Creativity: The weird and wonderful art of animals

By Jason G Goldman A few animals are prodigious producers of ‘art’, says Jason G Goldman. Why do they do it? Do they enjoy the creative process? And is their work any good?A At first glance, the Vogelkop Gardener bowerbird is pretty boring. Its drab olive-brown plumage makes it hard to spot against the dirt on which it lives. However, a closer look reveals that this otherwise dull bird has a secret: the males build some of the most elaborate, aesthetically-pleasing objects of any bird. Bowers are decorated structures that the males build to woo females. In some places they’re … Continue reading Creativity: The weird and wonderful art of animals

Photographer Documents Her Struggle with Bipolar Disorder

Symptom is a collection of photos by Argentinian photographer Magali Agnello that inadvertently chronicled her experience and feelings with bipolar disorder. by MICHAEL ZHANG “It was 2016, in which I had proposed to carry out a project (for the third time) that consisted in taking one photo per day throughout the entire year,” Agnello tells PetaPixel. “And without knowing it, symptoms of the so-called bipolar disorder were gently showing in the photographs.” It wasn’t until a year later that Agnello found out she had the disorder, and that caused the photos to take on a new meaning. “Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder,” Agnello … Continue reading Photographer Documents Her Struggle with Bipolar Disorder

Why Photography Is a Fantastic Way to Maintain Mental Health

by Chris Gampat For many years, people have done photography as a hobby–a way to preserve their mental health so to speak in a way that keeps them sane due to its almost rhythmic movements and thought process involved. In today’s world, there are more photographers than ever who have decided to pick up a camera or their phone due to how many free educational websites (like this one) and more there are online. So for many people photography is a way to find an escape from everyday stresses, the caustic nature of social media, and a way to creatively … Continue reading Why Photography Is a Fantastic Way to Maintain Mental Health

Octavio Paz on Being Other, the Courage of Responsibility, the Meaning of Hope, and the Only Fruitful Portal to Change

“There is something revealing in the insistence with which a people will question itself during certain periods of its growth. It is a moment of reflective repose before we devote ourselves to action again.” BY MARIA POPOVA I came to this country not having inherited its sins, not being afforded many of its rights, but eager to share — and having by now devoted my adult life to sharing — in its responsibilities, its atonements, its healing. I came alone, barely out of my adolescence, into a country not yet out of its adolescence — that developmental stage when the … Continue reading Octavio Paz on Being Other, the Courage of Responsibility, the Meaning of Hope, and the Only Fruitful Portal to Change

The Osbick Bird: Edward Gorey’s Tender and Surprising Vintage Illustrated Allegory About the Meaning of True Love

A subversive Victorian-tinted infusion of romantic realism. BY MARIA POPOVA Great loves, like great works of art, live at the crossing point of the improbable and the inevitable. That, at least, has been my experience, both as a scholar of history and as a private participant in the lives of the heart. Such loves come unbidden, without warning or presentiment, and that is their supreme insurance against the projectionist fantasy that so frequently disguises not-love — infatuation, obsession, jealousy, longing — as love. But when they do come, with all the delirium of the improbable, they enter the house of … Continue reading The Osbick Bird: Edward Gorey’s Tender and Surprising Vintage Illustrated Allegory About the Meaning of True Love

Poet and Philosopher David Whyte’s Gorgeous Letter to Children About Reading, Amazement, and the Exhilaration of Discovering the Undiscovered

A celebration of the delicious enchantment of the very first time. BY MARIA POPOVA I remember the feeling of first seeing the Moon through the small handheld telescope my father had smuggled from East Germany — how ancient yet proximate it felt, how alive, as though I could glide my six-year-old finger over its rugged radiance — the feeling of electric astonishment at something so surprising yet so inevitable, something that seemed to have always been waiting there just for me to discover it. I remember next having that feeling nearly a decade later, upon first reading To the Lighthouse, my … Continue reading Poet and Philosopher David Whyte’s Gorgeous Letter to Children About Reading, Amazement, and the Exhilaration of Discovering the Undiscovered

You Can Now See Don McCullin’s Most Enduring Photographs Online

Hamiltons Gallery presents a virtual exhibition which looks back on the career of legendary photographer Don McCullin by Belle Hutton This article is published as part of our #CultureIsNotCancelled campaign: “I do not want people to walk past one of my pictures without realising. They’re meant to stop you and make you look and make you feel,” photographer Don McCullin told Jo-Ann Furniss for the 30th issue of Another Man, which Furniss guest-edited. McCullin has been photographing since 1959, and he has often chosen to depict difficult subjects – poverty, wars, and conflicts around the world – with searing honesty, plumbing the emotional depths of the scenario … Continue reading You Can Now See Don McCullin’s Most Enduring Photographs Online

The Rijksmuseum Has Released a 44.8 Gigapixel Image of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch

posted by Jason Kottke   One of Rembrandt van Rijn’s most iconic paintings The Night Watch is currently undergoing restoration at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. As part of the effort, the team took hundreds of photographs of the Dutch master’s painting and stitched them together into a massive 44.8 gigapixel image, which they have released online in a zoomable interface. The level of detail available here is incredible. Here’s the max zoom level on the right eye of the gentleman in the middle, the captain of the company that paid Rembrandt to do the painting: Crazy right? You can see the brushstrokes better than if … Continue reading The Rijksmuseum Has Released a 44.8 Gigapixel Image of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch

Forgotten Twentieth-Century Photographer’s Wild Portraits of Women in Nature

By Sarah Blackwood To capture her images of female nudes in natural landscapes, Anne Brigman sometimes set up camp for weeks or months at a time, eight thousand feet up in the Sierra Nevada. “Where I go is wild—hard to reach . . . because there [are] things in life to be expressed in these places,” she wrote to a Vanity Fair reporter, in 1916. Brigman would load her heavy camera equipment into stagecoaches that picked their way through the Sacramento Valley and up the American River Canyon, then finish her journey using pack mules to ascend to Donner Pass or into Desolation Valley. Her sister … Continue reading Forgotten Twentieth-Century Photographer’s Wild Portraits of Women in Nature

Kierkegaard on the Spiritual and Sensual Power of Music, the Essence of Genius, and the Key to a Timeless Work of Art

“If Mozart ever became wholly comprehensible to me, he would for the first time become wholly incomprehensible to me.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Without music life would be a mistake,” Nietzsche bellowed his unmistakable baritone of buoyant nihilism into the vast chorus of great thinkers extolling the singular power of music. A year before his birth, Søren Kierkegaard (May 5, 1813–November 11, 1855) — another thinker of soaring lucidity, unafraid to plumb the darkest depths for the elemental truths — took up the subject in a portion of Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (public library) — the 1843 masterwork that furnished his insight into transcending the tyranny … Continue reading Kierkegaard on the Spiritual and Sensual Power of Music, the Essence of Genius, and the Key to a Timeless Work of Art