In our technologically advanced postmodern society of fake news, fake boobs, and fake everything really, hyper-reality has become an everyday commodity. What hyper-reality does to our senses and our brain is indeed incredible. What is real and what is surreal are blended together, and to us, a clear distinction between what our eyes perceive and the actual object ceases to exist. In other words, we cannot be sure anymore where reality ends and where fantasy begins.
We Photoshop pictures to make the world seem more fascinating or more dramatic, if you want. It’s paradoxical, though, that even if we don’t want to be fooled in our perception, sometimes reality succeeds in tricking our brain to see the world from an impossible angle. The 15 photos you are about to see look too unbelievable to have captured the real physical world. And yet, they are 100 percent real. Some of the artefacts they portray are a result of human intelligence and innovation, others make you wonder how exactly Mother Nature works in such mysterious ways.
Welcome to our hyper-real world of wonders.
15 Giant Flamingo Made Of Flamingos
The aerial photographer Bobby Haas should take pride in this incredible photo. It is considered a “holy grail” of wildlife photography as it looks too absurd to be real. But it is! The remarkable moment of flamingos spontaneously gathered in a giant version of themselves was captured in Yucatan, Mexico. Actually, the helicopter Hass was on was about to leave when he turned to take one final shot of the area beneath them. It wasn’t until several months later that Hass, a National Geographic photographer, realized what he had captured. When the photo was published, he got huge media attention. This is what he said, “Some people claim that the image is divine intervention and proof that there is a God.“ Yes, and now we believe He is in the shape of a flamingo! But who can say for certain, really…
14 The Escalator To Hell In Stockholm’s Subway
You may not believe it, but there is a considerable number of tourists that come to Sweden’s capital not because of its spectacular scenery, the ABBA museum, the amazing seafood restaurants, or the exclusive night life. They come to see with their own eyes some of the subway stations that have been transformed into real art pieces. Over 90 of the 100 subway stations in Stockholm are decorated with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, and relief statues, so no wonder Stockholm Metro is considered to be the world’s longest art gallery. One of the stations, however, stands out - it is Solna Centrum, and it lies just a bit north of the city center. The rocks, in which the station was dug into, are painted in a super deep, vivid red, and it feels as if you are walking into a tunnel caught in flames. The red looks really demonic and once you step on the escalator you instantly get goosebumps from the feeling that the moving stairs are taking you to…hell.
13 The Cocooned Trees In Pakistan
These may look like giant cotton candy, but they are certainly not edible. What you are looking at are trees covered in spider webs. The rare phenomenon is observed in Pakistan where, in 2010, rainfall poured onto Pakistani villages and cities, completely ravaging them. When the rain stopped, the locals started noticing the cocooned trees. Because of the slow retreat of the water in the flooded areas, the insects, spiders, and other living creatures were forced to seek shelter above ground. This resulted in the trees looking like this, only wrapped in spider webs that were visible from yards away. Actually, it’s possible that not spiders, but moth larvae were the culprits for the natural phenomenon, which looks as bizarre as it is scary. However, the presence of these little creatures and their massive webs had a positive impact on post-flood Pakistan. It’s an astonishing fact that in the areas where the cocooned trees appeared, the number of malaria-carrying mosquitoes diminished significantly.
12 The Rainbow Hot Spring In Yellowstone
The Great Prismatic Spring might seem Photoshopped but the stunning colors have an actual scientific explanation. The secret behind the vibrant spring’s colors is the heat-loving bacteria that call the spring their home. Water at the center of the spring reaches temperatures around 189 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes it too hot to support life. Because of the absence of life in the center of the spring, the water has a deep-blue color, thanks to the scattering of blue wavelengths. But as the water spreads out and cools, it creates concentric circles of dissimilar temperatures and colors. What is more, each ring creates a unique habitat for different bacteria, and it is precisely the different types of bacteria that give the hot spring in Yellowstone its rainbow colors. What you have to keep in mind if you are to visit this natural phenomenon for the first time is that the area around the spring is void of any kind of shade. This can be extremely challenging for tourists as the UV light becomes extremely harsh and can be harmful.
