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kottke.org posts about photography

By An Eye-Witness

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 21, 2020

(Note: The images below depict simulated violent death.) By An Eye-Witness is an arresting series of images by Azadeh Akhlaghi that recreate seventeen prominent deaths from Iran’s history. According to this interview, Akhlaghi was inspired by post-election uprisings in Iran and Arab Spring to document these deaths.

Eiferman: How was this like shooting a movie?

Akhlaghi: After three years of research by myself, I found a producer and then a crew. We had one month for pre-production and 20 days to shoot all 17 pictures, so we had to be very quick, with only one day to shoot each picture. We had a very low budget so we couldn’t hire actors, and we mostly used friends or extras. But like a movie, I had a professional team with a make-up artist, set designer, assistant director, and everything.

Eiferman: You have a lot of experience in filmmaking; why did you choose to do this series as photographs?

Akhlaghi: I worked as an assistant director for a few years, yes. But I thought staged photography would be closer to the idea of art I had in mind. I was heavily influenced by old paintings but the narrative techniques are borrowed from my old engagement with cinema and literature.

Azadeh Akhlaghi

Azadeh Akhlaghi

Azadeh Akhlaghi

Weathering Time: Nancy Floyd’s Anti-Perfectionist Selfies

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 18, 2020

Since 1982, Nancy Floyd has regularly been taking photos of herself around the house and now she’s compiled 1200 of them into a book called Weathering Time, “a meditation on the passage of time, loss and the ageing female body”.

Weathering Time

Johanna Fateman wrote about the project for the New Yorker:

Floyd began the undertaking in 1982, at the age of twenty-five, as a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Each morning, she’d capture herself in a full-length shot, with her camera set up on a tripod in the corner of her room. Her aim, at the start, was to keep up the daily ritual for twenty years, in order to observe herself aging. At first, on days when she skipped taking a photo, she advanced the film in her camera, leaving a blank when she processed the roll. But, as the project continued, she ended up skipping weeks, entire months, a good chunk of the nineties. Over the years, she moved the tripod around, from room to room, from house to house, outdoors, and around the world; she included family members and pets in her pictures. The metamorphosis or decline of her own body turned out to be, it seems, less interesting than — or inextricable from — the major events, changing backdrops, and interdependent relationships that made up her life.

Amazing project. (via noah kalina)

In Flight

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 17, 2020

photo of a bird in flight

photo of a bird in flight

Those are just a couple of the shots of birds in the air from Mark Harvey’s In Flight series. I love that top photo — I don’t know if those feathers are translucent or if it just appears that way because of the sky color. You can see more of Harvey’s photography on his website, at Instagram, and at Colossal.

Private Views

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 17, 2020

Private Views

Private Views

Posing as young apartment-hunting Hungarian billionaire, artist Andi Schmied was able to gain access to more than two dozen luxury apartments in Manhattan and photograph the views from them. The resulting project is called Private Views and you can see some of her photos in this portfolio. Christopher Bonanos interviewed Schmied about the project for Curbed. Regarding the banal sameness of rich people things:

Did you discover anything interesting about the apartments themselves?

They are all the same! I mean, really! For example, the layout of the apartments are essentially identical. You enter, and there’s a main view, always from the living room — in the case of Billionaires’ Row, everything’s facing the park. The second-best view is from the master bedroom, which is usually the corner. Then there’s the countertop, which usually a kitchen island in the middle, and there’s different types of marble but there’s always marble — Calacatta Tucci, or Noir St. Laurent, or Chinchilla Mink, and they always tell you, “It’s the best of the best,” from a hidden corner of the planet where they hand-selected the most incredible pieces. After five of these, it’s incredibly similar, all of them. Also they put a lot of emphasis on naming the designer.

The branding.

Yes. And there’s a big competition for amenities, who has the craziest amenities. Of course there’s the pool and all of that, but one of the newest things in the past two years in every single development is the golf-simulator room - it’s just the standard now.

Private Views is performance art as much as it is about photography and architecture. I love the details about how she conned her way into these buildings by using the eagerness of real estate brokers against them.

But after a while I realized that it absolutely doesn’t matter what I wear: From their point of view, you’ve passed the access, and you can do anything — anything is believable. For example, all the pictures were taken with a film camera, which is [gestures broadly] this big. I’d just ask, “Can I take some pictures for my husband?” which is a very obvious and normal thing to do. There were a few agents who noticed that it was a film camera, not a digital camera, and those who noticed asked, “Oh, wow, is it film?” And I’d always say something like, “Oh, my grandfather gave it to me — to record all the special moments in my life.” And they’d just put me in this box of “artsy billionaire,” and would start to talk to me about MoMA’s latest collection. So anything goes.

