Most folks know that the Library of Congress houses an extraordinary collection of photographs that cover the life span of the medium. http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/catalog.html
A good deal of it is pedestrian and much of it is historical but some of it is by the better photographers of the 20th century. What a lot of people don't know is that a good bit of the collection has been scanned and digitized and is available as large, excellent files that are a few clicks away. There are images here by Walker Evans,( the first two above) Lewis Hine, (the third image above) and many others. Sadly the Atget's, donated by Abbot, do not exist as large tiffs. There is a legal page that details the rights and restrictions of these images and goes into some detail of what you can and can not do with these files. While I would never encourage anyone to do anything illegal I do think that, if one was so inclined, one could, with some basic Photoshop skills and a decent Epson printer make quite a few lovely prints from these scans for their personal collection.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
I recently saw the Coen Brother's movie "Burn After Reading" and it is flat out great. Regardless of some of the recent reviews. It's true that the Coen's do seem to be re treading some of their previous material. In this case we are again treated to an assemblage of slightly pathetic bunglers who, while desperate for money to alter their current station, find themselves in circumstances beyond what they had imagined. Things quickly and spastically spiral out of control. Still, I'll take a well crafted Coen Brother's re tread over 90% of anything else out there. The casting, writing and cinematography are great. The smaller roles are particularly well acted. The brothers have a knack for accurately portraying our cultures contemporary obsessions, packing it tightly into a stick of dynamite and adding a match. In "Burn After Reading" it is fitness, secretive bureaucracies, tell all memoirs, sex, relationships and bottled water that are used for gun powder. KABOOM!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Well it was bound to happen. Eventually. This will be the first time in 13 years that the Yankees did not make it to the post season. I thought it only fitting to recall Aaron Boone's great home run from 2003. I'm pretty sure Stan Brakhage never made a film about baseball but if he did perhaps it would look a bit like this.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Hardly a day goes by where this topic is not discussed in some form or another. Some folks have moved over and work only in digital. Others cling to film as if it were a cherished vestige of the true cross. I've heard stories of Magazines, and other entities that use photographs, that will not let you shoot digital and I've also heard stories of magazines, and others, that won't let you work any other way but digital. While it is a hard and true fact that digital has muscled it's way into the world of photography it is also clear that film has hardly bit the dust. Yet. Personally if a client wants me to work with film then I am happy to do so. The same holds true for digital. I suspect that once when of the big players like Kodak or Fuji gets out of the game entirely then industrial produced film is dead. My guess is that film has maybe 10 more years. The death of film will open a new world for a few curious and industrious photographers who want to try their hand at making their own films and papers. It could prove to be an interesting and inventive time. I can imagine how certain photographers will more clearly differentiate themselves by the materials they make and use
Personally I like digital. The bigger truth is that I like making photographs. This is the point that always seems to get lost or discarded in this small debate. I really care very little weather a piece of light sensitive plastic or a light sensitive chip is holding the latent information of the pictures I make. It's the pictures made that need to be considered. The materials are very secondary. I know a lot of folks cling to film with a kind of holy pretentiousness that somehow they are "truer" artists because they use materials that now seem a bit old fashion. It's as if they have created some kind of fantasy notion that film is made by Buddhist monks in small batches on mountain tops and then carted over here by donkeys or ancient sailing vessels. In fact it's made in Rochester, NY or Japan and it's a filthy, nasty chemical laden process. It's as if contemporary photographers were busy lamenting the loss of making daguerreotypes or the wet plate collodion process. It's a waste of time and energy. Yes the tools and the materials do effect the medium. But truly once an image is put on paper or more likely, a computer display, it's very nearly impossible to tell if it was made by a digital back or made on film. The printing process is another story all together.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I went to the Conde Nast Fashion Rocks show last night at Radio City Music Hall. There was a nice tribute for Etta James. She waved to the audience but unfortunately she didn't sing. Instead, Beyonce, in a Blonde wig and Blonde dress, gamely covered her best known song "At Last". Covers seemed to be the theme of the night. I'm not sure what that has to say about the current state of pop music that at least half of the songs performed were covers! Fergy covered Blondie's "Call Me" and was joined by Debbie Harry who got a standing Ovation. The strongest act of the night, without a doubt, was The Black Eyed Peas doing their cover of "Miss You" by the Rolling Stones. I also thought Duffy and Mary J. Blige were great. Blige sang a song with Kid Rock, who later did his cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and made him sound like a chump. It was a real Donovan and Dylan kind of moment where it was sooo clear that she has a great voice and real stage presence and Kid Rock has.....a nice hat.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
I don't think I'll post a happy snap everyday but I'll try to post them once in a while. This is just a great door on Smith Street. I assume they are trying to decide which color will work best. I hope they leave it as is.
I recently saw the Martin Scorcesse Rolling Stones documentary "Shine a Light". It's a fairly long concert film of songs that everyone has pretty much heard many, many times. By a band that hasn't done anything that new or original in some time. But...and it's a large but... I was really struck and impressed by how fully these guys sincerely seem to enjoy doing what they do. 40 years later! With energy and honest enthusiasm that you can't fake. Perhaps if you do the same thing for long enough you come through at the other end with a whole new perception and appreciation of it? It's worth seeing for this alone.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Am I the only one who finds David Pogue annoying? I mean really annoying? He's smart. okay. And his wife is a doctor. He tells us that in his bio. He knows a lot about gadgets the way certain kids I remember knew a lot about Dungeons and Dragons. And they want you to know that they know more than you do. Wrap this up in a too cute presentation and Voila! Pogues World!