Posts Tagged 'Flickr'



Photostreaming With Obama

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

I don’t want to just be a bandwagoneeer, but there are things about this presidential administration that have really impressed me. There is a hackneyed old phrase that comes to mind, but I’ll use it anyway: breath of fresh air. 

In an interesting – and unprecedented – move, the White House created a Flickr account and uploaded 299 photos this week. We see President Obama in situations a rare few have access to:  in the White House movie theater, waiting in the Blue Room before a press conference, on Air Force One, in his private study. The photos are, collectively and individually, quite awesome. 

This president doesn’t seem to have a problem with cameras, and amazingly, wants people to see what’s going on at the White House – he seems to be encouraging, dare I say it, openness. They’ve even enabled comments! Now that’s an interesting tack for a government official….

The man behind the camera is the White House’s official photographer, Pete Souza.

California Coasting

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Photo by Brian Auer

Aerial Photo’s Views Skyrocket Thanks to Spellings

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Photo by Atwater Village Newbie

When Candy Spelling put her Holmby Hills house on the market last week, a Flickr user saw his page views go through the roof. It just so happened that an LA photographer, who goes by Atwater Village Newbie (and runs a local blog by the same name),  had been taking a helicopter tour about a year ago and spotted the extravagant mansion (also known as the “Spelling Manor” in pretentious-speak). He thought it’d make for a good photo. “The sheer size of the house caught my eye, of course, as did the idea of getting a rare peek into the backyards of the rich and famous,” he says.  

It wasn’t until a fellow Flickr user commented that the house looked to be the Spelling mansion that AVN knew what an interesting shot he indeed had. With the real estate listing announcement, AVN released many of the rights of the photo under Creative Commons to encourage people to use it and link back to his work. The Flickr photo went from 9,000 views on the day of the announcement, March 25, to 39,000 views on March 29. About a third of the views came from this Daily Telegraph article out of Australia.

And if you’re interested in the Spelling abode, the most expensive residence in the U.S., it’s going for $150 million. Bad economy? Not for some!

I’d Hate to Be This Guy’s Lawyer

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Photo by Jeremy Brooks

This is from an old post on flickr, but still great.

Photographer Jeremy Brooks came upon this angry guy yelling at a homeless man on a corner in San Francisco. He went over to investigate, camera in hand, and the angry man soon turned on him. Mr. Angry Overreaction Man, as Brooks dubbed him, screamed and yelled, threatened him, bumped him with his chest, and told him if the picture ended up on the internet he’d call his lawyer. Brooks stood his ground and got this shot, which fittingly, is now on the internet. 

Brooks says: 

So, Mr. Angry Overreaction Man, your photo is now on the internet. Call your lawyer. Tell him somebody on a public sidewalk took your photo while you were on a public sidewalk. Then tell him you physically assaulted the photographer. See what he says.

Read the whole post on Jeremy Brooks’ flickr page.

Found on Flickr: ockermedia

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This is another installment in our continuing series where we talk to photographers whose work we’ve appreciated on Flickr.

This week we feature Lee Jordan/ockermedia.

cinemafia: The first thing I want to ask you is how you began doing street photography, as it is generally a different story for everyone who does it. Did you have any particular influences that helped you along the way?

ockermedia: My first connect to photography was in college in 1986. I was 16, and just left school to go to college to study media and film. My first year was taken up by a film project called “Life in the Shadows.” I met many a colourful character – one called Teddy Ruxpin and another called Elvis… back then, as you may or may not remember, tramps were real tramps! Quirky characters who drank far too much, lived under bridges and made funny grunts and noises at people as they walked by, good, old massive beards… anyway it was a good short film that paved the way into my sports filming career.

Although my filming progressed into extreme sports, I remained interested in capturing local street life and would often include edits of street people in sports videos. In terms of other artists that have inspired me, Joel Meyerowitz’s 1980s New York street photography was certainly influential; Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant also influenced my style as I was interested in all aspects of street culture, street art, music, sports and lifestyle. It was only at the start of ‘08 [that] I picked up a DSLR and started my photography hobby. Having enjoyed all aspects of the creative control that filming gave me, I found digital photography a very accessible medium.

cinemafia: Why do you think it is important to photograph people who live or otherwise spend most of their time on the streets? Do you think these types of photographs will ever really make any difference in the world?

ockermedia: I think that it is an important record of people whose lives go largely undocumented and unrecorded [as] they slip through the net of any government statistic. Excluded from any family photograph, they have little or no paper trail of bank statements and addresses. A photograph gives them a lasting image, a record of their existence. “I am” is the simple statement they make in the photos. It is the way we view their existence that influences how we look at the photographs.

I think that street photography provides an important insight to all lifestyles in the city, for both current and future generations. We should all spare a thought for these otherwise forgotten souls. However, while I think that photographs of marginal characters in society can be useful in promoting awareness of social and cultural issues and provoke debate, I do not take the photos with this as an agenda; it’s simply a personal record of the characters I meet.