For a taste of the real estate banter, you can watch videos that Schmied recorded of her visits in a talk she gave early last year. Schmied is crowdfunding a book based on the project — you can back it here.

Unsettling Photographs

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 17, 2020

Thundergirl

Thundergirl

Thundergirl

Thundergirl

Some unsettling/weird/funny photos from @thundergirl_xtal on Instagram. They have a separate account just for nails/hands. (via swissmiss)

The Millennium Camera, a Pinhole Camera with a Thousand-Year Exposure Time

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 16, 2020

a Millennium Camera designed to take 1000-year-long exposures

Critic, artist, and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats has installed pinhole cameras in three locations around the United States — Amherst College, Arizona State University, and Lake Tahoe — that are designed to take 1000-year-long exposures of their surroundings.

I don’t plan to be here in a thousand years, but for those of you who are, what you’ll see if all goes well is not an image of a single landscape, but rather an image of change within that landscape over that very long period of time. How is that possible? To address the question at a technical level, I built the camera based on archaeological and art-historical research. The casing of the camera is made out of copper. Archaeologists know what happens to copper: it will take on a patina, and the oxidation creates a sort of protective surface that will preserve the integrity of the camera as an object, which is intentionally very simple and very small. The pinhole can’t be allowed to oxidize at all, so that is pierced through a sheet of hardened twenty-four-carat gold, and gold will not corrode. This provides integrity over the next thousand years for the means by which the image is focused.

The image is focused onto the back of the camera, which is not paper in this case. Instead it is oil paint. The pigment that I chose is a paint called rose madder. The madder root has a red color that was very much valued in antiquity, but is the bane of any conservator today. Examples of paintings from the Renaissance show that it’s not very light-fast. It is a fugitive color. And the so-called “inherent vice” of it becomes a virtue in the case of a camera like this, because we are causing it to fade.

A prototype of the camera is pictured above. It will be interesting to see to what extent the final product is averaged out — when you’re dealing with 1000 years, you have to reckon with the motion blur of even seemingly stationary objects. (via @zander)

Ghosts of Segregation, the Vestigial Architecture of America’s Racism

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 16, 2020

Ghosts of Segregation

Ghosts of Segregation

Ghosts of Segregation is a project by photographer Rich Frishman with the goal of documenting the “the vestiges of America’s racism evident in the built environment, hidden in plain sight: Schools for ‘colored’ children, theatre entrances and restrooms for ‘colored people,’ lynching sites, juke joints, jails, hotels and bus stations.” The top photo above is of a segregation wall in a restaurant in Texas photographed in 2017:

This partition was constructed in the early 20th Century to keep people of different races apart. It is decorated with an original pre-1929 Dr. Pepper logo. At the time of its construction (circa 1906) only Caucasian customers were allowed to sit in the front of the saloon. All Hispanic, Asian and African-American customers had to sit behind the wall. When the saloon was remodeled and re-opened in 2014 the wall, no longer used for its original purpose, was retained as a historical reminder. It has recently been demolished.

The bottom photo shows the “colored entrance” for a movie theater in Texas:

The enigmatic door atop the stairway on the south side of the Texan Theater, long locked and largely overlooked, is the “colored entrance,” a vestige of Jim Crow-era segregation. In Kilgore, Texas, the term “colored” extended to anyone not Caucasian, including Hispanics and the occasional Asian.

Also included in the project are photos of WWII internment camps (where persons of Japanese ancestry were held during WWII, many of them American citizens), the US/Mexico border wall, and the Stonewall Inn in NYC. You can view the photos here as well as a few more in the NY Times.

Beer Can Pinhole Camera Takes Longest Exposure Photograph Ever

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 14, 2020

a long exposure photo taken of the path of the sun through the sky using a beer can pinhole camera

This pinhole solargraph, taken using a beer can pinhole camera over a period of eight years and one month, is thought to be the longest exposure image ever made. The photo shows the path of the Sun across the sky over that time period, almost 3000 trails in all. Regina Valkenborgh set the camera up in 2012 and then forgot about it; it was found by someone else this year. Said Valkenborgh of the project:

“It was a stroke of luck that the picture was left untouched, to be saved by David after all these years. I had tried this technique a couple of times at the Observatory before, but the photographs were often ruined by moisture and the photographic paper curled up. I hadn’t intended to capture an exposure for this length of time and to my surprise, it had survived. It could be one of, if not the, longest exposures in existence.”

