“Does everything you throw in the ocean eventually come back to you?” asks Amsterdam-based director Ben Brand. His new short film, titled “Sea You,” opens with a gray-haired woman sitting at her dining table, except rather than a tear rolling down her cheek, it retreats to her watering eye. This sets in motion a series of events chronicled in reverse: the protagonist is shown riding her bike backward toward the market, while the fish she intended to eat earlier undergoes a packing process in which it’s unwrapped.
Brand said the sincere animation was born out of a story of loss. “When my girlfriend told me the story of her family spreading her deceased grandmother’s ash over the sea (like a lot of people around the world do), I started wondering what actually happens to all that ash,” he writes. As the director reveals in “Sea You,” everything released into the water somehow returns.
Watch the full video below, and follow Brand’s thoughtful animations on Vimeo and Instagram.
Replete with stunning shots of Tuscan farmland and close-ups with spiders that reveal their prickly legs, the Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition garnered an impressive array of images from creatives in 117 countries. Out of the 7,000 entries, Florian Ledoux won the top prize in the annual contest with his aerial photograph capturing nearly two-dozen seals resting on an ice mass floating in Antarctic waters. Categories range from wildlife and landscape to macro, providing an expansive look at nature’s most impressive qualities and characters—Caitlin Henderson exposes a Lichen Huntsman spider that’s attempting to disguise itself on teal-speckled tree bark, while Paul Holman serendipitously captures a fluffy owl in the midst of a surprise. We’ve gathered some of the entries below, but for a complete look at all the Nature TTL winners, check out the contest’s site and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)
Australia-based photographer Kristian Laine recently got a glimpse at a particularly special underwater creature: the world’s only known pink manta ray. Spanning about 11 feet and nicknamed Inspector Clouseau after The Pink Panther, the aquatic animal lives near Lady Elliot Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef. “I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird,” Laine told National Geographic.
Project Manta has been studying the male fish since he was discovered in 2015. After conducting a skin biopsy, the organization concluded that the unusual hue is not due to diet or disease but rather is likely a genetic mutation called erythrism, which causes changes in melanin expressions. Most manta rays are black, white, or a combination of the two.
For more of Laine’s underwater shots, follow him on Instagram or Facebook. You also can purchase one of his photographs of Inspector Clouseau and other ocean fish from his shop. (via My Modern Met)
For young striped eel catfish, there really is safety in numbers. A recent Instagram post shares a video by Marie-Laure Vergne of about one hundred juvenile fish moving across the bottom of the ocean. The Abyss Dive Center, a scuba diving school located in Amed, Bali, explains in the post that until the fish are fully grown and gain all of their deadly capabilities, they protect themselves by swimming in dense groups. Similar to other catfish, this species has four pairs of barbels on the upper and lower jaws. In their pectoral and first dorsal fins, though, the fish have a highly venomous, and sometimes fatal, spine.
As suggested by The Kids Should See This, the aquatic animals appear to take turns as they move, diving toward the bottom before appearing back at the top only to repeat the cycle. If you focus on one of the fish’s movements, you’ll spot the undulating pattern. The dive center does have a cautionary tip for anyone who encounters the phenomenon: “The young ones can only produce a mild version of the venom, tingling the fingers of the people putting their hands in the school (which we don’t recommend you do! ).”
Directed by Hideki Inaba (previously), Tape is a new animated music video for the Swedish group Canigou. In the approximately five minute-long animation, fish, jellyfish, and abstract bubbles swim and float in transfixing patterns through a mysterious environment. The ambiguous setting, rendered largely in shades of blue and red, seems to be set on another planet. Inaba’s animation accompanies Canigou’s atmospheric electronic sounds, creating a complementary visual and sonic landscape experience. Canigou is comprised of married duo Emma and Richard Lindström. Inaba has created live visuals for Red Hot Chili Peppers and animated for the Netflix series Disjointed. You can watch more of his work on Vimeo and tune in to Canigou on Soundcloud and Spotify.
Lisa Ericson (previously) deftly paints animals in scenes that reach outside of their natural environments, creating unique relationships that defy the natural order of the animal kingdom. In her newest series a deer, flamingo, and multiple turtles form miniature ecosystems in glassy blue water. Coral sprouts from the hooves and legs of the two larger creatures, while brilliant flowers and butterflies surround the smaller turtles. These paintings are featured in Ericson’s current exhibition Islands, which runs through August 25, 2019 at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon. You can see more of her beautifully rendered plants and animals on Instagram.
“Pollinate,” 16”x16”, Acrylic on panel
Detail of “Pollinate,” 16”x16”, Acrylic on panel
Detail of “Pollinate,” 16”x16”, Acrylic on panel
“Bleach,” 16”x20”, Acrylic on panel, all images via Antler Gallery