Archives for Photographers category

Photo of the book "Fallingwater" by Christopher LittleI think if there was ever a building that was meant to grace the pages of one of those over-sized “coffee table” books of photographs it is Fallingwater.  Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece is very well known and has been photographed from every angle thousands of times.  It is on my residential architecture photography bucket list and I will hopefully have the opportunity to be one of the countless photographers that have captured this truly extraordinary residence.  The house floats above the falls of Bear Run Creek in Pennsylvania and is one of the best examples of Wright’s organic architecture.  It was meant to be photographed.

In the mid-1980s photographer Christopher Little worked with Edgar Kaufman Jr., the son of the Pennsylvania department giant that commission the home, to document the house for his book Fallingwater: Frank Lloyd Wright Country House.  Twenty-five years later Little returned to Fallingwater to document it again for an updated version of the book this time simple called Fallingwater.  Little spent about 50 days spread out over the four seasons to capture Fallingwater as it changes with the light of the seasons.  The result is a 300 plus page book that brings one of  Wright’s best known designs to life through incredible photography.  If you love photography, architecture and books like I do this is one you should add to your collection.

When I photograph a building I try very hard to make it look its very best.  I wrote a post a while back on 5 Quick Architectural Photography Tips where I discussed some very simple things you can do to really highlight the main feature of an architectural photograph, the building.  But sometimes the architectural photograph is about telling the story of the building and its environment more than about making it look pretty for a magazine or brochure.  So instead of cleaning up you might leave it as is and let every element of the scene speak for itself and tell the story.

This is the case with abandoned buildings.  Why is this house or former school or whatever sitting empty now?  What is its history?  Who once walked its halls, lived under its roof and called it home?  Every building has a history and a story of its owners an occupants that brought it to where it is today.  To capture that story in a photograph can be a challenge but when you do it the end result can be awesome.

So along those lines, I discovered the work of a Detroit photographer, Kevin Bauman.  For better or worse, Detroit has more than its share of abandoned architecture.  The recent recession, and even before, has taken its toll on the city leaving home after home as well as businesses, schools, churches and industry vacant and crumbling.  Kevin has captured 100 of the abandoned homes of Detroit in a series he simply calls 100 Abandoned Houses.  The images were taken in various seasons of the  year and of abandoned houses in various stages of decay.  Some are burned out while others range from completely covered in overgrowth of vegetation to the point where the house is no longer visible to those where someone is still mowing the lawn of an otherwise obviously abandoned and almost forgotten home.  The images can be haunting yet thought provoking.  They make you wonder what these homes once held and what led to their demise.

This is a great series if images to peruse and contemplate.




Nick Risinger, an amateur astronomer and photographer from Seattle, quit his day job and set out to document the entire Milky Way through photographs.  Such an undertaking required a lot of planning and calculating.  It required traveling 60,000 miles by air and land back and forth from the Western United States to South Africa in order to find locales with as little light pollution as possible.  He used 6 Finger Lakes ML-8300 monochrome cameras with Zeiss Sonnar 85mm f2.8 lenses specially mounted on a Takahashi custom mount that rotated in sync with the Earth’s spin.  All of that was combined with some very detailed calculations and computer work to be certain there were no gaps in the final image.  The result is a 360 degree, 5,000 mega pixel view of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 separate exposures.  Dubbed the Photopic Sky Survey, the amazing image allows you to see 20-30 million stars with incredible clarity.  The final image allows you to zoom and pan and explore the amazing night sky in a way that only a 5,000 mega pixel image can do.

I do not know the man, but this is my second post about photographer Thomas Hawk.  It is not a stalker thing, but pure admiration for his body of work which is a source of inspiration for my own photography.  I am constantly amazed by the photography he posts on his website, Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection as well on his Flickr photostream (of which he is a heavy user).  So here is another unsolicited plug – this is a photographer you should be following.

Cover image provided by National Geographic

Something strange and wonderful happens when light enters a dark space through a tiny opening. Aristotle described the phenomenon back in the fourth century B.C. Leonardo in Renaissance Italy sketched the process. In Coney Island and other 19th-century seaside resorts, tourists lined up to see the magical results. Shift to a Boston classroom, the year 1988. Cuban-born Abelardo Morell, teaching an introductory photography course at an art college, was curious to step back in time. On a sunny day, he covered the classroom windows with black plastic, making the space as dark as a cave, cut a dime-size hole in the material, and told his students to watch. Almost instantly the back wall came alive like a movie screen, its surface covered with a fuzzy image of people and cars moving along Huntington Avenue outside. Then the double take: The image was upside down, sky on floor, ground on ceiling, the laws of gravity seemingly gone haywire.

