Posts Tagged ‘photographer’

Photo: Francois Brunelle.
Charles Hall Chasen and Michael Malone, photographed in Atlanta in 2014. “Our mothers don’t see the resemblance,” Malone told CBS News’ Anthony Mason. “And when I met Charlie, I didn’t see the resemblance, either.”

In today’s story, we learn about an unusual photography project that brings people together — often complete strangers — and highlights their resemblance. In the beginning, French Canadian photographer Francois Brunelle asked friends he thought looked alike if they would participate, and then he put the word out on social media.

CBS covered the story for National Look-Alike Day (who knew?) in 2015. Public Radio International (PRI) did an interview this year.

From CBS: “On National Look-Alike Day, April 21, [we take] a look at Francois Brunelle’s long-running photography project of ‘doppelgangers’ bringing together people who share an uncanny resemblance but no family ties. …

“The 64-year-old photographer had the idea for the project after someone said he looked like the actor Rowan Atkinson’s character, Mr. Bean. He didn’t see the resemblance at first. But then came the inspiration: ‘I’ll find two identical people, I’ll bring them together, and then when they meet they will be in shock,’ Brunelle told CBS News’ Anthony Mason. ‘And then I will take a picture of them. And that will be amazing, to look at this picture.’ …

“Nina Singh and Anna Rubin, photographed in Montreal in 2004, [were] born on the same day, look alike, but [are] unrelated. (One’s parentage is from Eastern Europe, the other’s from India.) …

“Stephanie Kazar and Christy Walker (photographed in Atlanta in 2014) aren’t related, either. Kazar hails from Georgia, Walker from Ohio. [They are the women in the first shot below.]

” ‘It’s very rare you find your own twin,’ said Walker.

“Ayanna Bryant and Lindsey Sampson, photographed in Atlanta in 2014: The two first met when they shared a room in college:

” ‘The day I moved in, she walked into the dorm and my mom was like, “Oh my gosh! She’s your twin!” ‘ laughed Bryant.

” ‘I really think that she was the ying to my yang,’ said Sampson. …

“Valerie Carreau and Jean Philippe Royer, photographed in Montreal in 2004, look like they could be brother and sister, but they are not – they’re a couple. …

“Word about Brunelle’s project began to spread over the Internet. He’s received emails from people all over the world – the United States, South America, Europe, New Zealand, and China. …

“The government of Colombia recently commissioned Brunelle to shoot an advertising campaign to promote harmony. They found look-alikes who often were meeting for the first time during the shoot. The tag line of the campaign: ‘Let’s choose to see what we have in common.’ …

“Brunelle’s project is supposed to end with the book he plans to publish, but he says he has a problem: ‘If I would go photograph everyone that has written me, I would travel for years!‘ “

Of course, you need to look at all the pictures. See them at the CBS site, here, and the photographer’s website, here. You can also listen to PRI’s The World interviewing Brunelle about the project, here, and watch the video below. No firewalls.

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Photo: Maxim Dmitriev.
Men making spoons in the village of Deyanovo, Russia’s Volga region, 1897.

With the extremes of rich and poor we see around the world today, and especially in our own country, I often wonder if we can fix what’s broken before there’s some kind of uprising. Today’s story talks about what life was like in Russia before the revolution of 1917 as seen through the eyes of two photographers — one aristocratic, one not.

Billy Anania has the report at Hyperallergic.

“In the decades leading up to the October Revolution, the Russian Empire was already crumbling. The first 15 years of the 20th century saw two major industrial crises give way to economic collapse as the Romanov Tsar Nicholas II pitched the military into wars with Japan and Germany, slowing production and inflicting food shortages. Two revolutions in 1917 effectively vanquished the monarchy at the climax of World War I, resulting in the dissolution of the empire and the formation of the Soviet Union. 

