What does it mean to be a visual storyteller? My fine art nature images are real and also a part of my imagination, where the color of the water is sometimes pink instead of blue, where birds and other animals speak to me when I speak to them. My work is a result of more than 25 years of photography, thousands of captures, endless waiting for a single perfect moment followed by months of post production to bring my world of imagination to you.
And your signature style? There are a lot of talented photographers in the world, and I was told that I needed to distinguish my work from theirs. So, I chose not to be known as a nature photographer. I wanted to see myself as a visual story teller who uses animal fine art to share my imagination.
In other words, you paint images in your imagination and bring them to life in photos. And how long have you identified as a photographer? I have been doing photography for 25+ years using a large and a medium format film before switching to digital. I was a landscape photographer at the beginning but then my interest expanded to include wedding and portrait before settling down in fine art nature.
You enjoy photography competitions. Tell us more about those. One of my proudest moments was being chosen to represent the United States in the prestigious World Photographic Cup. Olympics of professional photography. I brought home a gold medal in Nature category and also won the Best of Nations. But I remember where it all started. I entered my first professional competition in the Australia Institute of Professional Photography where I got my first awards. Then, I began entering major professional competitions like the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography, Wedding and Portrait Photographers International, Professional Photographers of America, and Master Photographers International. In total, I’ve won 150 awards so far.
One hundred and fifty awards is quite an accomplishment. You must have many adoring apprentices. Thank you, it is an honour to be considered a mentor, and yes, I have helped fellow photographers to develop their skills. The feeling I get when I see them doing very well has been satisfying.
Is there a signature style we can see with you and your students? My current photography style is a combination of what I learned and experience as a landscape and wedding/portrait photographer. While landscape is quite dependent on natural light, wedding/portrait can be manipulated using man made. I “light” my animals using the same principles as how I would light a human either using natural or artificial light. The event that brought me to my current style was actually a casual conversation with one of the most reputable wedding photographers in the world. I attended his workshop and during a break he told me that I needed to be my own not just a copy of him. This is something I tell the photographers I mentor, too.
And how did you enter the world of cryptoart? How have you done so far? I started minting NFTs in mid January 2022 after receiving an acceptance letter from the curated photography marketplace @sloikaxyz. I sold out Vivid, a collection of ten photographs, in four weeks. And now, I am presenting my second series on the same platform. This collection is about celebrating life. The collection is brought together from thousands of captures, and the endless wait for a perfect moment. This life is my unique vision.
A work in progress. Still drafting the story, even though I am about six months behind in writing. The best part is that this delay has allowed me to rethink the story I am trying to tell, and build more rounded characters.
In mid-January, I drafted two scenes to show faith intersecting science and politics. This is an important theme in the story because the politics are influenced by a religious doctrine. Blending them will be interesting, because I do not plan to make anything obvious. In this untitled scene, the science is explained in a conversation between two government officials.
“That was their colossal cock up,” shouted the health minister. The minister was not inside his study, so Sebastian was talking to an empty desk this afternoon. The health minister was speaking from a different room, and he was shouting even though his voice was transmitted over voice activated smart mics in his home.
“Sir,” replied Sebastian, “Treasury does not have jurisdiction over private medical cases.”
“You can revoke their funding,” was the minister’s surly response.
“True, but taking away funding from medical research into fertility treatment would be tantamount to a human rights violation,” said a smirking Sebastian. He was rather pleased with himself. “And may I remind you that overseas investors are plugging large amounts of cash into the research and development?”
“Money, money, money,” said the health minister. “She is suing me for lack of oversight. Me, personally. The research shows that uterine cells never generate fetal tissues even when exposed to a massive cocktail of hormones.”
“It was an act of God,” said Sebastian. He was laughing silently because he knew the statement would annoy his colleague. He stopped laughing and raised an eyebrow because he wondered if the health minister could see his face on a monitor somewhere.
“An outdated notion,” was the swift correction from the health minister’s voice.
Sebastian rolled his eyes, slightly relieved that his mocking behaviour had not been noticed.
He said, “She is with the Congregation, so those notions are alive and well. And support, across the world, has been universally positive. Also, remember that this is a giant leap forward for fertility research. The value of stock portfolios of biotech investors have skyrocketed. Absolutely everyone loves her.”
“Fine,” replied the health minister. “She is raising her daughter, and enjoying sainthood, but why is she suing me … and the government for the near fatal heart attack she suffered minutes after giving birth? I feel sorry that she had to go through that, but the same technology reprinted her blood vessels that were damaged. She is alive because of us and is suing us? Yet, everyone believes her actions are justified. Especially after that fiction!”
