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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

 

 

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Art

Glass Pitchers and Vessels Encase Architectural Paper Sculptures by Ayumi Shibata

August 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Ayumi Shibata, shared with permission

Tucked inside clear glass vessels are Ayumi Shibata’s regal architectural vistas and layered cities enveloped by trees and vines. The Japanese artist is known for her elaborately constructed paper sculptures that fill small spaces like books and jars or occupy entire rooms, all of which are alluring and immersive as they draw viewers in to the enchanting, dream-like environments. Because the artist uses solely white paper, each sculpture highlights the intricacies of her cuts, and the details are enhanced even further when illuminated. That soft light source creates depth and shadow, as well, and Shibata describes the latter as adding a spiritual dimension to her works.

The artist recently finished two large commissions, one to accompany singer Ryoko Moriyama on stage and another for the KITTE shopping mall next to Tokyo station. You can follow updates on those in addition to other pieces on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

UV Light Unveils the Extraterrestrial Luminescence of the American West in Cody Cobb’s Photos

August 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Cody Cobb, shared with permission

In his ongoing Spectral series, Las Vegas-based photographer Cody Cobb projects an ultraviolet light source across desert shrubs and secluded, rocky coves, unveiling an invisible spectrum of blues and oranges. Lichens, fallen leaves, and the bacteria growing from lava tubes become radiant lifeforms and transform locations in Washington, Utah, California, and New Mexico into otherworldly landscapes.

Focused on organic matter like mineral deposits and plants, Cobb’s photos expose what he describes as a “parallel world,” where the UV light allows an extraterrestrial eeriness to emerge. “Because I need such low ambient light levels for the fluorescence to show up in the exposures, I’m out making these at very odd hours of the night,” he says. “There’s such a strange dreaminess to exploring strange lands alone and in the dark.”

Cobb plans to show Spectral next year at Marshall Gallery in Santa Monica. Until then, browse select prints in his shop, and explore more of the series on his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art History

Cincinnati Art Museum Discovers That a Rare 16th Century Mirror Reveals a Hidden Image When Illuminated

July 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

Buddhist bronze mirror, 15–16th century, China or Japan, bronze, Source Unknown, Cincinnati Art Museum, x 1961.2. All photos by Rob Deslongchamps, courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum, shared with permission

Prior to the ubiquity of the glass mirrors we use today, people often peered into polished bronze for a low-fi glimpse of their reflection. These objects often featured cast three-dimensional symbols or renderings on the side opposite the convex reflective surface, but another particularly artful subset also contained an added dimension of mystery.

While plumbing the archives at the Cincinnati Art Museum, curator Hou-mei Sung uncovered what appeared to be an ordinary patinaed mirror printed with the name of Amitābha Buddha. After closer inspection, though, she realized that the small bronze piece would reveal a hidden image of the spiritual figure enshrined in rays when illuminated.

Dubbed a “Magic Mirror,” the extremely rare work is part of a small collection of light-penetrating objects that date back to the Han dynasty (202 BCE to 220 CE)—only a few similar Buddhist pieces from China and Japan are thought to exist and are currently housed at the Shanghai Museum, Tokyo National Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sung’s discovery is presumed to be the oldest uncovered, and although it’s still unclear exactly how ancient artisans created the pieces, it was likely a religious decoration hung in a temple or the home of a wealthy family.

If you’re in Cincinnati, you can see the mirror and its secret image starting July 23.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Brilliant Phenomena and Galactic Skies Light Up the 2022 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Shortlist

July 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

An Icelandic Saga by Carl Gallagher

Whether in the form of nebulae or starry galactic expanses, natural light continues to dominate Royal Museums Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition (previously). The 14th annual contest garnered more than 3,000 submissions from 67 countries, and a shortlist of finalists contains stunning shots of a September harvest moon illuminating Glastonbury Tor, the brilliant streaks trailing Comet Leonard, and the vibrant Aurora Borealis casting an ominous glow above a battered ship in Westfjords.

Winning photos will be announced on September 15 with an exhibition opening at the National Maritime Museum on September 17. Until then, peruse the full collection on the Royal Museum Greenwich site.

 

Oregon coast by Marcin Zając

Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) by Lionel Majzik

Equinox Moon and Glastonbury Tor by Hannah Rochford

Solar Wind Power by Esa Pekka Isomursu

Clouds of Hydrogen Gas by Simon Tang

Rosette Nebula Core Region (NGC2244) by Alpha Zhang

Badwater Milky Way by Abhijit Patil

 

 



Art

Radiant Installations and Projections Illuminate Sydney’s Architecture for an Annual Light Festival

June 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Vivid Sydney, shared with permission

Following a two-year hiatus, Vivid Sydney (previously) returned this May with a spectacular display of light and color. The annual month-long festival brings an array of installations, sculptures, and projections to the Australian city, and this year’s iteration included Lighting the Sails, a vibrant series of works by Aboriginal Martu artists that illuminated the Sydney Opera House with kaleidoscopic patterns, and a color-blocked animation on Customs House by Ken Donne. In 2023, Vivid Sydney will run from May 26 to June 17, and you can follow updates on that event on Instagram.

 

 

 

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