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Photography

Passport Photos Widened to Reveal Unexpected Chaos Hiding Just Beyond of the Frame

August 19, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Max Siedentopf was in the process of getting his picture taken to renew his passport. As he sat in front of the camera, he began thinking of all of the ridiculous restraints placed on the small image —no smile, or patterns, or glasses, or anything interesting whatsoever. Siedentopf decided to create an alternate reality for a set of these “boring” identification images, creating regulation passport photos from scenes of intrigue, and often chaos.

The London-based visual artist recruited a cast of friends and strangers to sit for passport photos. Above the shoulders the participants are straight-faced and rigid, yet below they are balancing full wine glasses along their arms, taped to a wall, or even on fire. The humorous series explores the fringes of mundane government tasks, while imbuing some personality in the utterly quotidian. You can see more examples from his Passport Photos series on his website and Instagram. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Photography

Shuttered Windows and Placid Canals Show Venice’s Sleepier Side in Night Photographs by Thibaud Poirier

May 31, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Scenes of contemporary Venice often inevitably include throngs of tourists amongst the centuries-old architecture. But French photographer Thibaud Poirier (previously) took his camera out during the city’s quieter hours. During a weekend trip this past winter, Poirier sought to capture the timelessness of Venice, a task easier done there than in other cities like Paris, Poirier tells Colossal, because of Venice’s lack of cars. Vehicles on city streets tend to simultaneously distract from, and date, photographs of buildings.

In his series Sleeping Venice, the still waters of the canals reflect illuminated docks and the warm-toned weathered facades of the city’s brick and stucco buildings. Poirier explains that he used Google Maps to locate bridge and canal intersections, and then explored the pinpointed areas on foot. Despite the aquatic elements in his image, the photographer shares that he actually took all the shots on land, from bridges, ledges, and dead-end streets. You can see more of Poirier’s work and travels on Instagram and Behance, and find information on purchasing fine art prints on his website.

 

 

 



Photography

Eye-Opening Entries From the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

April 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photo and caption: David Edgar. I took this photo of an adolescent humpback whale in the South Pacific, several miles off the coast of Tongatapu, Tonga. I captured this as a split-shot with half my dome port submerged, and the other above the surface. This playful whale came right up to me and looked directly into my eyes as the tip of his rostrum glistened in the afternoon sun. Looking closely, you can see Loni, our expert skipper, lining up a surface shot of this incredible encounter from the roof of our dive boat.

National Geographic’s 2019 Travel Photo Contest has been running since March 18, and will continue to accept submissions until May 3, 2019 at noon Eastern Standard Time. Each week, the publication has been unveiling a selection of entries received the previous week. Images from week four include a split-shot capture of an adolescent humpback whale, a candid moment of a mother loon feeding her chicks, and squiggles of headlamp-sporting skiers careening down the French Alps.

Entrant categories are nature, cities, and people, and the grand prize winner will receive $7,500 along with a post on National Geographic’s travel Instagram account. Find out more about content requirements and participation on the Travel Photo Contest website.

Photo and caption: Michelle Valberg. Nothing better than being in my kayak in the rain, watching beautiful moments like this unfold.

Photo and caption: Christopher Markisz. Marine-layer fog, glowing in artificial light, pushes inland through the Golden Gate Bridge on a breezy bay area evening.

Photo and caption: Paul Rozek. Walking around all day in Antigua, Guatemala, there was a persistent cloud layer that obscured the mountainous terrain surrounding the town. Late in the evening while walking through Antigua just for a few moments, one of the volcanoes became clear and offered a spectacular view with the Santa Catalina Arch. The volcano complex known as La Horqueta, surrounds the town of Antigua in Guatemala with numerous volcanic peaks in the area including Fuego, Agua, Acatenango, and Pico Mayor.

Photo and caption: Dunand Basile. Full moon skiing session with two friends in the natural reserve of Les Contamines-Montjoie—the French Alps. With no telephone network, we had to communicate with our headlamps. I had two chances to photography; this is the second. We can see the first skier waiting for the other one at the end of the couloir. Two-minute exposure

Photo and caption: Eduardo Bastos. On a scientific expedition to Snow Island, Antarctica, we had as company a colony of more than 200 southern elephant seals. During the days with strong winds, this group formed different designs trying to protect itself.

