Kiwi Milky Way images named among world’s best in astrophotography competition

“Winter’s Airglow” – Southern Alps, New Zealand. Photo / Larryn Rae, Capture The Atlas, Milky Way Photographer of the Year

Stargazing might be the most universal of pastimes. At every point on the planet, since ancient times, people have been looking heavenwards for after dark. Looking for our place in the universe. If there’s one unifying cosmological landmark it would have to be the Milky Way.

In China it is referred to as the ‘Heavenly River’, in parts of Eastern Europe it is a ‘Pathway of the Birds’ and sub-Saharan Africa has names including the Backbone of the Sky. Although it has many names it’s a view out on our place in the Galaxy we all share. There is also only one Milky Way of the Year Awards.

Now in its sixth year, the specialist astrophotography award has had submissions from across six continents. Awards hosts Capture The Atlas has published 25 stellar images in their annual shortlist, showing details you’d never see with the bare eye.

Three of which were taken in New Zealand.


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New Plymouth-based Brendan Larsen found his perfect view of the milky way over the photogenic Mt Taranaki. Determined to get the perfect shot the camera was angled towards the maunga to align with the star belt at 2.30am.

“I’m really pleased with how many colours I was able to capture with my camera, filters, and long exposures,” said Larsen.

“Milky Way Rising over Stony River & Mt Taranaki” –
Taranaki, New Zealand. Photo / Brendan Larsen, Capture The Atlas, Milky Way Photographer of the Year

Larryn Rae was another Kiwi photographer staying up late in the mountains for the perfect shot.

“This was some of the craziest airglow I have ever seen! Airglow is when atoms get charged and excited in the upper atmosphere by the sun and emit this wonderful colour and cloud-like pattern.” The veteran Auckland-based photographer had been shortlisted in previous years.


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Larryn wasn’t the only photographer to capture a night sky tinged with the Southern lights.

18-year-old Tom Rae was photographing the skies over Lake Tekapo when – to his delight – dancing lights formed on the horizon.

“Celestial Radiance” –
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. Photo / Tom Rae, Capture The Atlas, Milky Way Photographer of the Year

“Midway through my Milky Way panorama, a faint glow appeared on the horizon—my first aurora! What followed was a spectacular light show of flowing beams and vibrant colours.” The young photographed described his “limited time photographing the night sky” has been both “awe inspiring”, if sometimes frustrating.

While the starry view of the Milky Way was a unifying theme judge Dan Zafra was looking for local landmarks and recognisable locations to ground the astral scenes.

Apart from New Zealand’s Southern Alps other earthly backdrops included Patagonian Chile’s Torres del Paine and the alien-looking bottle trees of Socotra – near Yemen.

“Modern cameras can capture vibrant details and colours in the night sky beyond what our eyes can see,” said Zafra. “However, what really matters in any great image is the photographer behind the camera, who provides the idea, plan, and creativity to bring the image to life.”

Capture The Atlas, Milky Way Photographer of the Year

“Celestial Shield” – Ávila, Spain. Photo / Iván Ferrero, Capture The Atlas, Milky Way Photographer of the Year

“The Night Train” – Graubünden, Switzerland. Photo / Alexander Forst, Capture The Atlas, Milky Way Photographer of the Year

Creative Soul Photography holds fashion show for new book, Crowned

A dozen beautiful Black children made their way from backstage to the front of a crowd inside Blue Mark Studios on Atlanta’s westside. Dressed as princes and princes, angels and fairies, Cinderella, even cowboys and cowgirls, the children were living, breathing canvasses, human art.

The artists, Regis and Kahran Bethencourt, the husband and wife duo behind Creative Soul Photography, a Black-owned studio that is creating stunning images of Black children. Commissioned by Disney, invited on national television and radio shows and featured in the pages of newspapers in Atlanta, Creative Soul Photography held a fashion show in honor of their latest book, “Crowned: Magical Folk and Fairytales from the Diaspora”.

Having been released May 23, the book is full of images of Black children in both positive and empowering lights. Kahran once told The Atlanta Voice the idea of positively photographing Black youth was more of a duty than a business plans.

“It’s important for us because we often see so many negative stereotypes of Black youth in the media and we really use our photography and our platform as a way to combat those negative stereotypes,” she said. “These are the stories I feel are not being told, so we use our photography to showcase them.”

The show included a performance by young 12-year-old female rapper, Little Essence of Hip-Hop. Her single, “I’m So Fire,” had the crowd calling and responding to the music. A live DJ entertained the crowd in between performances.

At times the models were presented in pairs, one of which looked like twins. One princess wore a pink dress with a crown of what looked candy and donuts. A prince strolled down the aisle dressed in red with a gold crown. Another prince, dressed in a green jacket with gold trim (above) took his turn walking the catwalk. When he got towards the end of his walk, surrounded by people taking photographs, he turned and smiled. A prince in all of his glory.

