Photographing Frozen Falls
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
If you're into photographing unusual sights in nature, you're going to want to hurry up and get to Niagara Falls asap before things warm up there. While the falls haven't exactly frozen solid (which has become the subject of much consternation among folks who heard reports of icy falls and thought the whole thing had frozen over) they have certainly come fairly close, with icy stalactites and formations building all around the falls. The resulting ice sculptures downright beautiful. This gallery of images from London's Daily Mail shows just how unique this rare site really is (even if the Mail errantly refers to the flow as "halted"). If you can brave the cold, here's an opportunity to photograph one of the most unusual sites in nature.
Oscar Selfie Copyright Issues
Monday, March 10, 2014
At the risk of giving last week's Oscars any more publicity than it has any right to, here's an interesting article on Poynter.org with a bit of a lighthearted look at a serious photographic issue that sprung up during the broadcast. It's a discussion of the copyright ramifications of Ellen DeGeneres' uber-famous "Oscar Selfie." The image is a good example of how tricky copyright law can be, even though it seems like a pretty straightforward thing—DeGeneres snapped a picture so it's hers, right?. But, in theory at least, everyone from DeGeneres to fellow actor Bradley Cooper to ABC Television to Twitter... even the phone maker, Samsung, could stake a claim to the image. What's important for photographers is just how complex copyright law can be, and how what may seem clear to photographers may be seen totally differently in a court of law.
Bartering Photography For Vacations
Friday, March 7, 2014
I just received an email—technically, I suppose, you'd have to call it spam—with the subject line "Strange Question." It was inquiring about whether I would be willing to trade my photography services in exchange for a free vacation. More than bartering with an individual, though, the sender is clearly building a business model based around connecting vacation-hungry photographers with property owners who need photography. The idea is that I pick a location to visit, then photograph the vacation home in which I'm staying and provide those photos for the homeowner who is marketing the property. The service is called ShootStay, and while my first thought was "No dice! Here's another big business preying on photographers who will basically give away their work for too little value," eventually I realized that, since it's targeted at vacation rentals, the property owners in this case are generally going to be small businesses and individuals. Instead of de-monetizing a photographic pursuit that would have formerly involved hiring a photographer as well as putting them up in the resort they're shooting, this might actually be opening up a whole new avenue. These property owners are unlikely to have ever hired a photographer in the first place, which means, in my estimation, that this might actually not be a bad idea. As long as you're happy bartering photography for vacations, you're creating value where there was none before. My guess is the property owner is putting you up for no charge during a week when the property was empty anyway. I have to say, I'm intrigued. There sure could be some fine print I'm not thinking about, but this might actually be a win-win situation. I replied to the initial message I received to ask for more information but I haven't heard back yet. Until I do, take a look for yourself at shootstay.com. If you learning anything either way, good or bad, please share it here.
Deep Fried America On A Stick
Thursday, March 6, 2014
There's no rule that says great photography has to be pretty. Say what you will about this collection of portraits made at the Wisconsin State Fair, but I think Magnum photographer Bruce Gilden has done a tremendous job, both technically and artistically, with this arresting collection of portraits. I certainly understand the detractors, who contend he's exploiting those less fortunate than himself, but for me I have to go with my gut. My gut reacted strongly to these portraits; they're immensely compelling. I couldn't look away. Gilden is a world class photographer, and he's always had a flair for the fringes of society. Also of note, he has worked exclusively in black and white for more than 40 years, so this turn to color is a unique change too. For more on Gilden, visit his web site at http://www.brucegilden.com. Then to see this collection of State Fair portraits and read an interview with the photographer, go to http://www.vice.com/read/deep-fried-america-on-a-stick-0000144-v20n11. Lastly, for a look at Magnum's Postcards from America project that took him to the Wisconsin State Fair in the first place, visit http://postcards.magnumphotos.com.