11 The Sculpture That Looks Like Cartoon Kleenex
Neil Dawson is a prominent New Zealand sculptor who creates eye-popping sculptures. His best known works are large-scale pieces crafted from aluminium and stainless steel. One of his most emblematic works is undoubtedly the one called Horizons. From a distance, it looks like a giant crumpled piece of paper dropped from the sky, but if you approach it, you’ll find out it’s made of welded and painted steel. Actually, it wouldn’t be that easy to inspect the statue from a close distance as you have to make an appointment in advance to do that. The reason is that it sits in a private art park owned by a New Zealand millionaire. He commissioned this piece together with 21 other sculptures by different artists, such as sheep, giraffes, zebras, a water buffalo, and a couple of yaks.
10 The Man With A Hole In His Face
Before 2009, Billy Owen was a motorcycle mechanic with a loving family, and his life was going from good to better. Until he started having headaches. What is more, he couldn’t breathe because his right nostril was constantly blocked. A couple of months later, he was diagnosed with sinonasal carcinoma - a rare form of cancer affecting the nasal cavity that has only a 10 percent survival rate. In Owen’s case, the cancer cells had spread so extensively that surgeons had to remove half his face, including his right eye, and the muscles and nerves. The patient beat death, but now he has this giant hole where his right eye was. When he removes his dental plate, he can actually stick his finger into the hole and have it come out of his mouth. No trick, it’s all real. Billy was featured on an episode of the AMC reality series Freakshow, and the host of the show called him the strongest man alive.
9 Model Hanging Off A Skyscraper In Dubai
Her name is Viki Odintkova and she is a Russian model and social media celebrity. In her latest stunt, the Eastern European beauty took capturing the perfect Instagram shot to new and literally terrifying heights. While on a trip to Dubai, Odintkova decided to go to the top of Cayan Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world, and, for fun and media glory, to take a breath-taking photo. In the shots from the video, she is seen leaning backwards off the side of the skyscraper without any safety equipment, holding only a male assistant’s arm. She then dropped off the side of the building, and the resulting photos are so surreal that they look Photoshopped. Although this death-defying photo- session went viral, people couldn’t help but ask in awe: Why risk your life for a shocking shot when you could have just as good of an image with the help of Photoshop?
Well, not all models are stupid, but some models are beyond stupid. And we may say this young lady is living evidence of it!
8 The Shark-Within-A-Shark
In July, 2013, researchers at the University of Delaware’s ORB LAB posted on Facebook this totally mind-blowing photograph of a shark within a shark. The lab members were throwing manhaden (small fish used as bait) to recapture sharks carrying tags containing valuable information about the species encountered by these ocean predators. When they caught this large female, they certainly didn’t expect to see her like this! The unlucky "little" dogfish just couldn’t resist the temptation of the manhaden, and ended up a victim himself. The dogfish was about three feet long and was completely swallowed by what is considered to be one of the most dangerous predators in the bay.
7 Icelandic River Looks Like An Optical Illusion
You can spend 20 minutes staring at this photo and still, you won’t be able to make your brain see anything but a Salvador Dali type of painting. The photographer is Andre Ermulaev and it was taken in Iceland. The Photoshop effect was achieved because the river was captured at the weirdest possible angle. In fact, Ermulaev has specialized in aerial images of rivers flowing through volcanoes in Iceland. According to him, Iceland is a true paradise for all photo lovers. “But what has become a real discovery for me“ Ermolaev says, “is the bird’s eye view of rivers flowing along the black volcano sand. This photo represents the mouth of a river falling into the ocean. A little bit upstream there is a yellow-colored brook flowing into the river, but yellow currents fail to mix with the main water flow.”
