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When Did Distorting People in Photographs Become an Acceptable Practice?

Posted by on 8:00 AM in ARTICLES, EDITORIAL, FEATURED, OPINION, PHOTOGRAPHY | 0 comments

When Did Distorting People in Photographs Become an Acceptable Practice?

I recently saw an image on my Facebook feed that was shared from a professional photographer buddy of mine. He often will post photos from past projects, in addition to his latest images. The shot I saw on this day took me completely by surprise. Not because it was amazing, but because it was terrible.
I’ve seen lots of this particular photographers work, and it’s generally very good. They have plenty of print credits, make a sustainable income with their skill, and by all means are a professional at their craft. What I saw in the image is something I’d have expected from a recent college graduate, assistant, or otherwise non-professional shooter.

(I had hoped to share the photo I had seen, but I was not able to secure permission to do so. Hopefully my other examples will illustrate my point further)

When I was learning about photography some years ago, I played around with wide angle lenses enough to see what kind of images I got. I thought the distortion created was actually really interesting to look at and therefore, I thought it was desirable. It didn’t take long for the designers and directors who oversaw my work to point out how much I was distorting my wide angle images. I should clarify to say that the issue wasn’t the distortion itself, but the subject matter. I was distorting people. And the people I worked with saw this as a serious faux-pas.

In the image below, look at the feet of the campers and how out of proportion they are with the rest of their bodies.
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As soon as this was pointed out to me, it was as if a veil was lifted.

From then on, I couldn’t NOT notice when people in photographs had skewed proportions in wide angle images. I knew for traditional portraiture that a longer focal length was ideal, but I found myself taking environmental portraits much of the time. Including a background and context to an image, in addition to the person, often meant a wider focal length for me. The more images I created like this, the more I was in a situation of creating an image with skewed proportions, so at first it was hard to avoid.

In the image below, I was on assignment in Turkey, documenting a group of traveling photographers. I was trying to include the environment as well as the subjects in most of my images. Look at the size of his hands and head relative to the rest of his body.
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Eventually I figured out that when used specifically for the effect, it’s very useful. Purposely exaggerating features or objects can make them look bigger (or smaller) in the frame, and some clients love that effect. Now I’m able to use it to my advantage to call attention to certain areas in a composition or manipulate a particular object in the frame.

In the below shot, I wanted to capture this uniquely formed tree out in Rocky Mountain National Park. I used a 10mm lens to stretch the tree even further and include more of the landscape. I think this works fine, but if a person had been standing near the edge of my frame it would look obviously distorted.
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In this image, I purposefully shot the widest I could in this narrow canyon at Zion National Park to exaggerate the rock walls and create more of a sense of tight spaces.
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That said, I still find that when people are the primary subject and they clearly are stretched, there doesn’t seem to be for any effect at all. It looks like an unflattering error on the part of the photographer. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at 2 examples that were straight up portraits shot with a wide angle lens.

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About the above photos: A few years ago I was the video/photo dude for the marketing department at a college in the Midwest. Every year there was a formal fundraising event, and they always hired an outside portrait photographer to come in and take portraits of all of the attendees. This contract shooter would set up a backdrop, lights, and have couples smile for the camera. It was part of my job to post the images onto social media, so I got to seem them before anyone else.

Some of the images looked fine, but more than a few had something very strange going on. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but I could tell there was a problem. And then I saw it. I noticed the hands on a few of the people. The ogre-like, massive palm stretching down to the bottom of the frame told me that it was likely that the images were shot with a wide angle lens. Not only did it seem to stretch features near the frame edges, it appeared to make objects in the center and slightly further away get very small. The result to me looks like a case of shrunken heads.

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Here’s another example I found recently.

So how do I deal with this now that I’m aware of it? Let’s look at some images from a recent shoot I had in Utah. I wanted to take some outdoor/adventure photos of a hiker and her dog around some amazing desert rock formations. I made a point to shoot with a wide angle, and talk about some of the final images in this article.

My first shot was too close, and it makes the arm look fat and her body as a whole feels squished down. An image like this is definitely not a keeper IMO.
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I took a few steps backs, changed none of my camera settings and captured what I felt worked much better. Additionally, any stretching outward of the clouds I think helps, as it makes them look more dynamic.

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In another location, I used the wide angle lens to shrink and fit a rock tower into my frame. I had to be careful though, as her legs were leading towards the camera. As a result they were coming close to stretching so much that they might start to look unnatural.
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In my last shot, I made a point to place the backpack the woman is wearing near the edge of the frame, so it becomes a bit larger and noticeable. Something an outfitter or brand might want (I see them do this ALL the time) so in this case, I used the lens effects to my advantage while keeping the person in somewhat natural proportions.
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If you’re reading this and think you’re guilty of this, don’t sweat it. I’ve come to realize that most people don’t and won’t notice. I asked several groups of photographers (who have much more of a picky eye than I do) and most didn’t see a problem. Does that make it ok, or something that is a non-issue? I’d like you to tell me.

What it boils down to is this: Did your client like your photo? Were you happy with your effort in crafting the final image? If the answer to both of those is yes, then go ahead and set your focal lengths to 14mm, position your subject off to the side of the frame, and give them legs that are long and heads that are small. I will continue to think it looks weird, but as long as I’m not the one paying you, it doesn’t really matter now does it?

So what do you think?

Want to be a Broncolor Ambassador and Be Awarded $25,000 in Gear?

Posted by on 2:30 PM in CONTESTS, FEATURED CONTESTS, IMAGE MAKERS | 0 comments

Want to be a Broncolor Ambassador and Be Awarded $25,000 in Gear?

Broncolor is on the search for the best young and talented photographers to be its new Gen NEXT ambassadors. They’ve kicked off a contest in which five winners will be selected to receive a brancolor sponsorship that includes $25,000 worth of new gear to play with.

They’re looking for photographers between the ages of eighteen and thirty to submit their best images. Applicants are encouraged to submit up to three images from any field of photography for consideration. The contest opened on Jan 15th and Broncolor will be accepting submissions until March 2nd. Click here to submit your application and learn more about this exciting opportunity.

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This is a pretty crazy opportunity, so don’t miss out on it! Something like this is liable to launch your career skyward fast, so there is a lot at stake if you win.

10 Documentaries Every Photographer Should Watch on Netflix

Posted by on 10:55 AM in ARTS, FEATURED, Lists | 0 comments

10 Documentaries Every Photographer Should Watch on Netflix

Do you feel like you need a Netflix binge day, but you also want to stimulate your creativity? We’ve put together a list of the top 10 documentaries for photographers currently streaming on Netflix. These movies get into the heart of how pictures tell stories and they explore the passionate artists who create them.

 

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Ad Vitam Production, Selenium Films

 

1)  An American Journey: In Robert Frank’s Footsteps

In 1958, Swiss photographer Robert Frank created a landmark work of photography titled “The Americans.” This collection of 83 black and white photographs captured candid moments in the American experience during a journey across the U.S. In this documentary, film maker Philippe Séclier retraces this route and recaptures on digital video camera what Frank captured on film.

