Category Archives: photography

A Film Camera for the 21st Century

Image Credit: Reflex

Analog photography is getting a revamp. The first Single Lens Reflex (SLR) film camera designed since the 1990s was successfully backed on Kickstarter at the end of 2017. The project, simply titled Reflex, is on track to be available for sale in August 2018.

In many ways this camera takes everything back to the very basics: it requires one to manually focus the lens and advance the film. However, a few key features make this film camera a massive leap forward compared to the Pentax K1000 bodies still found on eBay. The Reflex team was determined to create as flexible and modular a tool as possible.

First, the interchangeable “I Plate” lens mount allows photographers to use lenses they already own from brands like Pentax, Minolta, Canon and Olympus. An interchangeable film back means changing from color to black and white film is easy, or from a fast film to a slow one. Bluetooth connectivity, while it might seem gratuitous on an analog camera, will allow photographers to quickly take notes on their shots as they compose them, and log their settings for future reference. Finally, Reflex is determined to allow open source development for their camera using 3D printing so individuals can create their own accessories.

While the price point will likely be comparable to an entry level Digital SLR, revived interests in almost-obsolete mediums like vinyl LPs have shown that people are willing to invest in keeping older formats alive. With the flexibility and the promise of open source development that Reflex offers, it’s hard to imagine they won’t have some enthusiastic adopters.

Source: Reflex Kickstarter and The Guardian.

Nihon Noir: The Metabolism Movement in Photos

Image Credit: Tom Blachford

Photographer Tom Blachford’s series ‘Nihon Noir’ calls to mind futurism, science-fiction, film noir and yes, the 1982 cult classic film Blade Runner. Blachford was inspired by the Metabolism movement era architecture in Japan, and his images showcase its unique intersection of architecture and infrastructure.

Metabolism was a post-war movement brought to the international stage during the 1960 Tokyo World Design Conference. The designers behind the movement organized their vision into a manifesto entitled Metabolism: The Proposals for New Urbanism, which described a design ethos focused on meshing mega-structures with organic shapes. The most prolific member of the movement, Kenzo Tange, worked as a designer, architect, and urban planner until his death in 2005.

The images Blachford created were designed to showcase a neon futurism, and the buildings he featured were chosen because they combined brutalism and the principles of organic growth—the essence of this post war architectural movement.  “Though these buildings are from the past,” he said, “they appear as if they have appeared from the distant future.  My intention is for the viewer to ask not ‘where’ they were taken but ‘when.”

Source: Dezeen

Cityscapes by Drone

Photo Credit: Jeryl Teo

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)—popularly referred to as drones—stand poised to revolutionize many industries, offering surveyors, historians, geographers and other researchers an opportunity to see above and inside structures and places that were previously too difficult or hazardous to access. UAV videography was used extensively in assessing the infrastructure and architectural damage after hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Photography, a field already known for exploring in dark corners and far reaches, is now using high-quality drone cameras to document amazing cityscapes from above.

While aerial photography is not new (the first aerial photograph was taken from a balloon in 1858) drones are making it more accessible than ever. As more and more pilot photographers are taking to the skies, the interest in the images they have created on platforms like Instagram has skyrocketed. Architect and author Eric Reinholdt believes drones will only become more important in architectural photography, especially as video is used to tell the story of a building or site. Drone footage could also be used to evaluate sight lines and topography.

Even as they grow in popularity, more restrictions and regulations are being drafted to limit their use. Drones are banned in all National Parks, and their use by professional photographers can be considered commercial use and may require registration with the FAA.

Source: The Guardian and ArchDaily

Pencils Confidential

In a digital age, photographers Alex Hammond and Mike Tinney have created a series of photographs commemorating the traditional tool of the architect: the pencil. The images feature extravagant mechanical pencils, simple knife sharpened pencils, and the tooth-marked set of yellow pencils owned by artist David Shrigley. World famous architect Thomas Heatherwick’s pencil is embedded in an ornamental metal grip.

The images have been collected in a book titled “The Secret Life of the Pencil,” available from publisher Laurence King.

Source: Dezeen

Free Architecture Courses from MIT

Photo Credit: Peter Wenger

Massachusetts Institute of Technology provides 4 free architecture courses online. The courses cover landscape, urbanism, photography, and the production of space. These courses are easily accessible and available to all. The courses are offered for undergraduate and graduate students and they are in many languages including English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Source: Archdaily

Aerial Photographs of Cities in the 1930s by Walter Mittelhozer

Photo Credit: Walter Mittelhozer

Walter Mittelhozer was a pioneering aviator and the co-founder of Swissair. He photographed many cities in the Middle East and Africa. Mittelholzer always flew with a co-pilot so that he could photograph from the air. A new book, published by Scheidegger & Spiecss documents his ariel shots.

Source: Guardian

Engaging Experiment by Google Chrome

Image Credit: Chrome Experiments

Google Chrome has devised a new way to get to know our planet. Through doodling a curve onto its interface, Land Lines reveals a corresponding landform, along with its physical location. This is an application that allows users to happen upon parts of the world to which they would otherwise be oblivious.

Source: Visual News

Photographer Documents the Same Buildings Year After Year

Image Credit: Camilo Jose Vergara

Image Credit: Camilo Jose Vergara

Photographer Camilo Jose Vergara has spent the past forty years photographing decaying buildings in low-income American neighborhoods in his project titled “Tracking Time.” Vergara’s image sets reveal the life span of several buildings as they decline, are demolished, or are restored. The photographs reveal both gradual and drastic changes in the built environment, showing how social and economic factors impact the world we live in. In some cases, Vergara documented entire streetscapes, illustrating the loss and change low income communities face.

Source: Messy Nessy

32,000 Straws Turned Into Homemade Camera

Image credit: Petapixel

Image credit: Petapixel

A homemade camera created by placing 32,000 straws in a wooden box results in beautifully abstract, pixelated photographic images. The camera, which was first created in 2007 by Michael Farrell and Cliff Haynes, turns each straw into a miniature camera that projects an image onto photo-sensitive paper. The image formed by each straw comes together to create large, intricate photographs. Because each straw is slightly different, the resulting images have an ethereal, disorienting atmospheric quality.

Source: Petapixel

Practice DSLR Photography With this Interactive Website

Image Credit: Simon Roberts

Image Credit: Simon Roberts

Is your DSLR a mystery to you? Photography-Mapped, an interactive website by designer Simon Roberts, illustrates how the parts of a DSLR camera move together to form an image. By manipulating the controls on the website, users can test out their knowledge of aperture, shutter speed, light, and ISO. When the controls have been set, users press the “take photo” button to check whether or not their exposure is satisfactory. The simple graphic on the site allows new photographers to understand the basic mechanics of their camera.

Source: Visual News

Put a Bird on It

A Portland police officer looked out his window one evening to the sight of thousands of black starlings settled on the tops of snow-covered trees. Walker Berg, the C.S.I. who noticed the birds, quickly grabbed his DSLR to photograph the stunning site. The police department named the image Crows on Snow and posted it to social media.

Source: This is Colossal