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Posts Tagged ‘photojournalism’

Most Photogenic Religion and Other Curiosities

September 10th, 2013 No Comments

Our semi-weekly tri-pack takes in a camera, a gallery, and an interesting news post.

Brand New from Olympus

Photography sites are abuzz today with Olympus’s new offering: a 16.1 MP Four-Thirds.  That’s the OM-D E-M1.  The big selling point is super-fast AF, named ‘Dual Fast AF.’  In addition, as long as you have a ‘Regular’ or Micro Four-Thirds lens mounted, the camera can focus on any one of 37 phase-detection focus points or focus by 81 contrast-detection target areas.

The camera has a few other upgrades from the previous model; these include an improved grip and improved EVF.  Philip Ryan has a comprehensive overview in Popular Photography which covers such improvements while Chris Cheesman’s summary in Amateur Photographer touches on the high points, coupled with an insight and a conjecture.

The OM-D E-M1 has a wonderful mix of necessary and customary pro functions plus enthusiast features, such as ‘Art Filters.’

World Photographic Cup

FIFA and ICC, watch out: football and cricket ain’t the only sports in town boasting a World Cup.  Another ‘Federation’ has announced another ‘World Cup’, this one for photogsZoltan Arva-Toth has the scoop on Photography Blog.

The sports model extends to the fact that competition will be by way of national teams!   (Coloured jerseys mandatory? Arva-Toth omits this key information.)  The call for entries has already been met by nineteen countries.  Oz is going to send a team.  (Our insider reports say that Shane Warne is arguing with the AIPP that he should be captain.)

We’ll know whether or not this is a real World Cup on finals day simply by observing the winning team’s behaviour: will they take victory laps and squirt champagne all over the place? 

Most Photogenic Religion

Some religious denominations are just more photogenic than others and the drama of Pentecostalism makes it a strong contender for ‘Most Photogenic Religion.’  Damaso Reyes’s photo-story on Pentecostalism on the Leica Blog is proof of this assertion.  Trances, shakes and wailing are in evidence.  

This gallery is brilliant photojournalism that brings a good few ‘decisive moments.’  Don’t neglect to notice some astute use of light (there’s a photo of a woman and a boy, each in religious fervour, but light is treated or employed very differently in these photographs such that each ‘light’ somehow suits the singular fervour of the subject).  

There’s a funny parallel at work in this photo-story: Reyes explains, “Pentecostals believe in the primacy of the direct relationship between god and the believer.”  Well, his photos get the viewer ‘inside the skin’ of his subjects, thus he creates something of a “primacy of the direct relationship” between his subjects and the viewer.

 

The Gorgeous Hues of Robert Caplin’s Photojournalism

September 9th, 2013 No Comments

It is enough to merely absorb the rich – even intense – and lustrous hues of Robert Caplin’s photographs and luxuriate in them.  How he does it is reflected in what he is principally drawn to: “First and foremost, I’m attracted to beautiful light both hard and soft,” explains Caplin in a just-published interview on the Leica Blog.

Caplin’s work is regularly featured in America’s premier periodicals including National Geographic – but you wouldn’t need to be informed of this fact if you but look at this classically NatGeo image.

To the question, “Was or is there a . . . type of photography that influenced your work or inspired you?” Caplin unhesitatingly answers, “Absolutely – photojournalism.”  The article supplies gobs of pictorial proof demonstrating this fact.  However, inclination towards photojournalism hitched to a preference for colour results in a wonderful departure from conventional B&W photojournalism: witness the photo of a homeless man or panhandler and other pedestrians at night with a brightly-lit stall to one side.  A B&W image would not have put over the tonal contrasts and realism that Caplin’s colour version does.

Caplin clearly does not only capture a moment – decisive or otherwise – or a situation or an event; he sees and brings out the hues that are inherent in the moment, situation or event.  Indeed, you can partly infer this from one of his methods of working: “Sometimes I’ll find a pocket of light and simply wait for a person or a moment to pass through.”  The photo taken in the evening of a man repairing a window of a brick house is a prime example of this mode of operation that resulted in a photo with lovely hues and colour temperatures due to different light sources.

Sometimes “the person or moment” is no more than a small silhouette bringing the gentlest and deftest of human touches to what is primarily a sedate study in architecture, composition, light and textures.  On other occasions colour, composition and light serve to support and accentuate what is primarily a spontaneous portrayal of human emotions and, indeed, that “moment” depicting a memorable instant in a human life.

It is this unusual combination of factors and approach that make Robert Caplin truly an unique photographer.

 

Photojournalism: ‘Sincere Art’ and Roiling Egypt

August 16th, 2013 No Comments

Destination Egypt

These days, Egypt is the place to be for any aspiring photojournalist, Urban Photographer, or Combat-Zone aspirant.  American Photo has published a gallery of images of civil disturbances in Cairo and other Egyptian cities.

Right from the word ‘go’ it is clear that a great photojournalistic image must also needs be a great photo.  Luck or skill, the very first photo is well composed, catches the right moment, and tells a story.  The photographer is safe and sound in a tall building yet that angle of elevation lends a detached, in a sense impartial, perspective.

