Photographer Mikko Lagerstedt (previously) has once again captured the quiet beauty of his native Finland with a recent series centered around trees. Ethereal skies, virgin snow, and seemingly isolated pockets of nature serve as backdrops to twisted trunks and outstretched branches. Taken from Lapland to Southern Finland, the images speak to qualities of beauty and of resilience.
Lagerstedt was first inspired to capture these dreamy landscapes when he witnessed one first-hand while en route to a relative’s cabin. His images often showcase nature with little to no sunlight which gives them a sense of calm and stillness. The t r e e s series is comprised of photographs taken between 2018 and 2019 and edited using Photoshop and Lightroom. “My goal is to convey the feeling I had when I was photographing the subjects…to appreciate the never-ending beauty of trees,” Lagerstedt tells Colossal. “In our lives, we rarely recognize them, yet trees surround us with their beauty. They tell us many stories about life and the struggle to survive in harsh conditions.”
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For his multiyear project titled “The Prophecy,” Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro confronts global issues of ecological devastation. The striking images in the project combine haute couture, spiritual figures, and staged scenes of pollution and decimation.
Made in collaboration with Senegalese fashion designer Doulsy and set primarily in Africa, the series took Monteiro two years to complete. Models representing the children of the Earth Goddess Gaia (known as djinn) are dressed in costumes fashioned to look like the environmental ruin and refuse that surrounds them. Consumer debris like fishing nets and plastic bags form elaborate gowns, headdresses, and garbage accessories that anchor the djinn to the trashed landscapes. All thirteen photographs in the series are currently being shown together for the first time in the United States at the Chazen Museum of Art in Madison, Wisconsin.
The exhibition was organized to coincide with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 18-month “Interrogating the Plantationocene” Sawyer Seminar. James Wehn, the Van Vleck Curator of Works on Paper at the museum, says that Chazen director Amy Gillain and Professors at the university selected Monteiro’s project “for the compelling way in which the photographs provoke critical conversations about issues central to the seminar.” The course runs through May 2020, while the exhibition of Monteiro’s photographs will end on January 5, 2020.
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Munich-based photographer Bernhard Lang (previously) recently shared aerial views of famous squares and landmarks throughout London, England. By presenting the metropolis from the sky, Lang offers a more dynamic look at the capital city’s unique geometric patterns and iconic architecture.
Lang produced the Aerial Views: London series from inside a helicopter during a trip to the United Kingdom in July 2019. Locations including Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, and Trafalgar Square were chosen because they are “stored in our visual memory,” Lang tells Colossal. For the photographer, the unusual perspective of familiar sites reveals the atmosphere and charisma of the city in ways that can’t be seen from the ground. The flyover views of the city make it appear more like a detailed model of itself, complete with cars, double-deckers, boats, and tiny people frozen in places like figurines.
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Photographer and Fashion Institute of Technology professor Jessica Wynne has spent the last year documenting the numbers, symbols, and models drawn by mathematicians onto chalkboards. The photos capture the thought processes and physical efforts of professionals in a medium that has been largely abandoned.
Wynne tells Colossal that she enjoys photographing the dusty work surfaces because of “their beauty, mystery and the pleasure of creating a permanent document of something that is ephemeral.” The “Do Not Erase” photo series, soon to be published in a book by Princeton University Press for release in 2020, includes boards from institutions and universities around the world. Wynne hopes that viewers can appreciate the aesthetic of the worked surfaces while “simultaneously appreciating that the work on the board represents something much deeper, beyond the surface.”
Wynne adds that she feels a “kinship” with the mathematicians. “Their imagination guides them and similar to an artist they have the higher aspiration to create, discover, and find truth.” For updates on the release of her book and for more interesting photo series, head over to Jessica Wynne’s website.
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Ironing Wrinkled Chips, Keeping Headphones in Place, and Other Surreal Life-Hacks Photographed by Gab Bois
Montreal-based artist Gab Bois uses everyday objects to create photographs that twist reality and illustrate bizarre, yet clever, concepts. Often achieved using post-processing techniques, the seamless images depict unnatural double entendres and impossible feats. For the artist, the ideas are the star and photography is a tool for translation.
Gab Bois has a degree in fine art but didn’t practice photography until after graduating. Finding inspiration in the mundane and random, the common thread in Gab Bois’ work is the familiar. The artist prefers creating from her own imagination and dreams so that the work feels authentic. She tells Colossal that nine times out of ten, she is the model in her photographs. “I like to be very hands-on when it comes to most aspects of my practice and find it very hard to delegate,” she explains. “Being my own subject gives me a sense of control that I wouldn’t have with a model.” She has shot other people on occasion, and Gab Bois says that those were great learning experiences.
Gab Bois’ images live on Instagram, but the artist says that they “aspire to live a much larger life outside of the platform.” She added that Instagram is “a great diffusion tool but it feels reductive to me to have my work reside solely in a virtual environment.” The artist also has a sculptural practice that lives outside of social media.
Gab Bois is working on a solo exhibition for 2020. In the more immediate future, her work will be featured in a group exhibition opening on October 10, 2019 at KK Outlet in London and also in Montreal on October 17, 2019. To see more of her ideas come to life, follow the artist on Instagram.
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After traveling to 15 cities in 7 countries and taking over 15,000 photographs, Christopher Herwig (previously) has compiled a new book that showcases the diverse architecture of every underground metro station in the former U.S.S.R. Soviet Metro Stations provides rare look at mansion-quality chandeliers, ornate columns, and patterned ceilings that surround millions of commuters every day.
With a background in travel photography and documentary work for UNICEF and other United Nations agencies, Herwig was first introduced to the region while traveling through Russia via train. He later lived in Kazakhstan and most recently Jordan, where he continued to work professionally as a photographer.
Herwig explains that he became interested in the underground architecture of the stations while visiting Moscow and Tashkent. Because many of the metro stations were used as nuclear bomb shelters, they were considered military sites and photographing them was prohibited. “Although I likely could have gotten away with a few images I really wanted to do the series properly and cover all the cities in the former USSR with metro lines not just a few flashy ones in Moscow,” he told Colossal. “With restriction being lifted in many of the cities it meant I could have a go at it.”
Herwig’s images take viewers on a journey through the architectural and political influences of decades pasts. Soviet-era symbols, relief sculptures of significant events and figures, and displays of opulence cover every square meter of the well-maintained subterranean spaces. Often making early morning and late night trips into the stations, Herwig says that many of the otherwise busy hubs appear to be abandoned because of his goal to “use people with purpose and not to distract from the space and design of the stations.”
Soviet Metro Stations, published by FUEL, lands on September 24 and is available for pre-order today via Amazon. To see more of Christopher Herwig’s photography, follow along with his travels on Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Craft
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.