“Before that upheaval, two Russian photographers, Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky and Maxim Dmitriev, rose to prominence by documenting everyday life under late tsarism. Though they were contemporaries, their work presents very different perspectives on the region. Prokudin-Gorsky’s images are high-definition and undeniably gorgeous, as well as some of the first color photographs in Russia. In contrast, Dmitriev’s pictures of peasant villages lay bare the dismal living conditions for the majority of the empire. The archives of these two men and the disparities in their personal histories exemplify early photography’s use as both imperialist propaganda and documentary journalism.

“Born into a noble family in Murom, Prokudin-Gorsky studied chemistry at the Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology and art at the Imperial University of Arts. He married the daughter of an industrialist and became director of his father-in-law’s executive board. From there he joined the Imperial Russian Technology Society (IRTS), the preeminent scientific organization of the time, where he gained access to cutting-edge camera technology. Within a few years, he became president of IRTS’s photography section and an editor at Russia’s predominant photo journal, Fotograf-Liubitel (Amateur Photographer).

“These prestigious positions led Prokudin-Gorsky to exhibit his photography for Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, as well as Nicholas II and his family. The tsar admired his work so much that he commissioned the photographer to document Russia’s vast population and landscapes. From 1909 to 1915, Prokudin-Gorsky created more than 10,000 color photos of the diverse people and places comprising the empire, which at the time covered nearly 23 million square kilometers [8,880,350 square miles] of Europe and Asia.

“Nicholas provided Prokudin-Gorsky with a railroad car darkroom. … Much of his work was intended to educate schoolchildren on Russia’s array of cultures and its burgeoning modernization. The quality of these images, along with their pristine compositions, create a visual leveling effect across class divisions, depicting each walk of life as beautiful in its own way. …

“While Prokudin-Gorsky’s upbringing fast-tracked him to national recognition, Dmitriev’s more humble beginnings led him in a different direction. Born a commoner in Tambov, he worked for his bread from a young age, weaving baskets and reading hymns over the dead. In spite of these time constraints, he excelled in his studies, and at 15 he became an apprentice to acclaimed Russian photographers M.P. Nastyukov and later Andrei Karelin. Working in their studios expanded his knowledge of development techniques like soaking plates, processing, and retouching.

“In 1879, Dmitriev relocated to Nizhny Novgorod and began shooting scenes of everyday life — sea and landscapes, orthodox and Muslim ceremonies, monks on pilgrimage, and workers along the Volga River. After developing a portfolio, he traveled to Paris and participated in a few group exhibitions. His photos of prison construction workers caused a stir among viewers; some were critical of the content, others moved by their honesty. Returning to Russia, he continued to shoot unconventional scenes of suffering. His monograph A Lean Year documented a small village suffering a bad harvest. Starving peasants appear in rags alongside doctors and social workers rationing bread and caring for the sick in rundown houses. 

“The Bolshevik Revolution impacted both photographers’ careers, as the Soviet Union birthed new paradigms around inequality and political art. Dmitriev’s work from the 1890s remains some of the earliest examples of photojournalism in Russia, wherein the visual exposure of inequality shifted public opinion. …

“Dmitriev’s photos predate the Progressive Era in the West, when photography helped usher in robust social reforms necessitated by industrialization. Prokudin-Gorsky avoided these more dismal aspects of peasant life to sell more empire. …

“Today, Prokudin-Gorsky remains a visionary of color photography and checks all the boxes of a Western icon, while Dmitriev has all but faded into obscurity. Incidentally, the US Library of Congress acquired Prokudin-Gorsky’s archives in 1948, and Dmitriev’s work is barely findable online.”

More at Hyperallergic, here.

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Blind Photographer

Photo: Liz Bossoli
Pileated Woodpecker in Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Florida.

A disability may make a person think about things in new and interesting ways. Remember the blind architect whose other senses helped him carve out an inspiring career? (Blog post here.)

In a first-person account at Audubon magazine, Liz Bossoli, describes her life as a mostly blind photographer of birds.

She writes, “As far back as I can remember, I’ve been enthralled with animals. Wherever I went, it wouldn’t take long for me to orient to the nearest one. By age eight, I could identify upward of 100 dog breeds. Yet when it came to birds, my list wouldn’t have gone far beyond Northern Cardinals and Blue Jays. I often heard my grandfather warmly refer to ‘chickadees,’ but this species only existed vaguely in my mind’s eye as a small, probably cute bird. Until recently, I never actually saw a Black-capped Chickadee in a way that I could appreciate. When my grandparents marveled over a bird at their feeder, I only experienced their joy vicariously.  

“I was born with a congenital condition called Septo-Optic Dysplasia, and as a result, I’m almost totally blind in my left eye and legally blind in my right. Blindness is not a binary condition, but rather affects individuals across a broad spectrum. … I’m among the majority of blind individuals who have some usable vision, and I happen to fall on the end of the spectrum with the greatest degree of functional eyesight.

“I’ve been known to describe myself as having ‘pretty good vision for being legally blind.’ It’s my light-hearted spin on living in an awkward space where I don’t need a lot of adaptive tools or assistance from others, until I do. That also makes it easy for people to forget I can’t see well — including myself. Day to day, I’m not often cognizant of the degree to which my vision impairment affects me. Still, one of the most poignant reminders occurs when I can’t perceive my environment in the same manner as those around me. In my yard, I’m consistently awestruck when a friend immediately points out birds I don’t know are there.

“For nearly as long as I’ve been fascinated by animals, I’ve used art to express that fondness; first, through drawing and then, photography. I purchased my first DSLR camera in 2009, so I could create images that would do justice to the relationships I had with my dogs and other animals in my life. 

“I spent the better part of the last decade honing my skills as a dog portrait photographer, but a 2016 visit to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples, Florida, reignited a passion for connecting with the natural world. That trip to Corkscrew gifted me with up-close encounters with wild birds, unlike anything I had experienced. Equipped with an entry-level zoom lens, my camera gave me just enough visual reach to see the Red-shouldered Hawk that landed on a low branch right above my head, and to engage in a game of peek-a-boo with an active Pileated Woodpecker. …

“Back home, in Connecticut, my husband and I continue to adapt our small suburban property to create a more hospitable environment for native birds. This year, while spending most of my time in my own yard, I appreciate their presence more than ever.  I’ve found myself fully engrossed in the art of bird photography, driven by desire to understand the wildlife around me. My photo of a Gray Catbird even made it into the final gallery of reader submissions for Audubon’s Bird From Home project. …

“I employ three different strategies for photographing birds in my yard. The first two are intentional: I either actively seek out birds that I hear in nearby trees, or I plant myself in a position from which I know I’ll be able to observe birds. The third strategy usually looks something like me being surprised by an unexpected bird encounter, frantically running into my house to get my camera, and returning in hopes I didn’t miss everything.

“Bird feeders, nest boxes, and a birdbath are often just as integral to my process as the camera itself. They take the guesswork out of finding birds to photograph. I admit that photographing birds in these contexts lacks the thrill of successfully locating a bird on a branch, but that doesn’t mean it’s a passive process. For my purposes, any amount of predictability is a vote in favor of creativity.

“And when I do hear the sound of uncharacteristic rustling in the trees or a bird call close nearby, I hope for the best. I rely on the goodwill of birds who are generous enough to remain in the same location for minutes at a time, as I visually scan the area with my camera. Through the viewfinder, I trace the outline of branches in order of my best guess that the sound came from that specific area. I repeat this with other branches until I have to refocus and scan the same area at a different distance from me. In the course of this process, I’m likely pointing my camera directly at the bird I’m seeking several times without realizing it. I estimate that at least 90 percent of my attempts at photographing birds under these circumstances are fruitless, but the occasional success makes the time investment worthwhile.” More.

There’s something wonderful about the unexpected in any art. Take the happy accidents of Raku pottery, for example. I don’t imagine anyone can control precisely how Raku turns out. There may also be good surprises in domestic arts like cooking and knitting, not just horrible glitches. And what about the scientific arts? Scientifically minded readers should check out the eight beneficial mistakes described here.

