Photography Science

A Rare Encounter with the Elusive Giant Phantom Jellyfish Captures Its 33-Foot Billowing Limbs

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Back in August, we shared news of a previously undiscovered jellyfish so vibrant that its brilliant red body was a stark contrast to its deepwater environment. Now thanks to researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, we can add another similarly spectacular sighting to this year’s collection of rare deepsea finds. A remote-operated vehicle spotted the elusive giant phantom jellyfish in the midnight zone, an area of the ocean about 3,200 feet below the surface, in one of just nine of the team’s encounters with the species since it was discovered in 1899.

Footage and photos from the expedition unveil the crimson animal’s bulbous body and its four billowing, blanket-like arms (these function as mouths) that have the capability to stretch 33 feet out into the water and uncannily resemble a hat and scarf flying in the wind. Because sightings are so uncommon, researchers suspect that the huge jellyfish eats plankton and small fishes, although they haven’t been able to study it enough to know for sure. (via Peta Pixel)

 

 

 

 



Art

Parallel Fields of Color Align in Daniel Mullen's Precise Mathematical Paintings

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Future Monuments 10.” All images © Daniel Mullen, shared with permission

What are the visual impacts of converging planes of color? This question is central to Scottish artist Daniel Mullen’s most recent series of paintings, which displays stacks of thin, rectangular sheets in exacting, abstract structures. “I am looking more at Rothko’s body of work and studying the vibrations of color and the almost alchemic effect that his work has on the sense,” the Rotterdam-based artist tells Colossal.

Comprised of meticulous angles and lines on linen, the acrylic paintings are studies of precision, geometry, and perception, allowing each element to collide in a mathematically aligned composition. Mullen’s process involves measuring and taping the individual planes before laying the slight, translucent marks. “In this way, the work is built up slowly over time, incorporating irregularities, brush strokes, and bleeding paint into a work that breathes, floats, and expands through the energy of color,” he says, explaining further:

The forms might seem to reference glass panels or other architectural configurations but that is only the scaffolding for the viewer to locate themselves within. Beyond that initial shape is an attempt to move towards a perception of ekstasis; or the vibrant energy of the universe, imaginary and unmapped. One that questions the symbols of power and place in today’s fast-paced, heavily digitized environments.

The pieces shown here follow Mullen’s collaborative synesthesia series that translates non-visual senses to the canvas—he and artist Lucy Cordes Engelman will be working more on this concept during a residency in upstate New York early next year. You can follow updates to that body of work and explore more of his recent paintings on Instagram.

 

“Future Monuments 16”

“Synesthesia 85”

“Future Monuments 21”

“Synesthesia 64”

“Future Monuments 37”

“Future Monuments 43”

 

 



Photography

A Massive Composite of 150,000 Images Reveals the Swirling, Feather-Like Details of the Sun

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Andrew McCarthy, shared with permission

From dark spots and wispy flares to coronal loops that burst upward in brilliant arches, a giant new composite by Andrew McCarthy (previously) exposes the intricate, swirling patterns that cloak the sun’s surface. “Fire and Fusion” is a 300-megapixel image captured at 2 p.m. on November 29 and the Arizona-based photographer’s most detailed shot of the celestial matter yet. “Our star is a chaotic ball of plasma. Planet-sized streams of plasma snake up from the surface, dwarfed by looming prominences and filaments,” he says. “Blinding bursts of energy stem from areas of heightened magnetic activity, pushing and pulling on the solar surface and creating fascinating patterns in the atmosphere.”

Prints and full-resolution files of the extraordinarily detailed shot are available on McCarthy’s site and Patreon, and you can explore more of his astrophotography on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Celebrating Kenyan Culture, Bold Textile Patterns Disguise Subjects in Thandiwe Muriu's Portraits

December 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Thandiwe Muriu, shared with permission

What began as a simple appreciation of fabrics printed with vibrant geometries and hypnotic motifs has morphed into a stunning celebration of African culture. Thandiwe Muriu’s ongoing Camo series cloaks models in arresting garments that disguise them in textile surroundings, leaving just their hands and faces visible. “When I source fabrics, I look for something that I can look at and it almost feels alive,” she says. “Something bold, slightly confusing on the eyes, and less traditional. In my images, the fabric acts as the backdrop that I can celebrate my culture on. It is a bright, welcoming canvas that I can highlight what I love about my fellow Kenyan people.”

From the printed clothing to the subject’s accessories and hairstyles, each image is layered with references to the Nairobi-based photographer’s daily life and a sense of resourcefulness that permeates the local culture. Common items like bottle tops, mosquito coils, bicycle gears, straws, and cleaning brushes become elaborate eyewear or decorative additions to historical “architectural hairstyles that are being forgotten,” she tells Colossal. “Our natural hairstyles as Africans/Kenyans are one of the unique things about our beauty culture that I wouldn’t want to see lost, so I incorporate it into my work to spark conversation around traditional hairstyles and how we can wear them today.”

 

Muriu, who works in commercial advertising by day, shares that Camo is an ironic exploration into the relationship between personal and collective identities. The visually striking portraits are “commentary on how as individuals, we can lose ourselves to the expectations culture has on us, yet there are such unique and beautiful things about every individual,” Muriu says. “I wanted to celebrate everything I had struggled with in my own beauty journey—my hair, my skin, and my identity as a modern woman in a traditional culture.”

To see the complete collection, head to Muriu’s site and Instagram. You also might enjoy Cecilia Paredes’s self-portraits. (via Supersonic Art)

 

 

 



Art

Illuminated Dinosaurs Stalk Paris's Jardin des Plantes in a Spectacular Journey Through Time

December 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © China Light Festival B.V.& Sichuan Tianyu Culture Communication Co., Ltd, shared with permission

Trilobites, luminous flying raptors, and a T-Rex towering 27 meters above the ground are just a few of the otherworldly creatures currently haunting the grounds of the Jardin des Plantes. The massive organisms are the subjects of a fantastic exhibition now on view at the Paris venue that takes viewers on a spectacular journey of development and biodiversity through the ages.

Populated by hand-painted silk sculptures crafted by the Sichuan-based company China Lights, Evolution on a Path to Enlightenment opens about 3,700 million years ago with the Precambrian era’s marine creatures. The walkable, outdoor show then ventures into the early terrestrial environment of the Paleozoic period, greets the dinosaurs of the Jurassic and Cretaceous ages—this segment includes fanciful renditions of well-recognized creatures like the stegosaurs and velociraptor, all of which are based on research from paleontologists from the National Museum of National History—before closing with the birds and mammals that remain today.

Visit the botanical garden before January 30, 2022, to explore life 600 million years ago or take a virtual tour in the video below.

 

 

 



Photography

A New Book Captures Roger A. Deakins's Signature Cinematic Style Through Ironic Black-and-White Photos

December 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images are © Roger A. Deakins

Alongside his work with a host of renowned directors like the Coen brothers, Sam Mendes, and Denis Villeneuve, cinematographer Roger A. Deakins spent the last five decades quietly amassing a collection of photographs that capture his distinct sense of irony and wit. Now compiled in a monograph titled Byways, the black-and-white images traverse rural North Devon, the English coasts, and distant locales from 1971 onward, documenting Deakins’ surprising and idiosyncratic encounters with life across the world. Signed editions of the new book, which features a spate of previously unpublished images, are available now from Damiani. (via Juxtapoz)