“Creative non-fiction, sir,” corrected Sebastian. He glanced over on his screen to review the article published in the National Gazette, in which the woman recounted the experience of giving birth to a girl less than a year after male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. Bloating, swelling and discomfort were normal after these procedures. She and her doctors did not know she was pregnant and there were no sperm or egg donors. Her doctors guessed that because of the hormone protocol she received, some of the cells in her ovaries had changed to reproductive cells. After exhaustive tests, they concluded that the most likely explanation was that one of the cells moved to her uterus and started dividing spontaneously. The hormone protocol facilitated the pregnancy, and the fetus was delivered at the six month mark.
Sebastian looked at the highlighted text of an email which was opened in another window on his screen. His cousin, Gala of Vale, was the first person he contacted when the health minister asked him for a meeting. She had replied to him with a voice message. Reading the transcription, he saw that it had everything he needed.
“Technically,” Sebsastian continued, “she cloned herself but this not a flaw in the medicine. She is reproducing, which is, biologically, what her body is supposed to do. Ask your team to focus on that argument and petition the tribunal to force a settlement on those grounds. But while you do that, tread softly. Her story is about family, faith, and the belief in miracles. Something that is lost in our world. People like hoping for things. We shouldn’t try to take it away from them.”
“All right,” replied the health minister with a sigh. “And what can I do?”
“Hire her as a special health advocate,” answered Sebastian.
“Even though she’s suing me,” retorted the health minister.
“Yes. Exactly,” replied Sebastian. He glanced over at the rest of the notes from his cousin. “And for the settlement negotiations, you personally offer money and resources only if she agrees to set up a foundation. Ask the Congregation to join the negotiations as an appropriate third party. As health minister, you will appoint an advisory board to represent the Congregation and the biotech industry. Instead of fighting her at a tribunal, we should help her to build a platform and set an agenda for the next three decades.”
“All right, Sebs. I am going to get legal on the phone, and I want another meeting with all of you before dinnertime today.”
Intro Hello everyone, and welcome to this showcase of contemporary art which features fine artists from the African continent. This past Sunday, I hopped into a Twitter space hosted by Apah Benson, Black Mamuu and Xader. I knew it was my chance to uncover the fabulous work that has been hidden under lockdowns, cryptocurrency restrictions and social media bans. But that is their story to tell. Read all about it as you scroll through.
As you browse the showcase and read the stories presented here, remember that social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are helping artists to move into the mainstream. I invite you to support my guests today by browsing their portfolios, and sharing them with your friends and acquaintances. Thank you.
MAX I am a digital artist from Nigeria. My work is heavily inspired by portrait photography and surrealism. I create abstractions using mostly female characters to express my way of seeing the world: as an blend of contrasts and opposites. I present that vision using black and white, dull and glossy textures, or vibrant and soft colors. Follow me on Twitter.
Elisha Nyong Hello. I am Elisha, a traditional painter and visual surrealist also based in Nigeria. I am known as a pro women’s rights and mutual representation activist. My artwork explores dreams and I use dry-brush techniques to accomplish that. You can find my work listed on Foundation. I am also showcasing my work on Twitter.
Apah Benson I am Apah Benson, digital artist and poet based in Nigeria. I am a graduate of the University of Benin, and work as a digital marketer. Below you will see one of my creative photography portraits, Mystique.
Black Mamuu I am a photographer and artist based in Warri, Nigeria. My work features portraits of people with heavy contrasts and colours. I use colors to explore different forms of identity. I started selling digital art about a month ago. As I did so, I found out that the two biggest parts or processes are currently banned in my country Nigeria.
A Twitter ban and a cryptocurrency ban prevent Nigerians like me from joining the world of digital art (the Metaverse) at this revolutionary time in history. But as usual, we found loopholes in the form of VPN software. We used them to access Twitter, and we used peer to peer (p2p) trading to access the cryptocurrency markets.
Neither is ideal, but it’s our forced reality and we have to work through it if we want to be part of the global art community. Last year, both Twitter and cryptocurrencies were instrumental in the successful #EndSars (hashtag End SARS) protest against police brutality in Nigeria. You might have seen it on the news. It is my firm belief that Twitter and crypto are banned because of the effectiveness of the campaigns.
Recently, there has been an aggressive crackdown on peer to peer trading and the banks are shutting down accounts thought to be used for trading cryptocurrency. So, for a typical Nigerian to access cryptocurrency trading platforms, we have to be very creative.
I find that the NFT community is the easiest and fastest way for Nigerian artists to get recognition and value for their work. I made my first sale a few weeks ago, and it was life changing because it felt like I was finally being rewarded for all my years of hard work.
Luchong I am a digital artist from Nigeria and I make art on my mobile phone using the Autodesk Sketchbook software. My art comes from a deep place filled with many emotions that I often times cannot explain or express. I love creating beautiful paintings to show that there is beauty in everything we experience as humans.
