Without thinking we find ways to distance ourselves from the discomforts and indignities of life, denying the horrors that befall strangers, downplaying those may touch our lives, for trauma is one of the most difficult tragedies to manage and heal when it befalls our lives.
Though it surrounds us in countless forms, we seek ways to buffer its relentless effect, trying to mediate the toll it takes on our physical, psychological, and spiritual state. Whether we keep ourselves disconnected and numb or become volatile and reactionary, the wound often goes untreated, festering and growing worse while the pain seeps deeper into our being with the passage of every day, month, and year.
It is only when we have the courage to expose our most vulnerable selves that we may begin to transform the harrowing nightmares we have lived into something greater than ourselves for understanding requires mutuality. We must lay ourselves open to other people’s pain if we ever hope to heal our own.
At the age of five, American photographer Margaret Durow (born 1989) discovered a benign tumor in her lumbar spine that caused it to curve over time, resulting in severe scoliosis. In 2007, Durow experienced severe complications when “a surgeon fused my spine by replacing the cartilage between thirteen of my vertebrae with bone graft,” she writes in Margaret Durow (Setanta Books/Open Doors). “Ten titanium screws – one of which was misplaced and impeded my spinal cord, and two metal rods were also put in.”
After going long periods of time where she was unable to stand or leave the house, Durow underwent more reconstructive spinal surgeries that were unsuccessful and caused additional impairments. “In 2018, I had the rods and screws removed from my back, plus another surgery months later to treat the additional nerve damage caused by the hardware removal,” she writes. “I’ve re-learned how to walk twice. Part of my right leg hasn’t worked for the last two years because of damage to the nerves in my back, and my spinal cord continues to leak fluid inside my body.”
These words, so heavy to hear, only begin to convey a fraction of the horrors Durow has enduring living with chronic pain caused by surgery that was supposed to fix the problem at hand. With only herself to rely upon, Durow turned to photography, a practice she had known since a young age.
Durow’s lyrical images are alternately aching, agonizing, ethereal, majestic, and mellifluous moments of her life — tender, sometimes mundane, scenes that remind us existence in and of itself is magical. To live, to breathe, to survive, and to attest to this fact is proof of the ineffable, unknowable divinity that prompts us to fight, to find ways to overcome and heal that which has tried to decimate us.
In Durow’s most stark images there is the understanding that reality cannot be denied. You can close your eyes, you can say it isn’t so, but not amount of pretending will ever make it true. Durow invites us to open ourselves not only to her pain but also to our own. For in recognizing her suffering and witnessing her courage and strength, we are empowered to take root in all that lays at our doorstep.
“Photography allows me to express how I feel, and transform the pain and isolation of my deformed and disabled body into beauty and strength,” she writes. “I try to mirror what I feel inside when I capture the subtle changes in light, mood, and landscapes around me. I take pictures to remember how I feel, and I hope they make you feel something personal for yourself.”
All images: © Margaret Durow
The post The Therapeutic Power of Photography Transforms Pain into Beauty appeared first on Feature Shoot.
Singapore’s Jewel Changi airport is so stunningly futuristic that it hardly feels real. The half-marketplace, half-garden airport center provides 24-hour landside entertainment for all airport visitors while pushing the envelope for future headhouses and airport terminals. Now, Safdie Architects is celebrating its project’s one-year anniversary with a new film produced by Helen Han Creative.
Garden of Wonder pans around Jewel’s unreal interior gardens, opening with perfectly framed shots of the structure above. The four-minute-long piece allows us to experience the gardens as if we are actually there, and it provides wide-angle views that uncover the entirety of the “forest valley” that makes Jewel so green.
The star of the film is, of course, the central water piece, which has won the title of the largest indoor waterfall in the world. Visitors in Han’s film can be seen marveling at the water as they complete the carefully composed procession towards the center of Jewel. If Changi airport was not already on your travel bucket list, watching the visitors interact with the gardens, sky nets, and hedge mazes will surely change your mind. It's no wonder why the building recently won the title of “World's Best Airport” for the eighth-straight year in a row.
Han, an architectural designer and instructor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, explains how she hopes to reach those who watch her film, “I recognize the privilege to be able to study and be exposed to the profession of architecture. I offer my work as a shared lens, to expose and expand people’s critical comprehension to the role of architecture in shaping the global environment.”
Safdie Architects are celebrating Jewel Changi airport's one-year anniversary with a new film produced by Helen Han Creative.
Garden of Wonder pans around Jewel’s unreal interior gardens.
Watch the short film below:
All images via Safdie Architects / Helen Han Creative.