Let alone capturing the right moment, here’s a photo that captures the moment . . . the moment a vehicle is falling off a bridge.

Here’s a particularly alarming photo as it seems that the men are throwing stones at you, the viewer.

The gallery is actually a comparative photo-story, giving a ‘Then-and-Now’ account of Egypt’s experiment with Parliamentary Democracy and elections.  As such, you can view some fine photojournalistic images from two years ago, such as this one of revolutionary fervour.

Credit: Checco

Talk about photojournalism, that’s one of Luciano Checco’s specialities as we see on the Leica Blog.  Given what Checco says about his photographic background and how his first exhibition came about, it’s evident that he is both humble and a natural talent.

And we do mean ‘talent’: having the ‘eye’ and the talent to take so extremely tight a close-up of a homeless mother and boy was a stroke of genius.  Composing it the way it’s composed was another stroke of genius as the viewer can’t help but ping-pong between the two corners with the faces.  It is quite an incredible photo, for it conveys tension though the subjects are asleep.

Here’s more talent: this mysterious photo – ‘shades’ of IR film – is confusing and atmospheric.  It’s unclear how it was shot but it’s pretty clear that Alfred Hitchcock would have loved it on his storyboard.  As would any director planning a The Third Man remake.

Checco is not only a natural talent, the man is something of a photography philosopher.  Consider his pithy rationale for preferring black-and-white, one of the most convincing you’ll find: “I believe that black-and-white photos are abstracts of reality that transport the focus of the viewer toward the essential elements of the subject and the overall graphic composition of the image itself. To me colors are distracting and clearly define the age of the photo whereas black-and-white photos are timeless.”

You will also find considerable technical opinions and expertise disclosed in the interview.

Artistry, however, needs no words.  This simple-seeming photograph was not so simple to conceive as it may seem; a less talented photographer may not have posed his subject as well nor taken the shot from the same angle.  What in other hands may have been soft porn is rendered here as ‘sincere art.’

Simplicity and Starkness: The Holy Lands in Black-and-White

March 15th, 2013 No Comments

Yesterday The Leica Camera Blog posted Aaron C. Greenman: A Candid View of the Holy Lands, Part 1.  The interview is short to non-existent but this post is worth visiting purely for the images.

Among the qualities of B&W that differentiate it from Colour are simplicity and, sometimes, starkness.  Much has been written about how and where the advantages of a kind of B&W can be leveraged.  Greenman’s Holy Land photographs shot in B&W demonstrate these advantages.  Perhaps it is because prayer, worship, ritual, especially in a centuries-old place such as Jerusalem, can be simple and stark at the same time, the qualities of B&W are a perfect match for the subject matter.

Leica’s post part 1 has only a small selection of images from Greenman’s In Focus: Holy Lands portfolio.

The attributes of the black-and-white medium are ideal for this image of white-clad women in church: there is a photojournalistic quality to the image while B&W accentuates the starkness and simplicity of the sober scene.  

Photojournalistic images abound: what is the news-story here – that’s one unwilling worshiper!  We do know what story there is here: humour!

Greenman’s gallery is also a virtual tour: we have seen countless photographs of worshipers at the Wailing Wall but how many show us what is tucked into the narrow bylanes of the ancient Walled City?  Here’s one such glimpse.  —And as for those countless photos of Wailing Wall worshipers like this one, for a change, Greenman provides this arresting composition.

This gallery does not concentrate on the Jewish people; as the photograph of the Christian worshipers may have indicated, Greenman takes a multi-religious, cosmopolitan approach towards a locale that is often considered primarily a Jewish religious experience, while also introducing a few tastes of the lay of the (holy) land.

As wonderful a document as this gallery is for its variety of captures, the finest are surely the sincere, superbly-composed, ‘fleeting moments’ such as the one of doorman and visitor or patriarch and worshiper, each one an exceptional documentary photograph.

 

The “Candid Moment [with] a Story Behind It” —Eric Kim

February 25th, 2013 No Comments
Logo for Leica Camera

Logo for Leica Camera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Only a few days back we blogged about a photographer from South Korea who cut his teeth in America.  Today we bring to you a photographer from America who has a portfolio on South Korea.  The ‘contrasts’ continue: the South Korean photographer shoots in a derivative, personalized ‘fine art’ style while the American espouses a more documentary, hard-edged, ‘classic’ street shooting style.  As street shooters, though, both have one thing in common: a love of Leica.

Though this Leica interview is from May 2011, it’s worth checking out Eric Kim: Korean Street Photographer from Los Angeles as a sharp ‘contrast’ to The “Fine Art Street Photography” of K. Chae.

The phrase “candid moments of everyday life” defines Kim’s style well and the sentence “street photography . . . is less about the image but more about the story behind it” completes the definition as it distinguishes his style from Chae’s.  This photograph of two women sharing an umberella on a rainy night (somewhat reminiscent of Brassai?) is the exemplification of Kim’s street shooting philosophy.

