Monthly Archives: July 2008

Getty to Offer Flickr Images for Sale

Getty to Offer Flickr Images for Sale
Creative Commons License photo credit: Thomas Hawk

So this should be quite an interesting show to watch… Getty tapping into Flickr. Thomas Hawk wrote up some very in-depth discussions about this new development on his blog (link below) and on the Flickr image above.

I’m really curious to see what comes of this partnership, but I can’t say that I’ll be quick to jump in. If it turns out being similar to microstocks or other low-cost royalty-free arrangements… well, I’ll probably pass it up altogether. Not that there’s anything wrong with these setups, but I tried that route a while ago and I found that it doesn’t suit my needs.

What I’m most interested in seeing is how things pan out with the pro-stock crowd already with Getty. I mean, think about it… now your buyers are going to be turned loose on Flickr! Hey, Flickr may have a lot of amateurs mulling about, but there’s a whole heap of really great photos over there. Personally, I’d be more than a little concerned about competing with the collective Flickr crowd.

Read more at Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection…

Yahoo and Getty Strike Deal to Sell Stock Photography Through Flickr

Is Film Dead?

Film Noir
Creative Commons License photo credit: ~*Leah*~

Sure, digital photography is king right now… but is film photography really a thing of the past? Will film have nothing but a cult following, or is it actually back on the rise?

There may not be a straightforward answer to these questions, but I’m curious to hear the thoughts of other photographers. As I stated in a recent PhotoNetCast episode, film is probably more popular in the artistic community rather than stock, wedding, corporate, family snapshots, etc. So I’m sure we’ll get a lot of different answers based on each photographer’s niche and experience.

But, in general, is film dead? Is it completely out the door as of right now? Or is it on it’s death bed? Perhaps you feel it’s come to a steady equilibrium. Or maybe you’re seeing an increase in film use. Let us know…

Final Destination
Creative Commons License photo credit: RO-BOT
{democracy:50}

And if you haven’t seen the results from the last poll on Defining Fine Art Photography, it’s definitely worth a look. We had 14 very insightful comments about this foggy topic.

Challenge Yourself: Shoot in Harsh Sunlight

Ice Cold

I can’t count how many times I’ve heard the old saying about the “magic hour” and “waiting for the light to be right”. Pah… if you want to get out and shoot, then get out and shoot. Don’t wait for the evening light or an overcast day. Harsh direct sunlight may be a little more difficult to deal with, but it has a few merits too. I actually prefer to shoot in the afternoon sun because it produces such a drastically different result than “soft light” situations.

One big reason photographers (particularly those using digital cameras) like to avoid direct sunlight is because of the limited dynamic range of the sensor. If the light is too harsh, you’ll end up clipping your shadows or highlights (or both). We’ve been trained to believe that clipping is a terrible thing and it will ruin your photo. Not true… you just have to be more careful about controlling the clipping and force the camera to produce what you want it to.

Other reasons people whine about direct sunlight shooting include: shadows, too much light for the sensor, lens flare, it’s hot, it hurts their eyes, it’s their nap time, blah, blah, blah, etc., etc.

The Lifeguard

So, seriously, don’t be bummed out next time you find yourself equipped with a camera and faced with some bright light. Here are a few pointers for shooting in harsh sunlight situations:

  • If you’re on digital, expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall out.
  • Seek out subjects that produce interesting shadows, or even make the shadows the subject.
  • Check your histogram often and make sure the camera is giving you what you want.
  • Use your lens hood to avoid excess flares and glares.
  • Don’t shoot directly at the sun with a digital camera; it’ll look stupid, plus your sensor doesn’t like it.
  • Process the photos as black & white; high contrast tends to look better without color.
  • Your f/1.4 lens is useless, so don’t worry about bringing fast glass.
  • Use shutter priority and max it out; misused aperture priority can cause you to exceed the limits of your shutter and blow out all your photos.
  • Shoot b/w film; it has a higher dynamic range and you can get some really low ISO films (like ISO 50, 25, 12, etc. – can your digital camera do that? I’ve always wondered why ISO 100 was the lower limit…).
  • Break the rules; including the ones you see on this page.