If you want to make your own solargraph (it doesn’t have to go for 8 years…), check out the instructions here.

The Northern Lights Photographer of the Year for 2020

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 10, 2020

The best photos taken of the northern & southern lights in 2020

The best photos taken of the northern & southern lights in 2020

Capture the Atlas has collected some of the best aurora borealis and aurora australis photos taken this year in their 2020 Northern Lights Photographer of the Year competition. I’ve highlighted two photos from the competition above, by Ben Maze & Nico Rinaldi respectively. Maze’s photo, of the aurora australis in Tasmania, is stunning — one of the best astronomy photos I have ever seen. Here’s how he captured it:

Captured in this image is a trifecta of astronomical phenomena that made for some of the best astrophotography conditions one can witness in Australia, namely, the setting Milky Way galactic core, zodiacal light, and of course, the elusive Aurora Australis. On top of this, a sparkling display of oceanic bioluminescence adorned the crashing waves, adding the cherry on top to what was already a breathtaking experience.

Having been out of reception and civilization for over a day, fellow photographer Luke Tscharke and I had no idea the aurora would strike on this night. We’d just heard rumors of a potential solar storm. We could barely contain our excitement when the lights first showed up on our camera’s screens. We later realized we were in the best place on the entire continent to witness the rare show, with Lion Rock being on the southernmost cape of Tasmania and much more cloud-free than the rest of the state at the time.

The colors that our cameras picked up were incredible, too. Rather than the classic green, the display ranged from yellow and orange to pink and purple. When I’d captured enough frames that I was happy with, I simply stood by my camera with my head tilted towards the sky, occasionally swirling my hand around in the sparkling water by my feet. I’m forever grateful for moments in nature like this that show us the true wonders of our planet.

The aurora, the Milky Way, zodiacal light, and bioluminescence all in one image — what a magical conjunction. You can check out the rest of the winners here.

Aerial Photo of Manhattan, Circa 1931

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 03, 2020

Aerial Photo of Manhattan, Circa 1931

This is an aerial photo of Manhattan taken circa 1931. You can see all the way from 125th Street in Harlem down to the tip of Manhattan and beyond. That tall spike 25 blocks south of Central Park is the Empire State Building, which was completed in 1931. Also visible in the photo to varying degrees: Central Park’s Hooverville, the Statue of Liberty, several of the East River’s bridges, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Governors Island, and the much more uneven shorelines on both the Hudson and East River sides of the city. See also this aerial map of NYC from 1924, which is also available at NYCityMap (click on “Map Type” in the upper right) and a 1931 aerial photo of lower Manhattan.

Note: I tried and failed to track down the source and exact date of this photo. The earliest instances I could find were uncredited posts on Reddit and Facebook from a couple of years ago. Any idea where this came from? Would love to properly credit the source and nail down the year. (via @marinamaral2)

The Winners of the 2020 Weather Photographer of the Year Competition

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 19, 2020

Weather Photos 2020

Weather Photos 2020

Weather Photos 2020

The Royal Meteorological Society has announced the winners and runners-up in the 2020 Weather Photographer of the Year competition. I shared some of my favorites above, but somehow none of the cloud pics made the cut? Am I feeling alright? *feels forehead* Ok, just one — I can’t resist cumulonimbus mammatus:

Weather Photos 2020

Photos by (top to bottom) Vu Trung Huan, Alexey Trofimov, Andrew McCaren, and Boris Jordan. (via moss & fog)

Winning Shots from the 2020 International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 19, 2020

2020 International Landscape Photographer of the Year

2020 International Landscape Photographer of the Year

2020 International Landscape Photographer of the Year

The International Landscape Photographer of the Year Awards have announced their results for this year and you can see some of the winning photographs at In Focus. Photos by (top to bottom) Shashank Khanna, Vikki Macleod, and Nikhil Nagane.

Was This Famous War Photo Staged?

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 18, 2020

In 2007, Errol Morris wrote a three-part series for the NY Times about a pair of photos taken by Roger Fenton of the Crimean War in 1855. Taken from the same position on the same day, one of the photographs shows cannonballs scattered on a road while in the other photo, the road is clear of cannonballs. Which one, Morris wondered, was taken first and why?

