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Posts filed under 'photography'

Nan Goldin

I went to MOMA solely to check out Nan Goldin’s piece in “4 decades of contemporary art”.  Before I really like the rawness in her photo and her choice of unedited color.  It expose us to a sub culture of woven in the fabric of our society that many are not willing to see.  But this installation look too much like an exploitation of her friends.  And the reason for the beautiful cyan i love was just that the color of her wall happened to be cyan.

Add comment March 23rd, 2009

Catherine Opie

Went to see Catherine Opie’s exhibition at the Guggenheim a few weeks ago. At first I wanted to see it because I read somewhere that her work is a lot like Nan Goldin. But I was amazed by this mid career survey that Catherine has many lines of work which are equally amazing.

Catherine starts her career with portrait. Unlike Golden, all her portrait are elaborately staged to create a very “in your face” effect. She almost exclusively uses large format cameras, adding a lot of details into her image, making them much much more powerful. She has a transition series in the style of Tina Barney. Her next set of work is on American cites and highway system, which Guggenheim managed to get a collection of 5 or 6 series. I can not imagine someone can make such a big transition in artistic style.

Amazing technique, amazing subjects. Can’t wait to see what comes next.

Add comment December 19th, 2008

Microsoft photosynth

Microsoft did this prototype product where you can navigate a set of 2D photos photos in 3D. http://labs.live.com/photosynth/video.html  Pretty interesting application I have to say, esp for street maps and battle field recreation.  Imagine taking a series of photos, upload it and have a halo map of your house back.  I thought about what would it take for you to do that.  Basically you’ll need:

  • longitude
  • latitude
  • altitude
  • point
  • tilt
  • zoom length (angle of view)
  • time (optional)

You just need to stick the first 5 into the data link of your camera.  I search online.  Currently there is no hand held GPS device that has a both a compass and a tilt sensor, although Garmin has a patent out for one.  I thought about hacking the Wii Remote to hijack it’s motion sensor and strap it to the camera, reset to base when camera boots up. But most camera out there doesn’t have bluetooth input capability either…

Add comment January 3rd, 2008

Annie Leibovitz

Went to Annie Leibovitz’s exhibit at Brooklyn Museum today (yes, it is next to the Botenical Garden). Annie is a fabulous celebraty photographer who is good at making her subject feeling comfortable. This exhibit’s title is called “A Photographer’s Life”. It is one of the most complete collection of her work that I have seen.

What intrigues me is the dominance of feministic view in her collection. (in a way makes me want to find out more about her and Susan) The way she poses her subject, stage her set. In one of her picture, she was able to make Donald Trump and his demonstration od wealth slaved to his wife. It is also the first time I get to see her preference of color cast (CYAN) on her pictures, given them a cold and lonely feeling. But by far my favorite is the one with a nude women’s back with both vibrant cyan and magenta in the picture. I could never have printed something that good in 1 year’s time.

Add comment November 26th, 2006

does the camera make the photographer?

There are people who insist that it is the person behind the camera that make the image. What camera he uses has nothing to do with it. That’s like saying what programming language you use has nothing to do with the charateristic of the program it produces.

MWONG was showing me a Hasselbald H2 the other day. In the realization that it is lossing market shares in the fashion advertisement industry, that camera was Hassy’s attempt to compete with the Mamiya 645AFD. But in reality, it has very little to do with Hassy at all. The camera operates more like Japanese than a German product. But does it matter?

If you look at the image created by a German camera (e.g Contax and Leica, Hassy is swedish), they all have a very distinct characteristics. The contrast, the brokhen and the red and yellow spectrum is unique to German lens. The sharpness is also very different than a Japanese lens. Japanese lens produce a very clean sharp and German lens are generally more moody, producing a more “classic” look.

But it has to do with a lot more than the lens. German camera are usually built completely with metal rather than hybrid polycarbon, resulting in a heavier feel weight distribution. It take a lot more to “get into place” with them. What that translate to is images that are much less spontaneous and more “stable”, images that are composed or collected instead of snapped. If you take a look at image created by Lomo LC-A, a light weight plastic camera, they tend to be more spontaneous, fun and random. It’s great and I love it.  People usually use it to reproduce random moment of everyday life. Because of the steadiness of operation as oppose to the dynamic operation of a Nikon or a Canon, you don’t see than many German camera covering the news.

it’s not saying you can;t create a spontaneous image with a Leica, or a classy image with a lomo LC-A. But the operation of the camera, it’s built, it’s weight and lens influence on what see in the view finder, thus influencing the image it produce. Why do we need to know that? Just like programming language, different one thend to encourage differnent style of coding style. It is silly to believe that if I use C++ to build a parser, it will be as easy to build than if you use PERL. Then, if you know what you are going for, it will help you choose the camera that fit your style.

I am planning to turn this into a irregular series. Next time I’ll talk about medium format Vs 35mm, and why is the difference more than just size.

2 comments July 10th, 2006

Aperture Vs Lightroom

Adobe recently announced a free beta version of it’s RAW image editing program called Lightroom. So I downloaded and tested it. It’s not supposed to be a replacement for photoshop. A good analogy would be that Lightroom is for photographer while Photoshop is for artist. When you do a shoot (a term Lightroom uses too), the images taken are usually in similar condition. For example, my friend Evan’s studio light produce a 5430K light source. Lightroom allows you to apply a mask to these images, and use a master mask to apply to all of them. You can then edit the rest of the shoot individually.

In Lightroom (and Aperture) you can change how the different channel of light come together. You can apply different channel mask to highlight and shadow. The workflow is much much easier than that in Photoshop. And the file management is much much better than in photoshop.  But what it didn’t let you do a fine edit the photos, clean them up of flaws and retouch them area by area.  It is design to work with photoshop and not replace it.

Apple response by dropping their price by $200 on Ampeture. That’s 40% off the original price. It is probably a move to “check” Adobe into lowering it’s initial offering price for Lightroom.

Add comment April 20th, 2006


Have you even eated froasted flakes with chopsticks? That’s what happen when you packed all your spoons.

Here’s my most recent shoot. Lisa was our model. Fred and I tried to experiment with gel light to create a moody scence. Two light was used, a dark blue and a white, with 1:2 power ratio. We built two softbox around the umbrella with bedsheets. http://portfolio.kavindu.com/album11 Probably going to be my last shoot for a little while…

Add comment November 16th, 2005


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