A World of Buttons For Photography

I watched Girl, Interrupted for the first time earlier this week. There’s a scene whenAngelina Jolie’s character, in a delirious state of rage, yells, “There are too many buttons in the world!” That struck me as kind of funny. Smart phones, tablets, or laptops didn’t even exist at that time.

We really do live in a sea of buttons now. And people who are turned off by that are often turned off by digital cameras. Having to burrow down through menus on LCD screens to control shutter speed? That’s unappealing to someone who used to just switch from 200-speed film to 800 to get the job done.

Photos Are not Data

My, that’s a lovely vacation photo you’ve got in there.

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Take the 12-Shot Photograph Challenge

Ever heard of Vivian Maier? A nanny with a keen eye for street photography, she shot her first photograph in the late 1940s and her last in the late 1990s. Though she amassed more than 100,000 negatives in her lifetime, nobody knew about them until she was two years from her deathbed. That’s when she lost a storage locker to public auction after getting behind on payments. Whether by luck or providence, that locker fell into the hands of a historian. Realizing he’d found a treasure, he later shared the photographs with the world. That was in 2007. Maier died in 2009.

Photographers and critics from sea to sea have been buzzing about Maier’s work for several years now. One thing I can’t help but consider when I look at it: She shot with a medium-format camera. Though medium-format cameras produce higher-resolution and higher-quality images, that’s not why I keep thinking about this. What gets me is the average number of shots that can be taken on a single roll of film. We’re talking 12. I bet she really took her time choosing her shots. You know: waste not, want not.

Vivian Maier Photograph

Photo credit: Vivian Maier (VivianMaier.com) New York Circa 1953

Today, we don’t have to be so choosy. We can burn a thousand images into a memory card, so what’s to lose? Well, it’s great that we can increase our odds of getting the great shot by making a bazillion attempts. But liberty comes with a price. And I think our price is this: We move at the speed of the world around us rather than slow down—think Matrix slow-mo—and really look hard at what’s worth photographing. And because we can, we let luck play a bigger role than it should.

So, today I’m posing the 12-shot challenge to all you photographers out there. Forget you have that memory card and pretend that the next dozen shots you take must really, really count. Slow down. Think harder. Imagine there’s no delete, no Photoshop, no bazillion tries. Put your very best effort into every click of the shutter. Just 12 shots. What will you create?

Saving Memories

We were going through some old photos the other day – many from my grandparents as children! Stark images of what appeared to be tougher times. The photos left were mainly portraits…of course, these are most of the photos from those times as cameras like we have them now were not easy to come by, were expensive and were not easy to handle.

It was after 1880 and Kodak’s first public lab that the average person started considering taking photos. If someone else could develop the photographs, why not let them? In 1900, the Kodak Brownie also started bringing cameras into the public domain.

Kodak No. 2 Brownie box camera, circa 1910

Kodak No. 2 Brownie box camera, circa 1910

We came to some of my parents photos, when they were kids. You could see the change in cameras and film and how technology quickly expanded the ability to capture memories. More photos started cropping up of people doing things, not just standing for portraits. We went from taking photos for memories of places and people to taking photographs of actual events and spectacles that we wanted or needed to remember. Some of these photos, from the 30’s-60’s reminded me of times long-gone, childhood fun nearly forgotten.

The problem, though, was the deterioration of these fantastic photos. They would soon disappear and the memories meant to last generations would be gone. I can’t let the next generations in my family forget about our past or not know what their ancestors looked like.

You probably don’t want that to happen either.

Photo restorationWhile the digital age will help keep your memories from literally fading away (better hope you have all your digital photographs backed-up in several places), you or your parents probably have plenty of photos that you don’t want to lose. We can help!

First, we can restore most of your older photos as well as retouch them.  We can also take your old photos and scan them into DVD’s. And, for those of you with old film you want developed or photographers who continue using film, our printing services are ready for you.

Don’t let time destroy memories!

Ahhh…the Internet

Last week, we discussed the use of Photoshop for pictures. It is used by professional photographers for numerous changes – resolution, lighting, blemishes, etc. It can also be used to create artistic pieces meant to evoke emotion or to show how two images combined could reflect an image the photographer had in his head.

But, in the past two days, Photoshop has caused a lot of confusion and downright anger because of how it was used in the midst of tragedy. Some of the photos are obviously faked, meant to lighten the situation. But, there are plenty of people on Facebook, Twitter and other places on the web who were taken by the pictures, thinking them real.

What do you think? If it’s not a news organization is it wrong for people to be passing these as real?

Beyond The Images of War

When we discuss Afghanistan or Iraq or even Vietnam, we tend to instantly think of images of war. This is just the way we are programmed because of our historical interaction with those countries.

As photographers, we need to think beyond those images and think about more than just the countries, but the people who call them home. For children 11 and under in Afghanistan, all they have known around their country is war and conflict but that doesn’t necessarily mean their life is war and conflict. Celebrating humanity is more sometime more important than chronicling inhumanity. Taking the time to actually consider all aspects of life wherever you go could make for some brilliant images!

We found just a few great images taken in war-torn countries that have nothing to do with war or death. These photographers were there to capture those images but stopped for a moment to capture the world around them, gathering information that can tell a story of life rather than death.

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You’re a Photographer?

camera of old! Polaroid

The irony is not lost on us! Do you still have a Polaroid?

We read a blog a few days ago from Photographer Thomas Hawk that asked a valid question in the title: “Do You Even Have to Own a Camera to Be a Photographer Anymore?”  The question itself leads to more soul-searching in terms of what does it mean to be a photographer. Continue reading