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas Captures Final Photos Of The ‘Queen Of Elephants’

Photographer Will Burrard-Lucas captures final photos of the ‘Queen Of Elephants’. Will Burrad started this project “Land of Giants” in 2017, in collaboration Tsavo Trust in Kenya, that would keep him busy for the best part of 18 months. Their goal was to document the incredible elephants of Tsavo and produce a coffee table book that would support their cause.

Tsavo is home to some of the last remaining “big tuskers” – elephants with tusks weighing in excess of 100lbs (45kg) on each side. It is thought that there are less than 20 of these elephants left on Earth, and almost half of them are in Tsavo. Many of them live in remote, inaccessible areas and are rarely photographed. For this project, Tsavo Trust helped me track down two cow tuskers and four bull tuskers, including “LU1”, the largest of all.

Scroll down and inspire yourself. You can find more work from Will’s Website.

You can find Will Burrard-Lucas on the web:















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The forest knows: the Amazon village with a message for the world – a photo essay | Global development

I met Dom through my Indigenous friend, the environmental activist Davilson Brasileiro, with whom I investigated the 2015 Rio Doce disaster. Thanks to Davilson, Dom discovered my work, and we began collaborating on the stories he wrote for the Guardian. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, which we often celebrated by surfing together and cooking Italian recipes.

We met for the last time in Rio de Janeiro just before the [coronavirus pandemic] lockdown, to surf at Arpoador beach in Ipanema. We then worked together again, albeit from a distance, for some pieces on Covid-19 in Rio.

In the two years that followed, Dom concentrated on the book he was writing, and on research trips to the Amazon. We talked often, though far apart, about our common passion for music, about life, and made plans for when Covid would pass. We thought about how I could contribute to Dom’s book with my photos, and he asked me to accompany him on [what would be] his last trip, to Brazil’s Javari valley.

There was a long gestation for that trip, a series of green lights to be obtained from the Indigenous communities we would visit. But when the conditions were finally in place to leave, Dom firmly asked me not to come, concerned about the risks I would face. Something he did not tell me about changed his mind, and he left without me. We would do other things together when he returned, he reassured me, once the book was delivered. But not that trip. I found it strange; I was very sorry, but I accepted it.

So, as Dom prepared to leave for the Javari valley, I began new research with Davilson, who first told me about the Asháninka people of the Apiwtxa village and their charismatic leader. This united Indigenous community on the Amônia River in Acre state has become a model for others in their achievements in over 30 years of struggle to defend their territory and culture. We began to think about how to prepare an expedition to that distant territory on the Peru-Brazil border.

A few days before Dom left, we spoke for the last time by phone and I asked him if he knew the Asháninka. Only then did he tell me that he had visited Apiwtxa a few weeks earlier and was very impressed by the villagers’ work in the forest and their way of life. He said they had put into practice the solutions to the problems of the forest. The enthusiasm with which he told me about them aroused even more curiosity in me and motivated me to embark on this adventure with Davilson.

In 1993, the visionary Indigenous leader Benki Piyãko founded the Apiwtxa association, named after the village he and his small community had built. Piyãko, a member of the Asháninka people, one of South America’s largest tribes, had designed a plan for sustainable development that has become widely influential in the decades since.

The way of life in the village is based on reforestation and agroforestry. It is sustainable and largely self-sufficient, maintained and protected by cultural empowerment, Indigenous spirituality and resistance to encroachment from the outside world.

The villagers and Piyãko have planted more than 2m trees and fight to preserve their land and culture. Piyãko has involved international organisations, Hollywood stars and ordinary citizens to support this mission. His work, with that of his community, has made it possible to transform once-devastated land into a lush forest and to help the village of Apiwtxa achieve food security and autonomy while maintaining a balance between the Asháninka lifestyle and culture, and modernity.

The image below captures the first light of day in the Amazon, and the mist that rises from the river and the forest, enveloping everything and then thinning out as the sun gets higher in the sky. It also captures the Amazon’s “flying rivers” – a kind of invisible watercourse that circulates through the atmosphere.

Moisture generated in the Amazon rainforest meets the barrier of the Andes mountains at a height of more than 4,000 metres (13,000ft) and disperses with the winds across South America. The flying rivers contribute directly to the formation of the headwaters of the watercourses that form the great Amazon basin; it is estimated that their flow is equal to or greater than that of the Amazon itself, which is the largest river in the world.

Flying rivers are vital not only to Brazil’s agri-food economy but to the wellbeing of society. This natural phenomenon maintains the balance of climate and biodiversity, protecting ecosystems that are fundamental to the survival of the entire continent.

The Asháninka are a living example of how to respect the forest. Apiwtxa, meaning “unity”, is both the name of the village and a word sacred to the Asháninka, denoting the importance of collective over individual interests – one of the basic principles of community governance.