 

 

 

 

 

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212 Berlin, Mallerich Films

 

2) The Mexican Suitcase

In 2007, three boxes arrived at the International Center of Photopraphy from Mexico City. Inside were the legendary lost Spanish Civil War negatives by photographer Robert Capa. This film tells the story of their recovery and the power of the tragic story they told.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sónta Films

3) Men at Lunch

In 1932, an iconic photograph was taken of a group of construction workers enjoying a very dangerous lunch above the New York skyline. This photograph came to represent the American immigrant story and the Great depression. Director Seán Ó Cualáin set out to figure out the identities of these workers who came to represent so much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First Thought Films

4) Bill Cunningham New York

New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham has been obsessively documenting the fashion world of New York City for decades. This film tells the story of both the work and character of a photographer driven by his passion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Red Envelope Entertainment

5) Chevolution

A single picture can have a huge cultural impact, and one of the greatest examples of this is the iconic image of Ernesto “Che” Guevara. This film examines how Cuban photographer Alberto Korda’s single shot of the revolutionary rose to become a social and political icon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grant Hamilton

6) Time Zero: The Last Year of Polaroid Film

As digital photography began to take over the world, the Polaroid Camera began to fade into history. In 2008, Polaroid announced that it would stop making its instant film and this documentary details the memories and emotions of Polaroid employees and photographers during the films final year of production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Got The Shot Productions

7) Smash his Camera

This is a great profile of the controversial superstar paparazzo Ron Galella. It digs into the ethics of invasive Paparazzi and examines America’s absolute obsession with celebrity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alegria Productions, Burnat Films, Guy DVD Films

8) 5 Broken Cameras

This acclaimed documentary focuses on Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer recording his life with various hand held video cameras. It offers a very unique view of life and non-violent resistance in a West Bank village during Israeli Occupation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Melba Entertainment Group

9) Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story

Bob Guccione created a publishing empire and made millions with what was considered “smut.” The creator of Penthouse magazine created a First Amendment uproar that eventually went to the Supreme court. This biography examines his life, his rise to fame and his eventual downfall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plexi Productions, Swiss Dots

10) Objectified

Every photographer has a keen eye for aesthetic and design and this film explores what makes every day items pleasing to the eye.

Photographer’s Series Focuses on People Reading Actual Books in Public Spaces

Posted by on 12:45 PM in ARTS, IMAGE MAKERS, PHOTOGRAPHY | 0 comments

Photographer’s Series Focuses on People Reading Actual Books in Public Spaces

We all expect that not too long from now the declaration of “I love the smell of books” will meet puzzled looks from the new generation of ebook readers, as the days of leafing through the pages of literary works comes to an end, an inevitable fact which Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen firmly believes. This is the chief reason why his latest photography series “The Last Book”, which now occupies the gallery at New York City’s Julie Saul Gallery until February 7, will resonate more to viewers and ask if  we really want to see the end of books as we know it – or are we all willing to trade it to the more convenient and easily stored digital books? until you see these images then hold on to your answer.

Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Known for his earlier work “Wall Street Stop” which also takes place in the vast underbelly of the New York Subway system, Reinier this time documented train passengers who instead of being consumed by their mobile phones or ebook readers, are deeply engrossed in the pages of the book they are reading. “This is how it goes. Everything is always changing, but there’s a beautiful phenomenon that’s vanishing. That’s why I wanted to document it,” he tells Slate.

Mary Renault's "The Charioteer" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Mary Renault’s “The Charioteer” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

The images in his “The Last Book” series were mostly taken candidly, he shares to Slate that he never encountered any problem in taking pictures of his subjects “I’m 60. When I was a young guy, a lot of things were not allowed, but when you’re older people are more accepting,” he said. “It’s one of the few advantages of being older.”

Haruki Murakami's "1Q84" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84″ © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

For some who are more worried about their privacy to be photographed, Renier hands them a short note explaining of his intentions. “With my little slip of paper, I explained that books are vanishing and are being replaced by characterless iPads and Kindles. They would read this and I always got a smile back,” he said.

Tobias Wolff's "The Barracks Thief" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Tobias Wolff’s “The Barracks Thief” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Because of this, the photographs he took provides a natural peek at the diminishing population of old-school book readers as compared to the growing legions of Kindle and iPhone readers. “The Last Book” series really explores the joy of reading even in the most crowded environment and the very limited space of a packed subway car.

Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Walker Percy’s “The Moviegoer” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Beginning as a series shaped by modest observations that morphed into a stunning documentary about our relationship with books that encompasses a diverse genre from romance, to thrillers, to detective novels or any other kind of printed books, whose pages more people still prefer to leaf through over the swiping of a LED screen.

Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Ayn Rand's "Anthem" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

The Julie Saul Gallery is currently having its first solo exhibition with Dutch photographer Reinier Gerritsen until February 7. His photography series “The Last Book” was published by Aperture in September. You can order the book online here.

Michael Baisden's "God’s Gift to Women" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Michael Baisden’s “God’s Gift to Women” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Joan Didion's "The White Album" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Joan Didion’s “The White Album” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Orson Scott Card's "Xenocide" © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

Orson Scott Card’s “Xenocide” © Reinier Gerritsen, courtesy Julie Saul Gallery, New York

 

[Via Slate]

Belfie Stick: The Ass-End of a Generation

Posted by on 5:25 PM in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Belfie Stick: The Ass-End of a Generation

It’s officially arrived, people. The Belfie Stick, a selfie device specifically configured for behind-the-back photo ops, is taking us by storm. Once the creators of social media website On.com realized their network was being infiltrated with a plethora of viewers posting butt-selfies, they scrambled to fill a wide-open niche in the selfie-technology sector.

On.com CTO Kevin Deegan spoke with Business Insider about the origin of the Belfie Stick. “We’ve noticed a huge spike in users taking butt selfies in recent months so the natural next step was for us to develop a device to assist our users in taking one,” he said.

To say the Belfie Stick has been an instant hit with selfie-photogs everywhere is an understatement. Out of sheer curiosity—we’re professionals, after all—one of our editors called up the product’s PR department for a loaner and discovered that the company has completely sold out of merchandise. No loaners in stock. “They’re on backorder from our manufacturer,” they said. “We’re unsure when we’ll be getting them back in.”

UM…FOR REAL?

Typical selfie sticks are around the $15 mark. The Belfie Stick sells for $79.99, and it’s SELLING OUT.

Honestly though, has the human race become that narcissistic? Is it all just a cry for help? Has our butt really become more important than our face? Perhaps it’s an evolutionary bump in the road—and a mentality that we need to be shaken drastically out of. Whatever it is, the fragrant success of the Belfie Stick is proof that people need to seriously chill out and keep their heads from being wrapped around their own asses.

Make It Rain: A DIY Approach to Adding Rain to Your Videos and Photos

Posted by on 10:45 AM in DIY, TUTORIALS, Uncategorized, VIDEO | 0 comments

Make It Rain: A DIY Approach to Adding Rain to Your Videos and Photos

The atmosphere and texture that comes from imagery that has rain pouring is definitely unique. It can add that next level of drama or intensity to a scene, and in this video from Tom Antos, he shows us how to do that for less than $20.

Tom shows that with a trip to the local hardware store and access to running water, this cool effect can be created with relative ease. Add some backlight to the rain, edit in some storm sound effects in post, and you’re in business.

If you found this informative, check out some more of Tom’s tutorials on lighting and film production.

[via attrape-pixel]

Ansel Adams Act Aims to Revive Photographers’ First Amendment Rights

Posted by on 10:50 AM in ARTS, PHOTOGRAPHY | 1 comment

Ansel Adams Act Aims to Revive Photographers’ First Amendment Rights
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Ansel Adams photo by J. Malcolm Greany, 1947

Consider your rights as an American citizen: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

By now, I’m sure mostly everyone has read an article or watched a video of a photojournalist or photographer being arrested, receiving a ticket or, in other words, getting harassed. That said, I think we can all agree that photographers should be granted a bit sanctuary in the eyes of the law.