Check out this somewhat Cartier-Bresson’ish image (a very high compliment, yes).  The static pose of the mime (or statue, whichever it is) is set off wonderfully by the moving woman, with the viewer’s eye enjoying a further distraction in the geometric lines and curves of the interior architecture.

Here’s something radically different: an overtly geometric, symmetrical and artistic photograph.  This image also projects a sense of direction: notice the narrow beams of light in the top half of the image and the broader ones at the bottom (both of which are laterally symmetrical and directed upwards), the movement of the bicyclist, and the arrow at the bottom.

Kim is also an active blogger who plugs other photographers, offers tips, and announces his workshops.  You may want to read a few tips or attend a workshop if you want to capture a “candid moment [with] a story behind it” as in this delightful image.

Going back to Kim’s definition of his style, perhaps he is more versatile than he thinks he is: doesn’t this sharply gradated, evocative, unusual silhouette count as . . . ‘Fine Art Street Photography’?

 

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Weekly Roundup: From the Unusual to the Weird

October 30th, 2012 No Comments

Hurricane Sandy

Yesterday’s post contained a link to a photo of Hurricane Sandy from space.  Today let’s see Sandy up close and personal from the street, courtesy of some skilled – and intrepid – photographers.  

You’ll see flooded roads, submerged cars, 20-foot waves, power outages, and New York in distress in this album.  See the locals getting alarmed and making preparations and cleaning up the wreckage further south down America’s East Coast and the Caribbean in this album.  Now these photos are great examples of that much-used word, ‘Photojournalism’.

Sandy also brought about some unusual nature-made photographic effects further north in Syracuse.  There, photographers didn’t need any filters to shoot photos of an otherworldly peach-pink sky.  Sometimes it’s just about being in the right place at the right time!

Alien Effects, Alien Figures

Some Sandy-like effects can be created artificially by talented craftsmen.  Have a look at these equally arresting, slightly otherworldly landscapes which the photographer, Matthew Albanese, calls ‘Strange Worlds’.  These landscapes are indeed ‘strange’ because they’re all shot inside his studio!  Surely that’s not giving away the game too much?

Just as ‘strange’ is Chris Bucklow’s people photography . . . for he takes photographs without any camera!  Bucklow’s visually striking and artistic images also make no use of Photoshop; he uses a rudimentary yet advanced technique using a cardboard on which a figure is mapped out with “thousands of pinholes.”

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Even though we close with a ‘straight’ photography item, this one too is well off the beaten track: you see, it’s about an underwater shoot . . . and the subject is turtles!  Closer to home, Australian Geographic reports that Doug Perrine has taken the first underwater photographs of flatback turtles.  

The eight-image album is worth a view even though it offers no tips for aspiring underwater photographers – heck, it’s probably rather unlikely anyway that you’ll be pulling a ‘Thunderball’ anytime soon! 

 

Craig Semetko: Where Leica, America, and Street-Shooting Come Together

October 19th, 2012 No Comments

Here’s the second part of our exhibition double-header, following up from yesterday’s post about the exhibition of The Hyland Collection.  I had mentioned that we’d look at “a virtual” exhibition “about street photography” “on a ‘name’ website.” 

That ‘name’ website happens to be the Leica Blog.  In their interview with Craig Semetko published a few days back, they feature a one-man virtual exhibition of a kind, America: E Pluribus Unum.  The writer nails just who and what Semetko is in the very first sentence: “A classic street shooter in the great tradition . . . .”  In addition to the images (click on the thumbnails for bigger images), the text is instructive as well.

Semetko is a first-rate “street shooter” – and more.  Witness the arresting underwater set-up.  The quasi-symmetry, the uncorrected blue cast of the water, the American flag – it all makes for a riveting photograph.  What, though, could be the inspiration or impetus for this set-up?  I believe it is an expression in which Semetko takes an observation to its (il)logical extreme: “[I]t’s amazing how many American flags you see driving through the country.  If you’re looking you see them everywhere.”

For the most part the series of images and the interview surround the function and skill of documenting ‘stuff as it happened’ – that’s classic Leica style; classic Magnum style.

Reading the interview and viewing the images provides an insight into how well Semetko’s mindset on the one hand, and his street photography on the other, converge.  For instance, he says: “A sense of humor is fundamental to me, as I believe it is for most people.”  Now see this!

Semetko uses the word ‘story’ in relation to his photography a few times in the interview.  Even when he tells the what-happened-next story of a horse in trouble on a snow-swept plain, the composition is just perfect. 

Or take the ‘Slice of Life’ shot of three strangers at a train station.  Profile, front, profile; each stranger disconnected from the other, and each in his or her private world.  Each one of a different ethnicity too.  I had never realized train platforms were such unutterably lonely places!

 Semetko is one of the very finest photographers in his field.  Any photographer aspiring to the Leica-Magnum ethos would do well to spend some time reading what Semetko has to say and – of course – learning the craft from a master’s images.

 

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