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Amazing Photography

A Mother Duck and Her Extraordinary Brood of 76 Ducklings Photographed in a Minnesota Lake

August 1, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

All images © Brent Cizek

Minnesota-based wildlife photographer Brent Cizek was headed back to shore before a summer storm when he spotted the common merganser he would later nickname “Momma Merganser.” At first the mother duck was being followed by a brood of more than 50 fluffy ducklings, however when spotted the group again, the total had grown to 76.

“I happened to find this group of mergansers purely by luck, but I was absolutely amazed by what I saw,” Cizek tells Colossal. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the species, so I wasn’t sure if what I witnessed was a common occurrence or something out of the ordinary. All I knew was that I had never seen anything like that before.”

The scene is extraordinary indeed. Although the aquatic birds are known to lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks, a female duck can only incubate 20 at any given time explains Kenn Kaufman, field editor for AudubonIt is most likely that several dozen of the ducklings lost their mothers and were adopted into Momma Merganser’s own brood.

Cizek plans to continue following the extra large family, and posts his findings to on Instagram. To learn more about merganser habits, read the National Audubon Society’s piece on the surprising spectacle. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Art Craft

Bubble-Covered Flowers and Ornate Animals Formed From Cut Paper by Pippa Dyrlaga

August 1, 2018

Andrew LaSane

All images © Pippa Dyrlaga

The most basic instrument in the hands of a master can produce awe-inspiring results. For Yorkshire-based artist and printmaker Pippa Dyrlaga (previously), that instrument is a common blade handle equipped with fine point blades. The resulting works of art are incredibly detailed paper cuts of plants, animals, and abstract designs with hand-replicated patterns and variations in line width that give them dimensionality and bring the flat images to life.

Pippa only began paper cutting in 2010, a year before completing her Masters degree in Art and Design and Curation at Leeds Metropolitan University. On finding inspiration and imagery that would work well for her style and craft, Pippa tells Colossal that ideas tend to flow from her surroundings and from other projects. “Most of the time one piece will lead to another, but I sometimes get an idea that I just want to try out, something I have been thinking of for a while. I have always lived in quite inspiring and green places, filled with local wildlife and flora, and much of my inspiration stems from being outside and enjoying it, and feeling like a part of it.”

While all of her pieces are meticulous, Pippa says that apart from a basic layout sketch, not a lot goes into the planning phase. “I prefer the pieces where I work on the design as I am cutting them out! I will have a detail or a general idea of what I want it to look like in my head, and I will create the full image whilst I am working on it, in smaller sections, so it develops quite organically.” For larger pieces that do require some planning, she will sometimes make smaller versions first to see how the details will work. “I quite like not knowing what it will look like until its finished,” she tells Colossal.

As for how those details are achieved, Pippa assured us that the blades and handle are the main weapons in her arsenal. “Papercutting doesn’t require anything fancy,” she said. “The tools are as simple as the medium. The rest is practice!” She does, however, have personal preferences when it comes to the paper she cuts (good quality, acid-free, and from sustainable sources), and there are a few measures taken to ensure that the works stay flat, dry, and away from the harsh sun. “Paper cuts are surprisingly strong,” Pippa said, “but they can’t take much damage so they do have to be handled and stored safely, just like any paper.”

To see more of Pippa Dyrlaga’s work, follow her on Instagram.

 

 



Art Design Illustration

A Pop-Up Homage to Caspar Henderson’s Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Maria Chernakova

July 30, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Russian designer Maria Chernakova, who uses Mary Komary as her professional name, created a unique pop-up interpretation of one of her favorite books. The original beloved tome by Caspar Henderson, titled The Book of Barely Imagined Beings, is a comprehensive guide to the natural history of real animals that are so fantastic they seem to be a product of mythology. In Chernakova’s imaginative interpretation, pop-ups, hand-drawn illustrations, and charts and diagrams depict charming aquatic animals from the nautilus to the axolotl. She created just one copy of the book, which is divided into two volumes and contains a total of ten pop-up structures. You can see more of the St. Petersburg-based designer’s commercial and personal work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 



Animation Illustration

Vanishing Thoughts Explored in High Contrast GIFs by Tracy J Lee

July 30, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

"Dust"

“Dust”

Chicago-based art director, designer, and illustrator Tracy J Lee creates animated city scenes drenched in high contrast light and shadow with subjects who are lost in deep inner thought. In several of the GIFs the central character steps outside of their self as a ghostly doppelgänger that disappears almost as quickly as it enters the frame. The figure plays a duet next to its twin, or attempts to help himself up from a position on the floor. The last few GIFs were inspired by the South Korean boy band BTS, and feature interpretations of some of Lee’s favorite songs. You can see more of her illustrations on her TumblrInstagram, and Behance. (via The Art of Animation)

"Rain"

“Rain”

"Waiting for a friend"

“Waiting for a friend”

"Nameless Bird"

“Nameless Bird”

"Butterfly"

“Butterfly”

"In that Briefest Moment"

“In that Briefest Moment”

"Illusion"

“Illusion”

"Disguise"

“Disguise”

"Song for the Lost"

“Song for the Lost”

"You long for the past, the future, but why is it never the present?"

