Pigeon Fancier’s Club. Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini
Pigeon Fancier’s Club. Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini

6 Quirky Clubs You Should Probably Join Today

Pigeon Fancier’s Club. Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini
Pigeon Fancier’s Club. Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini

Photography by Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini
Q&A by Kate Erbland

It’s only appropriate that “Hobby Buddies,” a superfun photo series that captures some of the quirkiest clubs and subcultures, was created by a pair of “hobby buddies,” the professional duo of Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini. From kites to chess, plants to poodles, the Swiss photographers lovingly render enthusiast groups into smart tableaus, proving that no matter how niche your pastime, you're never truly alone. We managed to snag the pair and ask them some questions about their craft:  

What sort of professional training have you had?

We both did an apprenticeship as photographers in Basel, Switzerland. Over four years, we worked two to three days a week in a studio for professional photography. We mainly concentrated on fashion, advertising, food, and people for our shoots. During the four years, the other one to two days a week we went to school for art, in the department of photography.

Santa Claus Group.These aren’t new! The first jolly group, the Benevolent Order of Santa Claus, was organized in 1937.

What other artists or styles of art inspire you?

There are so many great works out there. We love a good idea and a good realization! Whether it's photography, painting, sculpture, music. A few examples? Liu Bollin and his photographed drawings, Charles Fréger and his series “Wilder Mann,” Lori Nix with her photographed settings, Kathrin Freisager, the “Strandbeest” of Theo Jansen, Kristof Kintera, and William Kentridge.

Orchid Club.Incidentally, the word orchid derives from the Greek orchis, or “testicle.” In the 1300s, English speakers called it a “ballockwort” for, well, similar reasons.

How did you two decide to work together? What are your favorite parts about having a partner?

Since 2007, we have shared a studio together, so we spend a lot of time together. Both of us work on our own projects. While sharing a studio together, you can support each other and—very important—you don't have to drink your coffee by yourself.

Children’s Chess Club.You know who was also a chess club member? Thomas Jefferson. He often played against James Madison.

How did you come up with the idea to photograph clubs? Which club was the hardest to track down?

One day, Andi asked me if I would like to work with him on a free photography-story for a newspaper. The idea of staged group photography was something I already had in my mind for quite a while. For the newspaper, I adapted and completed this concept for that specific series. At the beginning, we started with a series of eight photographs, then we did another eight, and so on ... now the series contains over 60 photographs.

The poodle club was quite a challenge. The room we needed for our setting couldn’t be too big for this specific idea. We found the perfect place, the size was perfect, the rear wall as background was ideal, and the rest of the room was big enough for our setting and all our studio lights, but with all the owners of the dogs, it finally was quite full. The dogs were perfectly behaved, but we still could take just about three shots.

Poodle Club.Not pictured: Babe Ruth, whose 1921 mascot was a French miniature poodle.

What’s been your favorite project to photograph?

A great thing about a photographic project in general is the concentration on a idea, for a specific period you focus on something. The “Hobby Buddies” were really great to work on. We get in contact with so many people through the societies and the different interests.

Hat Club.Established in 1750, America’s first secret collegiate society was called the Flat Hat Club.

What would you like to photograph that you haven’t yet?

The best ideas are not realized yet.

Kite Club.The kite originated in China around 400 BCE. Legend has it that Han Dynasty Generals would fly them over the walls of a city to measure how far an army would have to tunnel to get past the defenses.

Hobbie Buddies (Kehrer Verlag) by Ursula Sprecher and Andi Cortellini is now available.


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ESA/Herschel/SPIRE; M. W. L. Smith et al 2017
Look Closely—Every Point of Light in This Image Is a Galaxy
ESA/Herschel/SPIRE; M. W. L. Smith et al 2017
ESA/Herschel/SPIRE; M. W. L. Smith et al 2017

Even if you stare closely at this seemingly grainy image, you might not be able to tell there’s anything to it besides visual noise. But it's not static—it's a sliver of the distant universe, and every little pinprick of light is a galaxy.

As Gizmodo reports, the image was produced by the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, a space-based infrared telescope that was launched into orbit in 2009 and was decommissioned in 2013. Created by Herschel’s Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE) and Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS), it looks out from our galaxy toward the North Galactic Pole, a point that lies perpendicular to the Milky Way's spiral near the constellation Coma Berenices.

A close-up of a view of distant galaxies taken by the Herschel Space Observatory
ESA/Herschel/SPIRE; M. W. L. Smith et al 2017

Each point of light comes from the heat of dust grains between different stars in a galaxy. These areas of dust gave off this radiation billions of years before reaching Herschel. Around 1000 of those pins of light belong to galaxies in the Coma Cluster (named for Coma Berenices), one of the densest clusters of galaxies in the known universe.

The longer you look at it, the smaller you’ll feel.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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iStock
Unwind With 10 Hours of Soothing Ocean Footage From BBC Earth
iStock
iStock

The internet can be a stressful place at times. Do yourself a favor by taking a break from the endless barrage of content to focus on the tranquil beauty of nature. The video below, spotted by Motherboard, features 10 hours of peaceful oceanscapes, courtesy of BBC Earth.

Unlike BBC's usual nature documentaries, which almost always include narration, this footage is completely human-free. There are no voices, no music, and no graphics. Instead, you'll find leisurely shots of whale sharks, schools of hammerheads, sailfish, and sea turtles drifting through the open ocean to a soundtrack of sloshing water.

Even if you don't have time to watch the whole 10 hours, just a few minutes of sitting in front of the meditative footage is probably enough to refresh your brain. Just don't be surprised if a few minutes quickly becomes an hour (or a few).

And if 10 hours of relaxing video still isn't enough for you, we recommend checking out some Norwegian slow TV. "Shows" include footage of a sea cruise, a train ride, and migrating reindeer.

[h/t Motherboard]

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