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Photography

Motherly Sacrifices and Aquatic Angst Top This Year’s Ocean Art Photography Contest

January 18, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of two fish with their mouths open and touching

“Fighting Blue Throat Pike Blennys” by Mark Green, Honorable Mention Marine Life Behavior

As they care for their unhatched babies, female octopuses refuse to eat, causing them to die of starvation before their young emerge from their eggs. Kat Zhou documented one of these marine mothers as she was in the process of such a fatal sacrifice, and the photo won the Ocean Art 2022, the 11th annual contest hosted by Underwater Photography Guide.

Zhou’s image was chosen from thousands of entries submitted from 96 countries, and the intimate photo joins a collection that encompasses a vast array of aquatic life and antics. Two aggressive pike blennies go head to head, a frog flashes a peace sign, and a menacing parasite hunts for its next victim. Find some of our favorite images below, and see all of the winning photos on the contest’s site.

 

“Octopus Mother,” by Kat Zhou, Best of Show, Macro

A photo of a frog appearing to hold up a peace sign

“Peace” by Enrico Somogyi, 1st Compact Wide Angle

A photo of a crab clinging to a jellyfish

“Zeepaddestoel” by Luc Rooman, Honorable Mention Marine Life Behavior

A photo of a red parasite with black eyes

“Parasite waiting for the next victim” by Lorenzo Terraneo, Honorable Mention Portrait

A close up photo of yellow coral spawning tiny pink eggs

“Coral Spawning” by Tom Shlesinger, 3rd Marine Life Behavior

A close up ohoto of a small fish among thorns

“Rose Among the Thorns” by Ipah Uid Lynn, 4th Compact Macro

A photo of a creature appearing to climb to the surface

“The Climb” by Veronika Nagy, 2nd Nudibranchs

 

 

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Art

Tons of Discarded Fishing Nets Are Formed into the Wildlife They Entangle in Sculptures by Ghost Net Collective

October 13, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Ghost Net Collective, shared with permission courtesy of JGM Gallery

A fishing net that has been lost or abandoned is known as a ghost net, one of the more formidable elements of “ghost gear,” which includes an array of traps, lines, pots, and other equipment discarded or no longer in use by the fishing industry. Due to their vast size, nets pose an ongoing threat to marine wildlife that get tangled in the synthetic mesh and to coral reefs that are smothered by them. Ghost Net Collective, an Australian cross-cultural group of artists who began working together at Erub Arts in 1996, seeks to educate viewers about what co-founder Lynnette Griffiths calls the “silent predator” of the ocean. Incoming Tide, a new exhibition of work by ten artists at JGM Gallery, dives into the story behind this enormous threat to marine wildlife.

Ghost Net Collective first began to work together in Erub, an island off the tip of Queensland in the Torres Strait. Home to around 400 Indigenous Erubam le, or Erubian people, from four different tribes, the island has a longstanding tradition of seafaring and fishing that has shaped its inhabitants’ lives for centuries. While derelict fishing gear bypasses Erub most of the time, in places where the tidal stream washes up, the situation for wildlife and the safety of shorelines can become much more precarious. “The western edge of the Gulf of Carpentaria gets huge amounts of net which drift down from Indonesia,” Griffiths explained in an interview with JGM Gallery.

Lynnette Griffiths, “Ornate Eagle Ray” (2022), ghost net and beach rope with a wire frame, 76 x 81 x 11 centimeters

The artists regularly partner with plastic retrieval nonprofits or the Australian Navy to source nets from beach-clean operations, and the group’s mission is to illustrate the perilous and damaging effects of plastic waste in oceans. Artists stitch vivid meshes and threads around metal frames into the forms of marine creatures endemic to the Australia coastline like stingrays or sharks.

In Incoming Tide, animals sail together through the space as if riding the same current, buoyant in bright hues and vibrant patterns as they convey an urgent message. “Some countries are still using gillnets,” Griffiths explains. “Those are nets set with radio beacons and they’re baited. They can be kilometres and kilometres long. When they become rogue nets, they just start fishing themselves.” By shaping marine animals from the salvaged materials in motifs resembling coral reefs or schools of fish, the artists hope to shed light on the immense impact of ocean plastics on marine ecosystems and the climate crisis.

Incoming Tide is on view in London through November 4, and you can find more information about Ghost Net Collective on Facebook.

Jimmy Kenny Thaiday, “Jimmy” (2022), ghost net, rope, and twine over a wire frame, 143 x 50 x 54 centimeters

Installation view courtesy of JGM Gallery

Left: Jimmy John Thaiday, “Boycar” (2022), ghost net, rope, and twine over a wire frame, 114 x 77 x 12 centimeters. Right: Marion Gaemers, “Ornate Eagle Ray” (2022), ghost net, beach rope, and wire frame, 77 x 87 x 13 centimeters

Lavinia Ketchell, “Raych” (2022), ghost net, rope, and twine over a wire frame, 80 x 60 x 30 centimeters

Lynnette Griffiths, “Chomp” (2020), aluminum welded frame with ghost net and beach rope, 28 x 70 x 210 centimeters

Ghost Net Collective, “Curtain Fragment” (2021/2022), ghost net and beach rope, 155 x 110 centimeters

 

 



Illustration

Undulating Lines and Geometric Shapes Comprise a Minimally Illustrated Menagerie

September 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Adam G., shared with permission

In Surf & Turf, designer Adam G., who’s behind the Santa Monica-based studio TRÜF Creative, transfers his signature messymod style from typography to biology. The ongoing illustrated series melds geometric shapes, clean lines, and squiggly forms into playful interpretations of foxes, roosters, and piranhas.