This is why on Jan. 2, Texas Republican Steve Stockman—who left office after the session ended—attempted to introduce the Ansel Adams Act, also known as HR 5893. The bill would essentially end restrictions on photographers, explicitly stating that “still and motion photographs are speech.” So any threats against this would thereby violate the First Amendment.

Of course, the statute also acknowledges the pioneering work of Ansel Adams. It brings into question the increasingly strict limitations on photographing in U.S. National Parks, public spaces and government buildings, while referencing Adams’ iconic photographic documentation of Yosemite National Park.

Currently, the bill is being reviewed by several committees, including the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. However, it was, in fact, strangely introduced at the very end of the 113th Congress by a member who has since left office. Hopefully we’ll see it’s resurgence as 2015 takes way.

Be Awed by Mother Nature in Short Film ‘Stillness Arises’

Posted by on 4:00 PM in ARTS, VIDEO | 0 comments

Be Awed by Mother Nature in Short Film ‘Stillness Arises’

When cinematographer and director Benjamin Dowie traveled to Europe earlier this year with an unknown agenda, he eventually crossed paths with Mathieu Le Lay—a spectacular filmmaker and adventurer whose work Dowie had admired from a distance for some time. They hit it off and Le Lay extended him an invitation to explore some of France’s most beautiful scenery in the French Alps. It was an offer Dowie couldn’t refuse; he kept his camera rolling and eventually produced an intimate, visceral short film that focused on Le Lay’s connection with mother nature.

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Stillness Arises, a Vimeo Staff Pick this week, uses beautiful imagery to convey man’s relationship with the world around him—the very theme of Le Lay’s own film work. The camera follows Le Lay hiking up mountains in the French Alps, running his hands along moss-covered trees, biking along a meadow in his home town of Brittany and staring out into the sea, contemplating its vast possibilities. The film is narrated with Le Lay’s own words that were inspired by the works of Eckhart Tolle, Wayne Dyer and Albert Espinosa.

This collaboration between Dowie and Le Lay evokes a strong sense of connection to a large and wild world, filled with beauty and danger and grand elements that we could never hope to control. Simply put, Stillness Arises is the type of film that inspires people to leave their computers behind and start exploring mother nature on their own.

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Benjamin Dowie’s additional Vimeo Staff Picks include Oceans and Castles, Oh, Summer, This is Africa, and Seacave, among others. Check out the expanse of his beautiful and evocative films here.

Announcing the Winners of the Fujifilm Photo Tours!

Posted by on 3:00 PM in CONTESTS, NEWS | 0 comments

Announcing the Winners of the Fujifilm Photo Tours!

This past fall, we teamed up with leading camera manufacturer, Fujifilm U.S., to create a super-exclusive, hands-on experience for 12 amazing students in three U.S. cities: New York, Boston and San Francisco. It’s known as the FujiFilm Photo Tours—a contest in which students raced to sign up and get some hands on shooting time with the awesome Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera and an 18-135mm lens. After a day of shooting, lead by one of our fantastic instructors, 1 winner would be chosen from each city to not only score a feature in 1 of 3 Fujifilm ads in the winter 2015 issue of Resource Magazine (visit the Resource Shop to pick up a copy later this week) but to also win a Fujifilm X-T1 and 18-135mm of their very own!

Each tour was led by one of our badass local photographers/instructors in each city. New York offered up author and night photographer extraordinaire,  Gabriel Biderman, Boston was lead by legendary photojournalist Rick Friedman while San Francisco was headed by photographic explorer and preservationist Amy Heiden. Each instructor is not only a leader in their perspective expertise, they’re also hella-fun!

Winning images were chosen by our crack team of photography pundits! These judges included Fujifilm’s very own X-Series marketing manager, and leading lighting and technical field expert, photographer Justin Stailey; photographer, educator and author of Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, Nicole S. Young. You should also check out Nicloe’s blog for some great photo tips and stories. Finally…. last, but not least, one of our favorites around Resource HQ, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the very popular photography site Featureshoot.com, Alison Zavos. After weeks of deliberations the winners were chosen and the artwork for the new Fujifilm X-T1 ads was completed. We’re here to tell you that the magazine is hot off the press and on its way to distributors and retailers right now!  We thought all of  you loyal Resource junkies might enjoy a sneak peek.  You can view the winning photographs below and find out what students had to say about this unique contest and opportunity. If you want to see more BTS photos from each stop on the tour, check them out here: New York, Boston and San Francisco.

Fujifilm Photo Tour – New York Winner: Reva Aisha Do Espirito Santo

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© Reva Aisha Do Espirito Santo – Student at Columbia University

“The Fujifilm photo tour through Brooklyn was a lovely experience. As a group we had a great time interacting with the environment, and Gabe was a charismatic and knowledgable instructor. The camera itself was easy to maneuver—at the same time it gave me a lot of manual freedom to feel in control of my shot. Having shot with much heavier DSLR cameras in the past, I love going mirrorless. Having shot with other mirrorless cameras in the past, I love that the X-T1 still feels and looks like a professional camera without all the extra weight.

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New York Fujifilm Photo Tour instructor, Gabriel Biderman, gives NYC winner, Reva Santo, the rundown on her new Fujifilm X-T1.

As a student it can be difficult to get off campus, so participating in this photo tour with a group of great people was just the creative release that I needed. Now I have an excuse to keep getting out there with my new camera! Thanks to everyone at Fujifilm, at Resource Mag, to Gabe, and to my peers who kept me in good photo company during the tour!”

Fujifilm Photo Tour – Boston Winner: Dan Mccarthy

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© Dan McCarthy – Student at Northeastern University

“My first reaction to the Fuji X-T1 was to think how different it felt than the DSLR I am used to having in my hand. When I began using it though, I quickly realized it to be just as powerful. The camera incorporates a list of very interesting features, including double exposure, that instantly inspire creativity.

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Daniel McCarthy, winner of Boston Fujifilm Photo Tour, takes first shots with his new Fujifilm X-T1 with a little 1-on-1 instruction from Boston instructor Rick Friedman.

Having the obviously portable machine in my hand was all the motivation I needed to have fun and play with what can capture in impressive quality. I easily found myself in the zone of exploring the world around me for images while also being enthralled in exploring the extensive capabilities of the camera.”

Fujifilm Photo Tour – San Francisco Winner: Nico Padayhag

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© Nico Padayhag – Student at San Francisco Art Institute

“As a photographer rooted in documentary imagery, speed and precision are two qualities that are a must-have in my equipment. When compositions line up and the perfect moment enters my lens, I need to be able to rely on my camera to successfully capture it. I can truly say that the Fujifilm X-T1 captures images with that rapid speed and explicit precision, and more.

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San Francisco instructor, Amy Heiden, hands over the Fujifilm X-T1 goods to SF winner, Nico Padayhag, as he smiles from ear to ear.

Traditionally I shoot with film, however, the built-in presets in the X-T1 allow me to explore scenarios with Provia Velvia, or Monochrome settings—a throwback feature film photographers like myself can really appreciate. Lightweight and compact, the X-T1 still holds its own against the larger DSLR cameras on the market, but with sleekness and style.”

We’d like to thank everyone at Fujifilm U.S., the awesome students and schools that participated, our fabulous instructors and judges that helped make this year’s Fujifilm Photo Tours a huge success. If you want to pick up a copy of the Winter 2015 issue of Resource Magazine and see these stunning ads, visit the Resource Shop to pick one up.