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I had a kooky friend in high school who claimed she could analyze you from your description of your favorite scene. At first, I described something sunny with flowers and little brooks and birds singing in trees. Her analysis: I was conventional, appreciated safety.

I was offended and said I had other favorite scenes. I described a stormy ocean with huge waves and dark clouds racing above, driftwood tossed on a rocky shore. She didn’t want to accept that one. She didn’t believe it. Added that I sounded like I had a split personality.

All of which is to say that I do like both kinds of scenes but that for taking pictures, I really prefer sunlight. Here are a few recent photos. Mostly sunny, mostly Rhode Island.

I have a favorite here. It is not perfect by photographer standards, but I love it. Can you guess?

























































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Image: Brittani Sensabaugh
Billboard at 66th and International, East Oakland, California.

The billboards that photographer Brittani Sensabaugh has been putting up in East Oakland, California, are specifically intended for people in the neighborhood, generally people of color. But they are such positive images, I think they speak to us all.

Sarah Medina writes at 7×7, ” ‘Loving yourself unconditionally and eating healthy is a revolutionary act — especially where I come from.’

“That’s the message behind a host of new billboards that have been popping up around the West and East Oakland neighborhoods. Brittani Sensabaugh, 27, an East Oakland photographer, has made it her mission to document America’s most dangerous neighborhoods. The project began when Sensabaugh noticed the prolific negativity behind the advertising in the East Bay’s poorest districts, where signs sell cigarettes, HIV testing and ‘ugly homes for cheap.

” ‘Not only do we not have access to healthy habits in these communities, but there’s no advertising telling us how to access a healthier lifestyle. We need to see uplifting, positive imagery in our communities,’ explains the young photographer. …

“Rather than be associated with a large name brand, Sensabaugh decided to pay for all the billboards herself and reach out to minority-owned businesses to help her spread her uplifting message.

“Mandela Marketplace, a non-profit organization that works to build health and wealth in low-income communities of color, was her first ally, and a collaboration with Yoga Love, an African American-owned yoga studio in North Oakland, is in the works [as of November 2016]. ‘That way the money stays within the community,’ Sensabaugh explains.

“The results are inspirational billboards that stretch from the corner of 73rd and International in East Oakland to the West Oakland BART station. And while the missives are different on each board, their meaning is constant: Love yourself. Heal yourself. Love is greater than fear.

” ‘The reaction has been powerful,’ says Sensabaugh. ‘I’ve had women cry when I show them the billboards. They’ve never seen our people looking so wonderful.’ …

“See more of Sensabaugh’s work and contribute to her billboard campaign at brittsense.com.”

More at 7×7, here.

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I learn a lot from well-researched murder mysteries set in foreign lands. And ever since Kate’s Mystery Books got me hooked on Eliot Pattison’s The Skull Mantra, the nomads in the mountains of Tibet have intrigued me.

That is why I loved Diane Barker’s photographs at the Global Oneness Project, which creates beautiful “Stories of the Month” about endangered cultures. (Maybe you saw my post on saving a language, here.)

For the photo collection on the Dropka, Barker writes, “Tibet has the youngest and therefore some of the highest mountains on earth. Journeying there, I have found a landscape of awesome beauty with the average altitude being 14,000 feet, an extreme and savage climate. It strikes me that it takes a tough and resilient people to flourish in these conditions, and also that perhaps the vastness and solitude of the landscape has encouraged Tibetans’ natural bent for visionary mysticism and unique brand of Buddhism.

“I have been photographing Tibetans for a number of years — deeply inspired by a culture that places spirituality at the heart of life. I have been most moved by Tibet’s Drokpa, or nomads, who until recently comprised an estimated 25 percent to 40 percent of the Tibetan population. …

“On trips to Tibet from 2000 to the present, I have been privileged to stay with nomad families in Amdo and Kham in eastern Tibet, and have found myself totally smitten by their wild earthiness and independent spirit as well as their friendliness, hospitality, and sense of fun. The nomad women, particularly, have impressed me, holding life together and doing most of the work. …

“Traditionally, the Tibetan nomads were very free, forming tribal communities to protect and support each other in their harsh environment where the major threats included weather, disease, bandits, wolves, or snow leopards. But this beautiful earth-based way of life is dying …

“From 2006 on, I have seen fewer nomadic encampments and the land in many areas has an empty, abandoned feeling. … I sense that the loss of the Drokpa way of life will have impacts beyond what we can imagine. As rangeland ecologist, Daniel Miller, writes …  ‘Who will pass this indigenous knowledge of the landscape on to the next generation if nomads are settled in towns?’ ”

More explanation, plus Barker’s amazing photos here.

Photo: Dropka.org

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I added Ello to my social media a while ago but am only now beginning to explore it. A kind of Facebook without ads, it seems to be preferred by people in the arts. Lately, Ello has been publishing interviews with particularly interesting users.

Here are excerpts from Ello Chief Marketing Officer Mark Gelband’s interview with Ben Staley.

“Ben Staley is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker, storyteller, photographer, and professional adventure-haver. His striking portraits and nature photography are a constant source of inspiration to the Ello team. …

“Mark: I started paying really close attention to your work when you were documenting the film you’re making about ships and welders. Could you tell us more about that project?

“Ben: The project is called ‘Starbound’ and it’s about a boat of the same name. The boat is a catch processor that fishes on the Bering Sea. It’s a top performer but the factory was outdated and inefficient and they were losing money. The construction project would lengthen the boat, making it as environmentally friendly as possible and saving the jobs of the 100+ crew members. The owners are doing it for the best reasons. They could have taken the easy way out and and saved a lot of money up front and had no risk, but they undertook this incredible challenge because they care about the environment and their employees and their families. …

“For me as a storyteller it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture this process and tell their story. The family that owns the boat are incredibly committed and hardworking people and they will willingly spend more money and take on this risk to do things the right way. …

“Picking a 240 foot-long boat up out of the water, cutting it in half and sticking 60 foot section in the middle, welding it back together and putting it back in the water. All in the space of a couple months. The hard work, skill and craftsmanship are incredible. …  I’ll be making the first trip to sea with the boat later this summer and hope to have the doc done by end of year. …


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You probably know about Humans of New York and the photographer Brandon Stanton, who gets strangers to tell him how they really feel. I was reminded of his work when I read this NY Times story about an artist and musician who invited strangers to answer offbeat questions about their lives and then used the material to write songs for them.

Reporter Alex Vadukul attended a gallery exhibition of the work in February.

He writes, “The crinkled papers pinned across the small Chinatown gallery’s walls …  contained scrawled drawings and questions: ‘Do you know your limits yet?’ ‘Most recent Google query?’ and ‘Were you ever involved with the occult?’

“They were not pointlessly esoteric. Grey Gersten, an artist and musician, had designed them to gather information he then used to compose songs about strangers; individuals filled them out for him two summers ago during rapid 20-minute song-making appointments for his project, ‘Custom Melodies.’ …

“Mr. Gersten, 32, worked from an impromptu music studio inside the Mmuseumm, a peculiar contemporary museum the size of an elevator shaft in the narrow Cortlandt Alley in TriBeCa, where people handed him the papers through a window opening. The forms, posing questions personal and abstract, helped him explore a concept: Can you bottle a stranger’s essence in a song? The resulting compositions were played publicly at the Chinatown Soup gallery on [Feb. 5, 2016] and varied from ambient and sonic to poppy and feverish.

“People wandered through the space studying the papers on the walls, but a few sought their own original forms. …

“Josh Koenigsberg, 31, who sat for a song appointment, also tracked down his form at the gallery. … He recalled: ‘It was like going to a doctor’s office, except you filled out the last dream you had or the last time you got goose bumps. And he studied your form like he was a doctor.’ (One man at the event described it as a ‘takeout window for music.’)

