Photography

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Photography

Dozens of Photographs Connect Racial Justice and the Symbolism of Flowers in an Exhibition by The Earth Issue

March 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

Denisse Ariana Pérez (previously), “Boys and Water” (2019). All images courtesy of the artists/The Earth Issue, shared with permission

An online exhibition by The Earth Issue, an artist collective interested in the intersection of environmental activism and social justice, centers on the symbolic power and precarious nature of the flower. Considered both a sign of love and an offering to make amends, plants in bloom are often sites of cultural contradiction, a theme that runs through the dozens of photographs in Strange Flowers—the show is titled in reference to Billie Holiday’s anti-lynching protest anthem “Strange Fruit.”

“Beauty felled in its prime. Taken without consent, their stems ripped from the earth, their connection to life severed, petals pulled and crushed underfoot. Just like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other innocent victims of racial injustice and police violence,” says a statement about the expansive collection.

The Earth Issue is selling prints of each of the works in its shop through April 11, and a portion of the proceeds will go to BIPOC communities. See some of Colossal’s favorites below, and peruse all the photographs on the collective’s site. (via Juxtapoz)

 

Emily Hlavac Green, “Bird In A Cage” (2020)

Chukwuka Nwobi, “Ore” (2018)

Chieska Fortune Smith, “Back” (2018)

Jesse Crankson, “I Can’t Breathe” (2018)

Joachim Mueller-Ruchholtz, Marathonas, Greece (2019)

Left: Kay Ibrahim, “Flowerboy” (2018). Right: Kin Coedel, “Sky” (2016)

Tom Johnson, “Denis The Dancer,” Rio (2019)

 

 



Photography

A Hypnotic Short Film Rhythmically Spins Through 3,745 Masks from Around the World

March 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

Spiraling through ancient, painted faces, cartoon figures, and the now ubiquitous N95, the short film “Beyond Noh” by Patrick Smith (previously) sequences 3,745 masks in an entrancing rhythm. The individual images span multiple cultures and time periods and shift from one to the next with the beat of a hand drum.

A decades-long mask enthusiast, Smith photographed three-fourths of the works from museum archives, galleries, and his own collection, with the remaining segment submitted by folks around the world. “To me, masks are an interesting way to view humanity. It seems to me that every culture in the history of the world has participated in some form of mask making, whether it’s for performance, ritual, protest, or utility,” the director tells Colossal, noting that he finished the film just one month before the first outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.

This month, “Beyond Noh” is screening at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Stuttgart Animation Festival, Florida Film Festival, and Mecal Barcelona Animation Festival. Watch an excerpt edited exclusively for Colossal above, and stream the full film on Smith’s YouTube channel with a paid subscription. (Thnx, Marcin!)

 

 

 



Photography

An Expansive, Celestial Series of Photographs by Shawn Theodore Is Cast in Shades of Blues

March 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Shawn Theodore, courtesy of Paradigm Gallery, shared with permission

“To create in blue, one must first understand its powerful nature,” says Shawn Theodore in reference to Night Stars, an extensive new series of photographs that radiate the primary hue.

Shot using a variety of filters and lights, Theodore’s ethereal works are multivalent in aesthetic and affect. They evoke a range of references, spanning the color symbolizing an antidote to evil to the practices surrounding the 19th Century cyanotype, a medium with an archive that notably includes few Black subjects. Slavery in the United States also foregrounded the production of indigo, a cash crop that rice and cotton eventually supplanted. “There has to be a world that exists inside of the color. A spiritual process is happening that is begging us to look inside of it, and somewhere within it are answers,” the photographer says.

 

In an interview about the elegantly subversive series, Theodore shares that the original idea for the series emerged in 2016 and was inspired, in part, by the aesthetics of nature photography. Whether a portrait or more expansive shot, many of the works feature the sky, stars, and water elements that have deep and storied roots in African and African American traditions.

