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Posts Tagged ‘Photgraphy’

I don’t have much time but I wanted to share these images taken by the probe Voyager I way back in 1979. Hard to believe these are forty years old but I guess that’s a mere eyeblink in astronomical time. These are of the Great Red Spot on the planet Jupiter  with the one at the top having Europa, a moon of Jupiter, in front of it.

The bottom is a little more detailed view of the Great Red Spot. I wish I had the ability to paint in the way this image comes off. Whenever I stumble across these images, I am astounded at their abstract beauty.

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Crooked Forest Poland photo by Kilian SchonbergerAt a show many years ago, I had an old woodsman jokingly tell me that my trees were so twisty and crooked that he could barely get a board foot of lumber from them.  I can’t imagine what he would do with the trees that make up the Crooked Forest located in a corner of western Poland.

It is a group of about 400 trees all bent at 90 degree angles at the base of their trunks, creating a large timber “C” or “J” depending on how you look at them.  They are surrounded by a larger forest of straight trees.  They are believed to have been planted around 1930 but how and why they obtained their unique shape remains a mystery, one no doubt lost when the Nazis invaded Poland in the years after their planting.  The local village was decimated and not really repopulated until the 1970’s so there wouldn’t be any long lived locals to tell the tales of the trees.

Some theorize that German tanks somehow crushed the young trees but that doesn’t explain the surrounding forest that is undamaged.  Plus the idea of a group of trees uniformly surviving such a trauma seems pretty far fetched.  Others say it is the result of some strange gravitational anomaly but that sounds kind of iffy at best.

Snow? Again, why just this smaller group of trees of the same age as their neighboring trees?

Aliens?  Now, you’re talking.

Okay, maybe not aliens.  Actually, the most widely accepted theory is that the trees were deformed to provide curved timber for either furniture or, more likely, boat-building.  There is written documentation of trees being grown specifically to be compass timbers, which provide bracing for the inner curve of a boat’s sides.

Whatever the case, they make a unique and eerie sight.  The photos here are from photographer Kilian Schönberger.  For more of her visually striking views of nature please visit her site by clicking here.

Crooked Forest Poland 2 photo by Kilian Schonberger Crooked Forest Poland 3 photo by Kilian Schonberger

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Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone Wyoming Photo by Jassen T.I am in the last full day of preparing my work for my show, Home+Land, for the West End Gallery before delivering it tomorrow. This last day is always one filled with a great sense of relief and just a bit of anticipation as I begin to envision the whole of it in the gallery.  Over the last several days, I’ve began to feel very good about this group and am eager to see it hanging together.

But this morning I didn’t want to think about it at all and scanned some of my favorite sites to see what’s new.  Well, new to me.  I went back to the National Geographic site and came across some photos by a San Francisco based photographer named Jassen T.  I wish I had more info to share on him but his work on the Nat Geo site is great, mainly aerial imagery including the one above, a shot looking down on Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.  Love the jewel-like colors and the organic flow of the forms.  Just a great image.

Another of his aerial shots is the one at the bottom of a salt marsh in the San Francisco Bay.  It has a very painterly look, reminding me in some ways of another Bay area artist, Wayne Thiebaud.  I find myself constantly moving my eyes back to this image, taking in the forms.  I know what it is in reality but my mind wants to continuously interpret in many other ways.  It just sparks all sorts of thoughts which must be the sign of a good image.

Thanks, Jassen T., for the great images.  They were very refreshing this morning.  Hope to see more of your work in the future.

Salt Marsh San Francisco Bay Photo by Jassen T.

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Sapanta_Peri_monastery_1Last week I showed the Merry Cemetery in Romania with its colorful wooden tombstones.  After that, a friend sent me a link to another blog that showed an image of a  nearby monastery, Peri Monastery,  in the same town, Sapanta.  It was a magnificent structure, supposedly the tallest wooden structure in Europe, that looked like something pulled from a fairy tale.  Despite its appearance, it is a new structure but one that is in the tradition of the wooden churches of that region, with wooden shingles on the roof and wooden pegs used throughout instead of nails.

Nearby is the bell tower for the monastery.  It is an equally striking building as is the carved gate to the grounds.

sapanta-peri-monastery-bell tower

Bell Tower, Peri Monastery, Sapanta, Romania

sapanta-peri-monastery-02-gateWhile looking at some other images of this monastery, I came across these images below that captured my imagination.  One is a winter scene of a destroyed church.  I don’t have any info on the story behind this but it is an intriguing photo.  The other is of haystacks in the field.  They stack the hay on poles which creates these slender, almost human-like shapes, that seem to be marching across the fields. Fittingly, the Romanians call them Germans.  I kind of think they look like the Shmoos from the old Li’l Abner comics.

Sapanta Romania Winter Scene Romanian Hay Stacks- Germans

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Sebastiao Salgado  Genesis Book CoverI don’t know where to start with the work of Brazilian photographer  Sebastiao Salgado.  He is widely celebrated for the importance of his work but I was unaware of him until I stumbled across this image from the cover of his most recent and most ambitious book, Genesis.  The image of a mountain river valley with a light filled flash of storm filling its upper end  fit so perfectly with the title, the stark black and white giving the whole scene a most biblical feel, as though you were witnessing the primal birth of man.  The image just filled me with awe and I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I began to look a bit more into the work of Salgado, born in 1944.  It is astonishing in many ways.  He has over the years documented some of the great brutalities of our time, photographing the plight of refugees, famine victims, migrant communities and manual laborers throughout the world.  It is work that is not easy to look on at times.  In fact, after one of his books, Exodus, which was about those fleeing genocide, Salgado’s faith was shattered by the horrors which he had witnessed.

Goldmine, Serra Pelada, Brazil 1986-- Sebastiao Salgado

Goldmine, Serra Pelada, Brazil 1986– Sebastiao Salgado

It was this despair that drove him the Genesis project, an eight year odyssey that took him to the furthest corners of the world.  His goal is to have us reconnect with the power and intelligence of the natural world, uniting a world that is divided by crises of greed and need.

Though much of his work in Genesis, where he is seeking to show the magnificence of the natural Earth, is downright beautiful, I struggle to call much of his work that same word– beautiful.  It is more than that.  It is powerful and daunting, not merely pretty pictures.  It pushes at you, tests your willingness to witness the rawness of ourselves.  It raises so many questions about who we are and what we are doing in this world.

Awe inspiring…

There is so much more that can be said about Mr. Salgado’s life work.  I urge you to do some research on your own and suggest you do a Google Images search of his work to get a real sense of the scope of his work.  You can do that by clicking here.

 

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