Nick Turpin on the evolution of street photography

Photo by Wells Baum
> “You have to be physically and mentally present to recognize these things and be ready for them, to recognize that something special is happening on the street in front of you. That really is the skill. It’s almost more important than getting the photograph. It’s recognizing the significance of something.”

— Nick Turpin, How Our Changing Cities Are Transforming Street Photography

Our third eye, be it smartphone or standalone point and shoot camera, is only as good as the two we were born with.

Drinking in color

Image by Wells Baum

“I’ve never been able to take a picture after a drink. It just doesn’t work. Maybe — I don’t know what it is. It’s not like I’m too drunk to take a picture. I just — the whole idea of it just goes away after one or two drinks.”

— William Eggleston, the godfather of color photography

Lacing the blogs 

Image via Mikhail Pavstyuk

I see blogs as projects for unique avenues of thinking.

This blog is my thinking blog. It focuses on what I’m reading and chewing on. It’s a collection provocative ideas and observations.

My music blog bombtune.com is like my music shelf. It’s an ongoing library of new music finds from the current year. The post art is just as significant as the music. I like to dig around on the artist sites and social networks to select images of the musician. The stream — whether it’s from Bandcamp or SoundCloud, contains the song/album art.

My fadesin.com blog focuses on creative ways to respond to prompts. WordPress does a great job in galvanizing its community by inspiring people to show their angle on a variety of topics and photography challenges. For the latter, rummage through my Google Photos to see what works.

Meanwhile, my Tumblr blog is more or less an aggregator. I cross-post there but also play natively within the platform by posting quotes and resharing cool GIFs from others. I also use my Instagram to dice up the array of posting.

Nevertheless, all of feeds tie together. They are ways of seeing, of which nothing becomes clear until I write it down and publish it.

“Blogs are like ham­mers. They are tools for building stuff.”

— Hugh MacLeod

Blogs permit me to show my work. The writing can be repetitive and thematic, which often means I’m trying to nail down the nugget or UBI (unifying big idea) of my approach. But at the end of the day, I want to say ‘this is what I made today.’

In short, blogging is another way to connect the dots on screen.

Camera obscura

Photo by Jeremy Yap
Sometimes it’s the written word. Other times, it’s a still photo. If the camera is too revealing, we can communicate via video or sound. Said filmmaker Robert Bresson’s in his 1975 book Notes on the Cinematograph: “A locomotive’s whistle imprints in us a whole railroad station.”
 
Communication is a game of elements. Film is the art of combining images and sounds; it excludes what overexplains or impresses.”One should not use the camera as if it were a broom.” A good filmmaker lets the mind dance with imagination.
 
A movie is a both a creative and viewing experience. It can be dull and instantly lively, like the pendulum of our everyday lives.
 
“My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.”
 

Beyond filters

Processed with VSCO with d2 preset
Processed with VSCO with d2 preset

Nobody uses filters anymore, at least in their original function. The overall consensus seems to be that #nofilter is just fine. But it’s also partly because people are better editors — mobile apps like VSCO and Instagram offer free toolkits that make it easy to adjust contrast, exposure, and saturation. You can also tweak the strength of the filter; a feature VSCO had all along, and Instagram has since copied.

Filters aren’t dead, though; they’re just evolving to meet visual means of communication and an appreciation for aesthetic. When Snapchat introduced facial lenses, users wanted to make their images more personal and playful. Meanwhile, Prisma’s popularity demonstrates the appetite to revert photos into pieces of art.

Smartphone users and social media enthusiasts love to dabble in photography. Having a good eye is not enough. Your images won’t stand out in the feeds unless they provide interesting  context or are reimagined enhancements of reality.

Processed with VSCO with d1 preset
Processed with VSCO with d1 preset

If you’re into new presets, be sure to download the limited edition Distortia Preset Pack from VSCO. Released to celebrate the company’s 5th anniversary, you can “reimagine the boundaries of color with these presets, created for unconventional looks and customizations.”

And while you’re at it, play with the with Mars effect of the Nike Sportswear filter as well.

Long on filters, or presets, whatever we call such special effects.

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Cats (musical) logo contains dancers in its eyeballs?

cats musical logo

Cats is the fourth-longest musical in Broadway history, playing for 18 consecutive years from 1982-2000.  But did you know that the logo, designed by the Really Useful Group for the 1981 show’s premiere in London, had dancers in its eyeballs? Hat tip to @aten for the spot.

A collection of chair designs by famous modern architects

Chairs by Architects Agata Toromanoff

“Almost everyone I spoke to says that a chair is a way of demonstrating an architect’s credentials as a designer to a wider audience.” — Agata Toromanoff, art historian

The chair represents the essence of work. It is where we put our asses down to get stuff done. Perhaps that is why famous architects have each been inspired to design their own chairs.

In her book Chairs by Architects, Toromanoff pairs the custom-made chairs of 55 modern architects next to building styles that inspired them. She says “that chairs afford architects an opportunity to distill their techniques, innovations, and style into a new medium.”

Toromanoff’s favorite chair is the Kuki Chair by Zaha Hadid. As you can see below, Hadid demonstrated her obsession with the movement of geometric curves that came to characterize her style–the chair looks similar to her dynamic yet fluid Galaxy SOHO building in Beijing.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid ArchitectsCourtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

zaha hadid

galaxy_soho_zha_12-10_6174_468x702

“There are three hundred and fifty-nine other degrees. Why limit yourself to one?” – Zaha Hadid

Toromanoff’s book illustrates how architects can construct their design styles onto a different, much smaller format: in this case, a chair.