“Another participant, Philip Weinrobe, 34, found his form hanging beside the gallery’s busy bar. It indicated his earliest memory was ‘sitting in a playground and looking up,’ that his favorite advice is ‘measure twice, cut once,’ and that at the time his last Google search was, ‘Why aren’t my marigolds flowering?’ ”

More here.

Photo: Emon Hassan for The New York Times
At a Chinatown gallery in February, visitors read forms people filled out so Grey Gersten could write customized songs.

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The uncle of my co-worker from Ghana is a very fine photographer who chronicled much of the last days of colonialism and the beginning of independence in his native land.

Another colleague was reading an article about the uncle’s new book in the Washington Post and thought, “Could they be related?” They are.

Nicole Crowder wrote at the Post, “In 1957, after over a century of colonization, Ghana gained independence from Britain. Just 30 years prior, in 1929, photographer James Barnor was born in the country’s capital Accra — then the Gold Coast colony — and over the course of a career that spanned more than six decades would become one of Ghana’s leading and most well-known photographers.

“Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Barnor created a definitive portfolio of street and studio portraiture depicting societies in transition: images of a burgeoning sub-Saharan African nation moving toward independence, and a European capital city becoming a multicultural metropolis.

“Ghana in the 1950s was experiencing a radiance of post-colonization as well as its ‘heyday of Highlife,’ a fusion of traditional African rhythms, Latin calypso and jazz influences that would soon spread across Ghana’s borders to West Africa and beyond. … Barnor captured all of this energy, playing at once artist, director, photographer and technician, by offering a well-rounded portrait of Ghanian life from many walks of life.

“On Oct. 8, Autograph ABP and the gallery Clementine de la Feronniere [released] the book ‘Ever Young‘ showcasing Barnor’s extensive archive, followed by a corresponding photo exhibition in Paris through Nov. 21.”

More at the Washington Post.

Photo: James Barnor/Autograph, ABP
Nigerian Superman, Old Polo Ground, Accra, 1957–58.

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Taking pictures is a personal expression. I imagine it is a bit personal even if you are taking a standard shot of something like the Washington Monument. What catches your eye has a lot to do with who you are, and there is only one of you.

Libby Kane captured that idea in a December Business Insider story about homeless photographers. Kane reported, “In early June, Jason Storbakken distributed disposable cameras to 10 homeless residents of New York City.

“Storbakken, the director of chapel and compassionate care at The Bowery Mission and author of Radical Spirituality: Repentance, Resistance, Revolution, directed each photographer to capture ‘things they hoped others might see.’ …

“The photos from this project have been curated into a show called ‘Through My Lens,’ which will spend the next year in various locations around New York City. …

“As the photographers returned with their images, Storbakken sat down with them in his office to do some light editing through web editor Picasa and to add their statements to each photo.”

See 17 of the pictures at Business Insider, here. More on the project at OneGlimpse.org.

Photo: Sean Collins
“This was on the subway platform. There is a reggae band in the back singing ‘Three Little Birds.’ The little girl is dancing with her daddy. Watching this interaction gave me a lot of joy.” 

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One of the sources I check for ideas to share with you is the website for the delightful environmental radio show, Living on Earth.

A story about the healthy coral reefs in the deep water off Cuba caught my eye, especially as there has been a resurgence of interest in Cuba lately.

Living on Earth host Steve Curwood interviews Robert Wintner about his latest book, Reef Libre: The Last, Best Reefs in the World.

“CURWOOD: Now, your book is very timely. Come on, tell me … you got some kind of tip off on this political thaw? …

“WINTNER: I thank Neptune for that. We got word of this particular reef system [that was] called the last best reef system in the world. And the three qualifiers for that rating were 100 percent biodiversity (that means all the species that were ever there are there now, and in fact some they thought were extinct), 100 percent coral cover and 100 percent host of apex predators, and that was the key right there to restoring these reefs to healthy conditions. No natural system can survive intact without apex predators, that’s what allows every level of the food chain beneath it to be at optimum balance. And the glaring example in the world today is Cuban reefs, our Jardines de la Reina. That’s the ocean people talk about, that the world used to have, that we used to love. It’s there in in Cuba.”