Paddleboarders float above a reef at sunset, Vava’u, Tonga. Grant Thomas, Finalist Ocean Adventure Photographer of the Year
If the finalists are any indication, the inaugural Ocean Photography Awards, presented by Oceanographic Magazine, is off to a great start. Over 3,000 entries were whittled down to 100 finalists across six categories. Dealing with issues of conservation, as well as showing off adventures and exploration, these finalist images are a beautiful cross-section of ocean photography.
The finalists include familiar names like Florian Ledoux, whose work in the Arctic frequently wins awards. Here, he's not only nominated for Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year, but is also in the running for the Collective Portfolio Award. Tobias Baumgaertner is up for the Community Choice Award. His photo of two penguins in Australia seemingly embracing as they gaze over the city lights went viral earlier this year, so his inclusion is no surprise.
The awards are also organized in partnership with SeaLegacy, a collective of photographers focused on ocean conservation. Founded by National Geographic photographers Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen, SeaLegacy is giving a year-long residency to the photographer who wins the Collective Portfolio Award.
All the winners will be announced during a virtual ceremony on November 19, 2020. Prior to the ceremony, there will be talks and discussions with some of the world's leading ocean photographers, so it's well worth tuning in. While we wait for the winners announcement, check out some of the incredible finalists.
The inaugural Ocean Photography Awards has announced the incredible finalists of this international contest.
Swimmer and environmental activist Lewis Pugh swimming off Antarctica. Olle Nordell, Finalist Ocean Adventure Photographer of the Year
Two widowed penguins seemingly comfort one another as they gaze upon Melbourne’s lights. St Kilda, Australia. Tobias Baumgaertner, Finalist Community Choice Award
A freediver explores a cave in Tonga. Karim Iliya, Finalist Ocean Exploration Photographer of the Year
A Steller sea lion inquisitively peers into the photographer’s dome port. Hornby Island, British Columbia, Canada. Celia Kujala, Finalist Community Choice Award
A starving polar bear looks out to sea, waiting for ice to return in Svalbard, Norway. Martin Berg, Finalist Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year
A humpback whale calf ‘breakdances’ in the warm waters of Tonga. Jono Allen, Finalist Community Choice Award
Henley Spiers, Finalist Collective Portfolio Award.
Grant Thomas, Finalist Collective Portfolio Award.
Nadia Aly, Finalist Collective Portfolio Award.
Staghorn corals exposed at low tide, the Milky Way visible in the distance. Koh Bulon Lae Island, Thailand. Sirachai Arunrugstichai, Finalist Ocean Exploration Photographer of the Year
Western toad tadpoles photographed off Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Maxwel Hohn, Finalist Ocean Exploration Photographer of the Year
The silky tentacles of a brightly colored Magnificent Anemone sway in surging water, exposing Maldivian anemone fish. Laamu Atoll, South Maldives. Cruz Erdmann, Finalist, Young Ocean Photographer of the Year
Two sharks surf a wave at Red Bluff, Quobba Station, in remote Western Australia. Sean Scott, Finalist Ocean Adventure Photographer of the Year
Walruses huddle on a small patch of land, northeast of Svalbard, Norway. With the continued loss of stable sea ice due to climate change, walrus populations are at risk. Florian Ledoux, Finalist Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year
Shane Gross, Finalist Collective Portfolio Award.
Florian Ledoux, Finalist Collective Portfolio Award.
A hermit crab crawls atop a pile of plastic in a shell made from manmade waste in the Maldives. Matt Sharp, Finalist Ocean Conservation Photographer of the Year
My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the Ocean Photography Awards.
All images © Jem Cresswell, shared with permission
Between 2014 and 2018, Jem Cresswell spent countless hours submerged in the depths of the southern Pacific Ocean surrounding Tonga. There he captured a group of humpback whales as they gracefully maneuvered around him, allowing the Sydney-based photographer to unveil the details of their grooved underbellies and barnacle-clad skin. The original project has culminated in a new book that documents the creatures’ movements and idiosyncrasies in striking black-and-white images.
Giants spans 220 pages detailing the humpbacks and their calves. To complete the massive book, Cresswell pared down more than 11,000 shots, the majority of which haven’t been published previously. The photographer shares memories and historical details about the massive creatures throughout, including the incredible awareness that comes from swimming with sentient beings so much larger than himself. “You never forget your first humpback experience,” he writes. “The sublime sense of insignificance that it instills in you. It has to be one of the most humbling experiences on Earth.”