Photo and caption: Alessandra Meniconzi. This winter, the breathtaking Khuvsgul Lake in Mongolia—called by locals, the “dark blue pearl”—has signs of climate change. The frozen surface melts faster than usual and the ice was not very thick. The sounds were scary: thundering, cracking, shaking, but locals keep moving across the ice as their means of transportation.

Photo and caption: Jon Anderson. Occasionally, divers are in exactly the right place at the right time to witness an inexplicably beautiful event unfold. While watching a school of fish expand and contract in the Revillagigedo Islands, I suddenly realized a once in a lifetime moment was occurring. A giant oceanic manta ray entered the school from the left, and as it neared the center, the fish morphed into a near perfect sphere. The wings of the manta rose as it crossed the center of the sphere and I squeezed the shutter.

 

 



Craft

German Commuter Knits Four-Foot-Long Scarf Detailing Transit Delays

January 22, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

All images via @sara_weber

German commuter and knitter Claudia Weber travels to Munich regularly from her town Moosburg in the Bavarian countryside. Due to track repairs which began last year, her train commute was replaced with a bus service that would often be delayed for up to 30 minutes or longer. Weber decided to start detailing her daily travel troubles by translating the delays into a wool scarf. Each evening after she returned home she would add two new rows to her textile work— gray for any delay under five minutes, pink for when she had to wait up to 30 minutes, and bright red for a delay that lasted more than a half hour or was in both directions.

She titled her four-foot-long finished work “Bahn-Verspätungsschal,” or “rail delay scarf,” which went viral after it was posted by her daughter Sara on Twitter. After becoming a hit, she decided to auction it off on eBay to raise money for Bahnhofs Mission, a charity that provides assistance at train stations. The scarf sold to an undisclosed buyer for 7,550 euros or $8,650. Although Weber remains a loyal commuter on the Munich-Moosburg train, this year she has again started a new scarf. (via The New York Times)

 

 



Art Design

Destination Art: A New Guide Looks at 500 Permanent Art Installations to Visit Around the World

January 8, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Agnes Denes, Tree Mountain—A Living Time Capsule—11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 Years, 1992–96, Pinsiönkankaantie 10, 39150 Pinsiö. © Agnes Denes. (project 70, page 86) All images courtesy of Phaidon.

Agnes Denes, Tree Mountain—A Living Time Capsule—11,000 Trees, 11,000 People, 400 Years, 1992–96, Pinsiönkankaantie 10, 39150 Pinsiö. © Agnes Denes. (project 70, page 86) All images courtesy of Phaidon.

When traveling, it is a given that I will visit at least one museum dedicated to art. Most often it is someplace new—either an institution that has previously escaped my radar, or one that belongs to a city I have not yet explored. Although I enjoy viewing institutional collections, I am perhaps most drawn to works installed outdoors, especially if they require a bit of extra effort to reach. Phaidon has taken the burden out of researching secluded works and well-known urban installations by compiling some of the best into a new compendium titled Destination Art.

The book is a follow-up to their publication Destination Architecture (2017), and includes 500 artworks installed around the globe in 60 countries and 300 cities. The guide is a great resource for planning your next art pilgrimage to a far off corner of the Earth, or simply narrowing down a piece or two that have been hiding in your own backyard. The global guide is focused on site-specific modern and contemporary works from 340 artists ranging from Yayoi Kusama’s city-based collaboration with Coca-Cola in Matsumoto, Nagano in Japan to Louise Bourgeois’s “Crouching Spider” (2003) situated on a reflective pool outside the Château La Coste in Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France. You can buy the book, which includes a wide range of murals, sculptures, sound installations, land art, and more, on Amazon and Phaidon.

A spread from Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, published by Phaidon.

A spread from Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, published by Phaidon.

