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."