Archives

July 2005

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Jul 29

Lately, I have been thinking about acquiring a large-format (LF) camera. There are a various reasons for this, the most important of which probably is my continued interest in doing architectural photography. Finding a suitable LF camera has been quite a frustrating experince, though, and it finally dawned on me that this is mainly because of the wide range of options. I’m sure most LF photographers would disagree but at this stage, almost any LF camera would be good - especially given the external boundary conditions, the most important of which is the infamous money issue. Stepping back a little, I am almost perplexed how I managed to spend so much time looking into all the minutae of LF cameras, many of which are actually utterly irrelevant for me, and some of which aren’t that helpful at all. It’s interesting that you can ask people for opinions what I should buy, telling them about the monetary constraints, and then in return get a recommendation to buy something expensive (Do people actually listen?). So far, the whole story resembles examples discussed in the book The Paradox of Choice, which explains in quite a bit of detail how having too many choices and being unable to deal with them can make one’s life quite miserable. Given that photography appears to be so much about choices - what film to use, what camera to buy etc. - I’ll make the book my recommended read for today.
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Jul 28

It’s kind of obvious what authorities think of people when they put surveillance “security” cameras all over the place. Now we learn of this: “MTA investigators are keeping a secret database of people stopped and questioned for filming or photographing bridges and tunnels as part of the agency’s efforts to thwart terror, the Daily News has learned.” (story) (found by Brian)
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Jul 28

Rachel Hulin’s portfolio contains a mixed set of images.
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Jul 27

I wouldn’t be able to tell with conviction, but I think Rineke Dijkstra’s portraits caused the first big wave about some sort of new portraiture. While I like the beach portraits very much, I think the rest is not even close to those. See more samples here and here; and compare with Hellen van Meene’s work who Rineke Dijkstra is often compared with.
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Jul 26

Every day, I’m telling myself that if I don’t stop looking at the “news” - especially at so-called political blogs - and get angry about it I’m guaranteed to have my first heart attack the day after tomorrow. Unfortunately, I’m a bit underdeveloped in the will-power area of my brain - which, I guess, is good news for those people who come here to look for links to photography (other things I keep telling myself: Stop spending so much time for cool new photography online). Every day, I look at the “news” and at political blogs, and then I spend a good hour fuming, occasionally posting a little something here on this weblog. I guess you are used to this - you probably take this as the kind of quirks that are to be expected of those artsy types.
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Jul 26

Art for a bored society of affluence: For her latest show artist Pinar Yolacan covered old women with all kinds of meat and then took their photos. Now we can say that we have finally seen that, too. Phew! (seen at gmtPlus9)
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Jul 25

The Edward Weston website features lots of iconic American photos. And the aformentioned background article about Brett Weston gives a little background about what Edward Weston’s son Brett thought about the new prints of the old negatives.
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Jul 25

“On his 80th birthday, Brett Weston fed sixty years worth of his negatives into the large fireplace in his home on the Big Island of Hawai’i. Some of the negatives didn’t burn immediately. So Weston doused them with kerosene. Yes, he was something of a pyro. Over the course of that evening in 1991, flames consumed the raw material of one of the greatest photographic legacies in the history of the medium.” Thus begins an interesting article about the life and work of Brett Weston. And there is quite an ironic ending to the story of the burning negatives. Find more photos here; if you want to see more use Google - it’s an easy search for this classic photographer.
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Jul 24

I don’t know what it is but Jacko Vassilev brings aspects to portrait photography that you don’t necessarily see everywhere else.
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Jul 21

If I remember correctly it was one of those people currently residing in the White House who called the Iraq war a “catastrophic success”. And it certainly looks like one: “The people of Baghdad do not need statistics to tell them that they are living through terror unimaginable in the West. Every two days for the past two years more civilians have died in Iraq than in the July 7 London bombings. ” (story).
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Jul 20

Holger Niehaus is a photographer who I just had to link to. It took me quite a while to find anything, though. I first came across his work when I saw this photo in Harper’s magazine. Unfortunately, his work is very hard to find online. I found another, equally amazing still life here.
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Jul 20

