Photography

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Art Photography

Vivid Botanics and Butterflies Encircle Photographer Fares Micue in Striking Self-Portraits

August 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Memories of a rainy day.” All images © Fares Micue, shared with permission

Surrounded by monarchs or a blanket of blue leaves, Fares Micue (previously) captures vividly composed self-portraits. The Spain-based photographer conceals her face and instead focuses on the organic elements surrounding her torso. Whether a series of origami birds or yellow and red twigs resembling flames, the natural additions merge seamlessly with Micue, who bends and contorts her figure to follow the shapely forms of the arranged objects.

In a note to Colossal, the photographer said she’s been more inclined to create since the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, considering her work an invitation into self-reflection. “I am a firm believer that how we think and feel about life is how we will perceive reality. We must train our brain to always search for the bright side and find hope among the desolation,” she says. While people may not have control over global crises, they are not without agency. “I want them to feel powerful and (acknowledge) the power they have over their life experience and how to use that experience to grow and learn,” she writes.

Find more of the Micue’s nature-infused photographs on Instagram, and pick up limited edition prints on Saatchi Art.

 

“The power of becoming”

“Imaginary prison”

“Growing wiser”

“Fly me away”

“Defensive III”

 

 



Photography

A Dozing Owl and Tussling Hummingbirds Top the 2020 Bird Photographer of the Year Competition

August 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Nicolas Reusens/Bird Photographer of the Year. “Ropewalker,” Sword-billed Hummingbird Ensifera ensifera. Papallacta, Ecuador. Category: Bird Behaviour, bronze award winner. All images © Bird Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

The winning shots from the renowned Bird Photographer of the Year contest capture the mundane moments and extraordinary adventures of our avian neighbors. From a sleepy owl camouflaged by tree bark to a lurching great crested grebe, the stunning birds shown here were chosen out of more than 15,000 entries from photographers around the globe.

The charity organization Birds on the Brink hosted the fifth-annual competition, and profits garnered go directly toward conservation efforts. Explore the full collection, which also is compiled in a 256-page book, on the contest’s site.

 

Moshe Cohen/Bird Photographer of the Year. “Perfect camouflage,” Eurasian Scops-owl Otus scops. Kibbutz Hatzor, Israel. Category: Attention to Detail, gold award winner

Majed AlZa’abi/Bird Photographer of the Year. “End of the day,” European Shag Gulosus aristotelis. Vardø, Norway. Category: Best Portrait, gold award winner and bird photographer of the year winner

Gadi Shmila/Bird Photographer of the Year. “Hoopoe flight at low speed,” Common Hoopoe Upupa epops. Israel. Category: Birds in Flight, gold award winner

Georgina Steytler/Bird Photographer of the Year. “On the attack!” Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus. Perth, Western Australia, Australia. Category: Best Portfolio Winner

Francesco Filippo Pellegrini/Bird Photographer of the Year. “Swifts over Iguazú Falls,” Great Dusky Swift Cypseloides senex. Iguazú Falls, Misiones, Argentina. Category: Birds in the Environment, gold award winner

Swayamsiddha Mohapatra/Bird Photographer of the Year. “A new beginning,” Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis. Kaziranga National Park, India. Category: Birds in the Environment, bronze award winner

Shu Qing/Bird Photographer of the Year. “Fairy landing on Earth,” Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus. Sanmenxia, Henan, China. Category: Birds in Flight, bronze award winner

Greg Lecoeur/Bird Photographer of the Year. “Feeding frenzy,” Cape Gannet Morus capensis. Port St Johns, South Africa. Category: Bird Behaviour, silver award winner

Carlos Cifuentes Torres/Bird Photographer of the Year. “Electric,” White Stork Ciconia ciconia. Seville, Spain. Category: Garden and Urban Birds, bronze award winner

 

 



Photography Science

Watch an Unusual Ensemble of Insects Take Flight in Extreme Slow Motion

August 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

In what’s believed to be the first footage of its kind, a stunningly slow-motion video by Dr. Adrian Smith captures a rare group of insects just as they lift off the ground. The NC State assistant professor utilized a black light to attract unusual insects, like a plume moth, eastern firefly, and a rosy maple moth that, as Smith notes, resembles “a flying muppet.” He then recorded the creatures’ flight maneuvers at 3,200 fps to capture their unique wing movements, which he explains during each step. The macro lens also shows the minute details of their limbs and furry bodies, offering a rare glimpse at the insects up-close.

