I believe good photographs can be divided into two camps: the literal and the ambiguous. (There’s a third kind, which you cannot really classify into either because they are lacking something fundamental like a clear subject – these land up as being ambiguous by default, but not intentionally.) From an interpretative/ artistic standpoint, a photograph is perhaps the most literal of all art forms; assuming minimal postprocessing, the translation between reality and finished interpretation is predictable and consistent across all subjects and capture conditions. The resultant image has to obey the laws of physics, after all – and these are generally quite consistent. But then how can we use ambiguity to our advantage to make a stronger image?
Venice in winter is grey, with occasional Canaletto skies when the clear window happens to coincide with sunset. But for the most part, light is meagre but nicely angled. Life continues as normal for the inhabitants and tourists, though; in fact, it’s getting increasingly more difficult to spot a local at all; they’re a minority in their own city, which is a little sad. The unifying theme throughout these images is that with the exception of one or two, all of the protagonists are locals. They’re a little bit more elegant, don’t carry backpacks or cameras, and walk with purpose rather than dissembly – here’s to the Venetians.
This series was shot during the Venice Masterclass with a Ricoh GR, Pentax 645Z, 55/2.8 and 150/3.5 lenses, and post processed mostly using the low key and balanced workflows in The Monochrome Masterclass.
I’m pleased to present my final exhibition of 2015: ‘Un/natural’, a joint show with one of my students – Stephen King*. It runs from 5 December 2015 to 9 January 2-16 at Alisan Fine Arts, Hong Kong. This follows ‘Connection’ at the Hong Kong Arts Center in June, and ‘The Idea of Man’ at the Rangefinder Gallery in Chicago last month in October.
You might have already guessed from the title image that this is going to be something very different from my normal work.
Motorcycles are a core part of Vietnamese life – transport, lounge, freedom, place of work, revenue generator – to name just a few functions. It is impossible to go anywhere in Hanoi without having to avoid one, or them avoid you. They are both subject and context and ubiquitous foreground. It amazes me every time that there aren’t more road traffic accidents (but then again, they don’t move that fast) and that anybody can find their bike in the massive ranks after leaving it there for more than a few hours – the ‘backspace’ might well change quite markedly after that time as people depart and arrive.
But that does bring us back to the core function of the bike: to serve the people. It was once postulated that if aliens came from another planet and observed earth, they might well assume cars to be the intelligent life form and us merely parasites – the same is true for motorcycles. We must therefore also not forget whom they are meant to serve…
Too large/expensive; too slow and unresponsive, power hungry; no finder or IS
Limited sensor resolution; overambitious image quality and fragile feel; too many steps to get shooting
Fixed lens; great UI with terrible ergonomics; classical controls don’t work for digital, sensor limits
Ergonomic and workflow challenges; IQ limitations from sensor size; needed two years to fix FW
And this is barely half of the mirrorless cameras I’ve used and reviewed on this site in the last couple of years. I still have not found a complete replacement for the DSLR, and I suspect there are many other photographers in the same situation. It isn’t for want of trying or stubbornness; it’s because the product simply does not exist. We’re not asking for the unicorn here, either: there are ergonomic/UI/UX/engineering solutions that have already been implemented and received well in other cameras – just not in the same one. And to clarify (since judging by email and comments, many are missing the point): this post is not to complain mirrorless isn’t a DSLR. It’s recognising that mirrorless is the future for so many reasons – but we are still suffering from stupid design that has already been solved. All of these problems beg the question: just how difficult is it to get it right?
We frequently encounter everyday objects or miniature tableaux of objects that hold our attention for their texture, whimsy or simply pleasing nature; how often do we attempt to photograph and capture these? Personally, that answer is not really often enough, so I’ve been consciously going about attempting to do so whenever the opportunity presents itself, with whatever hardware I happen to have to hand at the time. The challenging part isn’t so much capturing the visually interesting bits: it’s excluding the ugly, discordant, incoherent surroundings that distract too much rather than provide contrast and context. Personally, I feel the resulting images actually work best with no context; that way we are able to enjoy them serendipitously without other considerations intruding and ruining the illusion of perfection. This is pure photography – a reduction of the world to nothing more than light, color and form, and a development on the ideas in this article. Enjoy! MT
Images from this series were processed with PS Workflow II.
Newer isn’t always better.
More isn’t always better.
Limitations can be creatively liberating.
Equipment isn’t the solution to 99% of problems.
The sense of entitlement and lack of objectivity is deafening.
Does any of this sound familiar?
I just had a conversation with Mr. Gimbel to a) clarify exactly what happened; b) figure out how we can better protect creatives’ rights, and c) offer any assistance with b). I do intend to let this issue rest but had to clarify exactly what happened for avoidance of any speculation that might be damaging to any party involved.
Pay attention again to the fourth paragraph: “We intend to speak to Hublot SA regarding its practices, especially as it relates to its vendor, with the aim to prevent any further false notices.”
It turns out that there was no fraud at all; truth can be stranger than fiction.
Credit to Hublot for taking action quickly, and local agents The Hour Glass (and my contact point) for lending their full assistance to resolve things. They posted this last night on my pages and theirs:
This morning, I think we have a resolution:
- Hublot confirming that they did not take any action or institute copyright claims against me. This was confirmed in writing by the CEO and communications departments
- Yahoo’s counsel saying that my images have been reinstated, issuing an apology, and intent to follow up with Hublot.
- The images are back online, and the original post on Fratellowatches now works again.
Today was not a good morning. I woke up to the above email from Yahoo/Flickr stating that Hublot SA – a watch company – was claiming the rights to MY images – which were shot by me at an event for coverage for an online watch site in 2012. There was no contract with Hublot or its representatives, nor any embargoes.
Three things are wrong here:
1. Ethically, claiming rights for images that are not yours. That is outright theft.
2. Hoping that the photographer does not contest it because he does not have as deep pockets for lawyers as you do.
3. That Yahoo places the onus of proof on the copyright owner, not the claimant. I commend their speed of action (good for legitimate cases), but acting with only half of the information makes you just as guilty.