Photographer Camille Seaman travels the world capturing fleeting moments of power in diverse landscapes. From melting icebergs at both poles to stormy states across America, Seaman showcases the beauty, terror, and fragility of nature in her digital and film images. Seaman began storm-chasing after her daughter, eight years old at the time, suggested it might be of interest while the two were watching the Storm Chasers TV show. Her newest book,The Big Cloud, focuses on supercell storms around the U.S. It includes a forward by New Yorker science writer Alan Burdick, and includes behind-the-scenes shots and written reflections from Seaman about the experience of being a storm chaser.
“Sometimes as we pulled into a local fuel station, we would be met with superstitious folks who were not glad to see us; some of those people had lost their homes or loved ones in storms,” Seaman writes in the preface. “It was important to remember that these people lived here year after year, never knowing if this would be the day when a tornado might come through their town. It taught me great empathy and compassion. It was important that our chasing storms not become some sort of disaster tourism… I always wanted my images to speak to the duality of all things—to speak to the essential truth that there can be beauty in something terrible and vice versa, that there is no creation without destruction.”
In addition to authoring three books, Seaman is also a TED Senior Fellow, and has published works in National Geographic, The New York Times, and Outside Magazine. You can find The Big Cloud, published by Princeton Architectural Press, on Amazon. Follow the photographer’s travels on Instagram and Twitter.
Share this story
Australian photographer Leah Kennedy captured Namibia’s colorful, dry topography on a recent aerial safari. Much of the artist’s work is aerial, which satisfies her creative affinity for combining abstraction and duality in her photography. Kennedy traveled in a Cessna light aircraft, as well as in a helicopter sans doors, using a medium format camera. She shares with Colossal, “The resulting images are, at least temporarily, removed from their reality they take on different forms and in some cases appear to be of microscopic origins or reminiscent of something else entirely. This ambiguity and departure from reality is what intrigues and inspires my work.”
In addition to her fine art portfolio, Kennedy teaches workshops and offers tutorials on photography and Photoshop. You can see more of her site-specific series and purchase prints of select photographs on Kennedy’s website, and follow her work and travels on Instagram.
Share this story
Al Mefer transforms rural Iceland into a rouge-tinted world, producing images that make the area’s shrubbery look like candy floss, and moss-covered landscapes appear like red velvet cake. Mefer photographs a mixture of Icelandic topography, from iconic waterfalls to fields full of pink sheep. His photographs reveal the elements of the natural world that are often blurred into the background, such as the clustered patterns moss makes when growing on boulders, or how water froths was it spills over a waterfall.
Mefer’s project Dreamscapes of Iceland started while Mefer was traveling around the country with friends, and began to use a reflex camera to capture the country’s beautiful scenes. While exploring the Golden Circle, in the South of the country, Mefer photographed locations that would imprint an indelible memory upon him: Skógafoss’s waterfalls, cliffs and coastline, and Jökulsárlón’s glacial lake. “Iceland has been photographed a million times,” says Mefer, “I wanted to picture it in a way that it’d feel new yet as oneiric in the images as it is to see it live.”
The red and pink colors in Mefer’s photographs resemble the reddish hues inside the human body; the tones magnify the differences in texture and form between the living and non-living whilst having an emotional impact on the viewer. “Color affects us emotionally and I often focus my attention on it as a tool to rewrite reality,” he explains. Although some of Mefer’s photographs include people, a stillness is still captured in each photograph. “There’s a common trait among my projects to feel that the landscapes are mysterious and unexplored,” Mefer says. “They’re lonely even if populated.”