Yayoi Kusama, Dots Obsession, 2012, Matsumoto City Museum of Art, 4-2-22 Chuo, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-0811, Japan. © Yayoi Kusama (project 45, page 60)

Yayoi Kusama, Dots Obsession, 2012, Matsumoto City Museum of Art, 4-2-22 Chuo, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-0811, Japan. © Yayoi Kusama (project 45, page 60)

Nathan Coley, There Will Be No Miracles Here, 2006, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DR, Scotland. Collection of the National Galleries of Scotland. © Studio Nathan Coley (project 81, page 98)

Nathan Coley, There Will Be No Miracles Here, 2006, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh EH4 3DR, Scotland. Collection of the National Galleries of Scotland. © Studio Nathan Coley (project 81, page 98)

A spread from Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, published by Phaidon.

A spread from Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, published by Phaidon.

Grayson Perry and FAT Architecture For Living Architecture, A House for Essex, 2015, Black Boy Lane, Manningtree, Essex CO11 2TP, England. Photo: Jack Hobhouse (project 100, page 117)

Grayson Perry and FAT Architecture For Living Architecture, A House for Essex, 2015, Black Boy Lane, Manningtree, Essex CO11 2TP, England. Photo: Jack Hobhouse (project 100, page 117)

Gianni Motti, Success Failure, 2014, Domaine du Muy, 83 chemin des Leonards, 83490 Le Muy, France. Courtesy Ardeis Genève et Domaine du Muy. © Gianni Motti. Photo: JC Lett (project 172, page 192)

Gianni Motti, Success Failure, 2014, Domaine du Muy, 83 chemin des Leonards, 83490 Le Muy, France. Courtesy Ardeis Genève et Domaine du Muy. © Gianni Motti. Photo: JC Lett (project 172, page 192)

Louise Bourgeois, Crouching Spider, 2003, Château La Coste, 2750 route de la Cride, 13610 Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France. Courtesy Château la Coste. © The Easton Foundation/DACS, London/VAFA, NY 2018 (project 173, page 193)

Louise Bourgeois, Crouching Spider, 2003, Château La Coste, 2750 route de la Cride, 13610 Le Puy-Sainte-Réparade, France. Courtesy Château la Coste. © The Easton Foundation/DACS, London/VAFA, NY 2018 (project 173, page 193)

A spread from Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, published by Phaidon.

A spread from Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, published by Phaidon.

Cildo Meireles, Inmensa [Immense], 1982–2002, Instituto de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico Inhotim, Rua B 20, Brumadinho, Brazil. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo. Photo: Tiberio França (project 492, page 535)

Cildo Meireles, Inmensa [Immense], 1982–2002, Instituto de Arte Contemporânea e Jardim Botânico Inhotim, Rua B 20, Brumadinho, Brazil. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo. Photo: Tiberio França (project 492, page 535)

Janet Echelman, Her Secret is Patience, 2009, Civic Space Park, 424 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States. Photo: Christina O’Haver (project 428, page 468)

Janet Echelman, Her Secret is Patience, 2009, Civic Space Park, 424 North Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85004, United States. Photo: Christina O’Haver (project 428, page 468)

A spread from Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, published by Phaidon.

A spread from Destination Art: 500 Artworks Worth the Trip, published by Phaidon.

 

 



Photography

Winners and Honorable Mentions of the 2018 National Geographic Photography Competition

December 11, 2018

Andrew LaSane

Grand Prize & 1st Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Jassen Todorov / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. Thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars sit idle in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert. Models manufactured from 2009 to 2015 were designed to cheat emissions tests mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Following the scandal, Volkswagen recalled millions of cars. By capturing scenes like this one, I hope we will all become more conscious of and more caring toward our beautiful planet.

A panel of National Geographic photo editors have chosen the winners of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest from a pool of over 10,000 entries. The grand prize winner, and top pick for the “Places” group is an aerial shot (above) by Jassen Todorov of a Volkswagen and Audi graveyard at the Southern California Logistics Airport in the Mojave Desert. The striking image shows a fraction of the 11 million cars that Volkswagen fitted with devices that could alter performance during emissions tests by the EPA. Todorov’s image uses a plane for scale to visually demonstrate a story of environmental issues. As the winner, Todorov earned $5000 and a feature on National Geographic’s Instagram.

