Photography

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Photography

A Magical Series Captures the Gnarled Branches of Socotra's Dragon Blood Trees

June 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Daniel Kordan, shared with permission

Russian photographer Daniel Kordan (previously) is adept at locating extraordinary environments around the world—he captured this dazzling series of Japan’s firefly mating season a few months ago—and his recent excursion to the Socotra archipelago is similarly enchanting. Situated between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea, the remote island is populated by dragon blood trees, an evergreen species with upturned branches that splay outward and produce a bristling canopy.

Kordan’s photographs, which are shot at dawn, golden hour, and under a star-illuminated sky, frame this unique growth pattern that leaves the trees’ gnarled wood underbelly exposed. Combined with the deep red sap that seeps from its trunk, this otherworldly feature ties the species to local lore. “According to legend, the first dragon blood tree was created from the blood of a dragon who was wounded in a battle with an elephant,” the photographer says.

Kordan details the techniques and equipment he used in Socotra in a post about his travels, which you can follow on Instagram. He also has dozens of photographs of the white-sand deserts and life on the Yemeni island available as prints in his shop.

 

 

 



Photography

Otherworldly Sandstone Pillars Appear Like Totems of Billowing Fabric

June 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Zac Henderson, shared with permission

Between 140 and 180 million years ago, a cluster of Entrada Sandstone developed in a remote region of Utah. Wind, rain, and other elements have whittled down the formations over time, creating tall pillars that more closely resemble bunched fabric than ancient minerals.

For his series Draped Stone, photographer Zac Henderson documents these spectral columns, or hoodoos, that are developed when layers of hard and soft rock are worn down and produce smooth, billowing patterns as they age. Today’s structures flow in soft ripples from the walls and appear as ambiguous objects disguised by thick swaths of textiles. Henderson describes his encounter with the pillars:

It is almost as if fabric were draped over boulders to protect them from the elements. In another way, the rocks appear almost comically similar to a stereotypical ghost costume, needing only eyes to complete the ensemble. It is a strange thing for something so opposite to fabric to take on any sort of cloth-like appearance, yet here we are met with a most bizarre sort of muslin almost asking us to look underneath.

Henderson frequently travels and seeks out the unusual textures and colors of Earth’s landscapes, and you can follow his adventures on Behance and Instagram. Prints of a few pieces from Draped Stone are also available on his site.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Nine Massive Waves of Deadwood Surge Across a Forest Floor Near Hamburg

June 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Jörg Gläscher, shared with permission

As the fear of a second wave of COVID-19 swept through Germany in the fall of 2020, photographer and artist Jörg Gläscher decided to channel his own worry into a project that felt similarly vast and domineering. “I was working (with the idea of) the pure power of nature, the all-destroying force, which brings one of the richest countries in the world to a completely still stand,” he tells Colossal. “A wave is a periodic oscillation or a unique disturbance the state of a system.”

Between November 2020 and March 2021, Gläscher spent his days in a secluded location near Hamburg, where he gathered deadwood and constructed nine massive crests—the largest of which spans four meters high and nine meters wide—that overwhelm the forest floor in undulating layers of branches and twigs. Each iteration, which he photographed and then promptly destroyed in order to reuse the materials, overwhelms the existing landscape with pools of the formerly thriving matter.

Gläscher’s installations are part of a larger diaristic project he began at the beginning of the pandemic. Since then, he published a few magazines to present the works that range from photography to sculpture in one place, which you purchase along with prints in his shop. Find more of his multi-media projects on his site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Craft Design Photography

Paper Is Creased and Twisted into an Elegant Three-Dimensional Typographic Series by Reina Takahashi

June 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Reina Takahashi, shared with permission

Artist Reina Takahashi transposes the expressive, refined flourishes common in calligraphy into an exquisite series of paper type. Set against solid backdrops, the three-dimensional forms are shaped with crisp lines, twists, and wide-mouthed cones sometimes made with a single strip. Takahashi tells Colossal that she created each letter and number with the final photo angle in mind, ensuring that the “floating planes, pop-off-the-page ribbons, and precarious balancing acts of paper” all cast the proper shadow to complete the character. See the entire collection, which she designed as part of the popular 36 Days of Type challenge, along with some of the Oakland-based artist’s commercial projects for companies like The New York Times, Wired, Medium, and on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

A Resilient Kangaroo, Exploding Volcano, and School of Barracuda Take the Top Spots in the 2021 BigPicture Competition

June 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

“New Kid in School” by Yung-Sen Wu. All images courtesy of BigPicture, shared with permission

Encompassing plumes of mushroom spores, preying venus flytraps, and an opportunistic leopard seal, the 2021 BigPicture Natural World Photography contest showcases the beautiful, peculiar, and resilient flora and fauna across the globe. Now in its eighth year, the annual competition, which is held by the California Academy of Sciences, is centered largely around conservation and humans’ impact on the environment. The 2021 contest garnered entries showing the profound changes to the planet in recent months alone by documenting the desolate landscape following Australian bushfires and a disposable face mask floating off the coast of California. See some of the winning shots below and all finalists on the competition’s site. (via Kottke)

 

“Hope Amidst the Ashes” by Jo-Anne McArthur

“Ice Bears” by Peter Mather

Top left: “Sign of the Tides” by Ralph Pace. Top right: “Boss” by Michelle Valberg. Bottom left: “Another Planet” by Fran Rubia. Bottom right: “Facing Reality” by Amos Nachoum

“Nutritional Supplement” by Nick Kanakis

Left: “Rain Dance” by Sarang Naik. Top right: “Running Atta” by Petr Bambousek. Bottom right: “Beak to Beak” by Shane Kalyn

“Taking a Load Off” by Nicolas Reusens

“Down the Hatch” by Angel Fitor

 

 



Photography

Abstracted Shots Frame the Endless Patterns of Architecture in Perspective-Bending Photos

June 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Tobi Shonibare, courtesy of Trope, shared with permission

Tobi Shonibare, aka Tobi Shinobi, has an eye for the symmetry and surreal illusion within urban architecture and landscapes. Often turning his camera upward or peering down from above, Shinobi transforms familiar structural elements like transit lines and buildings into strange scenarios: a stairwell appears like an M.C. Escher woodcut, sand dunes riddled with tracks obscure a roadway, and a seemingly endless array of plant-filled tubes dangle from the ceiling in hypnotizing rows. Shinobi abstracts and decontextualizes much of his subject matter, which shifts attention to shape, texture, and shadow.

More than 80 of his shots are compiled in Equilibrium, a new edition in Trope’s Emerging Photographer Series. The 144-page book is available on Bookshop, and you can follow Shinobi’s travels around the world, including to his native London and around his current residence in Chicago, on Instagram.

 

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite