Dua Lipa’s Jimmy Kimmel Live Performance is Pure Fire
Arguably one of the biggest anthems and infectious hits of 2018, Dua Lipa and Silk City took their single “Electricity” onto Jimmy Kimmel live, ready and aiming to blow some fuses.
Looking flawless in a spaghetti-strapped cocktail dress, Dua let her pure-fire energy blossom with her sultry voice crooning the track’s addictive hook, accompanied by her fearless dancing-like-no-one’s-watching releases. A song that hold ups both on the dance floor and in it’s complex production, “Electricity” (in…
5DayDeal 2018: ,500+ in Tools and Resources by Top Photographers for Just
Each year, photographers from around the world look forward to a bundle filled with tools and resources contributed by top names in photography, in a concerted effort to raise money for incredible causes, while providing photographers exclusive digital products discounted as much as 97%.
Full disclosure: This article was sponsored by 5DayDeal.
Lindsay Adler, David DuChemin, Joel Grimes, and Trey Ratcliff are amongst current and past renowned photographers who have contributed to this digital bundles of tools and resources purposed to save photographers thousands of dollars while raising millions for deserving charities.
Organized by 5DayDeal, the annual initiative has raised over $1.4 million for a plethora of charities in nearly 5 years since its inception. Photographers of all levels are also benefiting from the creative approach to collaborative philanthropy. The bundles, which are marked down by as much as 97%, are filled with training and tools to assist creatives in the advancement of their abilities, careers, and artistry. Check it out today!
The sale of these bundles have funded such achievements as: life-saving rescues of human trafficking victims, surgeries made possible by medical ships providing much-needed care to impoverished coastal regions, spirit-lifting camps for children beset with cancer, distribution of mosquito nets to prevent malaria, and so many more.
Each year, 5DayDeal chooses 4 charities to raise money for and they team up with some of the world’s top photographers and educators to curate a bundle of tools and resources that will be offered at a deeply-discounted price for just 5 days. This year, the sale of the bundle runs from noon PST on Oct. 11th through noon on October 16th and the chosen charities are:
Orbis International: Transforming lives through the treatment and prevention of avoidable blindness. Mercy Ships: Sending hospital ships to provide free life-saving surgeries where medical care is nearly non-existent Against Malaria: Funding anti-malaria nets & ensuring distribution, positioning, and effective usage 5DayDeal Foundation: Lending a helping hand to scientific, environmental, humanitarian and other charitable causes worldwide
Photographers seeking professional and/or artistic growth look forward to the sale each year, not only because of the fundraising potential but also because of the quality of the resources and the price at which they are obtained. This year’s Complete Photography Bundle includes an array of Photoshop and Lightroom tools, masterclasses, creative solutions for those on a budget, and even a travel kit. Among the contributors this year are, Lindsay Adler, Trey Ratcliff, Zack Arias, FStoppers, and Skylum Software; and the impressive list doesn’t end there.
See the full list of contributors and products here.
Don’t miss your chance to experience creative and professional growth in your craft while joining hundreds of thousands of photographers in this philanthropic effort! Get The Complete Photography Bundle before it is gone forever on October 16th at noon PST.
5DayDeal is also giving away over $10,000 in photography gear and resources.
Neuroaesthetics: Where Science Meets the Art of Photography
Art is something we all enjoy in one way or another. We assume it is a subjective subject, but there may be an objective angle that we can observe art from. Perhaps art isn’t subjective at all? Neuroaesthetics is a scientific approach to art in the way it is both produced and consumed, and this gives us a basis for figuring out what makes art… art!
The description is in the name. The beginning “Neuro-“ is Greek for the nervous system which finds its roots in our brain. Aesthetics is also Greek and it most directly translates to “I perceive, feel, or sense”. So, we can discern that this study of Neuroaesthetics deals directly with the way our brain perceives and feels about the signals it is receiving. This may be any of our five senses and may even extend past what is immediately present and rely on past experiences as well attached to the individual.
How we react to different stimuli defines art. The colors, shapes, and sensation of movement interact with our minds in unique ways that cause us to feel something. The ’something’ that we experience is what Neuroaesthetics attempts to figure out. Does art follow a set of rules? What makes humans inclined to feel something about art, and more importantly, why does art make us feel these ways/where does this feeling come from?
How is it Studied?
While it is still a relatively new field of study only being fully defined 2002, there is a combination of varying fields preceding it that establish grounds for how it may proceed. The study of Neuroaesthetics uses the functional brain anatomy along with an understanding of psychology to learn about how they work in tandem with the human perception of art and how that impacts the person as well. It also uses a historical perspective with evolutionary biology to learn where we came from in order to get to where we are today in relation to art. This is what links back to the cave drawings our earliest ancestors drew thousands of years ago. It is figuring out why they did them and how those show their relationship with the art on those cave walls linked to their lives.
The brain has a very direct impact on how we create and interpret art. There are different areas of the brain where specific activities are related to. These linkages could be studied and connected with how they are either active or dormant when connected with art. Learning what types of art create unique synapses in the brain when the art is being created and consumed may prove very helpful in establishing a better understanding of the human connection that exists between the two.
Learning about how much actual thought art takes is another interesting angle Neuroaesthetics can take. Is it mindless or does the creating/consuming of art take more work? There are studies that exist which examine the way different people interact with art. Perhaps there is a difference in how artists interact with art, doing so in a more active way. There is also the angle to view the subject from as to whether or not we are more/less active when creating art vs enjoying viewing it. The answer may be a mix or even that it depends on the individual, and there is nothing conclusive yet. It is certainly interesting to see what level of stimulation art creates in individuals in varying circumstances.
The Science Behind Neuroaesthetics
The brain acts like a human processor for the information our senses bring in and interact with what our past experiences tell us. It is the perfect place to start a scientific approach to art, from the inside (literally). There are many areas of the brain that Neuroaesthetics can focus on including the prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), frontal lobe, bilateral occipital gyri, the prefrontal dorsolateral cortex (PDC), and many others. They each have their own purposes for processing different types of information and directly influence our ability to perceive or feel something about a piece of art.
The area of the brain that is in charge of our memory, decision making, and perceiving colored objects is the prefrontal cortex. This obviously has a major influence on how we interact with visual arts and may have a larger influence than is immediately obvious. It may have an impact on how we consciously experience aesthetic stimuli because of it being the area of the brain where our memories and perception of colored objects meet and potentially interact to influence art. Given that this is where our decision making is done it may be that our memories combined with the visual impact influence our artistic decisions.
When presented with art that is beautiful we inherently have a reaction. Beautiful images alone don’t make for good art though and there may be an explanation behind this. When the brain is presented with something it sees as beautiful aesthetically the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) shows a significant amount of activity. However, this is not the only time the OFC shows a response because when given a description giving context to a piece of art will also generate activity in the OFC. The activity can be linked to this area of the brain’s reward system which shows how both beautiful art and a meaning behind the art can bring value.
Different types of art may also be linked to their own definitive sections of the brain. While representational art may cause parts like the occipital gyri to show increased activity due to it being linked to object recognition, memory, and attention. A more abstract image may produce a different resulting map of activity in the brain showing a higher concentration in the bilateral fusiform gyrus and left cingulate sulcus. All of this data leads to a more simple and interesting conclusion when it comes to how our brains recognize and process art. As Anjan Chatterjee states in his TEDMED talk, “Our brain automatically responds to beauty by linking vision and pleasure”. You don’t have to be thinking about how beautiful something is for the brain to recognize when it is seen.
There is a great importance placed on beauty in our world. There is a challenge in defining what it is and how that may be applied in art and science. Perhaps they are inevitably linked through the one consistent variable, us people. Neuroaesthetics attempts to help clarify the muddied waters with scientific evidence and theories. These theories, unlike artistic ‘rules’, are more objective than subjective because they link to our internal wiring as humans. Let’s take a look at some of them from a worldview as an artist.
An interesting experiment that was done in the 1800’s by Sir Francis Galton was originally focused on finding the “face of crime”. He used projections of multiple faces of criminals averaged out to their most basic features and the result wasn’t what he had expected. It was beautiful. This idea that an average looking subject is generally more attractive than one with traits that diverge severely from the mean. It is called ‘Averageness Hypothesis’ and it is fascinating!
Whether or not this applies to landscape photography remains to be seen or studied with intensity. However, we can look at traits that are seen as most desired vs those despised in the community. Techniques pushed to their extremes when practicing photography like HDR tone-mapping are seen as ugly while a more subtle effect of using luminosity masks works well.
Ramachandran’s Eight Laws of Artistic Experience
Vilayanur S. Ramachandran and William Hirstein along with others created a set of laws which they believe preside over art through their paper titled “The Science of Art: A Neurological Theory of Aesthetic Experience.” I won’t be going into detail with all of the ones provided in their theory, but it will be interesting to dive in on a couple to see how they apply.
The composition of an image being symmetrical is a common one. It has become even more popular with apps like Instagram encouraging it through the layout of the screen an image is viewed on. It is easy to tell where the visual appeal of symmetry comes from as biological evidence exists for its importance. Symmetry is used in our brains to recognize the suitability of a mate while asymmetry is linked to infection and disease. This evolutionary evidence shows how we can link the pleasure parts of the brain to something beautiful artistically that is symmetrical. It is also something we see a lot of in nature either from reflections in water, leaves, snowflakes, flowers, etc…
While symmetry can be linked with natural beauty it doesn’t tell the whole story. Asymmetrical images can also be beautiful in a different way by relying on other relatable human emotions that exist. There is no one pathway to reaching the pinnacle of art and beautiful images. Symmetry is just one of many ways to activate aesthetically-related sections of our brain, and combining multiple theories will help to explain why some art works and other art doesn’t.
In landscape photography, symmetry might not just be obvious symmetry but also symmetrical balance in visual weight throughout the image. This can be done by balancing objects, color, luminosity, and/or mood. This helps to create a consistency in the frame that is cohesive and works well with our brain’s idea of natural beauty even in the most untamed parts of our natural world.
There is a natural tendency as humans to want to look for and find groupings/patterns in a noisy background. The reason behind this is our brain encouraging the behavior of uncovering camouflaged objects as a survival instinct. It rewards us with endorphins when we see a subject separated from a confusing background. The brain creating a pleasant sensation as a reward shows why grouping works as an approach to creating compelling art. Art that is most successful at triggering this reaction does so through causing an initial confusion which helps the signal a reward once the brain recognizes the subject of the image.
Isolation and Contrast
In drastic contrast to the theory of grouping, we can look at how art that is devoid of distraction. This approach focuses on a set of defining characteristics of the subject in order to allow the viewer to allocate more time towards appreciating the simplicity of the art. A blank canvas allows for the person viewing the art to project their own emotions and feelings onto the work filling in where the artist left off. Think like a cartoon that is left in black and white can be better than when it is colorized.
When the art is left very simple in color and in detail, the brain’s limbic system is amplified and has increased levels of reinforcement and activity. This scientific explanation helps to illustrate how the minimalism movement has been so successful in recent decades. Compared to complex abstracts and representative art this approaches the brain’s reward mechanisms in a new way tickling our human sensations. The beauty of it is that however you feel about this type of art is considered valid so long as you feel something.
Similar to the Idea of Isolation, Contrast tries to show a clear subject in the art. The approach is very different though because instead of focusing on one thing it tries to show harsh changes in color and luminosity. Our brains find gradients of shades across a canvas difficult to detect and therefore approaching with drastic angles and edges may help our brains to stay tuned in. Keeping our attention is as important as ever and contrasting elements close together help to do so.
Peak Shift Principle
This theory is based on the idea that our brains can recognize patterns and react to exaggerated versions of specific features. If an artist chooses to emphasize size, scale, color, etc to communicate something ‘larger than life’ we can recognize this and associate it in our brains with appropriately larger stimuli. It has even been studied in animals being able to recognize small differences in objects and after learning about a reward associated with integrating with certain traits they will still react to exaggerated versions of those same traits.
