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June 27th, 2013

PDN Video Pick: Mark Moffett Gets Up Close and Personal with Pollinators

Among a number of noteworthy photo projects screened at the 2013 Look3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month was “Pollinators,” a four-minute video featuring stunning macro images of insects and animals in the act of pollinating plants, by National Geographic contributor Mark Moffett. Part of the charm of the video is Moffett’s narration, which evokes the plodding soberness of nature documentaries of yore, and then takes a series of wry, tongue-in-cheek turns after about 90 seconds. (This video was provided courtesy of Look3 organizers, with Mark Moffett’s permission.)

February 15th, 2013

Ezra Shaw Named POYi Sports Photographer of the Year

Gabrielle Douglas on the beam at the 2012 Olympics in London. ©Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Gabrielle Douglas on the beam at the 2012 Olympics in London. ©Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw of Getty Images has been named Sports Photographer of the Year in the 70th annual Pictures of the Year International competition. His winning portfolio includes dramatic action and feature photos from a a wide range of sports: cycling, snow boarding, America’s Cup sailing, baseball, football, and the 2012 summer Olympics.

Quinn Rooney of Getty Images and freelancer Donald Miralle were first and second runners up, respectively, for Sports Photographer of the Year.

POYi jurors awarded first prize for Sports Editing to The New York Times, for a story titled “Their Golden Years,” a portrait-driven story about U.S. athletes who competed in the 1948 Olympics in London.

In other POYi developments, Swedish photographer Casper Hedberg won top prize in the Sports Picture Story category for a story about Afghanistan’s national sport, called buzkashi. The description accompanying Hedberg’s pictures says: “Every Friday, thousands of spectators goes to the fields north of Kabul to witness this grand spectacle in which hundreds of men on horseback [fight] for a dead calf or a carcass of a lamb…It’s crowded, sweaty and speedy.”

Judging for the POYi Reportage division began yesterday. Iwan Baan’s aerial photo of the blackout in lower Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy took first prize in the Science & Natural History category.

Other Reportage division categories will be judged through Sunday, culminating with the selection of Freelance Photographer of the Year. Judging for the Editing Division prizes begins Monday, February 18. The final round of judging–which is for the Multimedia Division prizes–begins February 22.

Here’s a re-cap of top winners for each category so far:

Newspaper Photographer of the Year: Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter, Sweden.
Spot News: Manu Brabo, AP
General News: Bernat Armangue, AP
Feature: Ng Han Guan, AP
Newspaper Picture Story: Kevin Sutherland, The Sunday Times, Johannesburg (unconfirmed)
Issue Reporting Picture Story: Liz O. Baylen, The Los Angeles Times
Feature Picture Story: Dave Weatherwax, The Herald, Jasper, Indiana
Campaign 2012: Carolyn Kaster, AP
Presidential Campaign 2012: Brian Snyder, Reuters
Campaign Picture Story: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images
Portrait: Daniel Ochoa de Olza, AP
Portrait Series: Oded Balilty, AP
Sports Action: Jessica Hill, AP
Recreational Sports: Jessica Rinaldi, freelance
Sports Feature: Mike Roemer, AP
Olympic Action: Alberto Pizzolo, AFP
Olympic Feature: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images

Related:

Paul Hansen of Dagens Nyheter Wins POYi Newspaper Photographer of the Year

Associated Press Wins Top Portrait Prizes at POYi

POYi Announces Campaign, Spot News, and Feature Category Winners

October 29th, 2012

PPE 2012: James Balog on Using Art to Alter Perception About the Environment

As the Northeast braces for Hurricane Sandy to make landfall this evening, with schools and offices—including PDN‘s—closed in preparation, it seems an appropriate time to recap photographer James Balog‘s keynote address this past Saturday at Photo Plus Conference + Expo. Balog’s talk covered his Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) project, which shows through time-lapse video the recession of 27 glaciers around the northern hemisphere, from Greenland to Iceland to Alaska to Montana and Nepal. The time-lapses are remarkable: viewers the recent spike in the earth’s temperature manifested in the shrinking of massive glaciers over the course of just a few years. Balog also introduced and screened a documentary about the EIS project, called “Chasing Ice” (see the trailer here).