The Asháninka built this village on the banks of the Amônia River on two former pastures of about 40 hectares (100 acres). It is an isolated location and they have to travel several hours by boat to reach the nearest city. However, they maintain close links with Asháninka communities in Peru, where most of these Indigenous people (numbering about 60,000) live.

  • The Yorenka Tasorentsi health centre, opened by Benki Piyãko, is built according to the principles of traditional Asháninka architecture, which places great importance on the geometry of the roof

Indigenous architecture (above) is inspired by nature and ancestral bioclimatic construction techniques, which naturally maintain a comfortable temperature without affecting the environment.

  • Yoana, 60. The inhabitants of the village are accustomed to silence, to waiting, to observation

The inhabitants of Apiwtxa speak little; they observe with a gaze that seems to peer into the folds of the soul. They almost never ask questions but live in a time marked by the cycle of the seasons, by day and night, light and darkness. They are accustomed to silence, to waiting, to observation; they listen to dreams and the spirit world; they know how to immerse themselves in the unconscious to come out with the answers they seek.

The Asháninka have developed a land-use plan based on agroforestry, reforestation and the collection of non-timber forest products – such as açaí fruit and murumuru oil, a native palm – in a sustainable manner.

Apiwtxa has a seedling nursery and, thanks to all the trees planted around the village, produces an abundance of fruits, both native – buriti, bananas, cashews, cacao and cupuaçu – and non-native, such as coconut and lemon. The agroforestry programme has been an unqualified success, providing food and income, and encouraging the population to take on a kind of ambassadorial role, carrying the message of forest conservation and sustainability beyond their own territory.

The daily routine of the Asháninka begins with a bath, then face painting. One of the natural pigments they use is urucum, in colours ranging from blood red to shades of orange, depending on the ripeness of the fruit. The urucum paste is made from a base of pussanga, an aphrodisiac also known as love oil.

Face painting can indicate the individual’s relationship to their social environment at a given time, while also acting as a means of mystical communication with the spirits of the surrounding nature and the beings the Asháninka worship.

The type of dress worn by Eliane Yawanawá (above) is called a cushma. Clothing is a central element in defining their identity; its production takes months and each piece can last up to a year. Nowadays, Asháninka women wear clothes made from commercial fabrics, but these are naturally dyed and adorned with paintings and ornaments carrying different cultural meanings.

Açaí is the fruit of a palm tree that grows only in wet or flooded soil. It forms in clusters, is spherical and mainly cultivated in the Amazon region. It has become popular internationally, considered a superfood source of good fats, antioxidants, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

  • At the end of the harvest, a child carries a basket full of pupunha, another palm fruit grown by the Asháninka

Pupunha, also known as peach palm, is the fruit of another type of palm, whose trunk is covered in long, sharp thorns. A source of fibre and protein, pupunha is also rich in vitamins and minerals. It is best eaten boiled with salt.

The Asháninka have restored the forest’s biodiversity by managing an abundance of plant species, for use as food and medicine, and this has in turn attracted insects, birds, reptiles and animals to their lands. In this way, they have resumed traditional biocultural hunting activities. Tapirs, agoutis, monkeys, armadillos, turtles and caimans are real delicacies, as well as a source of protein in their diet.

  • Benki Piyãko, spiritual and political leader of the Asháninka, invokes the strength of mystical beings in the forest he and his community planted

By planting millions of trees in the Amazon, Piyãko and his community have demonstrated to the local population that they can live a healthier, more prosperous and sustainable life if the forest is preserved.

The Asháninka reject the idea that humanity is separate from nature and that nature is subject to people. For them, human beings, plants, trees, animals, birds, mountains, waterfalls, rivers and the spiritual beings of the forest can speak, feel, think and relate to each other. “If the ecological balance breaks down,” Piyãko says, “the world feels it, gives warnings, alerts … Thinking, reflecting is very important, but one cannot wait too long to do things … Our head is like the world and the world is like our head.” [where is this quote from?]

In 2018, Piyãko opened the Yorenka Tasorentsi health and education centre, where he treats illnesses with traditional plant therapies, reconnecting people to the natural environment and its life cycles. For his work in Apiwtxa, Piyãko has received the UN Equator prize and the Culture for Peace award.

  • Flechas Kawatum, leader of a delegation to Apiwtxa from the Kayapo people, who live in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso

In March 2023, Flechas Kawatum, 54, a Kayapo warrior (above), brought a delegation from the Kayapo people of Mato Grosso to Apiwtxa to learn first-hand about the forest management and reforestation work and the daily life of the Asháninka.

Music and song play a central role in the cultural traditions and spirituality of the Asháninka, a channel for the energy of the earth and a portal to the spirits of the ancestors. The image above presents a striking contrast between the young man on the left with his traditional tapo drum and face paint, wearing a cushma hand-woven from cotton grown in the village, and the western clothes and technology of his companion, using his mobile phone.

