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Underwater portraits

Looks fishy: Andrey Savin greets marine denizens in his vibrant underwater portraits.



Skirting the sandy sea floor or floating amidst anemone fronds, the subjects of Andrey Savin’s portraits can’t help but act a little fishy. The photographer meets most of the marine species in the waters around where he lives in the Philippines, fascinated by their enigmatic habits and unique interactions.


“The most interesting moments for me are when I observe relationships between living creatures of the same species or interspecies relationships,” he tells Colossal.


A finalist for the 2022 Close-Up Photographer of the Year contest, he highlights everyone’s distinctive traits, from snaggleteeth to speckled scales, and their remarkable aquatic home.


Savin is currently working on a project investigating how to take high-quality video with smartphones underwater, along with a continuing focus on capturing animal behavior.



Kate Mothes for ThisisColossal.com. May 2023


Metaphorical portraits deconstruct art history as collaged specimens

Metaphorical portraits by Michael Mapes deconstruct art history as collaged specimens



Photographs, scraps of fabric, human hair, dried flowers, and gelatine capsules are a few of the materials that artist Michael Mapes arranges into fragmented portraits and still life’s.


Referencing traditions and prominent works in art history, Mapes interprets figures and fruits through deconstructed compositions. Set in specimen boxes evocative of those used in entomological studies, the collagesutilize the metaphor of scientific study to dismantle and reconstruct the contexts and meanings of the original works.


Mapes begins each piece with research around the subject matter and materials, and many of the artist’s most recent works centre on muses, like fashion designer Emile Louise Flöge who was the lifelong companion of Gustav Klimt. “I’ve been making studies, smaller scale works that allow me to consider compositional approaches for larger pieces,” he says about the series. “It connects the past to the present in a very personal way.


A muse vibe is inspired by mining art history to find subjects that resonate with me and my work process.”



Grace Ebert for ThisisColossal.com. August 2022


Raptors in flight

Raptors in flight: Striking Portraits by Mark Harvey frame Birds of Prey on the hunt



Following his portraits of acrobatic birds performing a series of stunts, photographer Mark Harvey turns his focus to the larger, more powerful creatures of the avian species.


The new collection titled ”Raptors in Flight”, centres on birds of prey and their graceful movements while on the hunt. Whether framing a barn owl diving to the ground or a harries hawk splaying its wings, each of the images highlights the raptors’ unique physical features, making the individual details of their feathers, curved beaks, and eyes visible.


Shot with his signature style that applies a hearty dose of drama to the already striking creatures, the photos are shot one at a time in a slow, medium format. “Lighting is a key aspect of my work to help draw out fresh views of well-known subjects, and these birds are no exception, set within an intricate lighting setup to ultimately show the birds in a new light,” Harvey shares.


“With their wings spread wide, these top avian predators’ beauty is put on full display.”




Grace Ebert on ThisisColossal.com, September 2021

Wildlife portraits are captured in elegant scrap metal sculptures

Expressive wildlife portraits are captured in elegant scrap metal sculptures by Leah Jeffery


When it comes to scrap metal, Hogansville, Georgia-based artist Leah Jeffery has honed an instinct for transforming old bike parts, cutlery, and offcuts into a captivating menagerie of expressive animals.


During her senior year of high school, she began exploring different trades, and after signing up for a welding class, discovered a natural skill with metalworking. She became interested in re-using discarded materials, and her first project was a great horned owl, which spurred an ongoing series portraying an array of wildlife.


Now working as Bruised Reed Studio, her practice centres around the proverbial turning of trash into treasure. “There is something about taking what was discarded and giving it new life,” she says. “I use any scrap metal I can find—mostly old bicycle parts and flatware, or people will give me their random metal junk.”


Each sculpture is one-of-a-kind, formed from in a wide variety of textures, densities, and patinas to expressively capture an eagle’s intense gaze, a butterfly’s wings, or a sloth’s lazy grin.



ThisisColossal, Kate Mothes. October 2022.

Exquisite architectural photos glimpse life in late ‘90s Cuba

Exquisite architectural photos by Andrew Moore glimpse life in late ‘90s Cuba



Between September 1998 and January 2001, Andrew Moore travelled around Cuba meeting residents and photographing them among their built environments. He snapped more than 700 8 x 10 colour negatives during that period, producing a staggering visual record of a particular moment in the country’s history primarily shown through its architecture.


