Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fun in the Berkshires

This weekend, Bruce and I are meeting up with some friends at Tanglewood to attend a live performance of A Prairie Home Companion. This is the 3rd or 4th time we've traveled to Lenox for the show and this moment really signals summer for us. Although the weather looks less than stellar, we'll still lay out a nice spread of food, cheese, and wine. I was thrilled to see that the special guests are The Del McCoury Band, amazing bluegrass greats we saw perform at the original Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium. It's funny, when my father used to listen to APHC when I was a child, I never got it, but now I love it. I've often thought that your enjoyment of NPR is proportional to your age - it just keeps increasing! I hope you can listen at 6pm this Saturday on your local station.

After APHC, we'll shoot up to North Adams and Willamstown town to see exhibitions at the Williams College Museum of Art, Clark Art Institute, and MassMoca. I am very excited to see the landscape show at MassMoca, Badlands: New Horizons in Landscape, which has several interesting artists and photographers of note. Woohoo!

ABOVE IMAGE: from tunlover's flickr stream

Thursday, June 19, 2008

"That guy" in your snapshots

Just came across this phenomenon...who knew? Now if this action was done in the name of art by the perpetrator, or photographed as staged recreated vernacular snapshots, now then we'd have some good po-mo action going on.
Photobombers, Ruining your Pictures One Click at a Time

You may have heard tale of the fabled subset of bonehead known as the photobomber. This (often intoxicated) dude works his way stealthily into your photographs, completely marring what would have been another awesome picture of you and your friends holding up your beers and smiling.

Although often photographed, his kind remains a mystery. Who is this random man? Where did he come from, and what are his motivations? One golden moment of genius and then, in a flash, he's gone.

Wonder at his antics in this gallery of great photobomber moments we gathered from around the web including College Humor and
ABOVE: From here

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fun Photo Tests

Along the lines of, the Museum of Hoaxes brings you not one, but four photo/ fauxtography tests!

Below are two examples of the questions to get you started. You can take Test #1 here, #2 here, #3 here and #4 here. Be sure to click on the "What's My Score," but don't miss the explanation link in red at the bottom for the skinny behind the images.

Sample Question
Fire devastates a San Diego neighborhood, but leaves one house miraculously untouched. Hoax or Real?

See the image here.

(If you can't stand it, read more here...)

Sample Question:
Supporters of Osama bin Laden hold a poster showing their hero sitting beside Bert from Sesame Street (see bottom right corner). Hoax or Real?

See the image here.
(If you really can't stand it, you can read more on

Friday, June 13, 2008

Cicadas - ready for their photo op

The periodic cicadas are here. Brood XIV emerged recently on parts of the cape and in 12 other states after a 17 year hibernation. The nature camper in me is fascinated by this and wishes my plans took me to the cape. Read more in this Boston Globe article and check out this photo gallery, courtesy of Odd Essay, found on Universal Hub. You can see if Brood XIV is emerging anywhere near you via this very cool map. Be sure to zoom in, there are many more points at closer range. Enjoy!

Monday, June 9, 2008

In praise of Lissa Rivera

In keeping with my last "In praise of" themed post, I am proud as a peach of Lissa Rivera. Lissa is one of our former PRC interns, former AIB student, and a 2nd year MFA student at SVA - and now, a friend. The curious sort and ever the hard worker, Lissa always asks a lot of questions. Lissa is a fellow western/central New Yorker, and thus we have always bonded on our common upbringing.

Watching Lissa's career has been like watching a skyrocket. I am humbled to have witnessed it from the ground floor. In
April 2005, I showcased Lissa's work on school on our emerging online gallery, Northeast Exposure Online (NEO). The print that Lissa donated to our auction in 2006 was so popular that she was invited to be in our print program and found a gallery. Last year, I nominated Lissa as a woman to watch for the state of Massachusetts, and she was selected. You can see her work now through June 15th at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Lissa entered Duke's Center for Documentary Studies' competition - 25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers - and was selected by juror Sylvia Plachy. The book, which also includes NEO alumna Irina Rozovsky, was just released this spring by powerHouse books. Both couldn't be nicer.

Lissa recently emailed me her new blog - her new work BLEW me away! From documentary-based images of high schools, both public and private, as well as colleges, both community and greek life (viewable on her web site) the below? We are always hungry for new work, and Lissa delivered....keep it up and congratulations. Emerge away!