Above is a recent painting of mine which I call “I have rollers in my hair”. I created it to express what it is like to be in an environment that tries to bring you down and crush all your efforts. This is about struggles we face in our daily lives.
Being a digital artist in Nigeria and getting into cryptoart, I have been faced with many challenges, ranging from the crypto ban and Twitter ban. In spite of all this, my love for art pushes me to keep creating and showing my art to the world however I can. That’s me in that tweet below. I thought I would show myself to my friends and colleagues. Mentioned in the tweet are Benson and Gus, two of my artist friends who are also featured in this post.
The Queen Mother NFT depicts the Ivory Mask of the legendary 16th century Queen Idia of the Ancient Benin Kingdom. Queen Idia,known as the great warrior queen, after the death of her husband, raised and led an army to fight off adversaries and ensure the reign of her son as the King of the Edo people of the Ancient Benin Kingdom.
The Ivory Mask of Queen Idia was looted from the Benin Kingdom, among other artworks, during the British Benin Expedition of 1897. It is currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The Queen Mother (TQM) NFT will serve as a members-only access for holders as the project leaders release initiatives and rewards to bridge the gap between non-fungible tokens and the physical world. Tokens can be purchased on Open Sea via the Polygon blockchain.
Gustus My name is Augustus Poku Sarkodee (Gus Sarkodee on Twitter) and I’m a multi-genre photographer from the beautiful West African country of Ghana. My work is greatly influenced by color and composition and I explore many different techniques most of the time. I recently started listing my work as non-fungible tokens. It has been an amazing journey so far, because I get to meet all these talented artists. At the moment, my work is listed for sale on both Known Origin and Opensea.
Xader Hello, I am Alex, a Nigerian student who is working to make a name for myself as a digital artist. I took a liking to the anime style of illustration mostly because of how extreme it gets when describing pretty much anything. I’ve been actively drawing for three years now and only got into the digital space in October, 2021.
It is very difficult to sell my art as non-fungible tokens based in my country because of all the restrictions set up by our government. Trading in cryptocurrency is illegal. There is also a Twitter ban so we must use VPNs to access Twitter to promote our work. On top of that, there are major power outages, which makes it difficult for some of us to use electronic devices to make art.
Kiel Orji I am a digital artist and street wear designer from Lagos, Nigeria. I am exploring youth culture and radicalism with a colourful rebellion against socio-political nuances of life in my home country. I am the mind behind Odd Surface and the co-founder of an independent creative collective, Popartii.
My creative practice is an exchange between working over a variety of surfaces, from digital paintings and murals, to luxury fashion apparel and footwear. For my clothing brand, I create statement pieces that are a professional reflection of his cool, calm collective ideals and with specificity, which are pleasing to the senses. Currently, I create skull art NFTs, which I have listed on various platforms, like Foundation and Open Sea.
Ololade I’m a fine art photographer and NFT from Lagos, Nigeria. The journey to establish myself as a digital artist has not been the easiest for me and other creators from Nigeria as you may have read earlier in this post. Twitter and cryptocurrencies are the major means of putting ourselves out into the world and sharing our art. Regardless, we find unconventional means of promoting ourselves and our craft with strong beliefs in our creative ideas to spark conversations on topics around the world. There are many stories to be told.
Famous Umobuarie/Fame Identity I am a hyperrealist artist, and I create realistic drawings using a pencil and other mediums, such as a ballpoint pen. I was born in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. I started drawing at the age of five on the back of my notebooks, chairs, doors, and on walls. I generally draw from the things going on around me and my environment, society, and circumstances to see if an idea, emotion, or critique can be communicated using bodies, symbols, and titles.
People around me are amazing and I use different amazing souls as inspiration when creating a drawing. Our need to effectively communicate with each other is essential. If we cannot communicate, we cannot truly bond with each other. This is why I use my work to communicate with others and tell their stories. Some of my portfolio work is seen on Art Station. Most recently, my artwork was featured on the Instagram account of Open Sea, the most well-known ethereum based NFT sales platform.
Godiva Omoyuri/4th Finger Studio I am a fine art portrait photographer and a collage digital artist from Edo state, raised in Lagos, Nigeria. I am the creative director of 4th Finger Studios. My artwork showcases the beauty in human diversity; self-love; equality, and other societal paradigms. My objective is to normalize weird and embrace what is different. My goal is to inspire those who see my work to live above the status-quo, to get off that labeling, and be our own standard of beauty while also letting people discover that there is beauty in being unusual.
