Ellyn Kail Ellyn Kail

All articles by Ellyn Kail

 

Maren Klemp Transports Us to a Strange and Beautiful World

“As a kid, I was very interested in the idea of parallel dimensions,” Maren Klemp tells me. “I often went to the library and spent hours searching for books in the mystery/paranormal section. When I first saw an infrared image, it reminded me of that: I felt like I was given a glimpse into another dimension.” Her series Hidden Light is her first foray into this strange and magical realm, guided by an inquisitive girl in white. ...
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Tiina Törmänen Found a Magical, Secret Lake in Finland

“I found this small lake in my first year of diving,” the photographer Tiina Törmänen tells me of this remote and secret place in Finland. “The pink algae was just so weird, and I had never seen anything like it before. That first time, it even felt a bit scary. Visibility was maybe seven to ten meters, so I couldn’t see what was in front of me.” As she swam, long ribbons of rose-colored algae appeared out of nowhere, like the arms of a ghost. As she moved, they broke apart as easily as swirls of dust. ...
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Lalo de Almeida Documents the Exploitation of the Amazon

“One of the most fascinating figures I encountered in the Amazon was Mr. Benedito Balão, a man who lived on the banks of the Xingu River,” the photojournalist Lalo de Almeida tells me. By the time they met, the older man was already in his seventies. Construction had just begun on the Belo Monte Dam, a hydroelectric mega-project in the Amazon basin that would result in the displacement of tens of thousands of people. When de Almeida first introduced himself, Mr. Balão was actively protesting the building of the complex. ...
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David Ellis Creates Flower Photos with a Hidden Meaning

“I remember the assault of color from Filoli’s incredible tulip beds this spring,” the artist David Ellis tells me. “But I also remember the disconnect of people having to wear masks and socially distance to enjoy an outdoor park and garden.” As part of their spring display in March through May, the historic California house and garden showcased 30 varieties of tulips, from the crimson Kingsblood to the creamy White Triumphator. Still, amid all those swaths of living color, the specter of COVID-19 lingered.  ...
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​​​​Dr. Emil Chynn Will Never Forget Being at Ground Zero on 9/11

“That day, I encountered literally thousands of people screaming and running past me in the opposite direction,” Dr. Emil Chynn remembers of September 11th, 2001. Two hijacked passenger planes had just been used in a coordinated terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, hitting the North Tower at 8:46 at the South Tower at 9:03. “Actually, I was the only person going downtown,” Dr. Chynn says. “I tried to flag a yellow cab to take me downtown, but nobody would stop. Finally, I got a cabbie to stop, but he said, ‘What are you, nuts? If you paid me a million dollars, I wouldn’t take you there!’”...
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George Forss Made Magical Photos of the Towers Before 9/11

“George took that picture in 1998,” Phyllis Wrynn, the longtime friend and gallerist of George Forss, who passed away last month at age of 80, remembers. At the time, he was standing in the offices of Woolworth Building, with a clear view of the Twin Towers. “The first time I saw it, I loved it because I had never seen the Towers from that vantage point before,” Wrynn explains. “They were so enormous, but this image makes them human scale. I can imagine building a Lego version of the Towers…and that it would look as they do in this image.” ...
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Cristopher Rogel Blanquet Reveals the Painful Cost of Pesticide Use

“Sebastián’s father told me that when he was born, the doctors told him that his life expectancy would be a maximum of five years,” the photojournalist Cristopher Rogel Blanquet tells me. “This year, he turns 19.” Blanquet met Sebastián and his family while covering the human cost of agrochemical use in Villa Guerrero, Mexico, where 70% of the population works in the flower industry. Born with hydrocephalus, Sebastián is one of several people in the community who will have to contend with health issues for the rest of their lives. His family believes his condition is the result of long-term exposure to pesticides in the flower fields. ...
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Christian Vieler Takes the Funniest Photos of Dogs Catching Treats

