The Talbot that wasn't
The unpreposessing little photogram at left is alleged to be "the talk of the photo-historical world" at the moment. The "intense speculation," kicked off when the leading Talbot scholar, Larry J. Schaaf, proclaimed it not a Talbot, is that it might be one of a lost set of experimental results by the circle of one Henry Bright, a group that included Sir Humphry Davy, Thomas Wedgwood, and James Watt, predating Talbot and Daguerre by decades. And if it is, then it might not only rewrite the early history of photography, but do something really important—perform at auction. (Nothing excites the art world like money, bestowed discriminately and plentitudinously.) You can read more at the world's best photography magazine, a.k.a. the New York Times.
And about that photo at the top of this post—it obviously shows a mob of terrorists, bent on uncovering secrets of our air power. We want to know where Homeland Security is and what they think they're doing, letting all those nicely-dressed and no doubt clean and polite Agents of Evil snap away with impunity.
OT: Blue Jeans Cable strikes back
This has nothing to do with photography, and it's already been picked up by a large number of online traffic generators and trackers (digg, slashdot, etc.), where you may have run across it. But it's both stirring and a bit funny as a response to corporate bullying. The short take: Monster Cable has a reputation for scaring the bejesus out of tiny companies by threatening lawsuits, in order to get licensing fees it doesn't deserve, but this time it picked on a "little guy" company that happens to be run by a retired corporate litigator.
Daily Show takes on the Paparazzi
In the episode of 4/16/08. Available on iTunes and possibly elsewhere. (Memorable quote: "You are not the press just because you happen to have a camera.") The same episode features the Daily Show's team coverage of the Pope's visit.
Up-rezzing: mixed methods
Martin Doonan has followed up on Ctein's comparisons of various methods of up-sizing digital files with a series of investigations of mixed methods, to see if he could get "the best of both worlds"—that is, the fine detail of Photoshop Bicubic with the sharp results of Genuine Fractals. He says he's close to a repeatable, scriptable enlargement routine.
'What We Bought'
Eric Etheridge has posted the second in his "The Missing Criticism" series, reviving lost critical essays that remain worthy of attention and making them available (with the authors' permission) as .PDF downloads. (Don't worry, our link doesn't go straight to the .PDF.) This time it's Tod Papageorge's essay on Robert Adams's What We Bought.
Nikon D3X rumor updates
David Kilpatrick at Photoclub Alpha explains the latest flurry of rumors in a piece called "Nikon D3X 24.4 megapixel sensor leak." Meanwhile, here at T.O.P., both Carl and I have recently received Pentax K20D's (although I haven't yet received a lens—I'm waiting for the 35mm ƒ/2.8), so look for some upcoming posts about that one in the not-too-near, but not-too-distant future.
Finally, for the photographer who has almost, but not quite, everything: the Paparazzi Play Set. (Here's a U.S. Amazon link should you actually want to buy this.) "Now you can bask in the spotlight of your very own red carpet experience, without the indignity of having yourself splattered across the brain-numbing pages of fatuous magazines. These nine members of the worlds [sic] snapping media come complete with the ethical and moral depth of an earthworm, are blissfully mute, and will make you feel as adored and sought-after as you no doubt should be."
Mike (Thanks to James Wilson, David Emerick, and Oren Grad)