Thursday, January 31, 2008


Entre los celindos, originally uploaded by Franc-tireur.

Franc-tireur is a photographer from Spain who does some great street photography. I love this shot because of the clean silhouette of the solitary figure, walking up the street. The heavy vignetting in the corners works well to soften the surroundings and keep our attention on the center of the photograph. I wonder if it says anything about me that I think she's walking away. You really can't tell if she is facing towards the camera or away.

The exposure here is just right. By exposing for the pink blossoms, the sky in the distance is blown and the figure's features, backlit, are lost in the shadow. This was a great way to highlight this really simple, elegant silhouette. A nice touch are the marks on the street there, leading the eyes to the focal point of the picture. I especially love these types of compositions, where are strong subject is placed smack in the center. It's a bold statement. Of note is also that his crop of the scene has the figure about two-thirds of the way down the frame. Works nicely.

Something else I should mention here is post-processing. It's usually not worthwhile to speculate whether or not an image is "real" or "fake". By nature of how we view photography (i.e. on a computer), all that we see has been processed x number of times. At the very least, an image was scanned, a file was transferred, and a (likely uncalibrated) monitor did its best to render a string of 1s and 0s. Chances are, there was probably an intervention by the photographer at some point, adjusting the image in a way to best convey its message. And if the image was taken with a digital camera, even before any human clicks on a sliding bar to adjust contrast, a little chip inside an expensive piece of equipment has processed information from a sensor and translated it into a useful, compact, little file.

Photography is art. Here, the art is an image. That image can be interesting or boring. It can pluck at our heartstrings or blend into the background. Sometimes someone will push a button and through divine providence (or something that looks just like it) create a masterpiece with no extra work. But other times (most times), the masterpiece takes work. That work is post processing. Now after having said all that, I can come to my point. I love the treatment on this photo. The dreamy, surreal quality of the light here is superb and takes the image to another level.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


silent, originally uploaded by nacoki.

This one is an old favorite of mine. Looking at this photo, I'm immediately reminded of Wong Kar-Wai's Fallen Angels, one of my all time favorite films. There's one scene with the lead actress shot in extreme wideangle, eating alone in a noodle shop. The camera is right in her face, tightly cropped, emphasizing her aloneness. For me, this photo exudes a similar feeling of coldness, trepidation, and isolation.

The slight blur and high contrast further obscures the figure's features. It's uncertain if she's huddling to escape a draft (that does look like a winter sweater), of if she's lowering her head in sorrow. What is she holding? Well, sometimes photos can play tricks on the viewer. According to the photographer, it's a harmonica! And suddenly the brows are transformed before our eyes to become furrowed. The mouth is blowing a tune. The eyes are closed in concentration.

Any way you look at it, the image is still an emotional one. Things like the framing (the one-thirds rule is not always king) and exposure just serve as icing on this cake.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Catch Me If You Can, originally uploaded by liming.chen.

Here's a recent fav.

It speaks to me in a number of ways. First of all, it's a shot that I tried to take but could not. My girlfriend got one of these domo-kun plushes out of a machine and got me a matching hoodie as a gift. I thought, a machine filled with these things would make a great photograph. When went to take a look, all the domo-kuns were gone and replace with overstuffed, buck-toothed rip-offs. I had missed my chance.

Crane machines are great for a couple reasons. Repetition, colors, bright, high contrast, & scale all add to the interestingness. This machine is even cooler because the prizes look like they're all mortally scared of being picked and are backing away from the claw.

A couple technical elements also add to the image here: interesting elements in foreground, midground, and background; sharp focus; narrow depth-of-field; and tight cropping. There's the claw right up top and super close, telling us where we are. A mountain of miniature domo-kun's work well to multiply the already comical nature of this awesome character. The pair of giant domo-kun's add another point of interest, with that mid-sized guy at the top, completing the domo triangle, mr. roboto.

The narrow dof is something that conveniently just happens when you're taking photos in dark places with artificial lighting. The small f-stop that lets in all that precious light also creates this shallow field of sharpness. That one guy on the bottom right is tack sharp, and the dues behind him get progressively blurrier. It's cool and easy to do under the right conditions (and the right lens).

As for tight cropping, it was a good decision here because you kind of eliminate the machine's front panel while filling the frame with the subject, increasing the sense of crowdedness and fullness. The well on the bottom left kind of detracts from that feeling a little, but is coupled with the claw above, grounding us in the machine. One of these domo-kun suckers is in immanent danger of being picked up by that claw and dropped in that hole.

343 Favorites & Growing

Welcome to my new blog. Here, I'll endeavor to elaborate upon what it is I love about photography. I'll be going through the continually growing pool of photos I've fav'd around Flickr and one by one explain what it is that struck me about each image. I feel that one of Flickr's strengths is the ease with which one can find quality photography and inspiring photographers of all styles.

I've got 343 photos in my favorites list, which translates to 1 new fav every 2 and a half days since I've become a member of Flickr. It looks like my material for this blog will not be running dry anytime soon. Aside from providing my thoughts on specific images, I'll also be introducing alot of my favorite Flickr contacts since some of those cats are truly phenomenal in both technical skill and creativity.

If you'd like the skip the commentary, or perhaps just want a sneak peak, my list of contacts can be found here, and my page of favorites here.