GCDS Drops Streetwear For Dogs
Edgy streetwear is going to the dogs. Teaming up with V.I.P (Very Important Puppies), Italian brand GCDS has released a streetwear-inflected collection for canines. While keeping with core brand values re: graphic apparel and accessories, the collection is tailored to various dog sizes and gaits, keeping your four-legged friend’s comfort in mind. And while he or she may be colorblind and illiterate, the pink palette and catchy phrases like “J’Adore GCDS” add human-friendly touches. Perhaps best…
Eye-rolls, shrugs, and barbs greeted the $120,000 Grand Prize winner of Dubai’s HIPA Photography Prize. Malaysian photographer Edwin Ong’s photo of a partially blind Vietnamese woman carrying her baby was derided for representing yet another “poverty porn” contest winner before it was suggested that the image was staged by photographer Ab Rashid.
The circumstances that led to the photo are largely irrelevant. HIPA has no restriction in their contest rules that would prohibit staging, nor does the contest adhere to any photojournalistic ethics despite a jury selection throughout the years that has a bias towards photojournalists.
Yet we feel duped, and not necessarily because the image may or may not have been directed. We feel duped because Ong took the image with a gaggle of other photographers of a young, impoverished mother in a way that feels creepily reminiscent of a mid-20th-century all-male camera club hiring a female model.
We feel outraged because “poverty porn” is a reliable trope for winning photo contests – even one with the theme of “Hope” where no hope is to be found. A glimpse at the previous winners of HIPA certainly supports this claim despite having a rotating jury of some of the world’s best photographers who are supplementing their meager photo-related income with judging.
We feel disgusted because the subject is a brown woman. Never mind that Ong is brown because brown and black people are fully capable of committing the sin of exploiting their own just like white people.
We feel repugnance at a contest culture that often rewards unethical behavior, and allows contest organizers to build their business on the scam of contest entry fees. Never mind that this particular contest offers a total prize package of $450,000. The $150,000 Grand Prize is too big for this photo, for this photographer. He ought to share it.
But it’s hypocritical to impugn contest culture while simultaneously consuming most of our photography diet through a game-ified app on a 4-inch screen that algorithmically encourages and rewards “likes.” We’re sometimes more concerned with vertically scrolling as fast as possible to catch up with our feed than actually view photography.
We are competitive creatures living in a world where contest promoters and apps prey upon our vanity and search for validation. The same people who decry contests use platforms like Twitter and Facebook to build their own followings while chasing retweets and likes of their own.
Contests are problematic. The celebration of suffering is amoral. Large monetary prizes cause some people to act unethically. But contest popularity is merely a symptom of the Information Age optimized for the id. Of course, we should strive as a community for ethical standards, but it’s inaccurate to lay blame solely on Ong for taking and submitting the picture when the entire ecosystem is suspect.
Hopefully some of the online discussion in the wake of the contest will cause photographers, juries and contest organizers to reconsider “poverty porn” in contest culture. And perhaps HIPA can consider some ethical guidelines for future incarnations. And if nothing else, maybe the increased awareness of the world’s richest photo contest will attract a whole new wave of photographers doing important, long-term work thereby rendering discussion of poverty tourism moot.
About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and co-founder of PhotoShelter, which regularly publishes resources for photographers. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. This article was also published here.
This is How Photorealistic Video Game Engines Are Now
The asset library Quixel has released this new 2.5-minute cinematic short film titled “Rebirth.” It’s an eye-opening look at how photorealistic real-time rendering in video game engines is now.
To prepare for the project, Quixel spent a month in cold and wet locations in Iceland, scanning all kinds of objects found in the natural environment using. The team returned with over 1,000 scans that captured the details of the landscape.
Using the scans — a part of Quixel’s Megascans library — a team of three artists at Quixel created the 1:45 cinematic film in real-time using the power of the Unreal Engine 4 game engine.
“The high fidelity of the physically-based scans delivers results that are remarkably photorealistic,” Unreal Engine writes.
Here are some still frames from the short film:
Part of the realism was due to the use of a physical camera rig that allowed the creators to “film” in virtual reality.
“With UE 4.21 at the heart of the real-time pipeline, Quixel’s artists were able to iterate on the go, eliminating the need for previsualization or post-production,” Unreal says. “The team also built a physical camera rig that was able to capture movements in-engine using virtual reality, adding an enhanced dimension of realism to the short. All post-processing and color grading was completed directly within Unreal.”
The result of all this work and technology is a real-time film that rivals the photorealism of offline renders.
Class of 2019: IMG Models
This spread appears in the pages of V118 our Spring I issue!
