Between 1909 and 1915, Russian photographer/chemist Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii traveled across his homeland, using the relatively new technology of color photography to document what he saw. Outfitting a private train car with his own dark room equipment, Prokudin-Gorskii captured landscapes, buildings, and people in a series of breathtaking images. Given the rarity of vibrant color photography from this era, Prokudin-Gorskii’s work is all the more striking: Without sepia tones’ time-distancing effects, the characters in these images feel right there, full of stories of a bygone era and a diverse, colorful culture on the brink of revolution.
In terms of digital reproductions, there really isn’t much of Roloff Beny’s work online. So when I came across this Wine & Bowties post with gorgeous scans of Roloff Beny’s work in India from 1969, you bet I was totally stoked! (note: There are more images on their blog, so follow the link posted above)
From the write-up:
“…Beny was a world traveler, and India is one of a number of his works which could effectively be described as a love letter to the place it documents. One of the most impressive examples of his eye for color, scenery and natural beauty, India finds Beny exploring a place with no shortage of gorgeous landscapes, architecture, and rich culture. In some ways, these images read like an idyllic Westerner’s portrait, an aesthetically idealized version of a complex place…”
A small collection of the imperfect, found via Flickr. The result of a improperly loaded or expired film, and loose film backs creating streaks – a common danger with older Hasselblads. Live dangerously.
The fantastical black-and-white nudes of Asger Carlsen‘s Hester series are nothing if not provocative. The NY-based artist works in limbs and lumps, torsos and bulges, constructing figures that are human and yet not quite, and “shooting” them in gritty greytones. The resulting images are alternately grotesque, graceful, and thought-provoking. If you can suppress your gag reflex long enough, Carlsen’s deformed forms possess a strange beauty, and an unblinking skepticism about photography’s capacity for realism.
Had a chance to explore in and around Death Valley last week with my new favorite lens, Canon’s 24mm F1.4. Stumbled upon a few ghost towns, countless abandoned mines, including one that a migrant had used as a shelter, and even Charlie Manson’s old getaway truck, still preserved in the one of the driest climates on earth. What’s nice about this particular 24mm prime is how it’s fast as it is wide, which makes it great for shallow depth of field in landscape photos, and a perfect tool for capturing shots indoors, in tight places.
During the holidays I stopped in at a used book store and came across a wonderful photography book by Canadian artist, Roloff Beny. ‘To Every Thing There is a Season: Roloff Beny in Canada’ is a photographic essay exploring Canada during the 1960′s. The book contains poems, landscapes, portraits, architecture, and graphic design that is visionary for the time it was printed. Like a Boards of Canada album, the book puts my mind in a cozy, nostalgic place.
A little research reveals that the book was the official Canadian gift to visiting heads of state during the country’s 1967 centennial year. He’s also authored a number of other acclaimed photography books I’m hoping to pick-up in the near future.
Beny’s work is included in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 1971, he was made an officer of The Order of Canada. In 1984, at the age of 60, Beny passed away from a heart attack in his Roman studio overlooking the Tiber.
You can view a more complete set of photos in this FLICKR SET I put together.
UK born photographer Eliot Lee Hazel takes gritty and cinematic photographs that are well composed, stylish yet with a raw edge. His images are like fragments of dreams or stories told, triggering the brain to start associating. Hazel’s images can be compared to cliffhangers, raising more questions than answers. He has worked for various musicians like Morcheeba, Yeasayer and Basement Jaxx, to name a few.
We’ve entered a strange territory in photography, where the software benefits & ubiquity of a mobile operating system like Android, meet the hardware of a decent point and shoot. I’ve been testing the Samsung Galaxy Camera for the last month, so I figured I’d share a few thoughts.
A smart camera.
This is, first and foremost, a large point and shoot camera. As camera software goes, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is a breath of fresh air. This is a huge win over any custom OS that attempts to reinvent the wheel. You can install any app available in the Google Play store, from Instagram to games to Wifi-tethering apps. The touchscreen is also amazing. It’s huge. With the camera app open, it makes every type of photo easy to see, frame & capture.
For a phone-less camera, it’s super connected.
Because it comes with GPS, Wifi & 3G connectivity, it makes sharing your photos while you’re on the road really easy. In fact, I’d call it a potential lifesaver. You can set it up to auto-upload to Dropbox or Google+, so if you lose your camera, you’ll still have your photos. Or you can use it to Skype the Icelandic police when you lock yourself out of your car at dusk, in a sand storm, in the middle of nowhere. True story.
Optical zoom is great. Photo quality is so-so.
At 16 megapixels, it outputs photos larger than what phones currently can, yes, but are they better? Not entirely. The lens and 21x optical zoom give you more versatility than a smartphone, but if you examine the photos below closely, you’ll see some JPEG compression and color fringing. For $500 bucks, it’s certainly not as good as you’d find in another equally priced point and shoot camera.
Photo editing software on Android is scarce.
The camera comes pre-installed with the Photo Wizard editing app, which is sufficient for some, but you’ll probably want to install PicsPlay Pro if you want more control & full resolution exports. It’s the best Android photo editor I can find.
Awkward to hold when you type.
You’ll be using the touchscreen keyboard just as much as you would when operating your standard Android phone, which means you’ll want to hold the screen like a phone, which also means you’ll be holding a camera in a way it wasn’t meant to be held – lens to palm. Not ideal. Thankfully this one has an automatic lens cover.
A note for heavy Instagram users…
The zoom lens opens and extends every time you activate the camera, so if you’re indecisive like me when choosing a photo to post to Instagram, you’ll find the camera opens and closes repeatedly. One of those nobody saw it coming kind of things.
There are some usability & quality issues between hardware and software that need figuring out, but the Galaxy Camera is pretty killer considering all you can do with it (hat tip to Android). It’s more camera than smartphone, but when you consider portability, smartphones may still win in the end once smaller, mobile sensors catch up in quality.