Photographers


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The photographer on the top of Matanga Hill (India)

I do like geeky photographers, and a nice algorithm, and I'm fascinated by Fran Simó's project. "How would a robot imagine a human face? 'I dreamed about a human being' is like spying into a robot's brain."

"I dreamed about a human being" is part of a project exploring the use of artificial intelligence as applied to photography by using online open source code and data. The project already has a database of 56 million images. We have freely accessible amazing tools and databases of gigantic images, but have not yet fully understood what we can do with them or what it means that they are there.

"This series of images is the result of statistical calculations on 257 faces detected by an algorithm that has been taught to recognize portraits of a specific aesthetic quality. The search was conducted over 5 million images with Creative Commons licenses posted on Flickr. 'Mean' (image below) is the average of these 257 photographs, comprising 17 babies, 106 men, 79 women, 18 girls, 23 boys and 14 errors." Read the rest of Fran's piece about photography and artificial intelligence over on his blog.

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Mean

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Standard deviation

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Variance

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Asymmetry

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Range

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Minimum

"Another way of viewing these accumulated images is by seeing them pass by at full speed and blurring your vision a little. You can see the same 'average effect' by watching the following video, which has 2,582 images moving at a rate of 25 images per second." Thanks Fran!


I dreamed about a human being (sample video) from Fran Simó on Vimeo.


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© Tamara Staples

Visiting Tamara Staples' website you'll find light, bright, juicy photographs: luscious foods and candied lips and graphic stacks of jewels. These pretty chicken portraits are weighty by comparison and we find a photographer dedicated to enlightening us on the strange world of breeding fancy poultry.

"At this time in our history, the movement back to the small family farm across the US is strong. Whether this move is due to economics or a renewed understanding of our relationship to the earth, it cannot be denied. Backyard chickens coops have become so popular there are magazines and hundreds of books devoted to this very topic."

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"Meanwhile, at poultry shows all over the world, known as The Fancy, chickens of all shapes, colors and sizes await their judgment. There is an existing framework, a culture really, that aims to perfect these birds by breeding them based on a book entitled, The Standard of Perfection. These birds are something to behold, and few outside of The Fancy even know of their existence. Each breeder has spent years creating a work of art, where genetics is key. And each bird IS a work of art; from the amount of toes on each foot to the width of the wingspan, from the precise color to the exact weight. Judges carefully inspect every detail. But there is also something else: Personality. Chickens can be haughty, angry, affectionate, shy, charming, sedate, or even funny. In this project, not only do I introduce these regal birds, bred to a standard that most will never match, but I also attempting to capture the individuality of each bird. Just like people, chickens are unique. Take a look into the eyes of these birds and judge for yourselves." Tamara Staples.

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All images © Tamara Staples



One of my most popular features this year is Mikkel Aaland's 'County Fair,' so fans will be pleased to see he was interviewed on Letterman back in 1982. Today, he's offering a limited edition portfolio from the series. But Mikkel is a man of many talents, including publishing multiple titles, and he has a new eBook for photographers, currently available for free.

Spiel: "Using real world examples, best-selling author and photographer Mikkel Aaland explains the entire process of making a fixed format, photo-centric ebook for the iPad®. Aaland shows you how to use Adobe® InDesign® and the Blurb plug-in to make a cover, add images, format text, and add video and sound."

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© Julie Dermansky

I've followed Julie Dermansky since I first saw her coverage of the Occupy movement. She reported recently from protests over the Keystone Pipeline.

"Back home, all is not well on the Gulf. The Coast Guard and BP acknowledged the oil above the site of the Macando well is BP oil. "Drill baby drill" still seems to be the predominate way here. Final approval for the Keystone XL pipeline, though delayed until after the election, seems like a foregone conclusion since construction of the southern portion has been fast-tracked. Too bad no one knows how to clean up a tar sands spill. So much about the Keystone XL pipeline doesn't seem right to me yet both political parties are ultimately for it."

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All images © Julie Dermansky

Ed's note: It is just after Hurricane Sandy swept through the New York area, reminding us that our political representatives mostly still have their fingers in their ears, singing la-la-la when it comes to any consideration of climate change.

Read Julie's article at On Earth

Read more on the tree-dwellers in The Atlantic

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Brownstone © Andy Rudak

Andy Rudak's clever and well-executed personal project 'Cardboard Cities' recently caught my eye, along with the eyes of a bunch of other people with excellent taste (I think I first saw it over at It's Nice That,) including the UK's Association of Photographers who gave a Best in Category to 'Tokyo' in their annual awards.

Andy's commercial work is great, and his personal work is entertaining. Enjoy!

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Tower Block

"Following a year's planning, design, build and shoot my Cardboard Cities project is finally completed. A personal view of London, New York, Mumbai, Paris and Tokyo bought to surreal life in the studio. A book following the process of construction from start to finish is being published with an exhibition of final images touring agencies and galleries this autumn and winter."

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Tokyo

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Mumbai

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Paris. All images © Andy Rudak




Chris Anthony's sumptuous-looking wet plates are collected into "a magical, mysterious photography book of tintypes, portraits, still lifes and seascapes."

