Today is the Fourth of July holiday in the United States, so it seems like the perfect time for Andrew Waits’ series entitled Boom City. His photographs catalogue the colorful fireworks sold for this very occasion; specifically, those that are purchased north of Seattle, Washington in the Tulaip reservation. It’s there that families visit hundreds of vendors to obtain cherry bombs, roman candles, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and more. After they’ve made their purchases, they can set off them off in the open field that’s next to the stands.
Waits’ ongoing project features a cross section of these small items that dazzle adults and children alike. We see a mixture of combustible powders and wicks that are tightly bound into a neat package. There’s an odd beauty to each photograph as the candy-colored hues rest against a pitch-black background. The photographer creates an interesting juxtaposition between their presentation here (quiet and unassuming) with their intended use as bright and boisterous celebratory objects.
Above: Mighty Cracker
Lightning Flash Orange Ammo Smoke Blue Thunder Roman Candle World Class Clay Color Smoke Ball Flying Color Butterflies Rocket Moon Travelers Bottle Rocket Ground Bloom Flower
One Day is a unique series of landscapes in which Japanese photographer Ken Kitano uses long exposures to capture sunrise to sunset throughout the course of one single day. The simple landscapes allow viewers to experience many hours of a single place in one still shot.
While the majority of the world remains fixed, Kitano captures the essence of each place through ghostly forms and blurred lighting, as long streaks across the sky evoke a sense of otherworldliness. Through the work, he intends to generate a strong awareness of the earth and all of its greatness. As we concentrate on the curious path of light and the intense atmosphere, the images quickly remind viewers that we are merely a small part of a much larger universe.
The conceptual series invokes a memory of significant locations ranging from "the day-to-day to the historical, including urban streetscapes, ground zeroes of bomb blasts, islands of convalescence for leprosy patients, and old battlegrounds in Okinawa."
Cloud is an extraordinary lamp and speaker system that mimics the appearance and sound of a storm cloud. Created by Richard Clarkson, a multidisciplinary designer based in New York and New Zealand, the interactive light produces an incredible lightning and thunder show in response to movements and sounds around it.
Beneath its fluffy layers, the smart little cloud is equipped with lights, microphones, motion sensors, and a speaker system. Using a remote control, users can play the immersive thunderstorm simulation, change colors and lighting, or program the cloud to react to a certain sounds or a user's presence. The audiovisual system can even stream music via any Bluetooth-compatible device, making it a useful speaker in addition to a unique work of "smart" art.
Astronaut Reid Wiseman has a unique perspective of Earth that few of us will ever see - he’s currently in space. Wiseman is aboard the International Space Station, and uses this special vantage point to his benefit. The savvy astronaut has a Vine account and posts the incredible things that he sees while he’s away.
Wiseman’s short videos show what a lightening storm over Houston, Texas looks like as it flashes beneath a cloudy surface, as well as the brilliant green color of an aurora borealis. He also gives us an idea of just how fast they travel; on one Vine he reports that they’re cruising at speeds of 28,000/kph! These videos are a magical sight and a reminder of the beauty and wonders that exist in our world and beyond.
Above: Houston under a Lightening Storm
Aurora Borealis Lights as Orion Rises
Moonlight Cruise Over the Pacific Ocean at 28,000kph
Perched high up in the hills and mountaintops, Max Rive sees the world differently than most. The adventurous photographer hikes to locations that are not highly populated and observes the world from a bird's eye view. Through his lens, Rive takes viewers on adventures across stunning landscapes and mountaintops, where we are invited to experience the world from an entirely new and creative perspective.
To obtain the dynamic compositions, Rive hikes to high perches, withstands very cold temperatures, and greets the sun as it rises over large peaks and glistening rivers. He often stitches multiple panoramic shots together to obtain the wide ranges and to capture the overwhelmingly beautiful perspectives from high above the world.
Each photograph emanates with vivid colors and whispers of quiet solitude. Anyone afraid of heights might feel a bit nervous looking at the single individuals balancing on the edge of cliffs and mountaintops, overlooking a huge expanse of clouds, sky, and the earth far below.
New Yorkers, you're in luck! Sous Les Etoiles Gallery has extended landscape installation artist and photographer Barry Underwood's show another month. You now have until August 2 to see Scenes, a collection of beautiful photographs that show nature like you've never seen her before. Drawing from his early theatrical training, Barry constructs these strange and surreal scenes using LED lights. Many of his installations take several days to complete. After they're created, Barry then uses long exposure to harness the area's ambient light.
As he explains, “This tension between the familiar and the surreal gives the images a strange power. I fashion these scenes by immersing myself in a place, instinctively reading the landscape, and then altering the site through LED lights, luminescent material, and other photographic effects. In the final prints, lights and alterations appear as intrusions, transforming landscapes into abstract images."
Most of these works are created in locations near artist residencies around the United States and Canada like The Banff Center in Alberta, Canada, The Headlands Center for the Arts, in Sausalito, California, and, most recently, The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Why? As Barry explains to us, "I travel to these places for several reasons. They all have various types of landscape within or near their property. They are organizations that allow me to build my artwork on location. They are artistically rich environments, where I can meet, converse and collaborate with artists, writers and musicians."
As for the overall meaning behind the pieces, he says, "Landscape allows for a certain type of storytelling. The history of landscape encapsulates the ideas of the sublime nature, humankind’s power over nature, and nature’s power over humans. My attempt is to portray environmental issues that are not delivered in a heavy-handed way. Rather, in a way that draws attention in a pleasing way, then, if contemplated, could unfold a message of dissidence or a natural discord.
"Initially it may appear that that the light is element out of place. But then, if one looks closer, you will see that in the sites I have chosen there is something contrary within the landscape itself - maybe a rockslide, a fallen tree, erosion or some other disruption in an otherwise picturesque setting."
Saratoga Springs, NY-based French teacher and photographer Samantha Decker has put a little spin on the Then and Now photo series concept that has become quite a recent trend. Rather than holding up old photographs against a modern day scene to compare a snippet of the past to the present, she swapped things around.
In her series, entitled Now & Then: Seeing the Future from the Past, Decker gathered public domain photographs that matched images she already had in her collection. She then held up her own prints in front of the older locations to produce a combination of aged, old-fashioned images briefly interrupted by vivid, contemporary scenery.
Decker creates interesting juxtapositions of things that have completely matured, like a fully functional building that was once just scaffolding, as well as places like the Eiffel Tower, which have hardly changed across time. Decker explains, "It's interesting to look at a scene as if you were seeing the future from that moment. My hand is meant to be in the scene from the past, therefore I tinted or colored it for each photo to match the scene."