Blork’s Photos of the Week

I’ve been pretty busy lately and haven’t had much of a chance to look at photo blogs. But I did spot a few beauties recently, which I’d like to show you (click a thumbnail to go to the original). Interestingly, they’re all monochrome, as is my own humble effort over at the Monday Morning Photo Blog.

Sydney WebcamHere’s a different perspective on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Paul Murphy posts a photo from Sydney on his photo blog almost every day, providing a virtual tour of that fair city. He’s posted plenty of shots of this bridge, but when I saw this one my eyes really popped. One usually sees the bridge from one of its approaches, or from a distance with the city in the background. But this almost two dimensional straight on side shot gives a different sense of the scale of the bridge and its graceful lines.

Carzurro!There’s something about this photo of a couple of geezers out for a bike ride in Shqiperia, Albania, that cracks me up. I love their erect postures and matter-of-fact expressions. It’s a tough lighting situation, with the backlight and the too-hot foreground, but the stark shadows and the sheer fun of the image make up for it. I’ve mentioned Carlos Carzurro’s photos before, and I suspect I will do so again.

Parc CruzParc Cruz is a Manila-based photographer who claims he’s only been “serious” since July of 2005. He must be a fast learner, as his work is outstanding. His portraiture in particular really stands out. Last week I noticed this image of a boy taking a dip in the water. The effect of the water on the boy’s skin is luminous, almost metallic, but the image does not come off looking like some Photoshop trick. Parc also posts photos on Flickr.

Julien RoumagnacJulien Roumagnac, who I’ve also mentioned before, posted an excellent chilly early winter photo in which he exploits the way a camera’s flash lights up snowflakes. It’s an effect that usually ruins photographs (when it is unintended), but Julien knows what he’s doing and the effect worked really well here. You look at the photo and you don’t just see his expert handling of light and dark – you get a chill from the snow and you can’t help but whisper to yourself “careful, don’t fall in…”

Blork’s Photos of the Week

By now you’ve figured out that I’ve been spending some time checking out photo blogs lately. Here are some of my favorite photos from last week:

prochaine station, Lionel GroulxTroisieme Oeil (third eye) has a great shot of the Atwater Metro station in Montreal. I’ve passed through that station hundreds of times, so I recognized it instantly. (Note: Kate pointed out in the comments that it’s actually the Sherbrooke station, which I’ve also passed through hundreds of times.) Photos of trains coming into or out of subway stations are a dime a dozen, but this one scores big because of a combination of its formal symmetry mixed with the playfulness that comes from the blur of the moving train, as well as the clean and somewhat stark lighting and contrast (and color balance). It’s fascinating that the train is very blurred yet the people are barely blurred at all. Nice shot!

nice 'modelling'NoWords posts a lot of personal and intimate portraits, often with a high dose of post-production texture. It’s a technique that works well for commercial jobs but can quickly get old when applied to personal work. Regardless, I always enjoy looking at his photos, and I certainly paused on this one (actually, a pair – its a diptych). The roundness of the human derrière is a subject that can never get old in photography, although it can be done badly. NoWords scores big with these shots, however, by keeping it simple, discreet, and beautifully lit for a wonderful modeling effect. Adding a text overlay on the second image works nicely too, although it would be nice if we could actually read it. Photography is, or at least can be, all about form and light, and this is a wonderful example of that.

posture for 200This portrait at The Narrative has me all giddy. It’s one of those shots where you feel, right away, the warmth and humanity of the subject, but as you keep looking you keep finding things to wonder about. The man has obviously been on Jeopardy, but when? What did it mean to him? Who is the man holding the photograph? This is a great example of a portrait that does more than just go *spat!* It sits there and talks to you, drawing you in, making you want to know more about the person.

Blork’s Photos of the Week

Here is the latest with my kinda-sorta-maybe weekly reports of my favorite finds during the previous week’s tours around the photoblogosphere.

lonelyDonina posted a photograph of a ceiling in a rundown room. At first glance it doesn’t look like much, but as I take it in and notice the sad details, it brings to mind the lonely nights I’ve spent in strange and faraway places. Not that there have been so many, but when they happen I tend to spend a lot of time staring at the ceiling.

