Life in Space as Azuma Makoto Captures Flowers in the Cosmos

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Japanese artist Azuma Makoto is taking his work to new heights, literally. His art project, titled Exobiotanica, pits plants high above their home, bursting in color and beauty against the backdrop of a glistening planet Earth and the infinities of space that surrounds it. The project is simple in concept, visually beautiful in execution, and says volumes about the planet we’ve come to inherit.

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Working out of Black Rock Desert, Nevada and alongside JP Aerospace, Makoto sent organic life to the borders of space, suspended by balloon. Bonsai trees, orchids, lilies, and other fauna or flora were subject to altitudes exceeding 30,000 meters and minus 50 degrees celsius. To the artist, exposing organic land-locked material beyond the confines of their earthly home transformed them into “exobiotanica,” or rather, extraterrestrial plant life.

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While Makoto’s intent is neat and its results hold true, I believe that there’s more being said here than simply sending life where there isn’t any. Jonathan Jones wrote on the Guardian, “these images dramatize the startling nature of planet Earth itself.” Makoto’s photographs beautifully put forth the mystery of life on Earth—something to be treasured, once realized.

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The fact of the matter is that our home, planet Earth, is the only known place in the entire universe to harbor life. We don’t know of any other planet that is alive as ours is. The richness of Earth’s organic matter is gorgeously apparent in Makoto’s arrangements, the brightly-colored flowers serve in stark contrast against the darkness of space that surrounds them.

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In talking about the importance of Makoto’s project, Jones references William Anders’ iconic photograph, Earthrise. Shot aboard Apollo 8 in 1968, the photograph was the first color image to look back upon ourselves from the outside. It has been declared “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken,” and helped spark the environmental movement. To me, this reference couldn’t be any more apt, as Makoto’s project entertains the same sentiment in aiding our appreciation for existing in a lifeless universe.

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While Makoto’s work might not be as historic as Earthrise, it’s certainly no less thought evoking. Projects such as these remind us that life on our planet is intertwined—Earth acting no more than a spaceship, nurturing its lively passengers. This concept has inherently been apart of our understanding for years, as demonstrated in the great landscapes of art’s past, such as Hokusai’s 35 views of Mount Fuji, which portrays the interlinking of sky and Earth.

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If you’re having a bad day or just want to feel enlightened, then look to pieces like Makoto’s Exobiotanica, Earthrise, or even Hokusai. You’ll quickly cherish the importance of this very special planet we’ve come to inhabit—it’s the only one orbiting amongst a vast sea of stars that’s bearing life and all its beautiful intricacies. Revel in the fact that you live here and are a part of it.

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Nick Partyka

July 29, 2014 / By

Photographer Sean Mundy Mixes Symbolisim and Surrealisim To Excellent Effect

Sean Mundy

Canadian photographer Sean Mundy may only be 22 but boy can he take photographs! A native of Montreal, Mundy’s work draws heavily from iconography, symbolism and the surreal. There’s something cinematic in his images and I love that they all seem to tell a story, even if the story is one we don’t quite understand.

Sean Mundy

Mundy utilizes digital art to construct his work yet this never comes across as showy or heavy-handed. His digital trickery only serves the work and the images he constructs. Instead of offering one answer to the meaning behind his photographs, Mundy prefers to leave his images open to interpretation; he allows for the viewer to add their own meaning to this work.

Sean Mundy

Sean Mundy

For me it’s the simplicity and the elegance in his imagery that I love and I think many of his photographs have a fantastically macabre tone. You can see more from Mundy on his Tumblr.

Philip Kennedy

July 28, 2014 / By

Delaney Allen Photographs Nature in Odd and Abstract Ways

Delaney Allen Photograph

Delaney Allen has a special eye for photography. In particular, it’s his ability to photograph nature that really stands out to me. Instead of photographing, I dunno, leaves or a random sunset, he captures unnatural looking natural phenomenons. The image above is a great example, seeing clouds that have been transformed by a ring of light and colors.

