Though their components are natural, these are not photos of unusually beautiful flowers. This collection is fine art photographer Seb Janiak’s latest project, in which he has manipulated photographs of insect wings to look like blooming flowers. The series, entitled Mimesis, was created without digital manipulation. Using no special effects, the artist utilized analog photography in combination with superimposition and photomontage to create the layered and hypnotic insect flowers.
Paris-based Janiak has explored a remarkably diverse range of subject matter and techniques within the photographic medium throughout his 25-year career. His works aim to maintain the integrity of the medium, while embracing the possibilities that come with technological innovation. Mimesis, Greek for imitation, explores the concept of mimicry that is seen in the natural world; this is a strategy that involves species undergoing morphological and physiological changes as a means of survival. Mimicry is a situation where one species (the mimic) adopts traits of another (the model) as protection from predation. The mechanism is random and subject to natural selection, it is not a conscious or rational effort of the species but an adaptive, evolutionary tool to survive by tricking your predators.
Janiak’s works are always thought-provoking, with larger than life subject matter and concept range.
Above: Mimesis - Precognitus Christium, 2014 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
Mimesis - Fecunditatis, 2014 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
Mimesis - Iridis ishtarae, 2012 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
Mimesis - Lacus Luxuriae, 2014 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
Mimesis - Lubhyati Solitudinis, 2014 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
Mimesis - Lubon Tranquillitatis, 2014 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
Mimesis - Precognitus Christium, 2014 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
Mimesis - Ornithogale Venusiaïs, 2012 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
Mimesis - Turritopsis Neptunus, 2012 Chromogenic print Format 180 x 180 cm (70,9 x 70,9 in)
A bizarre meteorological event hit the coast of New South Wales, Australia over the weekend. Dubbed a "cloud tsunami" on Twitter, this massive wave in the sky measured several kilometers long and swept over the city of Sydney, bringing with it powerful thunderstorms, heavy rains, and forceful winds that required the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to issue a warning for the surrounding area.
The massive formation is actually called a shelf cloud, composed of arcus clouds. The shelf cloud is typically the leading edge of a thunderstorm, attached to the base of the parent cloud that contains the storm. The strange wave-like appearance is caused by the cool sinking air from the storm’s downdraft spreading out over the land, meeting the warm air being drawn into the storm’s updraft.
The apocalyptic impression of this "cloud tsunami" caused quite a flurry on social media, along with the weather upset that it brought to Sydney. Check out some of the shots snapped of the extraordinary incoming storm, below.
Artist Steffan Dam produces fantastical and intricately-crafted specimens that look as though they exist in the real world. Suspended in glass jars and on plates, their forms mimic well-known creatures of the sea and budding plants. Although Dam’s work is based in imagination, his skills as a craftsman—including glass blowing, casting, and grinding—produce a hyperrealistic appearance that fools us into thinking these specimens have been captured alive and in mid-movement.
Dam calls his creations Cabinets of Curiosities, which references the encyclopedic collections that were precursors to museums. Here, the artist uses a similar layout and visual aesthetic to trace the fictitious evolutionary paths of his imaginary beings.
To illuminate these pieces, Dam displays the cylinders or plates in light boxes, allowing all of their small details to shine, like the glistening bubbles and the gentle billowing of translucent skin. Each one provides an exquisite way to view these whimsical wonders.
Photo credit: Christopher Jobson for Colossal / SOFA Expo Chicago
Photographer Phil Penman uses his camera to document the dynamic energy, delightfully wacky inhabitants, and vibrant spirit of New York City. Shooting primarily in black and white, he captures a fantastic mix of playful portraits and atmospheric street scenes that illuminate everyday moments in a metropolis that has captured the imaginations of creatives for centuries. From astronauts on the crosswalk, to young skaters shredding on high rooftops, to 30-foot-tall statues lying sideways on the back of a truck, Penman's subjects prove there's never a dull moment in the Big Apple.
Penman, who hails from Dorset, England, now calls New York his home. There, he has photographed celebrities, shot assignments for a variety of publications such as People and USA Today, and covered some of the biggest entertainment and national news stories, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
A selection of Penman's NYC photos is currently on display in a solo show at the Leica Store New York Soho—a huge honor for the photographer, who says he's been using Leica's legendary cameras for years. The exhibition will run through December 5. We were lucky enough to ask Penman a few questions. Scroll down to read our exclusive interview.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got into photography?
