This Photographer Has Shot NYC with a 1940s Camera for 50+ Years
Walk around on the streets of New York City long enough, and you may come across photographer Louis Mendes. He has shot street photos in the city for over 50 years, and he’s easily recognized by his vintage camera and outfits. The New York Post made the inspiring 3-minute video above about Mendes’ life and work.
Mendes uses a 1940s Speed Graphic press camera and wears clothing that “compliments the camera.” And even as photography has transitioned into the digital realm, Mendes has stayed true to his lifelong love of film, particularly peel-apart instant film such as Fujifilm’s FP-100C (which, unfortunately, was discontinued in 2016).
Like many other famous street photographers, Mendes can be found outside shooting nearly every single day. Most of his photos are sold to his subjects, so Mendes hasn’t built up a gigantic archive of personal photos like other photographers.
“If his standard fee of twenty dollars is too high, Mendes accepts donations,” the New Yorker writes.” At times, over the years, he has earned enough this way to get by, but he worked a range of day jobs as well, before Social Security kicked in.”
One of the challenges Mendes will increasingly face is the increased scarcity and cost of film as more and more lines are discontinued — to survive, perhaps Mendes could switch to Fuji Instax film, which is a huge profit-driver and isn’t likely to go anywhere anytime soon.
“To think about not being able to shoot any more film, it’s like going to bed and not waking up,” Mendes says in the video above. “Why do I take pictures every day? It’s like why do I breathe every day?”
This Photographer Restores Forgotten Veterans’ Tombstones
Nearly 10 years ago, photography enthusiast Andrew Lumish visited an old cemetery in Tampa, Florida, to shoot photos of historic graves. He was struck by how derelict some of the veterans’ forgotten headstones were… so he decided to do something about it.
Lumish put down his camera and began visiting cemeteries on most Sundays, his days off, to carefully restore the abandoned headstones that have been blackened by decades of weather, mold, moss, and mildew.
He has spent countless hours scrubbing the headstones — some take several minutes while others take upwards of a few hours — getting them back to nearly original condition. Once illegible headstones now proudly honor the veterans buried beneath again.
As word of his project spread, Lumish received the nickname “The Good Cemeterian.”
By day, Lumish owns an upholstery and carpet cleaning franchise, so he knows a thing or two about cleaning. But he had to do some research to learn the best way to clean aging headstones, and he came upon D/2 Biological Solution, which the US government approves for cleaning national cemeteries.
“You really should get permission, but I never get permission,” Lumish told the Tampa Bay Times in 2015. “I’m like a pirate.”
“They fought for the freedoms that you and I enjoy today,” Lumish continues. “If I know that they did these things for my future, my children’s future, and I see that they’re forgotten, I feel a sense of responsibility to give their family a little bit of light.”
10 Tips to Take Your Landscape Photos to the Next Level
My name is Albert Dros, and I’m a professional landscape photographer from the Netherlands. This article is both for beginners and advanced landscape photographers. I figured I’d list some tips to hopefully give you some inspiration and give you some new options to try out in your landscape photography.
In the era of social media, I notice a lot of people just copy photos they see on Facebook or Instagram. This happens to me a lot. I always try to be creative and find ‘new’ angles myself. For some people, getting creative comes naturally, but others will need a bit of a push. This article will hopefully help.
Here are 10 tips that will hopefully be helpful to get that extra bit in your shots.
Tip #1. Most landscape photos are shot with wide lenses. I love wide lenses myself, but try a telephoto and experiment with long focal lengths of 100mm-300mm+. Try photographing patterns or small details in landscapes. Or try it in the mountains on mountain tops. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll notice that a whole new world of landscape photography opens up. Seriously, try it.
Tip #2. Play with motion. Clouds move, water moves. Try to create dynamics in your frame by the use of moving water or clouds. You can do this by using long or short shutter speeds. You can make use of filters to create longer exposures or create drama with very short exposures. Always experiment with different exposure times with both clouds and water.
Tip #3. Experiment with a CPL filter. I did landscape photography without a CPL filter for years. But once you have one, you start to see why it can be so useful in different cases. It can be especially useful to control the amount of sunlight and reflection on reflective surfaces — you can’t simply do this in post-production.
Tip #4. When photographing with longer lenses, use layers and compression. Landscapes look totally different with long lenses and you can compress foreground and background objects to give a lot of depth to your photo.
Tip #5. Use light to your advantage. Light always changes especially during sunsets and sunrises. Look for details here and isolated objects by light. This happens a lot in the mountains where clouds and light play around peaks go on during the whole day.
