Sunday 28 June 2009

Romantic vision

I came across this old Pathe news film from 1937, while i was looking through some old Hindenburg clips on YouTube. What strikes me about this film so much is 1) No sound 2) the beautifully romantic vision of flight that's portrayed by the footage.

It's the final five seconds of the film that i love. The Hindenburg disappears into a bank of cloud as the film comes to an end and the lack of sounds seems to add some poignancy. All you can here is the occasional crackle or pop from the soundtrack. Far better than some over-the-top period commentary.

The film celebrates the brief life of the Hindenburg Zeppelin, but it's the footage of the disaster itself that is usually remembered. An amazing fact of that day concerns Murray Becker, a photographer for Associated Press, who managed to skillfully shoot three great 4x5 shots (All that in about ten seconds) on his Speed Graphic, as the Zeppelin came down in flames.

Thursday 25 June 2009

How many frames?

Consett, North of England - February 2008

Think i'll be using the F3 again. I'm seriously becoming more and more impressed with that 35mm camera. At the moment i'm going through a tight shooting evaluation, as i commented about a couple of posts ago, and this camera seems to be perfect for shooting thoughtfully.

No motordrive. Simple really, but it's definitely a factor in being a more controlled snapper. I can understand why many pro photographers like Leica rangefinder cameras. Quiet, small and not motordrive to burn through a film in twenty seconds. Exactly how many frames do you need to shoot to capture a moment in time? One? Three? twenty four?

Monday 22 June 2009

Podcast promises

Hmm. The podcast project hasn't exactly gone to plan. I originally wanted to get it set up and running in April, but it's been a matter of having the time to get a good understanding about how to do it. I'm just about there but I'm not making anymore promises. It will arrive as a surprise sometime soon is all this photographer is willing to say. The podcasts will be part of the multimedia area of the website, which is still in the early stages of construction. I have quite a few ideas to add more interactivity and variety to my website. I've seen a lot of multimedia work that I've loved recently. I especially admire the remarkable work that the New York Times is doing in multimedia presentations. Sound and vision will be exciting formats for me to put together and experiment with. I'll be posting more news about this project and other ideas over the coming weeks.

Saturday 20 June 2009

Square window

A bit more detached photography but this time in Iraq. This image is just one of several taken from the window of a military Humvee. The square window really adds a sense of detachment from the world around you - like looking at something through a TV screen. You're there... but not there.
Benjamin Lowy's website has a wide selection of photography to look at and can be found HERE.

Monday 15 June 2009

Detached from reality

If you ever needed an example of how being behind a camera can detach you from reality...then this is it. The cameraman was filming a DeHavilland Beaver trying to take off from Lake Spenard, Anchorage, Alaska, It's really only at the last minute that the videographer realises that something is wrong and dives for cover.

Several websites have said how odd it is that it takes the man so long to realise there is a problem. They don't take into account the detached secure feeling that being behind a camera gives. I've mentioned before on the blog how photographers (war photographers especially) often hide, physically and mentally, behind the camera. They just feel safe, no matter what's happening around them. Concentrating on the action doesn't help either.

The NTSB are investigating, although nobody was seriously hurt. Just a shame that the lovely DeHavilland Beaver got wrecked.

On Facebook

Just a little post to say that Richard Flint Photography is FINALLY on Facebook. I finally decided to get a page on the popular social media website. Currently there are just three photo albums of work but more will be added this week. If you use facebook, please feel free to pop by, say hello and become a fan... oh go on... you know you want to. :o)

To visit Richard Flint Photography on click HERE

Friday 12 June 2009

Shooting Regime

The sun setting at Burnham Overy Staithe, Norfolk, UK - July 2008

Over the last few days, I've been getting things in place for the forthcoming Norfolk trip. As usual it's been a process making mental notes of what i want to photograph - a sort of loose shooting list. After looking at the deluge of last year's images, I've come to the conclusion that i need to reduce the amount of photographs i take.

I often work quickly, after all time is money, but i think it's time that i slowed the picture taking process. With this in mind I've made a number of decisions regarding the coming Norfolk project. The main big change concerns the amount of film stock shot - it's going to be halved for this year. Quality and not quantity is what this is about. Tight image making control. Will it improve the quality of images i take? A very good question. I think it will.

What am i trying to achieve? Quite simply, I want to get a more concise control over my work - even though i was pleased with the photographs produced last year. More exposures, however, does not necessarily mean a greater number of super photographs. I think i can do better if i slow down. I tried this concise control approach on my trip to London, back in October, when i shot three rolls of film and was immensely pleased with the results. Less is more... as they say.

Monday 8 June 2009

Salgado's Genesis

An iceberg in Antarctica, photographed in 2005- Image by Sebastiao Salgado

There have been a few comments on the web recently concerning the current state of photo-journalism. Many critics believe that there are far too many photo-journalists chasing too few types of stories - famine and war being two of the obvious favourites. Not so with Sebastiao Salgado. Salgado has decided to concentrate on the main 21st century battle for hearts and minds - the environment and the humanity's effect on the planet.

His latest, and possibly final eight year project that he is halfway through, has been to photograph fragile areas of the planet that have remained untouched. Salgado's images look at the environment and the cultures of places that have yet to be badly disturbed by human interference. The images make up a magnificent piece of work and could be viewed as Sebastiao Salgado's most important. Several of the wonderful images can be seen via this New York Times media slide show that can be viewed HERE

A rather good video conversation with Sebastiao Salgado can be found HERE. It is an hour long but well worth a watch, especially if you are interested in the idea of the photographer as an activist.

Saturday 6 June 2009

SoFoBoMo Debrief

Monkbar Gate, York - May 2009

Enough time has gone by now to look back on my Solo Photo Book Month project. I enjoyed developing a book and intend to do another one as a self-initiated project later this year. Originally I'd wanted to do SoFoBoMo last year but found out about the project too late to really have any fair chance of producing a book in the time left. I decided then that I'd take part in 2009.

Apart from a change of subject and a few weather problems delaying the shoot, everything went OK. There are one or two little things I'd change if i could go back a month. It was intensely bright on the day of the shoot- even with lots of fluffy white clouds around to diffuse the light a little. I should have shot the photographs late afternoon to evening when the light was gentler. Just little niggles though. Other than that, I'd say that it all went by the numbers. The book building was pretty straightforward using Open Office 3.0 - a free open source office suite for PC with lots of great publishing tools including a PDF file creator. I'll probably use it again next year.

The trickiest part of the book was getting the PDF file right. I discovered that it's really a trade off between quality and convenience. Too large a PDF file and no one will download the book. Too small and the images look awful. It took a lot of tweaking to get my PDF somewhere near the size i wanted. I don't believe it's quite spot on, even with the current version 4 build, but you could tweak the PDF until the cows came home. As they say about film making, 'A film is never finished, just abandoned'. The same could be said for creating a photography book.

My 14.9Mb PDF book called 'Walled City - Photographs of York' can be found HERE

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Return trip

NASA 911, a Boeing 747 modified to carry the space shuttles, thunders off Runway 22 at Edwards Air Force Base with the shuttle Atlantis on its back on the first leg of Atlantis' ferry flight back to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Image -NASA/Tony Landis

If you've enjoyed the recent space images posted on the website over the last few weeks, then you'll love this spacefest of a webpage link sent to me by Suzane Smith. The webpage features one hundred websites dedicated to outer space. Lots and lots of photos, video and articles to look at. Many thanks for the link Suzane.