Pro Photographer, Cheap Camera
Friday, November 22, 2013
There's a web site called DigitalRev that is designed to be a social network for photographers. One of its best features is a web video series called DigitalRev TV in which host Kai Wong covers everything from new cameras to techniques for photography and post production. But the thing they do that's most unique, in my opinion, is the "Pro Photographer Cheap Camera Challenge." Just as the name suggests, it involves recruiting a professional photographer (usually someone who's fairly well known) and challenging them to spend a day shooting with a really cheap camera—like the child's toy Buzz Lightyear 2-megapixel camera handed to David Hobby, better known as the Strobist, for his day in Hong Kong. It's certainly fun to watch the photographers navigate their assignments with these all-but-disposable cameras, but the real fun comes at the end of the episode, in which it's revealed exactly what these talented shooters are able to accomplish with equipment the rest of us would likely never consider capable of "serious" image making. It's awesome fun to be had at the DigitalRev TV YouTube channel starting with Mr. Hobby's episode, linked below.
HD Camcorder Sunglasses
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Remember when the name Rollei was synonymous with high quality medium format film cameras? Well those cameras are still available (if you've got the cash, of course) but these days Rollei is more synonymous with more fun and funky digital products—including video camcorders. Google Glass gets all the press for futuristic wearable devices, and GoPro gets all the accolades for hyper-portable compact HD camcorders, but it's the new line of Rollei Actioncam Sunglasses that combines both elements into wearable sunglasses that record high definition 1920 x1080 video. There are two models available, the Cam 100 and the Cam 200, differentiated by the angle of view—from 63 degrees on the former to a 135-degree wide angle on the latter. They use Micro SDHC memory cards and include a rechargeable battery to provide 60 minutes of recording. Because they're splash proof (not quite waterproof, but close) they can be used to document all sorts of high-action sports like snowboarding, water skiing and anything where a point of view perspective would be beneficial—all while wearing nothing more cumbersome than a regular pair of sunglasses. It's a neat idea, that's for sure, and maybe one that will lead to even more unique angles we've never quite seen before. Read all about it at Rollei.com.
Fashion On The Phone
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
As technology has improved by leaps and bounds, many fashion photographers have switched from medium format to small format DSLRs in recent years. Significantly fewer, though, have moved from medium format to iPhones and Instagram, but Nick Knight has done exactly that. As he explains it, the switch makes a good amount of sense—even for high profile digital campaigns for the likes of fashion brand Diesel (pictured). Photography, as Knight points out, has always been a sort of democratic medium, so putting it literally into the hands of the masses via smartphones just makes good sense. "If the image works, then who cares how many pixels it has?" Check out the story, then go follow him on Instagram for a daily dose of super-creative photographic inspiration.
Under The Dark Cloth
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
"Under the Dark Cloth." John Walker's documentary is a fascinating look at not only the complex life of the photographer, but the way he impacted those around him in the art world, and really influenced the direction of photography—and filmmaking—as an art form in the 20th century. It's definitely worth a look, whether you want to sit down at the TV and dedicate yourself to the whole 81 minutes (available for purchase on DVD at Amazon.com), or do as I did and multitask while you're working at your computer.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Many news outlets have been running stories commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. CBS News and 60 Minutes recently ran a piece that, in actuality, is not strictly about the president. It really focused on Henry Grossman, the photographer who documented Mr. Kennedy during his 1960 campaign for office, and subsequently spent time photographing American icons like Muhammad Ali, Marilyn Monroe and, especially, the Beatles. The young photojournalist had unprecedented access to the young president, and ultimately to the Beatles throughout the duration of their career, documenting them from their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show to their final days in 1970—and befriending them in between. Mr. Grossman might be the most famous photographer you've never heard of. Through his lens, readers of Life and Time were granted an intimate look at some of the greatest icons of the 1960s. These 12 minutes are well worth a look.
X-Rays As Art
Friday, November 15, 2013
Ever seen X-ray art? Sure you have. The images tend to be pretty neat no matter whether the subject is a human or a flower or a briefcase. Photographer Nick Veasey has taken the X-ray as art one step further—and several steps larger in scale—by photographing the unseen insides of subjects as large as automobiles and planes. He disassembles most big items to fit inside his own 14x17 inch X-ray machine, and he even scanned chunks of fuselage from a Boeing 777 to build an accurate full-size representation on X-ray film, but it's his current project that really took it up a notch, photographing classic cars via X-ray. He tracked down a large scale machine in Germany that can accommodate a car in a single shot, and the resulting images are amazing. Read more at Wired's Raw File blog, then check out the photographer's online portfolio for even more of his fascinating X-ray images.
The Making Of “Migrant Mother”
Thursday, November 14, 2013
One of the most iconic photographs of all time is Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother," the portrait of a dignified woman with her hungry children that has come to be the visual symbol of the great depression. Now, in a new book written by Lange's goddaughter (Grab a Hunk of Lighting by Elizabeth Partridge), along with the story of the photographer's life is the interesting anecdote about how this iconic photograph came to be—and how it almost wasn't. Lange had been struggling with her subjects in the migrant camps, and was on her way home after a dismal month on the road when a hand-lettered sign alerted her to one more opportunity to photograph in a camp of pea pickers, one more chance to make a photograph. In just a few minutes, she made history. Read the story and link to the book at the Brain Pickings blog.
Professional Photographers Shouldn’t Give It Away
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Working photographers, and those who aspire to charge for their work, would do well to consider subjects like the one brought up by David Hobby recently on his Strobist blog. Hobby wrote about how to appropriately charge for work—or, at least, how not to be taken for a fool and give it away for free. It all started when a large company with a big bankroll sent Hobby a formal request to reproduce one of his images—and of course the company offered no compensation, hoping to entice the photographer with the lure of a simple credit. It's not unusual for photographers to be asked to donate their services free of charge. What is slightly unusual is the way Hobby responded with a bit of an entertaining rant. It's a fun read, and a useful reminder for photographers old and new that it's not usually good for business to give away one's work without receiving something of commensurate value in exchange.