The Fujifilm X-S20 makes B&W street photography super fun

I recently had the chance to visit Malta and wander its rocky coastline and old streets with the Fujifilm X-S20 – one of the best mirrorless cameras for enthusiasts – paired with the Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 R LM OIS lens.  

The weather was pretty much wall-to-wall sunshine, which is lovely for a holiday but more of a challenge for photography, especially in the middle of the day. In such bright conditions, I often lean into black and white. 

If I had a ludicrous amount of money, then the $9,000 Leica M11 Monochrom (the mono-only version of the Leica M11) with a moderate-wide lens would be a great option for black-and-white street photography. But Fujifilm X-series cameras like the X-S20 are a compelling option, too, for a fraction of the cost. 

(Image credit: Future)

Street smart

Amid the tourist-filled streets, I got to grips with the Fujifilm X-S20. Even though it’s a really small camera, you get a generous handgrip, a decent electronic viewfinder, and a flip-out touchscreen. Both are handy for composing street photography in bright sunlight: I could tilt the screen to an angle that minimizes glare or use the viewfinder instead. That flip-out screen is also handy for shooting discreetly from the hip.

And then there’s Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes that digitally recreate the look of Fujifilm’s celebrated 35mm film stock. One of those digital looks is Acros, which faithfully recreates the rich monochrome Fujifilm Acros 100 film, first introduced to the X-Series cameras alongside the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 in 2016. 

For a digital look, Acros is super-authentic. Even though the simulation can be applied post-capture to raw images, I like to select it in-camera, so I can see what I’m getting as I move about looking to encapsulate the feeling of my surroundings. 

Depending on what the shooting mode dial is set to, the customizable dial on the top left of the X-S20 scrolls through the 11 Film Simulation modes for quick selection. The X-S20 introduced Auto-Film Simulation mode, which assesses the scene and selects a look for you. It tends to choose different color looks rather than monochrome, but that can be changed easily via the top-left dial instead. 

Authentic black and white

I really like the look of the X-S20’s Acros Film Simulation. The look can be manually adjusted with different color filters, but even without manual adjustment, the rich tonality is really pleasing. I’ll let you be the judge from the gallery above, but I’m a fan and would happily leave the X-S20 in its Acros Film Simulation when shooting in the sun. It’s a compelling option for street photography. 

Berberine Called ‘Nature’s Ozempic’ By TikTokers, Here Are Problems With Such Claims

TikTokers have been bringing on a new phrase to describe berberine, a dietary supplement that’s been around for a while. They’ve been calling it “Nature’s Ozempic,” claiming that berberine can help you lose weight like Ozempic can. Ozempic itself has been getting, oh, a lot of attention with lots o’ people on social media and celebrities like Elon Musk, Chelsea Handler, and Remi Bader talking about using Ozempic to shed pounds. Now TikTokers are saying similar things about berberine such as claiming that six weeks of being on the stuff had lead to a seven pound weight loss. But as you probably know, getting health advice from people on social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter can be a bit like getting major life advice from bathroom stall graffiti. Instead, it’s better to—weight for it, weight for it— wait until you review the actual scientific evidence before deciding whether berberine can be really considered “Nature’s Ozempic” and actually help you lose weight.

Berberine is a chemical normally found in plants like European barberry, goldenseal, goldthread, Oregon grape, phellodendron, and tree turmeric. That’s why people have been tossing around the “Nature” label when referring to this supplement. But just because something is from Nature or “natural” doesn’t naturally mean “go ahead and put it in your mouth.” Heck, dog poop is from Nature. But putting that in your mouth could leave you in some deep doo-doo.

Over the years, there have been many claims about what berberine can be used to treat, ranging from diabetes to high cholesterol levels to high blood pressure to burns and canker sores to liver disease to Helicobacter pylori infections in your digestive tract to polycystic ovary syndrome to weight loss. But from a regulatory standpoint berberine ain’t like Ozempic. Ozempic, which is the Novo Nordisk brand name for the medication semiglutide, received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in December 2017 for use in people with diabetes. By contrast, berberine has not received FDA approval as a treatment for any condition. It’s remained in the dietary supplement category, which doesn’t receive the same scrutiny as medications do.

Plus, anytime you hear claims that one thing can somehow treat a variety of ailments that seem to have very different causes, be particularly skeptical until you see real scientific evidence supporting those claims. After all, how would you respond if a doctor tells you, “You have either canker sores or diabetes—I can’t quite tell the difference—but let’s treat them the same way?”

So, is there any scientific evidence that berberine is safe and effective way to “berberine” on weight loss? Well, let’s “berberine” in the scientific studies that have been conducted to date. And scientific studies means things that have actually been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals rather than stories from some dudes or dudettes on social media. While social media may be a reliable way of finding cat videos, it’s not necessarily a reliable way of finding real science.

