Photography And Mental Illness
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
The Broken Light Collective is an online gallery intended to provide a supportive environment for photographers affected by mental illness. It was started in 2012 by Danielle Hark, who found that even amid a terrible bout of depression, while curled up crying on the bathroom floor, she started taking pictures and quickly found herself feeling better. In the New York Times article linked below, Hark discusses how her growing online gallery—now with contributors from more than 150 countries—has become a place where photographers suffering from mental illness in any form can come together, share their work and support one another. Hark makes no medical claims, but she says the ability to share with fellow photographers offers a wonderful benefit for everyone involved. It' a good read, courtesy of the Times Well blog.
Aerial Photographer Seeks Crowdfunding
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
No matter your political views, most of us agree that it's inspiring when photographers use their cameras to bring attention to important causes that are close to their hearts. Aerial Photographer Alex Maclean may be familiar to Digital Photo readers as the artist responsible for creating beautiful photographs that depict the spaces where man and nature intersect. Though much of his work is beautiful and colorful, even downright playful, Maclean has always been interested in making viewers consider how our decisions, both individually and collectively, impact our natural world. His newest project partners him with science writer Dan Grossman to study the impact of Tar Sands exploration in Alberta, Canada and the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. The preliminary images MacLean has made are quite striking, and the team has created an Indiegogo fundraising campaign in order to drum up the $10,000 it will take to fully execute the project. They're over halfway there, but still have some ways to go. If you'd like to learn more about the project and consider pledging, or simply to see more of the photographer's take on this important, albeit divisive issue, visit the Indiegogo page at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tar-sands-truth.
The Richest Photography Prize In The World
Monday, August 4, 2014
If you're going to enter a photography competition, why not enter the competition with the biggest prizes in the world? The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award is a photographic competition open to photographers all around the world who will vie for more than $400,000 in prize money, including a $25,000 first prize in the contest's 2014/2015 primary theme category, "Life In Color." Based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the competition features four categories, including Night Photography, Faces, General and the aforementioned Life In Color. The contest is open for entry until December 31st, so check out the rules and read the FAQ, then submit your entry to any or all of the categories. Then cross your fingers that your work will be recognized with a prestigious reward, and a big, fat payday. Read all about the contest, and see the results from past years, at the web site below.
A Surprising Fix For Loose Light Stands
Friday, August 1, 2014
I love my Manfrotto Stacker light stands. They fold up into a considerably more compact form than most stands, and they clip together for better portability to take on location. The official "Stacker" lineup has been discontinued, though the company still makes light stands that utilize the same "Quick Stacking System" to collapse into a more compact package. The biggest difference, it appears to me, is that the original Stacker stands used compression clamps for adjusting each section of the stand. A lot of people must have had the same trouble with those clamps as I've had. That is to say, over time they start to loosen up, and suddenly the stands don't stand up tall and strong like they used to. With a typical twist knob at each section, you can simply crank them down harder to get a better grip. But this style of tension clamp uses a binary "all on" or "all off" system, with essentially no gray area in between—and no way to crank them down tighter. For years I used these stands and struggled to find a thin walled socket head that would fit into the tiny nut on the side of the clamp in order to adjust the tension and make them hold fast again. I couldn't find that socket, though, and so I had to settle for a less than rock solid extension on some stands. Until, that is, a friend and fellow photographer pointed out to me that the little black plastic cable clip (officially, the Manfrotto model #064 Cable Clip) that shipped attached to each stand, and which I knew could be used to hold a hex wrench or secure a strobe cable, was actually also a wrench itself. On the side of the cable clip is a tiny little thin-walled socket that fits perfectly on the tension adjustment nut. This discovery has given new life to my stands, making them literally as good as new. So if you have old Stacker stands, or any other Bogen/Manfrotto stands, for that matter, that use a tension clamp on the risers, take a look to see if you've got any of these cable clips laying around or stuck to the legs on some of your stands. If not, you might consider investing in a few; they're sold for a couple of bucks apiece and could breathe new life into your old light stands.
