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Photography

Glass Vessels Skew Florals in Illusory Photographs by Suzanne Saroff

February 5, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Suzanne Saroff, shared with permission

Suzanne Saroff doesn’t mind if her audience has a distorted view of the vibrant flowers and leaves she captures. The New York-based photographer, who’s worked with a long list of clients like Calvin Klein, Glossier, and Prada, is a master of illusion in her tonal images that place florals behind clear glasses of water, skewing their structures in her red, pink, and beige compositions.

Saroff tells Colossal that her latest work revisits elements of distortion she used in previous projects that framed images of bananas, avocados, and fish behind glass vessels filled with water. Since her Perspective series, the photographer says she’s begun to explore “subtle new ways of expressing feelings and emotions through flowers, color, composition, and lighting.” Her more recent project maintains themes of “exploration and play,” although it employs different techniques and aesthetics.

I always have some idea of what I want to shoot—in terms of color, light, subject and composition—but some of my favorite photos come from something raw and in the moment. These photos can take 20 minutes or the entire day—with the distortions I work at and the moving of all of the pieces around until everything feels just right. When I get the photo I know right away. This series is about bringing emotions to creating.

Head to Saroff’s Instagram to see the skewed projects she conceives of next.

 

 



Photography

Through Light Painting and Stenciling, Artist Fabrice Wittner Illuminates Life Near the North Pole

January 13, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Fabrice Wittner, shared with permission

Inspired by Inuit iconography, Fabrice Wittner (previously) describes his latest series as “an invitation to enter the polar night.” The Northern Lights, a project in which the artist superimposes figures onto the Arctic phenomenon, involves painting with a light source like a torch on an extended-exposure photograph, illuminating those he depicts. Wittner combined this technique with his use of leatherette stencils, which are inspired by archived Inuit images from the early 20th century, to create his complex and layered portrayals. Committed to environmentally friendly processes, Wittner produced his low-pollution cyanotype prints using found and recycled materials, such as scraps of Dilite aluminum plates and pallet wood.

Originally from Alsace, France, the artist is interested in the ways climate change will affect native polar populations. As the sea ice melts and water levels rise, the hunting resources in the area inevitably will be affected, changing daily life for these groups of people.

The interdependency between the lifestyle evolution, global warming, the threat upon wildlife, and the consequences on the northern populations should lead us to reconsider our whole society. Inuits from Greenland and the North American continent, Sames from Northern Europe, and ethnic groups from Siberia will be on the front line of global warming. As the first climate refugees, only their memory and the spirits of their ancestors will remain on their lands.

Wittner regularly updates his Behance and Instagram, where you can find more of his ecologically conscious projects.

 

 



Design

Giant Seesaws Transform New York City’s Garment District into Light-Filled Urban Playground

January 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Alexandre Ayer/Diversity Pictures LLC, shared with permission

New York City’s Garment District recently received a dose of cold-weather fun with Impluse, an interactive installation of 12 oversize seesaws that glow and emit sound when someone hops on one end. Originally shown at the Place Des Festivals in Montreal in 2016 before traveling to cities like Chicago, Boston, Scottsdale, the installation allows users to produce their own light and sound shows that transform the city’s dreary January streets. The seesaws range from 16 to 24 feet and contain LED lights that vary in intensity and speakers that play random musical sequences.

Designed by Lateral Office and CS Design, Impulse encourages people to come together in a “public space all year round, both summer and winter months, by engaging ideas of urban play,” the creators said in a statement. “Inspired by the iconic cover of the Joy Division album ‘Unknown Pleasures,’ as well as Steve Reich’s serial, minimal music, which plays with repetition, rhythm and syncopation, Impulse project explores how architecture can visualize sound.” You can be part of the communal display by visiting the installation, which is on Broadway until January 31, or if you’re not in the city, by checking out the Garment District on Instagram.

 

 



Art

8th Annual Light Festival Illuminates Amsterdam with Glowing Sculptural Installations

December 10, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Butterfly Effect” by Masamichi Shimada. All photographs, unless noted, © Janus van den Eijnden

This year’s Amsterdam Light Festival, running November 28, 2019, to January 19, 2020, lights up the European city with illuminated art installations. The festival, now in its eighth year, attracts tourists and engages locals at a time when the city is cloaked in darkness for about sixteen hours each day. Visitors to the Light Festival use a phone app to guide themselves through Amsterdam’s city center, perusing twenty light works by artists from around the world. This year’s show theme was “DISRUPT!” and artists reflected the concept in pieces that ruminate on climate change, national history, technology, and more. See some of our favorites here, by Masamichi Shimada, UxU StudioSergey Kim and others. You can explore the full line-up and programming on the Amsterdam Light Festival website.

