kottke.org posts about photography

The Oldest Living Things in the WorldApr 16 2014

Oldest Living Things Book

The very first Kickstarter campaign I ever backed was Rachel Sussman's project to photograph the oldest living organisms in the world.

I'm researching, working with biologists, and traveling all over the world to find and photograph continuously living organisms that are 2,000 years old and older. I started the project 5 years ago, and have since photographed nearly 25 different organisms, ranging from the Bristlecone Pine and Giant Sequoias that you've surely heard of, to some truly unusual and unique desert shrubs, bacteria, a predatory fungus, and a clonal colony of Aspen trees that's male and, in theory, immortal.

Her goal was to compile the photographs into a book. Almost four years later, the book is out. Looks like it was worth the wait. The trailer does a nice job explaining what the book is all about:

The young eagle hunters of MongoliaApr 15 2014

Asher Svidensky's photographs from Mongolia of apprentice eagle hunters are fantastic. (FYI, they hunt with eagles, not for them.) Among Svidensky's subjects is a 13-year-old girl, Ashol Pan:

Mongolia Eagle Hunters

At the end of the photographing session, I sat down with her father and the translator to say my goodbyes, and I asked him this:

"How did it feel watching your daughter dressed in Kazakh uniform, on a mountain top, sending the eagle off and calling it back again?"

"Very good"

"And honestly... would you have considered truly training her? Would she become Mongolia's first ever female eagle huntress?"

I expected a straightforward "No" or a joking "Maybe", but after a short pause he replied:

"Up until two years ago my eldest son was the successor of the eagle hunting tradition in our family. Alas, two years ago he was drafted to the army, and he's now an officer, so he probably won't be back with the tradition. It's been a while since I started thinking about training her instead of him, but I wouldn't dare do it unless she asks me to do it, and if she will? Next year you will come to the eagle festival and see her riding with the eagle in my place."

From the father's answer I realized that the idea of women's participation in keeping the tradition is a possible future, but just like many other aspect of Mongolian life, it's an option which women will need to take on by themselves.

(via @rebeccablood)

Drone selfiesApr 15 2014

For the past couple of months, Amit Gupta has been playing around with taking moving self-portraits with a camera mounted on a drone. Here's an early effort. This past weekend, Amit's efforts crossed over into the realm of art. This is beautiful:

In the comments at Vimeo, Alex Dao dubbed this type of photograph a "dronie". We'll see if that catches on.

Update: More examples of dronies here.

GoPro, circa the 1960sApr 14 2014

Back in the olden days, you just tied your cameraman right to the car:

GoPro 1960s

Looks almost as goofy as Google Glass. Legendary F1 driver Jackie Stewart wore this stills-only proto-GoPro at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1966 (though not during the actual race):

Gopro 1960s Stewart

Stewart ended up winning that race. I believe Stewart is also the model for this contraption, which looks like a film camera counterbalanced with a battery pack?

Gopro 1960s Stewart

That couldn't have been comfortable. For some reason, neither of Stewart's helmet cams are recognized by Wikipedia as being the first documented helmet cam, which is instead attributed to a motorcycle race in 1986:

Motorcycle Helmet Cam

Update: Another early use of the helmet cam comes from the world of skydiving. Here's Bob Sinclair with a camera setup from 1961:

Gopro 1960s Parachute

(thx, david)

The world's happiest photo?Apr 11 2014

Life magazine asks: Is this the happiest photo ever made?

Drum Major, Alfred Eisenstaedt

The photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, who was covering the University of Michigan's marching band. When some children playing nearby set off after this practicing drum major, he snapped the photo. Said Eisenstaedt, "This is a completely spontaneous, unstaged picture."

The photographer took many notable photos -- the famous V-J Day kiss in Times Square, of Marilyn Monroe, of Albert Einstein, of Joseph Goebbels -- but the drum major one above and his ballet series are my favorites (particularly this one).

2014 Smithsonian photo contest finalistsApr 08 2014

Smith Photos

Smithsonian Magazine has announced the finalists in their annual photography contest. The shot above is a finalist in the Mobile category...it was taken with an iPhone 5. (via colossal)

2001 behind-the-scenes photosApr 03 2014

From a large collection of photos shot on the set of 2001: A Space Odyssey, two of my favorites:

2001 Behind 01

2001 Behind 02

Those are a pair of smooth criminals right there.

Scale AmericanaApr 02 2014

Michael Paul Smith takes photographs of classic cars that evoke feelings of nostalgia for America in the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Take a look, these are about as Pleasantville as you can get:

Michael Paul Smith 01

Michael Paul Smith 02

But as you'll discover browsing through Smith's collection, the cars he photographs are scale models. Here's the set-up for that second shot:

Michael Paul Smith 03

And here's further evidence of Smith's trickery:

Michael Paul Smith 04

No Photoshop here...all effects are done in-camera. As Smith notes, "It is the oldest trick in the special effects book: lining up a model with an appropriate background, then photographing it." (via @osteslag)

Finding Vivian Maier now out in theatersApr 01 2014

Now showing at IFC Center in NYC: Finding Vivian Maier. Maier is the Chicago street photographer whose extensive and impressive body of work was recently discovered at an auction. John Maloof bought Maier's work, started posting it to a blog several years ago, did a Kickstarter (one of the first I backed) to fund a documentary about Maier and her photos, and now the film is showing in theaters around the US and Canada.

Beautiful photos of chicken beauty pageantsMar 26 2014

Photographer Ernest Goh documents chicken beauty pageants in Malaysia. Gorgeous photos, gorgeous animals.

Chicken Pageant

(via colossal)

The Long Shadow of ChernobylMar 14 2014

Gerd Ludwig Chernobyl

National Geographic photographer Gerd Ludwig has visited Chernobyl nine times over the past twenty years. The Long Shadow of Chernobyl is a forthcoming book collecting Ludwig's photos, which includes an essay by Mikhail Gorbachev. The publication of the book is being funded via Kickstarter. There is also an iOS app.

ICP museum to closeMar 14 2014

Aw man, the International Center of Photography is closing its museum on 6th Ave. The good news is they're planning on reopening in another location.

At our request for an interview, Lubell issued the following statement. "The International Center of Photography has been and continues to be at the center, both nationally and internationally, of the conversation regarding photography and the explosive growth of visual communications. In advancing this conversation, ICP has decided to move its current museum to a new space. This decision reflects the evolution of photography and our role in setting the agenda for visual communications for the 21st century. ICP will announce our future sites this spring. The school will remain at 1114 Avenue of the Americas in Midtown Manhattan."

I'm long overdue for a visit...the Capa in Color exhibition looks promising, perhaps I'll stop in this weekend. (via @akuban)

Cabin Porn, the book!Mar 05 2014

Cabin Porn

The folks behind Cabin Porn are making a book with photography by Noah Kalina. Outstanding.

Murmurations of starlingsMar 03 2014

I keep waiting to get sick of seeing photos of huge flocks of birds flying around like they share a brain, but it hasn't happened. Alan Taylor has collected a bunch of starling murmuration photos at In Focus.

Starling murmuration

They're even better in motion.

The anti-government protests in VenezuelaFeb 28 2014

Like Ukraine, Venezuela has been experiencing anti-government protests over the past few weeks. In Focus has a selection of photos from the protests.

Venezuela Protests

Moisés Naím has an article that explains what's behind the protests.

This is the half of the country whose sons and daughters have taken to the streets to protest against a repressive regime that treats them as mortal enemies. And maybe they are. After all, they represent the vanguard of a society no longer willing to tolerate an abusive government with disastrous results to show for its 15-year grip on power: Venezuela is now the world champion of inflation, homicide, insecurity, and shortages of essential goods-from milk for children to insulin for diabetics and all kinds of indispensable products. All this despite having the greatest oil reserves in the world and a government with absolute control of all state institutions and levers of power. Sadly, that government has used its immense wealth and authority to push through unsustainable populist policies, buy votes, jail opposition leaders, and shut down television channels. Daily shortages of basic goods, fear of crime, and hopelessness have become unbearable.

Crisis in UkraineFeb 20 2014

Since November, anti-government protests have been happening in Ukraine. A recent truce gave hope that the violence would end, but mistrust on both sides has resulted in the worst clashes yet. The photos from the main fighting in Kiev are unbelievable.

Kiev Protest

Why the protests? Think Progress published an explainer this morning, before the latest round of violence.

