See Stunning Photos of Pompeii’s Wall Paintings and Mosaics, Now Compiled in a New Book

Featured image: The praedia of Julia Felix. Photo: Luigi Spina, courtesy of the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Life in Pompeii has long captured imagination since Mt. Vesuvius erupted nearly 2,000 years ago, coating the Italian city in ash and soot—yet, remarkably, not entirely destroying its striking art and architecture. A recently released book, sure to spark wanderlust, is now providing a behind-the-scenes look at the once vibrant metropolis.

In 2019, Italian photographer Luigi Spina was given unprecedented access to the ancient city by the Archeological Park of Pompeii, which commissioned him to photograph the World Heritage site. His work is now compiled in Inside Pompeii, published by the J. Paul Getty Museum.

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The 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Reveals the Most Magnificent Animal Behavior

Featured image: Sriram Murali, © the artist “Lights fantastic,” India

From the cliffs of the Zin Desert to the shallow waters of South Africa’s Kosi Bay, the 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest traverses the globe documenting the most striking moments of life on Earth. Laurent Ballesta, whose luminous underwater images we’ve featured previously, won the competition for the second time. Titled “The golden horseshoe,” the photo peers in on a tri-spine horseshoe crab crawling over the mud with a trio of small golden trevallies trailing behind with the hope that the crab will rustle up some food as it moves.

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In Drew Simms’s Short Film, Yellowstone National Park’s Gentle Giants Hunker Down in Subzero Temperatures

Rugged survivors of the Northern Great Plains, bison were nearly eliminated in the late 19th century due to overhunting. The creatures’ highly profitable, heavy wool hides were fashionable for jackets, and the U.S. government also sanctioned their slaughter as a way to compel Native Americans, who relied on the animals for sustenance, onto reservations. Still listed as a “near threatened” species and considered “ecologically extinct,” bison no longer play a role in prairie biodiversity. But their survival today is due in large part to dedicated, often Indigenous-led regeneration efforts across the plains.

Since prehistoric times, the only place where bison have lived continuously is in what is now Yellowstone National Park. The massive animals, which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds, develop a burly undercoat of coarse fur that protects them from the elements, keeping them warm and comfortable in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. On a week-long camping trip last winter, photographer Drew Simms captured families of bison, along with other critters who frequent the area, in the stunning short film “-37°F in Yellowstone National Park.”

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In the World’s Largest Cypress Forest, Surf Durrani Captures Atmospheric Autumnal Colors

A cardiologist by day, Surf Durrani ventures around the world with his camera in his spare time, drawn to lush scenery and magnificent vistas. “I find the natural world profoundly beautiful and spiritually moving,” he tells Colossal. “In nature, I see art forms everywhere that are emotionally very satisfying for me.” One recent series takes us on an atmospheric journey through the Big Cypress Bayou at the edge of Caddo Lake in eastern Texas—part of the largest cypress forest in the world—reveling in the unique effect of the trees as they transform into autumnal shades of orange and yellow, draped ethereally in moss.

Drawn to the region last year after he saw photos of the area, Durrani decided to make the trip to Texas from his home in Northern Virginia. “I am blown away by the beauty of the cypress forest in the swamp draped with the Spanish moss and egrets and herons living in their magical, hidden little corner in Texas,” he says. “There is a two-week period in November when the colors come alive, and the lake becomes magical.”

Featured image: “Secret Rendezvous” © Surf Durrani

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Close-Up Photographer of the Year Showcases Mindboggling Macro Images of the Natural World

Now in its fifth year, Close-up Photographer of the Year drew nearly 12,000 remarkable entries from photographers in 67 countries who explore macro marvels of the natural world. From a roly-poly isopod in Austria to sunlit lily pads in an atmospheric Mexican cenote, this year’s images portray a vast array of flora and fauna in incredible detail. Eleven categories ranging from animals and insects to underwater and intimate landscapes welcomed submissions that focus on a breadth of amazing scenes.

Featured image: Manfred Auer, “Orange Isopod.” Invertebrate Portrait 2nd Place. “I captured this shot during my early days as a macro photographer back in April. Just three months after getting my Olympus camera, I stumbled upon this incredible isopod in the woods behind my house in the beautiful south of Austria. This image is a result of merging 91 individual shots with varying focus points.”

