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Photography Science

An Astronaut and Photographer Collaboratively Document the Vast International Space Station in a New Book

August 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

Cupola with Clouds and Ocean, International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli. All images © Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli, ISS interior images courtesy of NASA and ASI, shared with permission

In what is believed to be the first collaboration between an Earth-bound artist and an astronaut in space, photographer Roland Miller and engineer Paolo Nespoli have recorded the momentous journey of NASA’s International Space Station (ISS). The two have been working together during the last few years to document the current technologies and sights of modern space travel. They’ve shot extraordinary photographs of an ocean blanketed with clouds, the wire labyrinths lining the vehicle, and astronaut’s bulging suits and helmets.  “If you were to stand there and look at (the spacecraft), I’m hoping that this is how you would see it,” Miller shares with Colossal.

The project began after the photographer spoke with astronaut and chemist Cady Coleman, who encouraged him to share his vision and approach to the medium with those on the space station. While researching the possibilities for such an endeavor, he discovered that Coleman is an avid flutist and would carry several of the instruments with her during missions. She even performed a duet with Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, while he was in Russia and she far above the earth, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first human launch. “And I thought, what if I did something like that? Maybe I could somehow work with an astronaut directly,” Miller says.

 

Longitudinal View, from ISS Forward to ISS Aft, US Laboratory – Destiny, International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli

While a similar process executed simultaneously proved too complicated, the photographer decided on a unique collaboration utilizing Google Street View, which shows both the views inside and outside the ISS. “Not only could I use it to see what the station really looked like, but I could do screenshots of parts of it,” he says, a process that he ultimately used. Miller would capture different portions within the station or views out its windows and share them with Nespoli, who would then recreate the image during a mission.

Because the ISS was in a weightless environment with fluctuating light, many of the images astronauts typically capture utilize a flash, which Miller, who generally photographs using a very low shutter speed, wanted to avoid. “The first problem you run into is you can’t use a tripod in space because it just floats away, and the station itself is going 17,500 miles an hour. Just because of the size and the speed, there’s a harmonic vibration to it,” he notes. To combat the constant quivering, Nespoli constructed a stabilizing bipod and shot about 135 images with a high shutter speed, before sending the shots to Miller for aesthetic editing.

Now, the photographs have culminated in a 200-page, full-color book titled Interior Space: A Visual Exploration of the International Space Station, which already has passed its fundraising goal on Kickstarter and still has 17 days to go. Included in the forthcoming tome are essays by four experts, the celestial photographs, and some Earth-based shots, which Miller took separately at the Kennedy and Johnson space centers. These images range from scaffolding obscuring a Pressurized Mating Adapter to up-close frames of a potable water cooler that position the dials and buttons side-by-side with stickers chronicling previous missions. With a publish date of November 2, 2020, Interior Space will launch the 20-year anniversary of uninterrupted human habitation on the ISS.

 

Potable Water Dispenser, Galley, Node 1 – Unity Mockup, Space Vehicle Mockup Facility – SVMF, NASA Johnson Space Center, Texas. By Roland Miller

Preferring an abstract, documentarian approach, Miller strives to tell a broader story that integrates design, art, and science. “It makes it more visually interesting than just topographic recording of things,” he says, noting that he always layers his photographs with distinct elements. Miller explains his particular fascination with space artifacts and the ISS:

This is a very good subject for that because they’re really amazing, beautiful things and are very complex modules… If you look at Star Trek and people walk down these spacious, pristine, white-walled hallways with carpeting and nice lights, and then you look at what a real spacecraft is, and you look at that hallway with wires and cables and computers hanging out, and it’s just crazy, chaotic, a mess of stuff. I think it’s really good to show this is what it really looks like… This is the reality of space travel right now.

An ardent photographer for more than 30 years, Miller’s foray into the field began with a visit to an old launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. He previously shot the NASA, Air Force, and Army facilities across the United States for his 2016 book, Abandoned in Place: Preserving America’s Space History. The collection contains a glimpse into the stations, launchpads, and other vehicles that have been deactivated, repurposed, and even demolished in recent years.

Until Interior Spaces is released, you can pick up a copy of Abandoned in Place from Bookshop and follow Miller’s work on Instagram.