The protests began on November 22, after President Viktor Yanukovych reversed course and refused to sign political and trade agreements with the European Union that had been in the works for years after heavy pressure from Moscow to abandon the agreements. Despite a violent police crackdown, protesters vowed to continue blockading streets and occupying public buildings until their central demand is met: the current government, including Yanukovych, must go.

The treaties would have opened the European Union market to Ukrainian companies and could have boosted the Ukrainian GDP by more than six percent over ten years. The country is suffering through an economic depression and lower tariffs and expanded competition could have also lowered prices, "fueling an increase of household consumption of some 12 percent." Ukraine would have also adopted 350 EU laws, codifying what many Ukrainians saw as a "commitment to European standards of governance and social justice." To them, the treaty was a way of diminishing Russia's long-time influence and reversing the trend of persistent economic corruption and sluggishness.

Photos of the first 12 Winter OlympicsFeb 13 2014

Andrea Mead Ski

1948 Pentathlon

Following the film footage of the 1932 Winter Olympics (ice skating on stilts! Keystone Cops ski jumping!), here's a collection of photos from In Focus of the first 12 Winter Games, from 1924 to 1976.

Flickr is ten years oldFeb 12 2014

Photo-sharing community Flickr turned ten years old this week. At Time, Harry McCracken takes a look back.

Earlier photo sites were mostly concerned with letting you put your pictures in front of friends and family. Flickr did that, too. But from the start, it was building a community of photo lovers around the world who wanted to share images with other photo lovers, as well as thousands of special interest sub-communities. It was about storytelling.

I was at Etech when Flickr launched and was one of the site's first few hundred users. The photo chat room they launched with was not that interesting to me, but when they turned it inside out, I was hooked. Happy birthday, Flickr.

The motorbike girl gangs of MoroccoFeb 10 2014

Hassan Hajjaj's photos of female motorbike enthusiasts from Morocco are fun.

Hassan Hajjaj Bike

On display at the Taymour Grahne Gallery in NYC through March 7.

Shortlisted images from The 2014 Sony World Photography AwardsFeb 05 2014

In Focus has posted some shortlisted images from The 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. This wildebeest photo by Bonnie Cheung stopped me in my tracks...it looks like a painting (or a cave painting).

Wildebeest Bonnie Cheung

More here and here.

Ye olde SundanceJan 24 2014

From photographer Victoria Will, olde tyme tin type portraits of celebrities at Sundance. The one of William H. Macy stopped me in my tracks:

William H Macy Tin Type

Several others are worth a look as well. (via @khoi)

A rare connectionJan 18 2014

John Schneider

Photographer Jeremy Cowart writes about a rare time he made a real connection with one of his celebrity subjects. It happened during a shoot with the cast of The Haves and the Have Nots, a show on Oprah's network. As usual with shoots like this, Cowart only got a few minutes with each subject, time to shoot but not much else. But then John Schneider pulled him aside.

Once we wrapped up his session, Tika walked off set and John came to me and whispered in my ear "Hey can you sneak a few more portraits of me?" and I said "sure of course". He said "there's something going on and I just need a photo."

So I grabbed my camera again and John walked back on set.

He immediately began weeping. Legitimately crying. He was so good at impressions that I thought this was another impression and I thought "wow, what an acting talent."

(via @gavinpurcell)

The British Library's Flickr wunderkammerJan 15 2014

Mammoth Skeleton

The British Library has a million images up at Flickr. 1,019,998 to be precise. And it appears that most (all?) of the images are copyright-free. An amazing resource.

Photographing the TubeJan 14 2014

For the past 40 years, Bob Mazzer has been taking photographs of the London Underground and its passengers.

Bob Mazzer

Bob Mazzer

NYC diners in the 90sJan 08 2014

From photographer Greg Alessandrini, a collection of photos of diners in New York City taken in the 1990s. I was pleased to see a shot of Jones Diner, which I ate at several months before moving to NYC:

Jones Diner

It closed shortly before we moved and I never got to eat there again. At the time, word was some condos were being built on the site, but it took ten years for construction to start. What a waste.

BTW, the rest of Alessandrini's site is well worth a look...hundreds and possibly thousands of photographs of NYC from the 80s and 90s. (via @UnlikelyWorlds)

Bill Cunningham exhibitionJan 07 2014

Cunningham Facades Subway

In March, the New York Historical Society is mounting an exhibition of photographer Bill Cunningham's project, Façades.

Scouring the city's thrift stores, auction houses, and street fairs for vintage clothing, and scouting sites on his bicycle, Cunningham generated a photographic essay entitled Façades, which paired models -- in particular his muse, fellow photographer Editta Sherman -- in period costumes with historic settings.

Goodbye cameras, hello networked lensesJan 03 2014

Craig Mod, writing for the New Yorker, says goodbye to cameras as photography transitions to the use of "networked lenses".

After two and a half years, the GF1 was replaced by the slightly improved Panasonic GX1, which I brought on the six-day Kumano Kodo hike in October. During the trip, I alternated between shooting with it and an iPhone 5. After importing the results into Lightroom, Adobe's photo-development software, it was difficult to distinguish the GX1's photos from the iPhone 5's. (That's not even the latest iPhone; Austin Mann's superlative results make it clear that the iPhone 5S operates on an even higher level.) Of course, zooming in and poking around the photos revealed differences: the iPhone 5 doesn't capture as much highlight detail as the GX1, or handle low light as well, or withstand intense editing, such as drastic changes in exposure. But it seems clear that in a couple of years, with an iPhone 6S in our pockets, it will be nearly impossible to justify taking a dedicated camera on trips like the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage.

And indeed, the mid-tier Japanese camera makers (Panasonic, Fujifilm and Olympus) are struggling to find their way in the networked lens era. A few years ago, I wrote a post called "Your company? There's an app for that." about how smartphones were not only going to make certain devices obsolete, but drive entire companies and industries out of business. This bit, about cameras, seems almost quaint now:

Point and shoot camera -- While not as full-featured as something like a PowerShot, the camera on the iPhone 3GS has a 3-megapxiel lens with both auto and manual focus, shoots in low-light, does macro, and can shoot video. Plus, it's easy to instantly publish your photos online using the iPhone's networking capabilities and automatically tag your photos with your location.

The best camera is the one you have with you the one with built-in posting to Facebook.

Enhance!Dec 30 2013

In a feature straight out of the movies, Dr. Rob Jenkins and his team have demonstrated that for sufficiently high-resolution photos, recognizable images of reflected faces of the photographer and bystanders can be retrieved from a subject's eyes.

The researchers say that in crimes in which the victims are photographed, such as hostage taking or child sex abuse, reflections in the eyes of the photographic subject could help to identify perpetrators. Images of people retrieved from cameras seized as evidence during criminal investigations could be used to piece together networks of associates or to link individuals to particular locations.

By zooming in on high-resolution passport-style photographs, Jenkins and co-researcher Christie Kerr of the School of Psychology, University of Glasgow were able to recover bystander images that could be identified accurately by observers, despite their low resolution.

Here's some older research about reading confidential data using reflections from tea pots, glasses, eyes, and even diffuse materials like fabric. And of course, there's the famous eBay tea kettle. (via waxy)

Henry's ConceptsDec 16 2013

Alex is 2-year-old Henry's nanny. She's also a photographer. One day, at Henry's behest, the pair took photos of each other in the same pose. It turned into a project called Henry's Concepts.

Henrys Concepts

Each of these photos is strictly Henry's idea. He chooses the location and the pose. I take the photo of him and then he takes the photo of me.

(via cup of jo)

The best photos of 2013Dec 05 2013

Wave Capture

As I said last year, the photos are always my favorite end-of-the-year media to check out. It's only early December, but a few media outlets are out of the gate already with their year-end lists.

Best photos of the year 2013 from Reuters.

The Top 10 Photos of 2013 from Time.

2013 Pictures of the Year from Agence France Presse.

The 80 Most Powerful Photos of 2013 from The Roosevelts.

Las mejores fotos del 2013 from Yahoo En Español.

The 45 Most Powerful Photos Of 2013 from BuzzFeed.

2013: The Year in Photos from In Focus. Here are parts two and three.

2013 Year in Pictures from Big Picture. Here are parts two and three.

Year in Focus 2013 from Getty Images.

Year in Photos 2013 from The Wall Street Journal.

The Year in Pictures from The New York Times.

Do you have a list for this list? Send it along!

