Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kindle for Photo Portfolios - An Idea

Just a thought came to me.  But, the Kindle can read PDF's and PDF's are a great way to show your photography portfolios.  Using Open Office Writer, you can create your portfolios, quickly export as PDF files and then, I'm guessing it is easy to upload to the Kindle.

The Kindle is easy to transport.  PDF Photo Portfolios on the move.  Why NOT!?!  Could be cool!

Update: 2nd Mar 2010.
Been a bit busy lately and only getting to this update.  The Kindle may not work too well after all.  After looking closer at the specs, it only offers a 16-gray scale screen.  HOWEVER, the much joked about iPad has color and is very portable.  Maybe that would be more useful for portable portfolio usage.  If you can get past the name, then there may be some portable usage for photographers in this item.  Another thought on this topic of portable ways to show your portfolio.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Quote by Berenice Abbott

The challenge for me has first been to see things as they are, whether a portrait, a city street, or a bouncing ball. In a word, I have tried to be objective. What I mean by objectivity is not the objectivity of a machine, but of a sensible human being with the mystery of personal selection at the heart of it. The second challenge has been to impose order onto the things seen and to supply the visual context and the intellectual framework - that to me is the art of photography.

- Berenice Abbott

A Guide to Better PhotographyBerenice Abbott American Photographer

Berenice Abbott, what an amazing photographer, and during what we, today might say were simpler times.  They were in fact more difficult times, comparing our technology to what she had to work with.  And that makes her accomplishments that much more spectacular.
According to Abbott, her methodology of the "art" of photography was first, to see the subject as they are perceived by the artist, in the context of the location, time of day, weather, and all the other elements that go into the visual scene.  Second, she attempted to "make order" of the scene so she could capture the photograph. 
The second part of that is what I would have difficulty with out in the "open air" type of photography.  In the studio, yes, of course, no doubt I like and insist upon making order of the subjects I'm photographing.  But, to do that out in the environment, especially a city setting, that would seem near impossible.  Maybe it didn't seem that way to Abbott, but to me, I find it unrealistic. 
Hey, I'm not one to argue with greatness; with masters of the craft, but I would say this:  "I prefer to take natural urbanscapes as they unfold, controlling nothing but my position, the camera lens, my angle-of-view, my shutter and aperture, my filters, my camera mode, the height of the camera from the ground, my ISO setting, and the time of day I go out shooting.
Those are the aspects (and could be more mentioned) that I can control, but I cannot prefer not to control the movement of the people, the direction of traffic, the flight of birds, and things like that.
I would have to study Abbott much more to figure out exactly what she meant, what her philosophy was on this.
Nevertheless, her results were spectacular.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Being Trapped

I'm reprinting / republishing a blog post from one of my other photo journals, http://nawfalnur.wordpress.com/ because it is an important post for photographers who are concerned about unauthorized usages of their online photos.

Here it is:

"Trapped" (© 2010)
A Collaborative Work

Nawfal Nur (Original Eye Photo)
Brittney Hamilton (Dark Artwork on this Photo)

" Being Trapped "
© Nawfal Nur (12 Feb 2010)

"The sound of a heartbeat bounces off four walls,
and silently falls to the ground.
An ear hears no words,
but the torturous ringing of empty-blackness.
The eye sees nothing but a faint distant light, taunting,
but there's no way out.
A mind void of senses goes slowly mad,
and thoughts bleed from the body and disappear into the growing-blackness.
Being Trapped
. "

Well, not the cheeriest of poems I've ever written, but fitting...it must fit the subject of the photograph.

Is my poetry any good? What a question to ask yourself. I don't know if these lines fit any formula of poetry, and I don't really want to occupy my mind with formulas.

When I 'visualize' what "Trapped " is, these are the thoughts, the visual words I see in my mind's eye.

I want to thank Brittney for finding my Iritis Eyeball photograph at my blog. She contacted me and asked if she could do one of her "Dark Art" pieces using my eyeball photograph. After some emailing, it was agreed upon and she applied her skills, her genre (Dark Art) to my photograph, and the "Trapped" photograph (above) is the result.

I do appreciate that Brittney wrote to me to ask permission to do this collaborative work. I commend her on that. The results of this ended up well.

It is a sad note that both of us have had people use our images/artwork without asking permission. It is difficult to tell if these 'violators of copyright images' know that they are not supposed to use images made by other people. However, if you see a © symbol, then the work is clearly unusable to anyone but the artist/photographer/author of the work.

IF an image is in the public domain, or an image has an 'open' copyright that allows its use for specific purposes without asking permission, then that's a different story. This sort of usage freedom is what the Creative Commons copyright notice is for - to allow some freedom of usage of intellectual works. BUT, THESE WORKS ARE ALSO CLEARLY MARKED WITH SPECIFIC COPYRIGHT SYMBOLS:
  • Attribution (CC-BY)
  • Attribution Share Alike (CC-BY-SA)
  • Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
  • Attribution Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC)
  • Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)
  • Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)
Go Here to find out more about the CC!

