Tag Archives: photography

Wendy Red Star – Telling It Like It Is Now

Wendy Red Star in “Winter Thesis” (Photo by Kaelan Burkett)

Attending public school in Montana, Wendy Red Star didn’t learn anything about her indigenous Apsáalooke (Crow) history.  She was taught the usual curriculum of European arrival in the Western Hemisphere, western expansion of White settlers, cowboys-and-Indians tales, etc.  But, as has been common in U.S. history, she and her fellow Crow students saw nothing – nothing positive, for the most part – their people’s presence in what is now the state of Montana.  Years ago, however, she became determined to change that and began researching her people’s history on her own.

Today, the multi-media artist is working to ensure future generations of Crow students – and all American pupils, for that matter – aren’t slighted in the same way.  Mixing her indigenous history with humor and personal research, Red Star creates images of Native American peoples from the past and in the present to help everyone understand they aren’t just school mascots or figures from old black-and-white photographs.

Her latest creation, Apsáalooke: Children of the Large-Beaked Bird, is being exhibited at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCa), which is bringing her work to children.

“I think it would be really wonderful to present that history to children because when I grew up,” Red Star said in a recent interview, “I attended public school in Hardin, which is a town that’s surrounded by the Crow reservation and once was part of the Crow reservation.  We never talked about anything having to do with Crow history, even though the student population was a mix of Crow kids and white rancher kids.  So, to me, it’s always been a fantasy to have that history presented in some way.  Then we tried to figure out a way to best engage that age demographic, for the exhibition.”

Righting wrongs and addressing past grievances has never been easy.  But it’s something that has to be done.

The exhibition runs through the spring of 2021.

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Photo of the Week – August 1, 2020

Since 2014, wildlife filmmaker and photographer Mithun H has searched for Saya, a black panther that’s been eluding his admirers in the Kabini Forest in India for years.  After camping out in the area for six days recently, the photographer captured an image of Saya, alongside his leopard companion, Cleopatra.

Mithun H notes that the couple has been together for four years and has an feline atypical relationship.  “Usually in the courting pairs generally it is the male who takes charge and moves around with the female following close behind.  But with this couple, it was definitely Cleo who was in charge while the panther followed,” he wrote on Instagram.

Mithun H has previously worked with National Geographic Wild on The Real Black Panther, which follows Saya’s life.

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The Historical Goes Digital

Digitalization isn’t all bad.  It’s helping to preserve a variety of aging documents.  And since the late 1970s, digitalization has created an almost entirely new form of art.  Dutch photographer Bas Uterwijk certainly realized this when he used a generative adversarial network (GAN) to create realistic portraits of some of the world’s most renowned personalities.  He’s taken some incredibly detailed portraits and transformed them into equally incredible images of what these people may have looked if photographed.  The results are stunning.

Vincent van Gogh

Queen Elizabeth I

Michelangelo’s David

Statue of Liberty

Napoleon Bonaparte


Jesus Christ

George Washington

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Rays of Pink

The oceans and seas remain one of the most mysterious realms on Earth.  We still know more about the surface of our moon – and perhaps the surface of Mars – than what all lies beneath the world’s deepest waters.

Recently Australian photographer Kristian Laine took pictures of a truly remarkable submarine creature: the world’s only documented pink manta ray.  Spanning about 11 feet and nicknamed Inspector Clouseau, after The Pink Panther, the animal lives near Lady Elliot Island, which is part of the Great Barrier Reef.

“I had no idea there were pink mantas in the world, so I was confused and thought my strobes were broken or doing something weird,” Laine told National Geographic.

Project Manta, established to study and preserve the creatures within Australian waters, discovered Clouseau in 2015.  Organization officials were able to conduct a skin biopsy on the animal and determine its unique coloration is not due to disease or its diet; rather, it’s the result of a genetic mutation called erythrism, which causes reddening in melanin expressions.  Most manta rays are black, white, or a combination of the two.

This is individual, however, is unbelievably astounding and proves just how fascinating our own planet really is!