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cinemafia: One of my favorite shots of yours is of Goliath (above). It’s a striking image, and the story behind it is all the more interesting. It speaks a lot to the idea that those of us who shoot people who are frequently on the streets, whether by choice or by chance, often come to know these people very well, even becoming  friends with them. I wonder if you could talk a little about how it feels going out and seeing these people regularly, and how you think they feel about you photographing them.

ockermedia: Goliath is a gentle giant of a man that I met while shooting on the streets of Bristol. [I] sat on a bench having an in depth chat about life, and his role in it, and then I realized that I knew him many years ago. Back in his heyday he was a bouncer on the doors of many an establishment I frequented. Many Bristol locals would remember him from the Thekla, late 80s, early 90s, as the dominating figure on the door. He then went onto explain that he was also head of security at many famous festivals like Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds,etc, etc. But because of the nature of clubs and festivals he ended up an alcoholic, drinking maybe 30 cans of strong larger a day! So much of his time [now] is spent sitting around on streets drinking all day. However he does have a house – and a big house in the most sought after part of Bristol, yet he spends most of his time on the streets.

I know I was fuelling his addiction, but I bought him a couple of beers to say thanks for the photos. This put a beaming smile on his face – RESPECT he said! As I was leaving he called me back. He offered to repay my gift of beer with some old photography books he had. I didn’t want to take his books, but I saw it as a chance to see him more over the lonely Christmas period, if only to make sure he was well and happy. He is the most gentle of giants with an honest heart, and most of all, he is my new friend.

Continue reading ‘Found on Flickr: ockermedia’

Library of Congress Archive on Flickr

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Grand Grocery Co. in Lincoln, Neb. by John Vachon, 1942

Remember the days when apples were 25 cents for 4 lbs.? Neither do I.

In January of 2008 The Library of Congress debuted a portion of its photo archive on Flickr. The response to the few thousand images has been overwhelming, with about 500,000 page views a month and thousands of comments and tags added by users. It was intended as an experiment to get more information about the images, as well as build awareness about them. It’s achieved both.

Interestingly, there are no copyright restrictions on any of the photos, so people are welcome to use or distribute them as they wish (according to the FAQ). The LOC does have plans to add more collections to Flickr and recommend you leave them a comment if you have a suggestion.

Found on Flickr: evg3 photography

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This is another installment in our continuing series where we talk to photographers whose work we’ve appreciated on Flickr.

This week we feature evg3 photography.

cinemafia: Your body of work spans many genres, from journalism to fashion to lifestyle. Yet, there seems to be a common theme or connection between all of your photographs that is difficult for me to describe. Could you tell me how you feel about the different kinds of work that you do, and how they might all come together?

evg3 photography: I think I’m looking for stories; there’s always a story behind a good image, you can feel it in a landscape, in a face, in the composition that suggests something you usually never see. Anyway, most of my work focuses on portraits or places that show you somehow the human existence.

cinemafia: You have many examples of street photography, or perhaps street documentary, in your stream that is taken from daily life in Mexico City. Being one of most highly-populated urban areas in the world, I wonder if you’d talk a little about the unique dynamic of approaching and photographing people there. In Los Angeles, there is a culture of suspicion and contempt for many people who photograph strangers in public, and I wonder what are the similarities or differences there in Mexico City.

evg3 photography: Indeed, most people don’t want just to be photographed, it’s kind of invasive. I believe the key is to get closer in order to make a great image, to tell a story; it’s about being human. Most photographers use the camera to take “snapshots” that only show the surface, not the real person. That happens with places too; a serious photographer needs [to be] going deeper, to share yourself, be a friend. I bring always with me an iPod touch with my portfolio to show my portraits – that works great to give an idea that I’m a serious photographer.

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cinemafia: I wanted to ask you about something you put in your flickr profile, and it has to do with the idea of the photographer and the camera, a kind of “man vs. machine” concept. This is a an important discussion because it is true that many budding photographers get caught up in buying the best camera and gear and lose sight of what it is they’re trying to do. I wonder if you can talk a little bit more about this – give us some details as to why it’s not the equipment but the eyes and brain behind it.

evg3 photography: Cameras are only tools; when you need special equipment [it] is because you have something in mind. I think most of those “photographers” don’t have a clear idea of what they want. It’s the same with software.

Continue reading ‘Found on Flickr: evg3 photography’

Found on Flickr: Gumanow

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This is another installment in our continuing series where we talk to photographers whose work we’ve appreciated on Flickr.

This week we feature gumanow.

cinemafia: Many of your photographs are done in the street photography vein and are taken in public at close proximity to strangers, often with them obviously aware that you are photographing them. Many people would find this kind of photography uncomfortable or impossible, yet others seem to thrive on it. What does this overt process mean to you, and how do you think it affects the people who see the end product?

gumanow: First off, let me say that I am honored that you and discarted have selected me for this interview. Thanks!