The Best Photography Books of 2014

Posted by on 11:00 AM in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Best Photography Books of 2014

Seeing all the beautiful images of the night time skies lined up by magnificent trails of fireworks all over the world suggests that the photography in 2015 is off to a great start. It also means photography books published in 2014 will go on a bit of a discount at the shelves… but that doesn’t mean their  significance as a worthy reading material will diminish, because 2014 really provided us photography enthusiasts with a long list of insightful and information-filled photography books – and even in this day of ebooks and kindle, a lot of us still prefer to leaf through glossy pages over a cup of coffee in the morning. So to help you in your selection for a good photography book to kick off 2015, I wanted to show you what I consider to be (some of) the best photography books published in 2014.

Photographs Rendered in Play-Doh by Eleanor Macnair (MacDonald-Strand) is a collection of  Eleanor Macnair’s popular Play-Doh reproductions of photographs. It may sound like only a child would appreciate, but when you turn its pages and see all the intricately composed images teeming with rich details you will instantly devour it visually.

Vivian Maier: A Photographer Found by John Maloof, Marvin Heiferman, Howard Greenberg, and Laura Lipman (Harper Design) – Vivian Maier’s life as a nanny  is filled with mystery as well as a rich collection of unforgettable street photography  amounting to more than 100,000 of images, that was only discovered long after her death.

Portraits by Martin Schoeller (teNeues) – is a collection of portrait snaps by photographer Martin Schoeller, who carved an illustrious career photographing celebrities  for many respected publications such as TIME, GQ, National Georgraphic and The New Yorker just to name a few.

Evidence by Diana Matar, (Schilt) – “Every image in Evidence is haunted by Jaballa Matar’s disappearance, and by the cruelty that was everywhere and “in everything” in Gadaffi’s Libya” reads a review from the Guardian. This book is the sum of six years of hard and personal labor and a homage to the Matar’s father who was among the “disappeared” in Colonel Gaddafi’s Libya.

Car poolers by Alejandro Cartagena (self-published) – By photographing a series off passing vehicles, photographer Alejandro Cartagena was able to capture not only the majestic landscape of Mexico but also the social, labor and economic structure of the country by showing the relationship of these fast moving subjects to the rapid urbanization and (over)growth in Mexico and its effect on various cities’ inhabitants.

Bedrooms of the Fallen by Ashley Gilbertson (The University of Chicago Press) – a haunting peek into the former lives of fallen US soldiers in Iraq, as Gilbertson points his camera away from the battles and into the homes of the family and friends who are living daily lives filled with grief unbeknownst to all of us.

© Ashley Gilbertson

© Ashley Gilbertson

Kurt Cobain: The Last Session by Jesse Frohman (Thames & Hudson) – battling a terrible hangover and months away from his untimely suicide, Kurt Cobain stared into Jesse Frohman’s camera, who at that time was documenting the Nirvana frontman for the London Observatory. An interesting mixture of charisma, playfulness, defiance and wastefulness personified the 100-plus portrait images of the late great Kurt Cobain.

The Ninety Nine and The Nine by Katy Grannan (Fraenkel Gallery ) – Grannan’s images of the destitute show how the ills of drug addiction, illnesses and capitalism abandons a great many in our society. Yet this photography book also depicts the everyday rituals, brief interactions and moments of beauty of those in the fringes of society, bringing attention to what is often overlooked.

The Forbidden Reel by Jonathan Saruk (Daylight Books) – A poignant look at the citizens of the war torn nation of Afghanistan through American-born and Sweden-based photographer Jonathan Saruk’s  documentation of the cinemas and other entertainment venues of Kabul, that opened after the US liberated the country from the Taliban regime 12 years ago.

Rainforest by Lewis Blackwell (Abrams) – After reading and seeing the images on this book, I’m sure one could not love and protect our environment enough. “We need to recognize that our lives are a part of a greater living community on Earth,” Lewis Blackwell writes, “the vast wonder of which rainforests represent with their extraordinary diversity, richness, and mystery.”

 

Want to be a Better Photographer? Do Personal Work.

Posted by on 3:47 PM in ARTICLES, EDITORIAL, FEATURED, OPINION, PHOTOGRAPHY | 6 comments

Want to be a Better Photographer? Do Personal Work.

The term “personal work” is often a hot debate topic amongst photographers. Some people see it as a waste of time (why do work you aren’t getting paid for) and others think it is the bee’s knees (I’m in this camp). What constitutes personal work is as varied as the photographers who shoot it. I used to think personal work was setting up elaborate styled shoots for my portfolio. This was in the early days of my career when I needed to showcase types of work I had yet not been paid to photograph. I spent a lot of time photographing styled shoots that didn’t really enhance my creativity or technique because they were just slightly more styled versions of what I was already shooting (weddings). After a year or so, I finally figured out that this was just a huge waste of my time. I started to follow the “personal work” of other photographers and tried to think of interesting and creative “projects” for myself. I was discouraged because as a mother of two very young children and a very busy, full time photographer, I had neither the drive nor time to do “personal work” involving wild ideas, models, lighting, etc… I just wanted to be at home with my family and not shoot. I started to feel burnt out after only a few years. I hated my work because I was disconnected to it and I thought my only option was to spend more time and energy creating this idea of  creativity.

And then I met Jonathan Canlas and my thoughts on personal work changed profoundly. I attended his Film Is Not Dead workshop in New Orleans, one of my favorite places in the world. At the workshop, Jonathan starting talking about the importance of personal work. However, his idea of personal work was so very different than what I had in my own head. He said that personal work is for finding your voice. It’s about shooting your world. More than anything else I learned that week, that statement cut me to the core. I realized right then that I didn’t have a voice. I spent my first few years making sure I had technical prowess, but I didn’t hone my voice, my perspective, my vision of this world. I had “branding words” for who I thought my clients were and what I thought my photos represented, but they were empty words. I was a storyteller without a story.

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That afternoon I walked around the French Quarter and started telling my story. The story of what made me fall in love with New Orleans all those years ago when I first visited and the reason I keep coming back. I saw life through my lens. I learned to focus on the aspects of the city that caught my attention, no matter how brief. I shot solely for ME. And when the film came back, I saw a distinct pattern and story emerging. I found my story, my voice. I was hooked on this new definition of personal work.

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Now, everywhere I go, I shoot personal work. If I get to an engagement session early, I shoot personal work. Meeting up with friends in the city for dinner? Personal work before and after. Vacation with my family? Oh heck yeah, personal work.  It doesn’t take long, but I am training myself to tell stories more effectively. I’m seeing the my world and capturing the emotions, the sounds, the smells… all of it in photos. It’s amazing that once you see the value in this type of personal work how much it can change you. I’m a better wedding photographer because of my personal work. I set the stage for the story I am telling so much more now. The little details that I used to overlook are a part of it all. My couples are thrilled with how I capture the feel of the day and not just give them pretty pictures. I shoot faster and smarter. I see flashes of things and anticipate moments. I am a better photographer.

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For me, personal work is about honing my skills, feeding my creativity and pushing the boundaries of what I am comfortable with. I play with new cameras and learn their tricks. I experiment with new film stocks. I try out techniques I’m unfamiliar with. I’ve begun to fall in love with my work again. I am happier and so are my clients. Our connections are stronger because of my personal work. It’s my voice and people are either going to love it or hate it, and that is okay. I want them to feel something. I want them to connect with me. I want them to look at my personal work and hire me because they like my story. And they do. Since pursuing this method of personal work, my clients are more me. No amount of branded words or design genius could make that happen. Allowing people to see my world makes those connections. I’ve had more people tell me they fell in love with my personal work than anything else lately. That means they have fallen in love with my story.

And that’s all I could ever want.

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What Happens When Your Client Runs Off with Your Images and Doesn’t Pay?

