The Northern Lights is basically just Mother Nature showing off in a major way; the incandescent swirling bursts of color are a top bucket list site for citizens around the world for a reason. For those of us who cannot visit Finland to see this natural wonder in person, photographer Tiina Törmänen’s Lapland series is by far the next best thing. Törmänen grew up in Lapland, and while she currently lives in Helinski, she made the trek back to her hometown to capture the magical landscape of her youth. The winter wonderland snowscapes look straight out of Lord of the Rings with the twinkling lights, towering trees and massive ice mountains all set against the luminous Aurora borealis. Of course, those Northern Lights are the real stars of the show— the mystical lights swirling the sky with the most unreal cotton candy colored halos. Törmänen’s talent transports viewers to somewhere otherworldly and we can’t wait to take the trip. [h/t mymodernmet.com]
There are so many opportunities to interact with art: museums, galleries, auctions, studios, classes are some of the more rarified ways to experience it. But one of the most dramatic — and fun — is the outdoor sculpture garden. It’s the interplay between nature and art that makes the medium so exciting— not to mention super affordable. Gibbs Farm in New Zealand is one such wonder. Located about 29 miles north of Auckland, Gibbs Farm is a private outdoor art collection belonging to Alan Gibbs who is a wealthy New Zealand business man. Gibbs Farm is the largest sculpture garden in the entire country and is free and open to the public by appointment.
Gibbs bought all 990 acres back in 1991 and immediately began purchasing pieces for his outdoor art collection from a bevy of internationally acclaimed artists like Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Serra and Sol Lewitt. In fact, most of the artworks site specific, commissioned straight from Gibbs himself to seamlessly fit into the surrounding landscape. In addition to the internationally renowned works of art, Gibbs also houses exotic animals like emus and giraffes and built an entire wild west town with a saloon built by Gibbs’ son-in-law, Noel Lane, who happens to be an architect. Lane and Gibbs’ daughter, Amanda, now manage the property full time. While each installation is a singular creation, unique to its artist’s point of view, visitors can expect to see metal in many iterations carrying varying messages and themes. One of the most electrifying (literally!) is Electrum by Eric Orr. Thought to be the world’s tallest Tesla coil, Electrum produces crazy dramatic bolts of artificial lighting that can produce over 3 million volts of electricity. Anish Kapoor’s Dismemberment, Site 1, draws on a much more human theme, as has Kapoor called the stretched PVC piece “rather like a flayed skin.” The bright red color and rippled facade definitely lends itself to that title. Peter Roche’s Saddleblaze, while also bright red, is less flesh more flash. The light based piece is installed inside an eucalyptus grove so that it takes on a haunting feeling of a forest set on fire. In a way more whimsical vibe, you have Neil Dawson’s Horizons, an oversized steel sculpture that resembles a piece of corrugated iron perched briefly on top of a hill, accidentally blown there from a neighboring construction site and about to be off again at the slightest breeze. This playful piece is one of the only works you can see from the road which makes it a local favorite. Gibbs Farm is also home to Kaipara Strata, a much more naturalistic piece from Chris Booth— and was also the very first piece installed on the farm. Made from sandstone slabs and river boulders, the formation feels like an oversize Jenga puzzle, each slab precariously balanced atop one with similarly precarious stones sandwiched between. sources: Wikipedia, Twisted Sifter, Gibbs Farm
Most of the time, the simplest, most effortless ideas beget the most complex, poignant results. Such is the case for Guido Gutierrez Ruiz’s photographic series of puddles found in urban landscapes. Canadian born and currently living in Madrid, the globe trotter quite literally just happened upon his artistic calling. He says of the project, “It all started when I was standing on the street waiting to cross when I noticed a puddle right below me with the reflection of a cloud, and I had the curiosity to see what would happen if I put my camera close to the puddle and capture its hidden parallel world.” It is with that single idea that a worldwide phenomenon was born. The 27 year old started an Instagram account documenting his puddle portraits three years ago using only his Google Nexus 5 smartphone, no photoshop and currently clocks in at over 28,000 followers. As a frequent traveler, packing light was a major priority for Ruiz— which meant leaving the hefty DSLR at home. Ever the intrepid explorer, the amateur photographer decided to make due with his phone when he wanted to take photos. He never even had the chance to start documenting his travels with anything other than his phone! His mirrored landscapes are richly textured and densely packed— with two fully realized worlds to discover, Ruiz’s viewers go on their own urban adventure with each new snapshot. The horse-drawn carriage in Seville, Spain shows not only the vibrancy of the city square, with people energizing the space, it also emphasizes the beauty of the surrounding historic architecture. With each building’s wrought iron balconies, intricate moldings and unique craftsmanship seen in double, there’s no denying the impact. In a quieter, more subdued snap, Ruiz caught a woman’s booted legs, stepping through a puddle on the street to reach the sidewalk. Published on Mother’s Day and entitled The Power of Mums, the black and white photograph is a stunning tribute to powerful women everywhere. Ruiz says he’s never studied photography but has always enjoyed taking photos. That excitement and passion comes through in his puddle photographs. A New York sidewalk in Times Square, complete with a yellow taxi, neon billboards, bicyclists and commuters, totally encapsulates the energy of the city, again, made even more apparent by the double image in the puddle. On finding inspiration for his photographs, Ruiz says “the world of tourism itself is my true inspiration, making me want to travel the world and capture it with different perspectives.” Be sure to follow Ruiz on Instagram at @guigurui to follow his travels and see his amazing snapshots of the hidden urban worlds! sources: Daily Mail