Smith has filmed a range of slow-motion footage that he shares on YouTube, including ants injecting venom and various hoppers launching off the ground. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Art Photography

Hundreds of Collaged Photographs Form Rich, Botanical Worlds by Artist Catherine Nelson

August 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Pachira,” 59 x 59 inches.  All images © Catherine Nelson, shared with permission

A decade ago, Catherine Nelson compiled hundreds of photographs of barren, snow-covered landscapes and autumnal forests for her project Future Memories 2010. The Australian artist, who lives and works between Ghent and Amsterdam, recently revisited that series to create a new body of work with similar world-building techniques. “With the tumultuous events of 2020 still unfolding and the undeniable links to the destruction of the natural world by mankind, it felt timely to return to the themes from that series, which talk about our planet and the importance of protecting what we have,” she says.

Composed of photographs captured during three years and across four continents, Future Memories 2020 spans “from the lush, tropical flora of Costa Rica and Far North Queensland and the fertile, volcanic mountains of the Azores, to the rolling hills of the Greenland tundra,” Nelson writes. Many of the orb-like digital assemblages feature thick brush and foliage around the outside, while the less-populated centers appear to bulge out. The organic spheres hover effortlessly against a cloudy backdrop, highlighting the rich colors and incredible diversity of every environment. Each piece serves as a reminder that “it is in the flourishing variety of the local that the fate of the world resides,” the artist says.

Nelson’s work is on view through September 22 at Michael Reid in Sydney and will head to Gallerysmith in Melbourne early next year. Those unable to experience the complexly assembled worlds in person can see more on her site.

 

“Cubali,” 59 x 59 inches

“Sarapiqui,” 59 x 59 inches

“Terra Nostra,” 59 x 59 inches

“Tortuguero,” 59 x 59 inches

“Tropic,” 59 x 59 inches

“Tundra,” 59 x 59 inches

“Cartago,” 59 x 59 inches

 

 



Design Photography

In a Celebratory Series, Photographer Toby Coulson Documents the Eccentric Fashions of Designer Oumou Sy

August 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Toby Coulson, shared with permission

When photographer Toby Coulson met iconic Senegalese fashion designer Oumou Sy in Dakar, they decided to photograph some of her most distinctive garments. “The city has an amazing energy especially as the sun goes down. I thought it would be an amazing accompaniment to Oumou Sy’s theatrical and outlandish couture pieces,” Coulson shares with Colossal. Together, they observed the area for a few days to chose spots and time the sunlight.

The result is a captivating series of photographs, which were originally published in Document Journal,  that captures the myriad textures and patterns of Sy’s unorthodox designs: A woven accessory envelops a model, lining her arms, head, and torso in circular sculptural forms. Created as a tribute to Issa Samb—a Senegalese painter, sculptor, performance artist, playwright, and poet—the patchwork-style jacket is so large that the wearer appears to be balancing on stilts as he towers above rooftops. While focused on the garments, each photograph also frames the beige architecture and sandy streets of Dakar.

Sy finds inspiration everywhere, opting to see creativity in all aspects of life and to communicate her ideas through the mundane. She explains in an interview:

I take what I can and make it my own. I enjoy working with different materials, things that surround me, that I come across in my everyday life. I’m a self-proclaimed hunter and gatherer of things; I look for natural elements to work with [such] as plants, herbs, barks, and natural dyes, using either traditional or modern techniques. I choose a material and look for a way to highlight it. I’ve never learned to read and write, and so my fashion is the most important vessel for the expression of my creativity.

The designer’s penchant for bold, dramatic fashion is informed by Senegalese culture, which prizes style and clothing as a mode of expression, beauty, and power. Coulson’s photographs translate those traditions and values through visual documentation. “It was very fulfilling to do a fashion shoot that wasn’t about selling the latest clothes and more about celebrating the work and influence on Senegalese culture of Oumou Sy,” he notes.

To follow Coulson’s photographs capturing the lives of people around the world, head to Instagram.

 

 

 



History Photography

Ride Through a German Village on 'The Flying Train' in Incredibly Clear Footage from 1902

August 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

Shot in 1902, “The Flying Train” takes viewers on an uncommonly crisp journey aboard a suspended railcar. Throughout the two-minute video, riders see Wuppertal residents walking across pedestrian bridges and down dirt roadways more than a century ago. The city is known still today for its schwebebahn, which is a style of hanging railway that’s unique to Germany.

MoMA recently pulled the black-and-white footage from its vault and said that curators originally believed it was shot with 70-millimeter film rather than 68. “Formats like Biograph’s 68mm and Fox’s 70mm Grandeur are of particular interest to researchers visiting the Film Study Center because the large image area affords stunning visual clarity and quality, especially compared to the more standard 35mm or 16mm stock,” a statement notes.

Denis Shiryaev, who also restored this historic film from 1896, produced an updated 4K version that slows down the footage and adds color. (via Kottke)