Photo London 2022: Roland Belgrave Vintage Photography: Jan C Schlegel

Jan C Schlegel – Aequorea Forskalea

Roland Belgrave presents Jan C Schlegel’s “Aliens, Mermaids and Jellyfish”, a limited edition portfolio, showing a collection of rare and beautiful platinum photographs of one of the most enigmatic prehistoric sea creatures. A jellyfish.

This series, first shown at London Photo 2022, is an important look at these magnificent sea-dwellers. Much remains to be done about them, with new discoveries being identified each year. Specific to our environment and climate change, it has only recently been identified that certain species are consuming and destroying micro-plastics, so far one of the most harmful pollutants in our oceans. We are just beginning to understand the importance of jellyfish ecology to our ocean system. This work by Jan C Schlegel is a major project, capturing these crucial and beautiful jellyfish.

The artist encourages us to use our imagination, inhabiting the fantasy and dreamscape of each composition. These images release the ability to create, evolve, and harness mental models of things or situations that do not yet exist, seize and create new opportunities, and find new paths for growth.

The project took Jan C Schlegel to Cape Town, working on the series at Two Oceans Aquarium. They supported his work and allowed Jan to take pictures in their jellyfish lab. As a friend mentioned to him ‘They are trees on a lonely planet floating in the universe’,

Although these invertebrates can be scary, they are also fascinating and poorly understood. Jellyfish are not fish, they are actually plankton from the phylum Cnidarians (Greek for “stinging nettle”) and the class Scyphoza (from Greek “cut”).

Most jellyfish have two basic life stages. In the first stage, they are polyps and develop by making buds, like plants. The polyp then buds a young jellyfish called ephyra. After a few weeks, the ephyra becomes an adult jellyfish or jellyfish.

Since jellyfish have no bones, fossils from ancient jellyfish are hard to find. But in 2007, a preserved jellyfish fossil was discovered in Utah that is believed to be over 505 million years old. Dinosaurs lived about 245 million to 66 million years ago, which means jellyfish predated them by at least 250 million years.

Roland Belgrave Vintage Photograph

Photos London 2022
May 12 – 15, 2022
Somerset House

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