Chuma Anagbado I am a multi-disciplinary artist & designer whose work cuts across traditional, digital, and emerging creative mediums. My work reimagines Igbo culture and identity. I am the co-founder of Nigeria’s first multidisciplinary design firm, and I work to shine a light on human capacity development, identity, and social impact. In my work, I reimagine functional ways of using both material and non-material aspects of Igbo existence in designing new structures and narratives that people can use to help build a sense of identity, spirituality, and community.
Special Guest: Subhash Nair My name is Subhash Nair, and I am a wildlife photographer from India. Currently, I am ambassador for Nikon India and Oppo Mobile India. Africa is one of my favourite places for photographing wild animals, and I travel there two or three times every year. Nature and its creatures are amazing and we can learn a lot from them. I am at my best when capturing animals in their natural habitats.
I think people who don’t love nature and wildlife cannot love anything. Places like Masai Mara and Amboseli are like second homes to me. I visit the Masai village when ever I travel to Masai Mara. My most recent visit was in October, 2021. Besides the wildlife, what fascinates me are the people, food and culture of Africa. Everything attracts me and I am happy to say that I have made many friends there and will be back to visit soon. Stories from the Wild is my collection of photography compiled from five years of exploring Africa, India and Indonesia. They are listed on the ethereum NFT platform Open Sea. Follow me on Twitter, or for a spectacular wildlife safari, find me on Instagram.
Best wishes for All Souls’ Day, everyone, and welcome to a special photography showcase. In this post, I will introduce award-winning photographer, Street Spirit, Sreeranj Sreedhar. We became acquainted during a space (Twitter Spaces) and enjoyed some pleasant conversations. Then, after I asked 3D artists to hang out here, one of Sreeranj’s followers told me I had to create a feature here for him. I knew he was an esteemed photographer, so I sent him a message and held my breath.
I was relieved when he agreed to be featured. And then, we took our time and worked out the details. One of the things they never teach you about social audio is that a good host needs situational awareness. Social spaces tend to flatten hierarchies. Which means that if you are present, you are equal to everyone. But your authority as a host is defined by your ability to pick out the jewels from among the crowd. And you do that by listening.
Reading the atmosphere surrounding people is important because some of the most special ones have humble spirits. This skill will bring opportunities to meet and learn from the best and brightest. This was how I came to know about Sreeranj. He has a gift for capturing the colorful sights of his hometown, Kerala, India.
For the past three years, Sreeranj has worked as a full-time photographer. During this time, he has documented the culture and traditions in his hometown. Before that, for twenty-eight years, he held a corporate position in Dubai.
Sreeranj became interested in photography in 2011, when he became fascinated by unusual moments of daily life, including festivals all over the world. He has attended masterclasses by Magnum Photos and other respected photographers in order to fine-tune his skills.
He now gives photo tours in addition to hosting workshops and being a mentor for aspiring photographers. If you are interested, you can register for them via his website. He is the administrator and curator for various photography groups from India and Dubai. Sreeranj is one of the eight members of the Indian street photography group, ‘In-Street Collective’.
Presently, he is working to document all the major festivals and cultural events of Kerala. He wants to help promote some of the dying art forms in the region as well as to encourage artists to continue celebrating them. Through his activism, he hopes to encourage people to engage in responsible tourism.
His photography has been exhibited all over the world. In print, he has been published in National Geographic, NatGeo Traveller India, Lonely Planet Traveler Magazine, Digital Photo Magazine USA and Wanderlust Travel Magazine UK, among others. He has also received many photography awards in this short span of time. His portfolio can also be seen at his website, sreeranj.com, where you can purchase photos. On socials, you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Notes: Today is Tuesday, November 2, All Souls’ Day, and this post is dedicated to the late father of our guest. Sreeranj lost his father right after agreeing to be introduced to you here, and because of that, he was not able to connect with me until this past weekend. To readers who have lost loved ones in recent years, this post is also dedicated to you.
MEET THE Adventurous women (and men) flashing througH THE METAVERSE
Shannon Bileski A little about me. I am a storm chaser, aurora hunter and all around adventurer, living life to the fullest, every way I can. As a child, I was always fascinated with the weather and that is why I got into photography. At first, I struggled to get a photo of lightning when I was eight years old. And four years later, when I was twelve, I did. All that was missing was the right equipment. And after witnessing Canada’s only F5 tornado in 2007, up close and in person, I bought my first DSLR camera. Then, I started capturing everything and anything I could, including storms.
My passions quickly evolved into storm and aurora photography (and a dash of newborn photography). My work has been featured in magazines and has won awards. Most importantly, my work has kept me learning, growing, adventuring and discovering. There is no better feeling than staring down Mother Nature, and this marvelous gift she throws at you. Being in the middle of it, the complete awe, is an indescribable feeling. It is a special moment in time that I love to capture and share with everyone.
