I love digital technology. I love the convenience, the economy, the permanence, and the instantness (yes, that’s actually a word….who knew). So I’m constantly trying to trick myself into believing that I don’t need film photography because digital can replace it. Then I see pictures like the ones above and remember that it’s never going to happen. There’s something going on here that I’ve yet to see captured in a digital image. Sure, I’ve seen incredibly beautiful digital photographs, and they stand on their own. But that’s all they do. They don’t stand over film and they don’t replace it. Film can never die or we will lose our ability to capture the beauty that hides behind the subtlety and nuance that digital seems to miss. There’s a tone, a separation and depth here that I think can only be produced by an analog chemical reaction. The grain is so beautiful it just begs to be blown up to wall-size.
These shots by Carlo Van de Roer look like pure and unfiltered tranquility. I’ve never been to Iceland before, but this series captures what I imagine it would be like. It looks freezing and potentially dangerous, but still somehow soothing and comfortable. Probably the most immediately noticeable aspect of these images is the inclusion of the colorful floating orbs. Personally I love them, and I think they are the reason his work has picked up so much recognition. They are a unique touch that brings a little bit of extra magic to his already stunning photography. I’ve read he screen prints the orbs onto the photographs, but I can’t find any information regarding the concept behind the orbs. Perhaps it’s just an aesthetic choice, but I would imagine (and prefer) that there is some deeper conceptual reason for their placement.
I miss Polaroid! I’ve been stockpiling some old film, but I’m always afraid to use it and run out for good. It looks like the Instant Back attachment for the Diana+ Lomo camera might serve as an able replacement. The Instant Back attaches to the Diana+ and provides you with instant (90sec) print outs, just like Polaroid. It looks like it will do until the Impossible Project begins manufacturing their new film for the old cameras.
Of course, after Scott’s post below, a purchase of any other type of camera besides the 5D seems pointless. I have to start saving now!
So I stumbled onto the deleteyourself blog the other day (same guy who runs Photololz) and in turn found his Flickr. There were some nice shots up there but what really struck me in particular was the vivid clarity and tone of the photos. So I took a look at the EXIF data and sure enough, they were all shot with a Canon 5D MKII. As you may well know, I have been trying to decide whether to stick with Nikon for my next camera or make the leap to Canon. I think that decision is becoming much clearer now; after seeing what Tim Navis did with the EOS 30D and now this, Canon is way out in front for me. Of course, he’s also using the $1500 Canon EF 16-35mm, but I suppose a camera like the 5D deserves only the best. At any rate, these shots drive home how good the 5D is at transforming otherwise mundane scenes into exquisitely detailed compositions of incredible depth and tonal range.
On a side note, that second pic looks like it was taken right around the same place I took this one, flying into Phuket Airport. I effected the hell out of mine, so it’s hard to compare the two, but I assure you that even in it’s raw form, mine was never anywhere near this detailed and dynamic. I’m not sure how much post processing he is doing with these, I’d love to know how much Photoshop had to do with the end results. Whatever the case may be, Photoshop can’t just synthesize out of thin air the kind of clarity and depth found in these shots; I would bet there’s just some simple color balancing going on. I’m also really liking the vignetting in a lot of these, can anyone out there with a similar rig testify as to whether that is a natural artifact of that particular lens or something he did in post?
The above are part of Richard Misrach’s On The Beach, a series of large scale (six by ten feet) photographs of swimmers and sunbathers in Hawaii. You can pick still pick up the book (though it looks like it’s become quite expensive), or if you find yourself on the East Coast, you can see the exhibition in person. It was recently on display the National Gallery and is scheduled to be in Atlanta until August of this year. I highly recommend seeing these in person; they are absolutely massive and are truly awe-inspiring viewed full size.
The last image is my favorite photograph of all time. When I first saw it, it affected me like no photograph ever had. I was left speechless, and am still not able to really explain what it is I find so powerful about it. It’s hard to tell on screen, but the little dot in the water is two people embracing. I like that you can’t see the shore; for all we know, they could be floating out in the middle of nowhere. Of course, all of the photographs were taken out of Misrach’s hotel room window, so they can’t be too far out there, but it’s easy to forget when all shoreline indicators are absent. Perhaps it’s this sense of remoteness and potential danger, combined with the serenity of the overall scene, that gets to me. I feel worried and calm at the same time. I would almost fly to Atlanta just to see it again; it’s like a drug.
Navis has been a long time commenter on this blog but I just recently stumbled onto his photography and was very impressed. The colors are just perfect; such a nice tone, feels modern yet still authentic. From the Flickr EXIF data it looks like he’s using a Canon EOS 30D. Tim, perhaps you’d like to elaborate on your equipment (lenses etc.) and methods in the comments?
Pop Up Storefront Los Angeles showcased some great photos from Frederic Chaubin, the Cambodian born French-Spanish editor of Citizen K magazine. The show, entitled “CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed”, focused on Chaubin’s fascination with the sort of futurist architecture that came out of Soviet Russia’s Cold-War era. I’ve always been quite impressed by Soviet architecture like this; they somehow built real versions of all those artist’s renderings of future societies that people were cranking out in the 50’s and 60’s. I’ve never seen it represented quite so faithfully; Chaubin’s photos really capture that whole utopian society vibe.
I’ve become seriously addicted to Dropular recently, and it seemed (at least up until their servers went down yesterday) that just about every other dropped image was one of Kim Høltermand’s stunning photographs. His work gets a lot of love in the blog community, and it’s great to see a talented photographer getting the recognition he deserves. I love his compositional style, subject choice, and I find his color palette sophisticated and appropriate. His images are imbued with a profound and mysterious tranquility which, given his urban subject matter, is a remarkable feat. There is a difference between solitude and loneliness—his photographs convey the former.