Through Moore’s lens, Cuba’s palatial residences and generally lavish interiors with marble and gilded detailsare shown tinged with decay: Paint peels from a ceiling to reveal structural wooden slats, broken windows are left in disrepair, and mismatched outdoor seating and modern appliances become out-of-place furnishings in once opulent rooms.


Shot mostly in urban metropolises, the alluring images are evidence of architecture’s power to both respond to and produce a community’s way of life. Havana, Moore shares with Colossal, is built vertically, with tile roofs, high ceilings, and tall windows that encircle central courtyards and offer relief from the fierce heat and sun. “The daylight is generally hard and creates deep shadows, while by night, which falls quickly, the city is quite dark with little by way of street lighting,” he says. Outdoor walls bleach over time from the sun, and verdant foliage and plant life grow in lush tufts from window boxes and landscaped villas.


Many of the buildings Moore photographed were constructed before air-conditioning was ubiquitous and at the time, hadn’t undergone significant updates. During his visit—Cuba and its residents were notably experiencing the effects of U.S. embargos between 1998 and 2001—this resulted in dozens of residents living together in a structure designed for single families. He explains:


These domestic clusters are known as solars. Given these crowded living conditions, and the tropical climate, Havana can seem like a city inside out: in their extraordinary activity, the overflowing streets remind one of a vast living room. Thus, it became of particular importance to me to depict the architectural fabric of this unique city and country within the context of its people.


Residents, while often seen in the distance of the frame, add intimacy and humanity to the series. Along with assistants Ondrej Kubicek, Laurence Dutton, Kevin Fletcher, and Bart Michels, Moore interacted with locals and heard stories about their lives, which were translated by his friend Paquito Vives, while producing the collection. “All of us learned about the city by walking its streets, by knocking on doors, and through talking with the residents about the history of their city,” he shares. “People would frequently complain about the condition of their houses, but they were always friendly and most freely invited us into their homes for a small coffee and long conversations.”


Professionally for Moore, this staggering body of work was his first chance to gather “colour harmony, natural light, deep and shallow space, narrative detail, cultural history, and the human figure” within a single image. It was inspired by Julius Schulman’s photos of Mid-Century Modern architecture and the way people configure within a space, a concern that’s visible throughout his extensive archive of locales in Russia and Ukraine, New York, and Detroit.



ThisisColossal, Grace Ebert. January 2022.

All images © Andrew Moore


A Sustainable Art Exhibition by Deniz Sağdıç

A Sustainable Art Exhibition by Deniz Sağdıç



Could art also be made eco-friendly? Could we recycle art or could recycling turn into art?


In these days where everyone tries to do something ecologic, art also gets its share. Istanbul Grand Airport (IGA) collaborates with the artist Deniz Sağdıç for an eco-friendly exhibition called 0” Zero Point. IGA waste management centre collected the old uniforms, their buttons, the plastic boxes, bags, and other kinds of waste and Deniz Sağdıç turned them into beautiful portraits with her team in four months of work.


The 20 portraits contain people of different nationalities, and they are produced with all kinds of materials. They are now being exhibited in the IGA international departures area and the exhibition is called “0” Zero Point. The “wasted” materials turned to their zero point and became something else, an art piece, a green art if you will, and that gains us a new perspective for those materials about how they can be recycled, or rather upcycled. The portraits look like a normal piece of art afar but when you come closer you see that they are just buttons or plastic bags, and it is fascinating to notice that everything can be art. But don’t forget, not everyone can be an artist!


Art and Sustainability


Deniz Sağdıç has been doing similar sustainable art projects under the name of Ready-ReMade” which she has started in 2015. She mostly prefers to turn what we considered waste into human portraits because she wants to draw attention to the causation of the waste. This way she shows people that even the simplest materials can be used to produce an art piece and art can be sustainable. This way art shows and inspires people about how to be sustainable and eco-friendly, while itself being those concepts. Sağdıç also wants to make a point about what we leave behind us to never think about them again. She proves that they deserve a second chance!


Denim Art by Deniz Sağdıç


She has also been creating denim portraits where she uses old denim clothes to produce art pieces. She has a passionate relationship with this material and it’s because denim is very common and well-known throughout the whole world, so it represents equality among the people for her. From a president to a farmer everyone can wear it on any occasion. Besides the “Denim Skin” project where she is upcycling the old clothes, she is also traveling around the world to create custom city projects where citizens donate their denim clothes for the art piece.



ArtnSketch, by Zeynep Karahan, January 2022