I spent a considerable amount of time looking at the two photographs and thinking about the two sentences. Sontag, of course, does not claim that Fenton altered either photograph after taking them — only that he altered or “staged” the second photograph by altering the landscape that was photographed. This much seems clear. But how did Sontag know that Fenton altered the landscape or, for that matter, “oversaw the scattering of the cannonballs on the road itself?”

His three posts about these photographs are a fascinating exposition on truth and evidence — I posted about them back when he wrote them, saying of part one that “this might be the best blog post I’ve ever read” — and I recommend you read them, but the next best thing is watching the video above in which Vox Darkroom’s Coleman Lowndes talks with Morris about the mystery of the photos and how he arrived at a conclusion.

The Winners of the 2020 Close-Up Photographer of the Year Competition

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 12, 2020

2020 Close-Up Photographer of the Year Competition

2020 Close-Up Photographer of the Year Competition

2020 Close-Up Photographer of the Year Competition

The winners of the second annual Close-Up Photographer of the Year competition have been announced. You can check out the winners and the finalists on the competition website. The photos above were taken by (from top to bottom) Don Komarechka, Bernhard Schubert, and Gerd A. Günther. (via in focus)

What Gordon Parks Saw

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 02, 2020

Gordon Parks was a novelist, poet, musician, composer, painter, and film director, but he was best known for his photography. In this video, Evan Puschak takes a look at Parks’ photography, from his FSA photos taken in the 40s to his photo essays for Life magazine. What a life, what a career. Here are just a few of Parks’ photos; I encourage you to check out the rest.

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks

Here’s What 10 Million Stars Look Like

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 28, 2020

10 Million Stars

Using the Dark Energy Camera at the Cerro Tololo observatory in Chile, astronomers took an image of the stars clustered around the center of our Milky Way galaxy that shows about 10 million stars. Check out the zoomable version for the full experience.

Looking at an image like this is always a bit of a brain-bender because a) 10 million is a huge number and b) the stars are so tightly packed into that image and yet c) that image shows just one tiny bit of our galactic center, d) our entire galaxy contains so many more stars than this (100-400 billion), and e) the Universe perhaps contains as many as 2 trillion galaxies. And if I’m remembering my college math correctly, 400 billion × 2 trillion = a metric crapload of stars. (via bad astronomy)

A 2.5 Gigapixel Image of the Orion Constellation

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 26, 2020

Orion Constellation Gigapixel

Amateur astronomer Matt Harbison has been working for the past five years on capturing a detailed image of the Orion constellation. He recently completed the project and the result is this 2.5 gigapixel photo mosaic composed of 12,816 individual photos. From PetaPixel, which has a good writeup of the project, a taste of the challenges involved with constructing this image:

Even after all the images were shot and each panel completed, the finished image did not come together smoothly. “I began in 2015 on a Mac Pro with 2 Xeon Processors and 64GB of RAM. This machine was easily one of the fastest computers of the day, and it carried me all the way up to panel 47 where I believe I hit the RAM limit of the computer.”

It would take five years from that point for technology to catch up to Harbison’s needs as he wouldn’t have a computer powerful enough to complete the task until August of 2020. “The new computer is an AMD Threadripper with 24 cores and 256GB of memory,” Harbison said. “It took a total of 23 hours to provide an astrometric solution for all 200 panels and then an additional 19 hours to merge into the gradient merge mosaic tool.”

What an amazing thing to be able to make from your backyard.

An Interface for Exploring Ed Ruscha’s Sunset Boulevard Street Views

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 21, 2020

interface to view Ed Ruscha's Sunset Boulevard photos

Since 1965, American artist Ed Ruscha has been taking photos all along the length of Sunset Boulevard in LA. The Getty has made those photos available on the Getty Research Institute website and Stamen Design built this fantastic interface called 12 Sunsets for virtually cruising up and down the street.

This is so much fun to play with! You can use the mouse or arrow keys to drive, the spacebar to flip to the other side of the street, and you can change or add years to the display. It’s really interesting to add a bunch of different years to the display and then motor up and down the street to see what’s changed over the decades. It’s the perfect interface for this art.

The Way I See It, a Documentary Film About Former White House Photographer Pete Souza

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 19, 2020

Pete Souza was the White House photographer for Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Reflecting on his experience and the how the current President comports himself while in office, Souza published two books: Obama: An Intimate Portrait and Shade: A Tale of Two Presidents. Those books form the basis for a documentary directed by Dawn Porter on Souza and his work called The Way I See It.

