deserts

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Photography

Through Billowing Pastels, Minimal Photos Express the Profound Connections of Family

December 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Ismail Zaidy, shared with permission

“Family is intrinsic to my creativity,” says Ismail Zaidy about his photographic practice that’s grounded in color, emotion, and various aspects of Moroccan culture. In many of his conceptual images, Zaidy’s brother and sister serve as models positioned among swathes of pastel fabrics or balancing between taught ropes. Shot against the sandy backdrops of windswept deserts, each photograph amplifies movement and an interplay between light and shadow.

Pairing with the abstract and minimal aesthetic, Zaidy uses simple editing tools and only the camera on a Samsung Galaxy S5. He draws on his passion for color through silks, cotton, and other textiles that evoke the imagery of his upbringing. “When I was a kid, I used to live in a modest area in Marrakech where I was watching the way the women would wear their fabrics, hike and djellaba out on the streets. These women are still a huge inspiration for me today,” he says.

Although the involvement of Zaidy’s siblings began out of necessity when others weren’t available, they continue to offer direction and insight into the concepts, which the 23-year-old photographer explains:

I’m trying to shine a light on certain subjects. A lack of communication, distance between siblings and their parents, and family estrangement are problems that affect many but are rarely talked about. I am trying to treat this issue throughout my work in a poetic way, showing that family is one of the most valuable gifts in our lives.

Head to Instagram to follow Zaidy’s collaborative projects. (via Dovetail)

 

 

 



Animation

Mesas Shoot Through Cloud-Filled Skies in 'American Totem'

January 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

Panning the expansive desert, “American Totem” captures the mesas scattered across the beige- and rust-colored landscape but with an unearthly twist. Pillars ascend from their flat tops, reaching up through the clouds toward a pale blue sky in the short film, which combines real footage and digital effects. Created by London-based artist Theodore John, aka mustardcuffins, the moving columns shoot through dissipating clouds as the sun rises and sets, casting shadows across the sand and rocks. As night sets in, the film speeds up, morphing the dark sky into one filled with shooting stars. Find more multi-media projects from the artist and motion graphics designer on Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Photography

Swirling Star Trails Captured Over the Namib Desert by Daniel Kordan

May 8, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Russian photographer Daniel Kordan is a master of photographing the cosmos. In 2016 we covered his journey to the Salar de Uyuni, where he captured millions of brilliantly hued stars reflected in the world’s largest salt flat. Recently, Kordan returned from a trip to Namibia where he mapped swirling trails of stars above the Deadvlei, a white clay pan speckled with the 900-year-old tree skeletons, and other sites across the Namib desert.

The images feature vortexes of multi-colored stars streaked across the sky like post-impressionist paintings. The Milky Way’s warm and cool tones intermix to create a kaleidoscopic vision of the sky above, and illuminate the barren desert landscape below. To capture such images yourself, Kordan suggests creating a time-lapse with a wide angle lens, and utilizing an app like PhotoPills which allows you to easily predict the position of the stars.

You can see more of Kordan’s exploration through Namibia in the images below, and view his photographs from other locations across the globe on his website and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Billboards That Advertise the Surrounding California Landscape by Jennifer Bolande

March 3, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

All photos by Lance Gerber / courtesy of the artist and Desert X

Jennifer Bolande‘s work Visible Distance / Second Sight, is not one that you stop your car at and observe, in fact, its not one that even requires slowing to admire. The several billboard installation stretches alongside the Gene Autry Trail and Vista Chino in California, bordering the roads with scenic images of the same mountains that peak out behind each piece. In some instances the images match perfectly with the surrounding range, creating an alignment of fabricated reality while one zooms past the display.

Similar to artist Brian Kane‘s billboard displays of forests and galaxies in Massachusetts in the summer of 2015, Bolande’s work calls attention to nature in a ceaseless vacuum of pushy advertising. By placing images of the environment beside the roadway Bolande hopes to point passersby back to the landscape itself.

The piece is part of the exhibition Desert X which also features Doug Aitken’s mirror-covered house. The exhibition runs through April 30, 2017, and you can see a full schedule of tours and events on their website. (via Designboom)

 

 



Art

Mirage: A Suburban American House Retrofitted with Mirrors Reflects the Mountainous California Desert

February 28, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Desert X installation view of Doug Aitken, MIRAGE. 2017. All photos by Lance Gerber unless otherwise noted. Courtesy the artist and Desert X.

Perched at the juncture where the San Jacinto mountains open into the Coachella valley in California, artist Doug Aitken has erected a ranch-style suburban home covered entirely in mirrors. Titled Mirage, the house appears like an inverted kaleidoscope, reflecting everything from the sky above to the surrounding mountainous desert, not to mention visitors themselves. The structure was created as part of Desert X, an outdoor art exhibition comprised of pieces by over 15 artists that remains on view through April 30, 2017. Mirage will remain up a bit longer through October 31, but has somewhat irregular hours so be sure to check the schedule before visiting.

#DesertX

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Art

Seven 30-Foot-Tall Dayglow Totems Placed in the Desert by Ugo Rondinone

May 13, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

7MM-2_Gianfranco Gorgoni

All images Ugo Rondinone: Seven Magic Mountains, Las Vegas, Nevada, 2016. Photos by Gianfranco Gorgoni. Courtesy of Art Production Fund and Nevada Museum of Art.

Situated just south of Las Vegas in the middle of the desert stands seven stacks of brightly colored boulders— forms which appear to be in a line or cluster depending on how you view their arrangement. From one side the structures line up neatly in a row, while from the other they seem to be positioned in one giant mass. The cairn-like towers are Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone‘s “Seven Magic Mountains” and stand between 30 and 35 feet tall. Each contains between three and six human-sized masses which are all locally-sourced limestone painted an assortment of dayglow hues.

The stacked forms are intended to appear both stable and on the edge of collapse, similar to their duality of being both nature made and artificial. “Seven Magic Mountains is an artwork of thresholds and crossings, of seclusion and gathering, of balanced marvels and excessive colors, and the contrary air between the desert and the city lights,” states Rondinone. “Seven Magic Mountains elicits continuities and solidarities between the artificial and the natural, between human and nature.”

The site specific work was produced by Art Production Fund, New York and the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. The monumental piece of land art will be on view for two years beginning in May of 2016. (via Juxtapoz)

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