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Photography

Hapless Hangups and Silly Spoofs Abound in the 2022 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

January 5, 2023

Kate Mothes

A photograph of an animal with a bird behind it so that it appears as though it has wings.

Highly Commended Winner, “Pegasus, the flying horse” © Jagdeep Rajput and Comedy Wildlife 2022

Since its inception in 2015, submissions to the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards (previously) have captured some of nature’s most hapless and humorous moments. In this year’s contest, the overall winner was Jennifer Hadley’s timely snap of a 3-month old lion cub tumbling down a tree, taken in the Serengeti, Tanzania. Hadley shared that she and her travel companions had been watching the cub in the tree for some time. “It didn’t even occur to me that he would make a go of getting down by himself in the most un-cat like fashion. I mean, how often do cats fall out of trees?” she says.

In this year’s juried contest, 5,000 entries from 85 countries amounted to fierce competition, showcasing “seriously funny” images in an effort to highlight the diversity of the world’s wildlife and raise awareness of the need for conservation. In partnership with the Whitley Fund for Nature, the contest contributes 10% of revenue toward conservation efforts in countries across the Global South.

See a gallery of all winning images on the competition website, and if you would like to enter your own images for consideration in the 2023 contest, applications are now open.

 

A photograph of a lion cub falling out of a tree.

Overall Winner and Serian & Alex Walker’s Creatures of the Land Award, “Not so cat-like reflexes” © Jennifer Hadley and Comedy Wildlife 2022

Two penguins on a shoreline. One appears to be telling the other one to "talk to the hand."

Affinity Photo 2 People’s Choice Award, “Talk to the Fin” Image © Jennifer Hadley and Comedy Wildlife 2022

Left: Two kangaroos at sunset on a beach appear as if one is swinging the other one around by its feet. Right: Two meerkats play together; one appears to strangle the other.

Highly Commended Winners. Left: “It’s all kicking off!” © Michael Eastway and Comedy Wildlife 2022. Right: “I’m gonna strangle you” © Emmanuel Do Linh San and Comedy Wildlife 2022

A photograph of two penguins standing side-by-side, one without a head.

Highly Commended Winner, “Keep calm and keep your head” © Martin Grace and Comedy Wildlife 2022

Two fish get up close and personal to the camera lens.

Creatures Under the Water Award, “Say Cheeeeeeese” © Arturo Telle and Comedy Wildlife 2022

A photograph of a heron and a hippo. The hippo has its mouth open wide and looks like it will eat the heron whole.

Spectrum Photo Creatures of the Air Award, “Hippo and Heron” © Jean Jacques Alcalay and Comedy Wildlife 2022

A photograph of a small owl winking from inside a pipe.

Junior Award, “ICU” © Arshdeep Singh and Comedy Wildlife 2022

A photograph of a raccoon in a snowy landscape that looks like it is waving to the viewer.

Highly Commended Winner, “Hello everyone” © Miroslav Srb and Comedy Wildlife 2022

 

 

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Art

Leafy Subjects Exemplify the Social Life of Trees of Shyama Golden’s Verdant Portraits

January 4, 2023

Kate Mothes

A painting of two figures or trees cloaked in vines.

“Intertwined” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. All images © Shyama Golden, shared with permission

On the banks of the Martha Brae River in Jamaica, artist Shyama Golden noticed greenery that appeared like lovers embracing. She “started to see these anthropomorphic vine-covered trees everywhere, taking on the forms of various archetypes.” The scenes inspired a series of paintings titled With or Without Us that merges facets of landscape and portrait painting into verdant works expressing nature as a social entity.

The Los Angeles-based artist’s practice is influenced by myriad sources, especially literature and everyday experiences. “Sometimes the idea can come from reading, and sometimes I take inspiration directly from life, but I often do research to add more details as I go, even if the original idea didn’t come from anything I read,” she tells Colossal. With or Without Us takes cues from Richard Powers’ 2019 novel The Overstoryan evocation of the natural world comprised of interlocking narratives in which each character is deeply connected to trees.

For this series, Golden was fascinated by the invisible means in which trees communicate with each other using a network of soil fungi, an ecological survival mechanism that is under threat from deforestation and impacts of the climate crisis. By combining recognizable portrait imagery redolent of family photographs, headshots, or the art historical vogue for reclining female figures, Golden reimagines the leafy denizens of forests as individuals with distinctive personalities and relationships.