Morell had turned his classroom into a camera obscura, a dark chamber, the Latin name for perhaps the earliest known imaging device and the ancestor of the photographic camera.

Tom O’Neill –  Bravura Camera Obscura – National Geographic, May 2011

The magical process Tom O’Neill writes about in May’s National Geographic hitting news stands tomorrow, April 26th, is the camera obscura.  This forefather to the modern camera can be traced back all the way to Aristotle’s time and comprised of an entire room in its earliest stages.  A rather simple device, the camera obscura takes advantage of simple laws of the physical world.  When light passes through a small hole in the wall of a completely darkened room or box, an inverted image of the scene outside the hole will be produced on the opposite wall of the room.  Over time the camera obscura was used by artists, mathematicians, architects, astronomers and entertainers becoming smaller and even portable over the years.  In the 19th century it took two tracks, one leading to the camera as we know it today (or more appropriately as we knew it pre-digital with light sensitive film) and one as an amusement park and carnival attraction awing 19th century entertainment seekers with its wonderment.

Jump forward to the late 20th century and Cuban born photographer Abelardo Morell’s resurrection of the camera obscura. Morell’s work combines the predecessor to the modern camera with the modern camera itself.  His photographs of the images projected by the camera obscura were a first in the early 1990s and have seen been displayed in galleries and museums and published in his book Camera Obscura.  The May 2011 issue of National Geographic traces the history and principle behind the camera obscura as well as Morell’s work since his early experimentation with the device in the 1990s in Tom O’Neill’s article Bravura Camera Obscura.  This is a great bit of photographic history that has been brought to the 21st century by Abelardo Morell.  Be sure to pick up a copy of National Geographic this week to get all the details and view more of Morell’s photography.  And if you’re inspired by how Morell’s work draws from the past, consider some online history of photography classes that will increase your knowledge of the field.

Image courtesy of Abelardo Morell/National Geographic

Image courtesy of Abelardo Morell/National Geographic



Hubert Januar’s winning photograph in the Sony World Photography 2011 Open Competition may stir some emotions in parts of the world where cock fighting is not the (legal) norm.  But a photograph that can evoke an emotional response or spark a debate is one of the best kinds of photographs.  And from a technical perspective he did it right; from capturing the split second action of the birds to choosing black and white to convey the mood, this photo is very well done.

Sony World Photography Arts & Culture winner Hubert Januar

The Duel
Winner in the Arts & Culture category from Indonesia – Hubert Januar
© Hubert Januar courtesy of Sony World Photography Awards 2011

Carlos Henrique Reinesch from Brazil won the Sony World Photography 2011 Open Competition in the smile category with his image titled A Blast of Color. Reinesch explains that the colorful wrist bands being sold by the smiling street vendor are tied to the church fence behind the man after making a wish.

Sony World Photogrpahy 2011 Open Competition winner Carlos Henrique Reinesch

A Blast of Colors
Winner in the Smile category from Brazil – Carlos Henrique Reinesch
© Carlos Henrique Reinesch courtesy of Sony World Photography Awards 2011

Chumlong Nilkon captured the winning photograph in the After Dark category of Sony’s World Photography 2011 Open Competition.  Entitled Yee Peng the image shows the lanterns of the Festival of Light as they float off into the night sky.  Nilkon says “We believe that [the lanterns are] symbolic of problems and worries floating away.”

Sony World Photogrpahy after dark winner Chumlong Nilkon

Yee Peng
Winner in the After Dark category fromThailand – Chumlong Nilkon
© Chumlong Nilkon courtesy of Sony World Photography Awards 2011

The winning entry in Sony World Photography’s 2011 Open competition for the panorama category belongs to Wolfgang Weinhardt.  The image was taken in Agra, India and Weinhardt describes it as “A single soul stepped into history.”  Is it about this lone person in red being in the right place at the right time or the historic significance of the Indian architecture?  Or is it left up to the observer?  In any case, the image speaks volumes and is beautifully composed.

Sony World Photography panoramic winning photo by Wolfgang Weinhardt

In the Countenance of Eternity
Winner in the Panorama category from Germany – Wolfgang Weinhardt
© Wolfgang Weinhardt courtesy of Sony World Photography Awards 2011

The photographer behind the winning image in travel category of the Sony World Photography Open Competition 2011 is James Chong from Singapore.  His entry titled Going to Work captures the light beautifully as it finds its way through the trees to the farmer and his oxen below.

Sony World Photography winer, travel category James Chong

Going to Work
Winner in the Travel category from Singapore – James Chong
© James Chong courtesy of Sony World Photography Awards 2011