I started my career in photography at 15 after having been given my first camera and light meter by my father (also a photographer). From there, I went on to to study at the Berkshire College of Art and Design in Reading, where I received my Higher National Diploma in photography. Straight out of college, I started work as chief photographer at a local newspaper, where I had to learn to deal with all matter of situations.
I then moved on to working at a news agency whilst also running their public relations division. At 21, I scored a big client in Microsoft and ended up doing all their corporate work as well as working on various advertising campaigns for various other high-profile companies.
My desire was always to live in the USA, so after working a doorstep job in the UK, a fellow photographer mentioned I should call his friends who had jobs in Los Angeles, and the rest is history. Did the LA thing for a while before getting the opportunity to move to New York, where I have been working ever since.
My work varies from having to photograph convicted killers in the middle of nowhere in Brazil to drinking cups of tea with Christopher Reeve inside his home. I cannot say my life is boring by any stretch of the imagination.
What's the best part of being a photographer in NYC? Is there anything about the city that really excites your photographic and artistic vision?
As a photographer, you really cannot go wrong with New York. There is always something going on. It's hard not to say it has not changed, with the ever-growing drones glued to their phones rather than looking at what is going on around them. However, in the shadows and darkest corners, there is more than enough to keep me occupied. Riding around, you never know what you are going to see. One minute you are drinking a coffee and the next a guy in a space suit walks past you.
When you hit the streets, what are you looking for in a photo, and how do you capture it in that single instant?
Every morning, I head out the door armed with my Leica M and bike, and all I ever hope for is to come home with just one image I'm proud of. I'm drawn to those individuals who are not trying to be cool or would even think they are, but just have great character and style. A lot of people are stunned when I want to do their portraits and cannot understand why I would care about them, but that's exactly why I do. I feel like in this world, when everyone seems to be so into themselves, taking daily selfies, etc., I’m looking for those people who don’t.
Do you have any influences or inspirations when it comes to street photography?
Arnold Newman, for me, is "the man" when it comes to portrait photography—simple and to the point.
Also, Sebastian Salgado for his early reportage work. I recently went to a talk he was giving and sat through a slideshow. I just sat in amazement at just how good he is. A friend of mine commented, "Why bother when you see work that good?" For me, it was the complete opposite—I was so inspired to get out and shoot even more.
Others photographers include Martin Parr and Richard Avedon. Also, I like the work of artists Jackson Pollack and Piet Mondrian. I once saw a piece by Mondrian in the Guggenheim and was blown away.
What does this Leica store show mean to you?
If you had said I would be having a show at Leica in New York, a few years ago I would have said you are completely out of your mind. The Leica name has a special meaning with photographers, so to be associated with that name means a lot to me. I've been using Leica cameras for a few years now. I had been largely using another camera system on jobs before a client asked me why a particular image looked so much sharper than the other. I quickly panicked and realized that if the client could spot the image taken with the Leica, then I would need to be using my Leica for everything. Now, on all my portrait shoots, I use my Leica. There has always been something so nice about the simplicity of the camera. I shoot fully manual and there is a freedom it gives you to try new things that you might not have thought about when shooting with a fully automatic camera. The brain can get lazy that way.
19-year-old artist Carrah Aldridge doesn't like to let leftover Starbucks cups go to waste. Instead, she prefers to use her empty drink containers as a canvas for her colorful designs. After she discovered fellow artist Kristina Webb's cup-based art, Aldridge was inspired to use her Sharpies, white gel pens, and Copic markers in a similar fashion. In addition to filling the blank, empty spaces of the cup with her eye-catching designs, Aldridge also adds her own unique flair to creatively transform the signature Starbucks siren.
Since the coffee company does produce seasonal beverages and cups, Aldridge allows these changes to influence her work. For autumn, she incorporated leaves, bats, and pumpkins—all in varying shades of orange. For winter, the artist allows all things icy to serve as her muse, covering the normally green and white cup in blue and white motifs. By the time Aldridge is done with her design, no one cup looks like its former self. They shine and sparkle in new and exciting ways.