In the past years, bee populations have been devastated by something scientists are calling Colony Collapse Disorder, causing a global crisis for humans and other animals. Sam Dreoge, a biologist at U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, catalogs hundreds of bee species in his lab. As the head of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, Dreoge produces stunning high-resolution images that capture the diversity and spellbinding beauty the fascinating and helpful little creatures.
Dreoge’s photographs, which are used to identify and track bee populations, are often magnified up to five times the actual size of the insect. Focusing on minuscule details normally only visible under a microscope, most of the pieces are composites of numerous images, shot at multiple ranges with a 60 millimeter macro lens. Each image is also carefully edited, scrubbed of specks of dust. In preparation for the photo shoots, each bee specimen undergoes a bath in warm water and dish soap, after which they are carefully blow-dried to showcase their astoundingly beautiful, vibrant hair.
Dreoge’s images of bees read like the technological age’s answer to Leonardo da Vinci, who studied and sometimes killed insect specimens for the dual purpose of art and science. Research like this always raises ethical flags, but that moral question becomes more complicated when we are confronted with environmental crises like CCD. Bee populations are effected by parasites as well as problems caused by humans, like pesticides and climate change; it’s imperative that we find a way to save these miraculous animals, and Dreoge’s work could go a long way. What do you think? (via Smithsonian and Colossal)
Art and design boutique Kittozutto (Yana and Jun) just recently updated their website with some brand new work! They’re the minds behind B/D shirt “The Web” (pictured above), which will be released this summer.
They combine fine art illustration with digital imaging, and the highly detailed results are often best seen in large formats. Women, fluids, and nature inspire their hyper-realistic yet surreal illustrations.
If you weren’t already convinced that Tilda Swinton is a dream-walking faerie queen, then Tim Walker‘s photography will certainly dispel all doubt. Whether she’s mingling with surreal objets in the home of Dominique and John de Menil (a series aptly named “The Surreal World“) or resurrecting lush jungle dreams (“Las Pozas“), Swinton punctuates each scene with a piercing gaze and an incandescent question mark.
Walker plays up Swinton’s otherworldliness with a deft hand and eye for stark contrast and color. In one photograph, it’s Swinton versus Swinton against a backdrop of surrealist paintings. In another, staring out from beneath a veil of gauze, Swinton poses like a bust in virginal white.
The description of Walker’s work from his biography — “extravagant staging and romantic motifs” — is certainly apt. From one stage to the next, Walker coaxes out a variety of subtle expressions from his subject: severe, pensive, and — just a hint — inviting. His photographs are transportive, giving viewers a brief glimpse of what it’s like to be an oneironaut circling the psychic deep. (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)
Ugo Gattoni’s ambitious Ultra Copains drawing is over 32 feet long and 3 feet high. Ugo has managed to create a dense microcosm where buildings, figures, and explosive scenes weave in and out of one another and morph into one. With the scale of the figures being at roughly .32 inches (yes just a bit over a quarter of an inch) this massive illustration should go down in the history books. To see a detailed view of Ugo’s world check out the detail photos after the jump or visit the Ultra Copains site for a to scale interactive experience.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing an article about photographer Deborah Bay.
I began thinking about The Big Bang after seeing a sales display of bullet-proof plexiglas with projectiles embedded in it. The plexiglas captured the fragmentation of the bullets and provided a visual record of the energy released on impact. In deciding to explore this concept further, I also was intrigued by the psychological tension created between the jewel-like beauty and the inherent destructiveness of the fragmented projectiles. Many of the images resemble exploding galaxies, and visions of intergalactic bling sublimate the horror of bullets meeting muscle and bone.—Deborah Bay
Houston-based photographer Deborah Bay gives us that interesting mix of creating a beautiful visual to comment on a darker issue. The Big Bang addresses the steadfast affection America has for its firearms. The topic is especially relevant for the native Texan, who lives in a state that has an estimated 51 million firearms. The images were made in Bay’s studio after law enforcement professionals from the Public Safety Institute of Houston Community College shot at sheets of plexiglass.
Graphite artist Frank Magnotta creates absurdist Americana-inspired images that are heavily saturated with symbolic elements and a farcical outlook on the modern world. Magnotta’s work is strongly influenced by pop culture and the attributes of branding; he has referenced magazines such as Time and Self in his work, and phrases such as Take Off Your Mask and Century 21 come from brand identities that he was intrigued by. Magnotta recognizes the significance of pop culture on his drawings:
“I think you can tell by my drawings that it is a big influence. I’d have to say it is an inevitable influence on our daily lives whether we like it or not. I think pop culture is a double edged sword, it gives and it takes too. I’m not interested in pure pop, but dirty pop, pop that has been consumed and processed by the individual. I think that is more intriguing.”
Some of his drawings involve structures made of their elements: the rough shape of the United States comprised of detailed words and media logos. Yet he has a lot of crude portraits that, from afar, are recognizable, and up close gain another layer of meaning:
“I had been working on the mega-structures for a bit and wanted to invert the process. What if the logos and graphics made individuals that would inhabit the structures? For each portrait in the series I collected logos from a different societal institutions. So, the “Bank Dick” is constructed from financial logos, and “The Diagnosis” is comprised of morphed medical logos. “The Bank Dick” is also the great title of a W.C. Fields movie. On a personal note, for some reason I think that drawing is the closest thing to a self portrait I’ve done. Maybe it is the bugged out look in his eyes. I’m keeping that one for my personal collection.”
Magnotta was previously featured in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 1: Supernaturalism.
Born in Belgium in 1969, Anja Van Herle combines a European sense of high fashion in her artwork with an American sense of wonder. Her childhood years were devoted to exploring the fundamentals of her art using crayons, pencils and watercolors. In 1987, she enrolled in Belgium’s Higher Institute for Art Education where she earned a Master’s of Fine Arts in Painting. In 2003, Anja relocated to Los Angeles, where she now concentrates on figurative paintings that are inspired by both classic and contemporary fashion while exploring issues of identity, emotion and human interrelationships. As timelessly chic as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Anja’s women are playfully sexy, and their expressions and eyes tell stories that go far beyond the simple exhibition of fine fashion. In Anja’s masterful hands, fashion becomes alive.
This post presented by Next Day Flyers, the leader in cheap postcard printing services.
21 year old French video editor Romain Loiseau recently set out to create a music video using a short extract of the movie Bye Bye Birdie which was recently seen in a Mad Men episode. The rules of the project were simple.
1.Do not take other sound than this are in the extract.
2. Do not use other software (like MAO software : Ableton live, logic…)
3. Do not use effect except the pticher and the slow motion effect (in
order to harmonize )
The final product is a mesmerizing 3:35 minute music video created on Final Cut Pro 7 and made entirely out of a few seconds of footage and without any of the usual editing tricks you are so used to seeing. Watch the full video after the jump.