Making perfect pictures on your iPhone

Making perfect pictures on your iPhone
I’m in love with the photo-making process: from the click of the shutter to the final product, it’s magic to me. And although the mechanical click has been replaced by a silent tap, my love for the art and science of photography has only intensified. I’m a firm believer in the idea that “the best camera is the one you have with you,” and it’s never been more true than on today’s smartphone-saturated streets.

Watching the watchers

How Britain exported next-generation surveillance
Britain is one of the most surveilled countries in the world. Studies put the number of operational CCTV cameras at between two and four million, for a population of 60 million people. The country’s national DNA database holds records on six million people. Telecoms companies are mandated to store logs of all mobile-phone calls and text messages for 12 months, and to make the data available to government at all levels. […]

In 2009, a House of Lords report described the explosion of surveillance technologies as one of the most significant changes to Britain since the Second World War. It noted:

“Mass surveillance has the potential to erode privacy. As privacy is an essential pre-requisite to the exercise of individual freedom, its erosion weakens the constitutional foundations on which democracy and good governance have traditionally been based in this country.”

This has been described as an acceptable price to pay for greater security, but studies of surveillance technology fail to support that argument. […]

Consent, the bedrock on which the agreement to be policed is based, is meaningless without comprehension, and comprehension is impossible without visibility. It is only when people are brought face-to-face with the reality of surveillance — as the Catts were, and as the people of Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook were — that they see how their privacy, and their right to be presumed innocent, have been affected.

I knew that we have more than our fair share of cameras, but I hadn’t really thought about just how widespread before. A vital read.

Type the Sky

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Type the Sky
Standing in something like a little courtyard in Barcelona I looked up. I saw houses, the sky, clouds and a “Q”. The negative space in-between the houses formed a letter. I loved the idea of the sky as words, the negative being the positive. If I could find a “Q” other letters should be somewhere around the corner.

Genetic portraits

split-face-portraits2      split-face-portraits3      split-face-portraits1

Wonderful sets of family portraits, with a difference, from Canada-based photographer and graphic designer Ulric Collette. He and his son appear in the third photo above.

The parent/child portraits look very startling, but the brother and sister pairs could very easily be photos of real people. Must have a go at this myself…

And here’s some more of Ulric’s mad portrait work.

(Via 123 Inspiration)

Cinemagraphs

Cinemagraphs are, according to Wikipedia, “still photographs in which a minor and repeated movement occurs. Cinemagraphs, which are usually published in an animated GIF format, can give the illusion that the viewer is watching a video.”

Am I right in thinking this is an internet-only thing? Is this a branch of photography that couldn’t have existed when I was at art college?

Where old cars went to die

deadcarsNothing’s permanent, of course, but not many things shuffle off this mortal highway so gracefully as these old Belgian bangers.

“The large ‘car cemetery’ is located in the village of Chatillon,located in Belgium. In Second World War the world faced much losses.one of the losses are cars. Yes there are more than 500 cars in one places are become corrosive. The reason was more expensive for shift throw Ocean. So cars left in the forest. Somebody like to prevent this models from cemeteries. whoever car lovers enjoy this collection”

(Via Design You Trust. More photos at Mail Online.)

An Alaska Window

alaskawindowIt may be another simple-thing-building-up-into-something-interesting-through-daily-repetition art project, but I like the calm meditative feel of Mark Meyers’ An Alaska Window.

I live in Alaska in a log house that’s about 100 years old. It has these interesting, old (though not energy efficient), single-paned sash windows. They are at the foot of my bed and are normally the first thing I see in the morning. I noticed over the years that they are constantly changing with the weather and seasons, occasionally in interesting ways. They ice up in the winter, collect leaves in the fall, and occasionally steam up in the summer. So I started taking photos of them and the scene outside—mostly with the iPhone, but occasionally I’ll lug the dSLR up there. It has gradually turned into a minimalist personal project that’s become a reminder to myself that even the simplest things are interesting if you pay attention. I’ve found it to be good way to start each day, an exercise in seeing and visually exploring a single subject and noticing how it gradually changes over time.

(Via Petapixel)

Perhaps I should give street photography another go

streetMing Thein has a great post on petapixel on the ethics of photographing random strangers on the street and, as you’d expect, they are some wonderful shots throughout. It was interesting to read about some of the different techniques that can be used. I can’t remember where I first heard the line “If your photo’s not good enough, you’re not close enough”, but Ming has another way too.

There’s a slight snobbishness about shooting with a longer lens, too – it isn’t seen as being hardcore enough. In fact, these days, it seems if you’re not at f/8, hyperfocal distance and sticking your camera and flash right up to somebody’s nose, then you’re not really doing street photography.

There’s another approach, though. I think it’s much, much harder to shoot wide open with a relatively wide lens – say nothing longer than 35mm – and shoot without your subject knowing you’re there. This is what I like to call the stealth method – you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, and better yet, shoot without even bringing the camera to your eye.

I’d love to give this a proper go. It’s easier to blend in and look inconspicuous with a cameraphone than with a big lens perhaps, but the one I’ve got now isn’t up to much. I sense a post-Christmas shopping opportunity!