D. R. Cowles’ photos are “contact printed from the original negatives and sometimes from specially enlarged negatives, on printing out paper, using a 19th century process.” Given the sizes of the samples on the website it’s pretty hard to assess the actual richness of the prints, though.
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Jul 19

It seems to me that if you’re an art/photography student one of the main problems to struggle with is to avoid merely copying your teacher - even if that might get you into a gallery easily. Pablo Zuleta Zahr’s work is an excellent example for how you can have a famous teacher, yet arrive at a different, unique look - which, in this case, I also find quite impressive.
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Jul 19

If you look at photo critique forums you’ll find that overly Photoshopped photos are becoming more and more popular. If you have been to those forums you will probably familiar with Andrzej Dragan’s work. I don’t know what that tells us about what kind of taste people have, given that these images very often are the photographic equivalent of Hallmark figurines. I’m also not sure everybody has to look as if he or she came right out of a “Lord of the Rings” movie. Disclaimer for people who like to simply arguments for the sake of sending angry email: Don’t get me wrong, there really is nothing wrong with using Photoshop to fix up photos. But too much is too much.
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Jul 18

Maybe you need to be a foreign photographer to find the essence of a country. Peter Granser’s “Sun City” certainly finds the quirkiness of American life - something local photographers never quite get to. Additional photography can be found under “Download” and then “Personal Projects”. Each project comes as a pdf. You definitely don’t want to miss “Alzheimer’s Disease”, which includes some stunning portraits. (slightly updated post)
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Jul 18

You know you’re in trouble when a magazine’s mission statement says “Influence aims to highlight the protean dialogue that spans disparate forms of creativity and has come to identify the face of cutting-edge artistic expression in recent years.” If you’re willing to put that trouble aside to look at interesting photography, they have articles on Thomas Ruff, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Bruce Weber - each of which you can download as a pdf file (the article, not the photographer obviously). (thanks Toby!)
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Jul 18

I admit I know next to nothing about the kinds of problems Australia might have. It was very interesting to me to see Patrick Ronald and Shannon McDonell’s project Disappearing Tasmania, which documents the decline of cities in Tasmania.
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Jul 16

Markus Burke’s portfolio contains some interesting commercial/editorial work.
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Jul 14

Nienke Klunder’s portraits and self-portraits are quite interesting, even though I’m really not sure some of those projects are as clever as she might want them to be.
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Jul 13

We’ve heard a lot about what drives suicide attacks. Turns out that most of what the media and/or our leaders want to make us believe is utterly wrong. The reality is quite a bit more simple, and it doesn’t have much to do with Islam at all. Read this interview to find out more.
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Jul 13

“Most people think of Boston as a dense city, and it is, especially by American standards. TodayÂ’s city is, however, a pale shadow of the medieval maze that was Boston before large-scale modern planning and spatial concepts entered the picture.” Have a look at photos showing Boston’s change. Just imagine what kind of charm Boston would have today if they hadn’t destroyed the old center to replace it with those architectural monstrosities. This is particularly ironic in the light of the awe expressed by Americans when they come back from Europe: If Europeans had given their own cities the same treatment, all the old stuff wouldn’t be around there any longer, either. (seen at thingsmagazine, which contains more links for this topic)
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Jul 12

Most people are probably not aware of the fact that the web is not a fair representation of the photographic world. I often find interesting photographers or images in magazines and then fail to find anything online. Robert Adams is another example for this. There isn’t really much more than a few images here and a longish bio there. Update (13 July): There also are some photos here
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Jul 11

A couple years ago, I linked to articles on the looting and destruction of ancient archeological treasures in Baghdad. As time has passed, we now have a pretty good idea of the extent of the damage, and it’s very sad to find out about it. Read this article for more information.
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Jul 11

