EssentialstheDiagonal is a personal blog by Mike Gerra, skeptic, technologist, psychologist, artist, humanist, collector of grand, eclectic ideas.theDiagonal blog connects the dots across multiple disciplines for inquisitive, objective and critical thinkers, exploring the vertices of big science, disruptive innovation, global sustainability, illuminating literature and leftfield art. It is on this diagonal that creativity thrives, big ideas take flight and reason triumphs.
Tag Archives: photography
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Chances are that if you don’t have some ancient National Geographic magazines hidden in a box in your attic, then you know someone who does. If not, it’s time to see what you have been missing all these years. National Geographic celebrates 125 years in 2013, and what better way to do this than to look back through some of its glorious photographic archives.
See more classic images after the jump.
Image: 1964, Tanzania: a touching moment between the primatologist and National Geographic grantee Jane Goodall and a young chimpanzee called Flint at Tanzania’s Gombe Stream reserve. Courtesy of Guardian / National Geographic.
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Saturday, January 12, 2013
More atmospheric pictures of nighttime London in the early 1930 after the jump. These are from a collection of beautifully, dark images by John Morrison and Harold Burkedin.
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Friday, January 11, 2013
Over at the Guardian’s art and culture blog Jonathan Jones argues that photography has now become our de facto medium for contemporary artistic expression. Some may argue that the creative process underlying photography comes up short when compared with the skills and techniques required to produce some art in more traditional media. However, Jones seems right in one respect: today’s photography captures the drama of the human condition in a way that no other medium can today, it’s not even close. We are in awe of the skills demonstrated by the Old Masters. However, that it took months for Rembrandt to paint a single canvas misses the point. It still takes an eye and empathy and a desire to tell a unique story as the photographer clicks the digital shutter in a five-hundredth of a second.
From the Guardian:
It has taken me a long time to see this, and you can laugh at me if you like. But here goes....read more
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Please forget Instagram, Photoshop filters, redeye elimination, automatic camera shake reduction systems and high dynamic range apps. If you’re a true photographer or simply a lover of great photography the choice is much simpler: black and white or color.
A new photography exhibit in London pits these contrasting media alongside each other for you to decide. The great Henri Cartier-Bresson would have you believe that black and white images live in a class of their own, far and above the lowly form of color snaps. He was vociferous in his opinion — that for technical and aeasthetic reasons only black and white photography could be considered art....read more
Monday, September 24, 2012
Hint. The answer is not shameless self-promotion or exploitative voyeurism; images used in this way may scratch a personal itch, but rarely influence fundamental societal or political behavior. Importantly, photography has given us a rich, nuanced and lasting medium for artistic expression since cameras and film were first invented. However, the principal answer is lies in photography’s ability to tell truth about and to power.
Michael Glover reminds us of this critical role through the works of a dozen of the most influential photographers from the 1960s and 1970s. Their collective works are on display at a new exhibit at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, which runs until mid-January 2013.
From the Independent:
Monday, September 3, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Artist Ben Heine uses hand (pencil) and eye (camera) to create fresh perspectives on everyday scenes. In his own words, “I find a location, do a drawing, then take a photo to combine with the drawing.” Simple. Fresh. Unique.
To see more of his unique images follow the jump.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Tilt-shift photography has been around for quite a while, primarily as a tool in high-end architectural photography. More recently with the advent of more affordable lens attachments for consumer cameras and through software post-processing, including Photoshop and Instagram, tilt-shift is becoming more mainstream.
Tilt-shift is a combination of two movements. Photographers tilt, or rotate, the lens plane relative to the image to control which part of an image retains focus. Then, they shift the perspective to re-position the subject in the image (this usually has the effect of reducing the convergence of parallel lines). When used appropriately, tilt-shift delivers a highly selective focus, and the resulting images give the illusion of a miniaturized landscape.
More tilt-shift photographs from the Telegraph after the jump.
Image: Brighton beach, on the south coast of Sussex, England. Courtesy of the Telegraph.
