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Monday, 05 November 2012


Such tragedy. The second tragedy is the expectation of those effected that governments can make it all right in a New York minute.

Thanks Mike for sharing your thoughts on this set. Yes, they are all very good photos, and I'd have been proud to have taken any one of them. But for most, the key feature is timing and access to the effect of the storm. Not that that's a bad thing, but that next level - documenting something poignantly and with fresh eyes - is much much harder.

I hope this post about photography gets more comments than the ones about cameras. Just another thing that I'm just saying.

Mike, I heartily endorse this for your viewing pleasure:
Natural disaster photo cliché bingo, courtesy of Making Light. Note that the primary authors of the blog, the Nielsen-Haydens are residents of NYC, as are many of the regulars, and that this was not intended as detached morbid humor, but rather as a way to cope with the disaster as it unfurled.

Making Light is a comment moderated blog, and as usual, some of the best parts of the post are embedded in the comments.


Picking up where John Flores left off...

Ultimately, a natural disaster is what it is because people are involved. If a tornado touches down in remote Siberia, do we care? Did we even notice?

In looking at the Big Picture Collection, it occurs to me that people were often diminished in the frame. We rarely see a person's eyes. Even in frames 3 and 56 the human interest angle gets lost in the context. Some of the shots could've been taken any place during any storm. Ultimately, the whole essay becomes a collage of dark stuff, broken stuff, misplaced stuff, sunken stuff. The emotional connection to stuff just isn't that strong.

Yet, when Mike announces that he's going to gently break in a D800E for me, it looks like ants at a picnic around here. We love talking about stuff. Even better if it's new, complex, expensive stuff like a D800E!

Which is it? Do we love stuff or are we indifferent to it? I'm at a loss here.

In contrast, human interest posts seem to attract far fewer comments. As demonstrated by this collection, we sure do want that strong human angle in our photos. Could it be that we're looking for a connection in photos that we're hesitant to make ourselves? To paraphrase John, someday I hope a post about people draws as much interest as one about stuff.

As I drove under that big cloud disc, in my tiny little Lotus car on those big bad Interstate highways.... It was a very spooky sight. Ominous if you knew what you were looking at.
I was lucky to be only going to the snow country of West Virginia.
Bad enough, but I got off easy. At least with the weather.

You reminded me of how much I miss Rob Galbraith. He was my gateway to the Boston Globe and many other collections of outstanding photographs.

I were confused quite a while as I did not knew that there were two replica of the old boat. The other one is anchored just around the corner my holiday home is.

A couple of thoughts. Lets hear it for those people who are acting as picture editors. We can hardly pay photojournalists a decent wage but picture editors are suddenly as scarce as hens teeth, as my grandmother used to say. And those that do exist have to know more about Photoshop and HTML than they do about photojournalism. But there are a lot of hard-working people out there making sure we see the best images. Thanks to them.

The other, related to Mike's search for a perfect camera, is inasmuch as our digital behemoths with their f/2.8 lenses weigh as much as Mathew Brady's gear, would someone please give us something to the M2 and OM-1 for digital work? it's bad enough my back hurts and Ibruprofen stock is going up daily, it's hard to work with these monsters. We stick out like sore thumbs.

Then again, at my age maybe it's best to sit on the front porch and sip iced tea.

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