The Place to Be Cruisers

PhotoDump 07-06-2008

More great stuff this week from the Epic Edits Flickr Pool! The selection below is only a fraction of the great work in our pool, so be sure to check out the rest of the photos too!

IMG_5972 by david.fleasonDSC_9653 by newminaswildersSharing by photographie.inV^ by lifeographyReading II by Ryan OpazSummer Breeze by javiy3 by felicity crewSoul of the Street by Stina Stockholm (away on on detox)= by the_wolf_brigadePolaroid Family  by Tasha || As The Picture FadesThe White Room by TimTim74sideways by That was my foot. by mathias.pastwaTati by jrodgersart by | GW |chill out neusiedlersee by felicity crew3 year old + Nikon D80 = Nervous Dad! by Adam MelanconYou hold a special place in my heart by henrikjSummer Footwear by javiyThe sun will rise again. by the_wolf_brigadeperfect time by lifeographyFat and Happy by RussHeathWishing (tight crop) by vandyll.netHopscotch Summer by kerry okrathe smiling eye by poopooramaBonsai! by bryanvillarinHalf Full by Chica-Xred teeth by A Cognitive State of MindWeek 15: Treads by ChamplooBurning Ring of Fire by drei.dimensionaltesting the torrent by xysmas (Aaron)Alien Nation by PatriciaPixjump  by Christina KPAL Boxing by Crashmaster007Fireflies by the_wolf_brigade by mathias.pastwa

Link Roundup 07-05-2008

  • 8 Photography Myths Debunked
    Hyperphocal
    The points presented in this article are spot on 100% awesome. There are a lot of notions out there that many photographers end up believing to be true, but the accepted truth is not always true.
  • the appeal of the 50mm camera lens
    ProPhotoLife
    The 50mm prime lens is the king of all lenses… it’s just a fact. Check out some of Jim’s thoughts on why these lenses are so useful to have.
  • The importance of focus and quick tips on how to get it right
    Photodoto
    Focus in photography is about a lot more than simply sharpness or being able to see what you are looking at. Focus can enhance a subject by making it stand out from or blend into its surroundings. Here are some tips for getting it right.
  • the 15 second DIY adjustable snoot!
    F/1.0
    Five dollars and 15 seconds will get you a robust and adjustable snoot for your strobe. Great concept, and great DIY project!
  • Filters 101
    Beyond Megapixels
    It’s back to the basics with filters. Check out the different types, styles, and sizes available for your filtering needs.
  • Photo Term Series #17: Hyperfocal Distance
    JMG-Galleries
    Jim defines the term “Hyperfocal Distance” for us in this quick and educational series of photography speak.
  • The Top 10 Things You Want Most In The Next Version of Photoshop
    Photoshop Insider
    Survey results for what features people want in the next Photoshop
  • PIXCHANNEL
    An amazing collection of interviews and advice from equally amazing photographers. A MUST See website!

Defining Fine Art Photography

Waiting for a moment
Creative Commons License photo credit: ^riza^

In the previous poll, I asked “What is Fine Art Photography?” as an open-ended question. We had some really awesome responses, and those who offered up their thoughts definitely put some effort into it. Since we had so many great comments, I had a hard time picking out any that stood above the rest. So rather than feature a few comments, here are some excerpts from all the comments:

Neil Creek

… My rule of thumb definition would be “if I’d be happy to hang it on my wall” it’s fine art. But that’s probably too broad a definition for most. I think the key thing is that “fine art” is completely subjective. No one will agree what is fine art, but it might be easier to get consensus about what isn’t… read more

Niels Henriksen

… The adjective I think is Fine-art, one word and this has an understanding in the artistic and commercial world. This nomenclature is restricted to certain forms of works of art such as painting, sculpture, printmaking, theatre and architecture. Notice how photography is not fine-art just by itself, but shows up when we actually produce prints. It is the actual output or visual art that becomes the fine art… Fine art is also being used to describe a level of quality and sophistication about one’s work… I will also wholly control the output process… read more

Norbert

Fine art is a field in which the photographer makes the image. Those who just shoot to shoot really do not qualify to be called fine artist. As one who works extremely hard to create I can say that it is the insight and eye that creates the art. I may not come back with what I initially thought I was going to shoot but that is due to the change of the elements and this change also is the process of creating art… read more

