Flooding Threatens New York Times’ Historical Photo Archive

Thankfully the flood was caught in time, by a news assistant who had been sent in to retrieve an old portrait
By William Sawalich
On 41st street in Manhattan, in a sub-basement deep below the street, resides a valuable historical record. It's the morgue—the archive of the New York Times. With photographs dating back more than 100 years, the collection of images—negatives and prints—is indexed in a card catalog that's never been digitized. And…

Remembering Hilla Becher

The obituary in the New York Times contains a lovely slideshow of the Bechers' work
By William Sawalich
Famed photographer Hilla Becher died last week at the age of 81. Together with her husband, Bernd, who died in 2007, Becher documented industrial landscapes throughout Europe, making images of factories, silos and towers and pioneering the use of typologies—gridded groupings of 9, 12 or 15 prints of similar structures,…

A $5 Million Photograph

There is only one other known photo of the Kid, and it sold for $2.3 million five years ago
By William Sawalich
Whenever I find myself in a junk store or antique shop, I seek out the inevitable basket of old photographs. There I rummage around and occasionally shell out a dollar or two for any old photos that catch my eye. The best find I've ever had is a 19th century…

Unconstitutional Photography Ordinances Create Real Backlash

According to the ordinance, it is illegal to take pictures for any commercial purpose "on the streets and sidewalks of the city in front of any place of business other than the person's own."
By William Sawalich
Back in 1977, for who knows what reason, Atlanta created an ordinance that limited the rights of photographers when taking pictures on city streets. Now, thanks to efforts by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the National Press Photographers Association, it appears the ordinance will be repealed. According to the ordinance, it…

All About Lighting Ratios

lighting ratios were especially useful because they allowed us to measure the light so we'd know precisely what the effect in the picture would be
By William Sawalich
I'm currently teaching a studio portraiture class, and just the other day I was introducing my students to the concept of lighting ratios. Put simply, lighting ratios measure the difference in brightness between the highlight side of a subject's face and the shadow side. The lower the ratio (say, 2:1)…

IKEA Products As Photography Tools

My personal favorite is the "Dröna," a collapsible storage bin that works perfectly as a laptop hood for shooting tethered—or any time you need to see your laptop screen—outdoors
By William Sawalich
In my home town we celebrated the grand opening last week of our first ever IKEA store. Finally, we'll be able to enjoy all the benefits of inexpensive Swedish-made furniture and housewares. Because I'm tuned into everything IKEA at the moment, I was intrigued by this post from Feednrg.com about…
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