Some laboratory and rat studies have suggested that berberine may have some metabolic effects such as affecting the bacteria in one’s gut and activating brown fat or brown adipose tissue. What can brown fat do for you? Unlike the more abundant white fat, brown fat help burn calories by converting them into body heat. So, if berberine can indeed activate this action, that could potentially lead to weight loss. But remember you are probably not a rat—regardless of what others think of you—assuming that you don’t have a long tail and whiskers. Just because something may do something in a laboratory or other animals doesn’t mean that it will work for humans.

There have been clinical trials testing the use of berberine in humans. But the words “high quality” are the first words that come to mind when reviewing many of these studies. In fact, it isn’t even the second or third words. A team from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran, did compile the results of these trials in a systematic review and meta-analysis that was described in a publication in Frontiers in Nutrition in October 2022. The authors found 49 such trials and pooled results from these trials. According to the authors, such pooled results showed that berberine use was associated with decreases in systolic blood pressure by an average of 5.46 mmHg, weight by an average of 0.84 kg, which is about 1.85 pounds, and body mass index by an average of −0.25 kg/m2. They also mentioned that these pooled results showed significant decreases in the blood levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, fasting blood glucose, insulin, and hemoglobin A1c.

A 1.85 pound weight loss is not a dramatic amount of weight loss. It’s a little less than the typical weight of a pair of shoes or two towels or two jars of peanut butter depending on what you like to wear on your body. That is significantly less than the average weight loss of eight pounds among people taking a 0.5 mg weekly injection of Ozempic in a clinical trial, as described by a publication in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. That doesn’t quite support the “Nature’s Ozempic” moniker for berberine.

Moreover, it’s important to be a bit meta about meta-analyses. The results of a meta-analysis depend heavily on the quality of available studies out there. As mentioned earlier, if you look more closely at the trials included in this meta-analysis, a number do suffer from methodologic limitations such as not large enough sample sizes or inadequate controls. Moreover, this met-analysis was a bit fruity in that it compared a lot of apples with oranges, meaning that it combined trials that really sued berberine for different purposes. For example, a clinical trial that focuses on the use of berberine for women with polycystic ovary syndrome can be very different from a trial looking at the use of berberine to treat rheumatoid arthritis. The meta-analysis also looked at a rather broad range of outcomes, cardiovascular risk factors in adults, rather than focusing on weight loss. Therefore, take the results from this analysis with an Ugg boot full of salt. More better quality studies are needed to really determine whether berberine can help humans lose weight.

More better quality studies are needed to determine how safe berberine is to take over longer periods of time as well. It’s not as if major safety concerns have emerged so far. There haven’t been warnings that berberine has a significant risk of causing your head to fall off, you to sing Chris de Burgh “The Lady in Red” or other major bad side effects. The most commonly reported side effects include diarrhea, constipation, gas, and having an upset stomach, which don’t sound terrible as long as you are not on a date or in a job interview. But without more formal safety studies, it’s difficult to tell for sure what taking beriberine over longer periods of time may do to you.

Now one thing is clear: don’t take berberine if you are breast feeding. You can transfer berberine through your breast milk to the newborn. And berberine may inhibit a newborn’s liver from removing bilirubin from the blood. Bilirubin results when red blood cells get broken down. Too much bilirubin the body can lead to jaundice, which in turn can lead to brain damage and other bad stuff. So before you even consider putting berberine in your mouth, check to see if you are breast feeding, which should be fairly obvious when it happens.

All told, calling berberine “Nature’s Ozempic” is not a natural thing to do at this point. So far, there is not enough clear scientific evidence that taking berberine is a safe and effective to lose weight. Individual anecdotes just are not enough evidence. When someone tells you that they lost weight when taking a supplement, you often don’t know what else was happening in that person’s life around the same time. Maybe that person changed his or her diet, physical activity levels, sleep patterns, life circumstances, interest in Nickelback, or other key things in the process too. And unless you followed what that person was doing night and day—which in many cases would be considered stalking—you don’t know whether that person was actually taking berberine and actually had the weight loss that’s being claimed.

This certainly isn’t the first time that big claims have been made about weight loss with little scientific evidence. If you are trying to lose weight don’t expect to find some kind of miracle treatment. Instead, achieving sustainable weight loss typically requires a combination of different lifestyle changes. Sure clinical trials have shown that using Ozempic can lead to weight loss. And Ozempic may serve an important role for those who have already diligently tried lifestyle changes to no avail. But it’s still not clear how long the weight loss from Ozempic can be maintained, how effective Ozempic may be in a broader range of people, and what the effects of this medication may be over the longer term. When you are struggling to lose weight, talk to a medical doctor—a real medical doctor—before trying any medication. Don’t simply naturally opt for Ozempic either.