Delaney Allen Photograph

Delaney Allen Photograph

Delaney Allen Photograph

Delaney Allen Photograph

Delaney Allen Photograph

Delaney Allen Photograph

What else makes his work special is the sheer breadth of his work. I culled together all of these images and there are about 50 more on his website of equal merit. He’s always finding beautiful scenes and photographing them, wherever he goes.

Take a look at more his work by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

July 24, 2014 / By

Beauty and Destruction in Heather Rasmussen’s ‘Untitled (after the fire)’

Untitled (after the fire) by Heather Rasmussen

I find the image above to be hugely arresting. Taken from a series by photographer Heather Rasmussen called Untitled (after the fire), the image depicts what remains of a doorway after a house fire. As a viewer, I feel somewhat removed from the incident; initially simply drawn to the formal qualities of the work, and yet I’m also struck by the destruction it depicts and haunted by the reflective quality that shines through it.

Untitled (after the fire) by Heather Rasmussen

For Rasmussen the photographs obviously take on a much deeper meaning. She says that the fire caused her to take a look at her life and her possessions. For her, the fire was a moment to step back and decide what was important in her life and to also re-evaluate what comfort and home meant to her. “Through photographing the damaged areas” she says, “I have allowed myself to see what was there before the flames”.

Untitled (after the fire) by Heather Rasmussen

Untitled (after the fire) by Heather Rasmussen

It’s quite a touching and reflective series and I feel it should act as a prompt for others to take a little moment to appreciate the things that they do have in life and to appreciate what home and comfort means to them.

More images from this series and other works can be viewed on Rasmussen’s website.

Philip Kennedy

July 23, 2014 / By

Magical Fashion Photography by Oleg Oprisco

Oleg Oprisco

I can’t say that I know much about Oleg Oprisco other then that facts that he works in Kiev and that his photos blow my mind. To me his work seem like a really beautiful blend of fashion and conceptual photography. There’s an obvious beauty to each of them but there’s also a ton of work that went into each image to make it happen. Whether it’s an immense crown of flowers adorning a woman’s head or a woman lighting a box of oversized matches, each of these scenarios must have taken a lot of time and effort to create.

Oleg Oprisco

Oleg Oprisco

Oleg Oprisco

Oleg Oprisco

Oleg Oprisco

Oleg Oprisco

Oleg Oprisco

See more of Oleg’s incredible photos by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

July 22, 2014 / By

Ken Hermann’s ‘Flower Man’ Photo Series

Ken Hermann's 'Flower Man' Photo Series

Copenhagen based photographer Ken Hermann recently completed a photo series titled Flower Man that showcases the merchants from the Mallick Ghat flower market. I love these portraits because they’re able to capture the range of people that sell at the market, much like the numerous blossoms sold there. I think the technique of fading out the background to bring the subject more into focus is a nice touch as well.

Check out the whole series of photos by clicking here.

Ken Hermann's 'Flower Man' Photo Series

Ken Hermann's 'Flower Man' Photo Series

Bobby Solomon

July 18, 2014 / By

Fat & Furious Burger Elevates Hamburgers Into Works of Art

Fat & Furious Burger

It’s a matter of fact that my favorite meal is the hamburger. There’s something so perfect about the combination of beef, cheese, and produce all wrapped up in a pair of fresh buns. Thankfully the folks at Fat & Furious Burger feels the same way, turning hamburgers into these fantastic works of food art. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many different kinds of burgers ever, and you’ve probably seen nothing quite like these. These burgers are themed around all sorts of pop culture topics like soccer, outer space, birthdays, James Bond, all sorts of crazy stuff.

A lot of the time they even include the ingredients to their burgers, like the Burger Blanc sur Fond Blanc below, which includes a chicken breast filet, roasted camembert, honey, white onions marinated in vinegar, endive, and mushrooms. It might be a little intimidating looking but I’d certainly be up for the challenge.

Fat & Furious Burger

Fat & Furious Burger

Bobby Solomon

July 17, 2014 / By

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