Posted by on 12:19 PM in ARTICLES, BEHIND THE SCENES, EDITORIAL, FEATURED, OPINION, PARDON MY FRENCH, PHOTOGRAPHY | 10 comments

What Happens When Your Client Runs Off with Your Images and Doesn’t Pay?

If you’ve worked in this business long enough, chances are you have dealt with this issue at least once in your career: What begins as a promising project and business relationship turns into a frustrating, confusing debacle that often ends with the service provider (you!) being hung out to dry. Here are some steps you can take to prevent this from happening, and what to expect when the crap hits the fan.

HUGE disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. If you want that, hire an attorney. My stories and insight below are there to provide ideas, suggestions, and resources to learn more. Of course you should always try to carry yourself with high business standards and professionalism… but eventually you just need to do whatever it takes to get paid and move on. In cases like these, burning bridges doesn’t matter, because you’d never want to work for them again anyway.

I’ll begin by sharing a short story of getting stiffed once early in my career.

About 10 years ago, I was technical director at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, mixing video and graphics feeding big screen displays around the stage. I was hired by a man named Alan Contino for something like $300 a day. I worked 3 full days and never got paid. When I finally got in touch with him, his excuse was: “I never got paid by the guy who hired me, so sorry. I don’t have the money to pay you.”

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This was a very young, eager version of myself from that job.

I didn’t have a contract with him, so I felt that I was rather SOL. I spoke with some of the other contractors from that shoot, and they were planning to take him to court, but I never heard of any actual claims that arose.

I had only been freelancing a short time at that point, and this was a wake-up call. I needed to have a signed contract from EVERY SINGLE PERSON I agreed to work for. It seems like a no-brainer now, but when having positive conversations with new clients, or seriously needing the work, I often took people at face value. And that’s how I got burned.

So in short, the way to protect yourself or your small business from these unsavory individuals who want to exploit you, is by having them sign a contract. You can Google to find all sorts of contracts, and even download a free one from the guys over at Nimia, but it might be worth it to hire an entertainment lawyer and build a contract that is iron-clad. It won’t be cheap, but losing thousands of dollars because someone didn’t pay or because your contract didn’t have clear enough language will cost even more. Consider it another form of insurance, and write it off as a business expense. A good friend of mine recommends Hertz Schram P.C. for consultation and document drafting for video or photography production.

Let’s step back for a moment though. Imagine you have a self-written contract, with decent terms and you feel good about using it in case the worst happens and you need to go to court. This is what I use, and I would perfectly OK going to court with it in hand. I’ll share another story about when someone tried to get around paying me, AFTER they signed my contract.

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Around 2006 I was hired as a freelance camera operator by Starz Entertainment. They had a producer who was coming into my town, and needed someone to shoot video clips at video gaming tournament. It was a craiglist ad, and after responding, they agreed to my rate (I think it was around $450) for an evening of video shooting and handing over my tapes at the end of the shoot.

The shoot went fine, and I made them sign my contract before hitting the road with the work I had done. About a month went by and they had not paid, so I began emailing and calling. Two more months went by, and I finally got through, with excuses about traveling, being ill, and everything else thrown at me. My contract stated that I be paid with 45 days, and it had been twice that by the time I called and left a voicemail to inform them that I would be taking legal action to recover my payment.

I lived in Michigan at that time, so I went online and read that for the amount I was seeking, I would need to file a small claims suit. There is a plethora of documentation available on the process of filing these, and it will vary from state to state. One catch I’ve found in several states is that you need to file the claim in the same city or county in which either the claim arose, or where the person you’re filing against works in.

Since this was a local job, it was easy for me to drive to the county court and fill out the small claims form. I needed the name and address information for the person I was filing against (which I had since it is part of the information I get on my contract). For a small fee, a certified mailing would be sent out on my behalf. For a bit more, I could pay to have the person served in person. I elected the cheaper route, and after a month, there was no result. I filed again, this time electing to have the person served.

I’m not sure if they ever received it or not, as I didn’t get any notice from the court during this entire process. I did however come home one day to a letter that was taped to my front door. It was from the person who owed me money, with a check that was accompanied by a nasty letter about how I over-charged them and they would never work with me again. My guess is that they received the certified letter and decided to just pay me what they owed.

Fast forward to this year. I was living in a new state, trying to make contacts and rebuild my client list. I was eager to get work, and accepted some lame projects without a contract simply because I needed them. I was hired by a man I would later regret meeting named Wayne Bowring (another craigslist job, of course) to take event photos at a race in Grand Junction, which is about 4 hours from where I live.

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Like an idiot, I didn’t send him my contract, but in our emails, the pay details were clearly stated for what simple work I’d be doing. For a measly $140 I agreed to shoot stills for a few hours at this race, and as the weeks went by, I got the run around from this client. Problems with the bank, it’s in the mail, etc. Several months passed.

I knew that I could file a small claim, but I’d have to travel back to the site of the shoot in order to do so. Rather than do that, I decided to try everything I could before having to take that course of action. The amount of money was trivial, but it was the principal of the matter.

Here are some things I did, and you might want to try before taking the legal step forward, as any one of these might get your non-paying client to stop dragging their feet when it comes to paying you.

  • Since I didn’t have a contract, I printed and took notes on all correspondence, including creating a summary with key dates and information. I’ve heard that this sort of documentation can hold up in court, but I could be wrong.
  • I contacted other shooters from the event to see if they had been paid. There are strength in numbers, and perhaps someone had a different phone number or address for the client.
  • I contacted the agency who hired the person that hired me. If I’m not getting paid, the least I could do is ruin one of their business relationships. (Turns out they were already well aware of the issues with this person and had already dropped them.)
  • I researched what steps I’d need to take to file a small claim, and made sure I had all the information needed.
  • I called and emailed the client to inform him that I would be taking legal action. (Sometimes the threat of this is enough to make someone take action.)
  • I emailed the client and asked him to confirm his address (which I found through internet sleuthing) which he had never given me, so that I could make sure he received the certified mailing with the notice of the suit.
  • I found out that his wife was a business partner, so I emailed her as well.

After I inquired about his address so that I could send him the claim, I got a check in the mail about a week later, without having to go down the legal road. It was a pain, and I didn’t like the somewhat creepy things I was doing to find out information about him and his business, but in the end it got me paid. Unfortunately there are people out there who will just take advantage of others and I for one won’t stand for it anymore.

If you do need to go down the legal road, check with your state government to see what the proper process is for filing a claim. You will need information on the person you file against, and it might require you to travel to the place you performed the work in.

So besides having a contract signed and agreed upon, what precautions do you take to make sure you get paid? I’d love to hear some stories of times when a client didn’t pay, and the recourse you had to take to get what you were owed.

Playing with Food: Shrimp Blaster Captured in Slo-Mo

Posted by on 3:24 PM in ARTS, PHOTOGRAPHY | 1 comment

Playing with Food: Shrimp Blaster Captured in Slo-Mo

Some things just can’t be described in words. So I will let this video do some of the explaining for me. This video is considerably less angry than the one I posted recently. But it is no less cool, I can tell you that much. The slow motion capture of the shrimps going through all the different cooking phases is legendary.

Not only were they able to catch this going in slow motion, but somehow were able to do it with a very minimal amount of mess. I call that a win where I am from. For those who don’t know, slow motion photography naturally captures shots in slow motion. But sometimes it can seem cheesy. In this video, it doesn’t at all, and accomplishes the desired effect, which is, I presume, to sell me something (I’m not sure what yet). Regardless of what it is trying to sell, I’m intrigued. The video is mesmerizing. I’ve watched it at least ten times.

Experimenting with food is a fun activity. We did so in our last issue of Resource Magazine.

