nature

Posts tagged
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Animation Art

Synthetic Nature: Digital Lifeforms that Respond to Manipulated Audio Recordings

December 2, 2015

Christopher Jobson

Artist Andy Thomas recently shared a montage of new sound art pieces titled Synthetic Nature that shows his beautifully bizarre digital sculptures as they move in response to audio. The virtual organisms are constructed using a host of software (3ds Max, Realflow, Quantum force, Fume fx, Krakatoa, Frost, etc.), with the end result being ‘programs’ that visually react to an array of audio inputs. Different frequencies or tones cause the piece to behave in varying ways based on Thomas’ own manipulated audio of flora and fauna recorded around Australia. You can see more of his experiments on Vimeo, and he also creates wild digital images available as prints on RedBubble.

 

 



Photography

A Perfectly Symmetrical Photo of a Kingfisher Diving for Prey, Nearly 6 Years in the Making

November 27, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Licensed from Caters / Alan McFadyen

For the last 6 years, Scottish wildlife photographer Alan McFadyen spent an estimated 4,200 hours seeking the perfect shot: a symmetrical image of a kingfisher diving into its own reflection in search of prey. Last month, after 720,000 exposures he finally got it. McFadyen certainly snapped hundreds of other successful images along the way, but this particular photo—as it existed in his imagination—eluded him for years.

“Kingfishers dive so fast they are like bullets, so taking a good photo requires a lot of luck – and a lot of patience,” McFadyen told the Daily Mail. The difficulty is compounded by the fact that female kingfishers only rarely dive, so timing is essential.

McFadyen owns Scottish Photography Hides which rents out hides in pristine locations in Southwest Scotland for use by wildlife photographers. You can explore more of his photography on Flickr. (via PetaPixel)

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Photography

An Ancient Chinese Ginkgo Tree Drops an Ocean of Golden Leaves

November 24, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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This towering ginkgo tree is located within the walls of the Gu Guanyin Buddhist Temple in the Zhongnan Mountains in China. Every autumn the green leaves on the 1,400-year-old tree turn bright yellow and fall into a golden heap on the temple grounds drawing tourists from the surrounding area. You can see more photos here and here. (via F*ck Yeah Chinese Garden)

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Art

Exquisite Marine Life Specimens Imagined in Glass by Steffen Dam

November 9, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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All images courtesy Joanna Bird Gallery unless otherwise noted

As a child, Danish artist Steffen Dam loved poring over his grandparents’ collection of scientific books and cabinets of insects. This fascination of how we catalogue and understand the natural world followed through to his artistic glass career, where Dam creates highly detailed “Cabinets of Curiosities” that mimic oceanic specimens suspended in glass jars and plates. The pieces are usually displayed inside light boxes to better illuminate every minute detail from the fragile tentacles of a jellyfish to a flourish of bubbles that seem to dance around many of his specimens.

A quote from David Revere McFadden’s essay Between Art and Nature, The Glass of Steffen Dam:

Steffen Dam invites the viewer to relish the sheer beauty of his “specimens,” but also to reflect on the meaning of nature as a mirror of the human mind and spirit. Dam has “captured” nature in his work, but he assiduously avoids simple imitation of life; the artist shies away from what he refers to as “cheap tricks in glass.” He seeks to strike a “balance between fiction and reality.” While his work is in no way intended to serve as pedagogic tools, as specimens in “cabinets of curiosities” often were, they are intended to engage the eye and stimulate the imagination. Knowledge about the forms, structures, surfaces, and colors of true natural specimens is not to be found in Dam’s displays of crystal cylinders, but another kind of knowledge—that of the visual poetry of endlessly varied forms—is freely offered. Dam’s little creatures, although frozen in glass, remind of how we read and feel both time and change.

Dam most recently had several pieces on view at Chicago’s SOFA Expo through Heller Gallery. You can also see several additional works at Joanna Bird.