They say fashion is like high school. This model-off (dress code: SS19) puts theory into practice. In V118, 7 IMG fierce faces Lily, Eliseu, Akiima, Nana, Mads, Noah, and Valentine redefine tailoring while striking a “power suiting” pose.
Thinking about which lens to buy next? You might want to take a look at this 9-minute video first. In it, photographer Jamie Windsor argues that choosing the right focal length is more than a technical decision based on what type of photography you want to do — your choice affects the dynamic and meaning of your photos.
“Choosing the right focal length is much more than about creating a flattering portrait or being able to fit everything you want into your frame,” Windsor says. “Your choice of lens changes the dynamic of your image and the psychological meaning the audience will derive from it. In this video essay, I examine how different focal lengths can be used to communicate different messages to your audience.”
Windsor says that the advancement of TV sets and TV show quality has made many popular shows indistinguishable in quality from movie theater films, and as a result, most people are now exposed to the visual language of cinema on a daily basis.
“While film cinematography and photography are very different beasts in a lot of ways, there are also some aspects that unite them,” Windsor says. “And one of those is how we as an audience psychologically derive meaning from different focal lengths.”
The video then goes through a wide range of examples showing how cinematographers and photographers use different focal lengths in different ways to convey different types of feelings and meanings.
“When choosing a lens, think about how you want your audience to feel,” Windsor concludes. “Why are you shooting what you are? What are you saying with it? Use focal length to subtly communicate your message to the viewer, because changing focal length can completely change the whole meaning of your shot.”
Harvard Sued Over Profiting From Its Earliest Slave Photos from 1850
Harvard University is being sued over daguerreotypes of slaves — believed to be the earliest photos of American slaves — commissioned by one of its professors back in 1850. A descendant of the slaves accuses Harvard of wrongfully seizing, possessing, and profiting from the photos.
USA TODAY reports that the Swiss-born biologist Louis Agassiz had commissioned the photos to be shot by photographer J.T. Zealy in a South Carolina studio to support a theory of human origins called polygenism, or the view that human races have different origins. A slave man and his daughter, Renty and Delia, were stripped of their clothing and photographed naked from a number of angles to argue that African-Americans were inferior to white people.
Now a woman named Tamara Lanier who claims to be Renty’s great-great-great granddaughter is suing Harvard over those photos of her purported direct ancestor. Lanier says she has repeatedly demanded that Harvard stop licensing its photos of “Papa Renty” for profit, only to have her requests ignored.
She’s also demanding that the original Harvard-owned daguerreotypes be handed over to her family.
“For years, Papa Renty’s slave owners profited from his suffering,” Lanier tells USA TODAY. “It’s time for Harvard to stop doing the same thing to our family.”
After the photos of Renty, Delia, and 11 other slaves were made in 1850, they disappeared for 126 years until they were discovered in an attic at Harvard. One particular photo of Renty has since become an iconic photo representing American slavery, and it continues to be used on things such as conference programs and book covers.
Harvard allegedly charges a licensing fee for the photos to be reproduced.
“These images were taken under duress, and Harvard has no right to keep them, let alone profit from them,” attorney Michael Koskoff, who’s representing Lanier, tells USA TODAY. “They are the rightful property of the descendants of Papa Renty.”
The lawsuit states that Harvard has “avoided the fact that the daguerreotypes were part of a study, overseen by a Harvard professor, to demonstrate racial inferiority of blacks.”
When I look back at my journey as a wildlife photographer especially as I scroll through my images on my editing screen a few things become apparent. Firstly, most of my pictures were either action or close up portrait, and secondly, the editing was awful.
Editing is an essential skill for a photographer, and you must be equally as good as editing as you are in capturing the image. I am still learning and improving my editing skills. Action images and close up portraits in wildlife photography — why do I have a problem with those images? Well, they needed little or no ability, action images with today’s technological advance focusing systems. It is just a matter of point and shoot. Close up portraits, requires a good lens a willing subject and then you fill your frame up and release the shutter.
Okay, maybe I am oversimplifying, but my point remains the same, little creative effort went into those images.
Wildlife photography, in my opinion, is one of the most challenging genres, why? We are reliant on all the elements that make a successful wildlife photograph. Timing, place, light, and subject matter are generally all unknowns for a wildlife photographer on safari.
That’s why we wildlife photographers on safari head straight for the waterhole especially in the dry season as that is the best place to capture wildlife action photography. But what do we do when all is quiet at the waterhole, and there is no action to photograph. How do we create a compelling photograph? The most important thing to remember is that we are crafting a picture.
