Geometric Drone Paths Illuminate the Otherworldly Landscapes of the Southwest in Photos by Reuben Wu
During recent years, Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu has visited quiet regions in Bolivia, Nevada’s SolarReserve, and the rivers of molten sulfur flowing in Indonesian volcanoes to capture the natural grandeur of the earth’s outmost layer. In each location, Wu highlights the land’s beauty by juxtaposing the organic features with artificial light cast by drones flying overhead. The resulting images, of which Wu boasts a rich and diverse collection, employ illuminated geometric shapes to spotlight individual features.
Wu’s most recent series, titled Light Storm, brought him to the rocky landscapes of Utah and New Mexico—the photographer doesn’t disclose specifics due to the fragility of the environment. Here, the hovering instruments brighten the stripes and crevices embedded within the stone formations. Like his 2018 series that detailed the melting Pastoruri Glacier in Peru, Light Storm plays a similar role. “I felt like it was an attempt to document and preserve the memory of a landscape in peril,” he shares with Colossal.
Adamant about leaving no trace on the locales he visits, Wu’s process allows him to maintain a distance from his rugged subject matter while creating the conditions necessary for such precise shots. He explains:
Instead of the old photographers’ adage of waiting for the right moment, I’m literally creating it from my position behind the camera. It also allows me to have more creative ownership over a photograph of a landscape. Something I’ve been struggling with as a photographer/artist is the idea that a beautiful landscape is doing all the work for me, so this was an opportunity to finally have more artistic control.
Overall, Wu writes, “the project is about presenting familiar sights in a new and unfamiliar light, renewing your sense of seeing and the experience of discovery.” Prints of his topographical images are available in his shop, and you can find more of his work on Instagram, Twitter, and Behance.
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Joshua Limon Palisoc draws on the tenets of Filipino Psychology to inform his life-sized figures that radiate from the inside. Using mesh-like forms of soldered metal, the artist conveys the idea that the physical body is simply a vessel for the soul. LED lights nestled within the anatomical sculptures emit a warm glow through the seams, blurring the boundary between inner and outer selves.
The illuminated forms shown here are part of Ephemeral Vessels, Palisoc’s first solo show on view through November 29 at Pinto Art Museum in Antipolo, Philippines. Composed of upright and seated figures, the collection focuses on personality and conscience (loob), the body (labas), and reason (lalim), ideas that the artist gleans from the particular branch of psychology originally helmed by Virgilio Enriquez.
Palisco, who shares insight into his techniques on Instagram, describes his process as ritualistic, noting that each artwork he solders together holds a part of himself that asks viewers to avoid “existing in this world passively.” Instead, he writes, “we should stir and affect others through our own genuine ways.”
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A new installation by artist Chila Kumari Singh Burman masks the stately columns and ornate flourishes of Tate Britain’s facade, enveloping the London museum in a blanket of LED lights. In “Remembering a Brave New World,” technicolor symbols, pop culture references, and religious iconography transform the neoclassical structure into an illuminated space for celebration. The public artwork was revealed on December 14 to coincide with the start of Diwali, the five-day Indian festival of lights, and casts a kaleidoscopic glow on the surrounding area.
The eclectic collection draws on Punjabi Liverpudlian artist’s own life and family history, which manifests in pieces like the multi-colored ice cream truck. After moving to England, her father purchased one of the vehicles, an experience that imprinted her childhood.
Other elements focus on the United Kingdom’s history of imperialism: the Britannia figure at the building’s apex, for example, is camouflaged with Kali, the Hindu goddess of liberation and power, while the lower region features Rani of Jhansi, the warrior and leader of the Indian resistance against the British in 1857. “It’s important to critique buildings like this because they’re very Eurocentric,” Burman said in an interview with Dezeen. “So, I just thought: why not do something that captures what we’re all going through right now? I felt like it needed a blast of joy and light. And Diwali is about good over evil, about hope, unity and the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Glowing Hindu deities sprawl across the windows and arches, as well, including Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and purity, and Ganesh, the god of prosperity. The religious figures juxtapose the more playful elements, like a life-sized tiger, peacock, and pair of lips.
“Remembering a Brave New World” is the fourth annual winter commission by Tate Britain. The public artwork will be on display through the end of January, even while the inner halls of the museum are closed to visitors due to the ongoing pandemic. Follow Burman’s projects that explore questions of power and identity on Instagram.
Update: A previous iteration of this article incorrectly identified the lights as neon, not LED.
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The platypus has puzzled researchers for centuries. From its venom-filled spurs, milk-secreting skin, and ability to eat a quarter of its body weight every day, the egg-laying mammal even had European zoologists believing it was a hoax well throughout the 19th Century.
A recent study published in the journal Mammalia adds to the duck-billed creature’s lengthy list of peculiarities. Apparently, when illuminated with ultraviolet light, the platypus’s dull, brown coat glows. The discovery happened after Jonathan Martin, an associate professor of forestry at Wisconsin’s Northland College, shined a UV flashlight on a flying squirrel in his backyard, which he found emitted a candy-colored pink hue. He then joined a few colleagues to visit Chicago’s Field Museum, where they replicated the process on the institution’s platypus collection, revealing the animals’ bright green and purple coat.
According to one study, the fluorescent substances are found embedded within mammals’ hair follicles, although scientists aren’t sure why. Sensory biologist Sönke Johnsen told The New York Times that “just finding fluorescence doesn’t mean it has any particular purpose.” Similar radiating colors exist in coral reefs and sea turtles, among other organisms, although the phenomena are less common in mammals.
Overall, the discovery has prompted further questions about whether the platypus can see UV light—most humans cannot, except for on certain items like white T-shirts—and even more interest in what we’ll discover about the curious creature next.
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Rotterdam-based photographer Robert Peek creates ghostly photographic stills of botanical forms that wouldn’t look out of place on Miss Havisham’s festering dining room table. On first inspection, Peek’s work resembles paintings with smoke dripping from the flowers’ petals and leaves. Colors are drawn out and enhanced, while other hues are shrouded in the white veil. With his perception-bending methodology, close-ups of lavender and thistle heads are transformed into mythical creations that peek out from the hazy background.
Having trained at the Royal College of Art, Peek developed an interest in using light as a tool to change the composition and texture of his pieces, turning photographs into painting-like artworks. Many of his projects, which he shares on Behance, are inspired by an interest in loneliness and isolation, and his photographs capture a melancholic rawness of natural blossoms frozen in time.
To create his eerie works, Peek submerges his chosen flowery forms in a fish glass before adding white ink to the water, then employs two Profoto lamps to manipulate the lighting, sometimes using a high speed to freeze the image in time. The results reveal bold, still forms steeped in mystery. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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Cig Harvey is adept at spotting both nature’s sublime qualities and the beauty in mundane moments. The serene shots frequently feature a human intervention, like outstretched arms spotted with dots of light from a disco ball hung in Harvey’s home or a compost pile heaped with vibrant produce scraps. Spanning nearly 20 years of her practice, the photographs shown here frame instances of serendipity, whether showcasing bright pink azaleas briefly pressed against foggy glass or the sun gleaming on a dark body of water.
This year, Harvey was named one of the recipients of the Maine in America award, which annually honors artists who’ve made a considerable contribution to Maine’s role in American art. Explore more of the photographer’s images capturing the every day on Instagram and her site.
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