Billions of Fireflies Light Up an Indian Wildlife Reserve in Rare Footage Captured by Sriram Murali

In many parts of the world, a warm summer evening sets the stage for a familiar sight: the lightning bug. Through a phenomenon called bioluminescence, these winged beetles generate chemical reactions in a part of their abdomen known as the lantern to produce flickers of light. Of more than 2,000 species found throughout the world, only a handful coordinate their flashes into patterns and are known as synchronous fireflies. Filmmaker Sriram Murali captured a rare gathering of billions of these insects at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in western Tamil Nadu, India.

Through a combination of moving image and time-lapse photography, Murali recorded countless specimens amidst the trees as they produce glowing pulses, which relay across the forest in expansive, wave-like signals. The color, brightness, and length of the light emitted is specific to each species, and as a part of the insects’ mating display, it helps males and females to recognize one another. Darkness is a necessary ingredient in the success of this ritual.

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Over 100 Young Crocodiles Find Refuge on Their Father’s Back in India’s Chambal River

Image © Dhritiman Mukherjee

The gharial, a large crocodile with a distinctive bulge on its snout, is critically endangered in the wild, with researchers counting only a few hundred individuals in 2017. Living primarily in the rivers of Nepal and India, the scaly reptiles saw a rapid decline since the 1930s due to overfishing and loss of habitats from sand mining and dams, and biologists estimate the population has dwindled to only two percent. Thanks to the National Chambal Sanctuary, though, which is home to a substantial group of gharial, the species is growing.

Photographer and conservationist Dhritiman Mukherjee visited the enclave southeast of New Dehli a few years ago where he captured striking images of a father swimming through the murky river with more than 100 young clinging to his back. Measuring 16 to 17 feet long, the male likely was carrying the offspring from 7 to 8 female gharials, which lay anywhere from 20 to 95 eggs each year. 

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Atmospheric Compositions

Dina Furrer is a Dutch photographer and visual artist based in Tilburg. Her varied portfolio largely comprises still lifes and landscapes; richly detailed works show bold experimentation with colour. Inspiration comes from within the artist herself as well as nature and everyday life. She recently participated in the exhibition H2O / Water at Galerie TON, Rucphen; past fairs include Art Eindhoven and EuropArtFair.

A: In Issue 105 of Aesthetica, we feature Blue Bird. What is the inspiration behind this piece?
The idea came out of the blue. While creating this work I was inspired by an interesting combination of exotic from a documentary I watched plus blue light I’d seen somewhere that day. Also, I was in a peaceful mood and I think you can feel it when looking at the artwork.

A: What was the process behind the creation of Blue Bird and how did it differ from works such as Snowstorm and Gold Explosion?
It was indeed very different. I was in a different point of my life with new interests. You can see it not only in the change of colours, but also the whole way of imagining the composition was something completely different.

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Bathed in Ultraviolet Light, Single Flowers Glow with Radiant, Saturated Color

Image © Debora Lombardi, Italy, Shortlist, Professional competition, Wildlife & Nature, Sony World Photography Awards 2022

In Between Art and ScienceDebora Lombardi harnesses the creative potential of ultraviolet light. The Italy-based designer and photographer splashes single flowers with the radiation, unveiling an entire spectrum of colors otherwise invisible to the human eye: saturated purple and blue tones delineate the veins in a leaf and yellows add a neon-like glow to stamen rich with pollen, transforming the blooms into otherworldly specimens.

“I started experimenting with this technique in the darkness of my studio during the lockdown of March 2020, making it my main outlet in that equally dark period,” Lombardi tells World Photography Organization, which named the series a finalist in this year’s awards. “My experimentation then continued throughout 2021, making improvements and customizations, and this series represents an excerpt.”

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How I Made This: Jubilee’s Pixel Art

Forget the low-res Mario of the 16-bit era, or the first renderings of Pokémon from the early chapters of that 25-year-old franchise. Today, pixel art (dotto kei in Japanese), the staple of indie video games, has gone far beyond gaming. Thanks to Tumblr and its more successful cousins, Instagram and Twitter, pixel art is a fully legitimate genre for digital artists.

