Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Two icons

I can never resist shooting the Space Needle or Mount Rainier. Put the two together in one view and it's a slam dunk. Kerry Park, in the city's Queen Anne neighborhood, is certainly a favorite vantage point for all types of tourists and shooters. I joined both on a sunny Sunday this week.

Look at all the images in a Google image search of the park.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Terrible loss

Photographer Chris Hondros of Getty Images, above, and photographer Tim Hetherington, the Oscar-nominated director of "Restrepo," were killed April 20 in Libya. It's a horrible loss for photojournalism and filmmaking and for the families and friends of these oft-described outstanding individuals.

View the work of Hondros here.

View the work of Hetherington here. And watch the trailer for his film, below.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Traci at the Arboretum

The trees are budding out; the magnolias and cherries are blooming. Shot with the iPhone 4.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Tyler Hicks in Libya

Just glad the amazing New York Times photographer escaped with his life after his recent capture in the war-torn country.

Photo: John Moore / Getty images

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Not phoning it in

I'm still amazed almost every time I take a picture with the iPhone, how nice the quality is. The color, the sharpness and even the ability to go a little macro all make the iPhone 4 so much better than any ordinary phone camera -- and many digital point and shoots. I'm still having fun with all the various apps I've been employing and I don't apologize for having this become my go-to camera of late.

Browsing on flickr

Going though other flickr users' favorites is a wonderful way to find great photographs and great photographers. I can spend hours going down the rabbit hole that is flickr, exploring images from all over the world. My own favorites section is pretty emblematic of what I like when it comes to photography: beautiful women in beautiful light, desolate landscapes, vintage cars and trucks and so forth.

If you like beautiful women, many of them nude, captured in stunning simplicity and black and white perfection, then maybe you'll enjoy the work of Jan Scholz on flickr.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Go to sleep

Add discarded or "street" mattresses to the list of things I find strangely beautiful. Not in a "Man, I'd like to curl up and nap on that piss-soaked thing" kind of way. It's more simply a love of the way the assumed softness of a onetime bed juxtaposes so wonderfully against the harsh method of disposal. A mattress isn't an easy thing to move by one's self. Often when they're placed in an alley they shows signs of the struggle it took to get them there - leaning at an odd angle or dragged to an awkward spot that's not out of the way but far enough right now.

Here's a song to listen to while you think about these images and who may have slept here once.

And here's another beautiful mattress on flickr. They're everywhere.

Sleep tight.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Urban renewal

I look forward to the arrival of the latest Urban Outfitters catalog every month, not because I need a new pair of ill-fitting jeans or another ironic t-shirt, but because the photography is usually so eye catching. There's a scrappy Ryan McGinley quality to the images of hipster girls and guys that I just love.

The catalog is never credited so it's a guess as to who is doing the shooting, and I never really bothered to investigate. Recently I came across some flickr pics that looked really similar to the style of some of the recent Urban catalogs and lo and behold, mystery solved.

Wai Lin Tse is the Barcelona-based photog behind the images above and in the Urban catalogs I've loved. Check out more of her stuff on her Web site and on flickr.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fade to black and blue

My favorite new thing is to capture the sky with the last available daylight still in it so that it's not yet black, but instead a deep and glowing blue. Sometimes this is easier with a brilliant moon lighting the way, or a nearby city. It happens here in the northwest winter around 5 p.m. these days.

The top image from Lake Chelan is pretty emblematic of what I'm shooting for. The bottom photo of Traci, taken here in Seattle, is from several minutes before the peak time of day. But Henry was cold and we had to walk home.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Children of war

I saw this photo (above) recently as Web sites were beginning to publish their end-of-the-year and end-of-the-decade slideshows. It struck me for a moment due to its disturbing juxtaposition with a photo I took of my own son this summer (below).

I see images almost everyday of children from far off places in the world engaged in what would frankly not be considered normal activity in "civilized" societies. Playing with a toy gun certainly isn't the issue here -- I shot a lot of friends and my brother dead many times with toy guns during my childhood. What's unsettling about this image is that it's of a child in a war torn nation like Afghanistan. It's like it's all he'll ever know, or at least all he's known for much of what he can remember in his short life thus far. Playing "war" in a nation at war must happen all the time. I've certainly seen other photos from Iraq, for instance, of children acting menacingly with plastic toys.

I didn't feel the same discomfort when I shot several frames of Henry on a kiddie ride at the Puyallup Fair near Seattle. I just thought it was silly and in now way reflected his reality as a small child. I guess I forget that he's a child of a nation at war. No doubt he has no understanding of that yet. But I certainly do, as his father and as his photographer.

