April 9, 2013

Family Photographer Enters The Venice Biennale

The works of Nikolay Bakharev – a Russian family photographer from a miners’ town – will be exhibited at The Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia) – one of the most prestigious international cultural event. Ever since its foundation, it has been at the forefront in the research and promotion of new artistic trends.

Bakharev, now known as the pioneer of Soviet Eroticism in photography, started his career in the 70s working as a family photographer in a miners’ town of Novokuznetsk taking pictures in schools and kindergartens, at funerals and weddings.

It was good money but he was looking to raise the plank in his trade. He regularly read photo magazines Sovetskoye Photo, Czech Photo Review, German FotoMAGAZIN in search of creative ideas.

His found his clients among workers, students in hostels, people on the beach who later invited him to take photos at their homes. They had no special requirements except “make it beautiful”.

Who knew that many years later these shots would be considered museum grade Art.

In the words of Bakharev, “A human being is interesting with his or her openness and frankness… it has nothing to do with an exalted spirituality and beauty which seems to be hidden in any person and must be revealed.”


The Beach Series Photos By Nikolay Bakharev »
Nikolay Bakharev in Conversation with Luca Desienna »

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April 7, 2013

Sears “Amazing Photography” Is No More

Sears-Portrait-Studio-closesCPI Corporation, the St. Louis-based operator of over 2,000 Sears Portrait Studios, PictureMe Studios in Walmart and Toys R Us portrait studios abruptly closed all studios nationwide.

Blaming the Digital trend as they do is just an excuse not to take the responsibility for having been stuck with an ailing business model in the face of the modernization of the Photography industry that rapidly evolves as consumers are taking charge.

While a whole host of specialized high-quality vendors were beginning to command this very personal Photography industry branch – Consumer Photography, CPI was still bundling services from “good enough” providers.

At the production point, the photographer on duty could be bad at handling kids or didn’t know how to pose pregnant women. The backdrops and props were outdated.

At post production, there were problems with cropping for framing, forget about editing out stretch marks, fixing awkward smile, or skin retouching.

Printing took weeks and months instead of the promised 72 hours.

This is why consumers chose to beat feet the hell out of Sears Portrait.  They had options. There are plenty of specialized photographers to choose from and who will come to you to take pictures in your natural environment.

Then you can submit your photos online (professional or amateur) to companies like PhotoHand.com to get professional grade photo editing for the price of a Starbucks coffee.

As for online printers, there are gazillions to choose from offering everything – from plain prints to photo books to photo blankets and photo cake tops. Even professional grade printers like NationsPhotoLab are beginning to serve amateurs.

Lesson learned: Don’t mess with empowered consumers!


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March 7, 2013

Photo Retouching: Moving Mainstream, Full-Speed

When Photoshop arrived 24 years ago, the photography community was up in arms as it was affecting photographic truth, according to David Hlynsky, a University of Toronto professor in Photoshop and digital media.

Leaving aside the point that photography is more of a point of view than the truth, the question is whether photo retouching is any more dishonest than wearing makeup.

Now photo retouching is moving mainstream – there is no doubt about it. According to a research conducted by Glamour magazine, nearly 60 percent of respondents feel it’s OK for a woman to tweak her personal pictures, and 23 percent of women ages 25 to 29 do it; that number climbs to 41 percent among those ages 18 to 24. “Several years ago, retouching personal photos would have seemed strange, even vain,” says Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D., a Cincinnati psychologist and coauthor of The Life You Want.“This survey shows it’s common and women are fine with it.”

“[Retouching] is the nature of the digital age, we edit because we can,” says Professor Hlynsky. “Technology will process our image whether we like it or not.”

Why do we do it? Your photo makes a big difference in how people perceive you, so you want to put your best foot forward. Photo editing can help a picture appear to be more professional, and can express one’s personality better. That is if it’s done right.

Self-Photoshopping-fails

SOURCES:
Retouching: How Much Is Too Much? – Glamour
Personal Photo Retouching: Millennials Going To Great Lengths For Perfect Pictures Online – Huffington Post
Self-Portrait Photoshop Fails – Resource Magazine
 

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October 26, 2012

Miss Subways in Retrospect: Social Anthropology Through Photo Images

If you are into social anthropology, the “Meet Miss Subways: New York’s Beauty Queens 1941-76,” is the exhibition for you. The photo show will be on display at the New York Transit Museum from October 23 to March 2.

For over thirty years, photos and one-sentence aspirations of New York women were displayed in subway cars as part of the “Meet Miss Subways” contest with a hidden agenda of drawing subway-riders’ attention to other advertisements in New York’s transit system.


For the first 22 years, winners were selected by the John Robert Powers modeling agency and the New York Subways Advertising Company.  Afterward, the voting went the American Idol way, with NYC subway-riders voting via postcard for their favorites.


Now looking back at the collection of women’s portraits you get a glimpse of the images, lives and hopes of the women who made the social fabric of New York city for over three decades.