Interview With Fine-Art Portrait Photographer Isabella Bubola

Isabella Bubola is a photographer, illustrator and graphic designer from Pula (Croatia). In 2015 Isabella graduated from the Academy of applied arts in Rijeka (Croatia). Her photography is strongly inspired by dreams, colors and the surreal.

Thanks, Isabella Bubola, for accepting our invitation. Please read on…

Could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Isabella Bubola and I’m a photographer, illustrator and graphic designer from Pula (Croatia). I majored in applied arts in 2015 from the Academy of applied arts in Rijeka, focusing on applied graphics. I am a daydreamer with a strong feeling of wanderlust whenever comes summer.

How did Photography happen to Isabella?

I’ve always been a kind of archiver, I wanted to preserve things, memories, and feelings. It started with drawings and diaries, all carefully dated, and that clearly led to my fascination with photography. I purchased my first digital camera at the age of 11; it was a lightweight toy-like camera without a screen, but it was everything I needed to document my life. I didn’t have any plans, nor was I thinking much about photography – I just kept on shooting and enjoying every moment of it. Looking back, I can see how practicing with a toy camera was also a good way to develop my skills. I had to calculate the approximate distance from the subject and discover compositions and lighting by trial and error.

How would you define your style of Portrait Photography?

I think of it as emotionally strong. It invites you to be curious.

Such grace and elegance in your portraits. Few words, please?

What I think resonates with people most about my work is the sense of calmness. That comes from another side of my personality that is most visible in the way I express myself visually because I’m a rather friendly, loud and talkative personality. I also like to make people feel comfortable in front of my camera when I’m taking their photo – I need them to feel they can express themselves freely and without judgment. That’s when the magic happens and that’s why there is grace and elegance – because the person in front of the lens felt equally confident and vulnerable.

How do you make those scintillating moments with dreamlike tones?

By carefully choosing the light and the mood I want to portray. Since I work in colour, light plays a huge role in the colours and the overall mood of each image.

What is the best compliment you received so far?

It’s incredibly honouring when someone tells you that they have started photography because of your work. That makes me really proud and I consider it the best compliment. I also must admit that I was included in a group exhibition that had Peter Lindbergh (one of my favourite photographers) on the jury. He was so kind complimenting my self-portrait photographs that were exhibited on that occasion.

Who are you when no one is looking at you?

A lazy cat covered in heaps of fluffy blankets (but that’s who I am even when someone’s looking).

Which photographers have inspired you?

As I have mentioned above, Peter Lindbergh has always been an inspiration, as well as Tim Walker and Francesca Woodman. I am also inspired by the photographer Elizaveta Porodina and David Uzuchukwu, whom I had the pleasure to meet and photograph last summer. I think all of them capture a unique sense of intimacy with their subjects. Even when you are taking self-portraits, it’s a challenge for the artist to take a photo that is intimate, as well as for the beholder to feel that intimacy.

What camera do you use the majority of the time?

It’s a Canon EOS 600d, with a convenient screen that can be flipped, so it’s a good choice for self-portraiture.

Favourite music?

I love a lot of different music, from hip-hop to rock, but I’m mostly in the mood for a trip-hop. I’ve had the opportunity to see Massive Attack and Morcheeba perform live twice, and I hope I’ll get the chance to see Portishead and Lorde too. Currently, I have XX’s ”Intro” on repeat!

Apart from photography, tell me about your hobbies and interests?

Reading, writing, working out, spending time in nature, with my cats, and with friends. Traveling whenever I can. I also spend at least half an hour every day drawing, be it quick sketches of people I see on the bus, comics or finishing some pieces. Luckily, I have friends who draw as well – so as soon as spring comes, we like to find a cosy spot and chill together while drawing.

Any final thoughts for our readers?

There is always a better version of yourself that you can become.

You can find Isabella Bubola on the Web:

All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Isabella Bubola. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.

Woman ‘shocked’ to learn of mother’s hunting past when she sees photo of mom holding a rifle

A woman in her late 20s has learned a truth about her mother from years ago that she finds disturbing — and shared that she is “genuinely shocked” about her mother’s hunting past.

She even chose to challenge her mother about it today.

Sharing the story on social media, the woman, who said she is 27, wrote on Reddit that her mother “used to be a film and TV actress mainly in the 1970s and 1980s.”


She said that most of her mom’s roles “were mainly as a pleasant, polite, wholesome woman/girl.”

The woman revealed that in some of her mother’s roles, she was “really in tune with nature and loving animals.”

A father and son are shown hunting in the autumn. A woman on Reddit expressed her upset at learning that her own mother went hunting as a young woman — plenty of others let her have it for her judgment.  (iStock)

She went on, “In one of her movies, she’s [shown as] anti-hunting and has a little speech to another character [about] how she doesn’t want her son raised in a world where violence is normalized (as with hunting).”