Honest Abe's photographsDec 03 2013

Lincoln Crack

Errol Morris is at it again, publishing book-length blog posts for the NY Times. This time, he's examining the photograph evidence of Abraham Lincoln and, I think, what those photos might tell us about Lincoln's death. Here's the prologue and part one (of an eventual four).

My fascination with the dating and interpretation of photographs is really a fascination with the push-pull of history. Facts vs. beliefs. Our desire to know the origins of things vs. our desire to rework, to reconfigure the past to suit our own beliefs and predilections. Perhaps nothing better illustrates this than two radically different predispositions to objects -- the storyteller vs. the collector.

For the collector the image with the crack [in one of Lincoln's photographs] is a damaged piece of goods -- the crack potentially undermining the value of the photograph as an artifact, a link to the past. The storyteller doesn't care about the photograph's condition, or its provenance, but about its thematic connections with events. To the storyteller, the crack is the beginning of a legend -- the legend of a death foretold. The crack seems to anticipate the bullet fired into the back of Lincoln's head at Ford's Theater on Good Friday, April 14, 1865.

It should have a name. I call it "the proleptic crack."

Snowflakes, close-upNov 22 2013

Snowflake

Snowflake 2

Alexey Kljatov takes amazing photographs of snowflakes. Infinite beautiful variation. The large versions are worth checking out.

I Pixel UNov 18 2013

I Pixel U

I Pixel U is an iOS app that lets you selectively pixelate people and objects in photos, creating the effect of 8-bit characters in the real world. Many examples are available on Instagram.

See also Aled Lewis' Video Games vs. Real Life series. (via prosthetic knowledge)

Colors organized neatlyNov 14 2013

I love these color typologies by photographer Emily Blincoe. This gold candy one is particularly fetching:

Emily Blincoe

(via @mathowie)

Dolores T. VollmannNov 14 2013

Prolific and celebrated writer William T. Vollmann is a "devoted" cross-dresser.

Mr. Vollmann is 54, heterosexual and married with a daughter in high school. He began cross-dressing seriously about five years ago. Sometimes he transforms himself into a woman as part of a strange vision quest, aided by drugs or alcohol, to mind-meld with a female character in a book he's writing. Other times it's just because he likes the "smooth and slippery" feel of women's lingerie.

He said his wife, who is an oncologist, is not thrilled with his outré experiments and keeps her distance. "Probably when the book comes out, it'll be the first she's heard of it," he said. "I always try to keep my wife and child out of what I do. I don't want to cause them any embarrassment." He asked that his wife not be interviewed for this article.

Vollmann has collected self-portraits of himself as his female alter ego in The Book of Dolores. (via @DavidGrann)

Shadows and the monsters who make themNov 07 2013

An exhibition from Philip Worthington at MoMA last year turned people's shadows into monsters. Joe Holmes turned his lens away from the shadows and instead captured the silhouettes of museums goers in their attempts to make shadows.

Joe Holmes Monsters 01

Joe Holmes Monsters 02

Winners of the Small World micro-photography contestOct 30 2013

In Focus has a selection of winning photos from Nikon's Small World Photomicrography Competition. The award for most terrifying goes to Dimitri Seeboruth for his shot of a worker ant:

Small World Ant

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

The most honored photographOct 30 2013

Jay Zeamer and a group of fellow misfits collectively called the Eager Beavers were an American photoreconnaissance team in the Pacific theater during WWII. They flew their beat-up B-17 bomber into enemy territory to collection reconnaissance photographs. Roger Cicala shares the engaging story of their most noteworthy photo.

The only crew that volunteered, of course, was Jay Zeamer and the Eager Beavers. One of the crew, bombardier Joseph Sarnovski, had absolutely no reason to volunteer. He'd already been in combat for 18 months and was scheduled to go home in 3 days. Being a photo mission, there was no need for a bombardier. But if his friends were going, he wanted to go, and one of the bombardier's battle stations was to man the forward machine guns. They might need him, so he went.

They suspected the airstrip at Buka had been expanded and reinforced, but weren't sure until they got close. As soon as the airfield came in sight, they saw numerous fighters taking off and heading their way. The logical thing to do would have been to turn right and head for home. They would be able to tell the intelligence officers about the increased number of planes at Buka even if they didn't get photos.

But Zeamer and photographer William Kendrick knew that photos would be invaluable for subsequent planes attacking the base, and for Marines who were planning to invade the island later. Zeamer held the plane level (tilting the wings even one degree at that altitude could put the photograph half a mile off target) and Kendrick took his photos, which gave plenty of time for over 20 enemy fighters to get up to the altitude Old 666 was flying at.

(via petapixel)

Robotics state-of-the-art in 2013Oct 22 2013

At In Focus, Alan Taylor surveys the state-of-the-art in robotics with a varied selection of photos. For example, here are two Big Dogs frolicking in the robot dog park:

Big Dogs Frolic

And better yet, Florian Lopes looks as though he's enjoying his new bionic hand:

Bionic Hand

Photographing my catcallersOct 21 2013

Hannah Price

In her series City of Brother Love, Hannah Price photographs the men who catcall her on the street. A selection of her images and a short interview is available on The Morning News.

Once a guy catcalls me, depending on the situation, I would either candidly take their photograph or walk up to them and ask if I can take their photograph. They usually agree and we talk about our lives as I make their portrait.

An interesting approach to sexist heckling. Here's another by jogger Anna Hart:

But sometimes, a heckler still makes himself heard, like the wheezing smoker on a park bench who called out to me: "I could give you a better workout, love," as I ran past him earlier this week.

I suddenly thought of that 16-year-old stuck indoors on the treadmill, and turned around. "You know what I want?" I said, as he shrank back in alarm. "I want you to never, ever speak to another woman or girl like that, you pathetic old fool." I was very sweaty, very pink and very angry, and he was plainly terrified.

Making cheese with artisan Swiss cheesemakersOct 18 2013

Swiss Cheese Journey

If you're into cheese, you'll want to take this photographic journey into a season with Swiss cheesemakers.

In Gruyeres, western Switzerland, from mid-May to mid-October, the fifth generation of the Murith family produces its distinctive mountain pasture Gruyere cheese. Each wheel of cheese weighs between 25 and 40 kilograms, and takes a minimum of six months to mature. The family produces 200 wheels each year to sell locally, using unpasteurized milk from their own herd of cows. Reuters photographer Denis Balibouse spent time with the Murith family over this past grazing season, capturing days and nights in the alpine pastures of Switzerland.

Saturn without its ringsOct 17 2013

Over at The Planetary Society, Emily Lakdawalla highlighted an image taken by the Cassini spacecraft of Saturn separate from its rings.

This enormous mosaic showing the flattened globe of Saturn floating amongst the complete disk of its rings must surely be counted among the great images of the Cassini mission. From Earth, we never see Saturn separate from its rings. Here, we can see the whole thing, a gas giant like Jupiter, separated at last from the rings that encircle it.

Taking this idea one step further, I removed the rings completely, along with the "ringlight" lighting up the night hemisphere, creating a more-or-less pure look of what Saturn would look like without its rings.

Saturn Without Rings

Larger version is available on Mlkshk.

Photos of airshipsOct 11 2013

In Focus has a nice slideshow of photos of blimps, dirigibles, and airships, from the first flights in the early 1900s to the Hindenburg disaster to the blimps flying high over sporting events.

Airship USS Akron

(via @alexismadrigal)

Edward Burtynsky's WaterOct 03 2013

Burtynsky Water 01

Burtynsky Water 02

Photographer Edward Burtynsky's latest project is called Water.

While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival; something we often take for granted -- until it's gone.

Water is on display this month in NYC at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery and Howard Greenberg Gallery and in London at Flowers Gallery. There is also a book and an upcoming feature-length film:

(via pdn)

Japanese manhole covers are beautifulSep 19 2013

This group on Flickr shows just how fantastically designed Japanese manhole covers are. Here are some of my favorites:

Japanese Manholes 01

Japanese Manholes 02

Japanese Manholes 03

Japanese Manholes 04

(via mr)

Project UnbreakableSep 19 2013

This is powerful and amazing (and upsetting): Project Unbreakable is a photography project that features images of sexual assault survivors holding signs showing what others (attackers, family members, cops, etc.) said to them about the assaults.

Project Unbreakable

It's difficult to pick the yuckiest bottom-of-the-barrel sludge here, but the comments from the police officers really get my dander up.

