Friday, June 5, 2009

great photography links

Do you ever stop to think about the vast numbers of digital photographs stuck in external hard drives around the world? Is it billions or trillions of aimless travel snaps, party pics and vain self portraits looked at once never to be seen again? I currently have about eight thousand on my laptop alone, perhaps an equal amount on a hard drive and a slightly smaller number lost to a hard drive crash on my former laptop. I'm not even that prolific a photographer.

I've always thought there has to be some great uses for this glut of digital images. Photosynth is a program that allows the user to collect hundreds of images from Flicker and fuse them into one large incredibly detailed photo of a place. Looking at well done photosynth is being able to see hundreds of different people's visual experience of a place. It's hard to explain. Take a look at this demonstration.

The other thing that caught my eye yesterday was this site for the 2009 World Press Photo awards. Watch the photographer's tiny head describe the context and motivations behind his or her work while scrolling through the award winning photos.

The thing that has most impressed me lately, however, is Flickriver, a Flicker viewer that allows you to scroll uninterrupted through a user's photos presented in a large format on a black background. Take a look at the Flicker stream of Howard French who at different points in his career was the New York Times bureau chief for Africa, Japan and China. It's mostly portraits of Chinese people in black and white from residents of Shanghai to Sichuanese farmers, interspersed images from Africa, New York City and various other places. The photos of old-Shanghai, in particular, bring back many memories of wandering around there as a child.

I mention Howard French because I recently finished his book, A Continent for the Taking about his time as a journalist working in west and central Africa. His insight into the practice of journalism, his deep grasp of the issues and his focussed rage at the personalities he encounters made this one of the better books I've read on the region. His account of the fall of Mobutu is particularly good.

1 comment:

  1. Great links, enjoyed the photos. And the little talking heads too.