Varying from stark and abstract to more dense compositions, the minimal creatures are all rendered in the designer’s signature red and black color palette. Each piece has “an emphasis on balance and flow,” he tells Colossal, and the series is “a completely freeform exploration within a pretty strict, self-imposed design language. That contrast between total freedom and total restriction is what I think defines the messymod style. It’s what keeps it consistent and weird or… ‘consistently weird!'”

Prints of the collection are available in the messymod shop, and you can follow Adam G.’s personal and commercial projects on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Underwater Photos by Steven Kovacs Frame the Shimmering Unearthly Bodies of Larval Fish

August 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

A young Ribbonfish off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs. All images licensed

Set against the stark backdrops attainable only during blackwater dives, larval fish become strange, otherworldly specimens with glasslike bodies and translucent fins that billow outward. Their delicate, still-developing anatomies are the subjects of Steven Kovacs’s underwater photos, which frame the young creatures at such precarious stages of life.

Living in Palm Beach, Kovacs (previously) frequents the waters off the Florida coasts, although he’s also recently explored areas near Kona, Hawaii. Expeditions have brought encounters with both the elusive acanthonus armatu and a type of larval ipnopidae that hasn’t been documented previously. “Of course, we are always hoping to run across a never-before-seen species like the discoverichthys praecox,” he says. “To be the first to ever find and photograph a species in the wild is an absolute thrill.”

Next on Kovacs’s list are a hairy goosefish larva and a crocodile toothfish species. Dive into an extensive archive of his images on Instagram, and pick up a print from Blue Planet.

 

Acanthonus armatus off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Discoverichthys praecox off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Flying fish off Palm Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Larval fish off Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

A Caribbean Reef Octopus tending to her eggs off Riviera Beach, Florida. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

Larval flounder off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

“Fu Manch” Flyingfish off Kona, Hawaii. Image © BluePlanetArchive / Steven Kovacs

 

 



Photography

Phenomenal Skies and Animals in Action Top This Year’s Nature TTL Photography Contest

August 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Astonishing,” Godafoss, Iceland, Mauro Tronto

The annual Nature TTL Photographer of the Year contest garnered more than 8,000 submissions this round, with some of the most impressive images focusing on fauna in the wild and stunning light-based phenomena that illuminate nighttime skies. Taken around the globe, the winning photos demonstrate both acts of stealth and moments of serendipity. Images range from Matt Engelmann capturing an unaware dog fox as it creeps over a Swiss mountain to Mauro Tronto framing a rainbow shooting upwards from the misty Godafass waterfalls in Iceland, the glowing northern lights overhead. See some of our favorite photos below, and visit the competition’s site to view all of the top entries.

 

“A Moment of Wilderness,” Mountains of Switzerland, Graubünden, Switzerland, Matt Engelmann

“City Hare,” Kassel, Germany, Jan Piecha

“Sunset Ray,” Tuna Factory, Maldives, Andy Schmid

“Vantage Points,” Hosanagara, Karnataka, India, Achintya Murthy

“Pretty in Pollen,” Mutter’s Moor near Sidmouth, Devon, U.K., Tim Crabb

“The Top of Australia,” Kosciusko, Australia, Josselin Cornou

“Nature Fights Back,” Loxton, Northern Cape, South Africa, Bertus Hanekom

“Ice Bear,” Klukshu, Yukon, Canada, Geoffrey Reynaud

 

 



Art History Illustration Photography Science

A New Book Plunges into the Vast Diversity of the World’s Oceans Across 3,000 Years

July 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

Carl Chun, Polypus levis, from Die Cephalopoden (1910–15), color lithograph, 35 × 25 centimeters. Image from the Biodiversity Heritage Library/Contributed by MBLWHOI Library, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Library, Massachusetts. All images © Phaidon, shared with permission

Despite thousands of years of research and an unending fascination with marine creatures, humans have explored only five percent of the oceans covering the majority of the earth’s surface. A forthcoming book from Phaidon dives into the planet’s notoriously vast and mysterious aquatic ecosystems, traveling across the continents and three millennia to uncover the stunning diversity of life below the surface.

Spanning 352 pages, Ocean, Exploring the Marine World brings together a broad array of images and information ranging from ancient nautical cartography to contemporary shots from photographers like Sebastião Salgado and David Doubilet. The volume presents science and history alongside art and illustration—it features biological renderings by Ernst Haekcl, Katsushika Hokusai’s woodblock prints, and works by artists like Kerry James Marshall, Vincent van Gogh, and Yayoi Kusama—in addition to texts about conservation and the threats the climate crises poses to underwater life.

Ocean will be released this October and is available for pre-order on Bookshop. You also might enjoy this volume devoted to birds.

 

NNtonio Rod (Antonio Rodríguez Canto), Trachyphyllia, from Coral Colors, (2016). Image © NNtonio Rod

Jason deCaires Taylor, “Rubicon” (2016), stainless steel, pH-neutral cement, basalt and aggregates, installation view, Museo Atlántico, Las Coloradas, Lanzarote, Atlantic Oceanl. Photo courtesy of the artist

Christian Schussele and James M. Sommerville, Ocean Life, (c.1859), watercolor, gouache, graphite, and gum arabic on off-white wove paper, 48.3 × 69.7 centimeters. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Duke Riley, #34 of the Poly S. Tyrene Maritime Collection (2019), salvaged, painted plastic bottle, 30.5 × 18.4 × 7.6 centimeters Image courtesy of Duke Riley Studio

Nicolas Floc’h, Productive Structures, Artificial Reefs, -23m, Tateyama, Japan, (2013). Image © Nicolas Floc’h