I like images like this that have the power to evoke memories in viewer. It’s a bit like in literature, when a story is not just about the characters or the narrator; when it evokes memories or emotional responses in the reader based on imagery that taps into something just below the surface.

fuzzyOutafocus scored again, with an image that brings to mind the South African outback as described in the literature of J. M. Coetzee. In particular, it makes me think of his 1977 novel In the Heart of the Country, which describes the most bleak characters and landscape imaginable.

The photograph is another in another of Susan Burnstine’s “toy camera” shots, which means it has nothing to do with formal or “correct” techniques. However, the composition is right on, and the slightly tilted horizon adds to the overall surreal and slightly vertiginous nature of the image.

yikes!Julien Roumagnac of the J. R. Photoblog, scores a hit with this crisp image of a chunk of stuff lying on the ground near a Montreal highway overpass. It’s not just the timely nature of the image (given recent events in Quebec), but I like the way he mixes the formats of reportage and very formal landscape photography.

He appears to be using the HDR (high dynamic range) post-processing method here (and in his other image). That’s a way of processing an image in Photoshop so that it delivers a tremendous amount of detail in the highlights and shadows. Unfortunately, the method has become so popular that some people use it as an end in itself. Roumagnac, however, is quite the master of landscape photography, and he has a firm command of the technique. He uses it to enhance his images to great effect.

i had one like that...Mute posted a fun image last week that’s worth a mention. It’s a classic black & white, square format shot of a tricycle, take at what appears to be a street market. It’s not a profound image but it has a certain poignancy and it made me smile.

An old tricycle, probably with a lot of history but clearly on its last legs. It’s got a limp from a missing tire in the back, yet it is tagged for some reason, and marked “fragile.” I like the contrast with the bigger bicycle in the background, which is also old but seems fitter. I don’t know what’s going on here, but I don’t really care. It’s fun to just look at, think to about the possibilities.

Click on the thumbnails to go to the original posts, where you can see the full images (recommended).

Blork’s Photos of the Week

I’ve been looking at a lot of photoblogs lately, and have seen some pretty interesting work. Therefore, I’ve decided to present, on a kinda-sorta, maybe or maybe not basis, a completely subjective choice of my favorite photoblog images each week.

Generally speaking, each Monday (or so), I’ll point to two or three images that I had spotted the week previous in my tours around the photoblogosphere. I’ll show a thumbnail with a link to the full image at the originating photoblog.

So check it out. Below are some of my favorite photoblog images I saw last week. (Click the thumbnail to go to the original image on the owner’s photoblog.)

Susan Burnstine has a photoblog called “Outafocus,” which is aptly named considering most of her images are fuzzy and often a bit surreal. She uses a variety of cameras and techniques (judging by my quick tour around her photoblog), including a “Diana” toy camera with a plastic lens.

So-called “toy camera photography” is quite popular among quirky people, and I consider myself one of them. I like the unpredictable results and the fuzziness. Unfortunately, a lot of toy camera photography comes off as just a gimmick. Burnstine’s work with toy cameras is, however, outstanding.

I like this one because of it’s spooky undercurrent. At first glance you might think it’s a bit sentimental, but with the perspective from behind the girl, down low, there’s a sort of otherworldly character to it, as if we’re seeing the scene from the grave, or some other otherworldly dimension. There’s a sad nostalgic feeling inherent in the image, as if we were witnessing this image through the fog of time.

Here’s another fun one. Carlos Carzurro publishes daily life and travel photos from Spain. I like his straight-on, documentary approach, which is very rooted in geography, and his formal arrangements. I particularly like this photo he published last week showing two metal benches pushed up against a crumbling old wall. The photograph has a lot of symmetry as well as a lot of contrasting elements. The benches are quite elegant, but they are presented against a beat-up wall that has seen better days. The sign in the middle of the frame is hilariously incomprehensible. The balcony at the top of the image, which we see only a little bit of, shows signs of life in this otherwise very static tableau. Very nice.

The next image is by Travis Ruse of New York. There’s something about views through urban pedestrian tunnels that always catches my eye. Perhaps it’s because I walk through such tunnels every day and I find them infinitely fascinating. And when I travel to other cities I am always drawn to their underground built environments.

I saw quite a few “tunnel” shots last week, but this one keeps coming back to me. Perhaps it’s the nostaglic feel from the sepia-like toning. Perhaps it’s the stillness of the scene, devoid, as it is, of people. Whatever it is, I like it.