Melanie Metz I was born to chase tornadoes, just as some people are born to sing or become medical doctors. I have been drawn to the storm, wanting to understand it, watch it, and feel it. Standing in the wind of a passing supercell is where I truly feel alive. I have had a passion for storms since I was a young girl living in Arizona. There, I would stare in awe at the incredible lightning shows and dream about tornadoes. As I entered high school, photography became my other love. I began actively chasing tornadoes after earning my bachelor’s degree, and I have been on the road with my camera every spring for over twenty years now.
During my earlier years of chasing storms, I partnered with Peggy Willenberg. Together, we became known as the “Twister Sisters” with a reality TV show on the WE Network. We also worked as Chasers for FOX 9 News in Minneapolis, taught Skywarn classes and did many severe weather presentations for various audiences. For the past several years, I have been living my dream as a solo storm chaser, as Melanie Metz Storm Chasing. I work to capture the power and beauty of storms on film.
I am just now beginning the journey into the world of non fungible tokens, where I hope to offer my work and support other artists in the community in a new and exciting way. And, let me share one more tidbit. After many years of hard work, one of my tornado photographs was recently licensed for commercial use in the cover and poster of the upcoming film, “13 Minutes”. The film is about survival. A community works together to rebuild when their town is hit by a tornado. There are several strong female characters in the story. I can’t wait to see it, because it is a huge honour. For more info about my work, please visit my website to learn more about my work.
Lori Grace Bailey I am a professional wedding/portrait photographer who also enjoys capturing extreme weather and extraordinary skies. My work has appeared in major publications and television outlets including the March/June issue of Backpacker Magazine. I am also a brand ambassador for F-Stop Gear.
I enjoy chasing tornados in the mid-west, haboobs in the southwest. Or, when conditions are right, I captured elusive sprites using my intimate knowledge of a storm’s lifecycle. I believe that my work stands out because I can consistently get shots most people only dream of.
One of my other roles is Director of Monsoon Con, an annual convention in Tucson, Arizona. The convention brings together photographers and weather enthusiasts with an emphasis on storm chasing with success.
Jessica Moore I am a female storm chaser of nearly 10 years, making a living from NFT photography and video. I am a meteorologist, professional photographer and videographer, and passionately involved with NFTs. My storm footage and photography has been aired on The Weather Channel, ABC, NBC, CNN, CBS, WeatherNationTV and FOX News. I have also been featured in several national TV news stories about women in storm chasing and meteorology. My non-fungible tokens can be found on Foundation and Open Sea under the handle name @DopplerJess as well.
Natasha S Who says ‘thunderbolt’? Hi, everyone! My name is Natasha, a photographer by passion from Bangkok, Thailand. And here is my favourite shot of a city thunderbolt. One thing I love the most is nature of all kinds. As a kid, I always enjoyed watching lightning dancing in the sky and was never scared of it. For me, it was a light show from nature. So it becomes my passion whenever I see the light flashing from the sky, I always grab my camera and go after it.
In a city like Bangkok, finding lightning is challenging. Most properties in the city are private so it becomes difficult to find a location for the perfect capture. Great meeting you. You can find me everywhere.
Erin AKA GhostTrainPhoto This chase was one of the best chases I’ve ever had. This supercell danced in front of me for almost an hour.
I am a psychology researcher with a passion for storms. I grew up on the western edge of tornado alley and have always been fascinated by the power of weather.
I got into photography as means of justifying the countless hours I found myself driving to experience storms. Photography has now turned into a passion of its own.
Hello, my name is Stephanie. I am a storm chaser and landscape photographer based in Oklahoma. I have spent the last ten years traveling the plains chasing Mother Nature’s fury. I grew up in the heart of tornado alley, so I have always been fascinated my weather. When I’m not chasing a storm, I spend my time traveling and hiking. I love to explore new places and push myself to new limits.
Willard Sharp I am a storm chaser and astrophotographer based in Iowa. The 2021 chase season was really good to me this year and capturing most photogenic tornado of the year in west Texas this past spring was the highlight of my chase season.
Ujwal Puri Hi. My name is Ujwal Puri. I am a photographer and storm chaser from Mumbai, India. My lightning photos have been featured in some of India’s leading newspapers and magazines. I have, as of now, one non-fungible token of a lightning shot. Looking forward to minting more of my storm chasing work on Foundation.
Adam Orgler Hello. I’m a storm chaser based out of central Iowa. I’ve been chasing for 3 years now. I am currently a senior at Iowa State University studying computer ccience. What you will see is the result of an impromptu chase this summer in central Iowa. Over the course of the evening, I stumbled upon two highly photogenic, rotating supercells. The first cell was a fast mover which I had to outrun in order to avoid the large hail it was producing. It had an awesome bowl-shaped shelf cloud along its gust front. After the first cell dissipated, a second, slow moving cell formed to the north. I was able to set up my shooting location in a wind farm as the cell moved right towards me. It was spectacular.
