London-based designer, artist, and all-around professional brainstormer Dominic Wilcox is the person behind Little Inventors, a global project that connects kid inventors with grown-up experts to bring children’s ideas to life. Little Inventors took root in 2015, when Wilcox began establishing inventing workshops for children in his native Sunderland in the north of England. Since then, Little Inventors has steadily grown to a global scale. The organization currently hosts over 7,000 youthful ideas on their website, where adults chime in with words of affirmation to champion the original thinking that goes into each project.
Some of the clever concepts designed through the project include Connor’s customizable space boot, an invention that quite literally allows astronauts to leave their mark on interplanetary explorations, an electronic fruit bowl by Rumaan that sends out alerts when produce is about to expire, and 6-year-old Emilia’s snake-like robot that takes firefighting into its own hands. The video below shows kid inventors at work, and explains more about the project. You can discover more ideas and access resources for having an inventing session of your own on the Little Inventors website. (via IDEO)
Slava Semeniuta, the Russian photographer known online as Local Preacher (previously) uses ultraviolet light to capture plants in electrifying shades of pink, yellow, and green. For his recent series, Granular Creatures, Semeniuta used macro photography to capture flecks and particles unseen by the naked eye. These opalescent figures have an otherworldly glow—emanating dazzling light from their shiny petals and luminescent stamens. You can see more of his surprisingly hued photographs and digital manipulations on his Instagram and Behance.
Japanese miniaturist Kiyomi imitates antiques with a stunning attention to detail, creating worn and clouded glass jars, slightly tarnished silverware, and cases packed with dozens of drawers. The talented craftswoman produces pieces for dollhouses out of paper, wire, wood, and other materials that imitate their larger companions. To give her audience a sense of scale, the artist will present her small works alongside a scaleable object, either placing a miniature chair on the seat of a regularly proportioned seat or dwarfing a set of drawers by putting it on the step of a ladder. You can see more of her antique items and delicious-looking fake pastries on her Instagram and website. (via My Modern Met)
Grand Prize & 1st Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Jassen Todorov / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. Thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars sit idle in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert. Models manufactured from 2009 to 2015 were designed to cheat emissions tests mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Following the scandal, Volkswagen recalled millions of cars. By capturing scenes like this one, I hope we will all become more conscious of and more caring toward our beautiful planet.
A panel of National Geographic photo editors have chosen the winners of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest from a pool of over 10,000 entries. The grand prize winner, and top pick for the “Places” group is an aerial shot (above) by Jassen Todorov of a Volkswagen and Audi graveyard at the Southern California Logistics Airport in the Mojave Desert. The striking image shows a fraction of the 11 million cars that Volkswagen fitted with devices that could alter performance during emissions tests by the EPA. Todorov’s image uses a plane for scale to visually demonstrate a story of environmental issues. As the winner, Todorov earned $5000 and a feature on National Geographic’s Instagram.
Submitted across three categories (People, Places, and Wildlife), the other winning images and honorable mentions span the globe in terms of content and photographers. To read more about each image, check out their respective captions below, and head over to the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest website.
1st Place (People). Photograph and caption by Mia Collis / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. I was looking to do a series of portraits showing people wearing their Sunday best when I made this photo of David Muyochokera. It was taken on his last Sunday working as a photographer at Weekend Studio, in Kibera—a large shantytown in Nairobi, Kenya. My friend Peter, a local resident, had pointed me to the photo studio just as I was about to leave the area. It was a stunning space, with whimsical backdrops and natural light coming through the doorway. David had worked there for 37 years, but Weekend Studio was about to close permanently. Phone cameras were so common now, he said, and fewer people wanted studio portraits. David planned to retire and return home to the countryside. I was troubled by the studio’s imminent closure, so I eventually took over the rent. A portrait of David now hangs at Weekend Studio in his memory.
2nd Place (People). Photograph and caption by Todd Kennedy / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. On a family holiday driving from Sydney to Uluru, we stopped at a roadside motel in the small rural township of Nyngan, on the edge of Australia’s outback. The area is in the wheat belt, and it was unusually hot for that time of year—over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit and very dusty. Our daughter, Genie, is seen here enjoying a refreshing bath in a rubber ducky perched on the sink.
3rd Place (People). Photograph and caption by Avishek Das / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A Hindu devotee kisses his newborn baby during the Charak Puja festival in West Bengal, India. Traditional practice calls for the devotee to be pierced with a hook and sometimes swung from a rope. This painful sacrifice is enacted to save their children from anxiety. While covering the festival, I was able to view the religious practice from the perspective of Hindu devotees. I tried to capture the moment of love and bonding between a father and his child—and show a father’s concern for his little son.
2nd Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Nicholas Moir / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A rusting Ford Thunderbird is blanketed by red dust from a supercell thunderstorm in Ralls, Texas. The dry, plowed fields of the Texas Panhandle made easy prey for the storm, which had winds over 90 miles an hour ripping up the topsoil and depositing it farther south. I was forecasting and positioning a team of videographers and photographers on a storm chase in Tornado Alley—this was our last day of a very successful chase, having witnessed 16 tornadoes over 10 days. The target area for a storm initiation was just south of Amarillo, Texas. Once the storm became a supercell, it moved southbound with outflow winds that were easily strong enough to tear up the topsoil and send it into the air.