Based on the New York Times #1 bestseller comes The Way I See It, an unprecedented look behind the scenes of two of the most iconic Presidents in American History, Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan, as seen through the eyes of renowned photographer Pete Souza. As Official White House Photographer, Souza was an eyewitness to the unique and tremendous responsibilities of being the most powerful person on Earth. The movie reveals how Souza transforms from a respected photojournalist to a searing commentator on the issues we face as a country and a people.

I didn’t know that Trump’s presidency is not really getting recorded photographically as past presidencies have, but I’m not surprised.

The film was shown on MSNBC the other day…I don’t know if they’re rerunning it or what. It’s also out in theaters but with many of those still closed, I assume it’ll be out on streaming at some point soonish? (Update: According to the MSNBC schedule, it looks like it’s re-airing at midnight on Friday.)

The Winners of the 2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 14, 2020

2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The winning photographs in the 2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest have been announced by the Natural History Museum in London. Photos above by Shanyuan Li, Weiwei Zeng, and Greg du Toit. (via in focus)

Winning Images from the 2020 Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 13, 2020

2020 Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition image

2020 Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition image

2020 Nikon Small World Photomicrography competition image

Nikon has announced the winners of its Small World Photomicrography competition for 2020. From top to bottom above, the development of a clownfish embryo by Daniel Knop, crystals by Justin Zoll, and a bogong moth by Ahmad Fauzan. You can check out the competition winners from past years, all the way back to 1975. (via @dnabeck)

Accidentally Wes Anderson, the Book

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 07, 2020

Accidentally Wes Anderson book cover

Inspired by the symmetry and color palettes of Wes Anderson’s movies, the Instagram account Accidentally Wes Anderson has been collecting and featuring photos from folks all over the world that wouldn’t look out of place in The Royal Tenenbaums or The Grand Budapest Hotel. The creators have turned it into a new book called Accidentally Wes Anderson, which features many of the best contributions from the account. It sounds like it’s kind of a travel book, a visually oriented Atlas Obscura.

Now, inspired by a community of more than one million Adventurers, Accidentally Wes Anderson tells the stories behind more than 200 of the most beautiful, idiosyncratic, and interesting places on Earth. This book, authorized by Wes Anderson himself, travels to every continent and into your own backyard to identify quirky landmarks and undiscovered gems: places you may have passed by, some you always wanted to explore, and many you never knew existed.

And while we’re here, I picked out a few of my recent favorites from their Instagram:

Accidentally Wes Anderson

Accidentally Wes Anderson

Accidentally Wes Anderson

The Winners of the 2020 Drone Photo Awards

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 06, 2020

Drone Photos 2020

Drone Photos 2020

Drone Photos 2020

Lots of good aerial photography in the 2020 Drone Photo Awards in several categories (abstract, urban, people, nature, wildlife). Photos above by Paul Hoelen, Azim Khan Ronnie, and Paul McKenzie.

Representing Covid-19 Deaths, 20,000 Empty Chairs Face the White House

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 06, 2020

An array of 20,000 chairs set up in front of the White House

On Sunday in Washington DC, a group called Covid Survivors for Change set up 20,000 chairs in front of the White House to represent the 210,000 people who have died from Covid-19 in the United States.1 Each chair represents about 10 people who have died and their collective emptiness represents both the loss felt by the families & loved ones of those who have died and the feckless, hollow response of the federal government to the suffering.

  1. I’m going to point out once again that whenever you see a number in the media for Covid-19 deaths, that’s the official count. But if you look at the excess mortality in the United States during the period in question, the true death toll is significantly higher. “For example, the US suffered some 260,000 more deaths than the five-year average between 1 March and 16 August, compared to 169,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths during that period.”

Vermont’s Autumnal Splendor

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 28, 2020

VT Fall Foliage 2020

I don’t know whether it’s our dry weather, my increased appreciation for Vermont due to our relative sanity during the pandemic, or just because I’ve been trying to spend as much time as I can outside appreciating nature before the snow flies, but this year’s foliage display seems extra good. Mother Nature just spilled her box of crayons everywhere.

A Photographic Window into the Remote Siberian Territory of Yakutia

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 22, 2020

Alexey Vasilyev

Alexey Vasilyev

Alexey Vasilyev

Alexey Vasilyev

Alexey Vasilyev

Alexey Vasilyev’s photos of the remote Russian territory of Yakutia (also known as Sakha, ultra-cold in the winter and hot in the summer) and the people who live there are really something.

Yakutia is the largest region of Russia, but it is almost not explored by man. The number of population is only one million on three million square kilometers. There is no other corner on the Earth where people live in such a severe and contrasting climate. In summer the air warms up to 40 degrees Celsius and in winter it drops to 60 degrees below zero. There is the longest duration of winter, temperatures below zero and snow lies here from October to mid-April.