The Resurgance of Film & Why I Went Back

Posted by on 11:33 AM in EDITORIAL, FEATURED, OPINION, Uncategorized | 1 comment

The Resurgance of Film & Why I Went Back

It seems if you wait long enough things that were once in style and the thing will become that again. Just look around and you will see it everywhere, in fashion, cars, movies, toys and in the photographic world… film. The first digital camera aimed at photojournalists was released by Kodak in 1991: a Nikon F-3 camera equipped with a 1.3 megapixel sensor. Over the next decade digital became more and more accepted and people were heralding the death of film and it sure looked like that was true. Major film companies slowly over the last 20 years seemed to be phasing out producing film. Yet beyond reason and logic, film is not dead. It seems to have made a resurgence in our industry and is now considered indie, and specialized. Why is this? There are many reasons this should not be the case. Cost, time, equipment and learning a new medium being just a few, but amazingly I believe it is these same reasons, aside from cost, that is driving the resurgence in our industry.

We are artists, we create and we use our cameras to try and represent the canvas in our minds, this quote from Willy Wonka is one of my favorites –“We are the music makers, We are the dreamers of dreams.” How awesome is that? As photographers and videographers we are the music makers of the visual world. I can imagine the gears that turned in the minds of those first photographers two decades ago that got to experience digital for the first time. It must have blown their minds. Being able to see the results of their imagination instantly had to be incredible. With the advancements in our field why would any of us go back to shooting film? Why learn how to use an analog camera? Why learn how different films capture the scene before you? I believe the answer to that lies intrinsically in our need, our desire, our drive to create. I, like I am sure many of us “older photographers,” shot film when I was in high school. I shot with an old Canon T-90 and my grandfathers old Minolta SRT201. I loved shooting and learning how the camera worked. I loved going to the film lab to pick up my prints and can remember the excitement that coursed through me, the anticipation, and the nervousness. Finding out if the ideas in your head translated to paper was exhilarating if successful, and sometimes heartbreaking if they didn’t. It drove you to be better and more careful the next time you went out to shoot. Then came digital, and instant results and no time to spend waiting. Yes, my learning curve soared exponentially, and over the years you get excited about different things but it never was quite the same. So for me the journey back to shooting film is an effort to reconnect with those desires, those feelings of excitement and nervousness.

On December 11th, those familiar tingling’s came back with an e-mail from the FIND Lab telling me my first film scans in 15 years…. were ready. As I clicked on the link and proceeded to extract my files I thought about how amazing it is that we can meld to completely different mediums into one. I started to think back to the shoot and remember what I did, how I metered, how I imagined these images would turn out. With my heart pumping and hopes high I clicked the first image and…disappointment. The images were ok, but by no means what I had envisioned. Thankfully FIND lab has an option to get feedback on your exposures when they send them back and had some great words of encouragement to lessen the disappointment haha. Yet even with those feelings I wanted to go out and shoot another roll to become better, to learn from my mistakes and improve. Here is a few from that first roll.
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Between my first attempt above and my second below I spent some time chatting with Christina Blanarovich (an amazing Film only shooter) of Zen Photography on ways to improve and things to do differently. So moving on from the disappointment of my first roll, I clicked on the folder from my second roll, once again feeling excitement fill my limbs and my heart rate increasing, keep in mind it has only been about 2 minutes since viewing my first roll LOL…and elation! The images from my second roll were so much closer to what I had imagined and envisioned. I went from disappointment and discouragement, to elation, and excitement in the span of two minutes. THAT is what film does. THAT is what I believe is driving a new generation of film shooters, of artists, of visual music makers. The need to satiate the desire to be challenged, to fill the void of creativity left by shooting in a world of instants, to slow down and just enjoy the act of shooting without knowing the result, to reignite the excitement that once resided in our souls. “Where is fancy bred, in the heart or in the head?”
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I encourage any of you who have been wanting more from their shoots to go and get a cheap 35mm film camera check out this post Finding your perfect Film Lab and start shooting. The challenges you will face while doing so will make you a better photographer, and a better artist. Go be a music maker, be a dreamer of dreams.

Check Out This Video: Terror Taco’s From Sweden

Posted by on 11:22 AM in ARTS, PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO | 0 comments

Check Out This Video: Terror Taco’s From Sweden

In honor of our previous cooking issue, we found an inspiring cooking show that will blow your mind. Just in case you were wondering, this is amazing. If a cooking show like this ended up on Food Network, I’d be glued in, because most cooking shows try to treat everyone like they are the next headlining chef, which they most likely aren’t. They act with precision, as a golfer does when trying to put for a birdie. I don’t have those kind of chops. I cook much like the guy in this video, minus the grunts and screams, and maybe the ax. Maybe.

Food is an interesting thing, especially when it comes on a camera through photo and video. They have an ability to change us, and I mean that not just in an existential way, but in an actual physical way. Have you ever looked at a photograph and immediately gotten hungry? Have you ever looked at a glass of cool water and gotten thirsty or felt dehydrated? We here at Resource have an issue devoted to the realm of food.

This Week’s Tips: Happy Chanukah!

Posted by on 12:24 PM in ARTS, IMAGE MAKERS, PHOTOGRAPHY | 0 comments

This Week’s Tips: Happy Chanukah!

Happy first night of Chanukah!  The Festival of Lights.   For this week’s Tuesday’s Tips I thought I should light the lights.  Since it ‘s the first night, I lit the menorah with 1 speedlight.

Menorah on 1st night of Chanukah

I shot this photograph in my studio in Boston’s South End using a single Nikon Speedlight shot through a Rogue Grid with a blue gel.  I put a Rogue Flashbender on one side of the grid to further narrow the beam of light from the Speedlight giving me drop off on the light in the foreground.
This photo is a mixture of available light and strobe,  when deciding on exposure for a photograph I always start my exposure with the element I can not control.  In this photograph that element is the light from the candle.  I used the camera’s light meter, set on spot meter to read the light from the candle.  Below you can see what the image looked like with no strobe and with strobe, without the blue gel.

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The last part of the setup was moving the menorah so I had reflections in the base.

The photograph was shot with a Nikon D-800 and a Nikon 105 Macro lens, Rogue grid set, Rogue flash bender, Pocket Wizard TT5 & TT1.  The menorah was on a black velvet backdrop.  The velvet did not reflect any light, giving me the total black background.

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Shalom, May Peace be with everyone this holiday season!

Photographer Shows Us Singapore

Posted by on 12:28 PM in ARTS, PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO | 0 comments

Photographer Shows Us Singapore

This is a new film trailer from entitled “Singapore Sleeps.” It is a solo project that photographer Craig Burrows has been working on for a year. Much of it was shot in a 4K Ultra HD motion time-lapse showreel. There are so many cool shots in this video. For some reason, I’d always thought Singapore had a pastoral, environmental landscape. One that is covered with trees and grass all over the place. If nothing else, video showed me that Singapore has a ton of life to it.

For more, check out Burrows’ website.

Infographic: There Will Be One Trillion Photos Taken in 2015

Posted by on 10:39 AM in BIZ, NEWS | 0 comments

Infographic: There Will Be One Trillion Photos Taken in 2015

Well, not like this is surprising really. Over the past few years, the total number of images taken by all of us all over the world has quickly grown to incredible numbers. But one trillion? How was that number calculated? In a blog, Mylio explains:

Let’s say roughly half of the people in the world have a mobile phone with a built-in camera: around 3 billion people. And let’s say they take 10 photos per day – that’s 3,650 photos per year, per person. That adds up to more than 10 trillion photos annually (10,950,000,000,000).

