Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Jamie Daughters

Published April 26, 2010 by Molly

kol_01

sm_07

days_06

Jamie Daughters takes pictures that absorb broad vistas and condense them for maximum visual impact. The subject matter ranges from midnight waffle houses to haunting portraits to broad swaths of farmland. All of it is imbued with a tranquility and solemnity that’s uncommon in photography these days. Take in the views here.

Ahorn Magazine

Published April 5, 2010 by Graham

ahornmagazine

German photographer Daniel Augschöll is a young master of the scenic. Whether he’s capturing the weightless beauty of light dabbled on a grove of trees or a serenely quiet car frosted over with morning dew, his work is intrinsically linked to the landscape. Naturally, nature seems to be the visual theme underlying the online magazine he edits with Anya Jasbar, Ahorn. The newly released 5th issue of this carefully curated portfolio of photographers from across the globe is brimming with beautiful work ruminating on the intersection of human shelter and the organic.

ahornmagazine2

Edward Burtynsky

Published February 26, 2010 by Molly

075-OTP_02_99_Oil

shipbreaking-series-chittagong-10-bangladesh-by-edward-burtynsky-2001

dam-6-three-gorges-dam-project-yangtze-river-2005

Who knew that abandoned mine shafts and uranium tailings could be so appealing? Canada’s Edward Burtynsky has been taking photographs of mine tailings, scrap piles, quarries, homesteads, metal recycling yards and ships for years in an effort to examine the links between industry and nature. Burtynsky photographs, in his own words, subjects that are “rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning”; places that are outside the normal realm of experience but of whose products we partake of daily.

Burtynsky’s mission (and his status as intrepid documentarian) have an epic quality that is matched by the photos themselves, which have an emotive power evident even when shrunken and presented in JPEG form on a laptop screen. See? He’s sort of like the Cormac McCarthy of photography.

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot

Published February 3, 2010 by Graham

celeste-1

Issues of mechanical reproduction, unconscious art-making, and the beauty of chaos swirl about in Céleste Boursier-Mougenot’s charming work. The themes are well-worn, but the approach is lighthearted and inviting. This French artist and composer has a knack for misusing everyday objects to create alarmingly organic music.

For instance: Boursiey-Mougenot once jerry-rigged a grand piano to play musical notes translated from the text being typed on a random laptop. He’s also attached harmonicas to the end of vacuum cleaners to create otherworldly, organ-like noises. In the video below, the artist placed an amplified guitar in the middle of a gallery and then allowed dozens of birds to perch upon its sensitive strings, resulting in some surprisingly listenable accidental drone!

Aurelie Guillerey

Published January 25, 2010 by Molly

3657193708_9794764f26_b

3656402559_7382b774aa_b

Holy cute! Aurelie Guillerey’s work invokes everything we remember fondly about children’s book illustrations: the costumes, the animals, the fanciful anthropomorphizing, the mischievous cats and eye-popping flowers and colorful balloons.

Aside from being a master (mistress?) of color, Guillerey is adept at capturing the energy and enthusiasm of young kids. She’s also skilled at summoning particular objects sure to stick firmly in the imagination: a plump yellow umbrella, a conical party hat, a straw boater and a blue thermos are a few examples that come to mind. Check out the latest on her Flickr page.

Jennilee Marigomen

Published November 27, 2009 by Graham

jennilee-marigomen

Sedate and reverent, Jennilee Marigomen floats toward scenes of scenic splendor. Reveling in the warm mysteries and cold carnality of natural light, her camera impossibly captures, in microscopic detail, the fleeting visceral feeling of each atmosphere its sly lens fixes upon. Whether or not people are physically present in Marigomen’s images, each one is marked by a ghostly trace of humanity. There is a very long rope invisibly tying these ethereal images back to a nameless group of compatriots. We only glimpse them through tree branches and fiery lens flares, but they always feel nearby, protecting us from the detached desolation of the Northwestern wild.

jennilee-marigomen2

Eric Carle

Published August 31, 2009 by Molly

Picture 4

No survey of classic kid’s book illustrators would be complete without Eric Carle, whose best-known work The Very Hungry Caterpillar has sold over 29 million copies since it was published in 1969. Wowza!

Like all stellar children’s illustrators, Carle’s work is colorful, ingenious and recognizable at fifty paces. The artist layers hand-painted papers to form his signature collages of pandas, frogs, cats and bears. The most memorable aspect of Carle’s work, however, is not exactly an aesthetic value. More than any other illustrator, Carle fills his work with love and warmth––qualities as magnetic on the page as they are difficult to capture.

Born in 1929 in Syracuse, New York to German immigrants, Carle recalls tramping through the woods with his father and examining the wonders of nature, a feeling he tries to recapture in books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Normally when you love something dearly––a song, a painting, a pair of pants––and find out that millions of other people feel the same way, a certain sense of intimacy with the product is lost. Part of Eric Carle’s magic is that this is never the case with his books. No matter how many copies of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear make their way across the globe, all the joy and love of Carle’s inventions remain firmly intact.

