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Lethal Alkaline Lake in Africa Turns Animals into Stone Statues

When photographer Nick Brandt first visited Lake Natron, in Northern Tanzania, he was shocked by the macabre animal statues he saw aligned across its shoreline. He later found out something even more shocking – those were real animals calcified by the lake’s alkaline water.

Natron, which gives the lake its name, is a naturally occurring compound found in volcanic ash. It’s the same mineral the Egyptians used to preserve their mummies. The lake’s alkalinity is similar to that of ammonia, with a pH between 9 and 10.5, and the temperature of the water can reach 60 °C. No animal can withstand this caustic environment and venturing into the alkaline environment is usually fatal. As soon as birds and bats plunge into the waters of lake Natron, the minerals start turning their flesh into stone and preserving them exactly as they were in their final moments. Flamingos sometime use the predator-free salt islands that sometimes form on the lake for nesting, but it’s a risky gamble, as the photos below clearly show. Only invertebrates, a few algae invertebrates and some fish that live near the edges of the lake can survive this environment.

Lake-Natron

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Japanese Photographer Teaches Lonely Guys How to Use Their Right Hand as a Girlfriend. It’s Not What You Think!

There’s no shame in being single, but if you’d like your friends and acquaintances to think you’re in a loving relationship, you can follow the example of Keisuke Jinushi, a young Japanese photographer who has mastered the art of making his right hand the perfect photo girlfriend.

Being single can be pretty uncomfortable, especially when all your friends are in relationships and can’t seem to shut up about their perfect girlfriends and the good times they have together. Of course, that’s not the case of Keisuke Jinushi, the guy in the photos below. He obviously has a very caring girlfriend who loves to feed him delicious treats, wipe the corners of his mouth of ketchup or grab his mouth in a very affectionate manner. She’s the one who took the photos, so she must be real, right?  No, not really. It was Keisuke himself who took the photos, and that’s actually his own right hand feeding his mouth. But why would anyone do something like that? Apparently, the talented photographer just wanted to share his “selfie” tricks to show everyone just how easy it is to share a romantic moment even if they’re sharing it with themselves.

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Art Students Swallow Pieces of Film to Become Human Cameras

The next time you look in the mirror and ask yourself “what am I?”, a correct answer could be: a living, breathing camera. Last year, two art students, Luke Evans and Joshua Lake, conducted an unusual experiment in which they swallowed several pieces of film to capture the digestive system at work. Their art project was aptly named “I Turn Myself Inside Out”.

At first glance, the artworks of Kingston University students Luke Evans and Joshua Lake look like a collection of specimens captured under a microscope, when in fact they are stills of their digestive systems doing what they do best, process stuff. The two young artists said “we wanted to bring our insides out” so they swallowed several piece of 35mm photographic film and let their bodies do the rest. They’re no doctors, so they didn’t know for sure if this would affect their health in any way, but as a precaution they put the film inside brightly colored capsules to avoid damage to their colons (those things have sharp edges). After eating the film, the two Graphic Design & Photography students waited for nature to take its course and hoped for the best. When the time came, they did their “business” in a bag, took it to a dark room and started looking for the capsules. Luckily, their bright color made them easy to spot. After retrieving the film strips, they scanned them with an electron microscope which revealed some interesting images of their insides.

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Modern Lifelogging – Record Everything That Goes on in Your Life through Photos

First there was journaling, then came blogging, vlogging and even microblogging. The latest in the trend of recording life experiences is Lifelogging – recording every little thing that goes on in your life through pictures. As if people sharing mind-numbingly mundane pictures of things like what they ate and where they slept wasn’t enough, modern lifelogging devices actually help people take continuous photographs and videos of every single moment of their day.