Thomas Knepshield Here is one of my favorite tweets from the year. I sat through a nighttime hail core in Garden City, KS trying to dent my car up and shatter a windshield. I achieved both of those goals here. I am an adrenaline-structure junkie storm chaser from Kentucky. This was my first year hitting the road to chase and I spent six weeks chasing storms along my 16,600 mile road trip. I saw five tornadoes, sat through a bunch of hail cores and captured a lot of lightning on camera. A childhood dream come true. I am twenty-two so that means I have seventy-eight more years of chasing to go (or more if possible).
Tim Slane As a storm chaser and photographer, I chase storms, tornadoes, and lightning in the High Plains of the United States. Through photography, I share the beauty, uniqueness, and power of both storm and landscape.
Hunter Fowkes This is one of my best storm chases I’ve ever been able to undertake in thirteen years chasing tornadoes. This was extremely close to home. What a day. There were many times this tornado felt like the ones I witnessed in Lockett, Texas, Ashby, Minnesota, and Tipton, Oklahoma. The tornado went through many phase changes and was such a sight to behold. I love this state.
Oh, my goodness. I was so enraptured by this presentation that I almost forgot to close it down with a big thank you. I was thrilled to have storm chasing superheroes featured here today. I am grateful to you for sharing your stories and being hard working and passionate, which is what we need to keep us inspired. And by now, you know the drill: Find them on Twitter, and follow them. They are going to look really cool in your timeline.
Thank you, everyone, for viewing this presentation.
Happy Sunday to you all. After Wednesday’s wonderful post, I thought it would be great to follow up today with astrophotography. What else are you going to do on a Sunday night besides look up at the sky?
As usual, when you view, please remember to visit each account and leave some feedback for the talented photographers. We have lots of tweets to view, so sit back and scroll.
Amit, Exploring Night Sky, is on Twitter. By day, he is a software developer. His work as an astrophotographer has won him awards. He is based in New Zealand, and he says that his photography of the night sky has helped him overcome the fear of darkness. This is why he enjoys bringing the night sky to you. He is dedicated to his art, and in Guiding Light, his patience won out after eight hours of driving and eight hundred steps to the top of a lighthouse. After a long wait, the dark clouds cleared, and you can see what his camera lens picked up.
Adrien Mauduit is an engineer, author, aurora guide, professional night sky photographer and cinematographer. He is mostly specialising in time lapse images. This collection features some of his most innovative astrolapse work, which is also the first such photography work to be minted on the ethereum blockchain.
Ross is an astrophotographer from the UK and he uses photographs to inspire people to get outdoors and see the beauty in the heavens above. His favourite image is one of the Andromeda Galaxy, but I am going to showcase this video of the Orion images he has worked on. Ross did a lot to help organise this showcase, and he did so by spreading the word among his colleagues and friends. Thank you, Ross.
Mustafa Aydin, from Turkey, is a superstar on Twitter. Shield your eyes before looking at his spectacular follower count. He is adored on Twitter, and I will tell you why. He takes amazing photographs and he has a great personality. He regularly drops into conversations by replying to my tweets, and he was kind enough to join in this showcase today. Mustafa is interested in deep space astrophotography as well as widefield and Milky Way astrophotography. He loves the endless learning curve and we love the goosebumps we get from looking at his work.
Josh is a sixteen-year-old New Zealander, and he is part of the Twitter astrophotography community. During the day, he explores our beautiful planet, and at night, the stunning night sky above. You can see some of his beautiful work on his Twitter profile.
Tom is also from New Zealand, and he is the same age as Josh. Isn’t it heartwarming to see young people so enamoured by our planet, our solar system, and this expansive universe? Tom is well-loved wherever he goes, and it is always a joy to chat with him in Twitter Spaces. He reminds us that his work is based around creating a connection between earth, people and the universe. His passion for art and the stars has been there ever since he was very young. Like him, I am happy he discovered this amazing hobby.
In his own words, “My work is based around creating a connection between earth, people and the universe: to bring it to those who can’t access it due to the sad reality of light pollution within our cities. I try to spark a sense of curiosity for the night sky through my images, as I believe it can teach us valuable perspectives on how we live our lives, the world around us, and who we are as people. My appreciation for art and the stars has been there from a young age, first inspired by the Hubble space telescopes incredible images. I am so happy to have found something that I’m passionate about and to have others supporting me with it!”
Diego Juaregui is from Argentina and he is an amateur astrophotographer. He likes the feeling of being alone in a faraway place watching the stars and thinking about infinity. It is a comforting feeling.
Marcel Strelow is a landscape photographer from Munich, Germany. He has been into nightscapes forever and fell in love with deep sky photography during the last lockdown in winter.