 

More conservatively, if only one billion people have cameras or phones, and take less than 3 photos per day/1,000 pictures per year, that’s still 1 trillion photos captured every year.

 

InfoTrends’ 2014 Worldwide Image Capture Forecast estimates consumers will take 810 billion photos worldwide in 2014. This number will grow to 1 trillion photos in 2015 and 1.3 trillion photos by 2017. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2014 to 2017 will be 16.2%.

 

This growth will be driven by the increased ownership and use of mobile phones. In 2014, the number of photos captured by mobile phones will be 560 billion; by next year we’ll take more than 748 billion photos using our phones.

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How are you going to store and manage your portion of that trillion? Read more about the situation at Mylio’s blog.

A Guide to Finding Your Perfect Film Lab

Posted by on 4:28 PM in ARTICLES, EDITORIAL, PHOTOGRAPHY | 2 comments

A Guide to Finding Your Perfect Film Lab

Finding the one you love isn’t always love at first sight. As much as we’d like to believe in soul mates and perfect matches, life doesn’t necessarily work that way. Occasionally it takes multiple partners, horrible breakups, and some serious conversations in order to slowly fall in love. But once you do find the one, you sing their praises from the highest rooftop and your undying faithfulness is the stuff of legends.

Of course, I’m talking about finding your film lab.

Film shooters are pretty darn serious about their film, and they can be fairly particular about who handles it. That’s why finding the perfect film lab for your precious film is key to having a smooth workflow. Of course, most people would just say, “why not develop and scan yourself?”, and to them I reply, “well, there is this pesky thing called LIFE”. I don’t have the time or energy to develop and scan my film right now. Maybe that will change, but probably not. I’m a huge fan of outsourcing those things that don’t make you happy. The thought of developing in a darkroom with chemicals instead of spending time with my kiddos and husband, just makes me grimace. So I outsource to a lab who does all of that for me.Finding the perfect lab takes time. I played the field, so to speak. I tried all the big names. I tried Noritsu and Frontier scanners (I’m a Frontier girl, all the way). Just as I experimented with film stocks, I experimented with labs to see who I liked best. After a few months of jumping from lab to lab, I found THE ONE. I honestly did have a “love at first sight” moment. They GOT me, but more importantly they were willing to work WITH me to build the relationship we have now. Some of the others wanted a pretty penny to do that.

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Since I’ve been around the block with different labs, let me share some of the lessons I learned (mostly the hard way) to ensure you find your perfect lab.

1) Research the bulk of the work that comes out of the lab. Is it mostly light and airy? Do you love light and airy? Then start there. If you are like me and love vibrant color and contrast, then light and airy film labs may not get you. Yes, labs adjust to your preference, but from my personal experience (and the experiences of others I’ve chatted with), it’s best to go with a lab that produces a look consistently that you mesh with. I spent a lot of time with one lab trying to get them to scan my film with more color and vibrance, but they just kept washing it out. It looked great, but it wasn’t my style.

2) After you have decided on a lab to try out, TALK TO THE LAB! Seriously, folks. I cannot stress this enough. Before you send your film, call the lab manager and have a chat with them. Discuss with them your style and what you are looking for. Let them recommend a scanner and editor for you that best fits your work.

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3) Send samples of what you want. Don’t expect your lab to read your mind. That is a huge relationship blockade. Open communication is key. I sent files of what I was looking for. When I was just starting out with film and didn’t have examples of my own film, I sent samples of my digital work and film images from other photographers I was drawn to. The more information you can provide, the better the lab can narrow in on your style.

4) DON’T BE AFRAID TO TELL THEM IF YOUR FILM ISN’T RIGHT. Seriously, no one likes having the “this isn’t working” conversation. But a healthy relationship means talking out the good AND the bad. If your film comes back and you don’t love it, call the lab. Speak to your editor and explain to them what you don’t love. Is it too magenta? Too much contrast? Not enough? Did they account for the highlights but you wanted them to focus on the skin tones alone? Be specific. Working out the kinks takes time. You have to be willing to go back and forth and invest the time and effort to make it work.

5) If you invest the time and it STILL isn’t working… break it off. I spent months with one lab that just couldn’t get me. I felt bad, but it’s not personal. I needed a lab that nailed my style. Eventually I found that lab and after working through my steps with them, we are a match made in heaven.

chicago on film-45

There are a TON of amazing film labs out there. I don’t think one is necessarily better than the others. I think it’s about your personal preference and style. But you DO need to be ready to work on your relationship with whomever you choose. So who is my lab of choice (you know you are all wondering who my film lab soulmate is)? I’m in love with The FINDLab. They just GET ME. So perfectly. I get my scans back and RARELY have to touch them. That’s what outsourcing should be to me. I don’t want more work. I want less, so having a lab that makes my film ready to go is key to my workflow.

Now I’m sure everyone has a different story to tell, but this is mine, and if it helps others get an idea for how to even start looking for their perfect match, then I’m one happy little film shooter. So get out there, shoot some film, and find your true love.

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HPBblanaro001014-R1-E003

New Stop Motion Video from Oscar-Nominated PES Reimagines the Submarine Sandwich

Posted by on 6:50 PM in ARTS, VIDEO | 0 comments

New Stop Motion Video from Oscar-Nominated PES Reimagines the Submarine Sandwich

PES, the team behind the amazing short film “Guacamole” (see below) is at it again with yet another short video that reimagines food in a fascinating way. Another stop motion film, this one was shot entirely on the D810 as stills and combined into one final product that is guaranteed to make you smile.

PES Making of Submarine Sandwich

Nikon Cinema has a huge behind the scenes interview with PES that is certainly worth checking out.

Their original Oscar-nominated film can be seen below:

2015 Sony World Photography Awards: Honorary Judges Announced

Posted by on 10:46 AM in EVENTS, NEWS | 0 comments

2015 Sony World Photography Awards: Honorary Judges Announced

As one of the world’s most prestigious photography competition, the Sony World Photography Awards will continue to showcase the very best of modern photography encompassing a wide range of categories – from Travel to Architecture to Portraiture to Nature and Wildlife to Current Affairs and many more. Making sure the shortlisted and winning photographers will be rightfully deserving, Sony has chosen a carefully selected roster of judges composed of the who’s who of the photography world.

Images L - R: (c) Georg May, Germany (c) Nick Ng, Malaysia (c) Andrew Suryono, Indonesia (c) Arief Siswandhono, Indonesia. All images: Entries, Open Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards.

Images L – R: (c) Georg May, Germany (c) Nick Ng, Malaysia (c) Andrew Suryono, Indonesia (c) Arief Siswandhono, Indonesia. All images: Entries, Open Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards.

With only a month left before the deadline for photographers to submit their works for competition in the 2015 Sony Photography Awards, the list of esteemed individuals who will be responsible for honoring the best of the best is revealed.

2015 Honorary Judging Committee

The Honorary Judging Committee for this year’s Professional competition are as follows: Joanna Milter, Deputy Photo Editor, New York Times Magazine (USA), Matthew Leifheit, Photo Editor, VICE Magazine (USA), Enrica Viganó, Curator and Writer (Italy), Xingxin Guo, Vice Director of New Media Department of Photo Center of Xinhua News Agency and Editor-in-Chief of CICPHOTO (China), Oliver Schmitt, Photo Editor, Spiegel Online (Germany), Maria Pieri, Editorial Director, National Geographic Traveller (UK), and Sasha Erwitt, Picture Editor (USA).

Increasing the anticipation level to new heights is the exclusive revelation of some selected entries from the Open competition. that will solidify Sony’s claims that the 2015 Awards night will be a hotly contested one.