"I've tried to avoid working with a very rigid theme or set of guidelines on this series and have wanted to take pictures of things, people and characters that mean a lot to me personally through themes of solitude, hope and survival. Making the masks, and many of the props and costumes is a big part of the process and it helps me define this unique and demented little world I live and shoot in. There are many still lifes (or portraits rather) of Seahorses, which I find to be one of the most beautiful and fascinating creatures in existence. The mysteries of the sea is certainly a big part of the subject matter in these pictures and I like to think that the book ends with a sort of crescendo of color images of survivors braving waves and currents, perhaps the result of a future world where ocean tides will wash away the planet's coastlines."

Chris_Anthony_Seas.jpgThere are tons of 'rewards' on his Kickstarter if you fancy funding.


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© John Delaney

Who doesn't love a great environmental portrait, eh? John Delaney writes in about his recent SVA Masters Thesis project "Hoboken Passing." The project is currently a Critical Mass finalist, and will be exhibited as a whole in January 2013. Nice work! Read more over on John's website.

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All images © John Delaney

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Rob Hann © Dan Cruz

This is further to my previous post in conjunction with my fellow bloggers, led by Jorg Colberg and Colin Pantall, encouraging our network to nominate "photographers who have demonstrated an openness to use new ideas in photography, who have taken chances with their photography and have shown an unwillingness to play it safe."

I've known Rob Hann for many years since he was syndicating his photographs of musicians through my agency in England. We've seen different incarnations of each other in that time, and Rob's latest and I think most brilliant is what you see above. His love of the great American road trip and his humourous eye enable him to create an ongoing, thoroughly enjoyable series of photographs. In the last couple of years, the charming Rob can be found on Prince Street in Soho, New York, selling matted prints of his most appealing images in two sizes well under $50. Not only is he selling multiple copies himself at affordable prices, Christiane Celle of Clic Gallery discovered him on Prince and he is now represented by them for fine art prints. Rob is getting to meet all sorts of people, including editors and art directors, and has even picked up a commissioned job. Putting himself literally out there and pimping a product must have been a daunting prospect, but Rob has turned it into a profitable enterprise of which he should be proud. I commend him for not being complacent, not crowd-funding his career, and never, ever moaning about standing on the street all day.

View Rob's first aCurator feature Deserted States of America.

View Rob's second aCurator feature Tucson to Tucumcari.

View Rob's third aCurator feature Lone Star State of Mind.





Steve Pyke photographing Buzz Aldrin

Who would not be excited to be on the receiving end of an email like this one from the supreme Steve Pyke?

"Dear Friends, I am writing to introduce you to a project I am involved in with NASA in Houston. It's an exhibition of my portraits of the men that walked on the moon. This is to coincide with the screening there of the documentary Moonbug" by filmmaker Nichola Bruce.

It will be an independent exhibition for NASA's Johnson Space Centre of photography, film and archive of the Apollo astronauts and lunar missions.

"To accompany the project we will be producing a beautiful, limited edition 112-page book of Steve's photographs, together with selected images of original NASA photography within the Fairley Archive, as well as postcards, posters, signed prints of the photographs and signed copies of both the film and soundtrack." (soundtrack by genius Matt Johnson of The The.)




I know it's all a bit fundy lately, but I try to only put quality projects in front of you.

Steve says he's in England digging astronaut portraits out of storage. I'm here to suggest you support the exhibition and accompanying book.  


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Last foot on the moon (Gene Cernan), Houston, 1998 © Steve Pyke

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The Isle of the Dead © Dave Walsh

If you're lucky enough to be in Dublin between now and September 29th, it looks as if you can't miss Dave Walsh's exhibition of polar photographs. As much as I love the back-lit screen, it seems redundant to say these must look spectacular in-person.

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Petermann Glacier

And, Dave's story will add to your appreciation. He emailed me, saying "The images are mostly made on board Greenpeace ships to the Arctic and Antarctica over the last decade - but rather than being about activism, per se, they're more about how we idealize exotic, far away places. As the press release below says, my ethereal photographs of the unforgiving wilderness, wild animals and blue icebergs question our romantic relationship with remote, harsh and pristine environments. The images resonate with a quiet tension; all may not be right in the Garden of Eden."

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Iceberg Cemetery

In the press release for the exhibition, at The Copper House Gallery, Walsh goes on to say, "While the frozen regions of our planet have the power to ignite imaginations, for most of the seven billion people on Earth, the Arctic and Antarctic remain abstract and unreachable. I've been lucky enough to voyage north and south by ship, to experience the serenity of the oceans and polar regions - and realise how finite our planet is."

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Sleeping Giant

"Rapid change is taking place at the poles; CO2 emissions are contributing to the loss of Arctic sea ice, and melting ice caps are fueling sea level rise. We are starting to grasp how badly we are fouling the nest, and how our acts have repercussions elsewhere. The future of the Arctic and Antarctic is intertwined with our own - through my photography, I want to make people not only fall in love with their home planet, but to start giving a damn and to take action to protect it."

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Arctic Tern Hovering

So, shout-out to Dubliners! Go see!

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Sleeping Walrus All images © Dave Walsh

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