Danish photographer Torkil Gudnason lives in New York City where he is mostly known for his work in fashion photography. As a side project, Gudnason creates botanical still lives using soft, ethereal lighting for his series “Electric Blossom” and “Hothouse Color.” Gudnason constructs his shots so that brightly colored backgrounds accent the flowers’ rich spectrum of color and texture. Gudnason compares the emergence of springtime to an explosion, noticing the energy that bursts forth during the change of seasons. He says, “I’ll glance out the window of my studio, and see a flower blooming in a most surprising place. Such a contrast—like magic. I think about how the flower got there and how it survives, how strong flowers are.”
The bright colors and contrasts in Gudnason’s botanical photography nearly render the images unnatural, as if they have been digitally manipulated. This illusion of artificiality enhances the beauty of the photography by asking the viewer to consider the boundaries of the natural and man-made, and the role of the photographer in creating alternate perceptions of reality. (via cross connect and plant propaganda)
In order to shoot this incredible time-lapse video of fireflies, photographer Vincent Brady used every photography trick he could think of – image stacking, 360 star trail panoramas, and macro shooting. He even learned how to operate a pontoon boat so he could frame his shots just right. The idea for the project began while Brady was celebrating his mother’s birthday in Lake of the Ozarks in April 2012. He noticed there was an unusually high number of fireflies due to an irregularly warm spring. By the summer of 2013, Brady had dug deeper into the project, and captured the images that comprise this awe-inspiring video.
You can visit his site to find out more information about each setting and time-lapse series included in the video, as well as learning of Brady’s affinity for the flickering creatures: “If your significant other ever says, ‘Honey, we need to spray the yard, we have a firefly problem.’ Break up, divorce, and get a restraining order right away! Fireflies just bless you with their presence, light up, make love, and call it a life.” (via colossal)
Pierce Thiot and his wife, photographer Stacy Thiot, have been collaborating on an ongoing project titled “Will It Beard” wherein the couple test the limits of what a beard can hold. Pierce tells BuzzFeed, “Over Christmas break, my mom had her grandkids do a talent show for her (she’s an adorable grandma). I tried to put as many pencils as possible in it for my ‘talent.’ I got over 20. Needless to say, my mother was very proud.”
Since then, the couple has put dried pasta, flowers, chips, matches, balloons, scissors, and even Mr. Potato Head pieces into Pierce’s beard. Through this playful series, the Thiots prove there is more to beards than just looking cool. You can keep up with the project’s progress on Tumblr and Instagram. (via moarrr)
Hugo Germain, a French student who studies math and physics in order to become an engineer, also creates images and animations inspired by these very fields of study. Germain typically comes with a concept and makes a quick doodle before he begins to create his gifs using After Effects or Cinema 4D. Germain explains,
“Each gif has its own story but mainly it’s a way for me to provide inspiration and make people question basic things we take for granted. I often wonder “What if this or that was different/existed ? What would that look like ?”. Being able to actually create an answer to that question is very exciting for me, and I guess that’s also what people like about it.”
Applying his engineering skillset to the art of animation, Germain’s gifs are a playful fusion of wonder and execution. (via really shit)
One of the most integral aspects of photography is the utilization of light. For his series, “Visible Light,” photographer Alexander Harding uses this vital resource as his subject. Harding manipulates natural sunlight, refracting it to create ethereal spaces filled with the soft luminescence of the sun’s rays. Harding says,
Whether it is acknowledged or not, we all have a strong relationship with the sun. Its light enables our visual perception and at times, shapes our emotions. Although the sun affects how we feel, its light remains mysterious and ephemeral. We can feel it on our skin and in our eyes, but it seems intangible to us. We cannot hold or preserve it.
Through my work I explore the sun’s physical presence and quantitative character, attempting to give sunlight an environment to travel within and record its behaviors. I primarily use photography to make my work as its apparatus promotes a very critical and literal type of visual perception and it is processes are controlled by light itself.
Harding’s work asks viewers to consider the centrality and importance of sunlight, and to think of this primary energy source as an art object in and of itself. (via lens scratch)
28 years ago, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion released radioactive particles into the atmosphere, spreading radiation over much of the western USSR and Europe. Over the past 20 years, photographer Gerd Ludwig has returned to Chernobyl several times in order to document the still-lasting impact of the disaster.
The first time Ludwig visited Chernobyl, in 1993, he was limited on the extent of the sites he could visit, but eventually got special permission from the police to be taxied around. During this trip, Ludwig met many elderly people who had decided to stay in their homes, ignoring radiation levels. Ludwig tells Slate, “At first Ukrainian officials discouraged them, branding them as illegal residents, but soon turned a blind eye, realizing that they preferred to die on their own contaminated soil instead of a broken heart in anonymous city suburbs.”
By 2005, the laws and regulations surrounding the exclusion zone loosened and Ludwig was able to tour Reactor No. 4, an area so contaminated that it could only be visited for a maximum of 15 minutes per day due to radiation levels. Ludwig says, “While photographing, I needed to dodge the spray of sparks from the drillers in highly contaminated concrete dust, and I knew that I had less than 15 minutes to capture impacting images of an environment that few have ever seen and that I might never access again. The adrenaline surge was extraordinary.”
In 2011, Ludwig returned to Chernobyl supported by Kickstarter donations. It was there, sitting with one of the people who handle cleanup and containment efforts, when he learned of the Fukushima nuclear plant explosion, prompting further consideration of the disastrous consequences of nuclear power sources. During his most recent visit last year, Ludwig was able to document the emerging New Safe Confinement, an advanced dome that will protect the reactor from further deterioration as robots begin to dismantle and decontanimate the area.
Ludwig continues his work documenting changes and lasting effects of the Chernobyl disaster, and is currently raising money on Kickstarter to help fund a high-quality book called “The Long Shadow of Chernobyl” featuring his photo documentation. Ludwig hopes that continued documentation of Chernobyl will help spread more awareness of the dangers of nuclear energy. (via slate)
There’s not much information about Alicia Watkins‘ scientific embroidery, but we can all agree the project is a fun way to identify potentially harmful microbes. From anthrax to salmonella, herpes, e.coli, toxoplasma, mono, botulism, and the common cold, Watkins has colorfully cross-stiched many well-known bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. Some of these dreadful microbes almost appear cute by Watkins’ careful hand, associating the warmth and comfort that cross-stitching evokes with the coldness of threatening diseases and sicknesses. Watkins’ Etsy store, appropriately named Watty’s Wall Stuff, has these stiched microbes available for purchase at $19.99 each, along with other clever and pop culture influenced cross-stitch work. She also takes custom orders, as well as making some of her patterns available for purchase. (via this isn’t happiness)