Phonar, the free and open undergraduate photo class we wrote about a couple months ago, is now underway. While the physical class can only be attended by students at Coventry University, the general public can take part through the assignments and recorded materials shared through the website. Here’s the first assignment that’s due on October 13th:
Garner a portfolio of 8-10 images from different photographers whose work inspires you. Choose carefully, as though your edit was going to appear as a spread in a printed magazine, you may choose to lay them out as such if you wish, with attention to scale, pace and flow etc.
The portfolio must directly address a theme of your choosing – it could be a personal theme or a topical one, the choice is yours.
Participating is a great way of getting a taste of what taking an undergraduate photography course is like.
Awesome deal alert (for those of you in the US): Walmart is offering a free 16×20 photo poster print. These things normally cost $13 or $14 bucks, and are a great way to show off a photo on your wall. Download the coupon here to print out yourself. You’ll need to place the order through Walmart’s photo site and then pay at the counter when picking it up. The coupon expires at the end of October, so you have a month to pick out your favorite photo.
After the widespread looting that occurred in the UK recently, a guy named Mrog Deville was inspired to distribute photographic art to the masses. Through his project This Was Found, Deville makes prints of photographs, frames them, and then leaves them in various locations where you normally wouldn’t expect to see art. His hope is that either the works will be left untouched at those locations for the public to view, or that people take them home to treasure privately. Finders can also visit the website to report the print as being claimed.
Back in 1996, National Geographic released a documentary film titled “The Photographers” that gives the world a behind-the-scenes look at how the magazine’s amazing imagery is created:
Going behind the camera and on assignment with veteran photographers for National Geographic, this documentary answers the eternal question asked by the magazine’s readers: “How in the world did they get that shot?” The photographers recount the grueling preparation that shooting for the magazine entails, from mundane details such as obtaining visas to preparing oneself for dangers such as severe climates, deep-sea dives, raging beasts, and local bandits. [...] this video is a visual delight, as many examples of noteworthy National Geographic photographs, and entertaining explanations of how the shot was set up and snapped, appear throughout. [#]
What’s great is that you [US residents] can watch the entire 53-minute film for free over on SnagFilms.
Could allowing the use of your photos for free actually be a way to increase income? Portrait photographer Jonathan Worth — the man behind Coventry University’s free photo courses — used to send take-down notices to any website that shared his work without permission. Then he met author Cory Doctorow, a proponent of Creative Commons licensing, who suggested that he try giving away his work for free. Worth then made a high-res photo freely available online and quickly sold 111 signed prints, netting him £800 (~$1,270). Read more…
Marc Levoy, the Stanford professor behind the “Frankencamera” project, teaches a course on digital photography called CS 178. The class website is a treasure trove for anyone looking for some great free education in photography:
An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography – how digital cameras work, how to take good pictures using them, and how to manipulate these pictures afterwards. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, history of photography, and computational photography. We’ll also survey the history of photography and look at the work of famous photographers.
Think you know all there is to know about digital photography? Try answering these 10 final exam review questions (answers can be found here). Leave a comment telling us how many you got right!
#phonar, short for “Photography and Narrative”, is a free and open undergraduate photography course run by Jonathan Worth at Coventry University in the UK. Worth spent nearly 15 years as a successful commercial portrait photographer in New York before taking this part-time teaching position, and invites some pretty prominent photographers to guest lecture in the class. Participants have access to recorded lectures, assignments, and special discussions.
You can check out the material from last year’s class on the course website, or participate in this year’s class starting in October by signing up here. There’s also a second course in the Winter called #picbod. Yay for free online education!
What if every photograph included a short video showing the few seconds that led up to the shutter being pressed? That’s the idea behind a new free iPhone app called GLMPS (pronounced “glimpse”). It’s a camera app that stores a few seconds of video with each shot, letting users share the background behind each picture (try clicking the photo above). Unlike normal iPhone photos, displaying a GLMPS photo/video requires a special embed code, make it somewhat inconvenient to share. Wouldn’t it be interesting if short videos could be stored in the metadata of photographs taken by all digital cameras? Seems kinda farfetched, but it might be possible as technology progresses.
Free stuff is always nice, and free photo stuff is even nicer. Canon and Ilford have teamed up for a new promotion called Try My Photo through which anyone can upload a photograph and have an 8×10 print made and sent to their residence free of charge. The promo will last until the end of August 2011.
Update: This is only available to US residents, sorry.