As artists, it is possible to apply this theory through the usage of dodging/burning, lenses (as photographers), different types of light, and blending of different techniques to communicate a specific message. This will create an increased level of activity in the brain that is not obvious/unconscious to many viewers.
Semir Zeki’s Laws of the Visual Brain
The idea behind this theory is that art is something that shows variability in the brain. Semir Zeki believes that by approaching the subject in a reversed direction from art towards science to understand the science instead of using science to understand art will help us to get a better picture of what is really going on. By using art that artists create we can see how they affect the brain itself. He uses two specific theories to help us understand our visual brain. Constancy, which is the idea that our brain can recognize and understand objects in art because of our outside experiences. Abstraction, on the other hand, tells us that due to limitations in our brain’s memory created a necessity to make inferences about things that we might not fully understand.
“…the artist is in a sense, a neuroscientist, exploring the potentials and capacities of the brain, though with different tools. How such creations can arouse aesthetic experiences can only be fully understood in neural terms. Such an understanding is now well within our reach.” – Semir Zeki
Our brain can tell us a lot about ourselves. It can teach us why we feel certain ways about art, and most of these conditions happen unconsciously while viewing art. The human brain works off of a rewards mechanism that is designed to keep us alive, but art can be used to trigger these systems of rewards that exist to make us feel a specific way. The study of what parts of the brain react to different art forms helps us understand how we think and understand.
The art in our world can also tell us a lot about how our brain works. Perhaps the greatest artists understand how the brain works and have created their art to target our human brains. Manipulating us to naturally attach value to art because it forces neurological synapses that we like. Almost as though they are manufacturing a natural drug meant to make us feel certain ways based on pre-existing evolutionary traits. Whatever the case, Neuroaesthetics plays an important role in explaining your brain on art.
This is how science meets art. A scientist can show you a round watch and a square watch. It is more likely that you will like the round one, and that is fine. What does that matter? Exploring the “why” behind our behavior is important because it helps to explain how our brain reacts to different things around us, including (and perhaps most importantly) art.
P.S. You can purchase fine art prints of my work here.
About the author: Kyle Kephart is a photography enthusiast, Eagle Scout, pilot, cross country runner, and traveler based in Tualatin, Oregon. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find Kephart’s work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.
How Teenage Photographer John Kraus Shoots Rocket Launches
John Kraus is an 18-year-old photographer living on Florida’s Space Coast who has captured dazzling photos of major rocket launches over the past few years. VICE News followed Kraus to a recently SpaceX Falcon 9 launch and aired this short segment showing how the photographer works (it starts at 22m01s).
Kraus is given special access at launches as a member of the media.
“I feel like it’s a viable career option, and that’s why I’ve decided to go all-in on it,” Kraus says. “I really want to show what the space program’s doing. I want to show how great space is to the everyday person.”
Here are a couple of the photos Kraus captured at the launch using his remote cameras.
In addition to setting up his remote cameras, Kraus also stepped into a swap 10 to 12 miles north of the Cape for an off-site shot. He risked encountering gators or venomous snakes, but he’s the photo he was able to create through his efforts:
Lady Gaga to Co-Chair the 2019 Met Gala
In an exciting announcement, Lady Gaga is officially co-hosting the 2019 Met Gala alongside Anna Wintour, Alessandro Michele, Serena Williams, and Harry Styles.
Titled “Camp: Notes on Fashion”, this spring the annual gala will explore the “love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration… style at the expense of content,” and is shaped around the 1964 essay “Notes on ‘Camp'” by Susan Sontag. Tracing camp from the Victorian era to the Stonewall riots, “Camp: Notes on Fashion” will …
Insta360 ONE X is a 5.7K 360° Action Cam with ‘Impossible’ Stabilization
A year after announcing the ONE camera for 4K 360-degree shooting, Insta360 is now back with the ONE X for 5.7K 360-degree shooting.
Compatible with both iOS and Android, the ONE X is designed to “give users more freedom and more creative possibilities – both during and after capture.”
The camera features “gimbal-level” stabilization using Insta360’s 6-axis gyroscopic stabilization and FlowState stabilization algorithm, which analyzes movement in all directions to provide a powerful stabilization.
