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Archive for December, 2008

mom

My laptop became a telephone, camera and an extension of myself today.

I never thought I would make a meaningful image with a laptop.

I also never thought my Mac G4 would become more than a machine.

It goes with me almost everywhere, an extension of myself.

The above image is a screen capture.

Snapshot

“I can hear you,” I told my mom.

She and I were learning how to use skype.

Yes, I realize it’s been around for a while.

When she appeared on video I just reacted.

“Shoot,” I thought.

PowerBook

I was carrying my laptop behind some shelves inside the
Apple Store, Aspen Grove.

She’s in another part of the store.

We’re trying to put some distance between us so we can
see if we’re actually connected.

Her voice came through my PowerBook’s speakers and then
her video image appeared on screen.

I cradled my laptop between my right hand, forearm and torso.

My left thumb on the apple key, pinkie finger on shift and
index finger on 3 made the shot.

Screen Capture

Check out one of my earlier posts where University of
Westminster professor Russell Stannard has made good use
of Camtasia, a screen capture software.

Stannard’s website is also a great resource.

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smile01

There’s a set of images which mock the photos they imitate
and that’s why we love them.

The original pictures changed the world, their tribute images question
how they did it.

Little men poke fun at human achievement, historic firsts and, most importantly,
at the images depicting them.

Many have commented that these pictures pay homage to photographic
history, but they’re parodies.

Much the way a yellow Bart Simpson and the rest of his
animated world often throw stones at the iconic, so do these images.

Toy Photographs

Classics in Lego recreates some famous still photographs in
Lego form. The artist says he loves to play with macro lighting
and these photographs prove it.

The light in several of the images re-creates the light of the original
images they imitate.

The tiny plastic men and women in many of the pictures make
me laugh.

The drama of these moments, the sacred status of the photographs
that captured them, all reduced to child’s play.

Comparing the original Execution of a Viet Cong Guerrilla 1968
with it’s toy counterpart reveals the true power of this child-like quality.

Viet Cong in Lego

A smile never felt so sinister.

The face of the original VC being shot is agonized. It contrasts the Lego
man’s smile so clearly that the distinction is memorable, but also
suggests multiple meanings.

Eddie Adams original image changed Americans’ perceptions of
the Vietnam War.

He regretted making the photograph because he argued that people
didn’t understand it.

In General Nguyen Ngoc Loan’s eulogy which appeared in Time, Adams
argued that still photographs are powerful but have limits.

“The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera.
Still photographs are the most powerful weapon in the world. People believe
them, but photographs do lie, even without manipulation,” Adams wrote.

Photo Illusions

Imprisoning, a 1989 article in Time mentioned Adams photograph along with
other historic pictures in photojournalism.

The articles author, Lance Morrow, worte, that “all great photographs have lives of
their own, but they can be as false as dreams.”

Or, maybe viewers perceptions of them are false, as false as a thin, inked
smile on a plastic face.

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Returning home

Returning home

My post before last mentioned Roger Tooth’s comments on the most recent
World Press Photo exhibition.

Positive pictures are important.

This post develops that thought further.

Tim Heathrington’s Image

Tim Hetherington’s image of a US soldier sinking into a bunker embankment in
Afghanistan won World Press Photo 2008.

Hetherington said that the soldiers he photographed in Afghanistan’s six-mile-long,
Korengal Valley saw more fighting than any US forces in the world, at one point, 111
incidents in one month.

Recently, Hetherington spoke at the University of Westminster, where he discussed
how he works to get close to whatever story he’s shooting.

Talking to World Press about his winning image, he placed it in the context of not
only the intense fighting but also his connection to it.

He lived with the troops, ate their food, and dealt with fear that suicide bombers
might overtake both him and the soldiers.

The Power to Connect

Viewers feel the war’s intensity when they see Hetherington’s image.

For him, this kind of communication is what still images do best.

“The power of images isn’t in necessarily what they represent but it’s in
their ability to connect,” Hetherington said in the interview.

Positive images of lighter subjects have the same power and I think
they provide an essential balance for both photojournalists and viewers.

A Contrast to War

W. Eugene Smith took one year to recover from wounds caused by mortar fire.

His first image after a long slog with combat photography and his subsequent
recovery was a simple picture of his children.

The International Photography Hall of Fame quotes Smith speaking about the picture.

“ The day I again tried for the first time to make a photograph, I could barely load the roll
of film into the camera. Yet I was determined that the first photograph would be a contrast
to the war photographs and that it would speak an affirmation of life,” the article quotes Smith.

These words argue that images like Smith’s “The Walk to Paradise Garden” are essential.

They breathe life into all of us.

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There’s a shortage of bell ringers for England’s churches.

Bell ringing is a craft that many ringers continue learning over a lifetime.

Enjoy and merry Christmas.

Listen to this episode

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The Human Connection

fatherson

A son comforts his injured father and is himself comforted.

This image is important because photojournalism chronicles
all aspects of life.

The world needs images that show love as much as those that
reveal conflict.

News photographers frequently document suffering and cruelty.

Images that show our humanity matter because they can guide us.

Roger Tooth’s Comment

The Guardian’s head of photography, Roger Tooth, recently visited the 2008 World Press
Photo exhibition when it came to London.

A video of his visit resides on the Guardian’s website.

In the piece he talks about how many of the images chronicle “miserable people in miserable
situations,” but he points out that newsworthy images can also be happier.

“There are some positive things going on in the world.” Tooth said. “[But,] in
photography and photojournalism we always seem to reflect the problems and
report the problems.”

Tooth questions if next year’s competition should award some pictures
that share more joy.

Considering what combat photographers endure and what they want their pictures
to communicate, Tooth has a point.

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People have been asking where to find pictures on the web and
when an image is under copyright.

TASI’s list of copyright FAQs is a good place to start.

Down the list is a link to finding images online.

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picture-4

I just found a better way to do screenshots!

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