41 posts tagged Beauty
41 posts tagged Beauty
Science + Art = Awesome!
Today the Department of Microscopic Marvels explores the exquisitely beautiful art of arranging Diatoms, tiny unicellular algae encased in jewel-like glass shells, into complex kaleidoscopic displays, some of which date back to the Victorian era. They’re works of art that are invisible to the naked eye and must be viewed under a microscope.
Ranging in size from 2 to 200 micrometers, diatoms are among the smallest organisms on the planet. They’re a form of phytoplankton and scientists estimate that there are roughly 100,000 existent species. To create the lovely and astonishingly tiny displays pictured above, diatoms must be found, captured, cleaned, organized and then finally positioned into aesthetically pleasing arrangements in microscope slides.
So how is all of this accomplished? English filmmaker Matthew Killip contacted Diatom specialist and master micromanipulator Klaus Kemp in order to find out. Kemp has dedicated his life to studying and perfecting this microscopic Victorian art form and Killip sat down with him to learn about the process of creating diatom arrangements. The result was a short film entitled The Diatomist.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate more of exquisitely awesome floral Kanzashi hair ornaments created by Japanese artist Sakae (previously featured here). Each delicate piece is handcrafted from resin and, depending upon their complexity, takes between 3 and 30 days to complete.
These stunning carnivorous plants and orchids require neither water, sunlight or insects in order to thrive. Instead they just new a gentle going over with feather duster every once in a while. That’s because they’re weren’t grown, they were created by Seattle-based master glassblower Jason Gamrath. Jason’s incredibly realistic glass flowers gigantic in size because he wants to help people appreciate all the wonderful little details found on specimens in the plant kingdom:
“The purpose of creating this series on a macro scale is to bring to light the beauty that exists within the micro scale of nature,” he explains. “Small plants, although minuscule in comparison to our human-sized way of existing, are overwhelmingly perplexing when held inches away from one’s face.”
Visit Jason Gamrath’s website to check out more of his fantastic glass flora.
Last time we visited the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders we drank in the majesty of one of the oldest, tallest trees in the world. Today we’d like to direct your attention to the forest floor. Photographer Steve Axford lives in the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales, Australia and spends his time seeking out and photographing rare plants, animals, fungi, and sometimes even people. Axford has traveled to remote locations in order to document - sometimes for the very first time - some of the world’s strangest and most diverse mushrooms and other fungi. His stunning photos capture their incredibly varied and alien forms as well as their astonishing beauty.
Australian photographer and marine biology PhD student Daniel Stoupin took 150,000 macro photos and used a processing technique called focus stacking to create this awesome time-lapse video of corals and sponges. Entitled Slow Life, this breathtaking video reveals that these beautiful marine animals are not the still and static creatures we might presume.
"Corals and sponges are very mobile creatures, but their motion is only detectable at different time scales compared to ours and requires time lapses to be seen. These animals build coral reefs and play crucial roles in the biosphere, yet we know almost nothing about their daily lives."
As part of a tour put on by an organization called The Mystical Arts of Tibet, a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in India recently visited the Crow Collection of Asian Art in Dallas, Texas. They were there for a weeklong residency during which they constructed this magnificent Tantric Buddhist mandala sandpainting.
The monks will spend up to eight hours a day working together on one of their sandpaintings. The process starts with an opening ceremony and the consecration of work site.
Each work begins as a drawing, the outline of the mandala. Then, colored sand is poured from traditional metal funnels called chak-purs. Each monk holds a chak-pur in one hand, while running a metal rod on its grated surface; the vibration causes the sands to flow like liquid.
Once the sandpainting has been completed it is ceremoniously destroyed using a ritual vajra.
"The sands are swept up and placed in an urn; to fulfill the function of healing, half is distributed to the audience at the closing ceremony, while the remainder is carried to a nearby body of water, where it is deposited. The waters then carry the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing."
[via My Modern Metropolis]
Nestled between hills in the eastern Sahara desert bordering the Red Sea in El Gouna, Egypt is an awesome piece of land art entitled Desert Breath. Between 1995 and 1997 this site-specific installation was created by the D.A.ST. Arteam, comprised of installation artist Danae Stratou, industrial designer and architect Alexandra Stratou, and architect Stella Constantindies.
8,000 square meters of sand were displaced to create large positive and negative conical volumes which form two interlocking spirals that expand from a water-filled center across an area of 100,000 square meters.
17 years since it was created, Desert Breath still exists, “becoming through its slow disintegration, an instrument to measure the passage of time.”
Click here to view more photos of and information about this beautiful project.
[via My Modern Metropolis]
Last year we shared an awesome video of a breathtaking encounter with a massive flock (or murmuration) of starlings flying over the River Shannon in Ireland. Now we get to experience the same amazing phenomenon in a different place though a different set of eyes.
Filmmaker Neels Castillon shot this enchanting short video in Marseille, France while waiting at the airport of Provence. Entitled A Bird Ballet, we watch in awe as impossibly vast flocks of European starlings move across the darkening sky in ever-changing organic shapes. It’s one of nature’s most dazzling displays.
"The mesmerizing act is typically seen at dusk throughout Europe, between November and February. Each evening, shortly before sunset, starlings can be seen performing breathtaking aerial manoeuvres, before choosing a place to roost for the night. These range in number from a few hundred to tens of thousands of birds. Murmurations exhibit strong spatial coherence and show extremely synchronized maneuvers, which seem to occur spontaneously, or in response to an approaching threat."
[via Faith is Torment]
New York-based photographer Ryan Burke is a master of self-transformation. He spends anywhere from three to eight hours skillfully using makeup, clothing, and creative props to achieve each new appearance. However Ryan rarely plans an outfit in advance. Instead he allows each look to evolve organically. Once he has completed the awesome transformation process, Ryan documents each new manifestation by taking a stunning self-portrait. As you can see from the ten examples above, each new guise is nothing short of jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
Mr Burke grew up in Virginia and has spent time living in both Los Angeles and New York. His work has been influenced and shaped by his experiences with artists, drag queens and other colorful people during his travels.
He told the Huffington Post of his photo project, titled ‘Self’: ‘My self-portraits are a documentation of my life. When you spend three to eight hours putting together your face and outfit, an iPhone picture just doesn’t seem like enough.’
Ryan keeps an ongoing public record of his favourite guises, which you can follow right here on Tumblr.
German photographer Markus Reugels finds great meaning in a single drop of water. He uses dye and high-speed photography to capture awesome images of water droplets splashing onto a reflective surface. In order to achieve such beautiful results, Markus developed a painstaking process that requires him to control the shape of the water drop, its reflection, the background, and the lighting.
"Water is the element of life, everyone needs it to live and see it every day. But if anyone has seen the most beautiful forms that can take water? Let me show you pictures that are all made with water and color. With the high-speed photography, it is possible to freeze these millisecond, in such forms exist, in order to present them in unique images."
Visit Markus Reugels’ website to view many more examples of his artwork.