Top photo: Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Every now and again someone posts a link on Facebook to something that interests me. Rarely is it something that blows my mind like these images . I'll let the photographer's intro take care of all the explanation that's needed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

As seen in The New York Times

As a person who grew up delivering, reading, working in and then leaving newspapers, I'm more than guilty of a certain reverance toward the paper of record -- The New York Times. But I only get the print edition on Sundays and I confess that much of what I love about the paper now is what I see of it online. And their Lens blog is among the content i love.

Recently, Lens put out a call to readers to submit their personal cell phone images for a planned gallery. I was never a big fan of cell phone photos and always sort of mocked people who I saw on the street trying to capture meaningful moments with an inferior piece of technology. A lot of that changed after I got an iPhone and started playing with some of the "cameras" available in assorted apps.

So I when I saw the Lens call-out, I looked through my iPhone set on flickr and picked out four images that I liked and sent them off to the New York Times through the wonder of the Internets. Several days later I received an email telling me that my work had been selected to run in a gallery going live online the next morning.

Friday, July 10, I couldn't wait to look at the site and see what was used. Lens received 1,500 submissions for its cell phone project, and the editors cut that crop to 350 images. Two of my photos were selected. There's some very good work in here and some very mediocre work in here. And the comments are kind of interesting because some people have a real problem with iPhones and iPhone apps, especially.

I'm just happy to have had something published by the New York Times. It would be cool to have had it be in print, but those days are gone, I imagine.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Film in the digital age

I think little kids are spoiled by the digital age and are definitely not taking the time to understand what photography is -- the process, activity and art of creating still or moving pictures by recording radiation on a sensitive medium, such as a photographic film, or an electronic sensor (thanks wikipedia!). Kids look at images on the backs of cameras now and assume that's how they've always been made. Parents don't make prints or fill photo albums, they fill memory cards and flickr pages.

But Polaroid, in its last gasp on earth, is showing me that some kids still find wonder in the taking of photographs on film. And seeing those photos develop over a few minutes rather than instantaneously is a magical experience. They love to pose in a trance when they know the white piece of paper is going to shoot out of the blocky camera with all kinds of associated noise.

Dig these pictures of Henry, Ella and Calvin, mesmerized by a 40-year-old photographic process unfolding before their eyes in the digital age.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's in their jeans

There's a new billboard in New York's SoHo neighborhood causing a bit of controversy, because -- oh, heaven! -- sex is being used to sell something.

Here's an image of an image that I love because the woman in all black staring at the billboard appears to be caught in a trance. Maybe she's waiting for the light to cross the street. Maybe she remembers a time in college when she had drunken sex with three men. Maybe she just needs new pants.

Photo: Chris Hondros / Getty Images

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sticky subject

Of all the anti-war bumper stickers I've seen over the last 5 or 6 years, I really appreciate the design of this Iraq/Iran one best. It's pretty simple and even gets the point across (with the odometer design) about some people's concerns about warring over oil.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Carradine: 1936-2009

Bless Quentin Tarantino, five or so years ago, for bringing back yet another forgotten actor from the brink of extinction. Having just watched "Kill Bill" again last week, and as a big fan of "Kung Fu" in the '70s, I'm saddened by David Carradine's passing today. Here's a great scene from "Vol. 2" of the Tarantino saga.

And how many TMZ videos have I watched of dipshit photogs interviewing jet-lagged celebs? Too many. And this is another. But I love Carradine's spunk at the end of this clip. And the kick to end the shot is a fitting final frame.

Tanks for the memories

I'm a day late on the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square uprising. Everywhere I looked on Wednesday I saw the famous photo of "tank man," the protester who defiantly stared down the approaching Chinese military.

The next day I was interested to read a New York Times Lens posting about a never-before-published image of the same man from a different angle. Go there to check it out. It's a cool, ground-level perspective.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From Russia with love

The Guardian has a wonderful little 10-picture slideshow keyed to a London gallery opening for Russian photographer Boris Savelev. I've never heard of him, but I was attracted to his images. And you should be, too, right here.

Photo: Boris Savelev; Broken Slide, 1982

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Go ahead and shoot

So, I think my friend Katherine Dynes has one of the best eyes for photography of anyone I know. She loves William Eggleston and Stephen Shore and other folks who I have blahgged about here. She loves my work, gives me compliments and says I inspire her to shoot more. And then she doesn't.

You can cruise quickly through the couple hundred photos Katherine has posted on flickr. You'll see inspired trips by plane, train and automobile. You'll hitch a ride with a couple rock bands and a fun grandma and you'll be in more than one bar and more than one bar bathroom. And through it all you'll admire the composition and attention to color from someone who might share only one or two photographs a month.

I told her I would post an item with a couple of her photos, provide a link to her site and tell my vast audience to urge her to take more pictures.

So go check it all out right here ... and encourage more of the same.

Stephen Shore