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Lunar Souls

Artist, writer, photographer and fellow blogger Art Browne has a unique – and sometimes twisted – view of our universe.  Which is why I know, without a doubt, that he is my long-lost twin brother!  When not tormenting spiders or ridiculing helpless cats on his blog, “Pouring My Art Out”, Brother Art captures some truly fascinating visions of the natural world.  In a recent series of simple cell phone shots, he photographed the moon in various stages and from various angles over San Diego, California.  A few of them are presented below.

I have to concede these lunar photos make me feel incredibly sentimental.  Every time I look up at the sky and see that glorious moon, I – sniff – always get homesick.

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In Memoriam – Robert Frank, 1924-2019

“The eye should learn to listen before it looks.”

Robert Frank

Charleston, South Carolina, 1955
14th Street White Tower – New York City, 1948
Mary with Pablo and Andrea, 1950s
Mr. and Mrs. Feiertag, Late Afternoon, 1951
Couple – Paris, 1952
Welsh miners, 1953
Fourth of July – Jay, New York, 1954
Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1955
Funeral – St. Helena, South Carolina, 1955
Movie premiere – Los Angeles, 1955
Trolley – New Orleans, 1955
Drug store – Detroit, 1955
Rodeo – New York City, 1955
Indianapolis, 1956
San Francisco, 1956
Daytona Beach, Florida, 1958

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On Wings and Light

Hummingbirds occupy that rare place where tenacity, beauty, grace and mysticism collaborate to create something extraordinary.  Australian photographer Christian Spencer has used his camera to capture all of that in a new manner.  A longtime resident of Brazil’s Itatiaia National Park for nearly two decades, Spencer has photographed many of the region’s natural wonders, including hummingbirds.  Recently, he discovered a unique way to combine his love for the birds with sunlight.  In a series entitled ‘Winged Prism’, Spencer photographed light filtered through the wings and tail of a black and white Jacobi hummingbird.  In a Photo Shoppe world, this is truly unique and breathtaking.

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Cloud Capture


This is one of the most intriguing displays of art in motion I’ve ever seen.  Dutch photographer Berndnaudt Smilde creates nimbus clouds indoors and then quickly snaps pictures of them.  Characterized by their low altitude and heavy volume, nimbus clouds are the type that produces precipitation.  The clouds Smilde creates hang low, but fortunately, don’t bear any rain or snow.

Smiled began displaying his work in a small gallery in Arnheim, the Netherlands in 2010, but last year moved into much larger spaces, including a castle and a 15th century church.

“Some things you just want to question for yourself and see if they can be done,” says Smilde.  “I imagined walking in a museum hall with just empty walls.  There was nothing to see except for a rain cloud hanging around in the room.”



Perhaps it’s only natural that Smilde would be fascinated with clouds.  Holland is beset with heavy cloud cover and frequent precipitation.  Moreover, Dutch art masters such as Rembrandt van Rijn and Aelbert Cuyp, created some spectacular cloud-covered landscapes in their paintings.

“My grandparents had one with really threatening-looking clouds,” says Smilde.  “I remember I was intrigued by the power of it.  I couldn’t really grasp what it was, but there was something big, magical and dark about to happen in that painting.  I wanted to create the idea of a typical Dutch rain cloud inside a space.”

That took some ingenuity and plenty of research.  He encountered a substance called aerogel, also known as “frozen smoke,” which is 99.8% air.  It’s the lightest solid material on Earth.  Fascinated with its resemblance to clouds, Smilde began experimenting with it.  Using various temperature controls, moisture and backlighting, he eventually achieved a true nimbus cloud effect.  Since the cloud creations don’t last long, Smilde can’t display them except in photographs.  He has only conducted three live demonstrations.



Like many visual artists, Smilde views his work through its transitory nature.  “It’s there for a brief moment and the clouds fall apart.”

The Ronchini Gallery in London will open a month-long show of Smilde’s work on January 16.  The SFAC Gallery in San Francisco will feature an exhibition of his photographs from February 15 through April 27, 2013.

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