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Photography

An Arctic Ptarmigan Takes Flight in the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year Competition’s Winning Capture

September 9, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Rock Ptarmigan Flight” by Erlend Haarberg, Norway. Gold Award Winner and Bird Photographer of the Year. All images © Bird Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

During the summer months, ptarmigans sport plumage of gray, brown, and black with white bellies and wings. Breeding in the high mountains where winter brings snow, the birds naturally camouflage by turning completely white. Norwegian photographer Erlend Haarberg’s capture of one of the upland game birds taking flight in the dramatic mountains of Tysfjorden won the grand prize in the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year competition.

The world’s largest bird photography competition welcomed more than 22,000 submissions this year. Award-winning entries document the incredible diversity, habitats, and rituals of avian life around the world, from an elaborate mating displays to the range of landscapes they inhabit. This year’s contest raised more than £5,000 for Birds on the Brink, a charity that provides grants to smaller organizations working on conservation efforts. The top photos, which are now compiled in a book available in the competition’s shop, highlight a range of behavior and environments, from the first moments of flight to the keen wit and strength of urban dwellers.

The 2023 competition is now open and accepting entries from global bird photographers of all ages, and you can find more information on its website.

 

“The Doting Couple” by Richard Flack, South Africa. Bronze Award Winner, Bird Portrait.

“Strut Performer” by Ly Dang, United States of America. Gold Award Winner, Best Portrait.

“Pied Avocet Chick” by Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz, Hungary. Silver Award Winner, 14-17 years.

“Beads of Diamonds” by Sue Dougherty, United States of America. Bronze Award Winner, Attention to Detail.

“Sunset” by Thamboon Uyyanonvara, Thailand. Bronze Award Winner, 14-17 years.

“Puffin Love” by Brad James, Canada. Silver Award Winner, Best Portrait.

“Over the City” by Ammar Alsayed Ahmed, United Arab Emirates. Gold Award Winner, Urban Birds.

 

 

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Art Design Illustration

Flora, Fowl, and Fruit Pop with Color in Diana Beltrán Herrera’s Ornate Paper Sculptures

September 7, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Diana Beltrán Herrera, shared with permission

A menagerie of beady-eyed birds and butterflies complement vibrant florals and fruity morsels in Bristol-based artist Diana Beltrán Herrera’s elaborate paper sculptures (previously). By utilizing subtle gradients to shape flower petals and making tiny cuts to detail individual feathers, the artist adds incredible dimension and density using the ubiquitous, 2-dimensional material. Ranging from shop window displays, to individual sculptures, to interior installations, she is often commissioned to make work featuring flowers or creatures specific to a location or region, and in a meticulous process of planning and sorting, she assembles different colors and sizes of paper into spritely flora and fauna.

Herrera has an exhibition planned for spring of next year at Children’s Museum Singapore, and you can find more of her work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Masters of Disguise: Sly Insects From Costa Rica to Malaysia Show Off Their Expert Camouflages

August 31, 2022

Grace Ebert

Nature’s propensity for survival continuously manifests in surprising ways, and thanks to David Weiller (previously), we’re able to witness some of the most clever disguises of the insect world. The photographer captures a wide array of critters and their deceptive traits, from the Malaysian geometer moth and its expert camouflage as a dead leaf to the lichen katydid, which mimics the stringy filamentous lichen from which it draws its name. Weiller’s YouTube is a trove of exceptional imitations, including glimpses of the seemingly invisible bagworm moth caterpillar and the lappet moth caterpillar that appears to show off a cheesy grin.

 

 

 



Photography

Photographic Composites of Birds and Environments Accentuate the Rich Textures and Colors Found in Nature

August 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Eclectus,” (2018), Indian peacocks. All images © Joseph McGlennon, courtesy of Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin, shared with permission

Hundreds of individual photographs comprise the richly layered works of Joseph McGlennon, who plucks particular textures and colors found throughout the natural world and splices them into new contexts. In one image, the cascading feathers of Indian peacocks frame a sailboat in the distance, and another centers on an Australian black cockatoo surrounded by rainbow lorikeets, butterflies, and flowering foliage. Many of the works accentuate the sheen and distinct patterns on the bird’s feathers and utilize the variances in shadow and light to cohesively position the subjects within their manipulated surroundings. By highlighting these features, the photographer references the earth’s stunning diversity and what could be lost given the increasingly disastrous climate crisis.

McGlennon has a solo show open through September 11 at Michael Reid Southern Highlands—he’s represented by Michael Reid Sydney + Berlin—and is also included in Bird published by Hoxton Mini Press. Find more of his works, in addition to glimpses into his process, on Instagram.