So capturing only the special times of your life – like weddings, birthdays or your child being born – is fast becoming a thing of the past. With lifelogging, it’s just like downloading your entire life, minute by minute, and storing it on your computer. A master file, if you will, that you can always refer back to, to remember exactly what happened in the past. According to the fans of this practice, lifelogging helps them create what they call a perfect digital archive. This can be accessed any time, so they are able to recall things like where they left their car keys or remember a cherished moment in great detail. These lifeloggers capture their daily routine through pictures or video and store them on the internet. Some of them also record patterns of their mood, sleep, exercise and diet. A handful of users have also broadcast their lives online for everyone to see, and most say that they want to create as many data streams about themselves as possible, so the data can be collated and analyzed, leading to new insights and revelations about their lives. It’s especially helpful to those who are interested in health and fitness.

lifelogging-camera

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Japanese Dude Needs Your Help to Travel the World and Take Photos of Beautiful Women

Kei Akatsu is a Japanese student who wants to travel the world and take photos of beautiful women for his Beauties World Map project. But he needs your help to do it. Traveling isn’t cheap, so he’s turned to an online crowd funding service to fulfill his dream.

The Tokyo University of Science student spent half a year in Vancouver taking photos of cute girls from all over the world and putting together a collection for his Beauties World Map website. He actually managed to meet an impressive number of women, and organized their photos on his site according to their places of origin, age and height. But it was only the beginning of his great photographic experience. Kei Akatsu now wants to travel the world and capture feminine beauty on camera for everyone see. Sadly, he lacks the funds to journey across North and South America, so he turned to Crowdfire, a Japanese online crowd funding service similar to Kickstarter, for help. To attract sponsors, Kei mapped out the entire project and even posted a promotional video and sample photos.

Beauties-of-the-World

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Fearless Artist Photographs Herself in the Most Precarious Positions

It’s hard to believe the photos bellow are real, but South-Korean artist Ahn Jun insists she does not photoshop any of her works. Although she will sometimes use measures of protection like a harness, the young daredevil really is dangling on the side of buildings or leaning out skyscraper windows, all in the nae of art.

Remember Natsumi Hayashi, Tokyo’s levitating girl, who used to post photos of herself jumping at just the right time to make it seem like she was floating through the city? I loved her work, and today I get to write about an equally talented and creative Asian photo artist, Ahn Jun. Her project titled Self-Portrait, for which she photographs herself in precarious positions on high-rise buildings around the world, has taken the art world by storm. Many have claimed that the photos are digitally altered to create the death-defying portraits, but the young South-Korean photographer insists it’s all real. She just sets the timer on her camera to take as many pictures as possible until the memory card is full, and then gets into position, either leaning dangerously over the edge of a skyscraper, climbing out the window or just staring at her feet into the abyss below. She then goes through the thousands of photos, picking just one or two in which her body looks “peaceful or aggressive, rather than fearful”.

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Overcrowded Japanese Subway Inspires Original Photo Series

Tokyo Compression is an ongoing photo series by German-born artist Michael Wolf that shows daily commuters with their faces pressed against the steamy windows of Japan’s overcrowded subway trains.

Japan has one of the highest population densities in the world. Tokyo, its capital city, and the surrounding metropolitan area has a population of over 35 million, living in an area just 8,000 square kilometers in size. As you can imagine, the cost of living in such a densely populated metropolis can be considered astronomical, and that forces a lot of people into neighboring areas, where housing is more affordable. The result of this phenomenon is a large number of commuters traveling into Tokyo for work and back home, on a daily basis. Although Japan’s capital is famous for its advanced transportation infrastructure, not even its punctual subway trains can handle the large number of people using them during rush hours. In order to fit them all in, the subway even has “passenger arrangement staff”, commonly known as “people pushers”, main goal is to cram as many people as possible into the subway tram. The white glove-wearing personal actually pushes people into the train, so the doors can shut. Seeing commuters’ faces pressed against the windows like sardines inspired Hong Kong- based photograph Michael Wold to create his Tokyo Compression photo series.

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Japanese Photographer Tries to Keep Love Fresh Forever by Wrapping It in Vacuumed Plastic Bags

Some couple try all kinds of romantic tricks to keep love alive for longer, but Japanese photographer Haruhiko Kawaguchi takes a more literal approach – he wraps people in plastic wrap, sucks out the air and takes photos of their distorted bodies.