The woman on Reddit continued, “I really liked her in that movie and I also like … digging into her past and finding out new stuff about her, like articles and interviews.”

She said her mother “wasn’t really famous as an actress, but she did have some significant roles and I like learning more in my spare time.”

“In the article … it said she loves hunting foxes with her dad.”

Said the woman in her post, “I found an old article from the late 1960s when she was 14 or 15 about how she was starting modeling and talking about her aspirations to be an actress. In the article, the bit that has stuck with me was [the] part where it said she loves hunting foxes with her dad.”


Added the woman, “It was accompanied by two photos of her — one of her in a forest with a hunting rifle, presumably tracking a fox, and the other was a photo of her with a full smile with the rifle in her hands.”

A hunter with a rifle is shown standing on a gravel road and holding a dog on a leash. A young woman wrote on Reddit about learning her mother enjoyed hunting as a teen, “I was genuinely just shocked. She’s never told me about this and I could have never expected it.” (iStock)

Wrote the young woman further, “This really caught off me [in] left field and I was genuinely just shocked. She’s never told me about this and I could have never expected it.”

The woman did not leave it there.

As she shared with others online, “I decided to phone her about it. I mentioned finding the article, which she was very positive in response to. Then I mentioned the hunting photos — and she was really dismissive about it, not apologetic at all.”

The woman went on, “I asked her does she not feel guilty about it or embarrassed and she just shrugged it off saying it was a long time ago, and she’s obviously not a poacher.” 

“Am I in the wrong for being upset about this?”

Said the woman, “I replied how shocked I was over this, especially with how most of her roles depict her, and I was a little cross about it.”

The young woman went on in her post, “She got defensive and made this remark trying to say I’m being sexist because I’m shocked she wasn’t doing typical English girl stuff in the 1960s and I should grow up.”


The woman continued, “I responded, saying, ‘I doubt many kids in the 1960s were hunting foxes.’”

Added the woman, “She gave a quick goodbye and hung up.”

The woman then asked others, “Am I in the wrong for being upset about this?”

When a young woman (not pictured) confronted her mother about the mom’s hunting past during her teenage years, the mother told her daughter that she “should grow up.” (

Fox News Digital reached out on the mother-daughter standoff to a clinical psychologist for insight.

New York City-based Dr. Jayme Albin, PhD, said, “There is truth to the saying, ‘If you go digging, be prepared for what you will find.’”

She added to Fox News Digital about the personal drama, “Everyone has a past, even parents — and that includes personal experiences that may or may not reflect a child’s vision of them or their present-day persona.”

“Perhaps there is a sensitive reason that she never shared this with you.”

Said Dr. Albin as well, “It seems like this person has built a [truth] about her mother as a young person based on the images of her acting, not by actually asking her about her past.”

Advised the psychologist directly to the young woman about her mother, “Try asking her about her past experiences. Perhaps there is a sensitive reason that she never shared this with you.”


A father of four in New York who has hunted before said of the drama, “There’s a big difference between domestic animals and animals that are hunted throughout this country. Hunters respect the animals, even the ones they kill — they show respect for them. Wild animals can be a food source.”

He also said, “Why is the woman judging her mother this way?”

Plenty of people on Reddit — more than 2,000 — reacted to the post and some 1,400 people shared comments about it.

One commenter — who earned 13,000 “upvotes” for this reaction — told the young woman, “You’re the [a–hole], but not because hunting is bad or whatever. Because you looked at her acting roles and presumed that must be how she is.”

Added this person, “It’s called acting for a reason. Why are you getting mad at her for having hobbies that differ from her roles?”

A hunter is shown with a German wirehair pointer as they go bird hunting. Wrote on person on social media about the daughter’s upset about her mother’s hunting, “If your mom hunted in her past and never mentioned it, it’s likely because she moved on from that part of her past and it simply is not important to her.” (iStock)

Wrote another person, striking a similar note, “She was 14 [at the time of her fox hunting] and doing a bonding activity with her dad — I’m sure he’s gone now and she probably has some wonderful memories of them spending time together.”

Yet another individual shared these thoughts: “I hate to be the one to break this to you, but your mom was an actress. Actors read from a script. The words they say and the actions they take on screen are not their personalities.”


This individual went on, “If your mom hunted in her past and never mentioned it, it’s likely because she moved on from that part of her past and it simply is not important to her. I actually feel bad for your poor mother who raised a child incapable of distinguishing between reality and make-believe.”

“I hunt foxes and I’m not apologetic about it. You can yell at me all you want and I still won’t be apologetic.”

Another commenter was far blunter.

“I hunt foxes and I’m not apologetic about it. You can yell at me all you want and I still won’t be apologetic. The only thing you’ll accomplish is making me dislike you further.” 

Said still another, “I do not like hunting but I do NOT think [people] should be apologetic because [they] do.”