The transport system has made Yakutia one of the most inaccessible areas in the world. There are almost no railways and few roads. Some places can be reached by plane or helicopter only. The remoteness from the world and severe climatic conditions determined a special way of life and culture of local residents.

That culture includes an enthusiasm for filmmaking, which Vasilyev has also captured.

However, Yakutia is famous not only for the severe climate and gold which is mined here, but also for the cinema. Yakut films participate in international festivals in Europe and Asia, receive awards, which are already more than 80. Yakut Hollywood is called “Sakhawood”.

People with different experiences are engaged in filmmaking. Most directors have no special education, for some of them directing is not the main way to earn money. Actors are people who work in the theater, or people who have never acted in a movie before. About 7-10 feature length films are shot here per year, from romantic comedies to fairy tales, based on local legends and beliefs. Sometimes Yakut movies have better box office than world blockbusters.

You can find more of Vasilyev’s work on Instagram.

Winners of the 2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 22, 2020

2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

2020 Astronomy Photographer of the Year

The winning entries from the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 competition are here and they are spectacular. As longtime readers can attest, I will never get tired of looking at photos of the sky and space.

Above from top to bottom: Nicolas Lefaudeux’s tilt-shift shot of the Andromeda Galaxy, Alain Paillou’s ultra-contrasty photo of the Moon, Kristina Makeeva’s aurora shot, Evan McKay’s self-portrait under the Milky Way, and Olga Suchanova’s 3-month exposure of the Sun’s path through the sky using a beer can pinhole camera. You can read a little bit about how Suchanova got that shot on 35mmc:

If exposure times on the order of minutes seem long, try months. Olga Suchanova (London, UK) used a pinhole camera made from a beercan — and not just any beercan, but a Peter Saville design for the Tate Modern — to record the solargraph below.

She used Ilford paper, exposed for 3 or 4 months at an art residency in Almeria, Spain. The long exposure traces the sun’s path across the sky over multiple days — sunny days make brighter lines, and as spring turns to summer, the sun rises higher in the sky. The fantastic colours — another consequence of the long exposure — are created spontaneously on black and white paper, without the need for development or any other chemical processing.

The Finalists for the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 21, 2020

Finalists for the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Finalists for the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Finalists for the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Finalists for the 2020 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Each year, photographers entering the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards capture animals in various hilarious (and often anthropomorphic) situations and this year’s finalists can hopefully provide you with some relief from the absolute shitstorm that’s raging outside our skulls here in 2020. [Uh, how about something a little more upbeat next time? -ed] (via digg)

The Apocalyptic Red Western Skies Caused by Climate Change-Fueled Wildfires

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 10, 2020

Wildfire Skies 2020

Wildfire Skies 2020

Wildfire Skies 2020

Wildfire Skies 2020

Wildfire Skies 2020

All day yesterday, my social media feeds were full of photos taken of the skies on the west coast, bloodied red and orange from the wildfires raging in California, Oregon, and other western states. Each fresh photo I saw shocked me anew. Friends told me: as weird as the photos look, they don’t do justice to what this actually looks like and feels like in real life. Automatic cameras (as on smartphones) had a tough time capturing the skies because the onboard software kept correcting the red and orange colors out — the phones know, even if climate change denying politicians and voters don’t, that our skies aren’t supposed to be that color.

I’ve compiled a few photos and photo collections taken of the western skies over the past few days:

Keep in mind that these photos were taking during the day — it only looks like night because the smoke so completely blocked out the sun.

And let me be clear (because others have not been): the frequency and intensity of the western wildfires over the past years are driven in part by climate change. These fires, along with the death, property damage, and poor health they’ve caused and will continue to cause, are just some of the debts coming due for decades of bad public policy, political inaction, and deliberate negligence by fossil fuel companies. The climate has changed and these are the consequences — the message in the sky is simply unmistakeable.

The 2020 International Garden Photographer of the Year Macro Photography Awards

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 24, 2020

Tulip petals

Peeping frog

Flower vortex

Rainbow lily

The International Garden Photographer of the Year has announced the winners of their macro competition, featuring some of the best close-up photography of the botanical world. My nature-loving daughter and I picked out a few of our favorite entries above. Photos by (top to bottom) Anne MacIntyre, Minghui Yuan, Bruno Militelli, and Ecaterina Leonte. (via moss & fog)