Submitted across three categories (People, Places, and Wildlife), the other winning images and honorable mentions span the globe in terms of content and photographers. To read more about each image, check out their respective captions below, and head over to the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest website.

1st Place (People). Photograph and caption by Mia Collis / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. I was looking to do a series of portraits showing people wearing their Sunday best when I made this photo of David Muyochokera. It was taken on his last Sunday working as a photographer at Weekend Studio, in Kibera—a large shantytown in Nairobi, Kenya. My friend Peter, a local resident, had pointed me to the photo studio just as I was about to leave the area. It was a stunning space, with whimsical backdrops and natural light coming through the doorway. David had worked there for 37 years, but Weekend Studio was about to close permanently. Phone cameras were so common now, he said, and fewer people wanted studio portraits. David planned to retire and return home to the countryside. I was troubled by the studio’s imminent closure, so I eventually took over the rent. A portrait of David now hangs at Weekend Studio in his memory.

2nd Place (People). Photograph and caption by Todd Kennedy / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. On a family holiday driving from Sydney to Uluru, we stopped at a roadside motel in the small rural township of Nyngan, on the edge of Australia’s outback. The area is in the wheat belt, and it was unusually hot for that time of year—over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit and very dusty. Our daughter, Genie, is seen here enjoying a refreshing bath in a rubber ducky perched on the sink.

3rd Place (People). Photograph and caption by Avishek Das / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A Hindu devotee kisses his newborn baby during the Charak Puja festival in West Bengal, India. Traditional practice calls for the devotee to be pierced with a hook and sometimes swung from a rope. This painful sacrifice is enacted to save their children from anxiety. While covering the festival, I was able to view the religious practice from the perspective of Hindu devotees. I tried to capture the moment of love and bonding between a father and his child—and show a father’s concern for his little son.

2nd Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Nicholas Moir / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A rusting Ford Thunderbird is blanketed by red dust from a supercell thunderstorm in Ralls, Texas. The dry, plowed fields of the Texas Panhandle made easy prey for the storm, which had winds over 90 miles an hour ripping up the topsoil and depositing it farther south. I was forecasting and positioning a team of videographers and photographers on a storm chase in Tornado Alley—this was our last day of a very successful chase, having witnessed 16 tornadoes over 10 days. The target area for a storm initiation was just south of Amarillo, Texas. Once the storm became a supercell, it moved southbound with outflow winds that were easily strong enough to tear up the topsoil and send it into the air.

3rd Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Christian Werner / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. While on assignment for Der Spiegel, we made a road trip through Syria to document the current situation in major cities. When I first entered the Khalidiya district in Homs, I was shocked. I hadn’t seen such large-scale destruction before, and I had been to many destroyed cities. The area around the Khalidiya district was extremely quiet. No city sounds, cars—nothing. Only the chirping of swallows and the wind. We walked down the streets of Khalidiya, but the destruction was so large scale that you couldn’t have the big picture from the point of view on the street—you could only manage it with a view from above. To make this image, I asked a Syrian soldier in charge of the area if I could climb onto a ruin. The soldier agreed, allowing me to climb at my own risk. I climbed up the ruins of a former house—which was full of improvised explosive devices—and took the picture. I was very lucky to take the picture when I was on the rooftop. Without any sign of life, it would have been a dead picture. I can recall the memory vividly.

Honorable mention (Places). Photograph and caption by Rucca Y Ito / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. Japan’s Blue Pond in Biei-cho, Hokkaido, has become very famous for attracting tourists from around the world. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains and trees. This pond, frozen during winter, was artificially made to prevent river contamination from the nearby active volcano, Mount Tokachi. The accumulated pond water contains high levels of minerals, such as those containing aluminum. The alluring view of the blue pond can take one’s breath away. To make this image, I made the exposure longer to capture the way the snow was falling. At the same time, I lit up the strobe for a moment to capture the snowflakes that are reflecting in the foreground. I took as many photos as I could and chose the one I thought had the best balance of the falling snow and the unfocused snowflakes. I wanted to express how time is created in just one moment and, by tying together these moments, history is made.