On Photo Books
Thursday, July 31, 2014
One of my favorite photography book publishers, Nazraeli Press, has created a brand new web site. Why would a book publisher's new web site be particularly notable? Because in this case it's practically as beautiful as the company's fine publications: useful and graceful, with a beautiful interface. The larger issue, really, is this: if you're interested in fine photography books, you're going to want to be sure to browse the beautiful offerings at nazraeli.com. If you're particularly interested in the art of photo books in a broader sense, be sure to visit Jorg Colberg's Conscientious blog. In particular, take a look at this post on the form and function of photography books. Colberg explains the intricacies of the printing and binding process, and all of the physical qualities that make photography books so beautifully special.
Sage Advice For Those Entering The Photo Business
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Whatever line of work you're in, it seems likely to me that you could benefit by studying the words of Seth Godin. He is an entrepreneur and author, and he's somewhat world renowned for his great business books, which have sold millions of copies and put him atop the bestseller list several times. On his blog, Godin recently quoted Joshua Prince-Ramus, a prominent architect, speaking to students entering their chosen profession. It struck me as particularly pertinent to the photography business too. I decided to share it here, for those of you who are already in business, or who may be considering making photography a part of your livelihood. So here's the quote: "A great architect isn't one who draws good plans. A great architect gets great buildings built." Essentially, if you can't sell it you can't build it. The same is true for professional photographers. There are some very talented photographers who simply can't make their businesses work because they literally don't have the skills pay the bills. The point is, as Godin says, "It's not enough that you're right. It matters if it gets built." So if you're going to be in the photo business, you'll need to pay as much attention to the business as you do to the photography. Actually, it's probably even more. For other insights from Seth Godin, not only should you visit his blog, but check out some of his bestselling books. Purple Cow, Tribes and Linchpin are a few of his most popular books, and one of my favorites is The Big Moo. Wherever you start, you're going to have plenty to read and inspire you toward success in your business venture.
Henri Cartier-Bresson Retrospective
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Let's all go to Paris this summer and see the Henri Cartier-Bresson retrospective at the Pompidou Centre. What do you say? The Centre Pompidou is an amazing museum, and the ability to get in depth, up close and personal with the work of Cartier-Bresson makes a trip to Paris seem like a really good idea. The thing about Cartier-Bresson is, he just might have been the greatest photographer ever. He not only popularized a film format that would dominate for a century (the revolutionarily compact 35mm film format) and made the Leica rangefinder seem like the ultimate camera, but he also developed the concept of "the decisive moment." It became an iconic symbol of the essence of photography that's still as pertinent as ever. If you're not well versed in what makes Cartier-Bresson so special, I recommend you find a way to get to Paris and spend some time at the Pompidou retrospective. Failing that, there's a very robust body of Cartier Bresson's images at the Magnum web site. Cartier-Bresson was a founder of the iconic photographers' agency, so it's fitting that Magnum photographers today still carry the mantle of the best photojournalists on the planet. For more on Magnum, Cartier-Bresson and the French retrospective, follow the link below to the excellent article at Aperture.
The Faded Photo App
Monday, July 28, 2014
If, like me, you're intrigued by the prospect of turning your smartphone into an increasingly capable camera, you might consider investing a dollar and downloading Faded, a feature-rich photography app for the iPhone. Much like the uber-popular apps Instagram and VSCO, Faded allows you to employ one-touch filters for stylish and funky film effects. But Faded also includes some pretty unique, "real-photography-like" capabilities—things like manual exposure controls and the ability to go back and retrieve earlier edited versions of pictures—sort of like Photoshop's history snapshots. One of the features that I think is most intriguing is the simple ability to point at an area of the scene to set a focus point, and point at another area to set the reference point for the exposure. This isn't exactly groundbreaking, but the way this simple interface is designed inspired me to hope for this feature on my DSLR. If we're getting to the point where smartphone photography apps could actually drive camera innovation, rather than the other way around, that seems like a pretty revolutionary place to be. Learn more and download in the iTunes App Store via the link below.