The bizarre images of people huddled together in weird positions, in vacuumed plastic wrap may look like stills from a a sado-masochistic practice, but they are Haruhiko Kawaguchi way of showing and preserving the love between two people. His project, “Flesh Love”, is pretty straightforward. Two people, usually couples, are “packaged” in a 100 by 150 by 74 centimeters plastic bag the artist buys from the Internet. After carefully arranging their body parts so he can get the best shot, Kawaguchi uses an old vacuum cleaner to suck out all the air and make the subjects look like a pack of packaged meat you buy at the supermarket. It takes about 10 to 20 seconds for hit to take the photographs, during which time the shrinkwrapped couple has to endure the pressure and lack of air. But it’s all in the name of love.

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Cecelia Webber Uses Naked Bodies to Create Human Flowers

Los Angeles-based Cecelia Webber takes nude photos of the human body and assembles them in the shape of flowers and butterflies, to create some of the most stunning images you’ve ever seen.

Three years ago, Cecelia Webber was a neuroscience graduate from USC, working in the lab all day and indulging in photography in her spare time. And then one day, it happened… “It was an accident, really,” the young artist told Modern Luxury. “I shot a nude figure against a black background and it looked so much like a petal I just went with it.” A Photoshop expert, Webber began layering hundreds of photographs she shot into a single piece to create vibrantly colored flowers made up entirely of the human body. Legs became petals, arms became stamen, and she kept finding new ways of turning instances of the human form into parts of her unique flowers.

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Stunning Flowers Are Actually Paint Splashes Photographed at the Right Time

I love splash photography, but this is the first time I’ve seen an artist using this technique to create unique flowers, some with their own liquid flower pots. The patient man behind this amazing art is Jack Long, a talented photographer who spends months planning and experimenting to create these stunning pieces.

Armed with superhuman patience, a high-speed camera and lots of paint, Jack Long set out to create a series of beautiful images called ‘Vessels and Blooms’ in which he tried to create liquid flowers out of colored paint droplets captured in mid-air. The skilled photographer spent several months planning and testing different techniques in order to achieve the best results possible, and judging by his photos, I’d say his work paid off in the end.

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Skywalking – Russia’s Thrilling but Dangerous Photo Craze

Skywalking is the latest photography craze among Russian teens. The idea is to be able to find a really high building, climb to the very top and stand at its very edge, imagining you’re on the top of the world. Then, you take photographs from up there to post on the internet. The teens participating in this form of skywalking do so without any sort of safety equipment. Needless to say, they enjoy it very much.

19-year-old Marat Dupri is one such teenager who engages in skywalking. He risks his life quite casually, scaling sky-high buildings and capturing photographs of the world below. It was about 18 months ago that he purchased a camera and started to take pictures from his own roof. But soon, he was aiming for bigger and better ones. Accompanied by a friend, he scaled a 33-storey building to the very top going right to the very edge of the 120 m high structure. According to him, “It was such a thrill; we couldn’t wait to do it again.” And they didn’t. One of the shots shows the group of teenagers scaling one of Russia’s seven Soviet skyscrapers, using a ladder. In another one, his friend is perched at the side of a monument to Peter I, 215 m in the air. There are even photos from atop the Moscow tower, one of the highest buildings in Europe. Dupri and his friends say they’ve taken a lot of photos by sneaking past guards and getting access to structures illegally. He thinks the risks are definitely worth it to take such amazing pictures. “When I am on the roof I have a feeling that the whole world is at my feet. All my problems and troubles are left somewhere down. The height exilarates me. I am enjoying with my home town views. It gives me energy and fills with enthusiasm to make new and great shots,” he says.

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Photographer Captures Beauty of Crystal Clear Swiss River from 50 Feet Deep

The Verzasca River, in Switzerland, is known all over the world for its clear, turquoise waters, but until now its beauty had only been captured from the surface. Photographer Claudio Gazzaroli decided to change that, so he put on a diving suit, took his waterproof camera and dived onto the riverbed to take some truly mind-blowing photos.