Best of all? Carle keeps a delightful blog for those seeking a bit of his magic on the internet.

Picture 1

This is part four of a series about classic children’s book illustrators. Previous subjects include Richard Scarry, Clement Hurd and Tomi Ungerer.

Carnivorous Creations

Published August 13, 2009 by Molly

picture-43

Where things like habit and taste are concerned, the nature vs. nurture debate can be endlessly pondered and studied. Where things like the human instinct to play with dirt are concerned, however, there’s no debate. Somewhere inside of us there’s a gene which dictates that we need to roll around in the mud, pick up snails, poke at worms and generally have a familiar relationship with the earth as children. And as adults, too–though perhaps a more cordial relationship.

For those with access to backyards or other flora-and-fauna-filled terrain, these urges can be easily satisfied. For those city-dwelling individuals who don’t have a patch of grass to their name, there are, luckily, other options to turn to. One such pocket of ingenuity exists in the Carnivorous Creations desktop bog.

The kit, which is available at ThinkGeek*, includes a Growing Dome, a bag of peat mix, a seed packet and a selection of plastic geckos. Combined in the right manner, these things yield a garden of Venus fly traps, Sundew plants and Cobra lillies, all of which eat insects.

Clearly, any plant that can digest an animal is awesome. Now, anyone with a square foot of table space can exercise his green thumb and bring such fascinating organisms to life. Finally, a happy irony in the world of consumer goods: the fact that only a human could invent such an efficient way of encapsulating nature.

*along with snow ball launchers, Darth Vader USB hubs, night vision goggles, and other essentials.

Allison Grant

Published June 11, 2009 by Graham

allisongrant1

Allison Grant’s photography weaves together natural landscapes and synthetic materials. It can often be disorienting trying to discern the origin of Grant’s images: is this a piece of black tin foil, or a strip-mined mountain? Where Semâ Bekirovic underlines the contrast between human-made objects and natural ones, Grant obscures it, hinting at the places in which they coalesce. This seems less of an attempt to reconcile our disposable culture with the natural world and more like an ominous warning that we may have forgotten the difference. From her artist statement:

In the face of environmental crisis, we have come to realize that our human-made products may outlast nature as we know it. In contradiction to this awareness, advertisers and organizations have responded to the green movement by increasingly using photographs and other representations of nature that evoke an unattainable ideal. Using illusion, I allude to the wide spread simulation of nature in our built environments and image culture, and the simultaneous deterioration of wilderness in reality. Tensions between fact and facsimile, nature and artificiality, and permanence and disposability can be found in my photographs. This echoes the wilderness of our modern existence: constructed, idealized, mediated, and, therefore, inaccessible.

allisongrant2

Micro-Questionnaire: Semâ Bekirovic

Published June 2, 2009 by Graham

Slugs vs. three-dimensional grids! Birds vs. board rooms! Deserts vs. office buildings! The battle between the wild, untamed heart of nature and the cold, pragmatic logic of modernist design is heating up in the work of Dutch artist Semâ Bekirovic. Working in video, photography and sculpture, Bekirovic demonstrates a knack for mirthful experimentation, tackling themes of spontaneity and control, and mixing mysteries of the artificial and organic variety to create an atmosphere of carefully measured absurdity.

Semâ was kind enough to answer a few questions for our ongoing series of Where the Wild Things Are micro-questionnaires.

Is Where the Wild Things Are popular in The Netherlands? What do you remember about it from your childhood?

Where the Wild Things Are is called Max en de Maximonsters here. I remember my sister and me loving the book. We saw a childrens’ musical of it when I was six or so. I remember being quite enchanted by it. My sister and I used to stage plays with monsters in them ourselves.

I remember trying to stack three classmates on top of each other to fit in a homemade dragon costume, and how they tumbled out of it on stage. We always finished the costumes and props at the last possible moment, so there was never time for rehearsals. So our plays always ended up as text-less chaotic performances with lots of amazing props.

semabekirovic3

The contrast between nature and culture seems to be a strong theme in your work. Growing up, were you captivated by the idea of escaping your bedroom for an untamed wilderness, like Max does in the book?

Yes, but my sister and I (we were a team) would actually escape, usually. We would, for example, take our bikes and try to cycle to Belgium (which is about 300 kilometres from where we lived) and end up getting lost in some suburb of Amsterdam by the end of the day. We would ask a passerby for the way back home and by the time we got back in the middle of the night, we would find our mother in a state of near collapse. She had to call the cops quite a few times to look for us. We always thought she exaggerated.

But when I look back I guess we were quite out of control.

Astrid Lindgren or Hans Christian Andersen?

Pippi!