This is an article I've been on the cusp of writing for some time. I was first jolted into this area of discussion when I heard someone refer to the photography of poorer cultures and communities as "white middle-class photography." I say jolted because — perhaps naively — I had drawn no parallels between types of photographer and types of subject before that day. Unlike most criticisms about photography, this comment didn't glide past me; instead, I found myself plunged into an internal debate. Are the loose motivations of "raising awareness for" and "the documentation of" these communities disingenuous and moreover, are they doing more harm than good?
Articles written by Robert K Baggs
Light painting is a rite of passage in photography these days, like landscapes, macro, or starting a shoot with your lens cap on. In fact, it has become such a trend in the photography world that it has already become jaded and stale to a large extent. That's not to say there aren't still fantastic light painted images, but rather that it has become so easy to do that there's an abundance of very similar results. A natural consequence of this is people trying to forge a derivation that's fresh and unique, which is exactly what FilmSpektakel has done.
I'm always drawn to behind the scenes videos. I can't decide whether it's seeing how other photographers work or gazing at the equipment I now want to buy. It's probably a little from column A and a little from column B. This behind the scenes video is by Studio NEXT-IMAGE and shows photographer Sails Chong creating world-class shot after world-class shot in Japan using the Hasselblad H5D and Broncolor Siros L.
I remember seeing this video when it first came out and it stuck with me. Then, while planning a shoot with some lion cubs this coming weekend (you may launch jealousy fuelled insults my way for that), I looked it up again. When photographer Chris McLennan attached a DSLR to a remote control 4x4 car and then drove it across the plains of Botswanna in to prides of lions, it yielded — rather expectedly — unique and beautiful results.
There are few shoots where everyone involved gets to have a great time, but this is one of them. Sony Electronics teamed up with Tony Hawk and Aaron "Jaws" Homoki to conduct a photo shoot of skateboarding in zero gravity. I had to take a moment when I first read the video's description to quash my simmering jealousy at how unthinkably enjoyable some people's lives are. The official press release doesn't hold back on inciting jealousy of both the content of the shoot and the tools at hand (for both Sony shooters and camera nerds with less allegiance).
As a British person, I have an innate talent for moaning, queuing, and observing humour about our ever-changing weather. One spring morning last month, while wiping the snow off my sunglasses and mopping the sweat off my brow with my thermal gloves, I began to ponder the first of this talent trifecta. One rich vein of moan material is mistakes, and being conscious of my miserable inner monologue, I attempted to shift the focus to something more useful.
If I ever find myself wallowing in a creative rut, I have a few surefire ways out of that hole. My most effective method, although probably not the quickest, is to watch a documentary on another photographer. They need not be similar to your own brand of photography; in fact, I often feel it's better when they aren't. Whatever sub-genre of photography the subject does, a documentary is invariably a rich vein of ideas and inspiration.
If there’s one thing you can rely on us photographers for, it’s bleeding every last drop of quality out of our work. We feverishly pursue clarity like a commission-only ophthalmologist and over the last couple of years, time-lapse photography has been the most blatant exhibition of this.
I bought my first camera on a whim. It was a secondhand Canon 350D, and I bought a 50mm f/1.8 to go with it. It wasn’t expensive, but I couldn’t believe the pictures I could take. It was as if I had opened a secret door and revealed this beautiful landscape awaiting exploration; I was hooked. The problem was I stepped through the doorway, and the door closed, slapped me on the arse, and then promptly vanished. Suddenly, I was very aware of the vastness of what I was growing to love and how so much of it was all but unreachable for me.
When I wrote "Seven Things About Being a Photographer I Wish I'd Known Earlier," I wasn't expecting such a strong response. I had far more than seven things I wish I'd known, but I tried to trim the fat and keep the article lean. Well, I liked the fat. So, now I'm compiling the trimmings into their own article, although I don't mean to infer that these eight are less important than my first seven; they aren't. I also can't guarantee there won't be a further set in the future. Make of that what you will.
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?
“Who am I to tell people what they ought to do?” I taunted myself as I wrote my first article for Fstoppers. I wanted to convey how much of an impact that asking for what I wanted had had on me. Nevertheless, I was acutely aware of being condescending as I don’t consider myself old enough, wise enough, or successful enough to warrant people’s ear. As the post went up, I read and reread my work, even though I had proofread it several times before it was published. I tried to assume different characters to gain new perspectives and understand ways in which people might react badly to my advice.
I'm not a landscape photographer, but I am a photographer. At the heart of all us 'togs is a deep-seated yearning to capture the rare and the beautiful. Another concept I find overly enticing about photography is that of being a nomad; a wandering explorer with only a camera as a companion. Or, in the case of this video, three cameras, a DJI Inspire 1, and presumably a helicopter. Whatever, stop watering down my poetic vision.
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.”
The real kicker about knowledge is that most of the time, you don’t know what you don’t know. You run around, casting a net and trying to catch information, but often, you miss important stuff — sometimes, more than once. I cast my net all over the shop when I started photography; I watched videos, read articles, listened to lectures, watched documentaries, practiced daily, and took feedback as if divinely delivered. Nevertheless, my net caught some information later than I’d have liked. Here are seven things about being a photographer I wish I’d known earlier.
There isn't a great deal of macro cinematography and after drinking in this video, you might wonder "Why not?" German photographer and filmmaker Roman De Giuli creates beautiful and complex scenes using simple ingredients on areas sometimes smaller than the surface of a coin.