Monday, February 25, 2008

Recovering the Complex Legacy of the Photographer Jacob Riis

by VERLYN KLINKENBORG @ The New York Times

If you have seen any of Jacob Riis’s photographs, you have probably never forgotten them. Riis was the Danish-born police reporter who in the late 1880s brought magnesium-flash photography into some of the darkest and most troubled spots in New York City — the tenements near Mulberry Bend, where Columbus Park now stands. New immigrants were crushed together there in some of the worst squalor and highest population densities ever recorded on this planet

By Riis’s time, social and political reform efforts had been going on for half a century, but to little effect. What made the difference was his photographs, which Riis used in popular lectures and in his best-selling book, “How the Other Half Lives,” published in 1890, five years before the Mulberry Bend tenements were finally torn down.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Modbook

The One and Only Tablet Mac®
by Axiotron
The Axiotron Modbook™ is a revolutionary slate-style tablet Mac that enables users to draw and write directly on the screen.
Axiotron’s innovative design and manufacturing process integrates an Apple® MacBook® computer, state-of-the-art Wacom® pen-enabled digitizer technology and Axiotron's own proprietary hardware and software components into a complete tablet solution, the Axiotron Modbook.
Built for artists, mobile users, students and professionals, the Modbook’s condensed form factor and integrated pen-based user experience offer unprecedented flexibility and control over the creative process.

Read more about it

NICE! and not a bad price $2290

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Big Shots

by R.C. Baker @ The Village Voice

The San Francisco–based photographer John Chiara grew up with a large tumor hanging from his chin; for medical reasons, it couldn't be removed until he was 15. The artist says that, as a kid, he was "really outgoing" until the benign growth was excised, after which he suddenly "got all shy." Something similar is going on with his large, one-of-a-kind landscapes shot with a ridiculously ungainly camera the size of a U-Haul trailer, which he tows around the Bay Area in search of resolutely unspectacular vistas. You won't see any inspiring shots of the Golden Gate here, just self-effacing images of serpentine curbs fronting scrubby hills or rooftops fringed with jagged foliage. Each photo is named after a different intersection, such as Sunnydale at Russia. The titles heighten the deadpan allure of these dark prints, as does Chiara's working method: He crawls through a trapdoor into his mobile camera, focuses the lens, tapes up a five-foot-wide sheet of Ilfachrome paper, then uses his hands to dodge and burn the image during the typical 20- to 40-minute exposure.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Canon’s Iris Registration Mode - Biological Copyright Metadata

@ Photography Bay

Canon is using Iris watermarking to take photographer’s copyright protection to the next level.

. . . to provide an imaging apparatus that makes it possible to protect the copyright of photographic images by reliably acquiring biological information of a photographer . . . - US Patent Application No. 2008/0025574

Stories like the recent discovery of Rebekka Guðleifsdóttir’s stolen Flickr images that surfaced on iStockphoto make all photographers cringe. Many photographers go to great lengths to protect their images. Past attempted solutions include watermarks on the front of images. I can recall this practice from my childhood years with the Olan Mills studio gold embossing in the bottom corner.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

RAW Support upgrade!

With the recent 10.5.2 update to Leopard, Apple applications now support the Sony a700 RAW format!! I didn't think it would bother me much when I first purchased the camera, but it has grown to be a major pain to have to preview the jpg files, write down the image number, then open the RAW file in Adobe Camera Raw. Now I can even scroll through the RAW files using QuickLook. EXCELLENT!

Apple camera support page

Hollywood, without the songs

By Peter Conrad @ The Guardian
In trying to praise revolutionary communism, Alexander Rodchenko captures the contradictions of the Soviet system

Mechanically augmented by the hyperfocal lens of his Kodak camera, his eyes were able, like those of a far-seeing prophet, to look into the future. The stepped balconies of his apartment house climb into the sky, and a fire escape on the side of the building - forgetting that its function is to help evacuees get down to the ground - speeds impatiently upwards, bound for the secularised heaven promised by socialism. A thin, shaved, pine tree, seen from a low angle, looks like a prototype of the pylons that wired the sky and distributed energy to dynamise Russia. Rodchenko admired the agitated reconstruction of reality in Dziga Vertov's film Cine-Eye; he too made the eye a kinetic agent, not just a passive receptor of impressions. The still image is mobilised in the jittery chaos of the photomontages he designed for Mayakovsky's poems, and a visual art strives to make a verbal noise in his poster for a campaign to democratise literacy: Lili Brik widens her mouth to proclaim the good news about the availability of books, and a silent photograph turns into a loud-hailer.


