Jill Greenberg in the Sunday Times

Jill Greenberg’s infamous photos of children crying and upset are in today’s Sunday Times magazine in the article “Taking candy from a baby”. It’s unfortunate that such a reputable publication chose to publish the photos and I can only imagine the horrified response from parents as they sat down to breakfast with the newspaper this morning.

The article doesn’t say much, only summing up what we already know but the last paragraph disgusted me at the implication present in it for anyone who protests at her photography and methods.

Greenberg is appalled that some people even saw a sexual context to the pictures. “It didn’t even occur to me that people might think that. A lot of the people who’ve been upset are men. I don’t know if it’s because they project their own desires on these images and they don’t know what to do with them and blame me.”

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Welcome everyone from Net Mums. I’m glad you found your way here!

Making Beautiful Portraits

Photodoto published Making Portraits this morning which got me thinking more about my street photography tomorrow. I wonder will people pose on the street for me? Do I have the nerve to approach complete strangers, make them feel at ease, connect with them and take their photo?

I know I won’t need it when I’m outside tomorrow, but Strobist linked to a professional lighting setup for portraiture in a studio. Might come in handy later.

The venerable Philip Green’s portrait page is of course a good read. It’s been around for years and I’ve read it many times. If you haven’t browsed http://www.photo.net/learn/ yet then you’re missing out!

Finally, Anandtech’s Portrait Tutorial is good, includes examples but I wonder why their second photo was included. The poor girl has stone columns coming out of her shoulders, even when blurred!

Rawstudio – free cross-platform raw converter

Digital Photo School’s latest posting is about the eternal question, RAW Vs Jpeg? It’s a really good read and goes through “what a RAW file is .. compared to a Jpeg” which can be a bit mysterious if all you’re used to is uploading images straight from your camera!

The article was written in response to this discussion on Flickr on the same subject. I skimmed through the thread, but the very last comment pointed me at Raw Studio, a GPL licensed RAW converted for Linux, Windows and Mac and any other OS that supports GTK+.

It’s still rather new, being only at version 0.3 but I downloaded the very latest code from SVN and it worked fine. I pointed it at Matt’s RAW photos of my wedding and a few moments later up popped a thumbnail browser, preview window and side-panel controls. There are no automatic auto-exposure/auto-everything options but the auto-white balance worked perfectly.

It uses dcraw, the RAW conversion engine used by many projects, including Google’s Picasa (and no, there is no virus in the Linux version!) and my favourite GIMP RAW plugin, UFRaw. Linux RAW has a good overview of Linux software for working with RAW images.

At this early stage I’m very impressed!

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Free online book: Street Photography for the Purist

Deviant Art member +cweeks has put together a book entitled Street Photography for the Purist from the photographs of several DA members. It also includes forwards and commentary from those people and looks like a great read.

It’s a 160 page tome, downloadable as a PDF and weighing in at just over 10MB. I’ve skimmed through the first 60 or so pages but I’ll have a closer look at it later. There are some stunning b/w street shots in the book, from the very old to the young, and even a demonstration of how one photographer shoots, possibly the only colour shots in the book.

I haven’t done much street photography in the past few weeks but I’m itching to try again, and to work in black and white too.

Did I say it was free? Yes I did! What’s stopping you enjoying this photographic trip across Europe and the US? Go download it now! (via Photoheadlines)

Canon 400D details

Just saw on DSLR Blog that the Canon 400D has been announced. Good news for everyone thinking of buying a digital SLR for the first time but not an upgrade option if you have any of the XT/350/20D/30D cameras.

The extra 2 million pixels only adds a small border worth of pixels around images so you really aren’t missing anything unless you blow your photos up to poster size on a regular basis!

Oh, I hate product announcement blogs so don’t worry, this blog isn’t going down that road any time soon! Photography Blog, I Like Cameras and Digital Photography Blog have all succumbed to the temptation of posting press releases and camera reviews for the most part. Bah.

Welcome everyone searching for information about this new camera!

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Motivation from the past

What is your favourite photo on your blog? Link to it here in the comments section, and I’d love to hear why!

I usually don’t have time to look through the archives of my blog at my leisure, but while working on Google sitemap stuff I found out that Google had discovered a number of 404 “file not found” errors on my blog. A number of them were due to my changing URL format way back in November. I used to have a redirect in place but it disappeared somewhere!

After fixing that little bug I took a look around at some of the old photos from 2005 and was pleasantly surprised at my own reaction. I haven’t see most of these photos in several months so I had forgotten about them and here I am, saying to myself, “I took that? That’s a nice photo!”

Self praise is no praise as they say but I liked what I saw and that fills me with renewed energy and enthusiasm for the sometimes daily slog of posting a new picture every day. So what if I’m no Chromasia or Daily Dose of Imagery or Thomas Hawk! We do what we do and do the best we can.

So, go look up your archives and be happy!

After that rather rambling monologoue, here’s something useful for all you blog owners. I changed the format of my URLs after a discussion with Tom Raftery. In the course of conversation Tom told me that he used the domin.tld/post-name/ format for his blog instead of the usual domain.tld/yyyy/mm/dd/post-name/. In that way, the all important post title is snuggled up next to his name in the address of the post! Good for search engines, good for finding information.

I did the same here, but I had posts already written in the old format. I needed a mod_rewrite rule to redirect those URLs to the new ones! Here it is, in all it’s glory! Add this to your .htaccess and it will transform http://inphotos.org/2005/10/08/into-town/ to http://inphotos.org/into-town/

RewriteRule ^([0-9]{4})/([0-9]{1,2})/([0-9]{1,2})/(.*)/ /$4/ [R=301,L]

That bit of code adds a “Permanent Redirect” to the new location. There may still be links pointing at the old URL but Google should hopefully know that it has been moved.

Wide angle adventures

David (I think, there’s no author information on the post) of Digital Photography School has rediscovered his wide angle lens! He has a few examples, and the kids shots are particularly good. The two at the bottom of the page aren’t anything to write home about however. I’d have got closer in on the violin player to exaggerate the size of his elbow and arm.

Of course, I’m very keen on my own Sigma 10-20 wide-angle lens too. It’s great for street shots for two reasons:

  1. It’s so wide that I can be pointing at something else and still get some passers-by in the shot. Useful when I’m not feeling up to pointing my camera in their direction. I usually carry my camera about with me in my hand, in a vertical orientation. I don’t have to worry too much about missing the action with a wide field of view.
  2. Distortion! It’s not the most flattering in the world, but I just love the flat stretched look at the edges. People and objects lose their depth and become frames for what’s in the center of the image. See point 1 again.

There’s one bad thing about wide angle for street shooting, you have to get really close to get a frame filling shot. That person five feet away from you is going to be swallowed up by their surroundings. Get in close, they won’t hurt you! *gulp*

I had a great time at WordCamp this year, and I have a feeling you’ll see more wide angle shooting by a few people who were there!

What do you do with yours?