Category Archives: Review

Description: review, evaluation, examination, study, analysis, audit, check, consideration, file, inspection, reassessment, reconsideration, reflection, report, rethink, retrospect, revision, scan, scrutiny, study, survey, view
May include: criticism, judgement
Notes: criticism is an evaluation or judgement of something, while critique is a somewhat elevated term for the same thing; review is used as a synonym for these but may also imply a more comprehensive study

Broken Light Collective – Great work

The Broken Light Collective - inspiration beyond pictures

• Broken Light Collective •
Inspiring work from people who have a different viewpoint.
[Image from the video].

Inspiration that goes beyond the picture…

Over this weekend I was inspired by a number of things. A film I saw, a wonderful view and the “Broken Light Collective”. I was most inspired by the latter. The Broken Light Collective is one of those organisations that deserves to do well and to inspire people.

The Broken Light Collective

Broken Light’s main goal is to create a safe and accepting environment where photographers of all levels who are affected by mental health issues can display their work, as well as inspire one another to keep going and keep creating, despite the dark or scary places in which they may find themselves.
Broken Light Collective Broken Light Collective | External link - opens new tab/page

As a goal it is perhaps understated. I was inspired because of the high quality of the work and the wonderful range of subjects tackled. Modern life is hard enough without coping with additional difficulties. I know that living with a disability should not itself bring ‘hero’ status. Everyone gets on with their lives despite the obstacles we meet. But, a group like this deserves exposure. It is supportive and produces great art work. As such it is well worth noting and telling your friends about.

The Broken Light Collective video

This short video produced by the Broken Light Collective Broken Light Collective | External link - opens new tab/page is a little gem. Fine photography and great compositions are all composed in a beautiful show. If you have the time, take a browse around the website Broken Light Collective. Again, some wonderful work.
Broken Light Photography Collective Broken Light Collective | External link - opens new tab/page

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Dictionary of photography – know the correct terms

We all love a good book.

Despite other reading technologies, books are still popular. For photographers we rely a lot on the Internet. But, there are great books for us. One such book is “The Visual Dictionary of Photography”.

A love of dictionaries

I am an unashamed collector of dictionaries. With over a hundred of them there is always a good definition around. Despite being so well served, I have never found a good dictionary of photography. An author for one needs to be a passionate photographer, a technician, an artist and a writer too. They have to be nerdy about the details. And, at the same time, they must be passionate communicators. David Präkel fulfils the above.

The dictionary of photography

I love this book. There are great diagrams and pictures. It is no surprise that there is one on nearly every page. In fact, to help keep us visually interested, the fonts themselves are also varied. It is refreshing to have a book that is NOT standardised. Dictionaries are usually very consistent. They are very uniformly laid out. They are SOooo… visually boring. This one is not. It has coloured pages. It has different fonts. There are pages of capitals. There are different styles of diagrams. There is LOTS of variety. It is an exciting book to browse. This book is about a visual view – as well as the photography.

But is this book any good? I think so. I love the impact filled text. It is on message and precise. Here is an example from the definition of texture…

Lighting that falls across any textured surface will highlight each protruding part of the material and cast a deep shadow behind. This micro contrast is what we see as texture.
The Visual Dictionary of Photography – David Präkel

That is the essence of ‘texture’ in photography. There is more explanation. There is also a great picture. But really that says it all.

Does size matter?

There are nearly 300 pages. There is a definition per page. So there is plenty of content. It is a small sized book. However, it punches over its weight in what it achieves. The explanations, the content and the visual presentation all make it a full featured visual dictionary of photography. It covers all the important things you need to know to learn photography… size does not matter.

A great present

With Christmas coming this book could make a great present. It would be a cool gift to yourself, or for a keen photographer in your life. Packed to the brim with information it’s fun and great value. It is definitely worth considering. It will be a useful addition to your essential photographic kit.

The Visual Dictionary of Photography is available on Amazon. There is a selection of pages for you to review. So you can make up your mind about it. Have a look now and see what you think. The Visual Dictionary of Photography.

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Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is managing editor of Photokonnexion.com with professional experience in photography, writing, image libraries, and computing. He is also an experienced, webmaster and a trained teacher. Damon runs regular training for digital photographers who are just starting out.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’
By Damon Guy :: Profile on Google+

Island images – island life… a photographers approach

Callanish, Early Dawn - great island images

• Callanish, Early Dawn •
Taken on the Isle of Lewis – Callanhish stone circle.
Image from ‘©Hebridean Island Images’ by Ruari Cumming, ARPS

If tranquillity is what you want…

Many places in the world are still untouched, but few are so close to the bustle of the UK. The Hebrides is a chain of islands off the Scottish coast. What a pearl. I love this wonderful place. Many years ago I spent quite some time there. I fully intend to go back.