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Saturday, April 21, 2012
If you’ve been through a marriage or other formal ceremony you probably have an album of images that beautifully captured the day. You, significant other, family and select friends will browse through the visual memories every so often. Doubtless you will have hired, for a quite handsome sum, a professional photographer and/or videographer to record all the important instants. However, somewhere you, or your photographer, will have a selection of “outtakes” that should never see the light of day, such as those described below.
From the Daily Telegraph:
Thomas and Anneka Geary commissioned professional photographers Ian McCloskey and Nikki Carter £750 to cover what should have been the best day of their lives.
But they were stunned when the pictures arrived and included out of focus shots of the couple, the back of guests’ heads and a snap of the bride’s mother whose face was completely obscured by her hat.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Since mid-2007 the restless nine-eyed cameras of Google Street View have been snapping millions, if not billions, of images of the world’s streets.
The mobile cameras with 360 degree views, perched atop Google’s fleet of specially adapted vehicles, have already covered most of North America, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and large swathes of Europe. In roaming many of the world roadways Google’s cameras have also snapped numerous accidental images: people caught unaware, car accidents, odd views into nearby buildings, eerie landscapes.
Regardless of the privacy issues here, the photographs make for some fascinating in-the-moment art. A number of enterprising artists and photographers have included some of these esoteric Google Street View “out-takes” into their work. A selection from Jon Rafman below. See more of his and Google’s work here.
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Saturday, February 18, 2012
We’ve all experienced this phenomenon when on vacation: you’re at a beautiful location with a significant other, friends or kids; the backdrop is idyllic, the subjects are exquisitely posed, you need to preserve and share this perfect moment with a photograph, you get ready to snap the shutter. Then, at that very moment an oblivious tourist, unperturbed locals or a stray goat wander into the picture, too late, the picture is ruined, and it’s getting dark, so there’s no time to reinvent that perfect scene! Oh well, you’ll still be able to talk about the scene’s unspoiled perfection when you get home.
But now, there’s an app for that.
From New Scientist:
It’s the same scene played out at tourist sites the world over: You’re trying to take a picture of a partner or friend in front of some monument, statue or building and other tourists keep striding unwittingly – or so they say - into the frame....read more
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Once in a while a photographer comes along with a simple yet thoroughly new perspective. Japanese artist Photographer Hal fits this description. His images of young Japanese in a variety of contorted and enclosed situations are sometimes funny and disturbing, but certainly different and provocative.
Japanese artist Photographer Hal has stuffed club kids into bathtubs and other cramped spaces in his work before, but this time he’s chosen to shrink-wrap them like living dolls squirming under plastic. With some nude, and some dressed in candy-colored attire, Hal covers his models with a plastic sheeting that he vacuums the air from in order to distort their features and bond them together. It only takes a few seconds for him to snap several images before releasing them, and the results are humorous and somewhat grotesque.
See more of Photographer Hal’s work here.
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Monday, December 19, 2011
A widely held aphorism states that owners often look like their pets, or visa versa. So, might it apply to humans and fish? Well, Ted Sabarese a photographer based in New York provides an answer in a series of fascinating portraits.
From Kalliopi Monoyios over at Scientific American:
I can’t say for certain whether New York based photographer Ted Sabarese had science or evolution in mind when he conceived of this series. But I’m almost glad he never responded to my follow-up questions about his inspiration behind these. Part of the fun of art is its mirror-like quality: everyone sees something different when faced with it because everyone brings a different set of experiences and expectations to the table. When I look at these I see equal parts “you are what you eat,” “your inner fish,” and “United Colors of Benetton.”
Read more of this article here.
Discover more of Ted Sabarese’s work here.
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Sunday, November 27, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Astronomers and planetary photographers, both amateur and professional, have been having an inspiring time recently in watching the Sun. Some of the most gorgeous images of our nearest star come courtesy of photographer Alan Friedman. One such spectacular image shows several huge, 50,000 mile high, solar flares, and groups of active sunspots larger than our planet. See more of Freidman’s captivating images at his personal website.
