Photography

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Amazing Photography Science

A Group of Powerful Telescopes Captures the First-Ever Image of a Black Hole

April 10, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Image © Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration et al.

The first-ever recorded image of a black hole has just been released—and it doesn’t look like you might think. Though one might guess that a picture of a black hole would be not much to look at, the image shows a glowing reddish-orange ring that almost pulsates under the viewer’s gaze. This landmark visual was created using the power of the Event Horizon Telescope. As of today, the group of eight Earth-based radio telescopes has successfully captured and documented the first-ever direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow.

The black hole is at the center of Messier 87, a galaxy located in the nearby Virgo galaxy cluster. It is located 55 million light-years from Earth and has a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun. The National Science Foundation explains on their website:

Black holes are extremely dense pockets of matter, objects of such incredible mass and minuscule volume that they drastically warp the fabric of space-time. Anything that passes too close, from a wandering star to a photon of light, gets captured. Most black holes are the condensed remnants of a massive star, the collapsed core that remains following an explosive supernova… Using powerful observatories on Earth, astronomers can see the jets of plasma that black holes spew into space, detect the ripples in space-time from black holes colliding, and may soon even peer at the disc of disrupted mass and energy that surrounds the black hole’s event horizon, the edge beyond which nothing can escape.

You can learn more in this press release and watch a livestream below, or on YouTube, of the National Science Foundation’s press conference on the image resulting from the Event Horizon Telescope project.

 

 



Art Photography

Black Bodies Painted and Photographed Like the Cosmos by Mikael Owunna

April 7, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Infinite Essence: “James” (2018) All images courtesy of Mikael Owunna

Mikael Chukwuma Owunna, a queer Nigerian-Swedish artist raised in Pittsburgh, has spent the past two and a half years photographing Black men and women for a series titled Infinite Essence. Hand-painted using fluorescent paints and photographed in complete darkness, Owunna’s subjects are illuminated by a flash outfitted with a UV filter, which turns their nude bodies into glowing celestial figures.

Owunna tells Colossal that the series was his response to the frequent images and videos of Black people being killed by those sworn to protect them: the police. The photographer’s friends, family members, dancers, and one person he connected with on Instagram serve as models for the project, which is named after an idea from his Igbo heritage. “All of our individual spirits are just one ray of the infinite essence of the sun,” Owunna explains. “By transcending the visible spectrum, I work to illuminate a world beyond our visible structures of racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia where the black body is free.”

Infinite Essence: “Uche” (2019)

Having struggled with his own body image (and with his identity as a gay African man, which has inspired his previous work), Owunna says that the response to the project has been powerful, both from the public and from the models. “One of the models, Emem, broke down in tears looking at their pictures saying that they had always dreamed of seeing their body adorned with stars and that these images were beyond their wildest imagination,” he said. “They then told me – ‘every black person deserves to see themselves in this way’ and how the experience was life-altering for them.”

After seeing Owunna’s work via an NPR feature, a 60-year-old Black woman told the photographer, “I’ve hated my body all my life, but–for a glorious instant–that photo made me feel good about it.”

To see more of Mikael Owunna’s work and to be informed about his upcoming lectures and exhibitions, follow the artist on Instagram and Twitter.

Infinite Essence: “Sam” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Sam” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Sam” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Sam” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Kinya” (2017)

Infinite Essence: “Emem” (2018)

Infinite Essence: “Emem” (2018)

 

 



Art Photography

Abstract Interiors Revealed in Golf Ball Cross-Section Photography by James Friedman

April 6, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Images courtesy of James Friedman

After viewing a display at a golf trade equipment show, Ohio-based photographer James Friedman was inspired to create an abstract series that focuses on the internal structures of standard size golf balls. The enlarged prints of chipped, broken, and sliced balls reveal complex and colorful cores that contrast the hard, white uniformity of their exteriors.

Friedman varies the cutting style from ball to ball, with some cleanly sliced into perfect halves and others roughly carved down to their rubber, resin, and metal centers. The abstract textures they form is both a result of their construction and a result of the artistic process. “For some viewers, my photographs from this series, titled Interior Design, allude to celestial bodies and the sublime,” he wrote in a statement on his website. “For me, their serendipitous structural exquisiteness and their subtle and passionate arrays of colors have inspired new exploration in my photography.”

To see more of James Friedman’s work, visit the photographer’s official website and Instagram.

 

 



Design Photography

Dysfunctional Household Objects and Fabricated Flowers Cleverly Created by PUTPUT

April 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Copenhagen-based studio PUTPUT (previously) creates visual puns and quirky tools in their juxtaposition-filled photographs. From salami sunglasses to a chair made of flaming birthday candles, PUTPUT has a “shared and deeply rooted fascination with metaphysical relationships connected to everyday objects”, according to an artist statement on their website. An ongoing series is the studio’s Fabricated Flowers, where plastic and fabric household supplies like garden gloves, shower loofahs, and dish scrubbers stand in for the color blossoms of potted plants. You can see more from PUTPUT on Instagram.

 

 



Photography Science

Self-Taught Nature Photographer Alison Pollack Tracks the Fascinating Fungi of Northern California

March 21, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Stemonitis

Stemonitis. All photographs by Alison Pollack

Avid photographer and retired environmental consultant Alison Pollack documents the fascinating phenotypes of mushrooms and slime molds she encounters on hikes in northern California. Her images show shaggy white Comb Tooth fungus (Hericium coralloides), Stemonitis slime molds that wouldn’t look out of place on the dessert menu of an experimental restaurant, and Comatricha that bear a strong resemblance to urban lamp posts. Recently, the north Bay Area-based photographer shared with the Marin Independent Journal that she has had a longtime interest in hiking and mushrooming, but has grown more focused on fungi photography in the last two years. You can follow along with Pollock’s findings, and help her identify unknown species, on Instagram.

Hericium coralloides

Chlorociboria aeruginascens

Tyromyces chioneus

Tyromyces chioneus

Hericium erinaceus

L: Comatricha / R: Hemitrichia calyculata

Crepidotus mollis

Physarum viride

Trametes versicolor

Mycena

 

 



Photography

The View From Down Under: “Under-Cats” Celebrates Cats at a New Angle

March 20, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Felines at the International Cat Show in Kaunas, Lithuania were already ready for their closeup, but they might not have been expecting these glass-bottomed glamour shots. Photographer Andrius Burba began shooting at this unique angle in 2015 with cats on a black background. In the intervening years he has documented dogs, rabbits, bicycles, and even horses. The most recent iteration swaps out the black backdrops for bright colors. Burba explains to Colossal that he places each subject on a glass surface (though we’d hazard a guess the horses stood on a sturdier material) and shoots from below, with the backdrop placed above the animal. The resulting photographs show the unique fur, eyes, and personalities of each cat, as they strike poses that convey curiosity, boredom, or annoyance. You can see the full collection from Under-Cats on the Underlook website. Underlook also shares updates on Instagram and Facebook, and offers merch in their online store. (via Design You Trust)

 

 

 



Photography

Aerial Photographs Explore the Unique Geometric Patterns of Coastal Barcelona

March 7, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Márton Mogyorósy explores the coastal city of Barcelona from above, creating geometric images of the Spanish city’s buildings, shore, and sea. Mogyorósy browses the city via Google Earth to get an idea of the natural and manmade shapes he would like to capture, and then finds these areas with the assistance of a drone. The Hungarian photographer photographs lesser known areas of Barcelona, finding structures and buildings that are attractively shaped from the sky, rather than famous tourist attractions from the ground. His second series of drone images of his hometown of Budapest will be published soon. You can keep updated on his aerial photography on Behance and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)