 

“Flowering Dry” from Awakening

“Silentium 1” (2021)

“Quiet Dawn” from Awakening

“Silentium 2” (2021)

“Electus,” wedgetail in Tasmania

“Silentium 3” (2021)

“Silentium 4” (2021)

 

 



Design

In the AI-Generated ‘Symbiotic Architecture,’ Manas Bhatia Envisions an Apartment Complex Within a Live Redwood

August 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Manas Bhatia, shared with permission

Much of the architecture in the Western world relies on sterile materials like steel and concrete and a desire to build upward, with skyscrapers soaring high above the earth. As designs necessarily shift in response to a changing climate, there’s renewed interest in adopting more organic, sustainable approaches to construction that more directly interact with the environment—see these bricks that double as homes for bees and an exploration of Indigenous technologies as examples.

Part of finding alternatives to conventional methods is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, which is the basis of a new series by architect and computational designer Manas Bhatia. Created using the artificial intelligence tool Midjourney, the conceptual renderings of Symbiotic Architecture imagine an apartment complex embedded within towering, live redwoods. “I have always been fascinated by how small insects and creatures create their dwellings in nature,” he told designboom. “Ants, for example, create their dwellings with intricate networks in the soil. If humans could create buildings that grow and breathe like plants do, what an amazing world would that be to live in.”

To produce the drawings, Bhatia entered basic text prompts like “hollowed,” “stairs,” and “tree” into the system, which then generated the enchanting structures. Glass windows and balconies nestle into the grainy bark, with knotty, cavernous entrances at the base. Although the surreal designs are not practically feasible at the moment, they offer a way to more easily envision potential projects. “To give life to such an idea, we’ll have to wait for a long time working our way towards the goal gradually,” Bhatia says, explaining further:

Currently, I am interested in using these images to try to develop a 3D model using AI and modeling software like Rhino and Grasshopper. That is really the first step towards the journey of manifesting this project into reality. Till that time comes, AI will have drastically improved making the entire process much easier than it can be thought of at the moment.

To find more of the designer’s projects both real and imagined, visit Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Ceramic Rings Link Nature and Community in Cecil Kemperink’s Elaborate Moveable Sculptures

August 23, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Earth Song.” All images © Cecil Kemperink, shared with permission. Photo by Marja Sterck

Constant motion and transformation underpin ceramic artist Cecil Kemperink’s philosophy, drawing inspiration from the rhythms of nature. Since 2019, she has lived on Texel, an island north of The Netherlands in the Wadden Sea that’s recognized by UNESCO as the largest continuous, undisturbed intertidal ecosystem in the world. The infinite crashing of waves on the shore, grasses or branches waving in the wind, and the way humans interact with these phenomena inspire the artist’s linked, organic pieces that combine sculpture with performance (previously). Her work centers on a sense of connectedness, both ecological and within our communities, that manifests symbolically in the form of links that expand and contract like ceramic chainmail.

Intended to be manipulated and reshaped, each ring is looped to others to create a robust yet delicate fabric that the artist can move around on the floor, suspend from the ceiling, or wear. “Motion is a key part of the expressiveness of my sculptures,” she explains. “The movements show the importance of each circle. Every ring is essential and influences the other; they are all connected. They are all one. Every link wears the symbolism of a circle: conjunction, connection, power, endlessness, an eternally ongoing movement.” In some works, the components vary in size and can be expanded or contracted, while in others, such as “White grey tones,” they are closely connected and emphasize the circular form.

Kemperink’s sculptures bear a significant literal and metaphoric weight: when a piece is worn or carried, there is a strong awareness of its presence, responsibility for its care, and occasionally, the burden of carrying it. Characteristically, there’s also duality in the works’ being both malleable and taut. “The interaction of sculpture and woman/man opens several layers of consciousness,” she explains, as “each relation reveals new sensations, change of feelings, and a different energy. New perceptions are being shaped, multiple points of view arise, and consciousness is in full motion.”

Kemperink’s work “Wishful thinking” is included in the International Academy of Ceramics’ 70th-anniversary member’s exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland, from September 12 to 16. She has also recently started a YouTube channel, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

“Secrets.” Photo by Marja Sterck

“Something sweet in the wind”

Left: “Shaping perception 3.” Right: “Wishful thinking.” Photos by Marja Sterck

“White grey tones”

Reshaping process. Photo by Marja Sterck

“Morninglight”

“Flow motion.” Photos by Marja Sterck

 

 

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Sailing Ship Kite