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Photography

An International Photo Competition Illuminates the Captivating and Remarkable Sights of Earth's Landscapes

February 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

Comet NeoWise Setting, Marin photographed by Tanmay Sapkal, Mt. Tamalpais, Marin, California, USA

From the brilliant dancing aurora of Iceland to Comet NeoWise hurtling above Mount Tamalpais, the winning shots of the 2021 International Landscape Photographer of the Year contest capture a diverse and captivating array of Earth’s topographies and phenomena. The annual competition is in its eighth year and garnered more than 4,500 entries centered on a variety of subject matter, including a mystical wood at Alcornocales Natural Park in Cadiz, the fairytale-esque flowers of France’s Vallée de la Clarée, and a wildlife fire in Yosemite National Park that appears more like a sunset on the horizon than massive blaze.

We’ve included our favorites from the 101 winners below, and you can see the entire collection on the contest’s site. For a deeper dive into the stories behind the photos, pick up a copy of the 2021 book.

 

Dancing Queen photographed by Roksolyana Hilevych, Arnarstapi, Iceland

Ghost Cave photographed by José D. Riquelme, Kirkjufell, Iceland

Silvia photographed by David Aguilar, Alcornocales Natural Park, Cadiz, Spain

Earth’s Calling photographed by Pierandrea Folle, Pollino National Park, Serra delle Ciavole, Italy

Party in the Valley photographed by Kassem Kalo, Vallée de la Clarée, France

The Cap on the Snowy Mountain photographed by Jana Luo, Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

Compelled by the Core photographed by Daniel Laan, Near Moddergat, the Netherlands

Fire photographed by Marcin Zajac, Yosemite National Park, USA

Primeval Arch and Columns photographed by Simon Xu, Mono Lake, Lee Vining, California, USA

Born of Fire photographed by Filip Hrebenda, Fagradalsfjall area, Iceland

Long To Be photographed by Kai Hornung, Highlands, Iceland

 

 



Photography

Sprawling, Color-Coded Arrangements Expose the Intricate Underbellies of Mushrooms

February 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jill Bliss, shared with permission

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.

Prints, stickers, and notecards of Bliss’s color-coded spores are available on BuyOlympia, and you can see more of her findings on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Unearthly Plant Photos by Tom Leighton Highlight Nighttime Chemical Processes

January 30, 2022

Anna Marks

All images © Tom Leighton, shared with permission

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)

 

A photograph of a luminous looking plant by Tom Leighton. Colored to show its delicate structure

A photograph of a luminous looking plant by Tom Leighton. Colored to show its delicate structure

A photograph of a luminous looking plant by Tom Leighton. Colored to show its delicate structure

A photograph of a luminous looking plant by Tom Leighton. Colored to show its delicate structure

A photograph of a luminous looking plant coloured to show its delicate structure

A photograph of a luminous looking plant by Tom Leighton. Colored to show its delicate structure

A photograph of a luminous looking plant by Tom Leighton. Colored to show its delicate structure

 

 



Art

Serene Wooded Landscapes Nestle Inside Introspective Silhouette Paintings by Megan Aline

January 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Everything Changes,” acrylic on panel, 16 x 12 inches. All images © Megan Aline, shared with permission

In Unseen Roots, artist Megan Aline fills silhouettes with brush, autumn foliage, and tall, skinny trees that span from torso to crown. Her solo show at Robert Lange Studio in Charleston consists of dozens of acrylic works that expose a small glimpse of a landscape hidden within each figure. “As we become increasingly disconnected from the natural world, I think the memory of nature becomes even stronger inside each of us,” the artist shares. “If you only spent weekends in the woods or summers at your grandmothers or you have a park you visit from time to time, it becomes the quiet space inside you that you can escape to even when you aren’t there.”

To render the contemplative works, Aline paints inside a stenciled silhouette on panel, which creates crisp outlines of each figure—she shares videos of this process on Instagram—and visible brushstrokes in pastel and neutral tones comprise the paintings’ backdrops. “As an artist, I spend a lot of time reflecting inwardly as I paint outwardly,” she writes. “I like the idea that we have an ‘inner landscape,’ a map created from emotions, ideas, and sensations collected throughout our lives.”

Unseen Roots is on view through January 28, and you can shop prints of Aline’s introspective silhouettes on her site. (via Supersonic Art)

 

“Deepest Pathways,” acrylic on panel, 16 x 16 inches

“Deeper Time,” acrylic on panel, 20 x 20 inches

Top: “Constantly Growing,” acrylic on panel, 20 x 30 inches. Bottom left: “Emergence,” acrylic on panel, 18 x 24 inches. Bottom right: “Radiance,” acrylic on panel, 16 x 16 inches

“Deeper Change,” acrylic on panel, 20 x 20 inches

“Positive Light,” acrylic on panel, 8 x 8 inches

“An Underlying Message,” acrylic on panel, 24 x 24 inches

“Beyond the Surface,” acrylic on panel, 16 x 16 inches

 

 



Craft

Learn to Paint Magical Scenes in Thread in a New Book by Embroidery Artist Emillie Ferris

January 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Emillie Ferris, courtesy of David & Charles, shared with permission

U.K.-based artist Emillie Ferris (previously) has spent nearly a decade refining her distinct embroidery technique, which involves staggering long and short stitches to create textured portrayals of flora and fauna. She’s crafted magical butterflies in smooth gradients, bees that appear as fuzzy as their real-life counterparts, and a variety of realistic portraits that use sweeping, layered passes associated with brushstrokes to render images in fiber.

Now her work culminates in a forthcoming book published by David & Charles titled Paint with Thread: A Step-By-Step Guide to Embroidery Through the Seasons. The how-to volume contains instructions for creating five projects shown here, in addition to tips and tricks from the artist, and is available for pre-order on Bookshop. In the meantime, shop more of Ferris’s tutorials and patterns on Etsy.

 

 

 



Illustration Science

In 'Wild Design,' Vintage Illustrations Expose the Patterns and Shapes Behind All Life on Earth

January 5, 2022

Grace Ebert

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904. Gotha: Bibliographisches Institut. All images from Wild Design: Nature’s Architects by Kimberly Ridley, published by Princeton Architectural Press, shared with permission of the publisher

Focusing on the patterns and shapes that structure the planet, a new book published by Princeton Architectural Press explores the science behind a trove of organically occurring forms. Wild Design: Nature’s Architects by author Kimberly Ridley pairs dozens of vintage illustrations—spot the work of famed German biologist Ernst Haeckel (previously) among them—with essays detailing the function of the striking phenomena, from the smallest organisms to the monumental foundations that extend across vast swaths of land. These structures are simultaneously beautiful and crucial to life on Earth and include the sprawling mycelium networks connecting life above and below ground, the papery, hexagonal cells comprising honeycomb, and a spider’s funnel-like web tailored to trap its prey. Dive further into the world of Wild Design by picking up a copy from Bookshop.

 

(Johann Andreas Naumann, Naturgeschichte der Vögel Deutschlands, 1820. Leipzig: G. Fleischer

Ernst Haeckel, Kunstformen der Natur, 1904. Gotha: Bibliographisches Institut

Berthold Seemann, Journal of Botany, 1863. London: R. Hardwicke

Henry C. McCook, American Spiders and Their Spinning Work, 1889. Philadelphia: Academy of Natural Science of Philadelphia

 

Henri de Saussure, Études sur la famille des vespides, 1852. Paris: V. Masson

Oliver B. Bunce and William C. Cullen, Picturesque America, 1872. New York: D. Appleton

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite