Friday 30 November 2012

Fighting the Flood

Flood equipment stored near the closed bridge in Malton, North Yorkshire, UK | Photo by Richard Flint

Twelve years ago i took a series of images about a flood that occurred in the towns not far from me. Both Malton and Norton lie next to the River Derwent, and in early 2000 the sheer amount of winter rain caused a extensive flood. To keep both towns connected, a ferry was started using a tractor and a trailer which transported people back and forth across the main bridge and the flooded areas. 

This year the flood waters returned and severely tested the £10 million flood defence system with the water reaching to within two feet of the top of the flood defense wall. Hopefully the worst of the flooding is over and the waters will start to recede, yet those who live near the river are faced with the huge task of tidying up and getting on with their lives, in the knowledge that a wet winter could easily see it return.

A series of images covering the flood and posted to Instagram can be seen HERE

Monday 26 November 2012

American Dream

Regular readers of this blog may remember Ian Ruhter's Silver and light video about the photographer who used his van as a camera, darkroom and transport all rolled into one. Like Harry Taylor featured in the last post, Ruhter was looking for something different and found it in the Wet Plate Collodian photography .

This second video follows Ian photographing people he has met in Los Angeles and the images, just like the stories he hears, are quite remarkable. The wet plate images do seem to capture the character of the portrait sitter rather well, but the process of taking the actual images is far from easy. Ruhter has it down to a fine art.

Best of all, the Ruhter wet plate van is hitting the roads around the United States to photograph the people and places. I, for one, will be keeping a close eye on what this photographer captures on his travels.

Saturday 24 November 2012

American Tintype

After the death of his mother, photographer Harry Taylor decided that he had taken film and digital photography as far as he could and discovered a passion for the 150 year old process of Tintype photography. The equipment and Tintype photo process is fascinating to watch. I'd love to have a go.

This short film is beautifully shot and captures the passion of photography perfectly. We all work in our own way to create images and this film just happens to capture a photographer who needed to change his photography. Especially interesting is Harry's mention of digital photography being perfect. Is this maybe why we use the Instagram retro photo filters? A need to inject some imperfection perhaps?

Friday 2 November 2012

Two Storms

The John B. Caddell, a tanker ship, ran aground on Staten Island during the Sandy storm surge |Photo by Benjamin Lowy—Reportage by Getty Images for TIME

Two storms have raged this week. First came the actual storm in Hurricane Sandy and then came the second storm about how it was covered by photojournalists who chose to use a certain iPhone app.

Much of the argument stems from this post criticizing the use of mobile photography during Hurricane Sandy. During a time when much of the infrastructure was down, people were on the move and people were after information - ANY information - mobile photography seemed not a bad choice of tool to use.

Let's not forget that Instagram is a publishing platform. Earlier today i re-tweeted a comment from @lpvmagazine who correctly stated :-

'The most interesting thing about Instagram IMO is that it's primarily a real time network/platform. Too much focus on aesthetics.' 
 Getting images out to an audience is what the Instagram network is built for. Forget all the vintage style photo filters. Forget all the photos of cats, food and family photos. Instagram is, at core, a real time publishing platform that can distribute imagery over a variety of communication networks. Then consider the challenging conditions facing people who were probably relying on mobile phones for most , if not all, of their communication.

How long does it take to process a DSLR image from the card to the net? Can you do it direct from the camera? How much gear/technology do you need to accomplish the task? Real time? Heck no.

Are we really that surprised that a device that can take photographs AND upload them in real time ( or damn close to it)to a waiting audience became the tool of choice for some photographers? I'm not.