short visual stories

Levon Biss – ‘Microsculpture’

Levon Biss’s project ‘Microsculpture’ – breathtaking visual experience that celebrates the stunning beauty of the natural world and challenges to explore the familiar surroundings in a new creative way through the curious eye of a child.

The project is a collaboration with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and presents a unique opportunity to study in details the insects’ structure in a mind-blowing magnification and appreciate those extraordinary creatures some of them have just been outside our window.

Levon Biss - Microsculpture

Levon Biss – Microsculpture

 

The process is quite elaborative. Each image is created from around 8000 individual photographs and it took the artist approximately 4 weeks from the start to finish.  

“The pinned insect is placed on an adapted microscope stage that enables me to have complete control over the positioning of the specimen in front of the lens.  I shoot with a 36-megapixel camera that has a 10x microscope objective attached to it via a 200mm prime lens and photograph the insect in approximately 30 different sections, depending the size of the specimen.  Each section is lit differently with strobe lights to bring out the micro sculptural beauty of that particular section of the body… I repeat this process over the entire area of the insect and once I have 30 fully focused sections I bring them together in Photoshop to create the final photograph.”

The project started in 2014 and could be enjoyed in full zoom on the specially created site and is also available as a photo book published by Abrams. There is as well a short TED talk where Levon Biss explains how the idea appeared and evolved in such impressive project.

 

Huntington Witherill – ‘Orchestrating Icons’

Huntington Witherill’s series ‘Orchestrating Icons’ – recording the rhythms in nature through observation of the light.

“As a photographer with a background in design, what I do is to try to intellectualize in my head what is it about what I’m looking at that causing me to take notice of it. It might be a gesture of line, some repetitive series of light and shadow that create some sort of a symmetrical condition. I’m trying to zero in on exactly what that is and eliminate everything else out of the frame, to simplify and to distill it.”

Huntington Witherill - Orchestrating Icons

Huntington Witherill – Orchestrating Icons

 

“I think Edward Weston referred to it as the flame of recognition where you are out in the world and you have this kind of connection with whatever it is that you are photographing that doesn’t happen all the time but it required that you kind of be out there looking all the time in order to catch those moments and it’s not just about a moment in time. It’s actually about a connection between your recognition of whatever it is you are looking at in the particular situation that is occurring at that very moment.

You have to open your mind and let the photographs find you.”

 

Laura El-Tantawy – ‘Beyond Here Is Nothing’

Laura El-Tantawy’s project ‘Beyond Here Is Nothing’ – an impressionistic journey in an atypical structured photo-book drifting through different places, seasons and moods to explore the notion of home as a mythical longing and perpetual possibility.

“To be home is to feel a strong connection to a land and a grounding to its roots. For much of my life home has been an abstract place far away from my reach. This body of work navigates the boundaries of being – exploring the unsettling feeling of rootlessness, the mental burden of loneliness and the constant search for belonging in unfamiliar places… Once you reach the end, you are not sure how to put it back together and the book becomes your own. You can decide to put the images the way you want. That’s an object that evolves with time”

Laura El-Tantawy - Beyond Here Is Nothing

Laura El-Tantawy – Beyond Here Is Nothing

 

Cold rain. It strikes me as nature’s way of despairing. When the sun shies away in hiding. Under hefty clouds I watch time passing. Slowly. Always too slow for my liking. I wait for that golden ball of fire to gracefully return its lighting.”

 

Moira McDonald – ‘Pacifica’

Moira McDonald’s series ‘Pacifica’ – catching the dance of the fog over the Pacific Ocean to trace, collect and let go the breath of nature.

“I placed my darkroom trays out overnight to collect small puddles of the clouds to dip my silver papers in. They were then exposed on an overcast day until the fog was either absorbed by the paper or evaporated back into the atmosphere”

Moira McDonald - Pacifica

Moira McDonald – Pacifica

 

“Dense fog blankets the landscape here (near San Francisco). Up on my coastal ridge I am cloaked in its cool grey; often for months on end I am kept enveloped in clouds. Very late in the night, the fog sits so thick and hangs so low it becomes a dense mist of individual droplets drifting in the night sky. The mornings are covered in wet and by mid-day the nights collection predictably disappears again – absorbed back into the ground, or evaporated again into the atmosphere“.

 

Ellen Carey – ‘Struck by Light, Dings and Shadows’

Ellen Carey’s series ‘Struck by Light, Dings and Shadows’ – abstract large-scale photograms without a subject, any reference to a place, person or object but emphasizing color in bold and bright compositions adding feeling and form.

“Color is subject and object, material with meaning, process within the art. This gives my work context in the short history of color photography… My palette of RGB=YMC is photographic color theory; it underscores my concept, giving context to the rich-content laden “shadow” that partners with the “ding,” a photographic taboo.”