“You long for the past, the future, but why is it never the present?”

 

 



Illustration

Creative Lego Constructions Bring Fantastical Moments to Life

July 25, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Imagine

Imagine

Creative constructions of Lego bricks spring to life in these advertising campaigns developed by Asawin Tejasakulsin, a senior art director at Ogilvy & Mather in Bangkok, Thailand. The two series, Imagine and Build the Future, amplify the childhood wonder central to the Lego brand, devising playful scenarios that successfully interact with reality. In Imagine, storybook animals come to life, while in Build the Future, children assemble the uniforms of their dream jobs, all using Lego bricks. You can see more work by Tejasakulsin on Behance.

Imagine

Imagine

Imagine

Imagine

Build the Future

Build the Future

Build the Future

Build the Future

Build the Future

Build the Future

 

 



History Photography

Hole Punched Voids Transform Rejected Photographs From the Great Depression

July 23, 2018

Anna Marks

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mr Tronson, a farmer near Wheelock, North Dakota, August 1937, Photograph: Library of Congress

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mr Tronson, a farmer near Wheelock, North Dakota, August 1937, Photograph: Library of Congress

In an untitled photograph from 1937, a black disc surreally floats upon the subject’s face, obscuring the features hidden beneath the circular void. In another, a black circle hovers next to a tilted house, creating an eerie scene pulled straight from science fiction. At first glance, you might think a contemporary artist had altered the images, drawing jet-black voids as an intervention with photographs from rural Depression-era America. In reality, these images are discarded photographs from a bygone project that produced a pictorial record of American life between 1935-1944. The photographs, which are currently exhibited in The Killed Negatives: Unseen Images of 1930s America at Whitechapel Gallery in London, produce a snapshot of the crippling poverty and backbreaking jobs lower class Americans faced during the Great Depression

Paul Carter, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Tobacco fields devastated by the Connecticut River near Northampton, Massachusetts, March 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

Ben Shahn, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Family of rehabilitation client, Boone County, Arkansas, October 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

The story of these photographs begins in 1935, when Roy E Stryker, the head of the Information Division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), undertook a photographic project that commissioned famous American photographers such as Russell Lee, Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans to photograph farmers and farmland during the Great Depression. The FSA aimed to encourage poverty-stricken Americans to partake in self-sustaining programs where they could gain farm loans to buy seeds, equipment, livestock, and partake in homestead schemes which provided both education and healthcare. The project was to demonstrate the results of financial assistance that the FSA offered, in addition to outsourcing images of America life during this time.

Each photographer was given specific directives, for example, “farmer dumping milk at home,” “worried farmer,” or “federal government shot.” Over 270,000 photographs were produced during the project, yet only a few were picked to be part of the final collection. This included imagery featuring transient families, the unemployed, and drought-stricken fields. One of the most famous images was Lange’s 1936 Migrant Mother, which became a popular portrait long after the project’s conclusion.

Carl Mydans, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mud bath, Prince George’s County, Maryland, August 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

Theodor Jung, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Rehabilitation client worrying over his accounts, Jackson County, Ohio, April 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

Arthur Rothstein, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Sharecropper’s wife and children, Arkansas, August 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

Stryker deployed a specific editing process where himself and his assistants would choose photographs they believed were true to the brief; the other images were rendered unsuitable and punctuated with a hole puncher. These ruthlessly “killed” photographs were left unpublishable. Today the found works appear to have black discs floating upon them, a visual mark of rejection which accidentally focus the viewer’s attention.

Killed Negatives at the Whitechapel Gallery runs up until August 26, 2018 and exhibits some of the photographs, photographers’ personal records, and FSA administration documents associated with the project. You can learn more about the exhibition, including information about associated events, on the gallery’s website

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Surrealistic, window display, Bergdorf Goodman, New York City, January 1938, Photograph: Library of Congress

Walker Evans, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Lily Rogers Fields and children. Hale County, Alabama, Summer 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

 

 



Illustration

Multi-Dimensional Illustrations Weave Together Mysterious Narratives by Victo Ngai

July 18, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Los Angeles-based illustrator and storyboard artist Victo Ngai produces layered illustrations that reveal elaborate worlds filled with unexpected details. A beautiful expanse of unencumbered nature stands guarded inside a wide-mouthed bullfrog, while a seaside city burns with brilliant flames in the fabric of a heroine’s dress. Each scene inspires the viewer to pause, making sure they haven’t missed a key character that might unlock the work’s tangled narrative. Ngai is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and provides illustrations for clients such as The New York Times and The New Yorker. You can view more of her colorful artwork on Instagram and Behance. (via Booooooom)