As discussions of representation in design schools recognize our current collective shift into the postdigital era, Susan Piedmont-Palladino writes a pertinent article in Places Journal investigating our ever-changing relationship to images and representations of reality.
A professor of architecture at Virginia Tech, Piedmont-Palladino begins with a quote from writer Susan Sontag that emphasizes the acute importance of our ability to discern images:
” ‘A fake painting (one whose attribution is false) falsifies the history of art. A fake photograph (one which was been retouched or tampered with, or whose caption is false) falsifies reality.‘ ”
Piedmont-Palladino goes on to note that design renderings often depict an overlap between real and imagined, but that there are implications for design when architects or others choose to ignore certain realities beyond the point of making beautiful drawings. Not addressing issues of universal access during the design process, for example, can lead to exclusion and failure to meet building codes.
Head over to Places Journal for the full article.
Source: Places Journal
Image Credit: Andres Gallardo Albajar via Colossal
It seems that half the motivation for people to travel is to capture the exact photo of a place or a building that everyone else has taken. The most photographed gargoyle is one example, or that Leaning Tower of Pisa photo we can all readily picture in our minds. It’s no surprise, then, that when the Spanish photographer Andes Gallardo Albajar visited the Great Wall of China, he expected to capture one of the seven wonders of the world with a bunch of tourists milling about.
Instead, Albajar found the Great Wall overrun not with people but with fog. As a result, he was able to shoot stunning, people-free images of the Wall in a ghostly blanket. Incidentally, the fog also obscured much of the surrounding landscape, so the Wall is eerily portrayed devoid of its contextualizing topography.
You can find more images of the Great Wall of China and its environs in the VRC’s Online Image Collection here.
Image Credit: Joel Meyerowitz via Dazed
In April 2018, Joel Meyerowitz’s photographic works spanning nearly 50 years were published in a retrospective book titled Where I Find Myself. At 80 years of age, Meyerowitz still feels rooted to the artistic values with which he began his career. He is most noted for capturing spontaneous moments on the streets—frames of the scene of life that unfold around us, easily lost in a split second of time—thereby imbuing them with significance they would not otherwise have had. Now, finding himself shooting still lifes, he rationalizes that there is an energy in the way objects relate to one another and express their own lived histories, much in the same way humans do. He wonders where he will find himself in the next ten years.
Image Credit: Aida Muluneh
Ethiopian-born, but globally-raised, photographer and artist Aida Muluneh employs bold colors in her visual works to undermine viewers’ inclination to categorize. After graduating from Howard University in Washington D.C. and working as a photojournalist, Muluneh began asking whether the medium of photography was truly neutral. Pushing back against stereotypical representations of Africans and African Americans, the artist creates stunning images of face-painted models set against colorful backdrops.
Her work is part of the “Being: New Photography 2018” exhibition, on display through August 19, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Source: Washington Post
Taken in any other city, Tom Blachford‘s photographs of Los Angeles would be utterly unremarkable. They portray such ordinary things as empty residential street corners, puddles in alleyways and glowing back porch lights. Devoid of people, motionless and eerie, these photos capture one of the more image-conscious places in America in a stark but not unflattering new way.
Setting out to shoot LA without any of the cliches, Blachford found that his intention to shoot “day for night” was undermined by a rainy forecast. His prior series “Midnight Modern” was shot using the opposite technique, with moonlight masquerading as day time, but this too was nixed due to LA’s extreme light pollution, which gives the sky a chronic glow. In the end, Blachford found that the technique of simply shooting in the rain at night produced better results than he could have anticipated.
Source: Cool Hunting
Taken from the NYSID online archive, the page of Vogue in 1953 features an article on Major Tom Lee, who had an apprenticeship at “R.H. Macy of New York” before handling the display of a Christmas show at Rockefeller Center and an interwoven display at the New York World Fair.