Read all about it here., or listen to the broadcast. Lots of amazing photos. And be sure to note how the Cubans control the invasive lionfish by removing the spines and conditioning bigger predators to the taste.

Photo: Robert Wintner at Living on Earth
Reef Libre: The Last, Best Reefs in the World is diver and photographer Robert Wintner’s most recently published book.

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Ever hear of a living thing that has been growing for 3,000 years? Check the picture below. Or how about a 13,000-year-old eucalyptus tree?

At Brain Pickings. Maria Popova writes, “For nearly a decade, Brooklyn-based artist, photographer, and Guggenheim Fellow Rachel Sussman has been traveling the globe to discover and document its oldest organisms — living things over 2,000 years of age.

“Her breathtaking photographs and illuminating essays are now collected in The Oldest Living Things in the World … beautiful and powerful work at the intersection of fine art, science, and philosophy, spanning seven continents and exploring issues of deep time, permanence and impermanence, and the interconnectedness of life.”

Sussman tells Popova in an interview, “I’ve always considered myself an environmentalist, for whatever that term means, and it’s something that I think, as an artist, was an interesting thing — because for a long time, I don’t think it was particularly acceptable in the fine art world to be doing work about nature. …

“The problem of climate change is so pressing and actually is something of a moral imperative for us all, and I think artists do a tremendous job of engaging the public on different levels … . That’s one of the beauties of being able, as a creative person, to create the parameters of what you want to talk about. The science and the climate science are a very important component of the overall project. …

“The question has been this idea of making portraits of these organisms and thinking of them as individuals. I think one of the most important things to do when dealing with climate science and climate change is to create a personal connection, and to create some relationship. That was my way of trying to forge a relationship to these organisms.” More here.

Llareta, 3,000 years old, Atacam desert, Chile

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A 70-year-old California homesteader’s shack near Joshua Tree national park is now a light installation, Lucid Stead.

When architect Michael Graham Richard talked to artist Phillip K. Smith about the work, Smith explained, “Lucid Stead is about tapping into the quiet and the pace of change of the desert. When you slow down and align yourself with the desert, the project begins to unfold before you. It reveals that it is about light and shadow, reflected light, projected light, and change.”

To Richard, the disappearing act that Lucid Stead achieves with reflections is a revelation. “Sometimes the best way to be part of the landscape is to blend into it,” he says. “Animals have been using camouflage for millions of years for survival, but there can also be aesthetic reasons to want to disappear, at least a little.”

In Smith’s creation, he continues, “the desert itself is used as a material,” as is reflected light. Check out a slide show here , at Treehugger.com, which highlights the artist’s use of solar power. Be sure to note how amazing the “shack” looks at night (slides 7-9).

Photo: Steven King, Phillip K Smith, III/royale projects contemporary art

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Studio 360 interviewed a blind photographer the other day. He had not always been blind, and blindness has not stopped him from creating high-quality photographs, strange as that may seem. He gets by with a little help from his friends.

But then, which among us doesn’t?

“In 1994, a stroke left the young photographer John Dugdale nearly blind, and over the years since, he has lost the remainder of his vision. But has never stopped taking photographs.

“ ‘I have a few wonderful people in my life that I trust to help me create the pictures that I see in my mind’ Dugdale tells guest host [Studio 360] Alan Cumming. He insists on releasing the shutter on every photo he takes. ‘It’s the most sacred time in my life whenever that shutter opens and closes — and it’s also the only time I’m quiet.’ …

“Dugdale contracted HIV in the mid-1980s. In the early 1990s he became ill with cytomegalovirus retinitis, an eye infection common in HIV patients, and it accelerated quickly. ‘I didn’t tell anyone, because I thought through magical thinking maybe it would go away,’ Dugdale explains. ‘In a matter of weeks I lost one eye.’ A stroke left him paralyzed for a year and left him with about 20% of his vision. … ‘I’m alive because my mother brought me elbow macaroni with Parmesan cheese and beans every single day for a year.’

