Photo-Planning Your Garden: The Simplest 52-Week Project Ever!

Some of the more fastidious gardeners I know sketch out little garden plans every spring or late winter. They know exactly what they’ve planted in the past and how well it went over. They know which plants got wilt, mold, or bug infestations in previous years, and when. They know where there was overcrowding or bald spots that need remedying, too.

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Leaving the Nest: Photographing the Graduation Experience

Slate published a little piece of heart-tugging writing in from Rob Lowe this week. It’s about his son going off to college,and it’s gone viral. The writers over at Slate might take offense, but the piece made me think of Us magazine’s regular section called “Stars—They’re Just Like Us!” That’s where you’ll see gems like Orlando Bloom putting a bottle in a recycling bin, Jennifer Garner giving her child a piggyback ride, and Katherine Heigl pulling her own suitcase. As if we thought they lounged about ordering Oompa Loompas to do these ordinary things for them:


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Photographing Eyes: A Mother’s Day Gift She’ll Never Forget

Many moons ago, I met a photographer at a Seattle street festival who peddled portraits of eyes. Festival-goers were paying her $25 or $30 a pop to have her photograph their eyeballs in extreme close-up. There wasn’t so much as an eyelash in her photographs, just iris and pupil, and the images were simply gorgeous. She also did collage-style family portraits. By that, I mean collections showcasing whole families’ eyeballs. (One family even included their parrot’s eyeball in their collage!)

I hadn’t fully grasped before that day how breathtaking the human eye is. Each one had so much depth, color, and complexity. Don’t even get me started on the detail. Ever since, I’ve been captivated by any photograph that’s all about the eyes. They don’t even have to be in extreme close-up. Take, for example, this iconic cover from the June 1985 issue of National Geographic:

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Copyright: National Geographic

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The Camera as a Window to the Autistic Soul

Sometime in late 2008, four college students traveled to Sudan with the goal of photographing the situation there. They had no designs on taking the photographs themselves. Rather, they wanted to see Sudan from a child’s perspective. So, they armed five orphans there with cameras, taught them the basics of how to take photographs, and let them loose for a few weeks to capture Sudan as only they could. The often beautiful, eye-opening images spawned an exhibit and further travels to different areas in the world. The resulting project, called 100cameras, would reach children and communities from the Bronx to Cuba. Continue reading

The Rise of the Candid Self-Portrait (or Why You Need a Photo Booth!)

I didn’t hear it myself, but it must have made a sound. I’m talking about the collective snorting through upturned noses all across the globe, just after the folks at Oxford Dictionary announced the 2013 Word of the Year. If you haven’t already heard, the word is selfie. I suppose the definition could be along the lines of, “Candid photographic self-portrait, often used to fish for affirmation on social media sites.” Do you think Oxford will include an image with the entry? I’m thinking washed-out bathroom-mirror snapshot of someone in duck-face—that kissy, pouty close-up that says, “I deserve a catwalk.” I personally hope they opt for this one, the first papal selfie on record: Continue reading

Daylight Saving: Time for a Photography Lessons from Butterflies

Are you feeling the effects of the Daylight Saving switch? We are painfully aware of our circadian rhythms, struggling to get our sleep/wake cycles to jibe with the changed clock hands. Even if you’re among those who really struggle with this shift, your fatigue is hardly the grandest testament to the power of these rhythms. I think the migration of the Eastern Northern American monarch butterfly takes that honor. Continue reading