Balog has dedicated his life and career to photographing the environment and nature, and his talk was more focused on how humans are changing the planet than on photography. But it did present the photographers in the audience with some insights into how photographic tools can be used to change public opinion and into how one photographer is accomplishing that task.

“Art in combination with science has proven to be effective” in shifting the public understanding, Balog noted in explaining his methods and thinking. “We are visual witnesses. [Cameras] are not just tools, they are vital parts of the sensory apparatus of the human race.” Indeed the EIS time lapses, enabled by digital camera technology, have allowed Balog and his team to show us something we could never have otherwise seen.

Balog was a budding scientist when he decided he was more interested in photography than in statistics and crunching numbers, he recalled. As a young adult he “realized that one of the pivotal issues of our era is the intersection of humans and nature,” and his work has focused on “probing that boundary,” he explained.

The EIS project grew from assignments from National Geographic and the New Yorker to photograph glaciers. Through those assignments Balog discovered a way to visualize the idea that humans “are changing the basic operating system of the earth” by burning hydrocarbons, and that that reality could be understood through looking at the planet’s ice. Glaciers serve as barometers and thermometers for the planet, Balog noted, and “everyone knows what happens when ice melts.”

When he launched the EIS project five years ago, Balog and his team created digital camera systems with custom-made timers and solar panels that would capture an image of a glacier every 1/2 hour during daylight hours. Those systems were mounted in modified Pelican cases and trekked into remote areas around the planet to record the changes to some of the most massive glaciers in the world. The results of the project address the “need to introduce more understanding of the truth” of how humans are changing the basic functioning of the earth.

During his talk Balog noted that “Chasing Ice” has been sent several times to President Obama, and to every member of Congress. The film will open in 24 theaters nationwide in November, expanding to more theaters if the public response is positive. Balog also said the EIS group is engaging with the Evangelical Creation Care movement to spread the word about the project and film among that group, which is dedicated to preserving the environment. A book of Balog’s glacier photographs, Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, was also released last month from Rizzoli.

Balog envisions the EIS project going on indefinitely, he noted. He also spoke about a new non-profit organization he is establishing called Earth Vision Trust, which will look to fund other people’s environmental projects through fellowships.

October 9th, 2012

Luc Delahaye Awarded $106,000 Prix Pictet

Luc-Delahaye-Ambush-Ramadi

“Ambush, Ramadi, 22 July 2006,” by Luc Delahaye.

French photojournalist-turned-artist Luc Delahaye has won the fourth Prix Pictet, the organization announced in a ceremony this evening at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The theme of this year’s prize was “Power.”

Founded by Swiss private bank Pictet & Cie in 2008, the Prix Pictet is awarded to photographers whose work engages with themes of sustainability.

180 experts from around the world nominated 673 artists for the prize. From those the jury selected 12 shortlisted artists, all of whom will be included in an exhibition opening tomorrow, October 10, at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The exhibition will also tour internationally.

Delahaye submitted a portfolio titled “Various works: 2008-2011,” about which he wrote in his artist’s statement:

“I try to put myself in situations that I feel have a certain relevance regarding what we call a shared destiny. The reality I’m interested in is that of people who struggle to act upon it as much as they are subject to it. I sometimes work where power presents itself as a spectacle, as an event produced for or with the media, and my pictures may then take an ironic undertone. But I photograph the ordinary man more often than the leader. I usually stay at the distance where the human relationships are visible, multiple, active and where they remain problematic. I’m interested in narration and in photography’s phenomenological hold on the real.”

Among the other shortlisted photographers were Robert Adams, Rena Effendi, An-My Lê, who just received a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, and Joel Sternfeld.

Pictet & Cie, the company that founded the prize, also awarded a commission to nominated photographer Simon Norfolk to travel to and photograph a region where the Bank is supporting a sustainability project.

Previous Prix Pictet winners include Mitch Epstein, Nadav Kander and Benoit Aquin.

