Artist Jill Bliss (previously) has spent the last few years wandering a small island in the San Juan archipelago of the Salish Sea foraging for mushrooms. When she comes across a patch where supply is plentiful, she plucks a few specimens from the ground and arranges them cap side down in compositions that showcase the diversity of each species. Layers of thick, fleshy gills in lavender, taupe, and bright orange add texture and depth to each work, with ferns, flat stones, and other organic matter framing the temporary constructions. Once complete, she photographs the work and leaves it in place.
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In Locked Down Looking Up, Bay Area photographer Doris Mitsch captures the swirling, shapeshifting flight patterns of birds and other winged creatures: a flock of vultures creates coils and whirls between rugged mesas, crows descend toward a forest in single-file trails, and gulls congregate above the sea in lengthy lines.
The ongoing project began early in 2020 when Mitsch set up a camera outside her front door and shot consecutive images of birds flying around her home. “While everything in my life has come to a standstill, up in the air, there is still a lot going on,” she writes. She’s since traveled along the California coast and to Moab’s desert landscapes capturing similar swarming phenomena featuring vultures, gulls, and crows.
Mitsch’s composites vary in length of time, number of birds, and total images combined, which ranges from 500 to 5,000. “One of my favorites, ‘Lockdown Vulture (Signature)’ shows just one vulture making slow circles over the course of about a minute,” Mitsch tells Colossal. “My other favorite, ‘Lockdown Vultures (Moab Mesa)’ shows about five minutes’ worth of 25 or so birds circling together.”
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The Taipingshan National Forest Recreation Area in northern Yilan is one of Taipei’s prized ecological destinations for its mist-covered scenery and lush vegetation that thrives in the dewy environment. It’s also home to Jianqing Historic Trail, a winding pathway that follows abandoned sections of railways and crumbling trestles that are relics of the region’s past as a major logging hub. Taiwanese photographer Masuki Rina visited the overgrown tracks to document its ethereal and enchanting atmosphere in a captivating series, which shows fog hanging over the landscape, moss covering wooden ballasts, and foliage sprouting from nearly every inch of the frame.
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Bold Photographs by Yannis Davy Guibinga Explore Identity Through Color, Texture, and Lavish Fashions
Following his striking examination of the color black, Gabonese photographer Yannis Davy Guibinga returns to the bright, textured compositions he’s known for. His portraits and wider editorial shots center on single figures dressed in lavish gowns and coated with shimmering face paint, considering how garments, makeup, pose, and facial expression all impact identity. “By letting each image tell a different story and illustrate a unique experience, point of view, and perspective… (he) creates a world of powerful, beautiful, and dignified Africans regardless of gender performance, class, or sexual orientation,” a statement says.
Guibinga primarily hovers beneath his subjects when photographing as a way to further bolster the emotional impact of each shot. He explains:
Regarding angles, I try to have different ones in a story in order to have different perspectives, but looking up at my subjects has become with time something that I do almost every time. It offers a way to see the subjects in a very grand and dignified way, and because I collaborate often with young fashion designers, I found that it is also a great way of showing off a garment while still telling a beautiful story with the composition.
Currently based in Montréal where he’s completing a master’s degree, Guibinga has four collections on view at Brick at Blue Star in San Antonio through February 3 and will show another at Galerie XII in Santa Monica opening on February 6. He’s also featured in the recently published book As We Rise: Photography from the Black Atlantic and has a few projects slated for the coming months, which you can follow on Instagram.
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Otherworldly in appearance, Tom Leighton’s photographs center on stems and leaves that emit a luminous glow, unveiling their delicate structures and highlighting their chemical processes. His Variegation II series reveals the nightlife of foliage—Leighton focuses on plants from Cornwall, some of which he grows in his garden and others farther afield—and examines what humans might have been able to see if our night vision had evolved.
The ongoing project also explores the possibilities of color manipulation. After photographing the plants, Leighton digitally strips back their characteristic greenish hues, using dreamy fluorescent colors to represent the photosynthesis process. He tells Colossal:
Plants are incredible stores of energy. They grow towards anything which provides for them: nutrition, the moisture, the light, then they absorb, contain, and convert…The colours I have used in this series represent the light absorbed within the structure of the plants and its conversion to energy. Sometimes one small colour choice or different crop unlocks the potential of the image.
Leighton previously photographed Hong Kong and Tokyo, but COVID-19 shifted his work closer to home where he began documenting everyday greenery, focusing on their textures and details. “Many of the plants are quite common, and it was more about elevating and accentuating a complexity, which can so often be overlooked,” he says.
In addition to Variegation II, Leighton is also working on a series named Kynance, which explores the geological history of one of Cornwall’s most dynamic coastlines. To view more of his work, visit his website and Behance. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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Lights, camera, say goodbye to the action. A new book titled Movie Theaters is the culmination of two French photographers’ shared attempt to document the grandiose, historical, and now vastly altered landscape of American cinema. Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre have been traveling the U.S. since 2005 capturing the torn vinyl seating, chipped paint, and sometimes wildly transformed architecture of more than 200 shuttered venues. Published by Prestel, the photos are a visual memorial to a once-thriving industry and part of a broader effort to save what remains.
The first public theater in the U.S. opened in 1905 in Pittsburgh, and as a result of the boom in entertainment in the early part of the century, film studios began to commission architects to design elaborate auditoriums that were extravagant in aesthetic and often celebratory in function: ranging in style from Spanish gothic to art nouveau, most feature massive marquees flanking the entrance, ornamental trim lining high gilded ceilings, and rows of plush seating that could comfortably accommodate hundreds of people. “The movie theater was the cathedral of the beginning of the 20th century,” Meffre told Fast Company.
By the end of the 1920s, 20,500 venues were screening films, but that success began to dwindle as people bought TVs in the 60s and again decades later when streaming services became ubiquitous. Following additional closures spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, that number dropped once more, leaving less than 5,500 theaters open in 2020.
Many of the buildings Marchand and Meffre visited over their nearly two-decade project are either abandoned in states of decay or firmly in their sequel, having been revitalized into new spaces like bingo halls, warehouses, and markets. Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, for example, now houses basketball courts, while others like Fox Theater in Inglewood contain remnants of their once-opulent architecture peeking through the otherwise derelict surroundings.
Some venues, including the strange storage space that was the Spooner Theater in the Bronx, have been gutted or razed entirely since the duo snapped their interiors. “The only thing that’s left is a picture,” Meffre said. “We hope that by showing many remarkable buildings in a state of decay, people will notice.”
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Editor's Picks: Photography
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