“FlowState lets users capture impossibly smooth video with no accessories needed,” Insta360 says. “Mount the ONE X anywhere – from a helmet to a selfie stick to a kayak – and footage comes out looking like it’s been professionally stabilized.”
5.7K footage can be shot at 30fps. There are also new 50fps and 100fps frame rates if you drop down to 4K and 3K resolution, respectively. And in addition to videos, the ONE X can shoot 18-megapixel JPEG or DNG RAW photos with great low-light performance. ISO, exposure value, white balance, and shutter speed can be manually adjusted.
After capturing footage, users can use the ONE X’s editing app to reframe and re-edit the best parts of scenes, creating cinematic clips from the original 360-degree views.
A new TimeShift feature lets you adjust the playback speed of different parts of clips, from cinematic slow motion to sped-up hyperlapses. The Bullet Time feature that was introduced in the original ONE now has a wider field of view and 3K resolution in the ONE X.
When mounted on a selfie stick, the ONE X can automatically edit the stick out of scenes, making the resulting footage look like it was shot by a low-flying drone.
Insta360 has created a new Drifter camera “dart” that’s designed to help you capture aerial footage with your ONE X by throwing it. Simply snap your camera into the dart and start hurling it around. The resulting Drift Shots are 360-degree aerial slow-motion shots.
Other features and specs of the ONE X include 5.8GHz Wi-Fi for transfers and previews, HDR shooting, Lightning/USB-Type-C/Micro-USB cable support, a removable 1200mAh battery, two optional rugged case options (a tough Venture Case and an underwater Dive Case), and an optional GPS Smart Remote.
The Insta360 ONE X is available starting October 17th with a price tag of $400.
Macro Planet Photos Shot Using Beads from a Bracelet
My name is Can Tunçer, and I’m an amateur photographer based in Izmir, Turkey. Not long ago, my brother brought me a bracelet as a gift. The beads on the bracelet looked almost like planets, so I decided to shoot macro photos of them as “planets.”
I took a total of 700 photos for the macro project and each photo was created with a focus stacking technique. Here’s the setup I used:
Due to my main job, the project took 1 week to complete. I used a Canon 6D as my camera and two IKEA Jansjö LED lamps for lighting. The microscope lens I used when taking these pictures is a Lomo 3.7x (3.7x magnification).
About the author: Can Tunçer is a photographer based in Izmir, Turkey. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Tunçer’s work on his Facebook, Nat Geo, 500px, Flickr, and Instagram.
Make a DIY Disco Light Modifier for Round-Head Flashes
Controlling and modifying light is a lot of what photographing with studio lights and battery-powered strobes is about. Especially when it comes to portraits, I like to work with my lighting setups so they add something that is not perfect or flat.
Twisting and turning your lights to make use of the edges is one very effective way of doing that. Breaking up the light with a scrim, gobo, or something else is also very rewarding.
This do-it-yourself project is all about a cheap prism from an LED Disco Party Bulb that I found for under $10.
A Cheap Disco Light Bulb
While looking through a store in Stockholm for fun things to modify light with, I found this disco light that fits in a regular lamp socket. I think it might be the same as this bulb I found on Amazon for $9.99.
A quick visual inspection showed me that the plastic prism on top felt like it would fit perfectly on a Profoto A1 with its round head.
Remove the Bottom, Keep the Top
It was a perfect fit on my Profoto A1, just inside the outer ring. But removing it completely from the original mount on the LED lamp was not that easy. Pinch and pull and wiggle, and the top will come loose.
When you have removed the plastic prism, there will be a rod left inside screwed to the top that was a lot harder to remove.
A Not-so-Elegant Solution
To remove that rod (if you don’t, it will be long enough to make it hard to have the prism on your A1), I had to drill a few small holes around the screw to be able to wiggle it free.
But then it fit perfectly outside the Fresnel lens of the A1. To make it easy, I just attached it with tape. A more elegant solution would, of course, be some kind of magnet, but that I save for version two.
Put it close to a wall from the side, or aim it straight at something for one kind of light effect. Have it further away for something else.