“When Dugdale was released from the hospital, he almost immediately began working again. He tells Alan that the photographs ‘poured like a libation out of a vase. I barely even felt like I was making them. They just made themselves.’ …

“ ‘Being blind is not what you think,’ Dugdale tells Alan, ‘it’s not all darkness. My optic nerve still works and shoots a beautiful ball of brightly colored orange and purple and violet light and sparkling flashes all the time.” More at Studio 360, here. Check out some of Dugdale’s work, which continues to be in demand by prominent collections.

Photo: John Dugdale
“Untitled, Self-Portrait with Teacups” 1994

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In 2010, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher published a book of remarkable images that captured the honeybee in an entirely new light. By using powerful scanning electron microscopes, she magnified a bee’s microscopic structures by hundreds or even thousands of times in size, revealing startling, abstract forms that are far too small to see with the naked eye.

Now, as part of a new project called “Topography of Tears,” she’s using microscopes to give us an unexpected view of another familiar subject: dried human tears.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-microscopic-structures-of-dried-human-tears-180947766/#UBkOIVzILZd8kaLc.99
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In 2010, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher published a book of remarkable images that captured the honeybee in an entirely new light. By using powerful scanning electron microscopes, she magnified a bee’s microscopic structures by hundreds or even thousands of times in size, revealing startling, abstract forms that are far too small to see with the naked eye.

Now, as part of a new project called “Topography of Tears,” she’s using microscopes to give us an unexpected view of another familiar subject: dried human tears.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/the-microscopic-structures-of-dried-human-tears-180947766/#UBkOIVzILZd8kaLc.99
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A Smithsonian article by Joseph Stromberg about photographs of tears is resonant on so many levels one doesn’t know where to start.

Stromberg writes, “In 2010, photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher published a book of remarkable images that captured the honeybee in an entirely new light. By using powerful scanning electron microscopes, she magnified a bee’s microscopic structures by hundreds or even thousands of times in size, revealing startling, abstract forms that are far too small to see with the naked eye.

“Now, as part of a new project called ‘Topography of Tears,’ she’s using microscopes to give us an unexpected view of another familiar subject: dried human tears….

“Scientifically, tears are divided into three different types, based on their origin. Both tears of grief and joy are psychic tears, triggered by extreme emotions, whether positive or negative. Basal tears are released continuously in tiny quantities (on average, 0.75 to 1.1 grams over a 24-hour period) to keep the cornea lubricated. Reflex tears are secreted in response to an irritant, like dust, onion vapors or tear gas.”

Oh, but I knew that tears from different causes are different. I learned that from a fantasy I was exposed to at age 10, when the future star of stage and screen René Auberjonois, age 13, played the wicked uncle in a production of James Thurber’s The 13 Clocks.

The wicked uncle requires jewels to release his lovely niece, the Princess Saralinda, from captivity.

Although you really will get a kick out of reading the whole book, all you need to know for present purposes is from Wikipedia:  “Zorn and the Golux travel to the home of Hagga, a woman with the ability to weep jewels, only to discover that she was made to weep so much that she is no longer able to cry.

“As the realization that they have failed sets in, Hagga begins to laugh inexplicably until she cries, producing an abundance of jewels. Hagga informs them that the magic spell that let her cry tears was altered, so whereas ‘the tears of sadness shall last without measure, the tears of laughter shall give but little pleasure.’ Jewels from the tears of happiness return to the state of tears a fortnight after they were made.”

(Fortunately, that was enough time to trick the wicked uncle.)

Photo: Rose-Lynn Fisher/Craig Krull Gallery
“Tears of Timeless Reunion”

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