In an idea shamelessly lifted from the talented Cindy Dyer (whose storytelling contest you should enter right after you finish mine), I am creating a contest of sorts of my own. In fact, it’s less a “contest” than it is an opportunity to win some free stuff (and help me out). So here’s the game:
Pick your favorite black and white photograph on this site (to get just black and whites, either click “black and white” in the tag could on the right or follow this link, which takes you to the same place). Submit it either as a comment on this post or in an email (contact info here) along with your reasoning for choosing it. There is no need for high theoretical explanations (though they are welcome). Your justification can be as simple as “I like the way it looks because ________.” You are also welcome to choose your top three, five, or however many move you. The more you submit, the more chances you have to win, because the winning criteria (and prizes) are as follows:
One lucky submission will be chosen at random. Because a submission will be chosen, multiple submissions mean multiple chances to win. What will you win? An insidiously simple little prize: A print of any photo of mine you like, shipped directly to you (as long as shipping is fairly reasonable to your location). I might even frame it for you. In fact, if you participate and really want a print of something, I’ll probably just send it to you.
I will be thrilled if there are enough responses to actually pick randomly (that is, n<1). If I get one response, it will be about what I expected. If no one participates, I will be sad.
Black and white can make you crazy.
(Chaos in the Windy City I can be found here). This was another attempt to represent the chaos in the Art Institute of Chicago on New Year’s Eve. Anyone who has followed this blog for any amount of time probably recognizes by now that I am big fan of the square aspect ratio, particularly for my more abstract work, and this is no exception. Something about it just makes sense. I actually didn’t even see htis installation because of how crowded it was (this photo was when we were on our way out right before closing time, so the herd had thinned a little).
When I was processing this batch, I spent a lot of time with alternate versions. I had a lower-contrast high-key version, and a higher-contrast version that was a little more balanced across the tones. I couldn’t make the decision between the two almost identical shots, so I decided to come back to them later. After a month, I still couldn’t decide, so I ended up splitting the difference. This version is descended from the low-contrast version, and I think the low-contrast high-key aesthetic might be growing on me.
Big photo-related life event coming up on Tuesday. I will provide more details for those following along at home, but for now, suffice it to say that a print of this photo will likely be traveling as checked luggage on Monday morning, along with some other prints, a small 35mm developing tank, empty bottles labeled “developer” and “fixer,” and n uncut but developed roll of APX400. Curious?
Can anyone confirm or deny my suspicion that real developer and fixer, even in quantities smaller than three ounces, will not fly with TSA regulations? I wouldn’t be using them anyway, at this point I’m just curious.
Nikon D200, Nikkor DX 35mm f/1.8 G, long exposure with the assistance of a countertop, security people out of the frame to the right looking at me very suspiciously.
Another from the “abandoned quarry,” which is apparently not at all abandoned.
Films aren’t “filmed,” they’re “photographed.” Early filmmakers drew heavily from the work of early photographers (particularly in the area of very careful composition, as any of the Lumiere brothers’ films will show you). I think some of my work is heavily infuenced by my favorite American films of the 1970s (Taxi Driver, The Warriors), particularly in their warm color tones and their persistent examination of the aesthetic decay of the American metropolis (typically, and in both of those cases, New York). When I watch a good film, I find myself constantly noticing things I could try to recreate or reinterpret in a photograph (and my criteria for what makes a “good” film have a lot to do with its aesthetic merits). To me, this instantly recalls the supersaturated tones and visual metaphor of Rear Window, though that film is neither urban nor from the 1970s.
Nikon D200, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8.
This is another shot from the “quarry” we “visited” a few days ago.
Nikon D200, DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G.
At least that’s how it looks to me.
I went out shooting with another photographer friend tonight, and we had plans to work our way into a freight yard to get some pictures of abandoned, decaying, or otherwise interesting trains and their accessories. Unfortunately, security was tight, so we found what appeared to be an abandoned quarry of some sort across the street. Fading light is always my favorite, but it’s a serious technical challenge for a photographer using a camera body that is mostly useless above ISO 640 and who left all three of his tripods in his apartment. The 35mm f/1.8’s huge maximum aperture was really the only thing I had going for me, but I did get a few shots I like that were free of motion blur. More from this shoot will be coming.
While I do love shooting with fast primes, I missed having a wide angle tonight. Perhaps an ultrawide is in my future?
Nikon D200, DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8 G wide open (not too soft, eh?).
Sometimes art is chaos.
I guess this is the beginning of my catching up from the holidays. I was lucky enough to be in Chicago for the first time on New Year’s Eve, and what a city. We stopped in at the Art Institute of Chicago, which happened to be free for the afternoon. As nice as it was not to have to pay admission, the downside was that every exhibit was chaos. I quickly gave up on trying to take interesting pictures of interesting art, and decided it might be fun in the spirit of the place to try to represent my experience there. What followed was a series of long shutter shots in an attempt ot capture the chaos of the place. This is one of my favorites, but there is at least one more I really like.
This picture brings me to one of my favorite photography soapboxes: Photography doesn’t have to be still. At some point along the way. someone decided that images created by the photographic process needed to represent an infinitesimally small portions of time. While this is useful for most photographic situations, I firmly believe that photographers who never explore the possibilities of motion are missing out.
Those who have followed the blog might notice something new in the info below.
Nikon D200, Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, 1.0s exposure.