Memphis-based photographer Haley Morris-Cafiero has long been aware of strangers making fun of her behind her back due to her size. So aware, in fact, that she has turned the whole concept into a full-blown photography project. Titled Wait Watchers, the series consists of Morris-Cafiero’s self-portraits in public in which strangers can be seen in the background giving her strange looks and/or laughing. Read more…
Marketing and customer loyalty are two powerful things. They can make minor improvements in gadgets seem great, and major advancements to-die-for. In the world of photography, many camera owners feel strong allegiances to the brand they use, fiercely defending it as their own, and even going on the offensive to belittle other photographers who shoot under a different banner. This kind of customer loyalty does strange things to how the “fanboys” perceive the quality of their camera gear. Read more…
Freelancers often have to deal with the difficult challenge of trying to satisfy vaguely stated requests from clients, and also the frustration of meeting new requirements that aren’t revealed until after the work is “completed”. The video above is an interesting social experiment by Don’t Get Screwed Over that attempts to show people what these freelance horror stories feel like to the people getting “screwed over”. Read more…
This video shows a social experiment in which disposable cameras were left unattended in various public locations with a simple message: “Take a Photo”. Hidden cameras were stationed nearby to observe how people responded to the cameras, and to provide some behind-the-scenes footage to how the various photographs were captured.
The Common Camera Project is a neat experiment started in 2009 by a group of Berkeley students led by Kevin Huynh in which hundreds of disposable cameras are being passed around the world with these simple instructions on the back of each one:
Step 1: Take a picture of something that inspires you.
Step 2: Pass the camera on to someone you trust.
Step 3: If you’re last, mail the camera back to us.
Over 300 are currently in the wild, and they have a special page tracking their progress on a map. The resulting photos will be published to the Common Cam website and possibly in a book or exhibition as well.
The New York Times’ Lens blog is attempting a project similar to the worldwide 4am project we covered recently.
A Moment in Time is an attempt to capture a slice in the history of the world by allowing readers to submit photographs taken at Sunday, May 2, at 15:00 hours (U.T.C.).
While the photographs don’t have to be taken exactly at the specified time, they ask that you try to stay within minutes of the target. Once you’ve taken a photo, submit it through submit.nytimes.com/moment.
The submitted photographs will then appear on both the Lens blog and on NYTimes.com, and notable photographs will selected and featured more prominently on the blog.
If you’re interested in participating, mark your calendar and be ready with your camera on May 2!
In 2007, Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten conducted a social experiment in which he recruited one of the world’s great violinists, Joshua Bell, to play in a Washington D.C. subway station. Just two days prior to the experiment, Bell had played in a sold-out Boston theater in which ordinary tickets sold for $100 apiece. The entire experiment was filmed using a hidden camera:
In the end, of the 1,097 people who passed by Joshua Bell, only seven stopped to listen to the music. His 45-minute performance of six famous (though not necessarily recognizable) classical pieces earned $32.17 from 27 passersby, with some dropping pennies. As a result of his experiment and subsequent article for the Post, Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing.
I recently thought about this experiment, and whether the general public is just as blind to greatness in photography as it is in music. Our our fast paced lifestyles and millisecond attention spans, many recent trends in photography seem to be pushing towards delivering eye-candy and a quick “wow” factor rather than substantive work that will stand the test of time.
For example, consider the following photographs:
On the left is a HDR photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge that was a hit on Flickr, attracting 344,783 views, 1,097 favorites, and 248 comments. On the right is “Los Angeles, California”, taken in 1969 by Garry Winogrand. The image on the left may attract eyes due to its surreal nature, dark clouds, and over-saturated colors, but I would question whether it has any ability to “stand the test of time” and become significant as a photograph. Some might call it “eye-candy” (not to bash on HDR, since I do believe HDR has its place and can be done beautifully).
On the other hand, the photograph by Winogrand may not attract eyes as easily (and some may even ignore it due to it being black and white), but it provides a beautiful glimpse into a period of our history that is delicately mindful of framing, lighting, and timing.
Thus, I feel as though credit for “greatness” is often bestowed upon modern-day photographers whose work may soon lose its appeal and become utterly insignificant, while those who are producing great work may fly under the radar and never be noticed by the general public.
What are your thoughts? Are there any modern day photographers who are under-appreciated now, but have the potential of becoming the next Ansel Adams or Dorothea Lange?