ABOVE: The cover of
25 Under 25: Up-and-Coming American Photographers (image is not Lissa's work)
BELOW: Lissa Rivera, self-portraits, from here

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Geek post: Photography jokes

It's summer, finally, in Boston. Summer makes me happy. I guess that's why I have been on a humor kick. For fun, I started searching for photo jokes, but oddly didn't find many at all. Over on the Prairie Home Companion's "Pretty Good Joke" portal, I found a few, mostly geek/art-related jokes. Below I present a few of my favorites as well as two photography related Prairie Home "sketches" - one on digital cameras and the other on a one-hour photo shop. Feel free to share any photo jokes you know in the comments!
If at first you don't succeed, call it version 1.0.
- Emma Coate, Pompano Beach, Florida

How many Surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A fish

- Randal Chou, Charlotte, North Carolina
Catchup Advisory Board, "Digital camera,"
from Saturday, June 8, 2002


Barb's One Hour Photo from Saturday, April 24, 2003


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Onion's brilliant take on Sunday Magazine covers

Need I say more? I picked several magazine covers that dealt with photography or tickled my fancy. You can see more examples (and laugh out loud as I did) right here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Somewhat good news from Rochester...finally

Somehow I missed this piece in the May 2nd issue of the New York Times, "At Kodak, Some Old Things Are New Again" by Claudia H. Deutch, until Shane pointed me to it.

Steven J. Sasson, an electrical engineer who created the first digital camera, above. Here is an excerpt from the NTY, with a link to the whole article below. My father, who has met him a couple of times, reports he is a very nice and humble fellow.

ROCHESTER — Steven J. Sasson, an electrical engineer who invented the first digital camera at Eastman Kodak in the 1970s, remembers well management’s dismay at his feat.

Allan Camp, a technician at Kodak’s inkjet development center in Rochester, works on the development of print heads for printers.

“My prototype was big as a toaster, but the technical people loved it,” Mr. Sasson said. “But it was filmless photography, so management’s reaction was, ‘that’s cute — but don’t tell anyone about it.’ ”

Since then, of course, Kodak, which once considered itself the Bell Labs of chemistry, has embraced the digital world and the researchers who understand it.

Read more here.

Check out this AP story about the digital camera turning 30 in 2005, sort of...
it would be 16 years until Kodak released its first digital camera in 2001.

Here is an image and hyperlink-based digital camera timeline. By the way, this is only the 1970s, so be sure to click around.

ABOVE PHOTO: James Rajotte for The New York Times

Sunday, June 1, 2008

To photograph or not to photograph...that is the question

Last week, incredible pictures of an "uncontacted tribe" (a fascinating term in itself) near the border of Brazil and Peru were released. Sponsored by FUNAI, the Brazilian government’s Indian affairs department, the overflight was seemingly undertaken for one purpose: to photograph them.
'We did the overflight to show their houses, to show they are there, to show they exist," said Brazilian uncontacted tribes expert José Carlos dos Reis Meirelles Junior. "This is very important because there are some who doubt their existence."
After seeing this, I started reading up on uncontacted peoples. While I do agree with and wholeheartedly support tribal sovereignty (and their isolation and protection), the fact that the flight likely disturbed the tribe greatly (what on earth did they think it was?) and perhaps could spur some twisted version of "eco-tourism" bothers me.

In fact, I debated whether or not to even post the picture above.
Once, when I was visiting Niagara Falls with my family, we visited Ripley's Believe it or Not. Sandy Allen, the tallest woman in the world, happened to be there that day. For a dollar or so, you could have a Polaroid taken with her. We did it, but even at age 10 I thought, this doesn't sit right. It's still an unfiled, odd memory today. Nevertheless, photographs continue to enthrall and circulate. The web site of urban legends,, even has a category dubbed "fauxtography," in which it researches (and often debunks) amazing images spread on the internet. On the other hand, seeing this image on the news roll did spur me to learn more about this complicated issue.

Photography has, since its very beginning, been used in an ontological manner. I am reminded of early collections of stereo views of various places and peoples. People could tour the world from the safety of their armchairs. I look forward to seeing Erroll Morris's newest film, Standard Operating Procedure, for another perspective on morally ambiguous photography (and actions). The claim that such photographs have on our collective imagination is powerful.
I hope that this generates debate. Does the end justify the means?

I close with a quote from Miriam Ross of Survival International, a non-profit that supports tribal peoples:
"These pictures are further evidence that uncontacted tribes really do exist. The world needs to wake up to this, and ensure that their territory is protected in accordance with international law. Otherwise, they will soon be made extinct."