April 2009

Eugene Atget, the Urbanist Historian

Eugène Atget was a very popular French photographer in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His work is well known for documenting recording street scenes and interesting architecture of old Paris.
Atget was born in 1857 near the city of Bordeaux, and was raised by an uncle after becoming orphaned at the age of seven. After getting an education he enjoyed some time on the seas as a sailor and cabin boy on trans-Atlantic ships.

Cassini Images of Saturn

My favorite images of this week have to be the ones captured by the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn, it's rings and orbiting moons.  The images, which I stumbled upon at the Boston Globe's Big Picture section, are made up of many composite photos recorded over a period of time and 'beamed' back to us here on earth.  Stunning, haunting and surreal, the images are both atestament to modern technology and the awesome beauty of nature. I also have to take my hat off to the technical engineers at NASA who have taken the hundreds of raw photographs and blended them into clean images which show the detail of the rings, moons and planet without resorting to 'super realism' or any kind of enhancements that might have made them look artificial. My favorite images include the shot of the moons Rhea and Ti

America's Next Top Horse Model

I’ve often hear the term “pretty horses,” but this is taking it to a whole new level. It seems that photographer Julian Wolkenstein and his buddy were horsing around one day and decided to take some photos of horses with big hairstyles. The photos were taken for fun and perhaps not surprisingly the 'pony pin ups' became a huge internet hit. The horses were not an overnight sensation though as the photos were taken three years ago in England. However, over the years, people have started to find them. While the photographs might seem like a publicity stunt, Julian is adamant that the experiment was designed as a way for him to get back in touch with the creative process of photography. His sentiments will be familiar to any over-worked photographer who may feel that they have sacrificed their artistic integrity in order to pay the bills.

Forever Blowing Bubbles

I am a firm believer that photography and bubbles go well together.  Many would disagree, (I know more than one photographer who dreads shooting a wedding amongst the chaos of bubble confetti) but I love the transient, ethereal images that you can capture with bubbles.  Whether it is a macro shot of soap swirling on the surface,  a frenzy of bubbles in a liquid or a flurry of bubbles surrounding a couple as they leave the church after their wedding, there is an infinite amount of visual interest available from these spheres that I can quite happily play with for hours. And of course if you are looking for an interesting subject to try out some new effects, lenses, or just ideas,  bubbles are cheap, portable and highlymalleable .  You can blow them in your back garden, onto a surface, or capture them in a liquid (hey, any excuse to open a bottle of Champagne orCava !)  You can create streams, clouds, pillars.  Big bubbles, small bubbles, mu

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz of Waterbury, Connecticut has been sharing her portrait photography with the world for four decades now, even though she is only 59 years old.
Leibovitz is the third of six children. Her mother was a modern dance instructor, but it was her father’s career as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force that allowed a young Annie to explore some of the world and become interested in photography while living in the Philippines during the Vietnam War.
Leibovitz attended the San Francisco Art Institute and continued practicing her photography skills while working at a variety of jobs, including a few months on a kibbutz in Israel in 1969.
In 1970, she started working for the then relatively new music magazine called Rolling Stone . She impressed her bosses and was named head photographer in 1973.

Getty on Flickr

I love Getty Images.  I am probably not alone in dreaming that some day I will earn hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on assignment for the company, snapping profound, insightful images that will be appreciated the world over.  A quick glance at their site followed by my own My Pictures folder quickly leaves me plummeting back down to earth with a crash rivalled only by the clunking sounds that my old camera makes when I try to take more than one shot a minute. I am not destined for the great heights of the Getty hall of fame. I do, however, like to soften the blow to my ego by browsing their collections for a while, appreciating the fine work of other, more talented and dedicated photographers.  TheirFlickr collection, just launched a few weeks ago, is an ideal way to see the best of what their huge archives have to offer.  If you are looking for stock, I dare you not to find what you need here, and if you can't afford the prices (ouch!) that the big glossies and newspapers pay out for such high quality images, then at least inspiration comes free of charge. My favourites are the nature shots,  but head over to their http://www.gettyim