This person added, “I find it immensely irritating to police someone’s feelings like that and [to be] clutching my pearls if they dare not regret doing what I don’t like.”

Another commenter said, “Are you kidding me. Being angry about something that happened over 60 years ago — when she was barely old enough to think for herself. Absolute joke.”


A different commenter shared this perspective: “Hunting isn’t your thing, which is your prerogative, but it was an activity that your mom had with her father. You are transferring yours and maybe today’s beliefs to something in the past — in this case the 1960s. Different time frames, different thought processes and different activities that you’re judging.”


Said the same person, “Your mom has every right to look back at it fondly. Stop being all high and mighty with your perspective. It’s going to be different than your mom’s.”

Another person put it this way: “Your mom has absolutely NOTHING to apologize for. Are you always so ridiculously judgmental???”

Is Randy Johnson’s dead bird the most morbid photography logo ever?

© Randy Johnson / Future

You may or may not see the funny side in Randy Johnson’s photography logo, but at least he remains somewhat on-brand in paying tribute to a famous past pitch that saw him accidentally launch a ball 100 miles per hour into the flight path of a dove.

Things may not have ended well for the white-feathered fowl, pretty much exploding into thin air during a Spring training game, but at least the 22 year old memory of the iconic moment is being kept alive through a questionable photography business logo that has the internet either in hysterics or a little bewildered.

• Take a look at some other unexpected famous photographers: 30 celebrities who also take pictures

In case you didn’t already know, we reported last year that Major League Baseball (MLB) legend Randy Johnson in fact has a double life as photographer. Following his retirement from professional baseball pitching, Johnson says he always had a passion for photography, and now has a very different career as a wildlife, travel, and concert photographer – with his own studio too. 

In more recent news, however, it seems social media has latched on to the humor in Johnson’s photography logo in what any MLB fans would instantly recognize as a direct reference to one of his earlier (and most famous) pitches in March 2001 which unexpectedly resulted in the death of a white dove bird. 

The video below shows the incident taking place, as well as depicted in slow motion, and you can see the puff of feathers as the poor dove is decimated by a 100-mile-an-hour speedball pitched by Johnson at an unexpectedly coincidental time. 

The logo for Johnson’s photography business is very clearly a reference to this 2001 event – although we would be super concerned if it wasn’t – but the irony of Johnson now being a wildlife photographer with a deceased animal as his logo might not be the best idea for attracting any clients to his business. 

With that said, Johnson has been sporting this obscure dead bird logo for his business from as early as 2015 (maybe even earlier) after he retired from the MLB in 2010, so at least eight years have gone by without any uproars or animal activist giving Johnson a hard time over the logo, so maybe it’s more socially acceptable than we give him credit for. 

What do you think of Johnson’s photography business logo? It’s certainly a standout. Is there any formula as to what actually works best in a photography logo: text or icons? Or maybe both? Your guess is as good as ours. 

You might also be interested in our guides to the best camera for sports photography, as well as the best telephoto lenses, plus the best budget telephoto lenses, and not forgetting the best cameras for wildlife photography.

Asking for a photo and posing is NOT street photography

© iamjeanblack

There is a trend going across the popular video social media platform TikTok that shows photographers, calling themselves “street photographers” wandering the streets and asking people on the streets for a picture, resulting in taking their portraits on the street.

This is NOT street photography, I’m sure Henri Cartier-Bresson is turning in his grave when he hears these trendy photographers calling themselves street photographers when indeed they are portrait photographers taking images on the street.

It might sound the same, but I can assure you it really isn’t and someone needs to tell them the basis of the trend is flawed!

While TikTok user iamjeanblack seems like a friendly fellow and was very polite and did take some nice images of the man he stopped, this is not pure street photography capturing candid moments on the street of unexpecting people. 

This is all intent and purpose, it’s a photo shoot or a portrait session in a park… NOT street photography. But it doesn’t stop there, hundred of TikTok users are now calling themselves Street Photographers and using the basis of this trend to take photos out in public.

While I love the idea of more people picking up a camera and getting into photography, I’d like them to understand street photography first and then decide that while it’s not street photography, they are taking great portraits and are therefore portrait photographers.

Again, amazing photos from ryukstyles, and having the portable printer with him is a nice touch…. But it’s not street photography, where are the dramatic scenes, candid moments within a slit-second of life – this just isn’t street photography.

While I sound like a boring old fart going on about how this isn’t that and why are they calling it this, in anything, there is a process, a process of learning, striving to be the best in your field and this trend just feels like a gimmick, a gimmick and a punch in the gut to the great street photographer that have been and gone, and to the great that have worked their craft for years.

I am sure this trend will continue, because who wouldn’t follow the crowd to get views, but I just think it is very weird and really does not sit well with me that people and photographers think this is street photography – for the fiftieth time – It’s NOT street photography.