Scott Ward

I believe fine art encompasses two things…
1. The photograph should be a “good” photograph. It should be well composed, sharp, evoke an emotional response, etc. This can also be very subjective and market-driven…
2. The media makes a difference. If I am looking to invest in a fine art photograph, I don’t want one that will begin to show noticeable fading in 25 years. I want a print that will last a lifetime and beyond if possible. I believe that fine art is an investment that will raise in value over the years, but it will not if the actual print will not give it time to accrue value…
A fine art photographer would be one, then, to create such works… read more

Dawn

I think that this is completely subjective. It can range from photojournalistic photography to completely Photoshopped photography that doesn’t even resemble photography anymore. However, it is going to be upscaled photography that definitely pays attention to the canons of photography: lighting, composition, focus, etc… If someone is willing to pay for the photography and they want it hanging on their walls, then they probably consider it fine art… read more

Chica

For me it’s simplicity with a punch. Something that when you look at it, you just know that it is something more. You cannot wrap my mind around it, your awed, and inspired at the same time. I rarely come across photos like these. There are many kinds of art photographs that I consider amazing, but rarely something I’d label “fine”. You inspired me to look through Wikipedia for the answer, and really there isn’t an answer… Who’s to say what fine art is? It can be generalized, but not defined… read more

John P Sercel

I tend to agree with Niels, in that Fine Art is the image (in this case) that the artist creates – art for beauty’s sake – and is completely separate from the media it is finally transferred to. It is a kind of dangerous definition, I suppose, to say that the artists designates his own work as fine art, but then I don’t know of any absolute metric that can be used… read more

Chris Lohman

It’s funny that this topic came up. Just the other day I posted a pic on a “Critique My Photo” blog for Fotki. The pic was my attempt at Fine Art Photography. The title of the post was simply “Fine Art?”. I received a wide variety of responses and not alot on my pic. Rather the debate was about what is “Fine Art” …??? One of the best post was the following… read more

Alessandro Rosa

When I thought about your question of what fine art photography is, the word crafted came to mind. The dictionary definition for crafted (v.) helps explain my viewpoint: “To make or construct (something) in a manner suggesting great care or ingenuity.” So I would say that to be considered a fine art photograph, the image needs to be crafted by the artist, or to restate it I would say that my definition of a fine art photograph is an image that is made in a manner suggesting great care, ingenuity and skill. So subject, lighting, composition and idea are well thought out, display a mastery of the craft of photography and are executed to produce an image of superior quality. Unfortunately, I don’t think that there is anything that can really quantify what the quality is, it is one of those “I’ll know it when I see it things.” Such is art… read more

Pixie

I believe that fine art photography is less about product, and more about the artist’s vision- a commentary of sorts. Yes, the photographer needs skill, in lighting, composition, exposure etc. but not as much for the purpose of creating a “good” photograph but because to be an artist one must have the skill to effectively communicate one’s vision… I have to completely disagree with those who say that it is about what sells — that may be essential in stock photography for example, but I believe that the artist that is solely producing work because it is what the consumer wants to see has lost sight of their own artistic vision… read more

Harley Pebley

I don’t have anything to add regarding the definition, but do have a recent conversation to relate that I thought was interesting. A friend and I were leaving an annual arts festival featuring local painters and sculptors; all sorts of styles and skill levels. One of these things where you pay a fee and you’re in. I commented on the lack of photographers and suggested it might be interesting for us to try to put something together for next year. I was told we wouldn’t be allowed since photography isn’t fine art… read more

One reader even took things a step further and posted his thoughts on his own blog.

Damien Franco

… Conceptualizing an image from the moment of capture to print should, perhaps, maintain an integrity consistent with evoking feeling… I believe, however, that you can label yourself as a Fine Art Photographer or produce work that is Fine Art Photography if you are placing yourself at the mercy of those who may be more qualified to validate your work… The funny thing is that after you have successfully been deemed, by those in the industry, as a tried and true “Fine Artist” every work you have done prior to the acclaimed label is now acceptable as “Fine Art”. If you’re lucky you won’t already be dead when this happens…. read more

I also posed the question to a few of the others at the Fine Art Photoblog. Neil (shown above as the first comment) answered the question here on the blog before I even had a chance to announce it to the whole group. So here are some additional thoughts from Andrew and Myself.

