This new website allows you to intersperce beautiful images with text for compelling narratives
With the number of photo sharing sites on the web at the moment, there are quite a few ways to present your photos, but a new site called Exposure has recently left beta, and wants you to craft photo stories rather than galleries.
Exposure has an incredibly simple drag and drop interface, where you upload images as either full-width photos, or as a set of up to 12 images. Between each new insert, you can add text to create a narrative flow, or to just explain what the image is.
The editing controls are minimal, but the final result is gorgeous. And while the presentation is beautiful, it may not fit everyone’s style.
Exposure is free to try, with up to three projects. After that, you’re looking at $9 per month or $99 per year for unlimited hosting. Paying guarantees no ads, and also as yet undisclosed “premium features”, though there’s word that custom URLs are in the works.
There are still a number of problems and questions from the service. It doesn’t support video (though that may be a plus for you), and there’s no real sizing control for images. And asking $99 a year for it may seem a bit steep for many people. But for those who are just yearning for a simple way to create visually compelling image narratives, it might be the perfect fit.
[via The Verge]
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Photo by NASA/Apollo 17 crew
On December 7, 1972, our view of the world was changed forever
41 years ago on Saturday, a photograph was taken that radically altered the way we saw the world. On December 7, 1972, at 5:39 a.m. EST, the crew of Apollo 17 took a photograph of the Earth. It was named “Blue Marble”, and became one of the most widely distributed images ever created.
Shot at a distance of 45,000km from the surface with a 70-millimeter Hasselblad camera, and an 80-millimeter Zeiss lens, it was jointly credited to all three Apollo 17 crew members: Eugene Cernan, Ronald Evans and Jack Schmitt. This was the last manned Lunar mission, and the photo — while not the first of the Earth from space — was one of the clearest, and arrived at a time where it became embedded in the global consciousness.
Since then, NASA has embraced the Blue Marble as an iconic image, and has used the name for other, high-res space shots of the globe. There were versions released in 2002, 2004, and 2005. And, more recently, one in early 2012, an Eastern Hemisphere one later the same year, and even the Black Marble, shot at night.
And it all began with that one image, in 1972.
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Find inspiration in the play of babes
You never know when or where inspiration will strike. For Peter Schafrick, it was a hot and sultry afternoon last July in his very own backyard. The Toronto product whiz (schafrick.com) is known as a specialist in poured, splashed, and thrown liquids, so it falls to reason that he would have been observing the water while watching his two young children play in a back yard wading pool.
As the kids hurled toys back and forth, the photographer noticed how an airborne plastic ball threw water in intricately formed tendrils. That moment inspired a long and involved period of experimentation that resulted in the image to the left.
To get the shot, Schafrick faced two distinct challenges.
• Spinning the prop. His first task was to set his prop—the plastic ball—spinning, and he started by attaching it to the shaft of a rotary motor. “Because the motor simply accelerated, though, it gave me only a limited way to control how the liquid flew away from the object,” he remembers. So, working with a prop maker, he devised a manually spinning device. It allowed better control of the speed and momentum of the ball’s rotation, which made the variously sized, elegantly arced tendrils possible.
• Freezing the action. This required a very short flash duration. Short flash durations are achieved by setting strobes to minimum power, but this meant less light, larger apertures, and a loss of depth of field. To solve this, Schafrick added low power strobes, but this introduced another problem: All the flash heads had to fire simultaneously. Using their [optical] cells to sync the packs meant one pack fired and it triggered the others. “Since they didn’t actually fire simultaneously, motion blur resulted. The only way to ensure simultaneous firing was to sync with a flash trigger like my PocketWizard Plus II. Another way to prevent motion blur is to have all the packs fire at the same output,” Schafrick explains.
Gather your gear and props. Almost any DSLR that accepts a wireless flash trigger will work, and you want strobes that allow manual flash control so you can set low power settings for short flash durations. Paints can be off-the-shelf latex, and should be of bold and contrasting colors.
Find or build a spinning mechanism. The “spinster,” as Schafrick calls it, will attach to your prop with a shaft, and should give you variable control of spin speed. You will also need some means of “hiding” your device, such as behind black seamless.
Prep your set and prop. Hang plastic sheeting over a plastic wading pool. The sheeting will protect the lights and studio, while the pool will catch drips. For protection, cover your camera and lens in plastic and use a UV filter on the lens. An inexpensive underwater housing will also do. To apply the paint, carefully dip your prop’s top and bottom halves separately into contrasting colors of paint, before attaching it to your rotary device.
Make your exposure. Turn any room lights out, open the camera shutter, start the rotary device, fire the strobe, and close the shutter. Clean your prop and repeat.
Experiment like crazy. Spin your prop at various speeds, and, if necessary, adjust the viscosity of the paints until you get a look you like.