Mark Coull is from Scotland and is relatively new to astrophotography. He is learning incredibly quickly. His fast progress might be due to his eye for detail, which he refined as a multimedia designer. He loves to learn and is here to teach. We are glad he is. Our galaxy has a beautiful palette, and you can find more of it on Mark’s timeline.
Yusuf Qureshi is a UK astrophotographer now based in New Zealand. He says that the skies out there feel so special. And under the shining stars, he feels at peace as he is pointing his camera lens up towards them. Let us join him outside soon.
From Switzerland, we have Marco Kern, a landscape photographer who is passionate about stargazing. He loves the silence of the night when he can be alone under the stars.
And here comes Willard Sharp, stormchaser from Madrid, Iowa. It was wonderful meeting an American astrophotographer, as my time zone puts me closer to Europe, Asia and Oceania. In this image, you can see the rig he set up in his backyard. Then look below to see an example of what he captured. That is a truly spectacular view.
In India, we have Ubik, a photographer and filmmaker who has been documenting life in photos for the past 12 years. He enjoys running around on sleepless nights to get a glimpse of the night sky. And then, he takes it all in on camera. He finds the process meditative and we love that about his work.
Ronan Hunt is from rainy Ireland, and we are happy he is able to capture beautiful images for us to enjoy. If you want to make friends with Ronan, his Discord server is linked on his Twitter bio. Feel free to follow him or add him to your list of favourite photographers so you can keep up with his amazing work.
Our other American friend comes to us from New Jersey. His handle name is Desclafani Photography and he loves to share his knowledge of photography with his followers. Visit his profile and follow him. He is always ready to share his process.
Lee and Brenda Amber are a family of photographers based in California. They have a fascinating story, and if you want to learn more, please join them in Twitter Spaces. As a family, they love the magic of capturing a moment with a camera. They enjoy sharing images that show what they saw and how they felt.
Across the ocean, in the UK, we meet Sajjad, who is based in London. He traveled back to Pakistan to take photos of the night sky here. From his rooftop, he took some of the Helix Nebula, NGC 729, a planetary nebula located in Aquarius. Below that, you can see the image he captured of the North American Nebula, NGC 7000.
Give a warm welcome to Thai photographer, Notto. I am happy when I see his work in my timeline. And not only is he a member of one of the most wonderful communities of artists on Twitter, but his work there is also admired by photographers everywhere. Visit his profile, follow him, and enjoy his wonderful work.
We round out the presentation with Jack, a New Zealander who is actively involved in the NFT community. He was the first person to respond to my call for submissions and I am so glad he did because his work is stunning. Or is it, “Stella”?
I think we have covered most of the planet, and I am proud to be colleagues with these talented artists. Each of the astrophotographers featured creates non fungible tokens from their photography work. They are also active members of the NFT community and we wish them all the best. Thank you for viewing this gallery.
Does anyone remember who said, “Follow your joy”? I think this quote is popular because everyone can imagine feeling happy at the final stage of a project. Recently, I told Caring for Art that my nightmares have become work product. I was not exaggerating. Public speakers will never tell you that you must hard work to find the thing to which you can happily commit. If they told you to face reality, nobody would pay them $50,000 to talk about themselves for 30 minutes.
And because I know that the truth is hard to hear, I feel confident that no-one will copy my secret formula, which I am going to share in this post. This is my recipe for staying committed and focused on the way to finding joy. First read it, then scroll down for a taste test.
🧁 Commitment Cupcake 🧁
Ingredients Absolutely everything real about you right now.
Write down every idea you have but stay loosely attached.
Seek advice from qualified experts.
Listen to advice and evaluate for quality.
Search for useful ideas in negative feedback.
Be assertive but never argue, no matter what.
Lose fixation on irrelevant details.
Shut down anyone who attempts to devalue you.
Transfer your idea from a “hard” medium to a “soft” one.
Follow up on each new idea (see item 1).
Table, pin, or expunge unworkable ideas.
Shred your lists.
Keep at it.
The taste test – Covers only Item 8 became especially important this week when my plans came to a full stop. And though I was feeling isolated and trapped, I decided to shred everything and start over.
One of many ideas I had written down was “launch a magazine”. However, I threw it out because there are billions of writers, millions of magazines, and only a handful of subscribers.
From that, I imagined what it would be like for a young writer to dream of launching a magazine only to hit roadblock after roadblock. How would this writer solve these problems? The answers to that question became the treatment for a writing project. My preferred medium for presenting that story is a “hard” one, so I pinned it for later.
The transfer to a “soft” medium was a frictionless fusion of my interests. After careful research, I did some math: photography + fashion + world cultures + health + making stuff up + graphic design = a concept that I really like.
