Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Is it Chopin, or is it Memorex?

This is said to be a photograph of Frederic Chopin, the famed composer, shortly after his death. The owner says it's legitimate. If so, it would be only the third known image of the composer in existence.

Photographer and gallery owner Wladyslaw Zhukhovsky claims that he acquired a Daguerreotype image of the composer on his deathbed in 1849 from a Scottish collector.

Check out this video from Reuters:

The photo is said to have been taken by Louis-Auguste Bisson, the noted 19th Century French photographer.

Many believe it is a hoax and that the photo is a fake.

Stay tuned to this one.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Marilyn Monroe and Her Nikon

This is just too cool for words.

Two of my favorite things in the world–Marilyn Monroe and Nikon cameras.

Even though this is in German it doesn't matter.

Just check it out.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Goodbye Old Friend

Kodak's venerable Kodachrome film, which was officially discontinued at the beginning of 2010, now has no place to be developed. So if you have any rolls laying around, you'll either have to develop them yourself (good luck with that!) or keep them around as a reminder of the "good ol' days."

Dwayne's Photo, a lab in Parsons, Kansas, was the last lab still processing Kodachrome. But the lab souped its last roll on Dec. 30th.

Kodak introduced Kodachrome film in 1935.

The company said when it discontinued the film that:

"Sales of Kodachrome, which became the world's first commercially successful color film in 1935, have declined dramatically in recent years as photographers turned to other films or digital capture. Today, Kodachrome represents just a fraction of one percent of Kodak's total sales of still-picture films."
Kodak also said that developing Kodachrome involved a highly complex process and a relatively few labs worldwide were equipped to handle the film. At one point there were 25 labs worldwide developing the film.

The company in 2009 gave the last roll of Kodachrome off the production line to Steve McCurry of National Geographic. He's posted the shots from that roll on his blog.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

And the Award for Creepiest Album Cover Goes To...

...Nicki Minaj for her album Pink Friday.

The concept: an abused Barbie doll. With no arms and grotesquely stretched legs.

According to the photographer, GL Wood:

"Nicki wanted to rip her arms off to really do the whole Barbie theme, like when little girls trash their dolls. She wanted to look like one of those broken Barbies."
Wood also says that few female artists are pushing the envelope these days like Ms. Minaj.

I don't know. I have two young girls and probably two dozen Barbie dolls in the house. Not one of them is missing its arms and has its legs stretched out like the album cover. The worst that happens to the dolls in my house is they end up laying around with no clothes on–but all their limbs are intact.

The Pink Friday cover is just creepy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Affordable Medium Format Digital

It looks like medium format digital is finally beginning to come down to a price point that many can afford. The magical $10,000 mark is finally a reality.

First, we have Hasselblad, which announced the the H4F-31, an H4D-31 camera, 80mm lens and back bundle that will retail for less than $10,000. And for those with a closet full of CF lenses, the bundle is available with a Hasselblad CF lens adapter instead of the 80mm HC lens at the same price.

Next up we have Pentax announcing that its long-awaited 645D medium format system will finally be available in the US. The camera body is expected to ship in December for $9,995.95, along with an SMC Pentax-D FA 645 55mm ƒ/2.8 lens for n additional $1,199.95.

There will be a limited number of 645Ds available in the US, so if you want one, you'd better get in on a pre-order. B&H, Adorama and Samy's Camera are among those expected to take pre-orders soon. The camera also is supposed to be available on Pentax's web store, but it's listed as "out of stock."

Monday, September 13, 2010

TSA to Photogs: Only Terrorists Hang Around Airports with Cameras

If you take photographs of private planes at or near smaller, local airports (known as General Aviation facilities), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) considers you a terrorist, not a photographer.

That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from a new poster distributed by the TSA to GA facilities across the country. The poster depicts a hooded figure with a camera, standing outside a chain-link fence. Beyond the fence is a small, private jet. The poster encourages people to report suspicious activity to the police

The TSA's stance is pretty ironic considering it does not have jurisdiction over these facilities. These GA facilities are non-commercial, locally run facilities, not federal. The TSA just advises them on security.

A TSA spokeswoman said the posters were given to GA facilities across the country, but they are under no obligation to hang them. She also said she did not know why the posters depict a photographer, rather than, say, someone trying to break into a local airport facility with burglar tools.

The spokeswoman also said she suggests that photographers wanting to take photos at a local airports should check with the press office at the facility and get permission beforehand.

This sounds reasonable, but there are two problems with this advice.

For one, many small GA facilities don't have press offices. In this case, there is no one to go to for permission.

And more importantly, a photographer does not need permission to take photographs of anything from public property. So standing on public property taking photographs outside a fence that just so happens to have a bunch of airplanes behind it is not illegal.

Despite what the TSA may be trying to say in its posters, this does not make you a terrorist.

What the posters may end up doing is giving more headaches to photographers. It encourages average citizens to report suspicious activity. It depicts a hooded figure with a camera in a suspicious light. What conclusion do you think the average citizen will draw from this? That when the weather gets colder and you go out wearing a hooded sweater to take pictures near an airport, you'll most likely have the cops called on you because someone thinks you're suspicious.

Besides, real terrorists don't need to hang around airport fences in hoodies with cameras to get their intel on the facility. They can probably get all they need from Google Earth.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"Lost" Ansel Adams Negatives Bought at Garage Sale for $45

Ten years ago, Rick Norsigian was at a garage sale in California and picked up two small boxes of various items. The seller wanted $70 for the two boxes, Norsigian offered $45. The seller accepted.

Ever since, Norsigian has been trying to convince everyone he met that the 65 glass negatives that were contained in the boxes were shot by Ansel Adams in the early '20s and that they were of scenes the famed photographer never printed–negatives that were thought to have been destroyed in a darkroom fire in 1937.

Well, Norsigian finally succeeded, sort of. Experts have "authenticated" the glass negatives as belonging to Ansel Adams. They are indeed scenes the photographer had never printed they say and could be worth as much as $200 million, if genuine.

But are they? According to the Matthew Adams, Ansel's grandson and head of the Ansel Adams Gallery, writing on a gallery blog, they probably aren't. And the "experts" who have authenticated the plates got it wrong.

Photography expert Patrick Alt, who helped confirm the "authenticity" of the negatives, thinks Adams carried the negatives with him to use in a photography class he was teaching in Pasadena, California, in the early 1940s.

"It is my belief that he brought these negatives with him for teaching purposes and to show students how to not let their negatives be engulfed in a fire," Alt told CNN. "I think this clearly explains the range of work in these negatives, from very early pictorialist boat pictures, to images not as successful, to images of the highest level of his work during this time period."

Norsigian plans to sell prints made form the negatives to museums and collectors.

However, the "experts" may not be so expert after all. Apparently they are not actually Ansel Adams' photos, but Uncle Earl's.

Oakland resident Mariam L. Walton saw a picture of the famous Jeffrey Pine on Sentinal Dome at Yosemite during a report about the photos on a local news station and said she immediately recognized the image as one taken by her uncle, Earl Brooks, back in 1923.

Read her story here.