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Life photographer Lynn Pelham took this picture of medical volunteers vaccinating people in Costa Rica for smallpox in 1967. The virus was eventually certified as eradicated on this day in 1979
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Tiger Woods drops his club after hitting a tee shot during the final round of the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club in California
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What, no phone attached? Meet the £35 cardboard camera that’s making the Instagram generation think again
You can do a lot with a cardboard box. Make a fort. Make a Halloween costume. Or how about turning it into a camera? Designer Kelly Angood did just that, and ended up creating a pinhole camera that has taken off thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that went viral.
In April, Angood launched a Kickstarter campaign for her lensless DIY camera, the Videre – meaning “to see” in Latin. It works like any pinhole camera: light flows into a tiny opening in its body, forming an image on photographic film at the back of the box. The Videre generated a lot of buzz, and within weeks she had not only hit her £15,000 target to fund the manufacture of 2,000 screen-printed Videre prototypes, but had soared past her goal by a good £20,000.
As part of the Instagram generation, Angood, who is 25, wanted the camera to help her slow down and get back to basics. “I use the internet way too much, I know I do. I caught myself the other day checking Twitter on my phone and then checking it on my computer at the same time,” she says, laughing before sipping herbal tea in a London cafe. Working on the Videre became a therapeutic way for Angood to disconnect from the online world and spend “a lot of time with loads of cardboard, having Radio 4 on” as she cut out and folded material for the design.
Angood went through the production process once before, creating a cardboard Hasselblad imitation in 2011 (though for legal reasons she couldn’t whip up a batch to sell for profit). She decided to keep the Videre relatively local, working exclusively with UK-based screen-printers and die-cutters. Illustrator Joseph Vass printed the first few cameras, but Angood realised she needed to scale up production – so she headed north, to Leeds, where she had access to more space and lower costs.
In late November, Angood debuted the £35 camera at Beach London gallery space. A series of portraits she shot with the camera hung on one wall, while punters drank London Pride and delicately handled the three Videres on display at the back of the room. The lightweight cameras are flatpacked in what looks like a pizza box, and you punch out each piece from perforated cardboard to build the camera in several steps.
Maurice Barnich, an audio engineer in Luxembourg, snapped up a pair of Videres as soon as they were available. He’s a collector of pinhole cameras, mostly wooden Zero Images, but the Videre is his only cardboard model. Unlike a digital camera, it helps him concentrate on the process of film photography, because, he says, “everything has to freeze for four to five seconds: that’s really the shortest exposure you can get. It’s not about point and shoot – it’s really low-tech, going back to the laws of physics and optics. You don’t have a lens, but you can do an awful lot.”
This willingness to experiment with techniques and play around with exposure times has helped an online community around the Videre. Angood has a presence on social media, and regularly posts users images, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and instructional videos. And next in the pipeline? She wants to design a smaller, simpler version of the camera for primary schoolchildren.
"These days kids are so digitally native that a lot of them haven’t even experienced film photography and it really is magic for them," Angood says. So, while declines in film sales around the world have knocked – or destroyed – giants like Kodak, Agfa and Konica, a space might just be opening up for well-designed analogue cameras. Companies like the Impossible Project, responsible for buying out and reviving the last functional Polaroid film factory, and Lomography, the team behind a huge range of prettied-up experimental cameras, have already paved the way. And if you can get the kids into it too, film may just get a second chance.theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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Spill is the first book from photographer Daniel Beltrá, who documented the 2010 BP oil spill from a plane
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Retrospectives by Sergio Larrain and Brassaï contrasted with bold modern takes on London’s streets
• See Rachel Cooke’s graphic books of the year here
In a year when self-publishing continued to thrive and a host of small independent companies reinvented the photobook as an art object in itself, the mainstream houses wisely concentrated in what they do best: the big retrospective. My favourite was the stylish and informative Sergio Larrain: Vagabond Photographer (Thames & Hudson), an overview of the late Chilean’s workin which editor Agnès Sire mixes the familiar with the previously unseen. A book full of beautiful, often bravely experimental street images, it should go some way towards elevating the reclusive photographer into the canon of 20th-century greats.
Also in contention for retrospective book of the year is the eponymous Garry Winogrand (Yale University Press), a hefty catalogue for this year’s vast exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. One of the great pioneers of American street photography, his images still surprise with their off-kilter composition and wired energy. There is visual poetry of an altogether more intimate kind in Emmet Gowin (Aperture), an in-depth look at one of America’s most overlooked photographers, whose defining subject was his wife, Edith, and their family.
Published at the end of 2012, Viviane Sassen: In and Out of Fashion(Prestel) just qualifies for inclusion here. The catalogue for a touring show that can currently be seen at the National Gallery of Scotland, it presents the vivid colours and striking formalism of the most inventive fashion photographer working today.