That is to say, I will only produce the covers. I’ve posted two test copies for you and I hope you like them.
If you’re an artist and you feel apprehensive about showing your work, don’t overthink it. Please take a good look at that page of a fashion magazine. I really like it because it shows you don’t need to have the best handwriting ever to use yours as art.
I had one of those days when I felt truly ****** over and it seemed appropriate to scratch something meta on the side. Then, in a different magazine, I found a monochrome photograph of a man’s left hand. I cut it out, dressed it up, and put it in a box. As I photographed it, I realised I had a fun throwback story for Thursday.
A few years ago, I was approached by a chocolatier out of the blue. Chocolate-making is profitable here, so they were adding a bistro to their shop. They needed a huge favour. They said, we heard that your handwriting is totally unreadable so we want to use it for our handwritten menu cards so that nobody can say we copied theirs. Plus, we don’t know how to translate katakana to French with proper spelling because we don’t know foreign languages.
And I was like, okay.
The bistro was a gorgeous, modern, stone structure with stained wood interiors and a sunken kitchen. While I sat there staring at the printed out pages of the menu, the chef brought out the first plate of the tasting menu.
One of my friends, who decided she was going to come along and watch, was the designated taster. And she was elated at the chance to eat gourmet food for two hours while I chicken-scratched on menu cards in two languages.
This morning, I received a surprise gift: A box of rose-shaped cookies from a Tokyo patisserie called Tulip Rose. I can’t have the cookies because I’m gluten intolerant, so I took photos before giving them away.
The illustrations are from individually-wrapped drip coffee sachets. I received four from a colleague who found them while hunting for coffee deals on Amazon. I have had three so far. (When I say I have coffee, I mean a milk substitute, cream, sugar, and coffee as a flavour).
I kept the packaging in case I could create some yummy photo art. The moment has arrived, the coffee brand is called Tasogare, and the beans are from Ethiopia and Brazil.
Thank you for your support so far. Please enjoy the cookies with your beverage of choice, a warm hug from me, and best wishes for the months ahead.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I was writing a coronation scene for a new novel. The story is set in 2033, and unfolds in the same universe as The Quarter Percent. We follow events from three perspectives. One belongs to Sebastian Sax-Gault, who happens to be a nephew of Cordial’s.
Still drafting, but I know how the story ends. In the very last scene, after a bombshell revelation the previous evening, a hush falls over the nation on Coronation Day. The new monarch is Sebastian’s bestie, 35-year-old Carroll. In this draft of the story, Carroll’s father is still alive, so the proclamation of accession has to take place at the coronation.
By this point in the story, we have eavesdropped on meetings and know that the coronation will be stripped of pomp and pageantry. Sebastian has been asked to whittle down the government’s expenditure on the ceremony to mere shillings. The ceremony is a reckoning with the public which, after a display of hubris, has completely lost face. Nonetheless, the ordeal has been humiliating for Carroll.
Note: This post was originally intended for publication on this date, 09/20, but I moved it up a week. I moved it back here to make way for a different post. Thank you for your attention, as always. Header image: Izrael Poznanski Palace in Lodz, Poland, by Jacques Bopp, via Unsplash. Concept art: “Accession proclamation for King Carroll”, Posca watercolour pens, and Pilot Juice metallic ink on matte/glossy magazine paper.
Go out in the morning, into the tabernacles and the courts. Blessed are the souls that receive you; they will be comforted. Do not faint from toil; find rest in mine house. Sleep, and see a mystery in the early moments, before the trumpets will sound. Continue to the city, touching all who praise thee for thy works. Blessed are the faithful that rejoice in thy labour; they will obtain gladness even until the latter rain.
I will not age nor show how frail I am, nor let the flower of my glory fall away. Yea, I will bless them that sow in joy and wait to taste the bounteous supper. Mine riches shall I heap upon their heads.
Therefore, feel not disquiet, but hope. Walk in righteousness, and be worthy. Weep not for days, but return to me. And measure not my devotion in a handsbreadth; surely, it will endure forever.
Acrylic and moulding paste on
A4 illustration board (processed)
This is a practice painting I’ve been playing with since early March. It started as an orange stigma and petals in shades of green, on green illustration board. Later, I painted over it in light rose and oxide black. And finally, in deeper shades of rose.
Two versions of the painting were photographed on magazine pages. Below is the light rose edit I’m using as wallpaper for my phone.
Outtakes: The collage below shows the edits that nearly made it to the main presentation. This time, I really couldn’t make up my mind. The final deep pink version appears in this one.
As always, I wish you a lovely day. Thank you so much for viewing.
Magazine photos – Maggie Jablonski by Elena Rendina for Numero, Tokyo, “Be Gorgeous”, vol 91, November, 2015.