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Photography

Majestic Photos by Michael Shainblum Frame Yosemite National Park through Rainbow Mist and Thick Fog

March 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Michael Shainblum, shared with permission

New photographs by Michael Shainblum (previously) capitalize on the grandeur of Yosemite National Park and cast it in an ethereal light. Shot in winter just after a dusting of snow, the series is serene and dream-like and spotlights the details that sometimes are lost in the vast wilderness: rainbow mist envelops a waterfall, dense fog hangs among a mountain top, and the warm glow of golden hour radiates across a rocky ridge.

Go behind-the-scenes of Shainblum’s visit to Yosemite in this video, and pick up a print in his shop. See more of his candy-colored landscapes and photographs capturing nature’s most majestic features on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Staggering Photos Capture a Frozen Apartment Complex in Vorkuta, a Dwindling Russian City That's the Coldest in Europe

March 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images licensed, © Arseniy Kotov

Photographer Arseniy Kotov is dedicated to documenting the changes in Russian life and architecture since the fall of the USSR, a commitment that brought him to the coldest European city last February. Located about 110 miles from the Arctic Ocean, Vorkuta is a small mining town that once held one of the largest and most grueling forced labor camps during Stalin’s reign. Often plagued by temperatures as low as -45 degrees Celcius, the city now has one of the fastest dwindling populations in all of Russia.

During Kotov’s visit, he toured various housing complexes built for workers, many of which were abandoned when the mines closed. One building in particular, though, is evidence of how desertion continues to unsettle the once-thriving city, an ongoing problem that Kotov captured in a stunning series. His photographs frame the dilapidated, five-story structure that’s entirely subsumed by feet-long icicles and mounded snow. Relics from former residents and the chipped, blue paint peek through the frost, much of which clings to the stairs and banisters and climbs the walls.

 

Kotov tells Colossal that often, buildings are transformed into similarly chilling caves when pipes burst due to lack of maintenance, leading to splashes of hot water, subsequent high humidity, and then ice growth on every surface. At the time of his visit, one family remained in the Severniy-district building, which was still connected to the central heating system that runs through Russian cities, making it easier to pass through some of the walkways thanks to warmth from the radiators. Although Kotov wasn’t able to meet the sole occupants, he did hear that they moved not long after his tour, saying:

As I know, locals said that after one week as I visited this building, he and his wife were resettled to another apartment, and this whole building was cut off from all the communications (water, heating, electricity). This is a usual story in Vorkuta: as less and less people are left, it becomes unprofitable to heat an entire building, and people are gradually moved to others where there are more inhabitable apartments. Local authorities call it a “managed compression strategy.”

Many of Kotov’s photographs are compiled in Soviet Cities: Labour, Life & Leisure, and his second book, which is full of images he captured while hitchhiking around the country, is slated for release in November. Prints are available from Galleri Artsight, and you can follow Kotov’s sightings and travels on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

A Frozen Installation by Azuma Makoto Preserves a Vibrant Floral Arrangement in Ice

January 4, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Shiinoki/AMKK, shared with permission

Japanese artist Azuma Makoto (previously) is known for shifting the contexts in which we typically view florals—think encasing bouquets in blocks of ice or suspending them in the stratosphere—through installations and designs that blur the boundaries between art and botany. Shown here is a 2018 project titled “Frozen Flowers” from Makoto’s In Bloom series. The undertaking brought the artist to Notsuke Peninsula in Hokkaido where he doused open blossoms and greenery in water. Positioned against the stark, snowy landscape, the resulting arrangement is frozen in its original splendor, allowing the vibrancy of the flowers to peek through the icicles.

“The place where this installation was held in Hokkaido is also called the end of the world since blighted pine trees are usually spread out there and that place freezes over in winter,” says Makoto’s studio. “It was the series of how Azuma pursued unknown possibilities of flowers and how flowers express themselves under this condition.”

More images and a short video of Makoto’s process are available on his site, and you can follow his latest works on Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)

 

 

 



Design

Carry Around a Tiny Snowman in This Sleek Leather Bag

December 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Tsuchiya Kaban, shared with permission

Preserve your frigid companions while en route to your next holiday party with this elegant new bag from Tsuchiya Kaban. The Snowman Carrier is complete with a carrot pocket and a removable tray, which keeps the frozen figure secure during transport and allows for easy removal upon arrival. Conceived by Yuko Matsuzawa, this waterproof bag follows the company’s watermelon tote and is the latest iteration in The Fun of Carrying, a line that tasks designers with creating playful side projects. Check out the video below to see how Matsuzawa constructed the waterproof carrier and watch her reveal the tiny snowman.

 

 

 



Design

A Flurry of New Notebooks from Field Notes Features 99,999 Unique Snowflake Designs

December 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Field Notes, shared with permission

U.K.-based artist Brendan Dawes channels the infinite crystalline shapes of snowflakes in a new collaboration with Field Notes. For its 49th limited-edition series, the Chicago-based notebook manufacturer tasked Dawes with designing an algorithm that mimics the atmospheric process that forms the icy grooves and feathered shoots. After a lengthy development inspired by the work of physicist Kenneth G. Libbrecht, Dawes created 99,999 unique snowflake illustrations to wrap around the deep blue covers. Just like the real crystals, no two are the same.

Support Colossal by picking up a three-pack of Snowy Evening in the Colossal Shop, along with Field Notes’ United States of Letterpress, which features notebooks designed by nine printers across the nation.

 

 

 

 



Photography

An Ultra High-Resolution 'Snowflake Camera' Captures the Extraordinary Details of Snow Crystals

November 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Nathan Myhrvold, shared with permission

It’s easy to forget that the mounds of snow lining sidewalks each winter actually are comprised of billions of tiny crystals with individual grooves and feathered offshoots. A trio of photographs taken by Nathan Myhrvold, though, serves as a stunning reminder of that fact as they expose the intricacies hidden within each molecule.

To capture such crisp images, the Seattle-born photographer traveled to Fairbanks, Alaska, and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, where temperatures plunged to –20 °F. “Water, an incredibly familiar thing to all of us, is quite unfamiliar when you see it in this different view. The intricate beauty of snowflakes is derived from their crystal structure, which is a direct reflection of the microscopic aspects of the water molecule,” he says.

Formally trained in physics, Myhrvold spent 18 months building a custom camera with a cooled-stage microscope to ensure that the flakes remained frozen as he shot. Short-pulse, high-speed LED lights reduce the heat the instrument emits, and at a minimum, its shutter speed clocks in at 500 microseconds. Myhrvold says it’s the highest-resolution snowflake camera in existence.

You also might enjoy this profile of Wilson A. Bentley, who’s billed as the pioneer of snowflake photography. (PetaPixel)