German photographer Tom Hegen, who specializes in aerial photography, recently traveled to the Netherlands to document the country’s LED greenhouses. The greenhouses were developed as a response to the small country’s growing need for food both within its own borders and to the international market. Dutch exporters are second only to the U.S. industry for global food exports as measured by value. Although the greenhouses offer incredible efficiency in their design, cultivating food year-round through high temperatures and humidity levels, their round-the-clock use also gives off a great deal of light pollution. Hegen flew in a helicopter at night to capture the yellow and purple glow that the greenhouses give off, their geometric planes of illumination standing out from the dark atmosphere.
The photographer tells Colossal that his work centers around the topic of the Anthropocene (the era of human influence on Earth’s biological, geological, and atmospheric processes). “In my photography, I explore the origin and scale of that idea in an effort to understand the dimensions of man’s intervention in natural spaces and to direct attention toward how humans can take responsibility.” Hegen explains that aerial photography in particular helps convey the Anthropocene because it shows the dimensions and scale of human impact more effectively.
“I am also fascinated by the abstraction that comes with the change of perspective; seeing something familiar from a new vantage point that you are not used to,” Hegen tells Colossal. “I use abstraction and aestheticization as a language to inspire people and also to offer the viewer a connection to the subject as they need to decode what they are looking at.”
In 2018 Hegen published his first aerial photo book, HABITAT, and next year he will start working on a follow-up, the artist shares with Colossal. Keep up with Hegen’s travels and latest projects on Instagram and Behance.
Share this story
Munich-based photographer Bernhard Lang (previously) recently shared aerial views of famous squares and landmarks throughout London, England. By presenting the metropolis from the sky, Lang offers a more dynamic look at the capital city’s unique geometric patterns and iconic architecture.
Lang produced the Aerial Views: London series from inside a helicopter during a trip to the United Kingdom in July 2019. Locations including Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square were chosen because they are “stored in our visual memory,” Lang tells Colossal. For the photographer, the unusual perspective of familiar sites reveals the atmosphere and charisma of the city in ways that can’t be seen from the ground. The flyover views of the city make it appear more like a detailed model of itself, complete with cars, double-deckers, boats, and tiny people frozen in places like figurines.
Share this story
Stunning Shots Take Top Prizes in the 2019 Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year Contest
This week, London’s Natural History Museum announced the winners of its 55th Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcase. More than 48,000 amateur and professional photographers from 100 countries shared their best shots and a jury of nine experts selected the winners. Some of this year’s jurors included Kathy Moran, Senior Editor for Natural History at National Geographic Magazine; nature photographer Theo Bosboom; Melissa Dale, Acting Director of Photography at The Nature Conservancy; conservation photojournalist Paul Hilton; and writer and editor Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE, who chaired the committee.
The nineteen winners were selected across categories including animal behavior of mammals, birds, and invertebrates, along with animal portraits, plants and fungi, earth’s environment, and special categories for youth and emerging photographers. We’ve included 10 of our favorites here, including a golden eagle about to land by Audun Rikardsen, a life-or-death duel between a marmot and a fox by Yongqing Bao, and a hummingbird hawkmoth caught mid-sip by Thomas Easterbrook. To see more of the top finishers, check out our September coverage of this year’s finalists, and see the full show at the Natural History Museum in London now through May 31, 2020. Submissions for the 2020 competition open on October 21, 2019.
Share this story
Photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo creates colorful portraits of Nigerian women that are simultaneously majestic and dreamy. Set against gauzy draped backdrops, Ogunbanwo’s subjects are dressed for bridal ceremonies in vibrant lace bodices, sculptural headdresses, and embellished tulle veils. In a statement on the series, the artist describes his use of veiled portraiture “to document the complexity of his culture, and counteract the West’s monolithic narratives of Africa and women.” The series, titled e wá wo mi (“come look at me”), documents “the traditional ceremonial wear of the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa-Fulani tribes, amongst others. Rather than objectively archive these as past-traditions, however, he mimics the pageantry of weddings in present Nigeria.”
e wá wo mi is currently on view at Niki Cryan Gallery, in tandem with another of Ogunbanwo’s series, Are We Good Enough. The exhibition runs from October 14 to November 3, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. The photographer’s work has also been featured in The New Yorker and The New York Times, as well as the Grid Photo Biennial in Cape Town, South Africa. See more of Ogunbanwo’s stylized portraiture on Instagram.
Share this story
Stark Photographs by Benjamin Dimmitt Show the Ecological Damage of Saltwater Encroachment in Florida’s Wetlands
An Unflinching Look, a documentary photo series by Benjamin Dimmitt, is set in Florida and focuses its gaze on rising sea levels. Dimmitt has been photographing in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge north of Tampa since 2004, after an initial visit more than 30 years ago.