“Butterfly Effect” by Masamichi Shimada

“Neighborhood” by Sergey Kim

“Neighborhood” by Sergey Kim. Photograph courtesy of the artist

“Nacht Tekening” by Krijn de Koning 

“Big Bang” by UxU Studio

“Big Bang” by UxU Studio

“Order Disorder” by Lambert Kamps

“Order Disorder” by Lambert Kamps

“Atlantis” by Utskottet

“Surface Tension” by Tom Biddulph and Barbara Ryan

“Surface Tension” by Tom Biddulph and Barbara Ryan

 

 



Art

Site-Specific Installations Accentuate the Geometric Architecture of Mies Van Der Rohe

November 14, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

German Pavilion. All photographs: Kate Joyce

Chicago-based duo Luftwerk (previously) partnered with architect Iker Gil and sound designer Oriol Tarragó for “Geometries of Light,” two coordinated installations celebrating the architectural forms of Mies van der Rohe. Both displayed in 2019, the shows were separated by one continent and approximately eight months; the German Pavilion display was on view in February 2019, and the second installation took place this fall at the Farnsworth House outside of Chicago.

The concept was was inspired by the structure’s apparent weightlessness, as it “seemingly floats perfectly on its pedestal”, Petra Bachmaier of Luftwerk tells Colossal. After an initial site visit to Barcelona in 2018, the artists decided to use “a specific tool to accentuate the clarity of the architecture with the laser level, a tool mainly used for construction sites to keep things level,” explains Backmaier. (Bosch Powertools provided the bluetooth-enabled three-plane lasers for both installations.)

Farnsworth House

For both sites, the designers were inspired by the history and context of each location. The German Pavilion was built in 1929 and demolished a year later; in 1986 it was rebuilt based on drawings. With bright red lines cutting through rooms and wrapping around walls, “Geometry of Light heightens the illusion of physical and material boundaries,” says Bachmaier. This effect also reflects the morphed history of the building, and retracing its form, from physical to two-dimensional drawing, to physical once again.

In the autumnal installation at the Farnsworth House, the artists explored the relationship between the architecture and its rural setting. “It uncovers the forgotten history of the site and remnants of earlier landscape by revealing the underlying geometries that relate the renowned house to its river floodplain, topography and key trees that no longer exist,” the artists tell Colossal.

Explore more of Luftwerk’s site-specific installations on their website and Instagram, as well as projects by Gil and Tarragó.

Farnsworth House

Farnsworth House

German Pavilion

German Pavilion

Farnsworth House

Farnsworth House

Farnsworth House

Farnsworth House

 

 



Design Photography

Marmalade Type: Colorfully Illuminated Letters Created with Photographic Interference

October 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Graphic designer, artist, and photographer Rus Khasanov (previously) plays with color and perception in a new alphabetical series called Marmalade Type. “This is a bright and colorful typography captured with camera,” Khasanov clarifies in a brief statement on the project. “There is not a drop of any paint here only the phenomenon of interference.” (Learn more about birefringence here).The resulting letters appear to pop off the page as shimmering multi-colored blobs. Explore the full series on Behance, and see more of the multi-disciplinary creative’s work on Instagram and Vimeo.

 

 

 



Photography

The Ever-Present Glow of LED Greenhouses Documented by Aerial Photographer Tom Hegen

October 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs © Tom Hegen, shared with permission of the artist

German photographer Tom Hegen, who specializes in aerial photography, recently traveled to the Netherlands to document the country’s LED greenhouses. The greenhouses were developed as a response to the small country’s growing need for food both within its own borders and to the international market. Dutch exporters are second only to the U.S. industry for global food exports as measured by value. Although the greenhouses offer incredible efficiency in their design, cultivating food year-round through high temperatures and humidity levels, their round-the-clock use also gives off a great deal of light pollution. Hegen flew in a helicopter at night to capture the yellow and purple glow that the greenhouses give off, their geometric planes of illumination standing out from the dark atmosphere.

The photographer tells Colossal that his work centers around the topic of the Anthropocene (the era of human influence on Earth’s biological, geological, and atmospheric processes). “In my photography, I explore the origin and scale of that idea in an effort to understand the dimensions of man’s intervention in natural spaces and to direct attention toward how humans can take responsibility.” Hegen explains that aerial photography in particular helps convey the Anthropocene because it shows the dimensions and scale of human impact more effectively.

“I am also fascinated by the abstraction that comes with the change of perspective; seeing something familiar from a new vantage point that you are not used to,” Hegen tells Colossal. “I use abstraction and aestheticization as a language to inspire people and also to offer the viewer a connection to the subject as they need to decode what they are looking at.”

In 2018 Hegen published his first aerial photo book, HABITAT, and next year he will start working on a follow-up, the artist shares with Colossal. Keep up with Hegen’s travels and latest projects on Instagram and Behance.

 

 

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