According to MSNBC:
For the past couple of weeks, astronomers have been tracking groups of sunspots as they move across the sun’s disk. Those active regions have been shooting off flares and outbursts of electrically charged particles into space — signaling that the sun is ramping up toward the peak of its 11-year activity cycle. Physicists expect that peak, also known as “Solar Max,” to come in 2013....read more
Sunday, November 13, 2011
If you’re over 30 years old, then you may still recall having used roll film with your analog, chemically-based camera. If you did then it’s likely you would have used a product, such as Kodachrome, manufactured by Eastman Kodak. The company was founded by George Eastman in 1892. Eastman invented roll film and helped make photography a mainstream pursuit.
Kodak had been synonymous with photography for around a 100 years. However, in recent years it failed to change gears during the shift to digital media. Indeed it finally ceased production and processing of Kodachrome in 2009. While other companies, such as Nikon and Canon, managed the transition to a digital world, Kodak failed to anticipate and capitalize. Now, the company is struggling for survival.
Eastman Kodak Co. is hemorrhaging money, the latest Polaroid to be wounded by the sweeping collapse of the market for analog film....read more
Sunday, August 7, 2011
A recently opened solo art show takes an fascinating inside peek at the cryonics industry. Entitled “The Prospect of Immortality” the show features photography by Murray Ballard. Ballard’s collection of images follows a 5-year investigation of cryonics in England, the United States and Russia. Cryonics is the practice of freezing the human body just after death in the hope that future science will one day have the capability of restoring it to life.
Ballard presents the topic in a fair an balanced way, leaving viewers to question and weigh the process of cryonics for themselves.
From Impressions Gallery:
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
A fascinating and disturbing series of still photographs from Andris Feldmanis shows us what the television “sees” as its viewers glare seemingly mindlessly at the box. As Feldmanis describes,
An average person in Estonia spends several hours a day watching the television. This is the situation reversed, the people portrayed here are posing for their television sets. It is not a critique of mass media and its influence, it is a fictional document of what the TV sees.
Makes one wonder what the viewers were watching. Or does it even matter? More of the series courtesy of Art Fag City, here. All the images show the one-sidedness of the human-television relationship.
Image courtesy of Andris Feldmanis.
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Thursday, June 30, 2011
No, not a cosmologist’s convoluted hypothesis as to why time moves in only (so far discovered) one direction. The arrow of time here is a thoroughly personal look at the linearity of the 4th dimension and an homage to the family portrait in the process.
The family takes a “snapshot” of each member at the same time each year; we’ve just glimpsed the latest for 2011. And, in so doing they give us much to ponder on the nature of change and the nature of stasis.
From Diego Goldberg and family:
Catch all the intervening years between 1976 and 2011 at theSource here.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Before photo-sharing, photo blogs, photo friending, “PhotoShopping” and countless other photo-enabled apps and services, there was compose, point, focus, click, develop, print. The process seemed a lot simpler way back then. Perhaps, this was due to lack of options for both input and output. Input? Simple. Go buy a real camera. Output? Simple. Slide or prints. The end.
The options for input and output have exploded by orders of magnitude over the last couple of decades. Nowadays, even my toaster can take pictures and I can output them on my digital refrigerator, sans, of course, real photographs with that limp, bendable magnetic backing. The entire end-to-end process of taking a photograph and sharing it with someone else is now replete with so many choices and options that today it seems to have become inordinately more complex.
So, to help all prehistoric photographers like me, here’s an interesting process flow for your digital images in the age of Facebook....read more
Friday, June 24, 2011
Big science covering scales from the microscopic to the vastness of the universe continues to deliver stunning new insights, now on a daily basis. I takes huge machines such as the Tevatron at Fermilab, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, NASA’s Hubble Telescope and the myriad other detectors, arrays, spectrometers, particle smashers to probe some of our ultimate questions. The results from these machines bring us fantastic new perspectives and often show us remarkable pictures of the very small and very large.
Then there is Nick Risinger’s Photopic Sky Survey. No big science, no vast machines — just Nick Risinger, accompanied by retired father, camera equipment and 45,000 miles of travels capturing our beautiful night sky as never before.
From Nick Risinger: