Wednesday, 14 December 2011

MIT's trillion frames per second light-tracking camera

From MIT 

Visualizing Photons in Motion at
a Trillion Frames Per Second

"We have built an imaging solution that allows us to visualize propagation of light. The effective exposure time of each frame is two trillionth of a second and the resultant visualization depicts the movement of light at roughly half a trillion frames per second. Direct recording of reflected or scattered light at such a frame rate with sufficient brightness is nearly impossible. We use an indirect 'stroboscopic' method that records millions of repeated measurements by careful scanning in time and viewpoints. Then we rearrange the data to create a 'movie' of a nano-second long event."

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Lightroom 3

I have just upgraded to Lightroom 3 at a cots of £160.  I am very pleased with the improvements that Adobe have made.  

I would go so far as to say that as a photographer Lightroom 3 provides most, if not all the tools needed for post production of your images. 

But see for your self in this video which provides a very good overview of the main features of Lightroom 3 

Press the button at the bottom right corner of the video window to see the video  at full screen size

Thursday, 1 December 2011

SPA View Point

From SPA

"Just a note to remind everyone that we now have a subsection of the SPA website called Viewpoint where the SPA committee seek constructive input from clubs and their members about topical issues affecting the SPA.

 Anyone can read the content but you need to register if you wish to add comment. The process is quick and easy and ensures that we can exclude unwelcome, malicious or spam material.

Please note that this is not a general discussion forum and we are restricting content to key issues. However, anyone is free to suggest topics for inclusion."

Day of Action a photographic opportunity

Day of actionThe day of action organised by the TUC against changes to civil service pensions provided a great opportunity for some street photography.
 I  took up position on a traffic island in the centre of the Strand in London.  People were only too happy to have the pictures taken.

I used a Canon EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM zoom lens on my Canon 40 D to try and pick out individual faces and blur the background.

The light was not too good so I set the ISO to 800 and the image in this post was shot at 115 mm, f/4.5 1/200 sec.

The march was very good natured with a very heavy police presence; but it is a very good idea to keep aware of your environment because things can change very quickly.

This video provides a feel for the atmosphere at the  demonstration

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Computer Model Spots Image Fraud The UK, France and Norway are considering legislation to require digitally altered images to be labelled as such

From Scientific American

"Scientists in the United States have come up with a tool for automatically analysing digital photographs, making it possible to gauge the extent to which images have been altered or retouched.
Advances in image-manipulation softwarehave made it trivial to radically alter the appearance of models and celebrities in photos, notes Hany Farid, a computer scientist who studies digital forensics and image analysis at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Farid created the analysis tool with his colleague Eric Kee, also at Dartmouth College. The promotion of unrealistic body images in some advertisements and magazines is thought to have a role in triggering eating disorders, explains Farid, and some countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Norway, are now considering legislation to require digitally altered images to be labelled as such.
The idea is to use the software to generate a scale that can be printed next to published images, say Farid and Kee, so that readers can tell how accurately they represent the originals. The hope is that this will shed light on the culture of 'airbrushing' in the advertising and fashion-magazine industries. The software could also help to deter fraud in scientific images, they say.
However, simply labelling manipulated images is not the solution, says Farid, because this would tar all altered images with the same brush — even those that used legitimate adjustments such as cropping and colour modification. Farid and Kee's solution, published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, is a system that can score on a scale of one to five how much an altered image has strayed from reality.
Compare and contrast
Farid and Kee first compared more than 450 pairs of images before and after manipulation, quantifying their dissimilarity according to eight different statistical parameters. These ignore any global changes, such as cropping, and instead focus on local geometric modifications—for example, by how many pixels the shape of a person has altered—and photometric changes such as smoothing or sharpening.
To combine these parameters into one metric, the researchers asked more than 350 volunteers to compare the same pairs of images, ranking them on a scale of 1 (very similar) to 5 (very different). These ratings were then used to train a machine-learning algorithm to extract a single score from the measured values that would faithfully reflect the perceptual judgement of the volunteers.
The resulting system is able to rate the extent of manipulation in new pairs of images with an accuracy of about 80%, says Farid. Although the technique is currently specifically tuned to images of people, Farid says that the underlying algorithms could easily be adapted to analyse scientific images, using journal editors and scientists during the training process.
Farid notes that image manipulation is a growing problem in the scientific community, calling it "extremely disturbing”. He explains that it has become all too easy for some researchers to misrepresent their results, enhancing DNA bands in a gel, for example, or scrubbing out background blemishes, either to innocently make images look better or, in some cases, to skew the results deliberately.
Picture imperfect
It is not clear why scientific image fraud is a growing problem, says John Dahlberg, director of investigative oversight for the Office of Research Integrity in Rockville, Maryland, whose division investigates cases of alleged research misconduct. “It seems the scientific community is very aggressive about beautifying its images,” he says. “About 70% of our cases involve questioned images.”"

Monday, 28 November 2011

America in pictures: The story of Life magazine

Not to be missed set your recorders 

Thursday BBC 4  at 21:00

"Life was an iconic weekly magazine that specialised in extraordinarily vivid photojournalism. Through its most dynamic decades, - the 40s, 50s and 60s - Life caught the spirit of America as it blossomed into a world superpower. Read by over half the country, its influence on American people was unparalleled. No other magazine in the world held the photograph in such high esteem. At Life the pictures, not the words, did the talking. As a result, the Life photographer was king.

In this film, leading UK fashion photographer Rankin celebrates the work of Life's legendary photographers including Alfred Eisenstaedt and Margaret Bourke-White, who went to outrageous lengths to get the best picture - moving armies, naval fleets and even the population of entire towns. He travels across the USA to meet photographers Bill Eppridge, John Shearer, John Loengard, Burk Uzzle and Harry Benson who, between them, have shot the big moments in American history - from the assassination of Robert F Kennedy, the Civil Rights struggle and Vietnam to behind the scenes at the Playboy mansion and the greatest names in Hollywood.
These photographers pioneered new forms of photojournalism, living with and photographing their subjects for weeks, enabling them to capture compelling yet ordinary aspects of American life too. Rankin discovers that Life told the story of America in photographs, and also taught America how to be "

InterClub PDI Championship Results

From SPA - Malden Camera Club cam 15th

Friday, 25 November 2011

Policeman just having a word

This image was judged by Bob Turner FRPS in the projected image competition held at Malden Camera Club on the 24th of November.  I used my new compact camera an Olympus XZ-1 to video the Judges comments and posted  the video on Youtube

policeman, just having a word

Monday, 14 November 2011

RSPCA's Young Photographer of the year award

RSPCA's Young Photographer of the year award

The 10 finalists in the RSPCA's Young Photographer of the Year Award. The winner will be announced on December 16
Gallery of images

Friday, 11 November 2011

Photography exhibitions worth seeing in London

I highly recommend making a visit to London  to see these exhibitions

 "Take a View: Landscape Photographer of the Year 2011"   

5  December – 28 January at the National Theater on the South Bank
This popular annual award, now in its fifth year, culminates in a stunning exhibition of over 100 photographs that show the dramatic beauty and variety of our country, reminding us to safeguard this precious legacy.A full colour book will be available from the NT Bookshop.
This year’s Awards are held in association with Network Rail and Natural England, with the exhibition sponsored by Epson UK.
Charlie Waite, Awards founder, will be giving guided tours of this year’s exhibition on 13 & 14 December and 23 & 24 January at 2.30pm and 3.30pm. Please note that numbers are limited and early booking is advisable.  Tickets are priced at £8.
Seeing Landscapes:  Charlie Waite will also be giving talks on his approach to landscape photography on 13 & 14 December and 23 and 24 January at 7.45pm in the NT Bookshop.  Tickets are priced at £5.
Exhibition opening times:
Monday - Saturday from 9.30am - 11pm
and Sunday 11 Dec and 1 Jan from 12pm - 5.30pm
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Competition National Portrait Gallery

10 November - 12 February 

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2011 offers a unique opportunity to see sixty works by some of the most exciting contemporary portrait photographers from around the world.

Through editorial, advertising and fine art images, the entrants have explored a range of themes, styles and approaches to the contemporary photographic portrait, from formal commissioned portraits of public figures to more spontaneous and intimate moments capturing friends and family.

This year the competition attracted over 6,000 submissions from 2,506 photographers ranging from gifted amateurs and talented young students to established professionals. The selected works for the exhibition, many of which are on display for the first time, include the five prize-winners and the winner of the ELLE commission

Friday, 4 November 2011

Kodak may face cash crisis if patent sales fail

Eastman Kodak has warned it must raise new funds to survive the next year.
The 131-year old photography firm said it may raise the cash through patent sales or by taking on additional debt.
The US firm revealed that its cash balance at the end of September totalled $862m (£537m) after it ran up a $222m operating loss over the preceding three month
Experts said Kodak took too long to move from its traditional film business into digital cameras.
The firm does stress that its inkjet printer and inks unit is performing well. Third quarter sales were 44% higher than the previous year.
But Kodak warned it may need to slow investment in the printing business "if liquidity needs require".
The firm announced in July that it was exploring selling or licensing around 1,100 of its digital imaging patents - around 10% of its library.
The company said it had no intention of filing for bankruptcy, but some experts believe its fate depends on a sale of its innovation rights.
"Kodak's at a point where one of two things have to happen," said Shannon Cross of Cross Research.
"Either they have to raise more money or they have to complete the sale. Otherwise, they're not going to be able to continue."
However Kodak's chief executive, Antonio Perez, said investors should not read too much into the company's cash balance warning, which it had been required to file under US law.
"These requirement statements should not be misunderstood in any way as dampening the optimism our ability to complete the sale of our digital imaging patent portfolio, which is very high," he said.
Missed chance
However, one former executive called for a more radical restructure.
"I think you are going to see Kodak getting broken up and the various parts of the company will go to where they add the most value and therefore Kodak captures the most value for creditors and stock holders," the firm's former vice president Don Strickland told the BBC.
Mr Strickland left the company in 1993 after he failed to get permission to release a digital camera. He claimed the firm's current problems could have been avoided.
"We developed the world's first consumer digital camera and Kodak could have launched it in 1992.
"We could not get approval to launch or sell it because of fear of the cannibalisation of film... a huge opportunity missed."

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

England riots: One photographer's baptism of fire

BBC Reports 
"When photographer Lewis Whyld of the Press Association arrived on Tottenham High Street on 6 August, the first and fiercest night of this summer's riots, he soon saw three other photographers being attacked. For the next hour he was forced to shoot on his mobile phone, and only pulled out his cameras once it was dark.
Shooting by the light of the police helicopter searchlight, Whyld captured these images that went right round the world. Here Whyld reveals how he documented a night of unrest in north London."

Monday, 31 October 2011

Stand your ground

An interesting video from the recent London street photography festival about photographers rights to take photographs in public places. The first part of the video is a slide show

Friday, 28 October 2011

Victoria Albert Museum new Photographs Gallery

The Photographs Gallery will draw upon the  V&A’s internationally renowned collection of photographs, and will chronicle the history of photography from 1839 up to the 1960s. In 1858, the V&A became the first museum to exhibit photographs, and the new Photographs Gallery is able to showcase some of the most technically brilliant and artistically accomplished photographs in its collection. Temporary displays, primarily showcasing contemporary photography, will be shown in the V&A’s existing photographs gallery.Gustave Le Gray (1820-84), 'The Brig', 1856. Museum no. 67:995

On 24 October 2011, the V&A’s new Photographs Gallery will open to the public. The gallery will have an inaugural  display of works by key figures of photographic history including Victorian portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron and significant works by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Afred Stieglitz, Diane Arbus and Irving Penn.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Mona Kuhn Exhibition

Photographer Mona Kuhn has an exhibition opening at Flowers Gallery, 21 Cork Street, London W1S 3LZ.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Vintage 80s: Life on the streets

BBC reports:
Time passes and society and places change, yet we often don't notice or overlook the visual clues we see everyday. But, by always carrying a camera and recording those daily encounters, Johnny Stiletto managed to capture a very personal view of life on the streets of London in the 1980s.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The head of photography on… picture manipulation and trust in news imagery Acceptable uses of Photoshop in the Guardian and Grazia

From the Guardian
"A certain amount of scepticism is a healthy thing in journalists and readers alike. Going through the thousands of photographs that the Guardian picture desk receives each day, we try to keep a critical eye on anything that could be the result of digital retouching software like Photoshop. We are kept on our toes by eagle-eyed readers, always alive to the possibility of artifice.
The most common complaint is the "flipping" of a photograph. This often happens accidentally when using images from picture libraries that have been scanned from negatives or transparencies. But there is also an old tradition in newspaper design for a picture, especially of a person, to face into the page or story that it illustrates, and subeditors have a tendency to want to "flip" to achieve this. But it is against our guidelines.
Our rule about the use of Photoshop and other picture-manipulating software is that cropping and toning – basically anything that might have been done in a darkroom – is OK, but the moving of pixels or "cutting and pasting" is forbidden. We have to trust our photographers and the agencies we deal with not to indulge in anything that might go against our guidelines, but usually it's difficult to spot. I suspect the odd door handle, light switch and extraneous elbow may have been retouched by perfectionist photographers, and most of the time this probably doesn't matter because the pictures are being used in a non-news context – a portrait in the arts pages, for example."
How about changing the Club competition rules to say that " use of Photoshop and other picture-manipulating software is that cropping and toning – basically anything that might have been done in a darkroom – is OK, but the moving of pixels or "cutting and pasting" is forbidden."

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Do you really want to get to grips with Adobe Photoshop?


Do you really want to get to grips with Adobe Photoshop?

If so, you need to be in Reigate on the 26 September”.

Because on Monday, 26th September Reigate Photographic Society are hosting an evening presentation by Donna Oxley who is an Adobe certified instructor.

The programme will include:

  • Brief overview of Photoshop CS5.
  • The Camera Raw Processor;
  • What is camera raw and why you should use it, making tonal adjustments,white balance, sharpening, cropping, synchronizing settings across images.
  • Using Layers;
  • The different types of Photoshop Layers, pixel, vector, adjustment, effects,layer masking for compositing.
  • Monitor Calibration and Colour Management (if time allows).

Questions and Answers.

The presentation will take place in the Old School Room, Reigate Community Centre, to the rear of the Reigate Methodist Church in the High Street,Reigate, RH2 9AE.

Parking is available in the Morrison Supermarket car-park.

The presentation will begin at 8pm.

There will be a charge at the door of £3 for non-members.

We welcome any members of local camera clubs who would like to join us for an interesting and informative evening.

Les Dyson – Reigate Photographic Society Publicity Secretary

For more information and location map please look at our website –

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Competition news from the SPA

The Keith Hunt Trophy will be on Saturday, 11 November 2011, at Trinity Methodist Church, Brewery Road, Woking. The judge is still to be confirmed.

The Surrey Advertiser Rosebowl will be on Saturday, 25 February 2012, at Parkview Centre for the Community, Sheerwater, Woking. Judge will be David Eastley, LRPS.

We will be sending entry forms to all those who took part in the competitions last year about 2 months ahead of the competition date. If your club did not take part, please contact me and I will make sure you get one.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Light-field photography has the potential to revolutionize photography. Ren Ng, the founder of Lytro, explains how a camera can capture images that are never out of focus

Lytro has big plans. This week the Mountain View, CA-based startup said it would soon bring to market a new kind of camera that's based on light-field photography. The result: photographs that you can focus after you take them. Simply click your mouse on the spot on the picture you want in focus, and it changes before your eyes 

Article including demo   also see this video from the BBC

YouTube video promo

Friday, 19 August 2011

World Photography Day

World Photography Day?

Many people that have mentioned that they’ve never heard of World Photography Day. Why is that? World Photography Day wasn’t ‘created’ by a big brand as a marketing tool. Rather, it’s a day where photographers had started to come together to celebrate photography, just because they could. Any excuse to throw a party right?
Slowly, groups around the world have started to get on board with the idea of World Photography Day and you will find traces of World Photography Day being celebrated over the last 20 years or so. Each year, World Photography Day has gained momentum and this year, we’re hoping to bring photographers together once again with an even larger audience.

Why August 19th?

World Photography Day originates from the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic processes developed by Louis Daguerre.  On January 9, 1839, The French Academy of Sciences announced the daguerreotype process. A few months later, on August 19, 1839, the French government announced the invention as a gift “Free to the World.”
Another photographic processes, the Calotype, was also invented in 1839 by William Fox Talbot (it was announced in 1841). Together, the invention of both the Daguerreotype and Calotype mark 1839 as the year that photography was invented.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of photography, take a look at the following article on Wikipedia: History of Photography

Monday, 25 July 2011

Photographer Nan Goldin's best shots 'I let the children be themselves, and try to find out who they are'

From the Guardian

"I don't photograph adults so much any more. I don't have a child and, psychologically, my focus on them is a lot about me wishing that I did. But I am a godmother to friends' children around the world – in Berlin, New York, Sweden and Italy. I don't remember much ever feeling like a child, so maybe photographing them triggers memories. They are wild and magical, as if from another planet. And they haven't been socially conditioned yet, so they can scream and express how they feel publicly. Sometimes I envy them. When I am in a group of people, the children and I find each other's eyes, and end up laughing at the same, unspoken thing.

I've been taking pictures of children since the early 1980s, and it's become increasingly important to me. I see a continuum in the children of my friends, some of whom have died. It's about hoping that my friends will bring up a new species of people.
Slideshows are my most important medium; they are like films that can constantly be edited. They always grow, as I show them over a period of years. These pictures are from the second version of a slideshow that was first shown last year in Athens. The images are edited and timed to a soundtrack. The music came first: all the songs are sung by children except the first, which is about pregnancy.

This is one of my most optimistic works: not concentrated on loss, death or darkness. With other pieces, I have wanted people to faint, throw up or cry. I've also wanted to touch them and make them laugh. Here, I don't want people to faint or throw up. But I do want them to take away something about this puritanical new witch hunt over children and their sexuality. Everybody came out of the body of a woman, and that should not be forgotten, or be frightening. It amazes me that there's a controversy over public breastfeeding, that it can be considered disgusting. Or over children running around naked, especially in the US. Children shouldn't be afraid of their own bodies; it's the worst thing you can do to a human being.


Friday, 22 July 2011

Adobe releases lengthy list of Apple Lion woes

From the Register

One day after Apple's Mac OS X Lion was released into the wild, Steve Jobs' bête noire, Adobe, has released an extensive list of wounds that the big cat has clawed into its products.

The appropriately titled "Known Issues with Adobe products on Mac OS 10.7 Lion" is a 1,500-word litany of woe, listing Lion-caused problems in 19 Adobe apps, and calling out some non-app-specific basics such as the need to install your own Java runtime and how to find your username/Library folder, which Apple has chosen to disappear. 
Problematic apps include such stalwarts as Photoshop CS3, CS4, and CS5; Dreamweaver CS4, and Illustrator CS5 and CS5.1. Problems range from mild, such as multiple keychain entries for Dreamweaver CS4, to fatal flaws for some features, such as the disabling of Droplets in Photoshop.

Droplet death – which is fixable in Photoshop CS5 through an update, but not so in CS3 or CS4 – is due to the fact that Lion no longer includes nor supports Rosetta, the dynamic code-translation tech that let old PowerPC code run on Intel-based Macs. The code that enabled Droplets, it seems, was written for PowerPC, and was upgraded only for CS5.

Adobe also notes that one of Lion's marquee features, the System Preference that allows you to have Lion restore an app's windows just as they were when you quit that app, doesn't work at all in Adobe products. "This feature requires new code in order to work properly," they note. "Adobe will research adding this functionality for inclusion in future versions of our products."

Not that this last bit is any great surprise. As Leopard and Snow Leopard users will tell you, Adobe software such as Photoshop never did play well with those operating systems' virtual-desktop feature, Spaces. There's apparently some under-the-hood incompatibilities with Adobe's window handling and Mac OS X.

As with all operating system upgrades, incompatibilities arise with previously trusted apps – especially apps with ancient chunks of code still lurking inside, such as Photoshop and other Adobe offerings

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

V&A to open new photograph gallery

The V&A museum is to open a new photograph gallery in the autumn to showcase its extensive collection.

The permanent gallery will launch with an exhibition of works by the likes of Henri Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Diane Arbus and Irving Penn.

The gallery will chronicle the history of photography from its invention in 1839 up to the 1960s.

An image of Parliament Street in London, the V&A's oldest photograph, will also be housed in the new space.

Other works include Curtis Moffat's "camera-less" photograph of a dragonfly - created without the use of a camera around 1925 - and a 1957 scientific photograph of a coronet formed by a single drop of milk falling into liquid.

The display will be re-curated every 18 months. Temporary displays of more contemporary works will be shown in the Victoria and Albert's existing photo galleries.

There will also be two 'In Focus' sections, each featuring a photographer represented in the V&A collection.

The first will be dedicated to British photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, and the second to Cartier-Bresson.

The new gallery will open on 25 October at the museum, based in London's South Kensington.

Founded in 1852, the V&A was the first museum to collect photographs and the first to exhibit them.

BBC report

V&A Photography web site

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

All life on a bench

All life on a bench by Fred Dawson
All life on a bench, a photo by Fred Dawson on Flickr.

An experiment in street photography. I just sat on the edge of the fountain in Trafalgar Square and took these photographs of people using a bench about 50 metres away

The Milky Way so close you can almost taste it: Breath-taking snaps of galaxy seen with the naked eye

A star-gazer has come a little bit closer to the final frontier - after spending 18 months photographing the night sky. With just an ordinary digital camera, Alex Cherney turned thousands of snaps into an incredible time-lapse video of the cosmos.

Alex Cherney's  website


FreshFacedandWildEyed2011 is the fourth in our annual competition for recent graduates. Following an online submission process, a panel of judges have selected work for exhibition on this website.
This year's judges are Edmund Clark, photographer; Tim Clark, Editor-in-chief, 1000 Words Photography Magazine; Louise Clements, Artistic Director, Quad and Format International Photography Festival; and Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers' Gallery.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Arles photography festival 2011 – in pictures

From historical shots of army generals to superhero immigrants, the Arles photography festival 2011 presents a vision of Mexico from the revolution to the present day – alongside shots of cramped commuters on the Paris metro, abandoned dog kennels and much more

Friday, 8 July 2011

John Lewis Photography Competition

This summer John Lewis are sponsoring a public photography competition.  Application form with all the entry details. The theme of the competition is Capture Kingston Celebrating. Entry forms are also available from John Lewis, The Place To Eat Restaurant, the Market House and the libraries.

Protecting protestors with photos that never existed

From New Scientist

AN IMAGE processing system that obscures the position from which photographs are taken could help protestors in repressive regimes escape arrest - and give journalists "plausible deniability" over the provenance of leaked photos.

The technology was conceived in September 2007, when the Burmese junta began arresting people who had taken photos of the violence meted out by police against pro-democracy protestors, many of whom were monks. "Burmese government agents video-recorded the protests and analysed the footage to identify people with cameras," says security engineer Shishir Nagaraja of the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology in Delhi, India. By checking the perspective of pictures subsequently published on the internet, the agents worked out who was responsible for them.

If a photographer's "location privacy" is not protected, their personal safety is at risk, Nagaraja says. This inspired him and security researcher Péter Schaffer and computer-vision specialist Djamila Aouada at the University of Luxembourg to find a way of disguising the photographer's viewpoint.

Their method is to use graphics processors to artificially create photos taken from a perspective where there was no photographer.

"We use a computer-vision technique called view synthesis to combine two or more photographs to create another very realistic-looking one that looks like it was taken from an arbitrary viewpoint," explains Schaffer.

The images can come from more than one source: what's important is that they are taken at around the same time of a reasonably static scene from different viewing angles. Software then examines the pictures and generates a 3D "depth map" of the scene. Next, the user chooses an arbitrary viewing angle for a photo they want to post online.

The photo then goes through a "dewarping" stage, in which straight lines like walls and kerb angles are corrected for the new point of view, and "hole filling", in which nearby pixels are copied to fill in gaps in the image created because some original elements were obscured. The result is pretty convincing, says Schaffer. "There are some image artefacts but they are acceptable," he says ( The team intends to make the software open source.

Matthias Zwicker, a graphics engineer at the University of Bern in Switzerland, thinks the technology is on the right track. "Anonymising the photographer could be a crucial step in protecting the source of contentious material. I'm sure this computer-vision technology will evolve into a valuable tool."

