Here’s a quote by photographer Richard Benson on Lee Friedlander’s approach to photography (from his afterword in In the Picture: Self-Portraits, 1958-2011):
Lee has often worked without a specific project in mind, simply making pictures of what he saw, in order, as Garry Winogrand said, to see what it looked like photographed. This way of working led him to look at his contact sheets (of which there have been an astonishing number) to find out what was there that he might not have expected. His shadow, and more clearly defined versions of himself, turned up with regularity. At some point early on Lee realized that he was making self-portraits along with many other photographs that were defining a new landscape for all of us who saw his work. There is a great lesson in this for photographers of today who dedicate themselves to one project or another, failing to understand that the best work might come from an obsession with the medium rather than the personally oriented choice of what might be done with it. Lee always has a camera with him and is constantly making pictures. How much better the work of today might be if all the young and dedicated photographers took up this habit.
If you’re in a creative rut and can’t think of a “project” idea, don’t worry — just be obsessed with photography itself and constantly be ready to photograph what interests you.
(via valerian via tokyo camera style)
Image credit: Self Portrait Series – Untitled 4, Barcelona (2012) by Mooglio
Photography enthusiast Kris Robinson used to handhold a flash above his subjects for macro photographs, but then he got tired of doing that and ran out of hands. He then came up with the brilliant idea of making a do-it-yourself contraption that attaches to his flash when it’s mounted to the hotshoe. The light travels down a tube lined with reflective aluminum tape, and is bounced downward onto the subject through a diffused lightbox. For a couple sample shots, see here and here.
P.S. Robinson also offers a tip for shooting macro photos of insects: if you place them into your freezer for a minute or two, they’ll sit nice and still for a while before warming up and scurrying away.
Image credit: IMG_0495 by Kris Robinson and used with permission
Photo enthusiast Mike Gerdau wanted to play around with bokeh shapes but didn’t want to create a separate “lens cap” for each shape. His solution was to separate the shapes from the cap itself, cutting the shapes into 45x45mm squares that swap in and out of the cap easily. The “slides” can be neatly stored away inside a white plastic Game Boy cartridge case when not in use.
DIY: Circle of Confusion Shape Modifier (via Lifehacker)
After seeing the LEGO large format camera we featured last year, Norway-based photographer Carl-Frederic Salicath set out to create his own LEGO camera. Rather than go with large format, he decided to build a more complicated Rolleiflex-style twin-lens reflex camera that uses 120 film. Aside from LEGOs, he also used some matte ground glass, a mirror, and lenses taken from a binocular.
Atlanta-based photographer Theron Humphrey is currently on a year-long trip through each of America’s 50 states, and is using a unique photo project idea to document it: he has his coonhound named Maddie — his travelling companion — balance on various things in the different places they visit. The photoblog has the tagline “a super serious project about dogs and physics”, and features Maddie standing on everything from mailboxes to shopping carts.
Starting in 2001, photographer Mary Mattingly has created an image every year on the winter solstice — the day of the year when daylight is shortest — showing the first light of the day and the last light of the day blended into a single photo. The series is called “First Light / Last Light“.
For his project titled Jahrhundertmensch, German photographer Karsten Thormaehlen shot portraits of elderly men and women who have reached the ripe old age of 100, also known as a “centenarian“. In 2009, the UN estimated that there are only about 455,000 centenarians in the world.
Toronto-based photographer Jeff Harris started a photo-a-day project back in 1999 in an effort to document his life through self-portraits. Since then, he has captured 4,748 beautiful photographs that show everything from reckless stunts to a fierce battle with cancer (warning: there’s a graphic image). Harris states,
I didn’t want 365 images of me sitting on the couch each day. There could have been that tendency, especially during the cold dark winter months to stay inside all the time, but this project inspired me to get out there and seek out interesting things.
[...] I see no reason to not make a self-portrait each day. I’m always around and always free. It’s kind of like going to the gym—it flexes your muscles and keeps you in shape. [#]
Harris is entering the 14th year of his project this year, and although his body is far from being the same as when he started this endeavor, his great photographic vision is still evident in each of his images.
Jeff Harris (via Time via zefrank)
Most people like to stand inside photos taken during travels, but photographer Tom Robinson documents his adventures by showing his family’s feet. Robinson started his project Feet First back in 2005 while sitting on a beach which his girlfriend Verity, and has added over 90 photos captured from all over the world since then. In 2011, his photos began showing an extra pair of feet: those of his daughter Matilda.
The photographs in Nadav Bagim‘s project “WonderLand” might look like paintings or computer generated images, but they’re actually real photographs captured at home using ordinary objects and creative artificial lighting. His tools and props include things like vegetables, plastic bags, flowers, and leaves, and he captures the images using a Canon 60D and 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. Getting his “subjects” into the positions and poses he wants requires countless hours of patient encouraging.