Ever wonder how the photographs found on the pages of National Geographic come together? Here’s a fascinating behind-the-scenes video showing how the images of the 1992 cover story titled “The Sense Of Sight” — photographed by Joe McNally — were shot, edited, and arranged. McNally writes,
And changes. Man, is that an understatement. High res digital cameras have replaced film cameras. Hard drives store pictures, not little yellow boxes. Kodak’s stopped making carousel projectors. Photographers go to the magazine far less often, given digital transmission. Ties and jackets are seen less frequently.
But, the main mission, over time, has remained. Tell a good story in pictures. The major components–photographer, picture editor, designer, magazine editor–are all still in place, and the interplay among them is ongoing and largely unchanged.
The next time you pick up an issue of National Geographic and are tempted to flippantly flip through the images, consider these crazy facts: the 40 page/40 picture story took roughly a year to create from idea to completion and required 1200 rolls of film shot during 6 months of field work!
The London Evening Standard has published a fascinating article on a photograph captured by Getty photographer Oli Scarff, which shows a near-fatal stabbing that occurred during London’s Notting Hill Carnival back in August. After being published around the world, the photograph changed the lives of the subjects seen it it. The fleeing man was identified from the photo and sentenced to 4.5 years in jail, the policeman was criticized for his apparent indifference (a claim he disputes), and the man trying to trip the attacker was hailed as a hero but subsequently named as an ex-Russian police officer who was dismissed over murder allegations.
Here’s a simple yet brilliant stop-motion video showing a person sitting at a table plays with shapes. Instead of computer-trickery, cleverly captured still photographs were used to bring the simple materials to life. It was created by animator Steven Briand while he was doing a two-month internship at Partizan.
Ever wonder what National Geographic photographers go through to get the beautiful shots that appear in the yellow-bordered magazine? The Photo Society — an interesting new website created by the magazine’s Photographer’s Advisory Board — recently surveyed 45 Nat Geo photographers about hazards they’ve encountered while on assignment. All the incidences were then counted up and turned into a fascinating table showing how “glamorous” the photographers’ lives are. You can also read short vignettes of these experiences here.
German photographer Andreas Gursky is one of the most successful artists of our time, and yesterday a print of his titled “Rhein II” became the world’s most expensive photograph, selling for $4.3 million. Back in the early 2000s, director Ben Lewis made this interesting 23-minute feature that gives an inside look into “Gursky World.”
If you think about it, there are many parallels between Apple and Polaroid: both companies introduced innovative products that redefined markets in their time, both were founded by college dropouts, and both emphasized design and usability in their products. What you might not know is that it’s not a coincidence. Christopher Bonanos wrote a fascinating article for the New York Times on how Steve Jobs idolized Polaroid founder Edwin Land and modeled his career after Land’s:
The two men met at least twice. John Sculley, the Apple C.E.O. who eventually clashed with Jobs, was there for one meeting, when Jobs made a pilgrimage to Land’s labs in Cambridge, Mass., and wrote in his autobiography that both men described a singular experience: “Dr. Land was saying: ‘I could see what the Polaroid camera should be. It was just as real to me as if it was sitting in front of me, before I had ever built one.’ And Steve said: ‘Yeah, that’s exactly the way I saw the Macintosh.’ He said, If I asked someone who had only used a personal calculator what a Macintosh should be like, they couldn’t have told me. There was no way to do consumer research on it, so I had to go and create it and then show it to people and say, ‘Now what do you think?’”
The worldview he was describing perfectly echoed Land’s: “Market research is what you do when your product isn’t any good.”
Both men were also kicked out of the companies they built, but that’s where the stories differ. Jobs returned to Apple a decade later and his company went on to become the world’s largest tech firm, while Land died a decade later and his company has filed for bankruptcy twice since 2001.
Update: It looks like the video was taken down by the uploader. Sorry guys.
Color is simply how our brains respond to different wavelengths of light, and wavelengths outside the spectrum of visible light are invisible and colorless to us simply because our eyes can’t detect them. Since colors are created in our brains, what if we all see colors differently from one another? BBC created a fascinating program called “Do You See What I See?” that explores this question, and the findings are pretty startling. Read more…
With the rise of sites like YouTube, the Internet is teeming with digital videos (two days worth are uploaded to YouTube every minute), but when was the last time you stopped to think about how video works? Here’s a fascinating video in which Michael from vsauce explains everything from beta movement to frame rates.
On a sunny day in October, Robert Cornelius set up his camera in the back of his father’s gas lamp-importing business on Chestnut Street in Center City, Philadelphia. After removing the lens cap, he sprinted into the frame, where he sat for more than a minute before covering up the lens. The picture he produced that day was the first photographic self-portrait. It is also widely considered the first successful photographic portrait of a human being.
[...] the words written on the back of the self-portrait, in Cornelius’ own hand, said it all: “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.”
“Don’t undertake a project,” an oft-quoted Land maxim goes, “unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.” The SX-70 was both.
Did you know that “SX-70″ was actually the codeword used by Land a quarter century before the SX-70 camera for his first instant film camera project? It was his 70th Special eXperiment (Land was a Harvard dropout and prolific inventor, inventing the first synthetic material capable of polarizing light when he was just 19-years-old!)
It’s a pretty lengthy piece, but a must-read for any Polaroid lover.