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)
Argentinean artist Gabriel Grun paints in a style similar to the Renaissance and Baroque masters, but his work is charged with a subdued eroticism that produces a surreal effect. Grun paints the human body, often foregrounding them in natural landscapes, combining mythological and contemporary elements. Many of his human figures are contorted or shaped into grotesque or bestial shapes and poses – these distortions and manipulations could appear disturbing, but because Grun is so technically skilled at composing these eccentricities, they are merely curious and offer a contemporary and sexually-charged spin on a classical style. (via hi fructose)
French artist Gilles Cenazandotti constructs life-size animals out of litter he’s combed from beaches, recycling a variety of plastics and other detritus. Titled, “Future Bestiary,” this series of sculptures directly addresses problems related to throw-away culture and the waste that results from conspicuous consumption. When the creatures are inserted into natural landscapes, they almost appear digitally rendered because the contrast between natural and man-made elements is so pronounced. Of his work, Cenazandotti says,
“Impressed by everything that the Sea, in turn, rejects and transforms, on the beaches I harvest the products derived from petroleum and its industry. The choice of animals that are part of the endangered species completes this process. In covering these animals with a new skin harvested from the banks of the Sea, I hope to draw attention to this possible metamorphosis – to create a trompe l’oeil of a modified reality.” (via laughing squid and junk culture)
Motion designer Dan Marker-Moore has a beautiful collection of collaged time-lapse photographs depicting the light and color transitions in the sky due to the movements of the Sun and Moon. In his series, “Timeslice,” Marker-Moore layers images taken within seconds or minutes of each other, demonstrating the spectrum of beauty to be found in the (mainly) Los Angeles skyscape. His talent for capturing time-lapse beauty first came to the attention of the internet when his images and short time-lapse video of the full moon rising in LA, a series of 11 still frames that were captured over a time period of 27 minutes and 59 seconds, were featured by art and science blogs. Since then, he has added more photographs to his “Timeslice” series, creating a gorgeous collection of the sky in transition. You can check out more of his images via his website or Instagram. (via jeda vu)
For his ongoing project titled “Brand New Paint Job,” artist Jon Rafman transforms domestic and familiar settings by imagining them as classic paintings. Using recognizable patterns and paintings from artists such as Basquiat, Lichtenstein, Picasso, Monet, O’Keeffe, Haring, Duchamp, de Kooning, and Matisse, Rafman wraps nurseries, living rooms, bedrooms, and familiar television sets like Star Trek, Jeopardy!, and Seinfeld, turning these works into 3D living spaces. In order to create these imagined spaces, Rafman finds 3D models from Google 3D Warehouse, an online gallery where Google Sketchup users upload their work.
Of his project, Rafman says, “The BNPJ interiors started off as a play on interior design chic. Historically, the greatest fear of the painter was that his work would become design objects. Now it’s common for contemporary artists to take inspiration from commercial visual culture. The design of a Nike cross trainer or a Samsung monitor is as important to contemporary art practice as intense light and dark shadows are to baroque painting. I’m exploring the line between art and design, in which a great work of art can be reduced to a shrinkwrap or add-on surface and functional objects and spaces elevated to the purposelessness of artwork. I’m interested in those forced marriages.” (via my modern met)
Russian underwater photographer and biologist Alexander Semenov has created a new series of images that brilliantly captures a variety of deep sea worms known as polychaetes, some of which may be unknown to scientists. Semenov has spent many hours diving in places like the White Sea and Great Barrier Reef in Australia in order to get up close and personal with this creepy, crawly sea life. Altogether, Semenov photographed 222 different species of polychaetes that are currently being studied and documented by scientists.
Semenov first began photographing sea life for fun while organizing the White Sea Biological Station underwater projects. Using basic photography equipment, he’d get a few good shots every few months, and this eventually encouraged Semenov and his team to acquire more professional equipment. Semenov now produces images like the ones seen here, as well as a series of jellyfish and tiny creature images are all just as stunning. (via colossal)