I’m sure most of us have been there before: standing on a street corner, your “camera bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag” slung casually over your shoulder. Your camera is in hand, its strap hanging loose, dancing in the summer breeze. You raise the rangefinder window to your eye and snap: the perfect shot of a homeless man! He looks really sad; this will finally change everyone's mind — straight to Instagram. But there’s a fine line between biting social commentary and “Poverty Porn,” and sometimes, it's hard to see which side you’re on.
After recently buying 200 tintypes from the deep archives of estate sales, eBay, and Etsy auctions, I became transfixed by seeking out if there was still anyone making imagery using this 160-year-old process. I found a wide range of Instagram accounts ranging from those just starting out to those with thousands of followers. These are the top 10 tintype photographers that stood out with their compelling visuals and dedication to keeping this lost art alive.
I recently posted an engagement photo in a Facebook group and immediately got a comment on it. The comment said: "Awful expression on her face... would not keep this picture." Although I have pretty thick skin when it comes to snide comments and CC on my images, this comment really got under my skin.
After receiving almost 300 submissions to my previous raw file challenge (inspired by Dani's post last year), I decided to cap the entries at 200, because why not, and also put out a second raw file and an all new challenge. This time, with a shot of model Anna Truett, shot inside the Union Station Hotel convention area in St. Louis.
Recently I babbled on and on about shadow and highlight recovery using raw data in Capture One Pro, something I still fully endorse and recommend you do in your post production work when recovery is needed or wanted. However, feedback and practical thinking made me create a simple Photoshop Action that sets up one of my more common methods for simple shadow recovery, but in a refined and manual way.
You don’t need the best gear to take good photos, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have them. RGG EDU just dropped the covers on their latest tutorial featuring one of world’s greatest, two-time winner of the esteemed “International Photographer of the Year Award”, Sandro Miller.
I’m a nerd. There, I said it. It’s out there now, and it’s never coming back. I’m adamant that all facets of life are infinitely improved by statistics. I paw over numbers, percentages, and graphs for academia, sports, science, films... the list rolls on. Even reeling off the sort of stats I like makes me want to forge some sort of Excel spreadsheet to identify the stats for which areas benefit the most from stats. Sorry, I digress. The point is fewer things are richer in information than statistics. We often use this approach to compare lenses and cameras, but what if we could apply it to something far more subjective: portraiture?
On one side, we have advertising photography, where everything is contrived and meant to look a certain way. It might as well be a painting with how planned out each step is. On the other, we have photojournalism. As the opposite, true photojournalism should never be staged, posed or "created." The idea is to capture what is and has happened. Unlike a painting, photography has the power to show real time exactly how it is with no artistic interpretation. What captivates me is when those two worlds collide to create art with purpose, and that is exactly what Clay Cook has done with his portraits of impoverished youth in Ethiopia.
I am calling this the "Dani Diamond Experiment", because he has done this before, and I thought the end results were fascinating. See, Dani's been known to offer a totally unedited raw file of an image he shot as a free download, asking photographers and retouchers to have a go at finalizing the shot however they see fit. Rather than specifically ask anyone to retouch the image in any particular style or use any particular workflow, the idea is to simply offer the raw file with no instructions beyond "Edit it!" and see what happens.
Think for a moment about the Tolkien-inspired visions flashing though the mind of Robert Plant as he penned the mystical lyrics to “Ramble On.” Vast landscapes with wandering figures, uncertain of their destination, but driven by their journey. Now get ready to scroll down and get the same feeling.
Medium-format cameras have long been in the hands of working pros because of their combination of ease of use and incredible image quality. While large format was always the king of resolution and dynamic range, it is difficult to work with on location and cumbersome. Today, medium format is a little different. Phase One and Hasselblad have both released 100 MP options, allowing for unparalleled image quality.
There are two characters that sit atop adjacent shoulders either side of my head and squabble over portraiture. One takes the form of my Gran and she sits there quietly knitting and ensuring me that rules are there for a reason and without them there would be chaos; she’s the voice of tranquillity, reason and over-feeding. Then, annexed on my opposite shoulder is James Dean wearing a leather jacket. He mocks my conformity assuredly and between drags of a cigar, James states that “what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly” and “rules are there to be broken.”