“I made the first ‘Treat Shots’ with my dog Lotte,” the photographer Christian Vieler remembers. He’d just ordered his first portable flash, and since she was always available, Lotte served as the perfect test model. During their shoots, he got into the habit of tossing her a treat, and he soon started doing the same with all his canine clients at the end of their sessions. It was fun for the dogs to get a reward, and whether the dog caught the treat or not, the photos always proved delightful. ...
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Rob Walwyn Captures the Bushfires’ Aftermath on Rare Aerochrome Film

“On the 1st of March, 2020, I went for a drive and bushwalk in the Blue Mountains with some friends,” the photographer Rob Walwyn remembers. Two days later, on March 3rd, New South Wales would officially announce that all fires had been contained for the first time in 240 days. When all was said and done, 80% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area would burn during the bushfire crisis of 2019-20. ...
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Cyrus Arnieri Photographs Love at the Queer Liberation March (NSFW)

“I saw people free to hug and kiss again,” the film photographer Cyrus Arnieri tells me, looking back on the third annual Queer Liberation March earlier this summer. “I saw people walking with a purpose. I saw those that were remembering those we have lost in the past year. At the park, I saw people free. Naked bodies shined in the New York park, accompanied with just a smile. Strangers embraced and felt happiness together.”...
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Gøneja Captures the Magic of His Queer Community

“My queer family are the first people I ever photographed,” the Berlin-based artist Gøneja tells me. “And they’re the ones I continue to portray to this day.” He’s embarked on countless adventures with this chosen family, whether they’re dancing the night away at Berghain, the iconic (and famously hard-to-get-into) club in the heart of the city, or spending the day exploring a quiet village in the Polish countryside. Their faces appear time and again, in darkened interiors and sun-drenched landscapes, as you make your way through his newest book, Rituals. ...
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Daria Kosinova Proves That Fisheye Photos Will Always Be Cool

“Fashion is the freedom of self-expression–the opportunity to combine the incongruous but, at the same time, not lose that beauty and harmony,” the photographer Daria Kosinova tells me. “I like that mixture of elegance and audacity.” As part of a recent shoot, she brought back a classic tool long associated with trendsetters and risk-takers: the fisheye lens. ...
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Stijn Hoekstra Explores the Empty Streets of Amsterdam Under Curfew

“All of these pictures were taken in one night, as a snowstorm covered the Netherlands,” Stijn Hoekstra tells me. It was the winter of 2021, and amid the COVID-19 crisis, the country had imposed a mandatory curfew from 9:00 PM to 4:30 AM. That night, he left home at 9:00 and returned at 3:00 in the morning, exploring the deserted streets and peering into lonely storefronts in silence. ...
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How Karyn Easton Captures Mesmerizing Photos of Oil and Water

“The real inspiration for the series came from the very simple idea that something beautiful could be created with household materials that typically do not mix,” the photographer Karyn Easton tells me. Featuring oil bubbles floating in a water dish, her ongoing series of macro abstracts highlights the tiny miracles that happen every day when two seemingly mundane liquids collide and repel. Even when she found herself homebound amid lockdowns, she discovered this basic concoction–a familiar favorite in childhood science experiments–provided hours of delight and fascination. ...
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Greg Murray Will Make You Want to Rescue a Pit Bull Mix

“Harley’s human is a first responder, and as you know, the past year has been challenging, especially for them,” the photographer Greg Murray remembers of a one-year-old dog who graced his studio last year. “Each time I’ve met Harley, I can see how important she is to her human. The connection they have is very evident. They both need each other so much.” Harley is one of seventy young rescue dogs featured in Murray’s new book, Peanut Butter Puppies, the exuberant follow-up to 2017’s Peanut Butter Dogs. ...
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Will Burrard-Lucas Went on a Quest to Find a Rare Black Leopard in Africa