According to Sony’s press release, ahead of the event “photographers will compete across 25 categories for cash prizes and the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony. One professional photographer will be awarded the title of L’Iris d’Or / Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year at the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony held in London 23rd April 2015. All winning and finalist photographers will have their work exhibited at Somerset House, London from 24 April – 10 May 2015 as part of the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition and published in the 2015 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book.”

Other Info:

• An exclusive selection of submissions to the 2015 awards are available for publication via press.worldphoto.org
• Open and Youth competitions close on January 5 2015. Professional competition closes on January 8.
• Work by winning and shortlisted photographers will be exhibited as part of the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition, Somerset House, London to be held from April 24 until May 10, 2015 

Paolo Patruno Photographs Maternal Health in Africa

Posted by on 3:53 PM in ARTS, FEATURED, PHOTOGRAPHY | 0 comments

Paolo Patruno Photographs Maternal Health in Africa

Paolo Patruno is a social documentarian and photographer from Italy who has traveled back and forth from Africa for the past 10 years gathering stories from the field. He uses his images to convey social and cultural matters that have ailed African people. One of those large issues is maternal health, and Paolo is passionate about this, stating that he isn’t just following people with a camera, but he does extensive research and study in maternal health with the aid of articles and academic studies. I was able to sit down with Paolo and discuss his recent work entitled “Birth is a Dream.”

birthisadream

When I asked Paolo about his project, he said to me “that it was a self-financed project.” This was something that he was doing in order capture images. But it was not simply photographs that he wanted to get, he desired to capture human beings. Photographs can make people objects that we see; but they don’t have very much tangible reality to them. Paolo told me that “more and more I saw that people didn’t know the stories in Africa. They couldn’t see real life. You might see a few images, but not reality.”

Safe motherhood Malawi

Tecnology supporting safe motherhood

This shook him a bit. He told me that he had to stop taking photographs for a year or two because he was wrestling with the meaning of taking a photograph. Was his art for himself? After a time, he realized he wanted to use his skills to share what people cannot or perhaps would not know.

It was then that he decided he would dedicate himself to telling stories of human beings. He emphasized the idea of seeing people as human beings, holistic beings that live and breathe and have the same longings and characteristics as we do in the West. But they, and I mean specifically the women that he focuses on, don’t have much support. He enlightened me that “women often don’t receive support from partners, and that the whole situation was a complex matter. We often try to give easy solutions to complex maters. There is a culture and a tradition that is very strong in Africa as it is in other places around the world.”

Safe motherhood Malawi

Pregnants+daylife-02

Change is something that he or anybody that sees the project wants, but it is difficult to come by. Paolo, in a lot of ways, is a voice crying in the wilderness. He told me, “his desire as a social photographer is to see change happen. But a lot of what he does is giving back while at the same time not knowing when change can come.” But his real desire is that people would see his work and recognize the subjects as human beings. “I would like them to see a woman and say to themselves, that could be my mother, or my sister, or cousin,” he said. He is adamant that this issue isn’t looked at as simply a medical problem, but a human one.

Midwives+save+lives-22

Most documentary work of this kind is done by women, and Paolo is one of the few men who is doing it. But he felt compelled to be an advocate for these women, partnering with non-profit organizations, and letting these women be free to tell their stories.

Check out more of the work that he does at his websites:

http://www.paolopatrunophoto.org/Home.html

http://www.birthisadream.org

Twitter: @ppatrunophoto

Facebook: www.facebook.com/paolopatrunophoto

Images used with permission.

Experience Stockholm, the Venice of the North

Posted by on 2:42 PM in ARTS, VIDEO | 0 comments

Experience Stockholm, the Venice of the North

This video is an effort to show the ways in which Stockholm in Sweden is a great place to visit. There is a notion, especially in Western contexts like America, to look at Europe and want to visit major sites like Italy, England and Spain. But AJTA productions has created a video that captures the essence of Stockholm with all its energies and scenic beauty through the use of time-lapse photography and, of course, the most elusive of elements within video photography, time. Time is something that is generally not thought of within photography, because mostly time is halted when a photo is taken. Or, if one takes a video, generally speaking that video might last an hour, if it is a long one.

But this video goes beyond that, and highlights the city for over a year, showcasing movements, lunar cycles and light changes. The houses are lit up and light up the night sky.

They’ve done other videos that you can go see on their website. They might just make you think again about visiting Stockholm instead of Venice.

2014 Top 10 Most Instagrammed Places

Posted by on 6:58 PM in Uncategorized | 0 comments

2014 Top 10 Most Instagrammed Places

This year’s most geo-tagged place on Instagram is none other than the most magical place on earth: Disneyland. Not too surprising considering it’s a major amusement park, drawing in the masses daily and all year round. Not to mention, there are plenty of photos ops waiting to happen at there to be shared on the popular social app, made only that much more fantastical with the help of Amaro, Walden and Lo-Fi.

Take a look at the top 10 most Instagrammed places of 2014 based on how many time users geo-tagged their location:

10. The Dubai Mall, United Arab Emirates

???? ?????? ?????? Happy #Blessed #Friday Everyone #repost @binsuwaif

A photo posted by The Dubai Mall (@thedubaimall) on

9. Yankee Stadium, New York

#newyork #ny #nycity #newyorkcity #manhattan #yankees #yankeestadium #yankee #stadium #usa #america #unitedstatesofamerica #us #usflag #flag #baseball

A photo posted by Official page of New York City (@new_york_city_official) on

8. Madison Square Garden, New York

Who's ready for the @nyknicks game tonight?! We know we are! #knickstape

A photo posted by Madison Square Garden (@madisonsquaregarden) on

7. Red Square, Moscow

6. Louvre Museum, Paris

#Louvre by @superchinois801 #regram

A photo posted by Musée du Louvre (@museelouvre) on

5. Gorky Park, Moscow

4. Siam Paragon, Bangkok

3. Times Square, New York City

#theamazingspiderman helps us get ready for the #balldrop testing confetti for New Years in times square

A photo posted by Times Square NYC (@timessquarenyc) on

2. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

1. Disneyland, Anaheim

The sun sets on another delightful day! #CaliforniaAdventure (Photo: @motor_citykobra)

A photo posted by Disneyland (@disneyland) on

What do you think about this list, and what place do you want to see make it for 2015? Let’s us know in the comments!

Win a Phase One for a Month: Show Them “What the World’s Best is Made Of”

Posted by on 12:17 PM in CONTESTS, NEWS | 0 comments

Win a Phase One for a Month: Show Them “What the World’s Best is Made Of”

Phase One has launched a photo contest that asks entrants to submit one photo illustrating their concept: “What the world’s best [__________] is made of.” It could be the world’s best sport, love story, dinner… anything you can imagine! Anyone, anywhere in the world, using any brand or type of photographic gear can participate, which means you have no excuse to not give this a shot!

The winner will be given a Phase One IQ250 medium format camera system for one month & the ability to capture and keep some unbelievably high-quality images — plus a chance to share their photos with the world!

The Phase One Photo Contest is open throughout December, one entry per person. In January, ten finalists will be announced, and their work will be featured on Phase One social media sites. From the 10 finalists, a panel of three judges, including pro photographers Tim Kemple, Michael Woloszynowicz and Paul Reiffer, will make the final selection, and the winner will be announced during the first week of February.

For more information, including how to register to submit an entry, and to review terms and conditions, please go to: http://www.phaseone.com/contest. Photos, updates, comments by the judges, and much more is planned for Phase One social media sites.

If you want to go straight to the entry page, click here.

Good luck!