Related: Prix Pictet Announces 12 Photographers Shortlisted for Prize

February 17th, 2012

PDN Video Pick: Iceland’s Water

Vatn (English) from Enrique Pacheco on Vimeo.

Photographer and filmmaker Enrique Pacheco‘s most recent short film, “Vatn” (the Icelandic word for water), offers stunning views of Iceland’s oceans, rivers and waterfalls, made with the Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 600D, and Canon and Carl Zeiss glass.

Shot and edited over a 6-month period, the film employs an interesting narrative structure that personifies water and makes it the film’s protagonist. “Human beings are the antagonists,” Pacheco said of the film, in an interview published on his Web site. “We are changing the life cycle of water. This film is for water conservation. Instead of talking about water, I decided to personify water, give it voice, so we can hear it.”

Related: PDN Video Pick: Winter In Hell

December 20th, 2011

Dragonfly Photo Wins $10k National Geographic Photo Contest

© Shikhei Goh

A close-up photograph of a dragonfly weathering a rain storm in Indonesia’s Riau Islands earned photographer Shikhei Goh the $10,000 grand prize in the 2011 National Geographic Photography Contest.

In a statement, National Geographic magazine photographer Tim Laman, who was one of three judges for the competition, celebrated the photograph’s “beautiful light, rare action in a close-up image, as well as its technical perfection.” Goh’s photograph also won first prize in the “Nature” category.

A photograph by Izabelle Nordfjell of a Sami reindeer hunter preparing to take a shot while his son covers his ears won first prize in the “People” category, while George Tapan’s image of
a rainbow stretching out over the ocean off of the Philippines’ Onuk Island received first prize in the “Places” category.

These photographs were selected from more than 20,000 images submitted by professional and amateur photographers from more than 130 countries.

Galleries of the winning images and honorable mentions are online here.

The other judges were National Geographic magazine photographers Amy Toensing, and Peter Essick.

November 7th, 2011

PDN Video Pick: That Thing Starlings Do

This video capturing the phenomenon known as murmuration — the astonishing cloud-like formations made by starlings– has been posted widely, but we can’t resist. Filmmaker and artist Sophie Windsor Clive was canoeing on the River Shannon in Ireland with a friend when they encountered the starling flock by chance.  The sight captured here on video reminds me of still images of starlings, like photographer Richard Barnes’ “Murmur” series, which he captured in Rome, and images posted recently on the Time Light Box blog.
Murmuration is a sign of approaching winter.  In commemoration of turning our clocks back, we thought we’d share this beautiful omen of the change in seasons.
September 7th, 2011

Photog’s Climate Change Images On Display at Reagan National Airport

Mendenhall Glacier Then and Now

This billboard featuring a diptych from Gary Braasch's project showing climate change is on display at Reagan National Airport for the next year.

Travelers passing through Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport over the next year will be confronted with photographic evidence of climate change, thanks to the work of photographer Gary Braasch. A backlit billboard showing the retreat of Alaska’s Mendenhall Glacier, one of the country’s largest glaciers, was installed at the airport on August 30th.

The diptych shows an archival 1894 photograph of the glacier next to Braasch’s 2008 image, which was made from approximately the same spot as the first. The photographs, part of a “before and after” project by Braasch, for which he has re-photographed archival images to show how the landscape has changed, show the severity of the glacier’s retreat over the past century.

Sponsored by The Del Mar Global Trust and World View of Global Warming, the billboard is part of This Is Climate Change, a campaign to “educate and increase awareness of climate change among the general public.”

Further public displays are in the works.

More at thisisclimatechange.org.

Related: Consequences of Climate Change, PDN Photo of the Day

August 3rd, 2011

PDN Video Pick: Giles Revell Follows the Flow

Photographer Giles Revell frequently merges science and art in his work. He has used electron microscopes, a CT scanner and other scientific equipment to create images that examine the architecture of insects of flowers, insects and bubbles.  When Red Bee Media was creating an ad campaign for a new arts program on the BBC, creative director Tony Pipes tapped the London-based Revell to create a 60-second spot that would evoke curiosity and wonder.  The tagline is “See something different every time.”

Creative credits for the campaign can be found on Vimeo.