The contest saw its first African-American winner in 1948 – long before Vanessa Williams was crowned Miss America in 1984—and the first Asian-American was honored in 1949.

Immigrants from Russia, Lithuania, Guatemala had their wins. This is New York, after all!

Anyone could participate and win. Married with kids – no problem!

The photos contain the evidence of women’s upward mobility. Here is a winner who happened to be a Recruiting Sergeant at the Manhattan Marine Corp.

Another one was an FBI employee.

There were team winners – twins and triplets.

What made Miss Subways contest so marvelous is that it celebrated ordinary New York women end their dreams. Everyone’s life deserved to be in the spotlight.

October 18, 2012

Edible Photos for a Very Personal Cake

Photo cakes add a lot of fun to any event and add a personal touch to the celebration. To make an edible picture, all you need is a special printer like Canon IP4920 bubble-jet printer, Edible Ink and icing sheets. It’s doubtful that you want to invest in this cake imaging pack, so here is a simple solution: you can order your photo icing online and have it delivered to your door.

Icing Images has been a pioneer in the edible printing industry since the late ’90s, when personalized edible pictures were just starting to become popular. Icing Images does not make or distribute cakes. Bake your own, buy it or order to be baked and then add the photo icing on top of it. You can have cup cakes and cookies decorated this way too.

Below are some of the ideas for edible photos decorating cakes for Birthdays, Graduation, Anniversaries… Just remember that if your photo needs cleaning up before it goes on the cake, let PhotoHand fix it for you.

October 15, 2012

Every Dog Deserves Fifteen Minutes of Photo Fame

Don’t you get annoyed when people share with you the pictures of their kids and dogs? I bet you do unless you are the same way and are dying to show the world what your loved one has been up to. A brand-new (launched last week) photo sharing network PuppyStream.me helps you to do exactly that – broadcast your puppy’s cutest pics to the like-minded dog-owners.

The utterly modern PuppyStream.me is a dynamic way to chronicle your pups’ life through photo updates providing a super easy way to  seamlessly pull in photos from Instagram, Facebook or your computer.

The membership is free. Share your dog’s life story and discover new cute pups from around the world!

Here are some pics from the launch party at the Invisible Dog Art Center where the guests could have their pictures taken in a doggie photo booth. Here is an idea for your next puppy’s birthday party:)

September 13, 2012

Tips for Photoshooting Fifis and Fidos

Photos shot with a point-and-click Sony camera and enhanced by PhotoHand.com

I’ve been recently trying to create a photo book starring my new puppy and myself as a gift for my mom’s upcoming birthday. Having PhotoHand as a design company behind this project should have made it easy but I got stuck at step one – taking pictures of my beloved mongrel.

I have a lot of nice pictures of him sleeping but taking action pictures proved to be a difficult task. As I was falling behind my personal production schedule it suddenly hit me – I should have checked with the ultimate pro – Cesar Milan, the Dr. Spock of the canine world. And, of course, CesarWay.com had a list of simple common sense directions on how to take good pictures of dogs.

In a nutshell:

1. Dogs sense energy. Be positive.

2. If s/he won’t sit and stay, focus on what s/he DOES want to do.

3. Shoot lots of photos and sift through them later.

4. Use props – treats, toys, squeakers, balloons.

5. Late afternoon or overcast weather will give you the best lighting.

6. It’s about them – focus on their favorite places, habits, toys…

7. Lower the camera to your dog’s level.

These dog photography tips are based on the advice from Cesar Milan’s friend, photographer Seth Casteel who became famous after his photos of dogs swimming underwater went viral.

Link to the entire article »

September 10, 2012

A Teenager Buys a £30 Used Point-and-Click Camera, Captures Views of the Earth from Space

A £30 Canon PowerShot A570 bought on eBay by a 19 year old British engineering student captured some NASA-worthy dramatic views of the Earth’s curvature from the height of 110,210 ft (33,592m).

According to The Telegraph, the space photography feat was achieved within 40 hours on a £200 budget.

August 29, 2012

A Popular Post-Wedding Photography Trend Turns Fatal

A post-wedding photo trend called “trash the dress” that gained popularity in 2008 turned lethal for a recently-wed woman near Montreal. Beaches, ponds and rivers are popular locations for “trash the dress” photo shoots helping to produce interesting scenic images.

Several mass “trash the dress” events took place in 2011, including one that featured hundreds of newly-wed women wearing their wedding gowns at a Netherlands beach. Somehow, till yesterday no one has ever imagined that this fun tradition could be dangerous though a soaked wedding dress can easily weigh 100 pounds.

Bride drowns while modelling wedding gown near Rawdon | Montreal.

July 24, 2012

David Beckham Pops up at the Support TeamGB Photobooth

Who says photo booths are the thing of the past? They are fun and cool, especially if you can encounter a celebrity in them.  David Beckham brought some happy moments into his fans’ lives when he stepped into their photo-booth at Westfield Stratford City in London while they thought they were posing to support TeamGB at the Olympics.<br><br>