1st Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Pim Volkers / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. It was early morning when I saw the wildebeests crossing Tanzania’s Mara River. The layering of dust, shade, and sun over the chaos of wildebeests kicking up water gives this picture a sense of mystique and allure. It’s almost like an old painting—I’m still compelled to search the detail of the image to absorb the unreal scene.

2nd Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Jonas Beyer / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A few miles from Qaanaaq (Thule), Greenland, I was on a hike in search of musk oxen when I came upon a group of them. This ox was running on a hillside in deep snow, which exploded underneath it—an amazing sight. The photo came together in a few seconds. I was lucky enough to be at the right spot to observe them frolicking, and then I had the incredible experience of watching them closely for about an hour. I love photographing musk oxen against the wintry landscape: They’re extremely tough Arctic survivors. This photo shows their beauty and their power—and the snow they deal with for about eight months of the year.

3rd Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Alison Langevad / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. As the late-night hours ticked by and my eyelids grew heavy, two southern white rhinoceroses appeared silently from the shadows to drink from a watering hole in South Africa’s Zimanga Game Reserve. On alert, they stood back to back, observing their surroundings before lowering their heads. I felt privileged to share this moment with these endangered animals. While I was well prepared technically, with my camera set correctly on a tripod, I underestimated the emotional impact the magnificent beasts would have on me. I had photographed them months earlier, and now both rhinos sported a new look: They had been dehorned to deter poachers. I had heard about this development but had not yet seen them. I was full of emotion—and horror—that poaching had such a devastating effect. It must have been a hard decision to dehorn their rhinos, and I am grateful for the reserve’s efforts.

 

 



Photography

Winners and People’s Choice of the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

July 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Nature: Grand Prize Winner, "Mermaid" by Reiko Takahashi.

Nature: Grand Prize Winner, “Mermaid” by Reiko Takahashi.

After sifting through nearing 13,000 submissions National Geographic has announced the winners, honorable mentions, and people’s choice of their 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year Contest (previously). This year’s grand prize was awarded to photographer Reiko Takahashi for her close-up image of a humpback whale calf she captured while snorkeling near Japan’s Kumejima Island. Other selected photographs include an aerial image of thousands of flamingos taking off from a lake in Tanzania, a dramatic shot of Northern Italy’s alien-like sand towers, and a dazzling immersive art installation that frames a running girl in a bright red dress. You can read the stories behind these images, and view more selections from the categories of Nature, People, and Cities, on National Geographic. (via Kottke)

People: People's Choice, "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" by Daniel Cheung.

People: People’s Choice, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” by Daniel Cheung.

Cities: Honorable Mention, "Alone in the Crowds" by Gary Cummins.

Cities: Honorable Mention, “Alone in the Crowds” by Gary Cummins.

Nature: Third Place Winner, "Mars" by Marco Grassi.

Nature: Third Place Winner, “Mars” by Marco Grassi.

Cities: People's Choice, "Traveling to Heaven" by Trikansh Sharma.

Cities: People’s Choice, “Traveling to Heaven” by Trikansh Sharma.

Cities: Third Place Winner, "Reflection" by Gaanesh Prasad.

Cities: Third Place Winner, “Reflection” by Gaanesh Prasad.

People: Second Place Winner, "Leida and Laella—I Will Lift You Up" by Tati Itat.

People: Second Place Winner, “Leida and Laella—I Will Lift You Up” by Tati Itat.

Nature: Second Place Winner, "Flamingos Take Off" by Hao J.

Nature: Second Place Winner, “Flamingos Take Off” by Hao J.

Nature: People's Choice Winner, "Formation" by Niklas Weber.

Nature: People’s Choice Winner, “Formation” by Niklas Weber.

Cities: First Place Winner, "Another Rainy Day in Nagasaki" by Hiro Kurashina.

Cities: First Place Winner, “Another Rainy Day in Nagasaki” by Hiro Kurashina.