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Snow and Ice Seizes Barren Landscapes in an Entrancing Timelapse Filmed Across Five Winters

Like the seasons themselves, Jamie Scott’s elegantly shot films spotlighting spring and fall are much more vibrant and full of vitality than his newly released “Winter.” Five years in the making, the latter timelapse documents the icy seizure of plants, leaves, and terrain across New York State and Montréal. Glimmering, white snow quickly overwhelms the frigid, barren scenes, causing pine branches to droop and frost to form on every possible surface from cobwebs to waterfalls.

As entrancing as previous seasons, “Winter” zooms from wide, aerial shots to macro frames highlighting the unique patterns of individual snowflakes. Scott explains that this film was the hardest to create, in part, because of the changing climate.

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Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Time-Traveling Lens

LONDON — The first image at the Hayward Gallery’s show of work by Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto is a pair of upright apes walking through a volcanic landscape. For just a brief moment, I wondered if the artist had traveled back in time somehow. The figures stand with mouths agape in the savannah, as if taking in the odd reality of earth a few million years ago, and I felt transported back to those early moments of human-like consciousness.

Titled “Earliest Human Relatives,” the photo is one of about a dozen portraying dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History and other museums. Sugimoto used a large format camera to take 20-minute exposures. By capturing textures and tones he makes these frozen statues feel alive. In “Manatee,” a manatee child and its parent swim just beneath the surface of the water, while in “Alaskan Wolves,” I can feel the desolate call of the wilderness for a pack of seven staring out into the snow.

Featured image: Hiroshi Sugimoto, “Kenosha Theater, Kenosha” (2015), gelatin silver print

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Hot! How a Backyard Photographer Captured Some of the Most Detailed Images of the Sun

For much of the past decade, Andrew McCarthy has been exploring the universe—albeit from his backyard in Arizona.

Using telescopes with specialized filters, planetary cameras, and astro-specific software, he captures the happenings of universe in all their beguiling and beautiful details. McCarthy has photographed the passage of the International Space Station, the crimson glow of nebulae, the glint of asteroids, and the pockmarked face of the moon.

“I impulsively bought a telescope after fondly remembering looking through my father’s telescope as a child,” McCarthy said. “One look at the planets through the eyepiece and I was hooked. I became obsessed with trying to share what I was seeing with the world.”

One subject McCarthy keeps sharing is the sun.

Featured: An image of the sun taken from McCarthy’s backyard. Image: courtesy Andrew McCarthy.

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NYC Show Puts the Lens on Pet Photography

Anyone who has spent a minimum of two minutes with me would know that animals are the light of my life, and the current exhibition at Fotografiska in Manhattan has only added fuel to that fire. Best in Show: Pets in Contemporary Photography is a celebration of our unbreakable bond with our domesticated fuzzy, feathery, and scaly friends that perforates humanity’s delineation from the natural world. Both irrational love and endless humor, the hallmarks of life with pets, are rife throughout the exhibition on view at the museum through January.

The included works encapsulated a wide variety of heartwarming perspectives toward pet ownership — if one could even call it that, considering how well our little buddies have us trained, too. Best in Show highlights 25 artists from dog-lover William Wegman and his delightful Weimaraners to Thai photographer Visarute Angkatavanich, known for his exceptional fish photography, showcasing the myriad domesticated animals we choose for company and care.

Featured Image: Elliott Erwitt’s photograph of a pup in the air, France, 1989 (© Elliott Erwitt and Magnum Photos, courtesy Fotografiska)

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romain veillon captures abandoned places reclaimed by nature in the absence of humanity

In his latest release, Green Urbex 2, French photographer Romain Veillon invites us to ponder an intriguing question: What would the earth look like if humans suddenly disappeared? In this second book of the series, Veillon takes us on a visual journey, offering a glimpse into a world where abandoned places across the globe are slowly but surely reclaimed by nature.

Through a collection of striking photographs, Veillon showcases the relentless forces of decay as they gradually consume human-made structures, from castles and houses, to churches and factories. His lens reveals how these once-vibrant spaces succumb to deterioration and become enveloped by the unstoppable forces of the natural world.

Featured Image by Romain Veillon

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