I would have to say that I thrive on getting close. Sometimes now I wish I could get even closer. Yeah, many photographers find it uncomfortable to shoot close. A lot of the time my subjects think I’m shooting behind them or they got in my way and are sorry. If they do see me, I usually give them a nod or smile. Most of the time this disarms them – I did say “most” of the time!

When I first started out shooting street I was uncomfortable with getting close to people. I started out shooting from the chest without the camera to my eye, however, this lead to a lot of very poor results. This was one of my first street shots of people. You can see in this shot by the position of my shadow that I don’t have the camera up to my eye. I shot this from my chest and you can tell by the level of the perspective. Now I shoot exclusively with the viewfinder to my eye. I still feel nervous, uncomfortable, scared, and my heart races. But after the first few shutter clicks I feel right at home and energized.

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I’ve heard from a lot of beginning street shooters that say if you get close you are interfering with the “slice” of life you are trying to capture. And while I’m striving for that slice, sometimes being a character in the shot is interesting as well – and that interaction with people. By putting the viewfinder to my eye I am in effect saying, “I’m taking your picture!” I’m not going to hide or pretend that I’m not. How they react to me is just as much part of the “slice” as anything else.

I’ve also seen a lot of shots using a telephoto lens from far away and the photographer still gets noticed. My approach is to get into the action, be a part of the street scene. Most of the time people don’t notice me and when they do, I try to get the shot in that split second between when they first notice me and when they react. Sometimes a glance your way can really make the shot.

Continue reading ‘Found on Flickr: Gumanow’

Found on Flickr: Smalldogs

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Here is the first interview in our occasional series where we talk to photographers whose work we’ve appreciated on Flickr.

This week we feature an image by smalldogs.

cinemafia: One of your photographs features a bathroom stall in a public restroom that is in a particularly beautiful state of disrepair. Where and how did you come to find this scene?

smalldogs: I was in New York to see friends and for a job, and a good friend of mine took me exploring to one of the many abandonments she knows. This was shot at an abandoned resort in the Catskills. We started walking in, and I immediately noticed the light in this building. It was amazing.

cinemafia: For many this photograph might fall under the genre of urban exploration, or urban decay. These are both very popular areas of photography on and off Flickr, and also ones that have a classical and historical context. Do you think the rise in this genre of photography will help enrich the work of the new generation of shooters, or will it just be eye candy?

smalldogs: Well, I guess it depends on what you’re going to do with the work, or what you’re trying to say with it. This shot is purely eye candy for me. I saw the light and the ground covering, which, as a Los Angelino, I mistook for flower petals (shows you how much we know about the four seasons out here). But, there are several photographers I know who shoot this sort of decay very well and with a particular point to make. There’s a group who call themselves the Rustafarians, in New York, who go out on expeditions regularly to shoot these kinds of scenes. They, I think, are producing work that to me is historical and beautiful at the same time. The work of Michael Bowman, in particular, evokes some interesting discussion and reflection on the progression, and state of, society. His work is especially moving to me and many others, probably because he seems to have an intent in his shooting that I did not when I was shooting this scene.

There is absolutely a need for work like Michael’s. Unfortunately, here in LA, it’s very difficult to document urban decay because abandoned buildings out here are usually shuttered up and guarded. If you get past the security, you’ll find squatters and kids just hanging out. The buildings are usually vandalized to the point where it’s hard to even see the building in its original context. And it can be very dangerous. I would never go exploring for a shot like this in LA without lots of people with me. In other cities around the country, these buildings are open and accessible. I think that’s a good thing, but I can see why it wouldn’t work in LA.

But again, even if it were accessible, I probably wouldn’t shoot it. This shot doesn’t say anything to me, it has no context that I can appreciate. Now, if I could have gotten a person into that shot, that would have made me happy. I’m very into conceptual photography and environmental portraiture. I would love to have the day to shoot some people in that location.

Continue reading ‘Found on Flickr: Smalldogs’

Photos Travel Far Thanks to Reddit, Digg

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Photo by Roger_80

This is an interesting article from the Los Angeles Times’ Technology blog on the surprising speed (and stealth) with which photos can now make the rounds on the internet thanks to social networking sites like Reddit.com.

The story specifically mentions the case of flickr user Roger Eickholt, whose photo of four mountain goats in the side of a cliff got over 200,000 views after a fan apparently submitted it to Reddit.

It turns out some of the most popular content on these sites is photos. The writer notes that, “On Digg, the social media créme de la créme, about 16% of all front-page items in the last 30 days were images. That’s nearly a photo every hour.”

Seems like a cool way to get some exposure, but as Eickholt, who freely admits his mountain goat photo isn’t exactly technically awesome, says, “It just seems so random. You never know what’s going to take off like that.”

Article from Los Angeles Times



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