"If you were my daughter I would have killed you." - Lady police officer while being interrogated

"If you don't tell us how many people you've slept with, the ADA won't even consider your case." - Interviewing Dectective

"This is why we have underage drinking laws! THIS IS YOUR FAULT! If you hadn't been drinking this wouldn't have happened to you!" - St. Petersburg police when I tried to press charges

Sickening, sickening. The police are supposed to protect the vulnerable, not persecute them. (via @rebeccablood)

All the colors, once eachSep 17 2013

In the parlance of NYC graffiti enthusiasts, going "all city" means getting your stuff known all over the five boroughs. Now a group of designers are challenging each other to go "all RGB", to make images that contain all of the 16.7 million colors that make up the RGB spectrum once each. This entry is amazing because it still looks like an actual photograph when you zoom out (many others do not):

All RGB

You can find many more entries on allRGB.com or make your own using this code on GitHub. (via digg)

Long photograph of the MoonSep 16 2013

NASA created this lovely high resolution view of the Moon doing one complete rotation using footage from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

(via @Colossal)

When legends gatherSep 11 2013

Barber Valentine Terry

I watched a lot of pro wrestling when I was a kid and this photo of Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine, and fashion photographer Terry Richardson is just too much for me. If nostalgia truly is death, someone better make some arrangements for me.

(If you're not with me on this whole reminiscing about 1980s professional wrestlers thing, Richardson also recently took a photo of Miley Cyrus eating a salad, so you're basically all caught up on current events and you're welcome.)

The Last Men of the RevolutionSep 09 2013

I have a soft spot for photography that reaches, seemingly impossibly, back into time...e.g. early color photography. It's an inexpensive form of time travel. The American Revolution took place back in the days before photography and the way we remember it visually is something like this:

Washington Crossing the Delaware

But, some Revolutionary War participants lived long enough to have their daguerreotypes taken in the 1850s and 1860s. This is a photo of Lemuel Cook, the last official surviving veteran of the Revolution1, taken sometime before his death in 1866.

Lemuel Cook

The source of many of these photos is a book published in 1864 by E.B. Hillard called The Last Men of the Revolution. The book contains six photos of surviving war vets and brief biographies of each man. (via @ftrain)

[1] Daniel Bakeman lived until 1869 but could not prove his service in the war. However, Congress passed a special act in 1867 that provided him with a war pension. Bakeman's longevity (he lived to 109) contributed to another astounding achievement: he and his wife Susan had the longest marriage on record, 91 years. Their marriage began 3 years before the Revolution and continued until Susan's death in 1863, right in the midst of the Civil War. Amazing.

Red Bull photo contest winnersAug 31 2013

In Focus has a collection of some of the most excellent Red Bull Illume Photo Contest winners. And as you'd expect, they are about as Red Bull as you can get. Great shots.

1930s-40s USA in colorAug 21 2013

You've probably seen some of these before, but the 1600+ color photos from the 1930s & 1940s uploaded by the Library of Congress to Flickr are a wonderful look at America around the time of WWII. Here are a few quick favorites:

LOC Color

LOC Color

LOC Color

ISS in transitJul 25 2013

Romanian photographer Maximilian Teodorescu recently caught the International Space Station in transit across the Sun.

ISS Sun

Teodorescu has also taken photos of the ISS in transit across the Moon.

ISS Moon

These photos make the ISS seem tiny and huge all at the same time. And be sure to click through on the links to see the full-sized photos.

Time lapse of old photo restorationJul 25 2013

Nice peek into the process of Photoshopping an old photo to make it look new again:

(via @DavidGrann)

A frog with an umbrellaJul 24 2013

Frog With An Umbrella

A frog using a leaf as an umbrella in a rain storm. Shot by Penkdix Palme.

Golf Ball Innards or Bowl of Gelato?Jul 19 2013

Today's fun game is: Golf Ball Innards or Bowl of Gelato? Let's get started. Is this a creamy bowl of lemon-lime pistachio gelato or the inside of a golf ball?

Golf Ball Innards

Ok, that was an easy one. How about this one...is this half of a crazy-ass golf ball or a delicious bowl of watermelon bubble gum gelato?

Golf Ball Innards

It's gotta be gelato, right? Ok, last one: gelato or cross section of a golf ball from a project called Interior Designs by photographer James Friedman?

Golf Ball Innards

Yum, I can almost taste the blueberries through the screen. Well, that's all the time we have today, folks. You've been a great group of contestants, and we hope to see you next week on Golf Ball Innards or Bowl of Gelato? (via edible geography)

Total death-defying fireworks crazinessJul 18 2013

Thomas Prior's photographs from the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico are pretty much exhibit A in why your parents didn't want you and your idiot friends to play with fireworks.

Crazy Fireworks 1

Crazy Fireworks 2

(via wired)

After "Lunch atop a Skyscraper", a napJul 15 2013

Lunch atop a Skyscraper

That's the iconic "Lunch atop a Skyscraper" photo taken in 1932 during the construction of the RCA Building (aka 30 Rock) in NYC. Eleven construction workers eating lunch on a steel girder 840 feet in the air. The shot was a PR stunt to drum up excitement around the near completion of the new skyscraper...no one even knows for sure who took the photo because it was likely a multiple photographer situation. On the same day the lunch photo was taken, some of the same men were photographed taking a nap on the same girder:

Nap atop a Skyscraper

The era of constant photographyJul 11 2013

Photographer Clayton Cubitt and Rex Sorgatz have both written essays about how photography is becoming something more than just standing in front of something and snapping a photo of it with a camera. Here's Cubitt's On the Constant Moment.

So the Decisive Moment itself was merely a form of performance art that the limits of technology forced photographers to engage in. One photographer. One lens. One camera. One angle. One moment. Once you miss it, it is gone forever. Future generations will lament all the decisive moments we lost to these limitations, just as we lament the absence of photographs from pre-photographic eras. But these limitations (the missed moments) were never central to what makes photography an art (the curation of time,) and as the evolution of technology created them, so too is it on the verge of liberating us from them.

And Sorgatz's The Case of the Trombone and the Mysterious Disappearing Camera.

Photography was once an act of intent, the pushing of a button to record a moment. But photography is becoming an accident, the curatorial attention given to captured images.

Slightly different takes, but both are sniffing around the same issue: photography not as capturing a moment in realtime but sometime later, during the editing process. As I wrote a few years ago riffing on a Megan Fox photo shoot, I side more with Cubitt's take:

As resolution rises & prices fall on video cameras and hard drive space, memory, and video editing capabilities increase on PCs, I suspect that in 5-10 years, photography will largely involve pointing video cameras at things and finding the best images in the editing phase. Professional photographers already take hundreds or thousands of shots during the course of a shoot like this, so it's not such a huge shift for them. The photographer's exact set of duties has always been malleable; the recent shift from film processing in the darkroom to the digital darkroom is only the most recent example.

What's interesting about the hot video/photo mobile apps of the moment, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat, is that, if you believe what Cubitt and Sorgatz are saying, they follow the more outdated definition of photography. You hold the camera in front of something, take a video or photo of that moment, and post it. If you missed it, it's gone forever. What if these apps worked the other way around: you "take" the photo or video from footage previously (or even constantly) gathered by your phone?

To post something to Instagram, you have the app take 100 photos in 10-15 seconds and then select your photo by scrubbing through them to find the best moment. Same with Snapchat. Vine would work similarly...your phone takes 20-30 seconds of video and you use Vine's already simple editing process to select your perfect six seconds. This is similar to one of my favorite technology-driven techniques from the past few years:

In order to get the jaw-dropping slow-motion footage of great white sharks jumping out of the ocean, the filmmakers for Planet Earth used a high-speed camera with continuous buffering...that is, the camera only kept a few seconds of video at a time and dumped the rest. When the shark jumped, the cameraman would push a button to save the buffer.

Only an after-the-fact camera is able to capture moments like great whites jumping out of the water:

And it would make it much easier to capture moments like your kid's first steps, a friend's quick smile, or a skateboarder's ollie. I suspect that once somebody makes an easy-to-use and popular app that works this way, it will be difficult to go back to doing it the old way.

Photographic communication and our experiencing selvesJul 02 2013

Due to the increasing ubiquity of connected cameras, writes Nick Bilton in the NY Times, photography is shifting away from documentation to communication.

Photos, once slices of a moment in the past -- sunsets, meetings with friends, the family vacation -- are fast becoming an entirely new type of dialogue. The cutting-edge crowd is learning that communicating with a simple image, be it a picture of what's for dinner or a street sign that slyly indicates to a friend, "Hey, I'm waiting for you," is easier than bothering with words, even in a world of hyper-abbreviated Twitter posts and texts.

"This is a watershed time where we are moving away from photography as a way of recording and storing a past moment," said Robin Kelsey, a professor of photography at Harvard, and we are "turning photography into a communication medium."

Dave Pell worries that the realtime availability of all these photos is getting in the way of our experiencing selves.

Maybe it was a bad angle. Maybe I didn't get his good side. Maybe he just didn't have that surfer vibe. Whatever it was, the photo wasn't all that cool. Given time to reflect (even the few days I used to get between my own childhood birthdays and my mom picking up a set of 4x6 prints at the local pharmacy), my son probably would've developed a version of that day that had him riding a giant a wave, looking like a cross between Laird Hamilton and Eddie Vedder. Instead, he pretty much looked like a landlocked three year-old on a beach-bound surfboard who was suffering from a rare -- but particularly punishing -- bad hair day.

The instant my son looked at the image, his imagination-driven perception of himself was replaced by a digital reproduction of the moment he had just experienced. He had a few seconds, not nearly long enough, to create is own internal version of what that moment looked -- and by extension felt -- like.

Notes for SherlockJun 28 2013

[Sherlock season 2 spoilers ahead...] At the end of the second season of the excellent BBC series Sherlock, Holmes jumps off the roof of a building in Smithfield, London. Ever since then, fans of the show have been leaving notes near where he would have landed.

Sherlock Notes

(thx, phil)

Bullet cross-sectionsJun 26 2013

Sabine Pearlman's photos of bullets split in half reveals there are many ways to make them.

Bullet Cross Sections

A metaphor for the WebJun 24 2013

This is what it feels like to use the Web sometimes:

Nepal Car 1950

That's from National Geographic's excellent Found blog; Porters transport a car on long poles across a stream in Nepal, January 1950.

Aerial photography pioneer George LawrenceJun 24 2013

In the early 1900s, photographer George Lawrence built what he called the Lawrence Captive Airship, a series of kites and wires able to hold aloft a camera mounted on a stabilizing mechanism. With his invention, he was able to take aerial photos of cities all over the country -- Brooklyn, Atlantic City, Chicago, Kansas City. You've probably seen his photos of a burnt-out San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake.

George Lawrence SF quake

You gotta love anyone whose company motto was "the hitherto impossible in photography is our specialty". (via coudal)

Single photograph looks like 4 individual photographsJun 21 2013

Photographer Bela Borsodi fastidiously manipulated household items in the photograph below to create an image that looks like 4 photographs. Created as an album cover for the band VLP, I can confirm it's possible to stare at this picture for many minutes.

Bela Borsodi

Here's the photo again from a different angle, and if you're interested, here's a video of the process used to create the image.

Bela Borsodi Off Axis

(via unified pop theory and reddit, thx, alex)

The quickening pace of modern life?Jun 20 2013

Ah, the good old days, when people used to talk to each other in public rather than looking at their phones or listening to headphones all the time. Except that's not been the case for awhile as XKCD demonstrates with a series of quotes from various publications dating back to 1871. This is from William Smith's Morley: Ancient and Modern published in 1886.

With the advent of cheap newspapers and superior means of locomotion... the dreamy quiet old days are over... for men now live think and work at express speed. They have their Mercury or Post laid on their breakfast table in the early morning, and if they are too hurried to snatch from it the news during that meal, they carry it off, to be sulkily read as they travel... leaving them no time to talk with the friend who may share the compartment with them... the hurry and bustle of modern life... lacks the quiet and repose of the period when our forefathers, the day's work done, took their ease...

In 1946, a young Stanley Kubrick worked as a photographer for Look magazine and took this shot of NYC subway commuters reading newspapers:

Kubrick Subway Newspapers

The more things change, etc. More of Kubrick's subway photography can be found here.

Watch the skiesJun 20 2013

Coudal Partners travelled to rural Nevada to capture this 6 hour and 21 minute real time film of the night sky.

Click through to YouTube to watch it in the original 4K resolution, which is much better than even 1080p. They produced the video in conjunction with the Night Sky edition of their Field Notes notebooks.

How the other half livedJun 19 2013

Jacob Riis came to NYC in 1870 at the age of 21. He had $40 in his pocket, which he quickly spent. Unemployed, he lived for a time in the city's notorious slums before working his way up the social and economic ladder to become one of New York's strongest advocates for reform. Riis also took early advantage of flash photography to steer his camera into the city's darkest corners -- tenements, dark alleys, sweatshops, opium dens, beer halls -- and emerged with photographs that helped shift public opinion on NYC's poverty and slums.

Jacob Riis

Collections of Riis' photography can be viewed at Museum Syndicate and the Museum of the City of New York. Riis included many of his photographs in a book he published in 1890 called How the Other Half Lives: Studies among the Tenements of New York. (via petapixel)

Portraits of grandmas and their foodJun 18 2013

Photographer Gabriele Galimberti travelled around the world (Morocco, Philippines, Italy, India) to get these shots of grandmothers and the foods they cook.

Grandma Food

Each pair of photographs includes a recipe for making the pictured dish. Galimberti's other projects are very much worth checking out as well. (via @youngna)

A history of color photographyJun 18 2013

From Luminous Lint, a brief but comprehensive history of color photography.

To understand what is happening in color photography today it is beneficial to know what has been previously accomplished. The quest for color photography can be traced to Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre's 1839 public announcement of his daguerreotype process, which produced a finely detailed, one-of-a-kind, direct-positive photographic image through the action of light on a silver-coated copper plate. Daguerreotypes astonished and delighted, but nevertheless people complained that the images lacked color. As we see the world in color, others immediately began to seek ways to overcome this deficiency and the first colored photographs made their appearance that same year. The color was applied by hand, directly on the daguerreotype's surface. Since then scores of improvements and new processes have been patented for commercial use.

This is a photograph made by Louis Ducos du Hauron sometime between 1869-1879, a particularly early example of a vivid color photographic print that wasn't colored by hand.

Rooster Ducos Du Hauron

See many other examples of early color photography in the kottke.org archives. (via @ptak)

To the ends of the EarthJun 17 2013

Alan Taylor recently investigated where Google Maps' Street View coverage ends -- "whether blocked by geographic features, international borders, or simply the lack of any further road" -- and compiled a photographic look at the ends of the road.

Lava Road

(via @faketv)

Classical statues dressed up as hipstersJun 14 2013

Photographer Léo Caillard makes images of classical statues dressed up as hipsters.

Hipster Statuary 01

Hipster Statuary 02

(via ★thoughtbrain)

Homemade inventions from ChinaMay 09 2013

This is amazing: Alan Taylor rounds up some homemade inventions from China, including DIY submarines, giant motorcycles, home-built robots, and can't-possibly-fly airplanes. I can't pick a favorite, but this homemade welding mask is outstanding:

Homemade Welding Mask

Ok, and this giant motorcycle:

Giant Motorcycle

Oh, and this rickshaw-pulling robot:

Rickshaw Robot

And, and, and... (via @faketv)

Is this a photo of Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Jesse James?May 08 2013

This is purported to be a photo of (from l to r) Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Jesse James, and Charlie Bowdre.

Billy Jesse Doc

The story goes that the photo was taken in 1879 in Las Vegas, New Mexico, at a time when each of the men may have been in town. It's entirely plausible that these men all met and posed for a photo, but as there doesn't appear to be any provenance for particular photo, we're left with trying to ID the long-dead from the very few authenticated photos that exist. So...maybe? But probably not? (via if charlie parker were a gunslinger...)

Update: Ah, here's an even better photo that's almost certainly mislabeled, purportedly featuring Wyatt Erp, Teddy Roosevelt, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Butch Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid:

Gunslinger Group

Contrast both of these photos with this (very real and accurately labeled) group photo of participants at the 1927 Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Photons:

Einstein Curie Planck

Among those pictured are Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Neils Bohr, Paul Dirac, Max Planck, Erwin Schrödinger, Wolfgang Pauli, Werner Heisenberg, Arthur Compton, and Hendrik Lorentz. (thx, mike)

All of Jerry's best girlsMay 03 2013

Photographer Richard Prince took photographs of the 57 girlfriends Jerry Seinfeld had on the show and turned it in to the below composite.

Jerry's girls

See also Jason Salavon's work. (via @sippey)

Update: Max points out I may have misread the article and these 57 girlfriends are not necessarily Jerry's only. Supporting this is Sarah Silverman's inclusion in the composite even though she's was a love interest of Kramer's.

EscalatorspottingApr 26 2013

Miha Tamura takes photos of nicely designed or otherwise unusual escalators in Japan. Here, for instance, is a spiral escalator:

Spiral Escalator

Pingmag recently interviewed Tamura about her photos.

The most amazing is the spiral escalator made by Mitsubishi Electric. Curving escalators were conceived from early on when escalators were invented, but they are very difficult and even today Mitsubishi Electric is the only one in the world who can make them. If I hadn't come across this spiral escalator in Yokohama I don't think I would have committed myself to escalators as much as I have.

Some people are really into escalators. (via coudal)

Those ridiculous cell tower treesApr 23 2013

Dillon Marsh photographs cell towers disguised (poorly) as trees.

Dillion Marsh Cell

There's one of these as you drive north out of NYC on the Hutch...it's twice as tall as any other tree in the area, like a redwood that got lost while visiting its grandparents back east.

Up-close photos of celebritiesApr 23 2013

Up close, everyone looks a little weird. Even Anne Hathaway:

Anne Hathaway Close

These remind me of macro photography of insects...when photographed close-up, people look like aliens too.

Digital time travelApr 22 2013

Flóra Borsi inserts herself into historic photos, as though she were there photographing events with a contemporary camera. This is my favorite:

Flora Borsi

Borsi states she was inspired by "a Charlie Chaplin movie", which is likely this clip shot in 1928 at the premiere of a Chaplin film which shows a woman who looks like she's talking on a cellphone. See also Girl with a Pearl Earring and Point-and-Shoot Camera. (via @coudal)

Huge photos of small currenciesApr 15 2013

For a project called The Fundamental Units, Martin John Callanan used a very powerful 3D microscope to take 400-megapixel images of the lowest denomination coin from each of the world's 166 active currencies. This is the 1 stotinki coin from Bulgaria:

Fundamental Units

And this is a small part of that same coin at tremendous zoom:

Fundamental Units Close

More information is available here.

The 80s!Apr 04 2013

After an exhaustive search, I have decided this photo most exemplifies life in these United States during the 1980s:

Roger Minick Sightseer

And if not that one, then one of several other possible candidates from Roger Minick's Sightseer project, for which he took photos of tourists at popular US tourist destinations during the early 1980s and into the 2000s.

When I approached people for a portrait, I tried to make my request clear and to the point, making it clear that I was not trying to sell them anything. I explained that my wife and I were traveling around the country visiting most of the major tourist destinations so that I could photograph the activity of sightseeing. I would quickly add that I hoped the project would have cultural value and might be seen in years to come as a kind of time capsule of what Americans looked like at the end of the Twentieth Century; at which, to my surprise, I would see people often begin to nod their heads as if they knew what I was talking about.

Slate did a feature on this series last week.

Earliest known aerial photograph is of BostonApr 04 2013

oldest surviving aerial photograph

While French balloonist Gaspard-Félix Tournachon first photographed Paris by air in 1858, those photos were lost, and this photograph of Boston from 1860 by James Wallace Black is the earliest known aerial photo. The title is 'Boston, as the Eagle and the Wild Goose See It.' If I had to guess where in Boston this is, I'd say somewhere along Atlantic Ave.

Update: Several people have identified the steepled building at center left as the Old South Meeting House, which Wikipedia confirms: "Depicts area resembling Old South Meeting House; Milk Street; India Wharf, Central Wharf; and vicinity." Looks a bit different these days.

But more importantly, a photo of Providence, RI taken by Black in August of 1860 predates his Boston photograph by two months. The print, which is part of the MoMA's collection, is badly damaged but it looks like some detail would be discernable in person.

oldest surviving aerial photo

So for some sufficiently flexible definition of "surviving", Black's photo of Providence is the oldest surviving aerial photo. (thx, david)

Tumblr of the day: What Ali WoreMar 28 2013

Zoe Spawton often photographs a particularly well-dressed man who passes her cafe in Berlin each day. She's documenting the results at What Ali Wore.

What Ali Wore

Wonderful. Ali used to be a doctor but is now working as a tailor.

Intricate body calligraphyMar 27 2013

Israeli artist Ronit Bigal does intricate calligraphy on the human body and photographs the results.

Ronit Bigal

Update: I read the page wrong...the calligraphy is printed on the photographs to follow the contour of the skin, not on the skin itself. Still cool. (thx, @lorp)

Beautiful horizon rainbow in ParisMar 27 2013

Paris even does rainbows better than the rest of the world. This is a photo of a horizon rainbow taken over the Parisian skyline last week by Bertrand Kulik.

Paris Rainbow

What the heck is going on there? Astronomy Picture of the Day explains:

Why is this horizon so colorful? Because, opposite the Sun, it is raining. What is pictured above is actually just a common rainbow. It's uncommon appearance is caused by the Sun being unusually high in the sky during the rainbow's creation. Since every rainbow's center must be exactly opposite the Sun, a high Sun reflecting off of a distant rain will produce a low rainbow where only the very top is visible -- because the rest of the rainbow is below the horizon.

(via @DavidGrann)

First photo of RadioheadMar 25 2013

Technically this photo was taken several years (probably in 1986 or 1987) before Radiohead officially came to be, but it features four out of the five members, back when the group was called On a Friday.

Early Radiohead

From left to right, Thom Yorke, Phil Selway, Ed O'Brien, and Colin Greenwood. This occasion marked one of the last times that Yorke smiled for a photo. (via buzzfeed)

Images of Iraq from the ten years since the invasionMar 20 2013

Iraq Gun Flower

Maybe the most depressing part of this three part series of photographs of Iraq from the past ten years is not the photos of all the horrible things people are capable of doing to each other, not the [God, I can't even think of the right set of rage-adjectives here] faces of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, but the fact that there is a part two to this series that starts in 2003, just after the fucking asinine MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner.

But maybe it was all worth it? To see these happy faces riding an amusement ride? Or these young people able to express themselves? Was it the right thing done the wrong way for the wrong reasons? I dunno. I just don't know.

Kids from around the world photographed with their favorite thingsMar 14 2013

Gabriele Galimberti takes photos of kids with their most prized possessions.

Gabriele Galimberti Toys

But how they play can reveal a lot. "The richest children were more possessive. At the beginning, they wouldn't want me to touch their toys, and I would need more time before they would let me play with them," says the Italian, who would often join in with a child's games before arranging the toys and taking the photograph. "In poor countries, it was much easier. Even if they only had two or three toys, they didn't really care. In Africa, the kids would mostly play with their friends outside."

This reminds me of Peter Menzel's photos of what families from different parts of the world eat in a typical week. (via df)

Lifelike baby dolls and the people who love themMar 13 2013

Photographer Rebecca Martinez photographs reborn dolls and the people who collect/care for them.

Reborn babies

Babies create strong emotions for the bearer, holder, and observer. I have discovered this holds true even when it is known the baby is not real.

I am photographing dolls that are created to look and feel like living babies. They are constructed and weighted to feel like infants, which includes a head that must be supported while in one's arms. They are the most powerful objects I have ever worked with, I am struck by the strong and palpable emotional reactions they produce. They provoke the dominant biological instinct to nurture and the entire spectrum of human behavior.

Some of the collectors care for their reborn dolls as if they were their own children:

Many of the women involved have an especially strong passion for the stage of mothering babies and this is a method to keep this stage permanently in their lives. There is a wide range of personal stories and motivations for being involved in this community. Some create or collect these dolls because they cannot continue to give birth to living babies, or have lost a child, or cannot have one of their own. Some women admire the art form and are doll collectors, others create nurseries in their homes and integrate the babies as part of their families and lives.

Sometimes literally:

Sometimes, women who have lost a newborn have commissioned artists to make a reborn doll that looks exactly like their deceased baby. Modeled after photographs of the real infant, these dolls are called portrait babies.

Reborn babies

Escaping the wavesMar 12 2013

Mark Tipple takes underwater photos of people swimming under crashing waves, which happens to be my favorite genre of surfing photography.

Mark Tipple

Prints are available. (via @DavidGrann)

National Geographic's new photo TumblrMar 11 2013

National Geographic has launched a new Tumblr site that features the less-celebrated-but-still-awesome parts of its vast photographic archive. I want this car:

Nat Geo Car

(via the verge)

Large-format photos of NYC's pastMar 05 2013

NYC Past has hundreds of large format historical photos of New York City. Like this one:

Leo and Benny's

I'm not through all 49 pages yet, but I am getting pretty close.