One such pixel enthusiast is Pacific Northwest-based artist Jubilee, who goes professionally by her first name only. Though she’s best known for her serene landscapes, their clouds reflecting magical sunsets and moonlight, I came to her work through her Instagrammed “tea studies,” artworks depicting beverages in mugs, cups, or tumblers. “I honestly started [making them] because I saw the original photographs online, and thought they just felt so warm,” says Jubilee, with whom I spoke recently by phone. “I really like making people feel things whenever they look at my art.”

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In the Frigid Morning Air, a Singing Red-Wing Blackbird Blows Impressive Rings

Image © Kathrin Swoboda

Photographer Kathrin Swoboda frequents Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria in search of red-wing blackbirds as they sing. On a cold morning back in 2019, she captured the conspicuous avians mid-tune, an activity that produced what appears to be smoke rings emanating from their beaks. The frigid temperatures make the hazy formations of condensation visible, and the serendipitous shot won the top prize in that year’s Audubon Photography Awards.

Prints of the breathy birds, in addition to more of Swoboda’s wildlife images, are available on her site, and she also has a few works on view at Torpedo Factory Art Center and the Vienna Community Center in Virginia. Follow her outdoor adventures on Instagram. (via Women’s Art)

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Galerie Michèle Schoonjans : Danielle Kwaaitaal : Still Water

Florilegium P52 © Danielle Kwaaitaal -Courtesy Galerie Michèle Schoonjans

Photographer Danielle Kwaaitaal (b. 1964 in Bussum near Amsterdam) graduated successively from the Bijenveld Fashion Academy in Amsterdam (1987) and from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Amsterdam (1991). During her studies she discovered the possibilities of digital editing when she was allowed to work with the very expensive Paintbox during an internship. This was a powerful graphics workstation developed in 1981 for editing television video and graphics, with an initial price tag of around €600,000 (in today’s terms). Needless to say, Photoshop (which was only first commercialised about 1990) was not really a competitor at the time. Kwaaitaal was a pioneer, and her graduation project Bodyscapes was awarded and purchased by the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Sensuality is the second constant in Danielle Kwaaitaal’s work, or should we say sensuality and the femininity? In Bodyscapes eg, she created landscapes by assembling images of her own skin. Soon she adds the third constant, water: in Bubbling from 1994, she submerges bodies under water, and photographs details with the air bubbles.

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Exploratory Techniques

Exploratory Techniques

German artist Natalie Truchsess has an extensive background in analogue documentary,  landscape and portrait  photography. In her current work she uses abstract photographs to explore the depiction of the subliminal, the unspeakable and the ephemeral.

A: In Issue 105 of Aesthetica, we feature a piece from the Metamorphose series. What is the process behind the work?
It is a new approach to documentary photography that visualizes hidden parts of reality. This might sound strange at first, because my abstract photos don’t have much to do with the kind of documentary photography that some people may be familiar with.

I follow the same approach as in conventional documentary photography: I encounter a certain situation and then I photograph it without changing it. The crucial difference is the technique I use to capture the moment. I call it RCM (Remodel by Camera Movement) because I move the camera so fast during the shot that the contours of the photographed motifs dissolve, creating new images.

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Curating Reality

When the pioneer of street photography Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) coined the idea of the “decisive moment” – that split second when the psychological dimensions of an urban scene are relayed perfectly through its visual appearance, and the artist must rush to respond – he was unaware of how digital technology would transform his medium. With post-facto editing and instant high-quality shots achievable on most smartphones, pursuing that one, perfect instant is more accessible than ever before.

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Ice Crystallizes Into Radial Stars in a Hypnotic Short Film Directed by Thomas Blanchard

Peering through a macro lens, French video artist Thomas Blanchard has cultivated the ability to transform common scientific occurances into mesmerizing, and often otherworldly, tableaus. His recent project is a collaboration with musician Sébastien Guérive, whose quiet, beat-heavy track “Bellatrix” overlays Blanchard’s experimental film.

Shot in 8K against a black backdrop, the video documents a chemical dropped into hot water and then subsequently cooled.

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