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Preparing for the Moon and Mars: Then and Now

A series of photographs was recently discovered at the Johnson Space Center in Houston; the NASA photos feature astronauts and backup crews training in Hawaii for Apollo missions 13 through 17 in the 1960s and ’70s. Hawaii’s terrain and volcanic soil make for a suitable simulation of the lunar surface, and robots for missions to the Moon and Mars are tested on the Big Island to this day.

Apollo training in Hawaii

Apollo training in Hawaii

Apollo training in Hawaii

Here on the mainland, photographer Jim Urquhart captured activities at the Mars Desert Research Station, a facility in the desert of southern Utah, built and operated by a space advocacy group called the Mars Society. The group uses the natural geography for experts and students to study science applications that could take place on the Red Planet, the site also includes a  greenhouse and an observatory.

Mars training in Utah

Mars training in Utah

Both sets of photos are otherworldly, old-fashioned and futuristic at the same time. And while the scenarios may read as advanced role play, perhaps less sophisticated than you might imagine, the research conducted in Hawaii and Utah is undoubtedly valuable for the future of space exploration.

Mars training in Utah

Mars training in Utah

The collection of Apollo photos is currently on display at the Hilo headquarters of The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems.

You can see his striking photographs and read a detailed account of Jim Urquhart’s experience at the Mars Desert Research Station at the Reuters Photographers’ Blog.

Photos: NASA, Jim Urquhart

A Tale of Plant & Pot: Kohei Oda and Adam Silverman

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Oda X Silverman at Chariots on Fire

If you’re in the Los Angeles area this week, be sure to swing by creative studio and boutique Chariots on Fire, in Venice, where a collaboration between plant artist Kohei Oda and LA-based potter Adam Silverman is on display. A Tale of Plant & Pot is a creative collaboration that involves Oda’s full-of-personality specimens aptly complementing Silverman’s ceramic vessels, which take beautiful, unexpected forms and feature peculiar glazing. This exploration of the relationship between plant and pot also serves as a visual conversation between two artists: a potter and a horticulturalist.

Adam Silverman, LA Studio Director at Heath Ceramics, is an acclaimed potter and former architect. His work has been exhibited extensively in the US and Japan, where he has a dedicated following.

At Kohei Oda’s studio in Hiroshima, he composes many of his living sculptures through the practice of tissue grafting, a process that brings two pieces of plant together to grow singularly; the technique is not only an experiment in horticulture, but many of the pieces are salvaged from plants that would be considered imperfect or damaged.

A Tale of Plant & Pot runs through May 7  (extended from May 1) at Chariots on Fire, 1342 1/2 Abbot Kinney.

More at: Chariots on FireKohei OdaAdam Silverman
Images: Chariots on Fire

Wing Photographs by Linden Gledhill

Linden Gledhill

Linden Gledhill

Linden Gledhill

Linden Gledhill

Without more information, the subject of this series of photographs by Linden Gledhill appears unidentifiable: complex metallic patterning and petal-like structure. Amazingly, the trained biochemist has captured the unique and endlessly fascinating details of butterfly and moth wings with macro photography; these very-close shots reveal the intricate, fragile patterns of the insect’s surface scales. With a remarkable range of color and texture, the images are not only inspiring, but eye-opening to the symmetry and otherworldly details of nature we might otherwise take for granted.

More at: Linden Gledhill

Light Interventions by Javier Riera

Jaiver Riera

Javier Riera

Jaiver Riera

Jaiver Riera

Spanish artist Javier Riera’s light “interventions” are created by projecting geometric shapes onto natural vegetation. The play of light and shape manipulates our perception of the organic design and edges of nature we are so accustomed to, resulting in an impressive sight that is also sometimes strangely sci-fi.

Riera’s ongoing investigation into the relationship between landscape and geometry includes  realtime projections in public spaces, including a highly regarded installation at the Turia Gardens in Valencia, where 11 light projections were situated throughout a path of 200 meters.

Describing his work, Riera states: “My intervention is ephemeral, it does not leave a trace in nature. It comes and leaves.”

More at: Javier Riera

Photography by Lena C. Emery

Over the past few years, we’ve seen some amazing, though often repetitious hyperrealistic art that deceives the viewer into believing they’re looking at a photograph; Lena Emery is a photographer that, to some degree, works in the opposite direction. Emery’s work spans several fields of photography; from fashion to product-shots, she has a quietly captivating style, but it is her collection of food still lifes for London’s Black Isle Bakery that is especially remarkable; the careful compositions and color choices make for a “that-can’t-be-real” effect that avoids the novelty art category.

More at: Lena C. Emery

Snowflakes by Alexey Kljatov

These incredible, macro snowflake photographs are the work of Russian photographer Alexey Kljatov. One might assume that this sort of photography requires advanced equipment, but you might be surprised to find that Kljatov’s images are captured with a DIY camera he devised himself, consisting of an old, low-cost lens and a Canon Powershot camera, all held together by a board and plenty of tape. Kljatov shoots snowflakes on both glass and wool; the latter, combined with natural light, gives a quality of depth that is not present in other extreme close-up snowflake shots, which have become quite popular.

You can find more photos, and read about Kljatov’s process at his blog.

3D Sculptures by Eyal Gever

Eyal Gever, an artist with a history in 3D design and creation, explores disaster and motion through his impressive sculptures. Composed of hanging, multiple layers, that include subtleties like depth and shadow, the sculptures make for a dimensional, remarkably realistic effect. This static translation of cataclysmic events results in a sense of peace and an unexpected beauty in stillness. Gever’s work includes sculptural depictions of a nuclear bomb, a large-scale smoke cloud, and a street explosion, among his other work that plays with form, sudden movement and destruction, as well as material.

More at: Eyal Gever

Frozen by Maxim & Katia Mezentsev

One minute of pure, icy beauty.

Homes at Night by Todd Hido

San Francisco-based photographer Todd Hido’s Homes at Night series captures the often eery scene of light streaming from the inside of a house or apartment, framed in a noticeably lifeless scene. These long-exposure shots (on analog film) evoke both the feeling of isolation, and questions about the unknown private life of the resident.

See the complete series at: Todd Hido.

Drawings by Tobias Hutzler

In his Drawings series of photographs, German-born, New York Based artist Tobias Hutzler has, in an unusual way, captured the magical energy of light. Inspired by Picasso’s light drawings, the stark desert backgrounds and Hutzler’s simple compositions work with a little camera manipulation to create truly striking images.

More at: Tobias Hutzler