Saturated Neon Hues Veil Snowy Landscapes in Photos by Maria Lax
Known for experimenting with an assortment of in-camera techniques, photographer Maria Lax transforms quiet, nighttime vistas and frozen forests into fantastically colored dreamscapes. She’s always been fascinated by the interplay of light and color, she tells Colossal, and following formal training in cinematography, has developed a distinct style that vividly interprets the outside world.
Lighting and filters produce the kaleidoscopic range that overlays Lax’s images, and the London-based photographer is conservative with equipment. “I often shoot in remote locations in difficult conditions—some of these images were shot in temperatures reaching -30 C,” she says. “I work mostly by myself when I am on location, which means my kit is relatively minimal and nimble so that I can carry it on my back even on longer hikes through the snow.”
If you’re in London, Lax is showing new photos from April 19 to 24 at Open Doors Gallery, where she also has limited-edition prints available. She’s currently in progress on a second book following her monograph, Some Kind of Heavenly Fire, published by Setanta Books, and you can explore an archive of her work on Instagram.
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Bathed in Ultraviolet Light, Single Flowers Glow with Radiant, Saturated Color
In Between Art and Science, Debora Lombardi harnesses the creative potential of ultraviolet light. The Italy-based designer and photographer splashes single flowers with the radiation, unveiling an entire spectrum of colors otherwise invisible to the human eye: saturated purple and blue tones delineate the veins in a leaf and yellows add a neon-like glow to stamen rich with pollen, transforming the blooms into otherworldly specimens.
“I started experimenting with this technique in the darkness of my studio during the lockdown of March 2020, making it my main outlet in that equally dark period,” Lombardi tells World Photography Organization, which named the series a finalist in this year’s awards. “My experimentation then continued throughout 2021, making improvements and customisations, and this series represents an excerpt.”
If you’re in London, you can see some of Lombardi’s incandescent flowers at Somerset House as part of the organization’s exhibition through May 2. Otherwise, follow her on Instagram.
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A Timelapse of Dazzling Star Trails Swirl Around a Psychedelic Nightscape at Joshua Tree
Set to a gentle, upbeat track by Moby Gratis, “Moonlight Mojave” spins through the desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park under the glow of a night sky. The timelapse compiles 20-second exposures into a deceptive display of light and movement, with the moon and stars illuminating the arid expanses as if it were daytime. Peeking through the eponymous, shrub-like trees, photographer Gavin Heffernan (previously) captures radiant star trails that streak across the bright blue sky, emphasizing the earth’s usually imperceptible rotation.
The entrancing video is part of the multi-faceted Skyglow project, a collaborative effort between Heffernan, director Harun Mehmedinovic (previously)—he’s behind the documentary Ice on Fire—and the International Dark-Sky Association. Exploring the effects of light pollution on the already fragile planet, Skyglow is comprised of multiple video works like “Moonlight Mojave,” a book and print collection, and a forthcoming feature-length film. You can explore more from the project’s creators on its site.
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Ethereal Paper Sculptures and Large-Scale Installations by Ayumi Shibata Play With Light and Shadow
Japan-based artist Ayumi Shibata (previously) designs intricate landscapes using layers upon layers of white paper. Some of her sculptures are miniature, whereas others are immersive installations, and all are brought to life with the play of light and shadow, which create “movement” throughout her pieces. The works feature architectural domes, cave-like forests, and swirling suns hovering over tree-filled cities. These picturesque places aren’t based on a particular location but what the artist “hopes and believes the future of the planet could look like”.
Shibata’s ethereal landscapes envision a world in which humans and natural forms coexist, and she describes her pieces as having a “Yin and Yang” element. Paper represents Yin, the material, and the ways the works emit shadows correlates to Yang, the invisible world. “The light represents spirit and life, how the sun rises and breathes life into the world,” she explains. “I believe my pieces are a place to observe the material world and the visible one.”
The physical elements have a deeper meaning for the artist, as well: In Japanese, Kami means god or spirit but also paper, a sacred material in the Shinto religion. “Invisible ‘Kami’ spirits dwell in various objects and events, places, as well as in our houses and in our bodies,” she says. “I use my technique to express my thankfulness to the Kami spirits for having been born in this life. Each piece of paper I cut is a prayer.”
Shibata began constructing these sculptures when living in New York. She would visit a church to meditate and escape the noise of the city, and it was when she observed light illuminating stained glass that she was reminded of her love of working with paper. The artist explains:
The city was full of noise. Everything, people, time goes so fast and moves rapidly, and I needed a quiet space to go back to myself. One day, I opened my eyes after meditation and saw colorful light flooding the floor through the stained glass. It was breathtakingly beautiful. It reminded me of a memory from childhood where I used to cut black paper and stick colored cellophane behind it to make a ‘paper’ stained glass piece. I got the tools on my way home and tried it that night. From that moment, I continued to cut paper.
Currently, Shibata is working on an installation called “Inochino-uta, Poetry of Life,” for an exhibition later this year. The large-scale project is made out of 108 pieces of paper connected by strings and suspended from the ceiling. To view more of the artist’s work, visit her Instagram or website.
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Have Your Bread and Read By It Too: PAMPSHADE Turns Leftover Loaves into Offbeat Lamps
Yukiko Morita works against the grain with her collection of bread-based home goods. The baker-turned-designer launched PAMPSHADE back in 2016 after nearly a decade of experimenting with the doughy material, and today, the brand creates a variety of quirky, functional objects, including croissant nightlights, baguette chandeliers, and naan timepieces that appear to be the leavened counterpart to Salvador Dalí’s melting clocks.
Each design utilizes leftover pastries and loaves sourced from nearby retailers that are then treated with antiseptic and a mildew-deterrent and hollowed out to fit an LED light. “By purchasing the unsold bread, the bakeries are happy, and it leads to a sustainable creative activity,” she tells Creative Boom. “Within the scope of normal use, (the lamps) can be used semi-permanently. However, be careful not to break them!”
Head to the PAMPSHADE site to pick up a crusty ciabatta or slice of toast, and follow the latest upcycled designs on Instagram.
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Brezhnevka Night Lights and Planters Recreate Soviet-Era Housing as Functional Goods
St. Petersburg-based designer Nikita Anokhin references the industrial, streamlined architecture that populated much of Soviet-era Russia in his functional home goods. Based on the iconic Brezhnevka complexes, Anokhin’s plywood and concrete lamps are comprised of multiple stories of conformist features, including angular balconies and rows of tall windows. Each contains tiny, multi-colored LED lights that illuminate the individual apartments and reveal miniature domestic scenes unfolding within. Similarly bulky and constructivist, the small, concrete planters are based on Khrushchevka and the round buildings on Nezhinskaya Street in Moscow.
Shop available pieces on Anokhin’s Etsy and follow new releases on Instagram.
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