Schaffer's team knows it is entering an arms race of sorts: even consumer-level imaging tools could help oppressive regimes. For instance, University of Washington and Google researchers last week unveiled software that can identify a specific person in every picture in a large set of photos on a website like

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Snap! How photographs from the past became an internet sensation

From the Indpenedent

Taylor Jones was sifting through a box of old family photos when he found a picture of his younger brother sitting in a chair at the kitchen table. The 21-year-old Canadian looked up and noticed that the same chair was in front of him. Lifting the picture to fit with the background behind it, he stumbled across an idea which has landed him a book deal and turned his photography blog into a global internet phenomenon.
"The past month has been crazy. I can barely keep up," he told The Independent by phone from Ontario. "I had an idea and it just went mad." That idea was as simple as it was infectious: take a picture of an old photo held up in front of the place it was originally taken and post it online. The result is a seemingly magical doorway to the past, filled with nostalgia, that combines the old method of printing photographs with the viral might of social networking.
In a month, Mr Jones's website has gone from a start-up blog to the latest cyber "meme" with more than 3.5 million hits and an army of dedicated fans. "People can relate so readily to it," he said. "After the five photos I originally posted I've been crowd-sourcing other people's photos. I get about 30 photos a day and so far the site has had around 3.5m hits."
Submissions have come in from across North America, Britain, Brazil and Australia. Every day, Mr Jones wakes up to a new batch of photos from people dusting off their family albums and giving them a new lease of life. Part of the website's appeal is the way each photo contains a caption underneath it providing a brief – and often tantalisingly short – description of what the photograph means to the person who took it.
Mr Jones said the shot with the most hits so far was posted a week ago and shows an old man looking at a bench. The old photo shows the same bench and the same man with his laughing wife years earlier. The caption reads: "Dear photograph, thank you for everything we had."
"That one has been really popular," he says, "It's pretty decent, really intense. It's really cool to see people's stories behind the photos."

Monday, 27 June 2011

Malden Camera Club 56th Annual Exhibition

Malden Camera Club is holding its 56th annual exhibition featuring work of local photographers. Free entry.
Thursday 30th June to Saturday 2nd July 2011,  open from 10am to 2pm (to 4pm Saturday)   at the Methodist Church, High Street New Malden. KT3 4BY

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Album of the years: can photo albums survive the digital age?

From the Guardian
"An evocative survey of photo albums captures the history of American photography – and asks whether we'll ever impose order on our sprawling digital collections

"When you hold a photo album, you sense that you are in possession of something unique, intimate, and meant to be saved for a long time," writes Verna Posever Curtis in the introductory essay to Photographic Memory: The Album in the Age of Photography. "As you turn the pages and look at the images, you imbibe the maker's experience, invoking your imagination and prompting personal memories."

I've been wondering about this reflection ever since I first read it a few weeks ago, mainly because this is not what the photographic album – save for my own or my family's altogether more haphazard collections of images – evokes in me. When I see a photographic album, the first thing I think of is order: a disciplined mind; a systematic approach; a rigour that is altogether not my own; that is, in fact, the opposite of my more scattergun approach to images and memories. Indeed, I often feel there is something lifeless about the carefully composed photographic album that may be to do with the editing process: the elimination of the random, the accidental, the blurred and the botched photograph."


Monday, 13 June 2011

On the run: Photography has a voice

BBC Reports
Photographer Espen Rasmussen has spent six years documenting the lives of some of those people, from the camps in the DR Congo to the displaced in Georgia.
Transit, a recently published book of the work and an exhibition at The Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo contains an incredible collection of pictures that in my opinion form one of the most compelling arguments for the sustained power of photography from recent years.

Modern Victorian photography

A group of British photographers and artists are mounting an exhibition of pictures created using Victorian cameras and processes such as the wet plate collodion method. Victorian lenses give the pictures a very particular feel which makes it odd to see cars, modern clothing and other anachronisms in a view which seems pulled straight out of history books. The photos will be exhibited at at the Arts Bank in Saltburn-By-The-Sea from 2 to 29 July. There will be a a free, hands-on demonstration and an evening talk by wet plate collodion expert John Brewer. See for more information.