The White House was completely gutted in 1950Feb 28 2013

White House Gutted

If this photo series from 1950 of the interior of the White House being ripped out so that the building could be structurally reinforced isn't an apt metaphor for the current state of American politics, I don't know what is.

Experts called the third floor of the White House "an outstanding example of a firetrap." The result of a federally commissioned report found the mansion's plumbing "makeshift and unsanitary," while "the structural deterioration [was] in 'appalling degree,' and threatening complete collapse." The congressional commission on the matter was considering the option of abandoning the structure altogether in favor of a built-from-scratch mansion, but President Truman lobbied for the restoration.

"It perhaps would be more economical from a purely financial standpoint to raze the building and to rebuild completely," he testified to Congress in February 1949. "In doing so, however, there would be destroyed a building of tremendous historical significance in the growth of the nation."

So it had to be gutted. Completely. Every piece of the interior, including the walls, had to be removed and put in storage. The outside of the structure-reinforced by new concrete columns-was all that remained.

(via digg)

School photoFeb 25 2013

After working at it for three years, Octavio Aburto finally got his shot:

Octavio Aburto

Beautiful. And holy crap, did you know that rays could fly?

Octavio Aburto Ray

That sucker must be 10 feet out of the water! (via the telegraph)

Crouching photographer, hidden celebrityFeb 22 2013

Chris Buck takes pictures of celebrities after giving them 30 seconds to hide. Here's Cindy Sherman:

Chris Buck Presence

Buck's photos are on display in NYC for a couple more days at Foley but are also available in book form. (via digg)

A photographic look back at 1963Feb 21 2013

I love these 50th anniversary yearly round-ups that Alan Taylor is doing over at In Focus. This year marks the 50th anniversary of 1963:

1963

Previously: 1962 and 1961.

Trailer for Finding Vivian MaierFeb 21 2013

The documentary about recently discovered street photographer Vivian Maier that was funded via Kickstarter almost two years ago is finally getting somewhere. Here's the trailer for the film, which appears to involve a crazy twist in Maier's story.

Before fingerprintingFeb 18 2013

Welshouse Bertillon

Seeing so many CSI and police procedural shows on TV today, it's easy to take for granted being able to rapidly and accurately identify criminals. Fingerprinting, as probably the biggest technological advancement in identifying criminals, is a big part of that. But what'd we have before fingerprinting?

According to the National Law Enforcement Museum:

Alphonse Bertillon was a French criminologist who first developed this anthropometric system of physical measurements of body parts, especially components of the head and face, to produce a detailed description of an individual. This system, invented in 1879, became known as the Bertillon system, or bertillonage, and quickly gained wide acceptance as a reliable, scientific method of criminal investigation. In 1884 alone, French police used Bertillon's system to help capture 241 repeat offenders, which helped establish the system's effectiveness. Primarily, investigators used the Bertillon system to determine if a suspect in custody had been involved in previous crimes. Law enforcement agencies began to create archives of records of known criminals, which contained his or her anthropometric measurements, as well as full-face and profile photographs of the perpetrator (now commonly known as "mugshots," which are still in use today).

It was essentially a criminal justice Dewey Decimal System, the first step in taking police out of the dark ages. Before Bertillion standardized measurements, police just had a jumble of descriptions and photographs with no way to organize them so they'd almost never be able to cross reference existing records when people were arrested.

Of course Bertillion's system was just a stop-gap measure. The system was only really in use for about 30 years before fingerprints became the dominant identification method.

In 1903, a man named Will West was committed to the penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was photographed and measured using the Bertillon system. Will West's measurements were found to be almost identical to a criminal at the same penitentiary named William West, who was committed for murder in 1901 and was serving a life sentence. Furthermore, their photographs showed that the two men bore a close physical resemblance to one another, although it was not clear that they were even related. In the ensuing confusion surrounding the true identities of the two men, their fingerprints conclusively identified them and demonstrated clearly that the adoption of a fingerprint identification system was more reliable than the older Bertillon system.

The guy in this photo is John Welshouse who was convicted in 1914 for violating the White Slave Act (prostitution). (via @pruned)

The 2013 Sony World Photography AwardsFeb 07 2013

Photos from the shortlist of winners of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards. Some stunning shots in there.

Botswana Heavy Metal

Edith, Hellrider, and Dadmonster pose for a photograph. In Botswana, heavy metal music has landed. Metal groups are now performing in nightclubs, concerts, festivals. The ranks of their fans have expanded dramatically. These fans wear black leather pants and jackets, studded belts, boots and cowboy hats. On their t-shirts stand out skulls, obscenities, historical covers of hard-rock groups popular in the seventies and eighties, such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, and AC/DC. They have created their own style, inspired by classic metal symbolism, but also borrowing heavily from the iconography of western films and the traditional rural world of Botswana. Their nicknames, Gunsmoke, Rockfather, Carrott Warmachine, Hellrider, Hardcore, Dignified Queen, may appear subversive and disturbing as their clothing, but they are peaceful and gentle. "We like to get dressed,, drink meet friends and feel free , this music is so powerful . We are lucky to live in a country tolerant and open" argues one of the leaders. A precious rarity for Africa.

Botswanian heavy metal fans and other great selections from the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

Photo from 1948 of a Manhattan Dodge/Plymouth dealershipFeb 07 2013

From 1948, this is L Motors, located at 175th and Broadway in Manhattan.

Dodge Dealership 1948

Can't believe I'd forgotten about Shorpy! Click through for a larger view. The Dodge/Plymouth dealership is long gone; that spot is now occupied by Bravo Super Markets. (via @claytoncubitt)

Photograph from the surface of TitanFeb 05 2013

So far, humans have taken photos from the surfaces of Earth, the Moon, Venus, and Mars. But I had no idea that a photo from the surface of Titan existed:

Titan Surface

The photo of the Saturnian moon was taken in 2005 by the Huygens probe, which was designed to land safely on the moon's surface. From Wikipedia:

After landing, Huygens photographed a dark plain covered in small rocks and pebbles, which are composed of water ice. The two rocks just below the middle of the image on the right are smaller than they may appear: the left-hand one is 15 centimeters across, and the one in the center is 4 centimeters across, at a distance of about 85 centimeters from Huygens. There is evidence of erosion at the base of the rocks, indicating possible fluvial activity. The surface is darker than originally expected, consisting of a mixture of water and hydrocarbon ice. The assumption is that the "soil" visible in the images is precipitation from the hydrocarbon haze above.

And a special close-but-no-cigar award goes to the NEAR Shoemaker probe, which snapped this photo from about 400 feet above the surface of the near-Earth asteroid Eros:

Eros surface

The probe landed on the surface of Eros in February 2001 and transmitted usable data for about two weeks afterwards, none of which was photographic in nature.

What if: the Milky Way were visible in NYCFeb 04 2013

It would look something like this:

NYC with stars

That's from a series called Darkened Skies by Thierry Cohen; he photographed various cities (NYC, Paris, Tokyo, SF) and matched them up with starry skies from more remote places like Montana, Nevada, and the Sahara. New Yorkers can see Cohen's work at the Danziger Gallery starting March 28.

See also Imagining Earth with Saturn's Rings.

Surfer rides monster 100-foot waveJan 29 2013

There's some weird perspective stuff going on with this photo (do those waves break right on shore?) but holy crap look at the size of that fucking wave!

Garrett McNamara Nazare

The teeny speck speeding down that wall of water is Garrett McNamara, who already holds the world record for the largest wave ever surfed and will likely extend that record with this estimated 100-footer.

There's no video of the ride but in this promotional video, I think you can briefly see McNamara riding the monster wave at 38 seconds and perhaps again at 42 seconds.

A bunch of early color photos of ParisJan 25 2013

In December, I linked to a small collection of color photos of Paris taken in the 1910s and 1920s. Here's a much more extensive collection of Parisian color photography. Some of my favorites:

Paris Color Photos 01

Paris Color Photos 02

Paris Color Photos 03

The middle photo is of the flower market at Les Halles in 1914, which would be quite a thing to have experienced. (thx, julien)

Celebrity make undersJan 15 2013

Photographer Danny Evans photoshops images of celebrities so that they look like normal people. This one of Kanye and Kim is my favorite:

Normal Kanye and Kim

Man, I could stare at chubby Kanye all day. But the Tom Cruise one is pretty great as well:

Normal Tom Cruise

(via co.design)

Portraits of Albanian Sworn VirginsJan 11 2013

Sworn Virgins of Albania is a project by photographer Jill Peters documenting Albanian women who have chosen to live as men for cultural reasons.