Andrew Gibson

For me, Fine Art Photography is something that is beautiful. Art is about creating objects of beauty, uplifting the spirit and celebrating the amazing world we live in. Sometimes, though, art is ugly or threatening and disturbing and brings things to our attention that we’d rather not know about or acknowledge. War photography is a great example of this. Take for example the photos of Zoriah, a photojournalist embedded in Iraq who Brian featured recently on this blog. Is it Fine Art? The intention of the photographer isn’t to make art, I’m sure, but to tell the story of the Iraq war from his perspective. But the photos have a strange beauty. It’s art, but it’s disturbing, in your face and deals with issues we’d rather not acknowledge or think about.

Brian Auer

I believe Fine Art Photography certainly falls within the bounds of the encompassing realm of Fine Art. To me, Fine Art Photography has to do more with mastery of the process than the actual photo. This process would include things like choosing the camera, capturing the image, processing, printing, etc. Since the process is typically a lengthy endeavor, the artist will usually form a strong emotional connection with the piece of art they have created. When others see that artwork, they might also connect with that photo in some way, but not necessarily in the same way as the artist. So can we label ourselves as Fine Art Photographers? Absolutely. Nobody knows your work and the process behind it better than you do. Whether or not your work is liked by others is an entirely different question.

ZORIAH: A Great Photojournalist

© Zoriah

I have a deep admiration for great photojournalists. The ones who do well have a special gift for capturing real events as they happen to real people. Being able to convey these things to people across the globe through photos and written stories is truly a gift. I’m no photojournalist myself, but I hold those who are in very high regard and their photos are some of my favorites to experience.

© Zoriah

INTRODUCING ZORIAH…

Zoriah is one of these great photojournalists. And what I really love about his work is his ability to combine photojournalism with art — I find many of his photos to be highly artistic in nature. He’s completely independent; covering the issues that he wants to cover. Zoriah is not bound by anyone’s agenda but his own. He chooses to cover some of the tragic and terrible events that mainstream media won’t. But with this freedom comes sacrifice in other areas (especially in the wallet). Even with limited budgets, Zoriah keeps doing what he loves. He also has a very defined explanation of what photojournalism means to him:

I think photojournalism is about producing journalism in a way that hits people right in the heart and their emotional core using the power of the still image to affect people on an emotional level and make them want to change and educate or have some action in a situation.

MORE ABOUT ZORIAH AND HIS WORK

© Zoriah

If you can’t tell by now, Zoriah is a photojournalist and war photographer specializing in documenting conflict, crisis, and disaster. He is an award winning photojournalist whose works have been featured in some of the world’s most prestigious galleries, museums and publications. Zoriah’s clients have included The BBC, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, ABC News, NPR, Focus and many others. With a background in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Aid, Zoriah specializes in documenting human crises in developing countries. His vitae not only lists photographic achievements and study, but also the in-depth training and experience necessary for working under extreme conditions in some of the world’s harshest environments. (quoted from Zoriah.net)

He’s covered events such as the Lebanon Post Conflict and Cluster Bomb Aftermath, the Gaza Medical Crisis, the Thailand Tsunami, the Bird Flu Pandemic in Southeast Asia, Hurricane Iris, the World Trade Center Attacks, and many more.

© Zoriah

FOLLOWING ZORIAH

Zoriah is currently in Iraq covering the ongoing events via his blog, Flickr, etc.

I would highly recommend checking out each of his sites, particularly his new blog where he combines his amazing imagery with first-hand reports and stories. You won’t find this type of journalism on typical mainstream media. Also note that the photos you see on this post are just a small portion of his work.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON ZORIAH

© Zoriah

This entire post is a bit out of the ordinary for me. I don’t typically feature single photographers because there are way too many great ones out there. But Zoriah actually contacted me several days ago looking for tips and such on his new blog, and he introduced himself as “new to blogging, but old to photography”. As soon as I saw his work, I knew that Zoriah was a very special individual… one of those people who can change the world with nothing more than a camera. And to top it all off, he’s very down to earth and approachable as a real person just like you and I.

I wish him all the best of luck with his current and future endeavors, and I invite all of you to view his photos, read his writing, and take an interest in what he’s doing.

© Zoriah