Find more of Golden’s work on her website and Instagram.

 

A painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

“Familiar Phantasm” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

A painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

Detail of “Familiar Phantasm”

A painted portrait of a figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“The Hero” (2021), oil on panel, 48 x 48 inches

A painted portrait of a reclining figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“The Muse” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches

A painted portrait of a figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“Blue” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

A detail of a painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

Detail of “Intertwined”

 

 



Photography

Mikko Lagerstedt Photographs the Quiet Grandeur of Snowy Nordic Landscapes

January 3, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of an icy tree on a snowy landscape

“Winter Solitude.” All images Mikko Lagerstedt, shared with permission

Underneath soft light from the moon or the early morning sun, Finnish photographer Mikko Lagerstedt (previously) captures the quiet magic and mystery of Nordic landscapes. Ice clings to tree branches, an aurora streaks through the sky, and vast fields of snow cover the ground in scenes that are both serene and full of grandeur.

Part of the In The Solitude series, many of the images shown here are single-exposure photos edited in Lightroom, although a few utilize multiple shots to convey the majestic nature of the region. Lagerstedt tends to focus on the unique colors and textures of the area, including stars dotting a deep blue sky, lines etched into the earth’s surface by the wind, and strips of pastel light.

The photographer plans to offer prints of the collection this year, and you can find news about that release, in addition to an archive of his work, on his site and Instagram.

 

A photo of icy trees on a snowy landscape with stars in the sky

“A Cold Night in the North”

A photo of the moon illuminated an eerie landscape

“A Passing Moment”

A photo of icy trees on a snowy landscape

“In the Mist”

A photo of green northern lights streaking above a snowy mountainous landscape with a person walking through the snow

“Infinite”

A photo of an icy tree on a snowy landscape

“Resilience”

A photo of a person at the edge of a pier

“Searching”

A photo of an icy tree on a snowy landscape

“Solitude”

A wide photo of ice gathered on a body of water

“Stained Ice”

A photo of a person wandering a mountainous snowy landscape

“Windswept”

 

 



Art

A Series of Meticulously Carved Panels Combine Layers of Color to Make Tugboat Printshop’s ‘River’ Woodcut

December 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

All images © Tugboat Printshop

Woodland creatures peek out from behind tree trunks, and a stream of water rushes through a dense, forested landscape in Valerie Lueth’s latest woodcut for Tugboat Printshop (previously). “River” uses four intricately carved panels layered into a composition of overlapping, vivid color. Currently a work in progress and nearing completion, the detailed scene features intricate foliage and a smattering of stars throughout the sky and landscape.

To create the nocturnal setting, Lueth began by meticulously carving the surface of a “key block” using knives and gouging tools to create an overview of the entire composition. She then transferred the full scene to three additional panels in gray ink and filled in sections with marker to delineate which areas should be carved and where different pigments would be applied. Printed in succession, each block will provide a puzzle-like piece of the final print.

“River” is available for pre-order on the Tugboat Printshop website, and you can follow more updates on Instagram.

 

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

Two process images of making an intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

 

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

 

 



Art

Mossy Figures Wander Through Woodlands and City Streets in Kim Simonsson’s Flocked Ceramic Sculptures

December 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

A profile view of a ceramic sculpture of a young girl with feathers in her hair, flocked in green to appear like moss.

“Mossgirl with Feathers” (2016), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, feathers, and rope. All images © Kim Simonsson, shared with permission. Photos by Jefunne Gimpel

Some of the most exciting artistic discoveries are the results of accidents or the surprising outcomes of experiments, and artist Kim Simonsson’s series Moss People is the result of one such unexpected twist. Coated with soft flocking—a process of applying very fine fiber to the surface of an object—the large-scale ceramic sculptures were initially layered only with velvety black until a few years ago, when one day, the Finnish sculptor decided to flock one of those pieces with yellow, too. Once the crushed nylon fiber was applied over the black, it turned green, and the verdant figures have since grown into a cornerstone of his practice.