Tip #6. When shooting with wide angles, get very close to objects to create a lot of depth in your photo. By ‘very close,’ I mean VERY close. So close that your lens almost touches the foreground object. This can be a flower, a plant, or anything. You can use focus stacking to get everything in focus or choose to pick a very wide open aperture to get the foreground completely out of focus/blurry. Both choices offer different looks and can both be used in nice ways.
Tip #7. Make use of sun stars in your composition. When shooting directly into the sun and closing down your aperture to f/16-f/22 you will see that your lens will create a sun star. Different lenses have different characteristics. Some lenses create beautiful sun stars and you may want to make use of them. Position the sun against an edge, like the horizon or just an object in the frame. By positioning it slightly against an edge, the sun stars will look best. Try and experiment!
Tip #8. Learn how to shoot with extreme wide angle lenses and fisheye lenses. By extreme wide, I mean wider than 14mm (full frame equivalent). Photographing at 10mm-12mm or wider with fisheye lenses give you a whole new perspective of a landscape. It opens up lots of (creative) possibilities. Learn the ‘defish’ technique that makes it possible to create a non-distorted shot out of a fisheye shot (not going to describe the technique here, but it can be found online). This can be extremely useful for photographing very wide landscapes.
Tip #9. Don’t always immediately take your camera out and look for potential frames. Walk around in nature and use your eyes. Try to visualize how things would look through your camera. I also often use my smartphone, which has an around 20mm field of view. Simply to check framing.
Tip #10. This may sound very obvious, but it’s important to train your eye nonstop. Look around you everywhere and try to see potential compositions in everyday life. This may sound hard and being a landscape photographer can be very tiring because of the nonstop possibilities nature offers. You train your eye by using a wide array of lenses so that you know how things will look through an extreme zoom lens, or how things would look with an extreme wide angle.
I hope these tips were useful.
About the author: Albert Dros is an award-winning Dutch photographer. His work has been published by some of the world’s biggest media channels, including TIME, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, and National Geographic. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram.
Do YOU Look Through the Viewfinder with Your Dominant Eye?
Just as people are right- or left-handed, everyone generally prefers the input of one particular eye, something called “ocular dominance” or “eyedness.” Most people rely on their dominant eye for things like aiming, and a person’s dominant eye actually has more neural connections to the brain than the other eye.
So here’s a question: do you look through your camera’s viewfinder using your dominant eye? You may assume that you do, but that might not be the case.
If you’re not sure which of your eyes is dominant, there’s a simple way to find out that’s called the “Miles test”:
The observer extends both arms, brings both hands together to create a small opening, then with both eyes open views a distant object through the opening. The observer then alternates closing the eyes or slowly draws opening back to the head to determine which eye is viewing the object (i.e. the dominant eye). [#]
Here’s a 30-second video animation that shows how this test is done:
Do you use your dominant eye when looking through the viewfinder?
Fstoppers also highlighted the fact that there’s no direct analogy between handedness and eyedness. It’s estimated that 70-95% of people are right-handed and about 66% of people are right-eye dominant, but it’s not uncommon to be right-handed but left-eye dominant.
And regarding eyedness and photography: perhaps you first learned to do photography using your non-dominant eye and have stuck with that decision ever since. If that’s the case, you may want to try switching and see if that does anything to change how you see the world you’re shooting.
“As of this writing, consumers and US-based distributors haven’t seen any direct announcement from Fuji and my requests for confirmation from Fuji have not yet been answered,” Casual Photophile writes. “That said, this is technically a rumor, but these sources should be reliable and this follows a historically consistent pattern.”
Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros is a professional ortho-panchromatic (i.e. reduced red sensitivity while being sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light) black-and-white film that’s praised for its sharpness and grain.
“The film is particularly suited for night and long exposure photography due to its reciprocity characteristics,” Wikipedia states. “[I]t does not require adjustments for exposures shorter than 120 seconds, and only requires a ½ stop of compensation for exposures between 120 and 1000 seconds.”
Due to its popularity, the apparent imminent demise of Acros will be a heavy blow to film photographers. If Acros is among your favorite film stocks, now might be a good time to start stocking up.
Belgian fashion designer Martin Margiela is a rarity in the fickle world of fashion: his work is still revered for what it represented in his time, and yet, it remains strikingly relevant today. An iconoclast who came to define intelligent, avant-garde fashion for two decades, Margiela bowed out of the industry nearly 10 years ago. Now, his legacy remains more potent than ever. This is evident both on the streets—references to his oeuvre can be traced in countless contemporary brands, from…
From the V Archives: Best New Girl
After debuting on Prada’s Fall runway as an exclusive, Lineisy Montero quickly booked shows with Loewe, Balenciaga, Céline, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Stella McCartney, and Miu Miu. Now The Dominican beauty is the most in-demand girl in the business. When you see her, say a prayer, and kiss your heart good-bye.
