Around the Web: Feb, 2008 Edition

Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, Delta 400, Xtol 1+1
Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, Delta 400, Xtol 1+1 (straight Xtol seems to give more shadow detail)

Dancing About Architecture

Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, Delta 400, HC110

Kate setting up her mother’s computer to get podcasts

Studio 360 recently ran an interview with David Plowden, one of the few times I’ve heard a photographer interviewed on the radio. It’s worth a listen, particularly if you enjoyed Plowden’s recent book, Vanishing Point. The interview makes it clear that vanishing point perhaps refers as much to the disappearance of his favored subjects as it does to a feature of perspective.

Get the MP3 here.

Around the Web

“I actually like to stay clear of financial dependencies in this project and enjoy it as it is. I already had turned my hobby to profession once, know how it works and what to expect and even though it worked pretty well for me there is no need to repeat the same move again. I have profession and I have hobby and I like it this way.” MORE

“This is New York. This is the upper east side of Manhattan. I could tunnel, secretly between my apartment and the next door apartment and have a suite. Again – prices would go up substantially – and that could very well put me out of business. That would be just like me – kill many years of hard work because of ego. Oh sure, I’m represented by the xyz fine art gallery in Soho and they have 12 of my prints on the wall. Nah… I like my web home. I like that I can offer over a hundred prints at various sizes.” MORE

“No single model will work for everyone. There’s room for all of us. Some artists are the Coke and Pepsi of music, while others are the fine wine — or the funky home-brewed moonshine. And that’s fine.” MORE

“My point, though, is this: the buyer does not care about your heat bill, or the cost of rubber bands, or even the cost of your printer. The buyer is buying an object, and what the buyer is willing to pay for it has a everything to do with demand for that object and the supply of it. We can alter the buyer’s demand (by advertising, or by giving a convincing story about the object), and we can alter the buyer’s perception of supply (by using limited editions and other gimmicks). I’d argue, though, that those alterations are minor.” MORE

“Smart companies try to commoditize their products’ complements.” MORE

“These points illustrate that you shouldn’t be basing what you do on price, or technical skills. Instead, it should be on vision, and customer service. Is there any difference, really, between this single white t-shirt at Nordstroms for $18, and this pack of 3 fruit-of-the-loom t-shirts at K-Mart for $9.49? Probably not much. But, the service – is it worth it? Nordstrom’s has proven that the answer is yes, and photographers who choose to compete on points other than price or rights-give-aways have shown that it works in our field too.” MORE

Elsewhere on the Web (04110002)

Dials, Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, Delta 400, Tmax Dev
The control panel of the Website Trac-0-Meter 9000.

A few sites worth checking out:

I also seem to be getting a lot of contacts on Flickr these days, but I haven’t really had time to sort through them all. There’s some good ones there too. So much good photography. So little time.

“Frozen Perfection” (03750012)

Frozen Perfection, Hexar RF, ZM Biogon 35, HP5, Tmax Dev

One of my frustrations with contemporary photographic technique, mine included, is the feeling of sterility. Digital processes have become so sophisticated that nearly every picture you see is dusted and anti-scratched to a state of frozen perfection. After awhile it all feels so airless.

Alec Soth is onto something. Lomos and Holgas aside, so much of contemporary photography is dedicated to the perfect representation of the world, and these perfect representations of our world are missing something. They’re missing the art. They’re missing that part of photography which is about the camera letting us see something our eyes can’t. Like motion blur, or grain, or flare. Those flaws that we are often trying to avoid are part of the photographic art. When we eliminate them entirely, we’ve left part of the art behind.

For those looking for some imperfect art, take a look at these modified polaroids. The rest of Kea’s stuff is great too.

We Are All Photographers Now!

Cell phone Tower, Hexar RF, 50 Hex, Delta 400, Tmax Dev
Cell Phone Tower

Apparently, the times are changing. Emphasis below mine.

Meanwhile telephones become cameras, desktop printers morph into mini-printing labs, and high-definition screens threaten to dislodge the venerable photographic print from gallery walls.

Guess that’s why my printer was so cheap. Is an inkjet print venerable? Or only traditional process prints? Should I have bought a couple of those really nice Mac Cinema Displays instead of a printer? Can you get nice linen bound albums for a Cinema Display? How do I send a Cinema Display to a friend, a relevant question since I can’t trust them to have Cinema Displays of their own. Lots of questions. Not many answers.

Thursday’s NYT featured this article on Bert Teunissen, a Dutch commercial photographer who’s been working on documenting traditional day lit structures. There’s fabulous dark quality to the light in these structures. It’s the kind of light that I associate with high windows and northern latitudes, but I’m not entirely sure if other factors are at play. And I fear that Teunissen’s right that this kind of light is dissapearing with these structures; whenever I catch a glimpse of it, I try to grab a portrait because it’s just such gorgeous light.

While I doubt this article will create a firestorm of Wallian proportions, Teunissen’s photography documents some of the simplest and most profound beauty. Take a look at Teunissen’s website while you are at it.

Worth a Look

Paul Butzi, whose article on the Monday Night Photo Club served as inspiration for the Stills photo critique club, has got not a new blog (for those of you who were counting, yes that was 3 links in one sentence). Apart from being a pretty darn good photographer, Butzi has got some awfully good writing on his pre-blog site. As someone who’s worked in both digital and large format, he has a broader range of technical knowledge than some whipper-snapper like me, which in itself would be enough to make him worth reading, but he also manages to write coherently about the process of art. For a snapshot of just exactly how broad a field he can command read “Art is a Verb, Not a Noun and “Digital Myth #1 – Staircase Interpolation”. If you are ready to start questioning some things about your photography, take a look at “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” If the quality of the writing on his pre-blog site is any indication, his blog will be well worth adding to your RSS reader.