Share this story
Swedish photographer Håkan Strand works with old analog cameras and black and white film to capture landscapes that exude the serenity of a time past. The photographs often center around rural roads and explore the stillness that exists when one reaches the fringes of civilization. His recently published book Silent Moments will soon be available to purchase on his website, where you can find further studies of back roads and long desert highways in landscapes in the US, UK, and throughout Scandinavia. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
Share this story
Artist Chris Engman transports natural landscapes such as waterfalls, caves, and vast deserts to domestic interiors by securing large-scale photographs to the room’s walls, ceilings, and floors. “I believe photography derives its power precisely from the fact it can’t be entered, however much we may want to,” Engman tells Colossal. “When I make photographs I try to be mindful of this, even to exploit it.”
His most recent work, Containment, is his first installation which allows visitors to step inside. The work features a rushing stream surrounded on two sides by dense forest, and on the top by a branch-covered sky. Engman thinks of the work as a singular photograph, even though it consists of more than three hundred individual prints applied to the surface of the installation’s temporary walls. Although the piece can be entered, unlike his other works, there is still a hesitation on the part of the viewer. Engman explains that once one enters the work its believability as a singular landscape becomes penetrated. Each step deeper inside the work makes the photographed landscape appear increasingly warped and unreal.
“Even so,” says Engman, “compared to a singular framed photograph the experience of this installation for the viewer is much more physical and immersive. The structure is a room, not an image of a room. The photograph is an object, in addition to being an illusion. It has weight, and volume, and changes as you walk around it. Making this installation has been a thrilling process, and this new way of working seems to afford many new possibilities.”
The work is curated by Carissa Barnard of FotoFocus and is exhibited alongside several of his photographs at the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio through November 18. The exhibition is a part of the 2018 FotoFocus Biennial, a photography and lens-based presentation of over 400 artists at art spaces across Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Northern Kentucky. You can visit exhibitions and attend programming for the biennial through January 2019. Engman will have his third solo exhibition with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles in February 2019.
Share this story
Moscow-based photographer Stas Bartnikas captures landscapes from above. This perspective presents an abstracted view of the scenes below, turning mountains, waterfalls, and streams into compositional elements that provide color or texture. Bartnikas refers to his works as “aero-art,” and intends to capture the character and personality of each abstracted landscape when shooting. “It is almost the same as photographing human portraits,” he tells Colossal. “Each portrait is unique and conveys its own message.”
Iceland is one of Bartnikas’s favorite locations to photograph due to its surreal combination of ice, snow, volcanic formations, glacial rivers, and beaches. “Regular travelers are able to see only so much of this amazing place, whereas aerial photography allows us to see places that are inaccessible on foot,” he continues. “This very different perspective enables us to capture the beauty of our Earth in its fully glory and uniqueness.”
For each series, Bartnikas charters a plane to fly him around the area. His next destination to photograph is San Diego, where he plans on capturing some of the southern parts of the United States and a few northern parts of Mexico. He is one of the winners of the upcoming Siena International Photo Awards and his work, among the other winners, will be featured at the Beyond the Lens photo exhibition held from October 28 to December 2, 2018 in Siena, Italy. You can view more of his work on his website and Instagram.
Share this story
Textile artist Alexandra Kehayoglou (previously) creates functional works of art that explore the natural landscapes of her native Argentina. Her selected locations are often ones tied to political controversy, such as the Santa Cruz River, or areas dramatically altered by human activity, such as the Raggio creek. Kehayoglou uses her craft as a chance as a call for environmental awareness, embedding her own memory and research of the disappearing waterways and grasslands into her hand-tufted works.
Each tapestry uses surplus materials from her family’s factory, which has manufactured industrial carpets for more than six decades. The one-of-a-kind carpets are often installed against the wall, with a section of the work trailing along the floor so visitors can walk or lay on the woven rugs.
In December 2017, her piece Santa Cruz River was included in the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial in Melbourne. The installation showcased her research behind the future damming of the river and her own interpretation of the harm that will continue to influence the surrounding area. Later this month Kehayoglou will present a new site-specific tapestry that explores the tribes of Patagonia in the group exhibition Dream at the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome. You can see more of her work on her website and Instagram.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Science
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.