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Photo by Christopher Jobson for Colossal / SOFA Expo Chicago

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Courtesy Heller Gallery

 

 



Photography

Photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen Seamlessly Integrates His Body with the Natural World

November 5, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Fosters Pond II, 1989. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

Finnish-American photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen has been capturing self-portraits of his nude body in natural surroundings for the better part of five decades. More than just existing in these scenic locations, Minkkinen fully merges his limbs and torso like a chameleon, blurring the lines between where the world ends and his body begins.

The methods used to create these bold and uninhibited shots pre-date the use of Photoshop by decades, instead relying on a simple 9-second shutter release that allows Minkkinen to quickly pose for each shot. He usually works completely alone, and won’t let anyone else look through his camera’s viewfinder, lest they instead be labeled ‘the photographer.’ What may appear as a simply composed photo with fortuitous timing, is often the result of Minkkinen taking dangerous risks as he submerges himself in strong currents, buries himself in ice, or balances precariously on the edge of a cliff. He shares from an article How to Work the Way I Work:

Many of my photographs are difficult to make. Some can even be dangerous. I do not want to have someone else coming in harm’s way taking the risks I need to take: to lean out off a cliff or stay underwater for the sake of my picture. We control how much pain we can tolerate; such information is unknowable by anyone else. Some of my pictures might look simple, but in reality they can test the limits of what a human body is capable of or willing to risk. Thus I title them self-portraits, so the viewer knows who is in the picture and who took it.

At the age of 70, Minkkinen was just awarded the 2015 Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and is currently finishing work on his 8th book. The photographer opens his first-ever solo show in Chicago tomorrow evening at Catherine Edelman Gallery titled 7 8 9 0 1, featuring a range of both old and new portraits. You can see more from the exhibition here.

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Hands and Feet, White Sands, NM, 2000. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

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Väisälänsaari, Finland, 1998. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

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Oulujärvi Afternoon, Paltaniemi, Finland, 2009. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

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Mouth of the River, Fosters Pond, 2014. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

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Asikkala, Finland, 1992. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

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10.10.10, Fosters Pond, 2010. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

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Fosters Pond, 2000. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

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Le Bouquet d’Arbres, Malmö, Sweden, 2007. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

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Beach Pond, Connecticut, 1974. Courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery

 

 



Photography Science

Alexander Semenov Continues to Photograph the Earth's Most Fragile Marine Wildlife Near the Arctic Circle

November 2, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Eutonina indicans / © Alexander Semenov

For the last several years, marine photographer Alexander Semenov (previously) has lead the divers team at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station located just south of the Arctic Circle. Semenov directs scientific dives in extremely cold and harsh conditions to document sea creatures seldom seen anywhere else on Earth. From giant jellyfish to the tiniest of unknown sea worms, the photographer captures almost all of the creatures you see here out in the wild, without the convenience of a laboratory or studio.

It’s estimated that nearly 80% of all aquatic life in the world’s oceans has yet to be studied or even discovered. In response to this potentially vast world of unknown lifeforms, coupled with Semenov’s unceasing interest in marine biology, an ambitious trek across the world’s oceans has been planned for 2016. The Aquatilis Expedition is a proposed journey that will take a team of divers, scientists, and videographers to locations around the globe for the purposes of identifying new species, an odyssey on par with the advertures of Jacques Cousteau.

Many of Semenov’s best photos are available as prints, and he shares regular updates on both Facebook and Flickr.

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Cyanea rainbow / © Alexander Semenov

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Syllidae from the Sea of Okhotsk / © Alexander Semenov

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Cestum veneris, Italy / © Alexander Semenov

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Beroe cucumis / © Alexander Semenov

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Cyanea nude / © Alexander Semenov

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Clione limacina / © Alexander Semenov

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Sarsia tubulosa attacked by Cyanea capillata / © Alexander Semenov

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Swimming file clam, Australia / © Alexander Semenov

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Aglantha digitale / © Alexander Semenov