Along with his larger body of work, Night Stars is based on what Theodore terms “Afromythology,” a non-linear blend of histories and speculative futures derived from both real and imagined scenarios. This theme, in addition to the perpetual infusion of blue light, binds the individual works that otherwise encompass a breadth of Black experiences decontextualized from time and space. Theodore says about the intentionally broad series:

Featured in this collection are portraits made of bejeweled deities in the indigo-hued ether, the fervor of fête revelers, the quiet stillness amongst the dense foliage and haints of Low Country of South Carolina, possession in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, and sunrise reverence at the edge of the Caribbean Sea. At the center is the viewer, who stands at the bardos of these seemingly disjointed experiences, their presence unifying the real and unreal.

Night Stars is on view at Philadelphia’s Paradigm Gallery both in-person and virtually through March 20. Find a larger collection of the Germany-born photographer’s works on his site and Artsy.

 

 

 



Photography

Right Up Our Alley: Striking Drone Footage Flies Through Minneapolis's Bryant Lake Bowl

March 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

After splitting from the nighttime cityscape, a drone descends into Bryant Lake Bowl in a fast-paced clip that rolls through the classic Minneapolis venue. The camera-strapped device trails a ball as it barrels down the lane and then winds past the gutters and into the bar and theater, picking up competitive banter and diving in the otherwise-unseen abyss that is the ball pit. Taken by Jay Christensen of Rally Studios, the footage is evidence of both how far technology has advanced in recent years and the adept piloting skills required to capture such a striking ode to the beloved alley and the game itself. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Photography

Expansive Photographs by RK Frame the Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Life Throughout Asia

March 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

Guizhou, China. All images © RK, shared with permission

Traveling from his home in Tokyo to cities and small villages across Asia, Ryosuke Kosuge is adept at spotting the textures and patterns that occupy local life, whether through the rocky formations surrounding Heaven’s Gate Mountain in Zhangjiajie, an array of birdcages created by a woman in Guizhou, or the wires crisscrossing a market in Nanning. His arresting images approach everyday moments from a place of curiosity and display the beauty and wonder inherent in both natural and urban environments. The photographer, who works as RK, tells Colossal that he chooses destinations based on the specific mood he hopes to convey, although sometimes those decisions are spurred by a personal desire to experience local customs and cuisine.

RK is also behind this book-filled series shot inside Tokyo’s Kadokawa Culture Museum. You can follow his travels on Instagram.

 

Vietnam

Vietnam

Hong Kong

Nanning, China

Keelung, Taiwan

Japan

Heaven’s Gate Mountain, Zhangjiajie, China

Vietnam

 

 



Illustration Photography

Meticulous Digital Works Layer Petals, Leaves, and Natural Textures into Fantastic Creatures

March 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “Kulu.” All images © Josh Dykgaaf, shared with permission

Melbourne-based artist Josh Dykgraaf has a discerning eye for matching two seemingly disparate elements. In his ongoing Terraforms series, autumn leaves become feathers, magnolia petals wind into scales, and plumes form fins that swish through water. Each illustration merges flora and fauna into an entirely new fantastical creature, and a single piece can take days to complete, with the pair of Tawny Frogmouths, for example, clocking in at 55 hours and more than 3,000 layers.

“My process for how I pair natural textures with animals is usually a bit like cloud gazing—like as a kid, did you ever stare up out the clouds and make out different forms and shapes among them?” Dykgraaf says, noting that he takes all of his own photographs of the source materials on hikes or walks around his neighborhood. Once he returns to his studio, he painstakingly collages the extraordinary creatures, coating a closed beak in bark or an echidna in regrown brush following the East Gippsland fires.

In the coming months, Dykgraaf is shifting to a portrait series focused on Indigenous people around the world. His digital works will be included in The Other Art Fair in Sydney from March 18 to 21 and the virtual edition, which runs March 23 to 28. Until then, see a larger collection of the intricately constructed creatures on Behance and Instagram, and pick up a print from his shop. (via designboom)

 

Detail of “Tawu Tawu”

Detail of “Burooli”

“Bunyjul”

Detail of “Kulu”

Left: “Burooli.” Right: “Thaumus”

“Kulu”

“Tawu Tawu”

“Tjirilya”