SEE ALSO: Making strange by Craig Raine @ The Guardian

Monday, February 11, 2008


I have been investigating the "demo" version of this tool and like it.

From their website:
What does Lobster do?

Lobster works inside Photoshop to accurately separate the tonality and colour of your image using the Layers palette.

Lobster creates four new layers from your RGB image: Luminosity (a very specific type of tonality) and Red-Green-Blue Chromaticity Set. (Covering Hue and Saturation).

This separation allows a "divide and conquer" approach to the editing of your images, where for example changes can be safely and accurately made to your Luminosity layer without affecting the Hue and Saturation of your file - an action not possible in Photoshop.

Lobster gives you new uses for and insights into the following elements of Photoshop:
Levels, Curves, Selective Color and all other Adjustment Layers.

Lobster website

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Modern-Day Cowboys Frozen in Time

Photographer Robb Kendrick traveled 41,000 miles searching for cowboys. His six-year quest took him across 14 states, Mexico and Canada. He emerged with a collection of images that seem trapped in time.

The men and women featured in his latest book, Still: Cowboys at the Start of the Twenty-First Century, stare out at the page, solemnly, without the slightest hint of movement. These cowboys, with their long twisting mustaches, "taco" rolled-brim hats, bandanas and rawhide lassos look like relics from another era.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Walker Evans: image problem

@ the Telegraph

As a photographer and documenter of the Great Depression, Walker Evans showed immense compassion, humanity and heart. But as a husband, he was shallow, selfish and heartless. In this extract from her revealing new autobiography, his ex-wife Isabelle Storey tells all

Isabelle Storey was 25 in 1958 when she moved to New York with her husband, Alec von Steiger. While he was away working on location, she met Walker Evans, 30 years her senior.

Ursula opened the apartment door and I glanced at the slender, grey-haired man reclining on the sofa. His face was in a cloud of cigarette smoke and he seemed to pay no attention to Plush, who ran across the room and jumped up into my arms. Ursula, herself not much taller than Plush, tried to calm the poodle down and led her towards the sofa.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Jobo announces GPS digital camera add-on

At PMA, JOBO is showing a nifty digital camera add-on called Photo GPS, which attaches to the flash hot shoe of any digital camera and records GPS data as you shoot. (If your camera has a PC terminal, you can still use an external flash unit.)

Once you’re back at your Mac, you download both your images and the GPS data file from the Jobo unit, which has a USB port. The company’s software uses a location database to match the images with the GPS data, and the software adds the location data to your images’ EXIF metadata. If you’re using Raw-format images, the software will create an XML file that stores the GPS data, readable in programs like Aperture and Lightroom.

Jobo plans to ship the Photo GPS mid-year for $159.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Well, It Looks Like Truth

By HOLLAND COTTER @ New York Times

After an autumn of large, expert, risk-free museum retrospectives, the time is right for a brain-pincher of a theme show, which is what “Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art” at the International Center of Photography is.

Organized by Okwui Enwezor, an adjunct curator at the center, it’s an exhibition in a style that’s out of fashion in our pro-luxe, anti-academic time, but that can still produce gems. The tough, somber little show “Manet and the Execution of Maximilian” at the Museum of Modern Art last year mixed grand paintings with throwaway prints and demanded a commitment of time and attention from its audience. The payoff was an exhibition that read like breaking news and had the pull of a good documentary. It was the museum’s proudest offering of the season.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Sigma DP1

The Sigma Corporation is pleased to announce the launch of the Sigma DP1 compact digital camera featuring a 14 megapixel FOVEON X3 direct image sensor (2652 × 1768 × 3 layers) as used in the Sigma SD14 digital SLR.

The DP1 is a completely new type of camera offering the full spec. and high image quality of a DSLR in the body of a compact camera. It is powered by the 14 megapixel Foveon X3 direct-image-sensor, which can reproduce high definition images rich in gradation and impressive three-dimensional detail.

It is possible to record images in RAW or the widely used JPEG in four resolution modes. It offers five Exposure modes and three Metering modes as well as being equipped with a built-in flash with the Guide Number of 6, hot shoe, neck strap and 2.5 inch TFT color LCD monitor with approx. 230,000 pixels.

The DP1 has the high resolution and functionality of an SLR, plus adaptability in terms of accessories, all built into a small body. A wide range of accessories, optical viewfinder 「VF-11」, Lens Hood「HA-11」, and Electronic Flash 「EF-140 DG」are available for the DP1 camera.

Read the Press release

Camera site