Ellen Carey - Struck by Light Dings and Shadows

Ellen Carey – Struck by Light Dings and Shadows

 

“Abstraction in photography and lens-based art presents a contradiction in terms, and minimalism presents a further oxymoron. Well developed in the 20th century in other areas — Abstract Expressionism, Minimal, Conceptual Art — abstraction and minimalism in lens-based art are emerging even as the first decade in the 21st century closed. It is here, in the early stages of modern and contemporary art with its roots in photography, that my work has a context”

 

David Leventi – ‘Palazzi’

David Leventi’s series ‘Palazzi’ – ‘a private tour’ under the blue cool wintry light to the opulent salons of Venetian noble homes, a symbol of the splendid lavish life of the local aristocracy over the past centuries, to convey an irresistible beauty of a bygone world.

David Leventi - Palazzi

David Leventi – Palazzi

 

“Venice was empty, covered in a bone-chillingly cold winter fog as you walked briskly from one palazzo to another through a series of backstreets and over a myriad of bridges. It was easy to get lost and disoriented, as time seemed to slow—the diffused light causing land and water to merge. The labyrinthine city was hibernating because the countless millions of disembarking cruise ship passengers that turn the city into Disneyland were absent.”

 

Yoichiro Nishimura – ‘Blue Flower’

Yoichiro Nishimura’s series ‘Blue Flower’ –  “seemingly common flowers sprinkled with the magic of photography, and what appears in front of our eyes is a completely new presence of the flowers” – the exotic, fragile, elusive beauty of the blue flower and its luminous dream-like world.

Yoichiro Nishimura - Blue Flower

Yoichiro Nishimura – Blue Flower

 

“The idea of a blue flower may seem strange for some people, never having seen or heard of a blue dandelion or blue cherry blossom before. Without question, these flowers were originally red and yellow. How then did they turn into blue flowers? This is because these are color negative photographs, in which the colors are reversed into their respective complementary colors. This results in transforming the coloration of warm colors, such as red and yellow, into bluish cool colors. At the same time, tonal transition takes place, reversing the light into dark shadow, and shadow into bright light― it is from within the darkness, a blue flower emerge”

The photographs are collected in a photo book.

 

Robert Pufleb and Nadine Schlieper – ‘Alternative Moons’

Alternative Moon’ – a project by Robert Pufleb and Nadine Schlieper with 42 unique photographs of our beloved natural satellite offering “an unusual space trip to discover formerly unseen images”.

Robert Pufleb and Nadine Schlieper - Alternative Moons

Robert Pufleb and Nadine Schlieper – Alternative Moons

 

The images are unseen because actually they are not from the Moon, but a metaphor for how we perceive images. They are pancakes.

“Applying them to our moon, we are trying to create some kind of awareness towards interpreting and processing visual information… In the very beginning, the imagery of ‘Alternative Moons’ was a rather accidental discovery. It was one of those rare moments, when one is looking at an everyday object but sees something completely different…. like mysterious moons from an unknown galaxy”.

The photographs are collected in a book along with the recipes.

 

Jonathan Singer – ‘Botanica Magnifica’

Jonathan Singer’s project ‘Botanica Magnifica’ – macro photographs of rare flowers and plants as a union between natural history and fine art.

“Botanica Magnifica seem to be alien life forms but really are true treasures of our home planet. As an artist, I capture the mystical energy that lies below the surface of the natural world. In the end we see not the infinite diversity of life, but rather we steal a glimpse into creation itself.”

Jonathan Singer - Botanica Magnifica

Jonathan Singer – Botanica Magnifica

 

“I’m trying to give the world a message, to warn the world that the ecosystems and food chains are breaking down. Hopefully, through this marriage of art, people will want to know the science. People say that’s so beautiful. What is it? Where is it from? What would we see in them if we didn’t know where they came from? Clouds? Fires? Waves? Landscapes? Galaxies? They start asking questions”

Set against a dark background and taken in low light, the flowers look suspended in space. Singer’s photographs have been compared, at least in style, to the works of Brueghel, Vermeer and Rembrandt because “they handle light better than anyone else ever did.”

“I started looking at flowers because of Jan Brueghel the Younger. In the rooms in his paintings there were flowers, and they were beautiful. In fact, that grabbed my attention more than anything else in the paintings—the lighting and the flowers.”

 

Jonathan Singer - Botanica Magnifica

Jonathan Singer – Botanica Magnifica

 

Two hundred and fifty of these remarkable photographs are collected in a book published by Abbeville Press.

The original edition of the book following the method used for Audubon’s “Birds of America” in the 1840s, was in extra-large “double-elephant” format consisted of five lavishly hand-bound volumes and limited to just ten copies. One of them was donated to the Smithsonian Institution and is on display in the rare-book room of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington.

To learn more about Jonathan Singer’s life path, his interest to photography and the creation of “Botanica Magnifica”, watch this video.

To date there is no official active site or social account in Jonathan Singer’s name.