 

Starboard View through Port Hatch of Equipment Lock and Crew Lock with Extravehicular Activity Hardware
Quest Joint Airlock, International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli

Scaffolding and Pressurized Mating Adapter 3 – PMA 3, High Bay, Space Station Processing Facility – SSPF, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. By Roland Miller

Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill – C.O.L.B.E.R.T., Node 3 – Tranquility
International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli

View Port-Aft, with Pressurized Mating Adapter 1 (on left) and Node 3 (on right), Node 1 – Unity, International Space Station – ISS, Low Earth Orbit, Space. By Roland Miller and Paolo Nespoli

Node 1 Equipped with Mating Systems (left) and Pressurized Mating Adapter (right) Ground Fit-Check Test, High Bay
Space Station Processing Facility – SSPF, NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. By Roland Miller

 

 



Art Illustration

A Massive Compendium of Tarot Cards Explores 600 Years of the Divine Decks

August 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

By Mina Mond, Wild Men Tarot, 2014, France. All images © Taschen, shared with permission

Compiling more than 500 cards, a new book sequences an incredibly diverse array of metaphysical decks from medieval to modern times. Tarot is arranged in order from the Major to the Minor Arcana and examines the meaning behind the varied illustrations, considering who created them and when. From a whimsical, black-and-white rendering of The Lovers by Madison Ross to French occultist Jean-Baptise Alliette’s pastel series, the compendium explores the collaborations between mystics and artists that have been happening for centuries. Many of the pieces included in the 520-page book are being shown outside their respective decks for the first time.

Tarot, which you can purchase on Tashcen’s site, is the debut tome in the publisher’s ongoing Library of Esoterica series. You also might enjoy paging through Salvador Dalí’s surreal deck.

 

Madison Ross, The Lovers, 2019, Canada

From Visconti-Sforza, Yale Deck, mid-15th century, Italy

Elisabetta Trevisan, Crystal Tarot, 1994, Italy

By Jean-Baptise Alliette, France

By Olivia M. Healy, The Fool, 2019, England

By Jean-Baptise Alliette, Etteilla, France

By Minka Sicklinger, Bryn McKay, Eve Bradford, Strength, United States

From Visconti-Sforza, Yale Deck, mid-15th century, Italy

 

 



Art

Barbed Wire, Rusty Knives, and Found Objects Mend Artist Glen Taylor's Broken Porcelain

July 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

“My grandmother’s china.” All images © Glen Taylor, shared with permission

Artist Glen Taylor solders ridges of metal to porcelain fragments, completing a halved teacup or broken saucer with a range of unusual materials: barbed wire, tarnished silverware, old book pages, and multicolored twine form a portion of the household objects. Each intervention contrasts the pristine, delicate qualities of the porcelain with the visible rust, unwieldy strings, and patchwork metals.

A cabinetmaker for much of his life, Taylor originally worked with pottery but found it limiting until he started breaking his ceramics into pieces. “I had read about the ancient art of Kintsugi and decades before I had learned how to copper foil and solder stained glass windows. All of a sudden I felt the emotional expressive range was infinite,” he writes. A Japanese art form, Kintsugi is the process of fixing broken pottery and celebrating the repairs, rather than try to hide them.

Now, Taylor gathers materials at auctions and estate sales, choosing pieces that spur an emotional response or nostalgia for his childhood, although some objects have a more personal connection. “For years, I have had my grandmother’s dishes in the attic, wondering what to do with them,” he says. “My mother died last year and so I have let the grieving process appear when it needs to. I released a lot of emotions about my mother when I started breaking the dishes that she grew up with.”

The artist tells Colossal that the broken pieces also are symbolic of imperfection. “As I began mending and recreating my broken pottery, the personal therapy and healing became the whole point,” he says. “I reached an age where I began sorting through the emotional baggage of my life, and the elements for my work became apparent.”

For a deeper look into Taylor’s mended works and a glimpse at his process, follow him Instagram.

 

“Release the pain”

“Spoonkintsugi”

“Paperkintsugi”

“Nest in china”

“Broken cups and saucers”

“Babies plate”

“Plate of chains”

“Tinplate”

 

 



Art Illustration Photography

Browse Hundreds of Artist's Zines, Prints, and Other Works at the Virtual Brooklyn Art Book Fair This Weekend

June 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Kiss” by Sophie Page, four-color risograph print, white paper, 14 x 8.5 inches. All images courtesy of Brooklyn Art Book Fair

The Brooklyn Art Book Fair has moved its 2020 market online, extending the opportunity to pore through the offerings from artists and independent publishers to those who don’t reside in New York City. This year’s fair boasts more than 400 publications presented by 45 vendors, like The Free Black Woman’s Library, Printed Matter, and Paradise Systems. Founded in 2017 to provide smaller presses and artists the opportunity to showcase their work without a financial barrier, this is the fourth iteration of the annual event organized by Endless Editions.

We’ve gathered a few of the offerings here: Khari Johnson-Ricks’s “A real Conversation,” a vibrant screenprint of one of the artist’s incredibly detailed collages; “Friendship Forever,” a humorous collection of comics, by Inkee Wang; and Sarula Bao’s queer romance narrative “Changing Faces.” Browse the available prints, zines, and other artworks on the fair’s site, and pop into the artist chats throughout the weekend.

 

Left: “Changing Faces” by Sarula Bao, 7 x 5 inches, 10 pages. Middle: “A real Conversation” by Khari Johnson-Ricks, five-color screenprint on paper, 22 x 30 inches. Right: “Friendship Forever” by Inkee Wang, 5.6 x 8.25 inches, 24 pages

From the NYC Amidst COVID-19 Fine Art Print Bundle by Felicita Felli Maynard, 5 x 7 inches

The Free Black Women’s Library” poster by Olaronke and John Andrews, 24 x 36 inches

Mushrooms & Friends 2” by Phyllis Ma, 28 x 22 centimeters, 32 pages

Lost Things” by fenta, 5 x 3.5 inches, 44 pages

Abecedarian” by Ashley May, four-color risograph, accordion book, 11 x 9 inches

 

 



History

Page Through This Incredibly Detailed Sino-Tibetan Book Printed in 1410

June 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Incunabula

An ancient-book collector is offering a rare glimpse into a Sino-Tibetan book that’s believed to have been printed as early as 1410 in Beijing. A self-described bibliophile known as Incunabula, the collector shared a thread containing dozens of images showing inside spreads full of red ink drawings and Ranjana script, a writing system developed in the 11th century. The Gutenberg Bible, which was printed with movable metal type, dates back to 1454, nearly 45 years after this woodblock-produced text.

Within its accordion-fold pages, the ancient book contains impeccably detailed “Sanskrit dhāranīs and illustrations of protective mantra-diagrams and deities” and a collection of Tibetan Buddhist recitation texts. It has more durable, black covers that are covered in gold-paint drawings featuring “20 icons of the Tathāgatas,” which roughly translates to “one who has gone.” All text is printed twice on each side of the paper to allow for right-to-left and left-to-right readings in both the Indo-Tibetan and Chinese styles, respectively.

“During the early Ming, close relations were established between Tibetan monks and the imperial court in Beijing. Although not directly part of the Buddhist canon, this work relates closely to the manner of woodblock carving employed for the production of the Sino-Tibetan Kangyur,” the collector writes.

Check out more of the inside pages in Incunabula’s thread, and follow the collector’s archival work on Twitter. (via Open Culture)

 

 

 



Art History Photography Science

Cabinet of Curiosities: A New Book Opens Centuries-Old Collections of Fossils, Sculptures, and Other Oddities

June 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Taschen, shared with permission

In a span of more than 350 pages, Italian photographer Massimo Listri captures some of the most wondrous and bizarre collections gathered throughout history. Cabinet of Curiosities, a new XXL edition from Taschen, is comprised of countless artifacts from the Renaissance to modern-day. Including massive fossils, excavated coral growths, and impeccably preserved sculptures, Listri’s photographs capture treasures of natural history, art, astrology, biology, and design. Many of the eccentric collections were maintained formerly by aristocrats, such as Grand Duke Francesco I de’ Medici, Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, and Archduke Ferdinand II of Habsburg.

Dive into the historical troves by picking up a copy of Cabinet of Curiosities from Taschen or Bookshop. Check out Listri’s stunning compendium of global libraries, too.