“The dense palm hammocks and hardwood forests were festooned with ferns and orchids and the fresh water creeks were a clear azure,” Dimmitt tells Colossal. But, around 2011, saltwater began leaching into the creeks, due to rising sea levels and the state’s environmental decision-makers. Florida’s water commissioners allowed more fresh water to be drawn into large-scale inland developments and agricultural interests, leaving less for wetlands in the aquifers that feed these essential ecosystems.
“What had been verdant, semi-tropical forest is now mostly an open plain of grasses relieved by palms and dying hardwood trees,” Dimmitt explains. “In 2014, I began to photograph in the salt-damaged sawgrass savannas and spring creeks there as a way of reckoning with the ecosystem loss and of understanding what has become of my native Florida. I have narrowed my focus to a small, remote area that I know and love. My intention in bearing witness to this loss has been to portray the ruined landscape with respect, nuance and beauty.”
In order to create each photograph, Dimmitt canoes into the wetlands, stepping on to land to set up his tripod when possible, or shooting from his canoe if the water is too deep or land too soft. The selenium-toned gelatin silver prints are created with a medium format camera. Dimmitt grew up in a creative household, and his mother was an abstract painter. She gave the photographer his own camera at age 16, and her aesthetic continues to inform Dimmitt’s own practice to this day.
Because Dimmitt has been working in this region for so long, he is able to show the dramatic changes in the landscape over time, as salt-intolerant vegetation has been wiped out by the encroaching ocean water, as documented in the diptychs shown here. The artist tells Colossal that he has a very direct approach to photography, shooting from his eye and his heart. He sought to channel “a hammer in a velvet glove,” creating compelling images that would draw viewers into the larger issues at stake. As part of his artistic practice, Dimmitt also researched saltwater intrusion and spoke with scientists, activists, state water management officials, and locals to gain a full picture of the situation. For the photographer, the experience of documenting the changes in Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge “has been painful and cathartic for me, evoking grief, anger and feelings of loss and mortality.”
An Unflinching Look is part of a current exhibition, “This is Climate Change,” now on view at Southeast Museum of Photography through October 26, 2019. Explore more of the photographer’s portfolio on his website and Instagram. You can also learn more about the buyouts that state governments in regions impacted by climate change are offering people to leave their homes in an incisive article on Bloomberg, and explore “ghost forests” all along the Eastern seaboard in the New York Times.
Share this story
Chicago-based artist Reuben Wu (previously) blurs the lines between photography and art in his unique images. Wu’s work brings him to remote locations around the world to capture rugged landscapes. But rather than focusing on purely documenting local topography, Wu uses lighted drones to create geometric shapes in the air, accenting the natural surroundings. Featured here are images from Wu’s Lux Noctis and Aeroglyphs series, showcasing the artist’s interplay of organic and constructed shapes.
“Lux Noctis started as a means to present landscapes in a different way to conventional photography. The use of artificial lighting in a natural landscape came to me at Trona Pinnacles in 2014 when a random truck drove into my time lapse, unexpectedly illuminating the pinnacles in a way that shouldn’t exist,” Wu tells Colossal. “This expanded into the idea of introducing my own look and feel to a landscape using very nuanced aerial lighting. Rather than rely on the sun, and timing, to light my images, I was able to light it myself, like I would in a studio environment.” For his most recent Lux Noctis images, Wu traveled to Bolivia with sponsorship from Phase One, to use the company’s new XT camera platform.
For Aeroglyphs, the artist draws inspiration from the Land Art movement to create interventions without physically touching the earth. Images from the series are currently on view at photo-eye in Santa Fe, New Mexico through November 16, 2019. A catalogue from the show is available for preorder from Kris Graves Projects. Stay up to date with Wu’s new work and travels on Instagram and Facebook.
Share this story
Photographer and Fashion Institute of Technology professor Jessica Wynne has spent the last year documenting the numbers, symbols, and models drawn by mathematicians onto chalkboards. The photos capture the thought processes and physical efforts of professionals in a medium that has been largely abandoned.
Wynne tells Colossal that she enjoys photographing the dusty work surfaces because of “their beauty, mystery and the pleasure of creating a permanent document of something that is ephemeral.” The “Do Not Erase” photo series, soon to be published in a book by Princeton University Press for release in 2020, includes boards from institutions and universities around the world. Wynne hopes that viewers can appreciate the aesthetic of the worked surfaces while “simultaneously appreciating that the work on the board represents something much deeper, beyond the surface.”
Wynne adds that she feels a “kinship” with the mathematicians. “Their imagination guides them and similar to an artist they have the higher aspiration to create, discover, and find truth.” For updates on the release of her book and for more interesting photo series, head over to Jessica Wynne’s website.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Photography
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.