The New York School of Interior Design recently expanded their online database to include a finding tool for users to search through their centennial collection. The “Archives & Special Collections” online archives catalog allows users to identify the material they wish to consult before setting up an appointment to see the collection in person. The historic archive is composed of decades-old photographs, architectural sketches, news articles and memorabilia that date back to the early 1900s. The school first launched their image collection back in 2013, in expectation of the centennial debut of the archive; finally, it has arrived.
The purpose of creating the NYSID Institutional Archives was to document the history and evolution of the interior design profession. Similarly, Interior Design Special Collections material showcases the interior design work of designers, design firms and publications over the years. The stories these photos capture range from local historic preservation to hospitality projects.
Because the school was founded in 1916, the institution has access to photos that document not only the historical value of interior design but also related to the disciplines of business, fashion, urban studies, and anthropology. The New York School of Design special collections are open to the public by appointment.
Sources: The New York School of Interior Design.
“Better together.” That’s the message this week as two photo sharing giants come together. SmugMug was founded in the early aughts by photographers who knew the digital age meant it was time to develop a way to share digital photos. Flickr was founded by a Canadian corporation in 2004 and quickly acquired by Yahoo, where it grew into a massive platform with more than 80 million users.
However, Flickr struggled to keep up as Facebook and Instagram revolutionized the way we share images on the Internet. Despite this, Flickr stayed popular with both amateur and professional photographers for its core functionality: the ability to browse, share and display high quality images with a community of peers. Additionally, Flickr offered free accounts, while SmugMug charged a small subscription fee.
SmugMug has stated that it intends to continue to operate both Flickr and SmugMug as separate platforms and services, and invest in both moving forward. SmugMug has also reassured dedicated Flickr users that their free accounts and thousands of photos aren’t going anywhere. Only time will tell what changes this move will have on the online photography community, but so far there has been great enthusiasm for the acquisition.
Source: The Guardian and SmugMug.
Part of the online research and academic platform JSTOR, the Global Plants database allows access to nearly three million images dedicated to plants. Containing digitized plant specimens, paintings, photographs, diaries and other materials from universities, herbaria and private collectors around the world, Global Plants is a resource for anyone conducting botanical-related research or design. Whether you’re interested in the history of a plant, its uses in human culture, or its morphological characteristics, Global Plants provides a searchable database for you to access primary sources related to your query. You must have access to JSTOR, either through the University of Texas Libraries or through your own subscription to be able to use the Global Plants database.
One of the partners and contributors to the Global Plants database is The Plant Resources Center at The University of Texas at Austin, which will be featured later this week on Deep Focus.
Source: JSTOR and Global Plants
Photographer Reuben Wu has been using adapted drones to light-paint in natural environments, creating beautiful and otherworldly landscapes. His image series “Lux Noctis” transform natural landscapes into images that evoke ideas of extraterrestrial exploration and science fiction. Wu’s photos endeavor to explore unknown and hidden places and present them as if they were a memory of a foreign place.
Wu uses drones to create light trails around rock formations and to provide supplementary light from above. The long exposure images are ethereal, colorful, and otherworldly. His other work similarly blends landscape, futurism and architecture.
Source: Colossal and Rueben Wu
Founded in 1951 by Corning Glass Works, the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York has donated 2,784 images documenting its unique glass collection to the Artstor Digital Library. The non-profit museum is dedicated to telling the story of glass, from its ancient origins to today, spanning 3,500 years of glass history. With support from the Rakow Research Museum, the museum is a center for glass scholarship, housing the world’s foremost archive and reference collection on the history of glass making.
Source: The Artstor Blog
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.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will send you an image of a work in its collection based on your desire by texting one’s request to 572-51. Only 5 percent of SFMOMA’s collection is exhibited at any given time, but the message service pulls from the entire collection of 34,678 works of art, allowing one to view works based on individual taste. The message service has a few kinks, and it cannot evaluate complex sentences, but the range of artwork and efficiency of the service is phenomenal.