Photos from 3 New Calendars That Bare Everything For a Good Cause

As someone here pointed out this morning, 2017 is now %0.68 complete — little enough, probably, to still do a roundup of fun charity pinup calendars (which are really just an excuse for fun photo projects): Following up on the success of his for-charity 2016 effort (sexy French Firefighters) photographer Fred Goudon brings us sexy French Farmers, shot on location in Normandy, Provence, Picardie, and Champagne. The calendar, Goudon notes on his blog, is a tribute to a profession for which people often lack gratefulness. “All of [these farmers][ have lent themselves to play the game of posing in a sexy way to promote in an off-the-wall way the work and dedication with which [they] are involved relentlessly in their hard job.”   Buy one today, and you’re only %0.68 in the hole. Also below: veterinary students in the buff, and come-hither NYC taxi drivers. via My Modern Met. Free Range Vets Calendars For more than three decades, the veterinary students from the University of Sydney have been producing a charity calendar, with proceeds going to local farmers and ranchers. Images here are from both the 2017 and 2016 editions, with a behind-the-scenes video from this year’s project. NYC Taxi Drivers Calendars… Continue reading Photos from 3 New Calendars That Bare Everything For a Good Cause

Before-and-After Street Portraits 40 Years in the Making

All through the 70s, 80s, and 90s, paramedic and amateur street photographer Chris Porsz roamed Peterborough, England, capturing images of working-class locals who caught his eye. “My favourite style is candid, that is natural and unposed where possible. Mainly people, old characters with weathered faces, walking sticks up against the elements and adversity. I would mainly roam the city centre, where there was lots of activity… this great cosmopolitan mix, rich with characters that make great photos.” –Chris Porsz Without meaning to, Porsz had been documenting a social record, and in 2009 decided to see whether he could track down some of his subjects, and see where the arcs of their lives had taken them. Which sounds like an impossible task: find subjects from hundreds of candid street portraits, persuade them to pose again – in the same location – then tell their stories. It took seven years. The result: his new photo book Reunions, which includes the stories behind the pictures as channeled through writer Jo Riley — stories of growing up, growing apart, and, above all, change. “It has been enormously satisfying to do so many reunions and seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they met up… Continue reading Before-and-After Street Portraits 40 Years in the Making

These 54 Vintage Puppy Pictures Are Just What the Doctor Ordered

Times are troubled. And though we’re actually not doctors (not even on Halloween), we have seen, first-hand, the remarkable healing properties of puppies. So here’s a vintage, virtual assortment — from times of war, epidemic, and hungry, dustbowl hardscrabble — from which to take your pick. See all the smiles? Images via Vintage Everyday

Escape The Rule of Thirds

A few weeks ago, I came across a Reddit post where someone asked for a simple technique that would improve their photography skills. The most upvoted response was “use the rule of thirds.” Tragically, the rule of thirds has become one of the most widely accepted myths in photography, and one of the worst habits you can find yourself trying to break. If you’ve never heard of the rule of thirds, count yourself lucky, skip this blog post, live well, be awesome, and never let anyone tell you what it is. The rest of you? Keep reading. Look, I get it. Some subjects placed right in the center of the frame are boring or awkward. When you’re starting out, there’s so much to learn and a ton of tech to keep straight in your head. Adopting something simple like the rule of thirds helps some beginners at least think about composition before snapping the shutter — and that’s good, right? Sorry, I have to disagree. There are no shortcuts to experience and developing a bad habit will actually make your work suffer longer. Once you start leaning on a crutch like the rule of thirds, your own sense of composition… Continue reading Escape The Rule of Thirds

Watch the Street, Shoot from the Heart

Los Angeles-based photographer Russ Quackenbush creates visual images of humanity that reflect the qualities we cherish most in each other. In his portraiture, he gently documents the relics of a subject’s life experiences as they unfold and present themselves in the emotions of their face, the language of their body, and the energy of their being.  Russ’ photography gives us license to laugh, play, rejoice, or to mourn. It is through his images that we are led respectfully and thoughtfully into the life of another. Upon starting his business in 1996, he has received a myriad of awards from the Photography and Advertising Annuals of Communication Arts, The Ad Club, and The One Show.  Creativity Magazine, Archive, and Photo District News have all featured Russ and his work. It was 2001, that Photo District News distinguished Russ in their “30 Under 30”, presenting him as a young talent worth keeping an eye on. He has certainly lived up to that prediction. How did the 5 for 5 project come about? I had a storefront workspace in Santa Monica at the time, across the street from a bar called the Cock n’ Bull. They say nobody walks in L.A., but people… Continue reading Watch the Street, Shoot from the Heart

