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Junk Development

To develop an image one can use different techniques. Especially when photographing analog. And usually the end result is presented on paper. But Brazilian artist Vicente Jose de Oliveria Muniz, also known as Vik Muniz, takes a different approach. In his series “Pictures of Garbage” he uses, well its in the name, garbage.

In this series he is portraying the garbage pickers of Jardim Gramacho, a 321-acre open-air dump just outside Rio that is one of the largest landfills in Latin America. In the wonderful documentary “Waste Land” we follow him during this project. In it we see the lives of the portrayed garbage pickers. We see what it means to have a job at such a landfill. We see how proud people are for the work that they do. And Vik Muniz brings it all together in those wonderful portraits. The story, the people and the proudness. Luckily for us, Vic did also developed the portraits on paper. It makes the exposure for this project some what easier.

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Windows

German photographer Michael Wolf shows us people and windows in his series Transparent City. He came upon the idea to shoot close-ups of people in a window when he was flipped off by a person in another series he made. Inspired by Edward Hopper’s work, he finds it interesting to combine the  voyeuristic nature plus the architectural details in this subject.

When I look at the pictures it gives a strange feeling of doing something wrong. Spying in on somebody who has absolutely no clue of  your presence. But it is also an interesting look into office spaces of different floors in a building. Small worlds so close to each other, yet are so far away. The feeling I always get when I walk around in a major city, all so close, yet so far away.

Minds of our own

We all know the feeling. Walking down the street, or driving the car, the same route every day. During such times the mind can wander off. And sometimes you snap out of this daydream and realize you can’t remember the last couple of minutes of driving.

The series “Heads” of American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia shows us that moment in time, when our minds wander off. Dreaming about that winning lottery ticket. Or quitting your job. Maybe just about nothing at all. Just a brief escape into your own world. But also in his older works we can feel that sense of wander. It leaves us, the viewer, clueless of what is happening. The story of what we see is the story what we want to see. A same cluelessness what we get when looking at the work of photographer Gregory Crewdson and painter Edward Hopper.

Documenting the ordinary

Magnum photographer Martin Parr documents the ordinary and extraordinary. He considers himself to be a documentary photographer. And documenting he does. The way we ‘normally’ would label documentary photography is when the subject is that of war, hunger or poverty. Martin Parr gives us quite the opposite. He directs his camera upon the rich western social life.

His work looks like point and shoot photography. Of the normal things we encounter day by day. Like supermarkets, fast food and our fashion style at the beach. But the way he constructs an image makes us giggle and laugh at the weirdness that we all can relate to. He manages to come very close to the subject, almost always using a wide-angle lens. And by using the flash (often a ring flash) his photographs get that signature look. The look of something very colorful that shows us a raw or weird view of the way some of us behave or dresses at for example the beach. When I look at his work I get a cheap feeling of the richness we all enjoy in the west.

Classical aesthetics with contemporary expressions

The experiences Dutchmen Krijn van Noordwijk gained in his previous life as a creative and art directer really transfers seemlesly into his photography. He is able to turn a blank slate into a visually and creative portrait with regards of the person in question. His photography focusses on the person. With funny, quirky and sometimes just simple gestures of the subject, Krijn is able to create visually inspiring portraits. On his Linkedin profile he talks about who inspires him. Among the long list of truly great persons, Donald Duck is not forgotten, are Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer. The way Krijn uses light does remind me of paintings made by the mentioned Dutch Masters.

Sunday Vid – How Photography Connects Us

Large format view

Dutch photographer Frank van der Salm documents the control of landscape, the lack of space, the infrastructural issues and the characteristics of the pressure on time and space in contemporary urban metropolises around the world. As he puts it on his website.

The large format photographs gives us a different look into the architectural urban worlds many people find themselves in now a days. The lack of people, the repetition of forms and shapes really brings about an abstract sense of the cityscapes from around the world. We seem to live our lives in a copy of a copy of a copy. Research estimates that in the year 2050, 70% of mankind will be living in cities. The works of Frank van der Salm show the efficiency in the usage of that seemingly limited space we all want to be in.

Dogs of 9/11

We all remember where we were on that tragic day in September 2001. To help out in the gaping wound that was ground zero, men’s best friend assisted in the search for bodies and hopefully a recovery, a miracle. What had become of these animals? Are they still among us?

Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas wondered about these dogs and visited 15 of them. She doesn’t take the typical rescue dog portrait. The photo we always see in newspapers. A dog in front of a fire truck. No, instead Charlotte manages to come very close. And takes a personal portrait.  The posing dogs seem to look at us with a feel of experience. And somehow you can feel the tragic they share.

Encounters of the tribal kind

Twitter, Facebook, tablets and smartphones. Just a couple of our twenty-first centuries’ perks that make our lives a bit more easy and fun.  These manmade inventions are examples that we as westerners are moving away from nature. Step by step.

But some of our fellow worldly residents stay closer to nature. They understand mother earth as no other. Small tribes in the jungles of Africa and South America still stay true to their heritage. Joey Lawrence traveled to these tribes and captured them beautifully. By using our modern techniques (medium format camera and strobes) we get a look into their distant world. As distant as our world is to them.

Top 10 Photography blogs

Photography is everywhere. Especially on the internet. To create a bit more structure of this vast medium, I will post a Top 10 list every now and then. I will kick off with the Top 10 Photography Blogs. Places I like to visit on the web.

#1  500 Photographers by Pieter Wisse
Pieter Wisse simply posts active image-makers until he reaches 500 photographers. The type of photography doesn’t matter. What does matter is if it is worth looking at. And so far, I can only agree with the choices he has made.

#2 Camerabag.tv
 “To celebrate image-makers and to highlight the beauty and style of the camera” A showcase of different photographers who show us why and how they work. Every photographer has a showcase of photos and is introduced by an inspiring video.

#3 Foam
Foam is a wonderful place in the center of Amsterdam. It just breaths photography. This museum has also a nice website and a blog. Please give it a go and get inspired.  I know I did.

#4 The New Yorker – Photo Booth
The New Yorker’s photo department blog. Different editors showcase interesting photographers and their projects. Among them James Pomerantz. A photo student. See #5.

#5 A Photo Student
 James Pomerantz blogs about photography. He also links to movies, writings and songs about photography. Goes to show that photography is a cross media medium.

#6 Fieldeye
Hans Aarsman, Dutch photographer/writer, is an expert in analyzing photographs. He has a keen eye for little details. On the blog Fieldeye he shares his views with three other contributors. They see things for that they are. On this blog they share their views with us.

#7 I Love That Photo
An online photography magazine. They try to show the differences or similarities between individual photographers and photography in general. With interviews and a blog they cover the subject of photography.

#8 PhotoQ
A Dutch photography news site. News, discussions, exhibitions, portfolios and even a bulletin board for those who want to share, sell or ask other photo enthusiasts about anything. It’s unfortunate for those who don’t understand Dutch, but since I visit this website a lot, I didn’t want to leave it out of this Top 10 list.

#9 Jeff Curto Photo History
Professor of Photography Jeff Curto at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, records his lectures of his History of Photography class. He posts these lectures as a podcast on this blog. An educational and nice way to learn more about the history of photography.

#10 Solar Photography
Part of Solar Initiative. Some interesting photographers showcase their projects.

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