“At night, it was always the black leopard’s eyes that struck me,” Will Burrard-Lucas remembers. “In fact, he was usually completely invisible in the black of night, except for his eyes reflecting brightly in my torch beam.” The wildlife photographer had seen his first spotty leopard in Tanzania at the tender age of five. Just over thirty years later, he stood face-to-face with a rare black leopard in Laikipia, Kenya. With the thrum of crickets and the occasional call of a rock hyrax filling the air, their eyes met for just an instant before the panther slinked away in the dark. ...
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Tarik Tosun Makes Hypnotic Photos of NYC on Film

“As I walked down to the river that night, I remember catching a glimpse of fog rolling over the One World Trade Center,” the photographer Tarik Tosun tells me. “And I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is going to be really cool.’” A software engineer by day, Tosun lives in Brooklyn Heights in New York, just a short distance from Brooklyn Bridge Park. Throughout the pandemic and its aftermath, he took many walks along the waterfront. On one of those quiet evenings, the mist came and engulfed the city, transforming its familiar architecture into something pulled straight from a science-fiction movie. ...
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How Silvia Becker Photographs Curious, Microscopic Shells on the Beach

“Just about every new foraminifera I find is unknown to me,” Silvia Becker tells me. As a photomicrographer, she’s studied everything from microcrystals to bacteria, but one subject she returns to again and again are foraminifera shells, or the remains of single-cell protists found in marine environments. While foraminifera (forams for short) can range from around 100 micrometers to 20 centimeters in size, most of the shells she’s photographed hover around one millimeter or smaller. And they’re all unique. ...
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How Rachael Talibart Makes Photographic Paintings of Seashells

“Some common shells can be found on my closest beaches all year round, like mussels and slipper limpets,” the UK-based photographer Rachael Talibart tells me. “Others show up seasonally, after big storms, or when you least expect them.” For years now, she’s been discovering shells along the sandy beaches along the Sussex coast. Her ongoing project Ghost in the Shell is her tribute to the wild and unpredictable tide and the countless tiny creatures who lived and died according to its whims....
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Veronika Gilková’s Ethereal Photos Are Straight from a Dream

“The most extreme conditions I’ve shot in were during a snowstorm in the mountains,” the photographer Veronika Gilková tells me. “It was beautiful yet scary at the same time.” She and her boyfriend were headed back to their cottage in the majestic High Tatras in Slovakia when the storm hit unexpectedly. The wind whipped around them as they hiked the rest of the way home, turning the once-familiar landscape strange and alien. ...
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Paolo Pettigiani Captures the Magic of Peru and Bolivia in Infrared

“In Perù, outside cities, it’s normal to find alpacas along the streets,” Paolo Pettigiani tells us. Two summers ago, he was driving to Patapampa, believed to be the highest paved pass in the Americas, when he turned a corner to find dozens of fluffy, teddy bear-like alpacas, enjoying a drink by a river. He stopped to take pictures, as the curious animals made their way across the landscape, quenching their thirst. ...
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Kunal Shah Captures the Astonishing Beauty of India’s Birdlife

“It’s a very tiny bird, the size of a sparrow, and I photographed him on a hill near my house in Pune,” the wildlife photographer Kunal Shah remembers of his recent encounter with a male Red Avadavat, also known as the Strawberry Finch, during the breeding season. “The name appropriately describes the bird, as the bright red color and those white spots make it look exactly like a strawberry.” ...
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Caitlin Fullam Creates a Magical World of Surreal Landscapes

“These photos were an escape for me during a dark time,” the photographer Caitlin Fullam tells me. “I created a whimsical world of surreal pastel landscapes because I felt stuck. I craved new places, warmth, and color.” This past winter, Caitlin spent early mornings and late nights on the road and in the mountains, exploring landscapes across Colorado and New Mexico. She used double exposures on film to document the journeys she took on those endless December and January days, across rugged terrain and into the depths of her own imagination. ...
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Dolly Ave Brings a Playful Spirit to Advertising Photography

All images by Dolly Ave. Used with permission. As a teen growing up in Sikeston, Missouri, Dolly Ave could be found exploring her surroundings with a camera. She ventured into lesser-known urban landscapes, capturing youth culture from the inside-out. There, she found a community of artists and creatives, spending every free moment she could behind...
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