Simonsson draws inspiration from pop culture and Nordic fairytales and folklore, creating expressive, youthful characters who tote rucksacks, wear feathers in their hair, or carry important items like books, radios, or plush toys. For the 2022 Utopia Festival in Lille, France, he created monumental versions from fiberglass that lined a thoroughfare and appeared to wander amongst the passersby, emphasizing tender facial expressions, theatrical scale, and the sense that each individual is on a mission. The artist taps into a playful tension between the spritely energy of youth and the fact that moss naturally grows on hard, unmoving surfaces.

Atmospheric images taken outdoors capture the self-assured figures as they wander through woodland, equipped for an expedition. The most recent characters feature edible greenery and cabbage that grows from their limbs, torsos, and feet, providing both protection and sustenance. By producing and carrying their own food, they are completely autonomous, self-sustaining beings.

Simonsson’s solo exhibition Moss Cabbage People is on view at Galerie NeC in Paris through December 24. Find more of the artist’s work on his website, and follow updates on Instagram.

 

A photograph of ceramic figures that look like they are coated in moss, standing in a dense woodland.

“Moss People in Pine Forest”

A ceramic sculpture of a young girl leaning on a flower, coated in flocking to look like she is covered in moss. She is seated on a pedestal.

“Cabbage Mossgirl Resting” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, and artificial plant

Two sculptures of young figures made from ceramic that are coated in green flocking to make them look like they are coated in moss.

Left: “Mossgirl With Broken Stereo” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, cassette stereo, rope, and artificial flowers. Right: “Cabbage Mossboy Reading” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, and epoxy resin

A ceramic sculpture coated in green flocking of a young girl seated inside of a vessel that appears to be covered in the texture of cabbage leaves. The flocking makes the entire sculpture appear to be coated in moss.

“Hiding Place” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, and epoxy resin

A photograph of a ceramic sculpture coated in green flocking to appear like it is coated in moss. The figure stands in a deforested woodland at sunset.

“Mossboy” (2016), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, feathers, and rope

Two ceramid sculptures of young figures that are coated in green flocking so that they appear to be coated in moss. One has feathers and a long beard obscuring his face; the other is wearing a bonnet and a plush toy on her back.

Left: “Bearded Mossman with Feathers” (2019), ceramics, epoxy resin, nylon fiber, feathers, and rope. Right: “Mossboy With Idol” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, and soft toy

A photograph in a snowy woodland of a ceramic sculpture that has been coated in green flocking to make it look like it is coated in moss. The sculpture is of a young figure in profile who appears to be walking through the snow.

“Mossboy With Rock” (2017), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, and textile

A profile view of a figurative ceramic sculpture depicting a young girl sitting on top of a muscled bulldog, with a leash made of chains. The sculpture is coated in green flocking to make it appear as though it is coated in moss.

“Moss Princess” (2019), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, and chain

Large-scale fiberglass figurines in a street in Lille, France, depicting figures that are coated in green flocking to make them appear as though they are coated in moss. Pedestrians walk down the street and the sculptures are exhibited on large pedestals.

“Remember,” “Friendship,” “Giant Gatherer,” and “Light,” (2022), fiberglass, polyester resin, and nylon fiber. Installed in Lille, France, for Utopia Festival

 

 



Animation Photography

Thousands of Leaves Transition from Summer to Fall in a Hypnotic Stop-Motion Short

December 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

Bay Area-animator Brett Foxwell is drawn to the vast array of colors and textures within the natural world. His 2017 short film “WoodSwimmer” zeroed in on the unique grain of cross-cut trees, and his latest project similarly centers on organic diversity by highlighting thousands of leaves as they change from their summer to autumn hues.

In the mesmerizing stop-motion short, rapid flashes of foliage dance on the black backdrop and illuminate the unique bend of a stem, variances in veins, and the way verdant pigments drain from each specimen in inconsistent patterns. “While collecting leaves, I conceived that the leaf shape of every single plant type I could find would fit somewhere into a continuous animated sequence of leaves if that sequence were expansive enough. If I didn’t have the perfect shape, it meant I just had to collect more leaves,” he shares about the project.

The Book of Leaves” accompanies Foxwell’s larger project “Leaf Presser,” a trippier animation of the same nature, which you can find along with his other works on Vimeo. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

An animated gif of leaves in different colors from summer to autumn

A still of an autumn leaf

An animated gif of leaves in different colors from summer to autumn