3 Artists Who Straddle Time with Old and New Photos

We’ve explored examples of photography as time travel — time slipping, time collapsing, time-telescoping, and more. With one small (but fun!) variation, the images from the three photographers below share a theme of time straddling: using a photo, in the place it was originally taken, as a picture-window into the past. (How long before VR goggles help us not only see through time in still imagery, but allow us to walk around in the past?) Notice how each artist approaches the same concept differently, and with different effect. Julien Knez’s windows into historical Paris remind us of how well-preserved the city is (and, subtly, why that is); in contrast, Babak Fakhamzadeh’s work in Freetown shows us the decay that’s set in in many post-colonial African cities. Far afield from both is Francois Dourien’s ongoing project: more whimsical, yet with a sly nod to how popular culture – as delivered by our smartphones – can become the goggles through which we view our physical environment. Links will jump you down the page: Julien Knez: Paris then and now. Babak Fakhamzadeh: Freetown, Sierra Leon then and now. Francois Dourien: Pop culture images superimposed over IRL. Julien Knez Taking advantage of living in what’s possibly the… Continue reading 3 Artists Who Straddle Time with Old and New Photos

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

Could These Colossal, Haunting Portraits Save an Amazon Tribe?

In 2014, French photographer and street artist Philippe Echaroux staged a project in his native Marseille entitled Painting with Lights. The technique: video projection of images on infrastructure and landscape. The concept: monumental, guerilla public art that leaves no footprint. Echaroux dubbed the process ‘Street Art 2.0’; the project went viral within days. Really viral: Echaroux was contacted by a gentleman in the Amazon rain forest to see whether he’d be interested in creating a similar project. The man’s name was Almir Narayamoga Suri, Chief of the Suri tribe, an indigenous people teetering on the brink of extinction due to illegal logging. In a bit of cultural ju-jitsu, the Chief was using modern-day technology to wage his fight; he’d already been named to Fast Company’s ‘Most Creative People in Business’ list in 2011 because of his eyebrow-raising partnership with Google — though his isolated tribe had made first contact with the outside world only in the late 60s, Narayamoga was working with Silicon Valley to use YouTube, smart phones, and Google Earth mapping to fight the deforestation. So Echaroux’s zero-impact, mega-reach art was the perfect match. And the artist’s message is as clear as the work is powerful: “When I first met the Suri, I promised them… Continue reading Could These Colossal, Haunting Portraits Save an Amazon Tribe?

Who Will Win NatGeo’s Nature Photographer of the Year Contest?

The deadline for National Geographic’s Nature Photographer of the Year Contest for 2016 is this Friday – have you entered yet? Thousands of submissions have poured in since the competition started on August 15, and here’s a sampling from the four categories in play: Animal Portraits, Landscape, Action, and Environmental Issues. The Grand Prize winner will enjoy a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos, with cash awards to each of the three category winners. Be sure and click through to NatGeo for more wonderfulness, as well as downloadable wallpapers of these images for desktop, tablet, and phone.  

Transforming a Passion to a Hobby to a Job with Mylio

My Story: On the face of it, I’m a pretty successful photographer — I have a number of clients here in Switzerland, including professional sports teams. My work is published, I put together custom, one-of-a-kind photo books, and people come to me to buy images for their homes and offices. But the truth is that I have a day job (I’m a Worldwide Channel Manager in the IT Industry), and photography is my hobby. A hobby that keeps me very busy. It started to get serious when I bought myself a really nice camera for my 40th birthday. I was in love with photography as soon as I saw the pictures that Zeiss lens produced, and wanted to learn more about the craft. A year later, a neighbor suggested I enter a photo contest for a local foot race; my photo won first prize for ‘Ambience and Emotion’! That was just the beginning. At one point I’d advanced to taking pictures of the local Junior soccer team, and someone (Scott Kelby, to be exact) suggested I propose shooting for the professional team. I requested a credential for one game, but was refused: the team owners said they’d rather I shoot… Continue reading Transforming a Passion to a Hobby to a Job with Mylio