Wonderful island images

If you love rugged and interesting coastlines, old ruins and mysterious stone circles, then you will love the Hebrides. There are more than fifty larger islands and hundreds of smaller and uninhabited ones. There’s a lot to see. And, there’s plenty to offer the photographer.

There is a thriving local tourist industry. It does not ruin the isles. It caters well for those looking for the taste of some rugged island air. All levels of accommodation are available. Some of it all year round. It is mostly run by local people. It is low-key, in keeping with the local area. You can find out more about staying there on Visit Hebrides  External link - opens new tab/page.

There is so much to photograph in the Hebrides. Wildlife, people, the sea and the moods of the local weather. And, there are plenty of the latter! However, for me the most attractive thing about the islands is the rugged scenery. There are some fantastic scenes of mountains and coastline. The fact you can photograph them so close together makes it worthwhile visiting just for that. And, if you love a good walk you could not cover all of them if you went back every year!

Renewing a friendship

Last week I was fortunate to listen to a talk by Ruari Cumming ARPS (ARPS  External link - opens new tab/page). He has been an enthusiast of the Hebrides all his life. His talk charted his close relationship with the islands, the people who live there and the life they lead. We saw some great island photographs too.

As a photography club member I hear a lot of talks from enthusiastic photographers. Ruari always adds something new. His trade mark audio visual sequences and island images, with accompanying music, keep the audience captivated. This year his insight into life on the islands caught my attention.

The people

Ruari explored the lives of people he met, their work and the places they lived. Particularly interesting was to see them keep alive wonderful traditions. The local Harris Tweed  External link - opens new tab/page industry is known worldwide. It is based on these out-of-the-way islands. However, it is also a global export cottage industry. I asked Ruari if he had any difficulty getting cooperation from the Islanders for his photography. “No” he said, “In the twenty odd years I have photographed the Hebrides, I have never had an islander refuse me taking photos – they were warm and open”. A lesson there for photographers everywhere. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Island images gallery

I really enjoyed the presentation and the island images from all aspects. Ruari gave an interesting and beautifully illustrated talk. He has a website with a gallery of many of his island images  External link - opens new tab/page. The site also provides information about his talks, presentations and island images  External link - opens new tab/page.

 
Best selling book – Hebrides  External link - opens new tab/page

In Hebrides  External link - opens new tab/page, readers follow Peter May on an odyssey in prose and images, through a history of the Vikings’ ‘Long Island’ and his own deep personal connection with the islands that influenced his best selling work.

Travelling as if alongside his protagonist Fin Macleod, he describes the island life – as bewitching as it is treacherous – his encounter with the bird-hunters of Sula Sgeir, the savage seas of Ness and the churches of Eriskay. With extracts from Peter May’s other books and specially commissioned photographs, this book places his writing and characters within the land that gave them form. Hebrides  External link - opens new tab/page

Peter May is the author of the best selling “Lewis Trilogy”…
The Blackhouse: Book One of the Lewis Trilogy  External link - opens new tab/page
The Lewis Man: Book Two of the Lewis Trilogy  External link - opens new tab/page
The Chessmen (Lewis Trilogy 3) External link - opens new tab/page

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Ten motivational Tweets from @photokonnexion

Twitter is a medium of communication

Twitter is a medium of communication. It perfectly complements the power of photography.
 

Thinking about photography…

This blog shares a lot of information about the fundamentals of photography. The same can be said of the information we share on Twitter. Every day on Twitter @Photokonnexion provides motivational phrases, answers to questions, links to this site, quotes and great photography tips. Most of all we try to motivate the thousands of photographers who follow us. You can follow us too…


You can learn so much from so few words

Twitter is a succinct medium. You only have 140 characters to make your point. It is a challenge to put over great ideas in that small amount of text. Below are a few of the many @photokonnexion tweets…
• 
Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up. Every photographer had to start somewhere.
• 
The difference between an image and a photograph? Images conjure up meaning – photographs represent a scene. Aim for images.
• 
Failure is a dress rehearsal for success. The good photograph is the dress rehearsal for the great image.
• 
“The art of photography is all about directing the attention of the viewer.” ~ Steven Pinker.
• 
Photography has bought great value to my life. You can see so much through such a little window.
• 
Learning to be a photographer is about learning to see beauty and detail in everything and showing it to others.
• 
A closed mind will never understand photography. Insights come from opening your mind to new experience and knowledge.
• 
Everyone says “get closer”. They mean you to fill the frame. I mean to look closer! Seeing is the first step in photography.
• 
Rejoice, tell a story. Your images can communicate so much. Let your pictures speak to the world.
• 
Photography is a varied and engaging ray of light in your day. Make some images. You deserve a little sunshine.
• 

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Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photographer and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Everybody Street… a new documentary about street photography

Video

Video

Documentary released for Film Festival.