The 30-km-long Verzasca mountain river originates at Pizzo Barone and flows into Lake Maggiore, in Italy. The river valley is located in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland and is a popular tourist destination. People come from all around the globe to see the turquoise waters of Verzasca, do scuba-diving and admire its vibrant colored rocks. Most of them prefer to take photos of Verzasca from the mountains that surround it or from the many bridges built over it. But photographer Claudio Gazzaroli wanted to offer a different perspective on this unique wonder of nature. He dived town 50 feet to the bottom of Verzasca and managed to capture the almost unearthly clarity of its waters. ‘I wanted to show the beauty of this place in a new way,’ Gazzaroli said. Looking at his work, one wonders why wee need software like Photoshop when Mother Nature seems to do thing better herself.

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Fascinating Portraits Made Out of Thousands of Tiny Photographs

Inspired by the fact that every person has multiple facets that combined form his or her personality, Swiss artist Anna Halm Schudel creates original portraits by piecing together thousands of small photographs.

The mosaic portraits of Anna Halm Schudel assemble in a similar way to puzzles. After choosing the subject of her artwork, the artist goes online and looks for photos of the past or present celebrity and starts reworking the digital images in a very complex process. She usually works with just a section of each image, making sure the formats and tones match the general line of the portrait she envisioned. Each of the small photos used as mosaic pieces measures just one square centimeter and only become visible when the viewer approaches to take a closer look at the work of art. At first glance, people see another portrait of Barack Obama, Scarlet Johannsson or Marilyn Monroe, but soon, the big surprise behind the giant pixilation is revealed.

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Hairy Man Poses in Pink Tutu for a Very Good Cause

They’re silly, they’re awkward, and yes, these pictures will make you laugh. Because there’s something undeniably comical about a grown man dressed in a pink tutu, hugging trees or dancing in a meadow. The subject in the photographs is actually a New York photographer. Bob Carey has been posing for self-portraits across the US, wearing nothing else but the tutu. Before you jump into conclusions, he is neither gay nor a crossdresser. Bob is a happily married man who takes pictures of himself in a tutu to help his wife. Once you know more about the cause behind his photographs, they will seem less funny and all the more heart-warming and endearing.

The first time Bob took a picture of himself in the tutu was for a media campaign in 2003. It was just a silly idea back then, but the garment remained in his closet. Six months later his wife Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was cured at the time, but the illness returned in 2006 and she has been under chemo treatment ever since. Linda’s condition has served as a reminder to Bob that laughter is really the best medicine. So he started posing in the tutu once more in order to make his wife laugh, calling it the ‘Tutu Project’. He began taking self-portraits at beaches, parking lots, subway stations and even amusement parks. The unexpected strangeness of these photographs has been very well received. Bob’s pictures have become immensely popular, which has inspired him to work on a book of his images, called ‘Ballerina’. The book will be dedicated to women fighting breast cancer, survivors, relatives and physicians who work for the cause. He plans to donate the proceeds from all sales to breast cancer organizations.

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The Secret Life of Ants, Shot by Andrey Pavlov

We’ve seen insects used as art protagonists before. Mike Libby turns them into steampunk hybrids, and Ubyka creates armed insect cyborgs, but I haven’t seen anything like what Andrey Pavlov does with ants.  This is the touching story of a man who found comfort in studying and immortalizing hardworking ants performing their daily routines.

Andrey Pavlov wasn’t particularly interested in macro photography until seven years ago, when a spinal injury caused him to remain immobilized. That’s when he fell under the charm of these amazing earthlings called ants. He started reading books about them and their behavior, and became fascinated with the way the ant community cares for its weaker members – the children, the old, and the disabled. That’s when he realized they were creatures that commanded respect. This civilization that for the last 150 million years has mastered so many environmentally sustainable ways of surviving and evolving at the same time, really impressed him. So he made it a hobby to observe and take photos of these incredible insects.

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