Vintage Photos of Halloween Costumes Both Hilarious and Disturbing

The waters of the Great 2016 Creepy Clown Hysteria seem to have receded (and shifted to the UK, where there are now anti-clown patrols). What better warmup for Halloween? Halloween started as Samhain, a pagan Celtic New Year’s observance, a transition between life-giving summer light and harvests, and death-bringing winter dark and cold. The Celts believed that the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred on this night, and that ghosts walked the earth. People built huge bonfires to keep back the dark, wore costumes of animal heads and skins to disguise themselves, and left out food as further distraction and appeasement. The Druids, priests of Celtic culture, made living sacrifices, and predictions of the future. The Romans later made their contribution, incorporating Feralia rituals that involved the passing of the dead, and offerings to Pomona, goddess of fruit and trees (this is where bobbing for apples is thought to have come from). The Catholic church made its mark too, first calling the festival All Saint’s Day, then later All Soul’s Day; by then the costumes represented saints, angels, and devils. At some point the day became known as All-hallow’s Mass, with the night before being… Continue reading Vintage Photos of Halloween Costumes Both Hilarious and Disturbing

26 Vintage Creepy Clown Pictures That Will Either Freak You Out, Or Get You in the Spirit

The Great Creepy Clown Hysteria of 2016 started in August in Green Bay, Wisconsin with reports of a clown wandering the streets late at night – or sometimes just standing by the side of the road – holding a bouquet of black balloons. The clown, it turned out, has a name – Gags the Clown – and was part of a guerilla marketing campaign for a short horror movie. But the evil clown meme, which is actually older than this country, had taken hold again, starting in South Carolina, where police started getting reports of sinister clowns trying to lure children into the woods with promises of cash. It spread from there. (One thing that’s new this time: Google Maps. The Mercury News put together a Creepy Clown Sighting Map – check it out at the bottom of the page). Behind those map pins: school closures, arrests, and plenty of fear. The New York Times ran a fascinating piece on the history of Creepy Clowns, noting that such hysterias and urban legends “spread in times of anxiety, when there are low levels of trust in official institutions and sources of information.” ‘Nuff said, right? Almost. Here are some vintage photos of… Continue reading 26 Vintage Creepy Clown Pictures That Will Either Freak You Out, Or Get You in the Spirit

How Bobby Neel Adams Uses Photo Surgery to Telescope Time in a Single Frame

We’ve featured photographers who explore the concepts of time, growth, and aging by playing the long game, documenting subjects year-to-year over decades. (You can see several of these projects here). Bobby Neel Adams takes a more direct approach – practicing what he calls photo surgery – marrying two different portraits of the same subject at different ages. His intent, as he told an interviewer for Digicult, is to “telescope the slow process of aging into a single picture.” Adams started this series — Age Maps — in the early 90s, at first using black and white professional studio portraits as source material. The process is completely analog, old-school collage. “Like a surgeon, I alter portraits of people through manual incision. But more importantly, it is aging and genetics that produce the most astonishing results.” “In my Age Map photographs I found that people’s natures are developed at a very early age. An introspective child will become an introspective adult. A cheerful child will be a cheerful adult. Etc. I later read that child psychologists confirmed this theory that I learned making my photographs.” –Bobby Neel Adams In the decades since Age Maps, the artist has produced two variations on this photo surgery… Continue reading How Bobby Neel Adams Uses Photo Surgery to Telescope Time in a Single Frame

Here’s What the Best of 34,624 Images from 120 Countries Looks Like

The Red Bull Illume Image Quest bills itself as the “greatest international photography contest dedicated to action and adventure sports,” and, really, who’s going to argue?  2016 marks the competition’s fourth year, with a Mobile category added this year to keep up with the times. Red Bull tells us that 5,645 photographers from 120 countries submitted 34,624 images to the contest; the Art Institute of Chicago recently hosted a ceremony recognizing the 11 Category and one Overall Winner. You can see their work below, as well as a striking selection of finalists. For a gallery of winnowed-down finalists (all 275 of them) look here; for the stories behind the shots, here. You can also see galleries from past competitions. This year’s finalist images are on a global exhibit tour until mid 2018 – of course not just any tour and exhibition, but one that takes place at night, and outdoors. Morning people: you may need something to perk you up.      

Ethics in the Age of Photoshop

Photography lies. Yet somehow, we tend to trust the images we see. Our expectation seems to be that every photo is an exact record of what was in front of the lens at that moment in time. The problem is, there’s no way of really knowing what we see in a photograph reflects reality. Even when we know the image is altered, we still believe the lie. It’s important to note digital imaging didn’t create this problem. The entire history of photography is replete with examples of its suspicious relationship with truth. The 1917 Cottingley Fairies were a photographic hoax declared to be genuine. Numerous photos of UFOs, Nessie, and Bigfoot have played with our imaginations. But those are more fun than truly believable. The worst offenders are the ones we don’t suspect until it’s too late. I have childhood memories of buyer’s remorse over toys that didn’t look as cool as they did in the TV commercials. Does your Big Mac look like the one on the illuminated menu? Photographs have let us down in the truth department on a regular basis, yet we still fall for them far too many times. I’ve heard a few explanations for our misplaced… Continue reading Ethics in the Age of Photoshop