Released at the “Hot Docs International Film Festival”, Everybody Street is about the street photography art of New York. Focusing on a range of street photogs it opens up the everyday reality of street photography.

The trailer for the documentary has been released and provides an insight to what may be in the documentary. It shows some stunning shots and some powerful insights. However, it also takes a rather voyeuristic and antagonistic view of street photography. While I personally don’t aspire to that approach there are others that do.

I believe that to act as an antagonist on the street is both dangerous and unnecessary. Personally I believe in respect, contact and participation in the street scene. But I do acknowledge that there are some people that take a different view.

I think it is worth seeing this documentary and I hope that one day it will be widely available. For now I leave you with the trailer. See what you think. The video is just over two minutes.

EVERYBODY STREET – New York City

Everybody Street Trailer from ALLDAYEVERYDAY on Vimeo.

Visit the website for the documentary at: http://everybodystreet.com/  External link - opens new tab/page

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

Do you tell a story with your images? Insights, issues and interest…

Leopard Seal And Penguin

• Leopard Seal And Penguin •
From the video, the picture shows a dead penguin and its predator, the leopard seal.

The world of photojournalism is changing…

Worldwide great photojournalists are being sacked and replaced with crowd-sourced images. While the power of amateur images is wonderful, photojournalism is an art that creates great images continuously across a career. The loss of skills like this is a great shame.

The telling of a story is as old as humanity

We all have the power to tell stories. It is one of the things that makes us human. A great story pulls us together in the long dark nights; uplifts us at a moment of depression; chills us; thrills us and helps us to share language. The photostory is one of the great inventions of the last century and in a great photostory we can see all aspects of our daily lives – the extraordinary and the beautiful as much as the ordinary and the ugly.

Gift

• Gift •
The deadly predator, the leopard seal, tries to give the diver a gift – a dead penguin.
Taken from the video.

David Griffin: How photography connects us

Photography Director for National Geographic Magazine, David Griffin, recognises the power and insight of photography to connect us through the photostory. In this short video he uses wonderful images and a few great photo-stories he shows us how much we will miss if the era of the photojournalist passes.

National Geographic is one of the worlds greatest photostory magazines and provides endless great imagery. For learner and professional photographer alike. There is a lot to be learned from their images and a lot to be lost if we lose the art of photojournalism.
David Griffin – On how photography connects (Ted Lectures)

More after the image…

Leopard Seal On The Ice

• Leopard Seal On The Ice • The leopard seal reclining on the ice. From the video.

The wonder of photo-stories

It is a shame that we are losing the worlds greatest talents in photo-stories. However, we can all make photo-stories within the bounds of our own photography. Here are some of the things that you should consider when putting together a short photo-story…

  • Impact
  • From the ordinary to the extraordinary and back
  • Unique perspectives
  • Amazing sights, sounds and colours
  • Lovely light
  • People or animals
  • Insight into a situation
  • The shock from an event
  • Excitement
  • Great beauty or great ugliness – or both!
  • Different lives…
  • Something from within you

Your story should show your viewers something they normally would not see and, even better, will never see for themselves. If you manage to pack something from each line of this list into your story you will probably have a real hit.

It takes a lot of hard work and very many images to compile a photostory. So, think about what it is you are trying to achieve in advance of your shooting. Try to have a point you want to make and things to show it. Oh, and have fun!


Ted.com

By way of introduction I wanted to say something about origins of the video. It comes from Ted.com which is a non-profit organisation devoted to ideas. New ideas, brilliant ideas and new perspectives on old ideas. The lectures each take around fifteen to twenty minutes. They are delivered by individuals who are at the top of their game – representing the worlds great intellects. The Lectures cover a broad spectrum of ideas across science, society, technology and nature, ethics and human insights. If you like thinking a little and getting some insightful ideas Ted.com is a worthwhile place to visit.


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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photogs.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
By Damon Guy see his profile on Google+.

find out more...Photokonnexion tips by email
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The street photographer who showed no pictures

Vivian Maier - Outstanding street photographer

Vivian Maier – Outstanding street photographer 1926-2009

A new documentary reveals Vivian Maier.

A new documentary has been shown on British television. It tells the tale of Vivian Maier. A lonely nanny, she spent most of her career photographically documenting the streets of Chicago in her spare time. She was unsung as a photographer, unknown to almost everyone, unrecognised as an artist. She died as a virtual pauper in 2009.