3rd Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Christian Werner / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. While on assignment for Der Spiegel, we made a road trip through Syria to document the current situation in major cities. When I first entered the Khalidiya district in Homs, I was shocked. I hadn’t seen such large-scale destruction before, and I had been to many destroyed cities. The area around the Khalidiya district was extremely quiet. No city sounds, cars—nothing. Only the chirping of swallows and the wind. We walked down the streets of Khalidiya, but the destruction was so large scale that you couldn’t have the big picture from the point of view on the street—you could only manage it with a view from above. To make this image, I asked a Syrian soldier in charge of the area if I could climb onto a ruin. The soldier agreed, allowing me to climb at my own risk. I climbed up the ruins of a former house—which was full of improvised explosive devices—and took the picture. I was very lucky to take the picture when I was on the rooftop. Without any sign of life, it would have been a dead picture. I can recall the memory vividly.
Honorable mention (Places). Photograph and caption by Rucca Y Ito / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. Japan’s Blue Pond in Biei-cho, Hokkaido, has become very famous for attracting tourists from around the world. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains and trees. This pond, frozen during winter, was artificially made to prevent river contamination from the nearby active volcano, Mount Tokachi. The accumulated pond water contains high levels of minerals, such as those containing aluminum. The alluring view of the blue pond can take one’s breath away. To make this image, I made the exposure longer to capture the way the snow was falling. At the same time, I lit up the strobe for a moment to capture the snowflakes that are reflecting in the foreground. I took as many photos as I could and chose the one I thought had the best balance of the falling snow and the unfocused snowflakes. I wanted to express how time is created in just one moment and, by tying together these moments, history is made.
1st Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Pim Volkers / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. It was early morning when I saw the wildebeests crossing Tanzania’s Mara River. The layering of dust, shade, and sun over the chaos of wildebeests kicking up water gives this picture a sense of mystique and allure. It’s almost like an old painting—I’m still compelled to search the detail of the image to absorb the unreal scene.
2nd Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Jonas Beyer / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A few miles from Qaanaaq (Thule), Greenland, I was on a hike in search of musk oxen when I came upon a group of them. This ox was running on a hillside in deep snow, which exploded underneath it—an amazing sight. The photo came together in a few seconds. I was lucky enough to be at the right spot to observe them frolicking, and then I had the incredible experience of watching them closely for about an hour. I love photographing musk oxen against the wintry landscape: They’re extremely tough Arctic survivors. This photo shows their beauty and their power—and the snow they deal with for about eight months of the year.
3rd Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Alison Langevad / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. As the late-night hours ticked by and my eyelids grew heavy, two southern white rhinoceroses appeared silently from the shadows to drink from a watering hole in South Africa’s Zimanga Game Reserve. On alert, they stood back to back, observing their surroundings before lowering their heads. I felt privileged to share this moment with these endangered animals. While I was well prepared technically, with my camera set correctly on a tripod, I underestimated the emotional impact the magnificent beasts would have on me. I had photographed them months earlier, and now both rhinos sported a new look: They had been dehorned to deter poachers. I had heard about this development but had not yet seen them. I was full of emotion—and horror—that poaching had such a devastating effect. It must have been a hard decision to dehorn their rhinos, and I am grateful for the reserve’s efforts.
Artist Phil Young twists the commonly-held perception of wood as a stiff material in his mind-bending sculptures made of polished wood and metal. Each artwork focuses on a single piece of wood that has been carefully carved to appear as if it is being stretched, twisted, bound, or squashed, often by visible forces like metal rings or nails. Young works carefully with each bit of raw material, paying attention to its natural shape and grain as he transforms it into a finished work.
Although his work is non-representational, he is able to evoke a surprising degree of emotion through the dynamic pressure the pieces appear to be subjected to. “I wouldn’t be satisfied if all I did was make beautiful pieces,” the artist explains. “I want the people who see them to question what beauty is, so I take inspiration from places you wouldn’t expect to find beauty, including surgery, diseases, wounded or wrinkled skin, and try to make that look beautiful. I think if you can find beauty even in these places, you can find happiness wherever you are.” You can see more of Young’s woodwork on his website and Instagram. (via Lustik)
Did you know that the sushi-making scene in Wes Anderson’s latest film Isle of Dogs took over a month to produce? In a recent time-lapse video, animator Andy Biddle (who has previously worked on Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox and the Grand Budapest Hotel) shows the detailed steps he took for the film’s sushi master to prepare a bento box of crab and octopus. The 32-day shoot was created by Biddle and Tony Farquhar-Smith, who took over the scene at its mid-point when Biddle left to work on another project. Their hands fly around the set, yet the character’s false appendages seem to effortlessly glide across the table, handling undulating tentacles and perfectly slicing segments of fish. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)
Jean-Michel Basquiat, Hans Werner Holzwarth, Eleanor Nairne Hardcover, 29 x 39.5 cm, 500 pages US$ 200 | £ 150 | € 150, All images courtesy of TASCHEN
A new addition to TASCHEN’s art catalog is a massive 500-page edition that showcases the life and works of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Authored by Eleanor Nairne and edited by Hans Werner Holzwarth, the monograph is an oversized hardcover filled with large-scale reproductions of the artist’s drawings, paintings, and notebook pages. Several essays guide the reader year-by-year through Basquiat’s artistic career, from 1978 to his untimely death in 1988.
One of the most popular Black visual artist of all time, and indisputably one of the most successful artists of his era, Basquiat has been a larger-than-life art icon for over three decades. The new TASCHEN book matches that legacy not only with its physical size (which allows owners to get a closer look at some of his most seminal pieces), but with deep analysis and context of his work and the short 27 years to create it. To add a copy to your personal library, visit TASCHEN’s website.