Posts Published in March 2012

Woman Born Completely Blind Now a Successful Photographer

Cincinnati native Amy Hildebrand was born completely blind due to albinism, a disorder in which the body is unable to produce melanin (the pigment that gives color to hair, skin, and eyes). After receiving a special surgery as a teen that drastically improved her eyesight, Hildebrand fell in love with photography and went on to study it in college. She is now a successful commercial photographer and is nearly finished with an ambitious “1000 photos in 1000 days” project she started in 2009. Her mother says that Amy’s albinism is actually an advantage in her photography:

As sighted people we have so much information we are processing because our eyesight is seeing so much. It complicates it. But in Amy’s view of the world, she’s so used to seeing things in intimate spaces, that she’s learned to appreciate what’s in front of her. [#]

You can find Hildebrand’s commercial work here, and her photography blog here.

Blind From Albinism, Photographer Uses Camera for Eyes (via Photojojo)

Facial Recognition Software Guesses Age Based on a Photo

Facial recognition service Face.com has announced a new feature in its API: age detection. After analyzing a photograph of a person’s face, the software returns three values: minimum age, maximum age, and estimated age, along with the confidence level of the guesses. Applications for the new technology include enhanced parental controls and targeted advertising. If you want to test out the service yourself, you can play around with the API here (in the photo above, the correct age is ~47).

Face.com API Sandbox (via Face via Gizmodo via PopPhoto)

How Three New Internet Movements Are Changing the World of Art

Here’s a great 6-minute video in which PBS Off Book examines the impact three Internet phenomena — Kickstarter, Creative Commons, and The Creators Project — are impacting the world of art.

Traditional funding models are dissolving, new forms of expressing ownership have arisen to accomodate for remix culture, and artists are finding ways to connect physical art experiences and traditions to the internet. In the digital era, the experience of art from the perspective of the artist and the art audience is shifting rapidly, and bringing more people into the creative process.

(via Laughing Squid)

The Shooting of Trayvon Martin and the Media’s Use of Photographs

One of the biggest stories in the news over the past month has been the controversy surrounding the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Poynter has published an article that examines how the media has used photography to portray Trayvon Martin, the victim, and George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watchman who shot and killed him.

The dominant photo of Martin shows him 13 or 14 years old, wearing a red Hollister T-shirt. Other photos, none of them recent, depict a young Martin in a youth football uniform, holding a baby and posing with a snowboard. He is the picture of innocence.

The most common photo of Zimmerman is a 2005 police mugshot. He is 22 in the photo, which was taken after he was arrested for assaulting an officer. (The charges were dropped.) He looks unhappy, if not angry.

The contrast — the two photos are often published side by side — has led to criticism that news media have tilted the story in favor of the 17-year-old victim and against the 28-year-old man who shot him.

The iconic photos of Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman & why you may not see the others [Poynter]

Photography 101: Using Available Light

Vimeo has partnered up with Nikon for a new educational video series titled Do More With Your DSLR. The first video is about “working with available light”, and is geared towards beginners who are just starting to figure out how to use their DSLR camera. You can find a more in-depth discussion of the concepts in the video (e.g. exposure, white balance, ISO) in this article.

Photos Showing the Bewildering Array of Choices on Store Shelves

Choices is a Warhol-esque (or Gursky-esque) project by photographer Richard Stultz, who visited various stores to document the mind-numbingly large number of choices consumers are faced while shopping. He states,

When we shop, we are presented with aisles of thousands of different products. There are shelves with an endless variety of similar items, often just a variation on the ones next to them. Other shelves display large quantities of identical products. We may find 50 types of beer, hundreds of jars of bleach, or graphic displays of soap. There are cans of dog food with descriptions that sound as appetizing as anything we might cook for ourselves. There are so many shades of hair coloring that we can’t distinguish between many of them.

Beyond the astounding quantity and selection, retail displays are often visually interesting with striking design elements, color, and repetitive patterns. But as we shop and try to find the perfect product, we often don’t see the perverse beauty of these choices.

Read more…

Posing App: A Handy Photographer’s Reference for Portrait Poses

Posing App is a new app that offers a pocket reference for poses — helpful for both photographers and models. The 140 hand-drawn poses come in a variety of flavors — children, couples, weddings, and women, to name a few — and are accompanied by short descriptions that provide additional pointers. The is available from the iTunes App Store for $2, and will be released for Android soon.

Photographers Tell the Stories Behind Their Worst Shots

The Guardian published an article yesterday that features a number of prominent photographers (e.g. Jane Bown, Martin Parr, Terry O’Neil, Platon) sharing about missed photo opportunities and their “worst shots”. Platon has an interesting story regarding photographing Iranian president Ahmadinejad back in 2009 while snapping portraits of world leaders:

Ahmadinejad was the biggest surprise. On the first day, he made one of the most controversial speeches ever given at the UN, and a large proportion of the auditorium walked out. As he left the stage his supporters swarmed him, patting his back and shaking his hand. There were about 150 people pulling him in different directions. I elbowed my way into the middle of the scrum, grabbed both his hands, looked into his eyes and said, “Come with me, I am going to take your picture.” As I gently pulled his hands, miraculously he started to follow me to my studio.

I was expecting to get that dictatorial menace he had shown in his speech. But he suddenly realised that, not only was he about to sit for the most intimate portrait of him ever, the crowd was also watching. They were all cheering; he lost his composure for a second and started to laugh. What I got was him trying to regain his composure. It’s the most sinister leer I’ve caught on film.

It was a missed opportunity, in the sense that he was trying to gather himself and deal with the embarrassment of performing in front of all those people. On the other hand, it gave me something I would never have expected. No one thinks of Ahmadinejad as a man with a hint of a smile.

My best shot: The one that got away [The Guardian]

10 Photographers You Should Ignore

Editor’s note: This is a piece by photographers Bryan Formhals and Blake Andrews on how famous photographers’ styles are copied over and over again. Please do not read or comment if you take things too seriously.


The other day while reading the Internet I came across “The 10 Most Harmful Novels for Aspiring Writers.” I wondered whether there could be a list for photographers as well. I thought about it and then sent my list to Blake Andrews to see if he wanted to contribute and have some fun with it. Here’s what we came up with.
Read more…

Photographs of Airplanes Hovering Over the Heads of Sunbathers

Maho Beach outside of Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten is famous for the fact that landing airplanes fly overhead at minimal altitude. It’s one of the only places in the world where airplanes can be viewed in their flightpath just outside the end of the runway, and therefore is very popular with tourists and plane spotters. Austrian photographer Josef Hoflehner has a project titled “Jet Airliner” that consists of photos of massive jet airliners hovering over the heads of sunbathers on the beach.
Read more…