Only 1,500 copies of Giants, which are signed and numbered, are available for purchase on the book’s site, which also offers glimpses into Cresswell’s process creating the compendium. To stay up to date with the photographer’s latest underwater projects, follow him on Instagram.
All images © Peter Szucsy, shared with permission
For 25 years, art director and artist Peter Szucsy has filled his days with rendering the bizarre, sinister beasts that run rampant through video games. “I have made many creatures, monsters in the virtual world… but a few years ago I felt it is about time to create something different,” he says of his time working in the industry. “So I left my computer and made lots of my ideas come alive in the real world.”
The result is a curious menagerie of steampunk spiders that the Budapest-based artist assembles with parts of vintage watches, cameras, and medical equipment. Each week, Szucsy scours a flea market near his home to find materials that include rare, pricey timepieces, although the artist notes he avoids dismantling anything that a museum or institution would value. In his studio, he parses the found metals and meticulously crafts the articulate eight-legged creatures.
Szucsy holds a degree in illustration from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design and plans to launch an online shop to sell some of the spiders in the coming days. You can follow his latest creatures, which he hopes to include dragonflies and praying mantises, on Instagram.
Some people believe that public art doesn't serve a purpose, but a recent incident outside of Rotterdam proves otherwise. When a metro car overran the stop blocks at the De Akkers station, it was saved by a large sculpture of a whale. Now it's left dangling 10 meters (33 feet) in the air on top of the sculpture.
Ironically, the sculpture is titled Saved by a Whale's Tale, which this train most certainly was. If not for the sculpture, it would have plunged into the water below or onto the adjacent footpath. Luckily, no one was injured, as the train was empty and the driver was able to free himself without injury. It's still not entirely clear what caused the accident, which occurred just after midnight.
Sculptor Maarten Strujis installed the artwork, which is made of reinforced polyester, in 2002 and was impressed that it held up to the weight of the train. “I could never have imagined it that way, but it saved the operator’s life. The damage is an afterthought,” he marveled. “I am amazed that it is so strong. When plastic has stood for 20 years, you don’t expect it to hold up a metro train.”
Authorities are questioning the driver and conducting an investigation into what went wrong. In the meantime, the train continues to rest on the whale's tail. And, it looks like it might stay there a bit longer. “Given the complexity, this will take some time,” a spokesman for the Rotterdam-Rijnmond safety region said. “It will be quite an exercise to get that thing off and get it safe.”
A whale sculpture saved a metro car in the Netherlands from plunging off the tracks.
“Dung Beetle” by Murmure Street in Bayonne, France
All images © Hufton + Crow, shared with permission
A year since its opening, the snow-free ski hill and entertainment hub that sits above a waste-to-energy power plant in Copenhagen is fully open to outdoor enthusiasts. New aerial photographs from Hufton+Crow capture the rooftop complex Copenhill (previously) through a blanket of fog, revealing the now lush landscaping that lines hiking trails and visitors as they peer out over the surrounding water. The multi-use site, which is located at the Amager Resource Centre, even has the world’s tallest climbing wall, an 80-meter-high rock structure that scales the entirety of the building.
Copenhill is the project of Danish architectural firm BIG and is the highest outlook in the capital city. The new complex also boasts multi-faceted energy reuse, with the indoor plant converting waste into heat for residents’ homes, while the biodiverse hill outside absorbs heat, filters the air, and minimizes water runoff.
Jesse’s Visual Interviews: Dan Williams
Beautiful colors and textures abound in the cinematic responses from Dan Williams for the latest edition of Jesse’s Visual Interview
Q1: Who are you?
Q2: What is your favorite way to waste money?
Q3: What do you consider the most underrated virtue?
Q4: When are you happiest?
Q5: What did your first kiss feel like?
Q6: Where is home?
Q7: Which body parts (yours or otherwise) do you feel the most affection for?
Q8: What is your favorite vice?
Q9: How do you define childhood?
Q10: What is your favorite time of day?
Q11: Who is your favorite person?
Q12: What is the most important thing in any relationship?
Thank you for your responses, Dan!
Met Dan almost a decade ago at my show at Totem Pole Gallery in Shinjuku and after seeing his work, it really struck me because his editing was so different. The cooler hues and darker tones had an atmosphere that nobody was doing at the time. I think if you look at it now, it is almost an Instagram aesthetic that his work really predated. I also like the fact when you meet him, his demeanor and presence reflect his work, something I noticed in a lot of good photographers that translates to a truth of expression.
Check his Instagram below:
Jesse Freeman is a writer for JapanCameraHunter.com and an accomplished ikebana artist as well. You can see more of his work through his sites:
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