We all know that a successful photograph needs a good composition. Some rules and guides can help you create an image. But it is your “vision” that will make it unique and compelling. That is what we all want from our photography no matter what genre — to stand out from the crowd to be different and for people to recognize our style.
Firstly I will talk about the guides and rules that are important in creating a composition. Then I will discuss how you can improve your “vision”, your unique way of seeing.
Ask any photographer about rules of composition and the Rule of Thirds will slip off their tongue. For some photographers it is all they will ever use.
There are numerous rules of compositions that can aid you to be more creative with your photographs. I have often heard, and I am sure you have too, that “there are no rules in photography,” or “learn the rules and forget them.” There may be some merit in these statements, I will leave that discussion to others, but for me and my photographic journey, increasing knowledge of my craft every day has helped me make better photographs. I want to discuss just a few rules, guides, and tips that I use most when out photographing.
Negative space is one of my favorite rules of composition. I place the subject in the frame using either the golden ratio or rule of thirds; mostly I go with what feels right. Remember rules are only guides. For “negative space” to work in a composition, it is essential that there are no distracting elements within the scene.
This kind of image works best with a solitary subject with a clean background in an open space. I try and not include clouds as this will give the image a different feel and distract from the subject. Negative space creates a sense of calm and allows the image to breathe.
Shape, lines, form, and textures are essential elements of successful landscape black and white photograph. But we can make beautiful compositions in nature photography with these elements too.
Look for interesting patterns in clouds and include them with your wildlife subjects. Clouds give you shapes and textures which create a sense of depth, a three-dimensional feel.
An essential tip to creating a unique image is your viewpoint or angle of view. Always try and vary your perspective, go low, go high, if you are using a wide angle lens, tilt your camera and get exaggerated sky, adding impact to your photograph.
Lines create feelings within us; vertical lines give a sense of power; horizontal lines suggest a feeling of calm; diagonal lines a sense of movement; soft curved lines, which is probably the best known and used in photography, create gentle and soothing feelings.
The “background” of a photograph is not a “compositional rule”, but it is undoubtedly one of the most critical elements within a successful photograph.
A busy background is very distracting and will take the viewers eye away from the subject of the image and create a visual sense of unease.
Street photographers have favorite locations with beautiful backgrounds, and they wait till a subject walks pass and then press the shutter and create a photograph.
We can do the same with wildlife photography although it can be a lot more difficult to achieve.
In my last article, I talked about a recent safari. I had never been to this location before, and upon my arrival, I notice the distant mountains were magnificent, and immediately I set about finding a waterhole with the mountains as a backdrop and then it was a matter of waiting. Elephants arrived, within a few minutes, the elephants began their usual ritual of bonding. I press the shutter capturing an intimate moment between elephants with a beautiful backdrop to complete a compelling composition.
Another useful and effective backdrop is to use the “subject” as a background, for example, photographing a young animal against the side of its parent, zebras are the most common ones that come to mind.
When you find the backdrop for an image, be it beautiful mountains or something uniform, you can then go about creating a series of pictures with different animals or the same animal in various poses.
Rules of symmetry and rhythm are two essential guides that will help you become more creative in your photography. Symmetry is achieved when one side mirrors or balances with the other. Best-known use of symmetry in nature photography is the reflection.
In the image below with elephants on the horizon, I tried to create balance and symmetry with the elephants at either end. I included the clouds for shape, form, and texture this adds a sense of depth, the line created by the horizon gives a feeling of calm.
When photographing try and include as many compositional elements as you can to create an engaging photograph.
Using patterns in your photographs help create rhythm. Patterns appear everywhere in nature, try and photograph a pattern that has a repeated shape as in the image below of lines in the dunes, these repeated patterns will add rhythm that the viewer will easily follow. In this image, I used a low angle of view and tilted the wide angle lens to create diagonal lines and exaggerated the stormy sky which adds mood.
Framing your subject is a very nice way to lead the viewers to your subject, in wildlife especially with adults and young, the young will always try and shelter underneath the parents for protection, giving us opportunities to use the adults as frames as we focus on the young.
Depth of field is another useful aid to isolate your subject from a distracting background. I love to use DOF with the rule of rhythm, finding similar subjects as in the image below of the baby zebra, I focused wide open on the foals eye creating a pleasing blur of the stripes in the foreground, which form a pattern and sense of rhythm.
The Rule of Odds is not a well-known rule of composition and one that I struggle to accomplish in my wildlife photography. The theory behind the rule of odds is that the viewer’s eyes are drawn to photographs with odd numbers, and within the odd numbers the eye will be drawn to the subject in the center. It sounds easy enough, but in practice it’s not so, or at least for me.
