photography

Seeing Stars

thierry choen's darkened cities

I never saw stars until I was 20 years old. As a kid in Queens, I sometimes glimpsed the occasional one or two, but never a sky filled with them. It wasn’t until I was camping in the Australian Outback, during a college semester abroad, when I saw a night sky completely lit up with countless stars. The sight both wowed and shocked me—until that night, it had never dawned on me that I’d never anything like it before.

That’s why I’m loving Thierry Cohen’sВ “Darkened Cities.”В The French photographerВ juxtaposes photos of, well, darkened cities, with the night skies of less populated areas along the same latitude. So this is NYC with stars from the Nevada desert. If we didn’t have so many bright lights, that’s what we might see, every evening. (NYTimes.com has a gorgeous gallery featuring several other cities from the project, including Paris, Rio and Hong Kong.)

And speaking of stars, check out this brilliantВ StoryCorps video—it’s sad, sweet, funny and inspiring!

Have a wonderful weekend!

(Image by Thierry Cohen via Socks Studio)

Animals in Hiding

Maybe it’s because we grew up in the city, but Mal and I are TERRIBLE at spotting wildlife. (She’s bad and somehow, I’m even worse than she is.) Anytime we’re hiking, our guide, or whomever we’re with, will point out an animal—a sloth, monkey, bird, deer, cool insect, whatever—and it takes us 10 years to spot it. Half the time, I can’t find them at all, no matter how hard I look.

So I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when I came across the work of Art Wolfe, a man far more talented than I am—both at spotting animals and photography. For his “Vanishing Act” project, he somehow found wildlife camouflaged in their surroundings and captured them on film. I honestly have no idea how he did it. Because if I were embarking on a similar project, I’d have a grand total of zero pictures.

Here are a few of his incredible shots:

art wolfe

art wolfe

art wolfe

art wolfe

And, um, could someone please tell me where the animal is in the photo above? I haven’t been able to find it!

(Photos by Art Wolfe via Bored Panda)

Dancers Among Us

Yesterday, I stumbled across a post on Joycreation that made my day. It featured Dancers Among Us, a photography project and book by NYC photog Jordan Matter. He shoots dancers in street clothes in various locations around the country—but in every shot, they’re captured in the middle of a move, a jolting contrast to everything/everyone around them. Many dancers are soaring mid-air in Russian pas de chats, attitudes and jetes; you can’t help but feel a little exuberance and joy while looking at them!

I got sucked into looking at all the photos on the Dancers Among Us site, but was particularly impressed with the range of locations for the NYC shots. Some of my favorites:

luke mccollum, dancers among us

ft. tryon park, adrienne hayes

broadway

stone street

central park

lincoln center

(All photos via Dancers Among Us; found via Joycreation)

Goodbye Troubles

Yi Peng Festival floating lanterns

Here’s a great image for your Friday. I stumbled across it earlier in the week, on NPR’s Tumblr, and every time it flitted into my thoughts, it brought a smile to my face.

Here’s the story behind it:

During the Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, lanterns are launched into the night sky in the belief that grief and misfortune will fly away with them.

“Yee” refers to the second month in the lunar calendar and “Peng” means full moon—so the Thai hold this festival on the night of the full moon during the second lunar month. I love how the simple, positive ritual associated with it—of literally releasing your troubles—creates such a gorgeous sight. Yet another reason to visit Chiang Mai. рџ™‚

Happy Friday!

(photo by Hong Wu/Getty images, from News Hour via NPR)

A Ballet Dancer’s Feet

Speaking of ballet, how striking is this photo?

I came across it in this week’s NY Magazine and immediately had to stop and read the related item.

The image is part of Ballet, a new book and exhibit by photographer Henry Leutwyler. He spent last winter with New York City Ballet, capturing intimate moments with the dancers, both on and off-stage.

Here’s what Leutwyler says about the photo:

If I had to title the picture, I would call itВ Reality and Dreams.В The footВ en pointeВ is what every little girl dreams of. The other is the hard, hard work, and the reality.

So true—and I love how this simple shot depicts that perfectly. I only started pointe recently, as an adult, and was shocked at how difficult and scary it is—and I have pretty decent technique! The fact that professional dancers work through that pain and fear and make every move look effortless, weightless and graceful is truly amazing. When you’re watching a performance, it’s easy to forget all they went through to achieve that ability.

More of Leutwyler’s gorgeousВ Ballet photos are on NYMag.com and the Foley Gallery’s site; his exhibit runs through January 6. (I’m definitely going to check it out!)

Have you studied pointe, as well? What was your experience like?

(Photo by Henry Leutwyler via NYMag)