NiSi Prosories P1 Brings Square Filters to Smartphones
The Chinese optical accessory company NiSi has launched a new line of smartphone optical accessories called Prosories. The new Prosories P1 is a kit that brings a number of square filters to the smartphone.
The kid revolves around a special filter holder and smartphone clip. Rotate the holder onto the clip to install it, and then mount the clip over your smartphone camera lens (the clip fits most phone models).
The P1 set includes a medium graduated neutral density (GND) filter and a polarizing filter. The filters are both made of optical glass and feature a nano coating on the surface that reduces ghosting and flare. Each one easily slides into the holder.
The filter holder can be turned freely for choosing the orientation of the filters.
The GND filter can help properly expose both the sky and the foreground in landscape shots.
The polarizer helps reduce reflection and glare.
Here’s a 2-minute video that introduces the Prosories P1 kit:
Is Posting to Instagram Just Like Working for Free?
Facebook is in a bit of hot water these for doing what it does best, i.e. separating people from their personal information at an industrial scale and selling it to anyone with a pulse and a bank account. As with any scandal, the Facebook fracas has garnered numerous takes decrying the company’s ruthlessness, or virtue, depending on your view of things. But this piece from Mashable’s Casey Williams caught our eye. In it, Williams says that free labor is the key to Facebook’s profitability:
You do two jobs for Facebook. You generate data and produce content. Facebook is essentially an advertising company, and every bit of information you disclose is data advertisers can use to influence how and what you buy. Sometimes it’s fairly benign (maybe you do want that Blue Apron subscription). Other times it’s not… You also create most of what’s on Facebook. You write posts, share photos, and capture live video of speeches, protests, and police shootings. The time and effort you sink into crafting a poetic confession, an impassioned rant, a thoughtful reflection on the day’s news — think of it as work you do for Facebook. You’re working to keep the site humming and vibrant, and you’re creating reasons for others to keep scrolling. Your job is to drive people to the platform and keep them there.
It’s a provocative thesis and an interesting way to frame the issue. Working for free is a hot-button issue in creative circles. Some embrace it, others view it as a distasteful but necessary means of raising your exposure, others as sheer exploitation.
We’ve seen photographers and visual artists pack PhotoPlus Expo seminars where Instagram is discussed and it’s often in the context of how to grow followers and gain the eye of an easily distracted audience. One recurring piece of advice is to be active on the platform–posting quality work daily (or multiple times a day) and engaging with your followers. In other words, to build an audience, you’ve got to work for Instagram. For free.
Which leaves us with the original question: is Instagram exploiting you, helping you, or both? We don’t know the answer, but we’d love to hear your thoughts.
This Camera Was Lost at Sea for 2 Years — Its Photos Just Led to Its Owner
An amazing story of one camera’s incredible journey has emerged over in Asia. The Canon camera was lost at sea for over two years before it was recently discovered, and the owner has just been found thanks to the photos within.
A group of schoolchildren was working to clean up a beach in northern Taiwan on Monday when an 11-year-old boy discovered an object that was almost completely covered in barnacles.
It was a waterproof camera housing, and inside was a fully-functioning Canon G12 digital camera that immediately powered on — the batteries inside still held a charge,
The teacher, Park Lee, then looked through the camera and discovered photos of a woman on vacation and locations in Japan.
Several details emerged. The last photo was captured on September 7th, 2015. The owner appeared to be Japanese and someone who was on Ishigaki Island in Japan.
She then decided to turn to Facebook to try and locate the owner of the camera.
“Is it possible to find the owner of a camera floating in the sea?” Lee wrote, providing details of photos discovered on the memory card. “It seems a bit unethical to peek at other people’s camera photos. However, as a result of our discussion, if we could take a look at the photos, would there be any clues for us to find the owner of the camera to return him? So we watched the photos together quickly in the whole class […]”
The post went viral and was shared tens of thousands of times by people around the world.
Yesterday, less than 48 hours after the original Facebook post, the owner was identified after a friend noticed her in the photos. Her name is Serina Tsubakihara, and she’s a 3rd-year student at Sophia University in Tokyo. It turns out Tsubakihara was vacationing in September 2015 on Ishigaki, 155 miles east of Taiwan, when she dropped her camera while scuba diving.
The camera traveled 155 miles west to the shores of Taiwan and was discovered over two years later this week. It’s now on its way back to her.