Nature photos can come in a wide range of subject matter and approaches (check out our new, rotating Photo of the Day for instance), but that doesn't mean one has to stop at the click of the shutter. Using hundreds of nature shots rather than one, Sydney, Australia-based digital artist Catherine Nelson "paints" fantastic, tiny ecosystems that don't exist in reality but in the imagination.
Each of Nelson's pieces are composed by stitching together hundreds of nature photos, a technique that Nelson adapted from her work in the film industry as a special visual effects artist. Most amazingly, no 3D manipulation is used in her work, it is all painstakingly stitched photography! Nelson recounts on This is Colossal and her bio about her motivation in doing these pieces (measuring around 40" x 40"), each of which often take her a month to complete:
When I embraced the medium of photography, I felt that taking a picture that represented only what was within the frame of the lens wasn’t expressing my personal and inner experience of the world around me. With the eye and training of a painter and with years of experience behind me in film visual effects, I began to take my photos to another level.
Nelson's "Future Memories" series takes us on a seasonal jaunt from blossoming lily ponds to the oceans, from day to night:
Nelson's work also has an environmental message as she explains:
The ‘Future Memories’ series comprises of 20 floating worlds, meticulously composed with thousands of assembled details. Visual poetry, nature photography and digital techniques blend together to give shape to these transcendental landscapes. The result is a contemporary pictorial mythology that subtly reminds the viewer of a profound truth: that it is in the flourishing variety of the local that the fate of the world resides.
Mythology indeed; in addition to reminding the viewer about vital biodiversities (which is surely one aim of nature photography), there is also a palpable visual unity that exudes from each piece as they hold together from the many to create an emergent whole. Nelson's work is currently being exhibited at Fotofever in Brussels, Belgium; more over at Catherine Nelson's website.