We were lucky enough to catch the National Geographic, Joel Sartore Exhibit of Animal photographs entitled Photo Ark on our trip to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens. This exhibition is making the rounds of zoos all around the country and is quite frankly, stunning. Joel Sartore is on a mission to document species before they disappear. You can read more about it on the Photo Ark Site.
These fanciful and quirky photos of animals staged as if they were Hollywood icons were scattered all around the zoo.
The girls in front of the Red River Hog!
And then of course, there were the real animals. Cincinnati Zoo has wonderful habitats for the animals which are as close to natural as possible. The polar bear gave us a real show which was a treat because we usually just watch the polar bear nap at other zoos.
And you can see the elephants and a lot of other animals very close up in this zoo.
The girls had a ball feeding the giraffes which were at eye level.
Now, the sloth was the main attraction that day for us. He actually woke up and did a dance for us about five feet from our spot on the balcony. Quite a show off!
The flamingos do perform an actual show and you can sit about one foot from them.
Then they do the whole “napping on one leg” thing.
The most unexpectedly fascinating part of the zoo was the World of the Insect.
This is the fascinating journey of the Leaf Cutter Ants who travel through this tube with bits of leaves they cut from these little bushes and carry to the other side of the exhibition to their home below. We watched them for ages. Much better than reality TV.
Here is the where the Queen Ant lives. They bring the pieces of leaves and build up huge piles.
Check out this interesting video about these ants!
Photographer, Katerina Plotnikova and her stunning portraits with real animals are not photoshopped or enhanced. They are completely real and raw! Not only are these shots incredibly beautiful but they are touching moments with humans and animals where we feel mutual love.
The rest of Katerina‘s body of work is just as magical and surreal.
Here is part of a Q&A she had with photography blog, 500px, iso where they asked her to reveal the story behind some of her incredible shots:
Are the animals in your photos real?
KATERINA PLOTNIKOVA: Of course they are real! The fox, for example, is a real domesticated animal. His name is Adyssey. He has a bit difficult temper, but he is very loved by his owner. All the animals that are in my photo shoots are treated really well. Sometimes, I even think that their owners treat them better than their own kids!
Can you tell us more about yourself?
KATERINA: I was born in a small town near Moscow, where I still live to this day. My life revolves around two things — photography and travel. However, my travel experience is not too extensive. Last year, I travelled all over Russia, from Moscow to a remote Sakhalin. This year, I visited a number of South East Asian countries. My big dream is to travel around the world, and see all the corners of our amazing planet.
KATHERINE: The bear is real! His name is Stepan, and he’s a movie star! He has an extensive experience — around 18 years. Throughout all these years, he has never showed any aggression. The only threat is that he can break your heart. He’s so marvelous and well-managed, that after just a minute of being with him you can’t suppress the smile. You would be very moved by Stepan’s behavior and his infinite warmth with his handlers. They delight him with treats — such as cakes and fish. They treat him like a human, and that impresses me very much.
Foxes are my most favorite animals of all. There’s nothing that connects the fox to the model, other than a mutual love of foxes. The fox is owned by one of my friends.
This amazing and breathtaking miniature treehouse leaves me speechless. The creator Maddie Chambers, who lives in Chesterfield, England – inspired by the book Spring Story by Jill Barklem, decided to recreate the “Crabapple Cottage.” She spared no detail, spending 11 months constructing the entire structure from scratch and molding many pieces from Fimo clay such as the miniature basket of mushrooms.
And make sure you take in her first project which was a handcrafted Lord of the Rings dollhouse. Maddie has read the Lord of the Rings over 20 times and was inspired the very first time she picked up the book at the age of 10.
Here’s more of the Miniature Mouse Tree House. Maddie shares all of the details of how she created this masterpiece on her blog, just in case you want to attempt something like this. And take a look at the great photos of the project as well as close-ups of the more intricate flourishes. Every time I look, I see something new as I’m sure you will.
And just as a side note, apart from building structures like these, this incredible and talented mama not only is bringing up 8 year-old twin boys, but works part-time in IT, plays guitar – acoustic and electric, (her favourite music is rock music – Guns N Roses, Metallica, Stone Sour, Incubus etc.) and she also does Kickboxing, Body Combat, Zumba etc. Whoa!
Now for some art! Here is the next in our series of Angle on Artists and we are featuring the Soft Sculptures of Carlie Trosclair who is an installation artist based in St. Louis, Missouri. Trosclair earned an MFA from the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, a BFA from Loyola University New Orleans, and is a Fellow of the Community Arts Training Institute (MO).
Approached through a lens of reordering and rediscovery, Trosclair’s site sensitive installations create new topographies and narratives that highlight structural and decorative shifts that evolve over a building’s lifespan.
With this installation visitors are welcomed into the large gallery on the ground floor of the museum, converted into a play area with a veritable game of life-size constructions, or a kindergarten on the scale of the environment. Buren was inspired by the ideas of Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (1782-1852), the German pedagogue who created the concept of and the word – kindergarten. Well, I’m sure that kids would love a kindergarten that looks like this!
Tower of London Poppies
To commemorate the centennial of Britain’s involvement in the First World War – Remembrance Day, a spectacular art installation entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red has been created by artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper at The Tower of London.
888,246 ceramic poppies are gradually filling the Tower’s moat – each representing a British military fatality during the war. Every evening, the Last Post is played at sunset and names of of those who died in combat are read aloud.
The final flower will be symbolically planted on 11th November. It’s such a breathtaking commemoration that I urge you to go and see it before this masterpiece is dismantled on 12th November.
Scroll down to see the arial video to get an idea of the full scope of this incredible art installation!
I am just blown away with this beautiful embroidery which is part of the Hasta Mostla Exhibition in Mexico. I see it as a kind of “Expressionist Embroidery” just because of the freedom in the stitches and depictions. And love that they show photos of the process – see below!
The exhibit brings together women artists and artisans from Mexico and Latin America and presents the experiences, as the result of interdisciplinary and multicultural exchange between all these women for two months: embroidered graphics, photography and audiovisual as well recordings of the group experiences during the creation.
These photos are part of the “The Monster Engine Project“, created by Dave DeVries. The Monster Engine is based on the idea of creating realistic paintings from children’s drawings. Sometimes artists just happen to get to one point where their imagination stops. But not children. These images present drawings made by children, all around 6 years old and then their representations made by Dave DeVries. I find it very interesting the direction some of these are taken in and built on.
The French artist Aurélie Mathigot creates unique tapestries which are a symphony of fibers. She embroiders, weaves, knits, crochets and even beads these photographs of landscapes to highlight a fleeting luminescence or detail or mood. And her current exhibition is called “Des fils, des histoires, des histoires qui défilent”, which means more or less, “Some yarns, stories, stories that unravel”. (Of course it sounds better in French!)
The girls and I have been weaving tapestries this week, so we were fascinated when we saw these. And would love to see these up close and personal. So if you happen to be in Paris or are going there soon, really worth checking out!