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

How I Used Mylio to Help a Photographer Out of the Weeds

Angela B. Pan is a pro photographer who, every weekday, takes stunning landscape photos of the Washington DC Metro area. And I do mean every weekday — she’s posted these fresh photos to her blog for more than six years now! (You do the math). Angela licenses her images for commercial use, but with such a big catalog, she was having a tough time finding specific photos when clients requested them. That’s when she called me; I’m a professional photo organizer, and I knew I could help her save time on the licensing work so that she could better spend it shooting pictures.   When I first met with Angela, I learned she had one tactic for organizing her photos: put them in a single folder dedicated to that year. That’s it. No sub-folders, scant image re-naming, and no keywords or location tagging. Imagine, then, trying to fill a client request for Capitol Building at sunset with a purple sky! Angela told me it was taking her hours to find images, because she was trying to associate them with the dates they were taken. Her workaround: reverse Google image searches of her own blog. If she did it right, Angela could find the date she posted the picture; then she’d have a year, and could backtrack to the folder on her hard drive. The more I… Continue reading How I Used Mylio to Help a Photographer Out of the Weeds

Why You Should Think Twice About Black and White Landscapes

“Where’s the subject?” he asked, flatly. A photography professor at a small college in California was asking me what I’d taken a picture of, and where in the photo was he supposed to look. It was a large claw-shaped dead tree branch, arching across the night sky, lit by the glowing street lamps of nearby suburbia as dim stars carved curved trails in the sky beyond. The image was dark, otherworldly, spooky, and exactly what I’d intended to capture. For me, the emotion was clearly there. The branch reached out menacingly, while the star trails incited vertigo and time-lost unease. I was proud of it. “What do you mean?” I was confused, and a little hurt. “What’s this a picture of?” I was bewildered. It was obvious to me that the entire scene had value, that each item in the scene contributed to the overall experience, and, come to think of it, that was the goal of my photo: to create an experience. Like the experience of a scary movie or a creepy story, I was trying to take the viewer to a place they’d never been, and cause them to experience a set of emotions. I couldn’t clearly articulate this point… Continue reading Why You Should Think Twice About Black and White Landscapes

How to Compose a Great Photo: 5 Simple Rules Noobs Should Know Before Breaking

If you’re a photo newbie like me, you might have wondered: what’s Composition, and why should I care? Fortunately, the concept isn’t complicated: composition just refers to how things are arranged within the frame of an image. You can see why that might be important. Good composition means you’ve arranged the things in your frame (or more likely arranged yourself and your camera) so that both the subject and the scene make the most sense — or have the greatest impact —  to the viewer. I’ll be showing you some examples below. Composing a strong picture is a skill that definitely takes practice, and I’ve made my share of goofs. But since I want to set my photos apart from the trillion others on social media, learning the basics is important to me. I’ve also seen this quote more than once: LEARN THE RULES LIKE A PRO SO YOU CAN BREAK THEM LIKE AN ARTIST. — Pablo Picasso …and really, who am I to argue with that guy? But where to start? All the do this/don’t do that information out there can be overwhelming to newbies. But I slogged through it so you wouldn’t have to — so let’s get started. Ben Long, an excellent photography instructor who… Continue reading How to Compose a Great Photo: 5 Simple Rules Noobs Should Know Before Breaking

Worth It.

I shoot black and white landscapes. It’s a creative pursuit that’s appreciated by a particular audience, and my family and friends often ask why I do it. The truth is, I don’t do it for the photos themselves, and I don’t expect anyone else to enjoy them as much as I do. I do it because of the things that have to happen in order for the photo to exist. Years ago, I framed and drywalled my own darkroom. I processed and printed my work in chemicals of my own concoction. I attended workshops taught by master black and white printer John Sexton, who’d worked alongside Ansel Adams. Black and white photography was one of the first creative things I attempted in my life and, since I’m a terrible painter, it was an art form in which I could use my hands without angering people. I put in more than a decade of effort to become proud of maybe a handful of prints. Then I met my wife. We started a family. We moved a few times, and settled in the Northwest. Digital photography eventually took over the world, and as life demanded, I left my photo lab behind. I’ve been married… Continue reading Worth It.