Sworn Virgins

As a tradition dating back hundreds of years, this was necessary in societies that lived within tribal clans, followed the Kanun, an archaic code of law, and maintained an oppressive rule over the female gender.The Kanun states that women are considered to be the property of their husbands. The freedom to vote, drive, conduct business, earn money, drink, smoke, swear, own a gun or wear pants was traditionally the exclusive province of men. Young girls were commonly forced into arranged marriages, often with much older men in distant villages.

As an alternative, becoming a Sworn Virgin, or 'burnesha" elevated a woman to the status of a man and granted her all the rights and privileges of the male population. In order to manifest the transition such a woman cut her hair, donned male clothing and sometimes even changed her name. Male gestures and swaggers were practiced until they became second nature. Most importantly of all, she took a vow of celibacy to remain chaste for life. She became a "he".

(thx, tiffany)

Queen Elizabeth II with twelve US PresidentsJan 07 2013

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II of England has met 10 sitting US Presidents, every one from Eisenhower to Obama except for Lyndon Johnson. She also met Harry Truman as a princess in 1951 and former President Herbert Hoover in 1957.

Elizabeth II with Truman

Elizabeth II with Reagan

Elizabeth II with Obama

You can see the entire progression here or here. QEII is more definitely a human wormhole.

BTW, Elizabeth is creeping up on Queen Victoria as the longest-reigning British monarch, just another two-and-a-half years to catch her. Victoria reigned during the terms of 19 different Presidents but never met any of them and had an unfair advantage...lots of short terms and one-term Presidencies back then. (via mlkshk)

100 greatest sports photosJan 02 2013

From Sports Illustrated, their picks for the 100 greatest photos of sports.

Ali Liston

Rodman rebounds

Portraits of gun owners in their homesDec 18 2012

In 2007, Kyle Cassidy published a book called Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in Their Homes. He asked his subjects a simple question: Why do you own a gun?

Cassidy traveled over 20,000 miles, crisscrossing the country to meet with gun owners in their homes. Cassidy's photo essays create a powerful, thought provoking and sometimes startling view of gun ownership in the U.S. These "everyman" portraits, and the accompanying views of gun owners, fashion a riveting and provocative hardcover book.

From book's web site, a sampling of images and answers:

Kyle Cassidy 01

Paul: My family had guns the whole time I was a kid. then i went off and joined the army and went away and come back. I have guns now largely for the same reason I have fire extinguishers in the house and spare tires in the car. I'm a self reliant kind of guy. and there could come a time when I need to protect my family and i'm a self reliant kind of guy.

Beth: I have one for self protection. I was raised to never rely on anyone else to protect me or watch my back. It took me a year to pick out one that I liked.

Kyle Cassidy 02

Bashir: I just think it's a good thing to have

Kyle Cassidy 03

Joe: The first time I was introduced to guns was when I was 5 years old; hunting with my dad, grandfather and uncle. I remember my dad shooting a ringneck pheasant and a rabbit. I carried those two animals until I thought my arms were going to fall off. As a little guy, that made a great impression on me. I've hunted all of my life; in Pennsylvania, Idaho, Colorado and Maine. I have a tremendous respect for life, especially wildlife. It never ceases to amaze me how much satisfaction I get from just simply being in the Great Outdoors, whether I make a kill or not.

(via virtual memories)

Flickr releases new iPhone appDec 12 2012

Flickr released a new version of their iPhone app today (App Store) and it appears to be a dramatic improvement over their old offering.

We know that some of your best photo moments happen on the fly, so we've made it easier to get the perfect shot when inspiration hits. Once you get the shot, there's a built-in editor to quickly correct, crop, or enhance it with one of the new high res filters.

I haven't had a chance to check it out in detail yet, but from everything I'm hearing, people are jazzed about it.

The best photos of 2012Dec 05 2012

Ali Bull Runners

My favorite end-of-the-year lists are always the photos. Here are a few that have made their way online so far; I'll be updating this list throughout the month so send me your lists.

2012: The Year in Photos from In Focus: Alan Taylor is still my favorite picker of photos. Here's part two.

Best Photos of the Year 2012 from Reuters: Almost a hundred photos, heavy on hard news.

The 45 Most Powerful Images of 2012 from Buzzfeed: A wide-ranging selection of photos designed to tug at the heartstrings. See also The Best Animal Photos of 2012.

Pictures of the Year 2012 from AFP (Agence France-Presse): Not an official list but a nice selection of AFP photos nonetheless.

2012: The year in pictures from CNN: A good selection from the cable network.

Year in Photos 2012 from the Wall Street Journal: A massive selection of photos organized by month, region, category, and rating.

The best photographs of 2012 from The Guardian: Photographs and interviews with the photographers who took them.

Photos Of The Year 2012 from the Associated Press: Photos are great but the way they're displayed isn't.

2012 Year in Pictures from The Big Picture: About 150 images chosen from a number of different sources. Here's part two and part three.

Color photography of Paris from 1914Dec 04 2012

Albert Kahn sent photographers all over the world in the early 1900s and amassed over 72,000 color photos in the process. Here are a few shots of his from Paris on the eve of World War I.

Albert Kahn Paris

That photo is of the entrance to the Passage du Caire at the corner of Rue d'Alexandrie and Rue Sainte-Foy in the 2nd arrondissement. Here's what it looks like today:

Passage Du Caire

Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before PhotoshopNov 30 2012

He lost his head

NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art has an exhibit running until January 27, 2013 featuring over 200 photos employing old timey trickery.

For early art photographers, the ultimate creativity lay not in the act of taking a photograph but in the subsequent transformation of the camera image into a hand-crafted picture.

New York City summed up in one photoNov 30 2012

NYC defined

Some dude next you on the subway falls asleep on your arm and you just go on about your business. That's about right. (via gothamist, photo by molossoidea)

Hold me closer, blurry dancerNov 27 2012

A new series of photographs from Shinichi Maruyama shows the nude human form in motion. (Totally SFW.)

Shinichi Maruyama Nude

According to Petapixel, these are not long exposure shots (like these).

Although the photographs look like long-exposure shots, they're actually composite images created by combining ten thousand individual photographs of each dancer. The result is a look in which each model's body is (mostly) lost within the blur of its movement.

You may remember Maruyama from his hand-thrown water sculptures.

The changing face of Bleecker StreetNov 26 2012

In their book Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York, James and Karla Murray are documenting the changing commercial facade of NYC's streets. A recent post on their blog focuses on a strip of Bleecker St between 6th and 7th Avenues in the West Village. This is Murray's old location circa 2001, before they moved across the street into a bigger space, expanded that space, and opened an adjacent restaurant:

Murrays 2001

I moved to the West Village in 2002 and, after a few stops in other neighborhoods around the city, moved back a couple years ago. Walking around the neighborhood these days, I'm amazed at how much has changed in 10 years. Sometimes it seems as though every single store front has turned over in the interim. (via @kathrynyu)

Arresting collection of Vietnam War photographyNov 16 2012

A little late for Veteran's Day, but this is a great collection of photography from Vietnam. These two stick out for me (both photos by Horst Faas):

Vietnam War 01

Vietnam War 02

Some images NSFW and may be disturbing, etc. (via @Colossal)

Homemade soccer ballsNov 15 2012

Photographer Jessica Hilltout has documented the game of soccer/football/futbol around the world, from the secondhand footwear to the improvised goals to the makeshift balls:

Jessica Hilltout

Portraits of vanishing glaciersNov 08 2012

Photographer James Balog (the guy behind a new documentary called Chasing Ice) spent years taking pictures of the melting glaciers. In a variety of ways, these photos are quite incredible.

James Balog Glacier

Colorizing historical photosNov 06 2012

Early color photography is a particular interest of mine, so Sanna Dullaway's efforts to colorize historical photos, including those of Abraham Lincoln, Thích Quảng Đức, and Anne Frank, are an intriguing twist on the theme.

Colorized Thich Quang Duc

kottke.org

Front page
About + contact
Site archives

Subscribe

Follow kottke.org on Twitter

Follow kottke.org on Tumblr

Like kottke.org on Facebook

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Advertisement

Ads by The Deck

Support kottke.org shop at Amazon

And more at Amazon.com

Looking for work?

More at We Work Remotely

Kottke @ Quarterly

Subscribe to Quarterly and get a real-life mailing from Jason every three months.

 

Enginehosting

Hosting provided EngineHosting