Often times, we artists/we photographers find our work being used without our permission, even though it is copy written, and has the usual © symbol attached to it: That is not right - it is a violation of our intellectual property and our copyright.
  • So, what can you do, what should you do, what realistically can be done?
Pursuing such violations under whatever means available is often fruitless. I don't want to sound negative about this, but you must look at the economics of your work and its true market value.

If your original work isn't valued beyond belief (i.e., Thousands of Dollars), then the legal costs of pursuing copyright violations would be enormous to the point of business breaking for most photographers.

This is not to say don't pursue violations of your copyright, but in this day-and-age of royalty-free images going for a few cents per download, and a worldwide economy that has taken a major hit, a photographer would have to weigh the common sense and economics of pursuing copyright violations against them. The easy to get MULTITUDES of digital images off the Internet has devalued the work of everyone out there who depends on sales for their living.

If it makes economic sense in your world, then have at it - go for the legal course of action.

If it is not feasible for you to take legal action, then try to reason with violators. Perhaps they will remove illegal work if you send them an email notice. If that doesn't work, then perhaps a lawyer's letter will have more bite to it.

To me, this is another form of "Being Trapped" - when there isn't much you can do about something, even though you wish you could, and you know you are in the right!

You may be trapped between wanting to take some action to correct a wrong and set it right; and, not being able to take action because it would not be economically feasible.

After all, where will you end up if you choose poorly. You could end up spending (or owing) several 10's of thousand's of dollars in legal fees (and how much time wasted) to save your photograph that may only have a shelf life worth $100.00 (maybe more, but probably less if the work was meant for a royalty-free micro-stock site)?

Enough joy about photography copyright violations.



Please have a look at Brittney's other work - she is talented. Just click on her link under her name (above).

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Best Camera with Me

"Colors in the Grass, v.1"
2010, Penang, Malaysia
Here's a photograph I took with the camera built into my Samsung Phone:  This camera is the one I label, "The Best Camera with Me", Camera.  I've been preaching the benefits of always taking ANY camera with you, ANYWHERE, since 2007.  I practice what I preach.  

It doesn't matter if your camera isn't your 20-pound DSLR with 500mm lens - As long as you have something, anything with you to capture photographs when you see them in your mind's eye, that is what is important.  It is a lot easier (AND BETTER) to have ANY camera with you at ALL TIMES, then you having to sketch the shot you could have taken, because you didn't have a camera with you.

Just something to keep in mind.

This is my 100th Post here, Yeah!  Yippie!  OK, enough excitement.

I'm also celebrating my 100th Post with a perforated and bleeding eardrum - JOY!  

So, this is a shorty blog today.

Just keep the "Best Camera with You" idea in mind.  You may thank me later.



Monday, February 01, 2010

A Pretty Cool B&W Photograph - For All Time

Ansel Adams' "Spires of St. Peter and Paul Church, San Francisco" is perhaps one of the coolest B&W photographs of 'all times'.  Of course, I have LOTS of favorite B&W photographs in mind, but I'll discuss this one for today, and just call it 'coolest...all times'.  It makes things sound more 'dramatic' ;^ ) 

For me, it is not the subject matter that is incredible.  It is not the topic of the photograph that is amazing.  It is the skill and technique of Ansel Adams that makes this such a great photograph.  The crosses are ablaze and the sky is dramatically dark, and cloudless.  In Ansel Adams' words, he describes the shot:

"The gilt crosses were blazing with the glare of sunlight.  The stone of the church was fairly light, but if rendered 'literally' it would have competed with the crosses.  Hence I exposed to keep the stone a middle value, and the foliage is thus quite dark.  The sky was a deep blue and adequately separated in value from the stone.  I made a second negative at one-half the exposure, but lost qualities in the shadows and in the foliage while gaining nothing with the values of the stone and cross.  (The sky was deeper, but the effect was excessively theatrical.)  With both negatives, the below-normal exposure had no effect on the glare from the crosses since that was far beyond the normal exposure scale of the film." 
Just think about it:  How many photographers nowadays with all the do-it-yourself digital brainpower, actually think about all the aspects of the scene before taking a snap-shot or photograph (and there is a big difference between the two)?  

For all the searching I've done using Google and Yahoo, I can't find an example of this photograph, on the WEB to include.  Nevertheless, if you go to your public library or bookstore, on page 38 of Adams' THE NEGATIVE, you'll see this photograph.

And of course, anyone can argue about "the best" B&W photograph of all time.  Like I said, this is one of my all time favorites.