Imagine Henry Darger had not drawn weird images of little girls but, instead, had taken photos of women. And then imagine at the ripe old age of almost 80 years, he would have been able to get his photos into a gallery. With Philip-Lorca diCorcia being sued over photos of strangers probably whole legions of lawyers would rub their hands gleefully. Enters Miroslav Tichy who “with cameras that he himself skilfully and imaginatively cobbled together from old tins, spectacle lenses, toilet rolls and cigarette boxes, in the 1970s and 80s […] took over a hundred shots a day of women in his small hometown in Moravia.” There also is a nice story about him, albeit in German, here See many more photos here, a short article and two large photos here, some more samples here, plus two entries on Hot Gun Spy (1, 2).
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Jul 11

Given the politically highly charged atmosphere in the country, courtesy of religious and political extremists, it requires some guts for an American photographer to take photos of fetuses. Tamara Lischka has just done that.
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Jul 10

We live in a culture where bigger is supposedly better. Thus, the Gigapxl Project just had to happen. Quite ironically, the project is film-based (with 9” x 18” exposures), with the final Gigapixel images resulting from scanning. If you do this kind of exercise you can then, for example, show where I live. And you can also learn a bit about some very technical information, which explains how you arrive at the number of pixels.
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Jul 8

“MakingRoom is a magazine about the process, intention and results of image-making.” Check it out - you might even remember some of this edition’s features from this weblog.
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Jul 8

So far, I have largely refrained from linking to photography that I don’t like - hence the maybe curious absence of some big names on this weblog. The other day, I decided to link to somebody’s work but to also voice some criticism. I had noted earlier, when contributing to photo critique sites, then people are happy as long as you give rave reviews. But once you dare to say something negative there is a problem, and the reactions to that particular post reflected just that. The main problems, of course, are that first photography is a pretty subjectice business where your own tastes determine whether you like something or not. Now when you say that you don’t like something that doesn’t say anything about the actual quality of that work. But in our happy-happy-joy-joy culture it is discouraged to voice negtaive criticism for a vast variety of reasons, the combination of which I find deeply disturbing. And second, not everything can be great, because in that case everything - just by very simple logic - is just mediocre. The main problem for this weblog (or for me, if you will) is that I was thinking about adding a little twist to it by more often linking to stuff that I didn’t necessarily like. But given this experience I guess I have to reconsider this, which is quite unfortunate.
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Jul 7

In our current culture, creating photos of naked children - even if they are your own - can make you a child pornographer, at least in the eyes of the fanatical religious right. But then, many other people have a somewhat weird understanding of the human body anyway, too. The female body in a very unnatural form - “upgraded” with implants, heavily airbrushed and minus the nipples - is constantly being shoved into your face, whether you like it or not. This all results in a very charged atmosphere for photographers like Sally Mann, who spent a lot of time on taking photos of her own children. Her photos are amazingly honest and in-your-face, and maybe that’s what makes them so uncomfortable for some people to look at. Lately, she has been working on collodion wet-plate glass photography, see some of her newer work here and here. In addition, you can find extra information and many more links here and here. (Updated post)
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Jul 6

Photojournalist Kai Wiedenhöfer won a 2005 Euro Press Photo Awards in Germany - section architecture! - for his photos of Israel’s separation barrier wall.
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Jul 5

“Sebasti縊 Salgado is embarking on the last of his great photographic projects […] over the next eight years. He is seeking out places that are still as pristine as they were in primeval times, places that provide hope.” And the photos will appear in The Guardian, probably the best English language newspaper in the world. The full series is available online, as are the individual parts: Galapagos Islands, Virunga (home to the world’s only mountain gorillas), Patagonia (amongst the right whales), and Antarctica. (updated entry)
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Jul 5

Torkil Gudnason’s non-commercial work is quite a bit more interesting than his “beauty and fashion” (aka anorexic girls in expensive clothes) or advertizing photography. Notice how “Sleepwalker” (originally shot for the Russian edition of “Elle” - so it’s not quite that un-commercial) is quite Crewdson-esque.
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Jul 4

Kéa Nop’s site contains a photoblog; but where it really gets interesting is in the galleries.
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