May 10, 2008

Jet Stream

2004
Somewhere over Detroit
On Flickr

In the middle of posting these photos this week — and looking at similar shots from earlier entries (one, two, three, four) — I realized that all but one were taken with a small point-and-shoot digital. Last summer, when my old pocket camera sank to the bottom of a river, I considered it a relief: no more obsessive shutterbugging, no more crush of unsorted, unedited photos. But now I’m missing the odd perspectives and spontaneous shooting. Plus, I just got a bike and need a camera to take with me on rides.

So this week I bought a Canon PowerShot SD870IS. Several reasons: reviews noted its superior image quality and fast start-up time. It’s also got a huge LCD screen. But the kicker was my friend Tom’s post on hacking the camera’s firmware to give you buku additional options: full manual controls, RAW shooting, your choice of video encryption, and more.

Other cool stuff I saw this week:

— The Wearable Chair. Chair legs built into pants. I had the same idea once, but called it Seat Pants. Apparently someone patented it decades ago. Tell me this wouldn’t be huge at rock concerts, the DMV, nerd-movie premiers, you name it.

— Odd and touching: this quote and this photo.

— What the hell is up with Isabella Rossellini’s bug porn? (From Your New Favorite)

Tags: , , — admin @ 8:58 pm

May 2, 2008

Stage Kiss

2005
Fort Worth, Tx.
On Flickr

Even if it borders on cliche, seems like I have to have at least one kiss picture this week.

Looking back at why these, among tens of thousands of wedding photos I’ve taken, stood out, I think it’s because they all have characteristics of good documentary photography. At some point, the photo becomes more than a simple record and achieves a certain quality that makes it more than what’s in front of the lens. As I’ve said before, I’m not sure how to express or quantify this quality, but your eye knows it immediately. I think photographers can capture it only instinctively.

To see a much better example than I can offer, check out the NY Timesprofile of Jill Freedman. Don’t dare miss the accompanying slide show.

Tags: , — admin @ 8:48 pm

May 1, 2008

Dance Floor Balance

2006
San Antonio
On Flickr

The title refers to unexpected balance of the shot’s composition. There’s a timelessness to this shot, though, that makes it. I’m not sure it’s a quality you can ever plan to capture. It just seems to happen.

Tags: , — admin @ 8:45 pm

April 28, 2008

Setting Up

2007
Austin
On Flickr

Meant to post this over the weekend, but by far the most interesting thing I read last week was Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris’ profile of Sabrina Harman, the ‘woman behind the camera at Abu Ghraib.’ The piece is obviously sympathetic to the low-level soldiers who were ultimately punished — while their supervisors escaped repercussions — but it still provides a window into how those grotesque pictures ever came about.

There’s also a good discussion on how the power of images as symbols is often detached from the literal content of the photograph.

Tags: , , , — admin @ 8:37 pm

March 8, 2008

Rachel

2000
Austin
On Flickr

For some reason I’ve been revisiting old photos that I used to think were some of my best. It’s funny (and probably expected) that now they all seem pretty technically flawed, with one exception.

In the case of this particular photo, I took it back when I worked for the Texas Travesty, UT’s humor mag, as a one-off portrait for a fake-op-ed column. Forgot about it. Two years later I found it and put it on Flickr. And then multiple people recommended I put it into my then-tiny portfolio. Looking at it now — there’s just so much wrong with it. Her shirt is blasted out on the left. The shadows on her eye on the right are too heavy. Random hairs are sticking out and catching the light. But still, it’s got something going for it. I think it’s her expression + the glasses + that cross necklace. All the angles work well together, and subtle triangles like that always make for good compositional elements.

Tags: — admin @ 10:52 pm

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