Use the Zoom Function on Profoto A1
You can create a lot of different patterns and effects from the same angle and position just by zooming the head of your A1.
Cool Lighting Effects with Filters
Do you have a roll of color gel laying around? Cut it in small pieces and tape it inside of the prism, maybe more that one color?
No Rainbow Prism Effect
The only downside with this combination of a Profoto A1 and a cheap plastic prism from a disco bulb is that you will probably not get any rainbow patterns.
I never went so far as to remove the Fresnel lens of my A1, so the light source is a bit too big and filtered for that effect to happen.
Good for Smoke Effects?
I have not tried this in combination with smoke yet, but I’m guessing that it will be useful for that purpose.
A Cheap Way to Get Fun Light
Every solution that makes my lighting more fun is always welcome, and I found this to be exactly that. It was $10 for a piece of plastic that might not produce perfect prismatic effects but is good enough. If you want to modify your light in a cheap and easy way, I can recommend buying something like this.
With a simple mask, it should fit any flash head, speedlight, or studio light. I’m guessing this one might also fit without modification on the new Godox.
About the author: Stefan Tell is a portrait photographer based in Stockholm, Sweden. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Tell’s work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here and here.
About Last Night: Charli XCX Partied the Fuck Down
Last night, pop mogul Charli XCX took over Nolita’s Public Arts with an official party celebrating the release of her fresh, epic anthem, “1999”. With Dorian Electra and Leland at her side, Charli hosted the evening with V beloved pop sensation Kim Petras, as well as a roster of some other notable faces/friends including Allie X and Pussy Riot.
Performing a slew of favorites like “Unlock It”, “Vroom Vroom”, “Girl’s Night Out”, and of course “1999”, Charli ushered in banger after banger hy…
The iPhone XS vs a Cinema Camera: Can You Tell the Difference?
As a filmmaker, I come across many different types of cameras, lenses, and of course all the peripherals that come with movie making. For commercial shoots I am currently shooting on a Canon C200 cinema camera using the Canon RAW lite codec. The results are incredible.
A few weeks ago I picked up the new iPhone XS max and as a photographer and film maker the first thing I did was open up the camera app to see how it looked. To be honest, I was actually shocked. It looked awesome.
Over the next few days I took a few videos and found myself actually watching them back on the phone and being pretty impressed. I would then watch a video I shot on the C200 and to be honest I would question which one I liked more. So that was it, I just had to test them out.
It was pretty simple. I stripped back the C200 to the body the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art as this gave me a pretty similar focal length to the wide lens on the iPhone. I attached the iPhone XS to the top of the C200 and placed them both on the DJI Ronin-S (I cant believe I actually got this balanced). I used the regular Apple camera app and spend an hour shooting to see what I could come up with.
Back at may studio (In Color Studios), I put the footage together and threw on a color grade. The iPhone footage took almost no work to color grade whereas the C200 to a lot of heavy lifting which is one of the joys of shooting in RAW.
When viewed the footage on a small iPhone scene they both looked fantastic. I was impressed to say the least but it all fell apart when viewing in fullscreen on my 27-inch iMac. Too much sharpening meant the details just got lost and all the leaves with details just got smushed together. The C200 still looked great. You can see the results for yourself in the video.
The dynamic range of the iPhone XS is super impressive. It’s able to keep the highlights on the bright sun while keeping details in the shadows. This is some crazy multiple exposure processing that’s been done. Considering this is all being done in real time in the palm of your hand, it’s super impressive.
In conclusion, the iPhone camera is a smartphone camera and always will be. It is incredibly small but gives completely mind-blowing results. If you are shooting to video that is intended to be viewed on a smartphone and you don’t want to do any post processing then the files strait from the app are impressive. Apple has done a great job of optimizing the output to make the files look great instantly.
Does it come close to a cinema camera? Not at all. Is it as good as a cinema camera, not at all. Is it the best camera I have ever seen on a smartphone? 100%.
About the author: Ed Gregory is a photographer and the founder of Photos in Color. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Gregory teaches tutorials on Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography, and you can find more of his videos on his YouTube channel. This article was also published here.