6 This Fluffy Ball Is Actually A… Rabbit
What you see is not a picture of an animal that’s been Photoshopped so that it would look like a freak of nature! This is a one-hundred percent genuine Angora rabbit - the breed from which the soft and very expensive wool is harvested. Now you understand why it comes so costly. These rabbits are believed to originate from Turkey. The story goes back to the 18th century. Some French sailors were sightseeing around the Turkish port of Angora when they spotted some local women wearing very beautiful shawls. When they found out what the shawls were made of, they made sure to take some Angora rabbits with them back to France. Aside from their commercial use, the rabbits were domesticated, and became favorite pets of French royalty.
5 Art Work Brightens The Interior Of An Abandoned Building
This French artist and photographer is called The Grandfather of single-perspective installations. The guy has been creating his painted perspective installations in soon-to-be demolished buildings since the 1980s. When he selects a site, George Rousse creates a unique angular perspective, that when photographed compels the viewer to question their own senses and their understanding of space, in general. Rousse says that the convergence of these abandoned places goes beyond a visual game. “Like a hall of mirrors, it questions the role of photography as a faithful reproduction of reality, it probes the distances between perception and reality, between imaginary and concrete.”
The picture in question shows one of his works created in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
4 The Melting Building Mural In Paris
The Hausmannian building on George V Avenue in Paris is called ‘the melting building.’ But of course there is nothing wrong with the building itself and it’s completely safe to be inside of it. In fact, it is a mural, and the optical illusion is referred to as trompe l’oeil, or tricking the eye. The artist behind this amazing mural is John Pugh, who has been in the tricking-the-eye business for more than 30 years. “People take delight in being visually tricked, “ he says. “ With a clear intention to create a public art attraction, I strive to design a mural in a way that is atypical, and involves thinking out of the box.” The melting house is, in fact, one of the many Hausmannian buildings around central Paris. They are so called by the name of George-Eugene Hausmann, who directed a public renovation program commissioned by Napoleon III between 1853 and 1870. The renovation included the demolition of the medieval, highly unhealthy neighborhoods, and the construction of new avenues, sewers, fountains, etc.
3 The Bridge Leading To…Nowhere
This may seem like a track on a suicidal ride, but, in fact, the bridge doesn’t end in the air. This is Storseisundet Bridge, and is a tourist attraction in Norway. Locals also call it ‘the Drunk bridge’, and the Daily Mail described it as ‘the road to nowhere’. You can easily guess why. No matter how you look at this weirdly shaped construction, it always looks different from all angles. The bridge is the longest of the eight bridges that make up the Atlantic Road, linking mainland Norway with the island of Averoy. The bridge was opened in 1989, and over the six years that it took to build it, workers had a really tough time because of the harsh weather conditions and the twelve hurricanes that hit the construction site. Initially, Storseisundet Bridge was a toll road and was supposed to recoup the investment in 15 years. But instead it was completely paid in only ten.
2 The Weightlifter Defying Gravity
What you see here is one extremely perfectly timed photograph of the Colombian weightlifter Lesman Paredes during the 2015 Junior World Weightlifting Championships. The photographer captured his successful 190kg clean & jerk attempt. What seems like levitation is actually a result of a combination of a couple of factors. First, it is the bouncy surface he was doing his lifting on. And second, the amount of weight being dropped must have been enough to launch the athlete’s own weight of 94 kg three feet up in the air. All in all, it comes down to Physics 101.
1 The Frozen Lake In Switzerland
This frozen lake in Switzerland resembles broken pieces of glass, placed in a perfect blue pattern. Actually, lakes constitute a major natural feature of the country, and their number is estimated up to 7000. You're probably wondering what made water freeze in such a pattern. Metals will do this, too if you cool them slowly enough, but this pretty much happens only in space. Iron meteorites sometimes acquire a similar looking pattern. What caused the freezing here was the formation of multiple ice molecules in the lake waters at different locations, which at certain points started expanding as a circle. When two of these expanding circles intersected, a perfectly straight edge was formed between them. This type of pattern is known as a Voronoi pattern. Actually, if you’re hooked on 3D printing, you probably already know you can make your own Voronoi pattern!