As I sat trapped in a coach seat on an aged and tattered American Airlines airplane I had time to think about the whole spectrum of art photography. I wanted to have a clearer window into the different ways in which people who aren’t using their cameras to make a living in a traditional, commercial application of photography approach their subjects and their understanding of style. How much is generated internally and how much is a reflexive reaction to a world inundated in images?
I spoke with a person in the film industry on Friday. We were talking about HMI lighting and he made a remark concerning still photographers. I give him credence since his background originally included a successful career in photography. His remark, in regards to the real lack of lighting acumen among most shooters was this: “There’s no such thing as a good photographer under 40.” Read more…
After almost two years of shooting film nonstop and more than $1,000 worth of expenses on processing and prints, I needed to reconsider my budget and find a way of being able to shoot more and pay less. I thus began to process my C-41 rolls at home. It’s extremely easy to do and I‘ll show you today how to do it, step by step. Read more…
Microbiologist-turned-photographer Zachary Copfer has developed an amazing photo-printing technique that’s very different from any we’ve seen before. Rather than use photo-sensitive papers, chemicals, or ink, Copfer uses bacteria. The University of Cincinnati MFA photography student calls the technique “bacteriography”, which involves controlling bacteria growth to form desired images. Read more…
Here’s a promotional/educational video by Canon that explains both how digital cameras work and how it manufactures them. Interesting fact: lenses are so precise that if they were to be enlarged to the size of a sports stadium, the margin of error would be less than the thickness of a business card.
By and large, as a professional of whatever description, clients hire you based on experience and expertise, grace under pressure, problem-solving skills, and your finely-tuned ability to transcend the limitations of the assignment and distill the essence of an idea into its most purely realized form.
Okay so that’s what they tell you in college, but honestly it’s mostly just blather. Assignment photography is a hot-dog factory where the end results are images rather than sausages. If people saw what went into some of this stuff there’s no way they’d want anything to do with it. The sad reality is that there are all kinds of reasons you’re brought in on projects, some of them more edifying than others. Sometimes you’re exactly the right person for the job, other times you’re just a camera monkey. My favourite is the “wouldn’t-it-be-cool-if” call, where everyone gets all excited about an idea that turns out to be completely impractical. Well, this is the story of one of those ideas that actually managed to see the light of day. Read more…
Ever wonder how photographs were made back in the days of the Civil War? This video by the George Eastman House provides an interesting step-by-step look at how tintype photographs are created. It’ll make you feel spoiled as a modern day photographer.
Here’s something that’ll blow your mind (sorry that it’s an ad): stare at the colored dots on this girl’s nose for 30 seconds, then quickly look at a white wall or ceiling (or anything pure white) and start blinking rapidly. Congratulations, you just processed a negative with your brain!
You’ve seen photos of star trails, and time-lapse videos of stars, but how about a combination of the two? Olivier Martel created this beautiful 18-second video using a technique we’ve never seen before: stacking star trail photos into a time-lapse video showing the trails forming.
After capturing roughly 500 photos (25s, f/3.5, ISO1600) from midnight to 5am in Quebec, Canada, he used a popular star trail stacking program called Starstax. In addition to stacking all the images into one, he had the program save the intermediate images at each step. He then turned those images into the stunning video seen above. The finished (and fully stacked) image can be seen here.
Here begins the process of lining up your children and, ummmm, figuring out which ones you love more than the others. This begins the painful process. It’s painful to not only choose but if you are a true creative this is the part where your self doubt, anxiety, and loathing start to show up. You come back to your BIG edit and it all sucks.
The images that you want to shoot are not in this folder. They are still out in the world waiting for you to capture them. As you start to go through 1,000+ of your “best” images they all begin to suck. You want to trash them all and just go shoot a new book. Well sorry Charlie, you can’t do that. You can’t go shoot a new book. Those elusive images are just that… elusive. You have to harden yourself during this process and realize that you are building a body of work with what you have to work with. If you ever say “I’ll just do this when my work is ready” then you will never do it. That kept me from this process for a long time. Kick the demons out of your head and get to work.
Arias recommends that you should go through this process at least twice a year, as it will show you holes in your body of work that you can then go out and fill.
Photo restorer Bob Rosinsky of Top Dog Imaging wrote an interesting article describing how he restored a tintype photograph from the 1870s brought to him by a client.
My standard operating procedure is to use an ultra-high resolution camera combined with a top-of-the-line macro lens to photograph tintypes. I use strobe lights to illuminate the artwork. Strobes produce “hard” light, much like the sun on a clear day. In addition to the strobes, I place a polarizer over the camera lens and polarizer gels over the strobe lights. This eliminates all reflections and enables the camera to pick up a greater tonal range along with more detail.
[...] I began the laborious process of restoration, which involved a prodigious amount of retouching.