I have only managed to capture one photograph that I am happy with, the lion and zebra image below, for balance I have cropped the image to square with the horizon in the middle. The three subjects, the two zebras and lion accomplish not just the rule of odds, but the rule of balance and symmetry too. The dust gives a sense of action and movement and creates a mood within the image.
Color theory is an essential part of a successful color image, as I tend to favor black and white photos over color images, this something that I want to learn about in more depth. What is color theory? You are using specific colors in a way that are harmonious. My favorite one I love to use for wildlife photography is using complementary colors — shades of cool blues and warm/orange tones, which are opposite on the color wheel.
I have briefly explained some of my favorite rules of composition which will help you in the “Art Of Seeing.” But the most critical part of creating or crafting a compelling photograph is your vision — that is what is going to separate your portfolio from somebody else. We can all learn to know and understand the rules of compositions. But how can you create that unique vision, the “x” factor, in your work? The only person that can do this is you!
Every time you look or scroll through your images, be your own harshest critic. I have heard photographers say they are unable to choose their best photo. If you are not able to recognize your best image, how are you going to know an excellent compositional photograph in the field?
Be selective in what you photograph. Do not shoot for the sake of shooting. A feeling should overcome you, an inner voice shouting at you. Then ask yourself what is it that draws to you this scene? How can you successfully capture this feeling? What kind of mood or emotion do you want to create in this photograph? Then shoot the subject from every angle possible, use different focal lengths, different shutter speeds, and remember to check your frame, what you leave out is just as important as what you leave in.
There is nothing as frustrating getting home, downloading your images, and wishing that you had shot the subject with a different lens, aperture, or angle. Cover all the bases when you come across a subject that connects with you. And remember to try and convey that connection, mood or feeling as you edit the image. Your images must connect on an emotional level with the viewer.
When I photograph it is a balance between my mind and heart; my brain looks after the technicals while my heart looks after the emotion within the photograph. Too much of one will leave an emotionless image or a poorly executed image. To sum up, I think the words from one of my favorite songs, “Reverence” by Faithless:
“You don’t need eyes to see… you need vision.”
About the author: Peter Delaney is an award-winning wildlife, architecture, and landscape photographer based in George, South Africa. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website, fine art site, Facebook, Twitter, 500px, and Instagram. This article was also published here.
Emerging Designers Score With Adidas and MLS
Kicking off the 2019 soccer season, Adidas and Major League Soccer hosted Seams, a sporty fashion show in downtown LA’s Fashion District. The MLS jersey-inspired runway looks, courtesy of the day’s MVPs—emerging fashion forces Sara Gourlay of Frankie Collective, Corey T. Stokes, Pierre Davis of No Sesso, and stylist Andrew Andrade—reflected a stadium-meets-street aesthetic, ranging from athleisure to the avant-garde.
Hardly in competition, the featured designers’ aesthetics played o…
This Beer Was Developed to Process Kodak Super 8 Film
The popular craft brewery Dogfish Head is launching a new gose beer called SuperEIGHT. The brew shares more than a name with Kodak’s famous Super 8 film format: the beer was actually designed to process the film.
The 5.3% ABV beer is made with 8 special ingredients: prickly pear, mango, boysenberry, blackberry, raspberry, elderberry, kiwi juices and a touch of quinoa, along with an ample addition of Hawaiian sea salt.
Back in 2018, Dogfish founder and CEO Sam Calagione joined the Kodak podcast The Kodakery to chat about analog processes in the digital age. And during the conversation, Calagione learned that the heightened levels of acidity and vitamin C in certain beers can actually allow them to serve as processing agents for film stocks.
It just so happened that Dogfish was already working on a new beer that would feature extra acidity and vitamin C, so Calagione had them specifically design it to process Kodak Super 8 film well. The result was SuperEIGHT, and early batches of the beer were sent to Kodak to confirm that it could successfully develop film.
Here’s the recipe for using SuperEIGHT beer as a developer with Kodak Tri-X film:
Want to see how well the beer does as a film developer? Dogfish actually teamed up with Kodak to create a short film shot on Super 8 film and developed with SuperEIGHT beer:
“From the can to the stop bath, there’s a whole lot of science and alternative processing that takes place to bring the imagery to life,” Dogfish says. “And it’s so totally worth it.”
Doghead SuperEIGHT will be available across the United States in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans in late March or early April. The “vibrant red” beer “has a slightly tart taste and pleasantly refreshing finish, with delicious flavors of berries and watermelon.”