. The New York-based artist hand-painted each person before the shoot, inspired in the moment by the flowers she had pre-selected, and then worked the three-dimensional blooms into the composition. Henry, who goes by Diaja, explains that she seeks to counter negative narratives and stereotypes with Adam & Eve. “The significance of this series is to highlight the Black and African diaspora as works of art to be admired and celebrated,” she says.

In addition to Diaja’s work as a photographer, she also founded and runs a nonprofit, Artists of Today, which offers pop-up gallery and grant opportunities to emerging artists. The next gallery event is on August 17, 2019, and tickets are available here. See more from Diaja’s multi-faceted creative practice on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Take a Wild Ride Through Two Seasons of Supercell Storms with Mike Olbinski’s Time-Lapse Film

August 2, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Mike Olbinski (previously) not only chases storms, he also brings his camera equipment with him. The Phoenix, Arizona-based photographer—who shoots weddings between storms—compiled two seasons of wild weather footage from around the U.S. The result isVorticity 2, a time-lapse of Olbinski’s top finds from spring 2018 and 2019. For seven and a half minutes massive clouds tear through open skies across plains and mountain ranges, rainbows brighten the calm after the storms, and sheets of rain obliterate horizon lines.

Olbinski incorporated music by Luke Atencio for Vorticity 2’s soundtrack. Enjoy the wild ride of Olbinski’s chases from the safe vantage point of your laptop on YouTube, and peruse fine art prints on his website.  (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 

 



Photography

Moody Views of Hawaii’s Rugged Beaches by Photographer Jason Wright

August 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Glory” all photographs © Jason Wright, shared with permission

Dramatic views of Hawaii’s landscape by Jason Wright depart from typical depictions of the high profile islands. Rather than showing sandy beaches and palm trees, Wright’s images highlight the fierce and rugged places where land meets sea. Wright, who grew up in Hawaii, shares with Colossal that his experience as a life-long surfer informs his perspective as a photographer.

Being exposed to the power and ever changing conditions that affect our state—this power of the ocean thrills and terrifies me and keeps me coming back. Once you step foot on land’s edge, with no lifeguards or crowds, you know your place and who is in control. I love that I am drawn to a mix of excitement and fear that this experience can bring.

Wright explains that he creates his unique images by hiking in to scout locations, determining the positioning of the sun or moon and the water’s swell in his composition, and shooting in extremely low light, under a full moon or at sundown. Waiting for the right moment can sometimes take months.

Explore more of Hawaii’s moody landscapes through Wright’s lens on Instagram, and contact him via his website for framed prints of his photographs.

“Ebb & Flow”

“Awakening”

“Nocturnal Dream”

“The Mountain”

“Dream Sweeper”

“Blue Dream”

 

 



Art Photography

Balanced Gourds and Stacked Loaves Compose Bountiful Still Lifes by ChangKi Chung

July 29, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

All photographs © Chang Ki Chung, shared with artist’s permission

ChangKi Chung composes cairn-like portraits of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that balance the unique shapes and vibrant colors of each natural object. In some images the edible elements are shot whole, while in others artistic slices are created to highlight a variety of internal patterns and shapes. For a recent series, Chung was commissioned by the publication Le Monde to create a new still life each week, showcasing stacks of crusty bread, halved hard boiled eggs, and cubes of blood red beets. The Korean photographer has also recently produced two images for the Château du Rivau as a part of a group exhibition celebrating the 500 year anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death. You can see more of Chung’s photographs on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Birds Hunt, Hide, and Blow Impressive Smoke Rings in a Selection of Images from the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards

July 25, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Red-winged Blackbird. Photo: Kathrin Swoboda/Audubon Photography Awards

The Audubon Photography Awards are celebrating their tenth year with an array of bird images that capture moments often missed by the human eye. In the contest’s grand prize winning photo, amateur photographer Kathrin Swoboda presents a red-winged blackbird emitting what appears to be perfect rings of smoke from its beak into the cold morning air. Another image by photographer Kevin Ebi catches an unbelievable rabbit theft in which a bald eagle struggles to steal dinner from an unsuspecting fox.

A new category revealed in this year’s contest is Plants for Birds, which honors Audubon’s Plants for Birds program. The category asked photographers to present unique depictions of birds alongside local plant life, as a way to addresses the importance of native plants to the survival of surrounding wildlife. This winner of the inaugural award was the San Diego-based photographer Michael Schulte who presented a hooded oriole gathering bits of palm fibers for a nest. You can see the rest of this year’s award winners on Audubon’s website.

Great Blue Herons. Photo: Melissa Rowell/Audubon Photography Awards

Bald Eagle and red fox. Photo: Kevin Ebi/Audubon Photography Awards

Horned Puffin (captive). Photo: Sebastian Velasquez/Audubon Photography Awards

Hooded Oriole on a California fan palm. Photo: Michael Schulte/Audubon Photography Awards

Greater Sage-Grouse. Photo: Elizabeth Boehm/Audubon Photography Awards