Categories
Arts Books Photography

19th-century algae prints by Anna Atkins

These algae prints were misattributed for more than a century before art historian Larry Schaaf discovered that they were the work of British botanist Anna Atkins.

As a pioneer of cyanotype photograms, a process in which sunlight (not a camera) imprints over objects on a piece of coated paper, Atkins produced the blueprints for a book entitled Manual of British Algæ in 1841. She just never got any credit.

Thanks to Larry Schaaf’s book of Atkins’s work, promptly titled Sun Gardens: Victorian Photogramsher work continues to see the light of day.

19th century algae prints by Anna Atkins
19th century algae prints by Anna Atkins
19th century algae prints by Anna Atkins
19th century algae prints by Anna Atkins
19th century algae prints by Anna Atkins
19th century algae prints by Anna Atkins
Categories
Creativity Photography Travel

Urban stimulants

Photo by Wells Baum (Grand Central Station)
Photo by Wells Baum (Grand Central Station)

There’s a compelling story everywhere you go. But some places (e.g. New York) are more content rich than others.

All you need to do is walk a few blocks and observe with the cerebration of your senses.

The graffiti scrawled on the outside of million dollar apartments, the street smoke billowing out from the sewers, the smell of hot dogs and nuts from the street vendors, the sound of delivery trucks running through potholes, and the scratch you get from someone’s suitcase as they rush by you.

Everything is attractive, a potential a souvenir of the present moment.

New York manufactures an excess of content and inspiration, much like the Internet. Such hyperactivity is overwhelming and hard to parse — some thrive on The City’s ubiquitous stimulus, others feel compelled to escape to Florida to refuel.

External provocation is integral to any environment. After all, that’s why we travel — to be astounded by newness.

If boredom is your enemy, seeking interesting places with variable rewards may be your calling. But that last thing you want is to get abused by the infinite. It’s better to scroll with intention to coalesce out of the void of 24/7 distraction.

Categories
Arts Photography

RIP Photographer Michael Wolf

RIP photographer Michael Wolf, who’s photography of mega cities like Hong Kong and Tokyo continue to amaze.

Thanks Eileen Chengyin Chow for the beautiful Twitter thread honoring his work.

Categories
Arts Creativity Photography

Tips for artists who want to sell

Tips for artists who want to sell

John Baldessari, Tips For Artists Who Want To Sell (1966 – 1968)

Glad to see that the mind’s eye remains changed.

Categories
Creativity Photography Quotes

Ansel Adams: Photography With Intention

Today, the mobile phone makes everyone a photographer. But how many people can create what they actually visualize in their head?

For Ansel Adams, what he saw in front of him was different than what he pictured in his mind’s eye. So he created the ‘zone system,’ allowing him to play with the aperture to achieve different hues of black and white.

Of course, he had to do all this before he even took the picture. Ansel Adams was applying filters before the Polaroid. Today, we can take any image and photoshop afterward to make it look like we want. We also have the luxury of sharing it immediately. But the abundance of photos drowns out great talent. Scarcity worked out in Adam’s favor.

Yet, Ansel Adams was excited about the future of what would become electronic photography. New mediums require new ways of thinking. But the photographic intention remains the same:

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”

Ansel Adams
Categories
Funny Photography Tech

Google street view mirror selfies

Google street view mirror selfies
Google street view mirror selfies
Google street view mirror selfies
Google street view mirror selfies

We’ve gone from the invention and proliferation of 15th century mirrors to human iPhone selfies, to the Google street view robot taking pictures of itself off mirrors.

Progress.

Categories
Life & Philosophy Photography Writing

‘Life is a movie; death is a photograph’

“Life is a movie; death is a photograph.”

Susan Sontag, from her first published novel The Benefactor (1969)
Categories
Arts Culture Photography Tech

Seen but diluted

The proliferation of images undermines our ability to pay attention to any single one. So we keep skimming, scrolling, consuming more and understanding less; all the while contributing to the chaos to avoid missing out.

On top of this, all Instagram images tend to look the same. It’s easier to conform to selfies, food porn, and minimalism than it is to stand out in the shadows of weird.

Even the anti-conformist photos all look the same while the well-choreographed, awe-inspiring National Geographic pictures lose out to all the artistic sameness.

“We have come to a point in society where we are all taking too many photos and spending very little time looking at them.”

Om Malik

Our eyeballs fall into inanition–too tired to give particular attention to the images that deserve a closer look. Instagram dulls the senses in exchange for the nearest click outside in the ether.

Perhaps Huxley was right: we’re so inundated with screens and media pollution that even books with all the facts in the world start to lose their discreteness.

We can forget the algorithmic filter that promises to save time by showing us the best stuff. We’re already lost at the risk of closeupness, in desperate need to relearn how to see.

Categories
Photography Video

Peculiar Pyongyang

A strange yet beautiful time-lapse tilt-shift look at Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea. Such peculiarity can also be seen in the country’s late 20th century advertising

Categories
Photography Video

Wes Anderson vehicles

Video editor Jaume R. Lloret compiled some of the vehicles from Wes Anderson movies including The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Grand Budapest Hotel.

What aesthetic eye candy!