Fifty-nine is a lot
I'd like to briefly observe that the word "creative" is bandied about with great abandon these days on arts and crafts forums all over the web—but often detached from its literal meaning, or with its literal meaning relegated to some lower strata of gray theory.* In which context, it's good to remember from time to time that the primary meaning of "creativity" is creating or producing something. So I'd like to be seen standing on my stump here applauding for the 59 people who successfully completed books at sofobomo. I'm tremendously impressed that a full 59 people managed to complete their projects. A number of the successful authors' names I recognize as frequent or occasional T.O.P. commenters, which is also a pleasure. Anyway, no further comment, but congratulations to all the bookmakers for their commitment and, yes, creativity.
Good Pixels Go Big: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III and Genuine Fractals
Sharpness in the extreme. From Diglloyd.
Not a photography show, an art installation
"Take a look at this picture. It's a view of the front window of the legendary—and now long-gone—Dubrow's Cafeteria on King's Highway in Brooklyn, N.Y., shot from the street by Marcia Bricker Halperin in 1979. The reflections on the window—cars, signs, a checker cab—seem to mingle with the patrons inside the cafeteria. A couple of guys kibitz in the back; an old woman seated by the window clutches her check and stares quizzically out at the camera. It's a beguilingly complex image in the tradition of classic black-and-white street photography.
"Like the picture? Join the crowd. It was the top choice (from among 389 images) of 3,344 people who participated in the Brooklyn Museum's odd experiment in curatorial crowd-sourcing, 'Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition....' "
READ ON at slate
Well I'll be
If you've been reading these virtual pages for a while now, you probably remember my little notice about the death of an old friend—I'm talking about the meltdown of my ancient Sunpak 150. Well, I have no idea how timely (or, more likely, not) this intelligence might be, but I recently discovered to my delight that Sunpak is back in the monolight business that they were out of for several years, and there's a brand-spanking new, cheap, and sleek Sunpak 150 out now—this one called Platinum, which I guess is supposed to either mean it's good, or it's celebrating its twentieth anniversary.
Many of you will be reading this and thinking, who gives a crap? Since you no doubt work with far more sophisticated lighting equipment on a consistent basis. Others of you will be reading and thinking, who gives a crap? Because you've never owned or used an off-camera stand-mounted flash and have no interest. To the latter group, I'll just say that you'd be very surprised how easy it is to use a nice monolight—there's really nothing to it, especially with a digital camera—and you'll be equally surprised at how useful such a thing can be, for all sorts of things from portraits to Ebay product shots. Although if you already have a high-quality on-camera flash you can probably do everything a monolight can do with a light stand or two, an umbrella, and a sync cord. Anyway, my new Sunpak is on the way, so I'll review it...well, someday. Out with the old, in with the new.
Could this fool your ten-year-old?
Honest to god, who could possibly look at this picture for fifteen seconds and not see it's a blatant Photoshop job? To me it looks like something that should appear on Photoshop Disasters. Yet apparently it fooled many of the best picture editors in America. Somebody needs to wake up and use their eyes.
More proof that I'm a curmudgeon
I'm a little late with this one, since Wimbledon is already over (won by Spain's Rafael Nadal in an epic five-set match), and these have gone back to being grass. Artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey discovered that grass grows a lighter green where it receives less light, so they projected negatives on panels of growing grass. These photographs (for that's what they are) were then exhibited opposite the ticket line at Wimbledon, for the enjoyment of the idling throngs. Gradually, in daylight, the images slowly disappeared, as the light-starved lighter shades received enough sunlight and the panels reverted to a uniform green.
So why does that make me a curmudgeon? Well, my first thought when I first saw this was not, "Wow, cool, grass prints!," but, "Mmph, they could have chosen better pictures." Whew I'm old.
Editors needed all over
The web really makes me chuckle sometimes.
More proof that I'm an alien
The Associated Press is reporting that "now that they're born" and hence susceptible to being photographed, the double-zygote neonates of two movie stars known en pair as "Brangelina" could bring as much as $11 million to the lucky (and no doubt, um, brazenly persistent) celebrity photographer who manages to land the first snap of the wee doublets. I shall say again, eleven million dollars. Which raises the excellent question, how can so many people possibly care?!? For that much money to be in the offing, there have got to be a lot of people who care. And that, I am afraid, I cannot comprehend. I do not find within me a scintilla of interest as to what these babies look like, unless they share the same head or one of them happens to have a hoof instead of a hand. How can I be so different than so many other human beings? I wonder. Perhaps it's because, absent atypical defects, I think I already know what the little boogers look like—pretty much like every other scrunchy-faced little fresh-popped rugrat. No, I'm sure they're adorable. Next topic.
On the other hand, one can kinda see what keeps the Paparazzi hopping. For $11 million, I'd let Lindsey Spears run over my foot. Come to that, with that kind of coin on the table, I'd take the pictures of my own kids and sell 'em myself, if I were Brange or Elina.
And so it goes, around the web on a Thursday.
Mike (with thanks to Eolake Stobblehouse, Carl Siracusa, and John Camp—some of the rest of these items were suggested by multiple readers.)
*"All theory, dear friend, is gray, but the golden tree of life springs ever green." —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from Faust
Featured Comment by David A. Goldfarb: "The Diglloyd image is very sharp, but it's still a picture of a building leaning backward, even if it's made with a $3900 lens on a $7900 camera. Let's see, a new top end 150mm ƒ/5.6 Apo-Sironar-S is about $1000, and since we're pretending we have deep pockets, we could get an Arca-Swiss 4x5" F-Metric with a collapsible rail for $4700 (though a second-hand Sinar F or F1 would do just as well for about $500 or less), and what the heck, let's toss in $500 for odds and ends like a light meter, filmholders and such (figuring a tripod is needed with either camera for optimal results). That leaves $5600 for a lot of film, processing and drum scans to do the job right with even more sharpness and detail."
Mike adds: Some guy—what was his name?—wrote an article in the current issue of Black & White Photography magazine talking about something similar. Right—it was me. Like David, I think there ought to be a mini-bandwagon in the photo-hobby kingdom for this particular hybrid imaging method. It might not be super convenient, but it is fun, and it's a way to get superb detail, superb dynamic range, and tilt-shift image geometry into a Photoshoppable and inkjet-printable monster-sized file for much less money than top-end digital. The key is cheap (relatively), good scanners like the Epson V700. I was all set to try some 4x5" color neg on the V700 when it...broke. There's always the fly in the soup, isn't there?
Featured Comment by KEithB: "The Iranian missile photo is on Photoshop Disasters."