Elsewhere, the independents led the way. British publisher Dewi Lewis had another good year with titles such as Jo Metson Scott’s The Grey Line (Dewi Lewis), which merged portraits of American soldiers who have spoken out against the war in Iraq with their testimonies about the consequences. The same publisher’s The Landscape of Murder (for which I wrote the introduction) was a still, sustained meditation on an often invisible London mapped out by Antonio Olmos, who visited the site of every murder in the capital in a single year. By turns melancholy and thought-provoking, it will make you see the city in a different, darker light.
Perhaps the most controversial photobook was Holy Bible by Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin (Mack Books) in which this year’s Deutsche Börse award winners interrogated the idea of divine violence though a series of images culled from the Archive of Modern Conflict.
Overlaid on the pages of the Bible, and each referring to an underlined passage, the photographs have a cumulative effect that rests somewhere between absurdist and offensive. It’s a fiercely political work that illustrates Israeli philosopher and essayist Adi Ophir’s proposition “that God reveals himself predominantly through catastrophe and that power structures within the Bible correlate with those within modern systems of governance”.
I end with three of my personal favourites. She Dances on Jackson by Vanessa Winship (Mack) merges landscape and portraits, both in black and white, to create an America that is both real and imaginative and shot though with a haunted beauty. Closer to home, Lorenzo Vitturi created his unique reflection on Ridley Road market in east London for the self-published Dalston Anatomy (SPBH), the most beautifully designed book of the year – complete with its cover of African fabric. In vivid colours, it merges the real and the fantastical, the observed and the staged to evoke the life of a bustling, multicultural street market.
Dark Knees by Mark Cohen (Xavier Barral), published to accompany a retrospective at Le Bal in Paris, is a revelation. A chronicler of his hometown in Pennsylvania, Cohen shoots up close and intimate, using flash and often cropping his subjects dramatically. A surreal record of gestures, movement, torsos and reactions, it’s an original, individual take on street photography.theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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Alf Kumaro chronicled the Mandela family for 60 years, taking pictures of the children as they were growing up and photographing the man himself after his release
In pictures: Alf Kumalo’s photographs of the Mandelas
Nelson Mandela recalled that, during his long imprisonment, what he missed more than anything was the sight and sound of children. As a father, he was deprived of watching his own children grow up – except in a series of snapshots delivered to Robben Island by his wife Winnie. These precious pictures were taken by Alf Kumalo, the late Sowetan photographer who chronicled the Mandela family for 60 years.
"He asked me to do pictures for him, maybe twice a year, every six months, showing the kids," Kumalo said. "I would give them to Winnie to take to him in prison. All he looked at was pictures of his children that I used to take."
But one year, the pictures stopped coming. Kumalo had temporarily moved to the United States, where he discovered a photographic subject even more famous than Mandela: Muhammad Ali. He said: “When I came back, Mandela’s wife said he asked, ‘Why are you no longer sending pictures?’ So I included a picture of myself and Muhammad Ali in the next lot I sent. And that picture became a hit in prison. Everybody came out and said, ‘Hey, we saw your picture with Mohammed Ali.’”
Kumalo was a court photographer when he first met Mandela in the 1950s. “He was defending somebody and my early ambition was that of wanting to be a lawyer. So … seeing a black lawyer looking well dressed and tall and quite impressive, I felt very good when I first met him. But my admiration of him was of him as lawyer, not as a politician, and he wasn’t well-known then. He wasn’t very known at all.”
Kumalo went on to cover the defining events of the anti-apartheid struggle, enduring harassment, police interrogations and several spells in jail. “The Sharpeville massacre [in 1960] really does stand out,” he said. “You’ve never seen people just lying there all over the place. I remember the following morning I wanted to wish I was dreaming: maybe it was just a nightmare, I didn’t actually see this. But I couldn’t. I was trying to get it out of my mind, but I couldn’t. That’s how bad it was. But that was actually the turning point in terms of South Africa’s politics.”
Kumalo enjoyed unrivalled access to Mandela after his release in 1990. He photographed him performing one of his most extraordinary gestures of reconciliation: a visit to Betsy Verwoerd, the widow of apartheid architect Hendrik Verwoerd. “It’s that kind of legacy that people will remember. That’s why they call our country a miracle. It’s because of him that happened.
"He was less angry than he was before he went into prison; understandably so. You know, when people mature and get older they soften up. Most politicians do that."
Kumalo, who continued to work into his 80s, added: “He had lots of humour and whenever we met he said: ‘Alf, when are you going to retire?’ He always asked me that and at one stage said I should give him a job, he’d like to join me.
"He has said a lot of humorous things. We were travelling in Botswana one time and a journalist said: ‘Mandela, just tell us what is this thing that you would think of when you were in jail? Just give us a single thing that you thought of most of the time.’ He said: ‘Well, if this woman wasn’t here, I was going to tell.’"
• 8115: A Prisoner’s Home by Alf Kumalo and Zukiswa Wanner will be reissued in paperback by Michael Joseph in early 2014. Alf Kumalo died in October 2012.theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
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