Within a short time of her death the most astonishing hoard of photographs was revealed. Her belongings had been sold off at an auction. The chance find by a keen photographer revealed the work and fortunately made the find public. With the most detailed care and exquisite vision she pictured her subjects with both passion and journalistic fervour. She pictured some of the most painful poverty and opulent richness of Chicago in the 1960’s and 1970’s as well other places in her travels.

Now her photographs are selling for thousands of dollars a piece. This new BBC documentary showcases her insight and some of the more interesting photographs from her fascinating body of work. It also tries to get an in side look at her life – a secretive and largely unknown story which few people were involved in.

With over one hundred thousand photographs in the collection it is an incredible find. Almost a complete record of her work is available. She showed her work to very few people. Most of the shots were never printed.

The enigma that Vivian Maier represented is almost the same clichéd story of the pauper artist of previous centuries. Unrecognised until long decades after their deaths these artists often represented important interpretations of their eras. And so it has proven to be with the work of Vivian Maier.

She had little family, very few friends and only the contacts made through the jobs she held as a nanny. She was largely unschooled and a European immigrant to the USA. Yet with extraordinary wit and dedication she taught herself English apparently through going to the movies and the theatre and mixing with people. She also appears to have taught herself photography – there is no record of a photographic education.

The amazing thing about Vivian Maier was her dedication to the task. The BBC documentary chronicles her life – what’s known of it. But it also raises a lot of questions about what motivated her. Clearly she was a lonely person. Obviously she loved photography and the streets of Chicago where she spent most of her life. Beyond that we know little.

She had the most incisive skill with a camera and great insight as an observer of people. She went everywhere with her equipment, obsessively capturing everything in which she saw meaning. Her main interest was in the people she met – her qualifications for undertaking the work were non-existent. Yet over the period of fourty years she proved herself to be a great artist.

Hit rate

Many of todays digital photographers don’t realise what really lies behind a body of work. According to the academics examining Maier’s work she had an excellent hit rate. One very famous photographer once said…

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.

Ansel Adams

…yet Vivian Maier apparently managed many, many thousands of high quality pictures on her large format Rolliflex  External link - opens new tab/page camera.

There is something interesting about Maiers hit rate, dedication to photography and the detail of her work. It says a lot about her as an artist. Artists spend years learning, experimenting and often apprenticed to other artists before their work begins to mature. But their dedication is by necessity, absolute. And, their progress and interests can be charted by the type of work they produce and how it varies and changes focus during their careers.

The character of an amateur body of work

Amateurs by contrast to professional artists have much more spotty bodies of work. They do not have time to dedicate to devoted study and development. Years of experimentation and concentration on particular aspects of their work is not possible. Family life, work, the simple needs of normal life reduce the amount of work a typical amateur can put into developing as an artist. Typically amateurs tend to be more erratic in their interests, or they concentrate most of their work on one focal interest.

Vivian Maier apparently dedicated pretty much all her personal time and a good proportion of her work time as a nanny to her photography. As a result her achievement is similar to a professional artist. Her work is of a similar standard too. Her work appears to exhibit a gradual and focused experimentation and development much like a professional artist.

Dedication and concentration

A large proportion of Vivian Maiers work is still unprinted. Most of it is still unseen by the public at large. We clearly have a lot more to see and to learn about her. Most of her life is a mystery, much of her story untold.

One thing is clear. For someone who was clearly a very talented street photographer she had a lot to teach photography learners about concentrated dedication to the things that interest us. If we really want to get to the bottom of what interests us as artists, we photographers need to be pretty single minded.

Have fun with your photography, but remember, the way to reveal real truths, like street photography, requires some pretty deep interpretation.

How to see the documentary

For those of you who have access to the BBC iPlayer you can still see the full Vivian Maier documentary for the next few weeks from the Home page for the “imagine” series of arts documentaries  External link - opens new tab/page (posted 05/07/2013).
Update: This documentary has now been taken down from the BBC site. However the link above now goes to the “Imagine” series website so you can see what is coming up and some past episodes are sometimes available on BBC iPlayer.

Other useful Vivian Maier resources

Here is a link to the BBC website where there are two clips about this documentary…
Vivian Maier: Who Took Nanny’s Pictures? Clips and other information.  External link - opens new tab/page

Want more on Vivian Maiers work on video? Here’s a Google search for YouTube videos about her…
Search YouTube for Vivian Maier Videos  External link - opens new tab/page

Vivian Maier on Wikipedia  External link - opens new tab/page
Vivian Maier – Her Discovered Work  External link - opens new tab/page

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