Process: A Short Film About a Large Format Photographer
“Process” is a 3-minute short film by director Will Campbell that looks into the mind of a large format photographer.
“It’s a stylish, sensorial exploration into the process and motivation of a large format photographer,” Campbell tells PetaPixel. “The modern digital camera allows us to easily shoot hundreds of frames, edit them, and upload our favorites to the internet within minutes. This is a very different experience to that of the large format photographer.
“For them the process is arduous, analog, and anything but instant. So what pushes large format photographers on? Scott Folsom is a deep well of wisdom and knowledge when it comes to analog photography, large format, and development processes. This film answers the question of why some people would rather have it slow.”
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.
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.”
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.”
On a recent trip through the Canadian Rockies, I had this special lens with me. I knew of this tree in Banff National Park and knew I wanted to photograph it. While originally a typical portrait (vertical orientation) photograph, I later switched into landscape orientation and took a vertical panorama (8 individual images), yielding me a larger perspective and much higher resolution.
Now, this tree could have been photographed with my 16-35, or even my 70-200 – but to be able to shoot it at 400mm with my 100-400 lens yields far different and unique results. Thankfully, this specific area afforded me the ability to step back further from the tree, but by zooming in I was emphasizing the lens compression you get when you shoot at longer focal lengths.
What Is Lens Compression?
Lens compression (although it has more to do with a given focal length and nothing to do with the lens itself) works because we’re able to get further away from our subject but still zoom in as if we were much closer. As a result, it creates the appearance that the background has been pulled in closer, distorting it to be larger than it is. This in turns has a bit of a flattening effect on the scene, making subjects throughout the depth of the scene appear far closer to each other than in actuality. The inverse happens with wide angle lenses, as we will stand closer to our subject it appears larger proportionally to the background.
In the example above, we can see at both 20mm and 35mm, we can clearly see the space around the tree — we can see lots of foreground and background trees, and the trees along the side of the road also appear further away from our tree in the middle. At 20mm, we cannot get close enough (without tilting the camera too far upwards and distorting the photograph in a different way), and as a result, it looks small in the scene.
As we get out to 70mm and beyond, we start to see the lens compression phenomenon kick in. As we step back and increase our focal length, the scene gets flatter and flatter where once we reach 400mm we’ve included far more trees along the road, the trees behind our main subject appear to sit almost right behind it, and we lose the ability to sense that in fact there is about 100m (300 feet) of tree-lined road in front of the main tree (or more!).
Lens compression is often talked about in portrait photography for the same principles. Longer focal lengths give us the ability to increase our distance from our subject, which gives us the effect of creating a more flat, less distorted face.
Photographing the Tree
I shot this video when I was photographing the tree, so you can see first-hand the area and get a better idea of the area I was photographing in as well as just how far away I was from my subject when shooting at 400mm.
About the author: Kaitlyn McLachlan is a landscape photographer based in Vancouver, Canada. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of McLachlan’s work on her website, 500px, Twitter, and Instagram. This article was also published here.
Photos Inside the Art Institute of Seattle After it Abruptly Closed
I photographed the Art Institute of Seattle 3 days after it was abruptly shut down. I taught photography at AiS since October 2007. I think it is important for these images to get out as this is what it looks like when a school closes.
On Friday, March 8, 2019, the Art Institute of Seattle abruptly closed with just two weeks left in the winter quarter, leaving students, faculty, and staff scrambling in a rough situation.
On Monday, March 11th, 2019, I wandered the halls of AiS after having taught there for over twelve years.
This is what was left.
About the author: Melinda Hurst Frye is a Seattle-based exhibiting artist, working in themes of implied environments and shared experiences within the still life aesthetic. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Her current work illustrates the mystery and activity of Northwest subterranean and residential Seattle ecosystems, including her front yard. Hurst Frye has been featured on Humble Arts Foundation, Lenscratch, WIRED Photo, and in various solo and group exhibitions. You can find more of her work on her website and Instagram. This series was also published here.
NYC’s New Vessel Landmark Has a Big Photo Copyright Grab
Hudson Yards, the largest private real estate development in the United States (by square footage) just opened to the public in New York City, and the centerpiece of the Yards is a permanent art installation and giant public structure called Vessel. It’s a 16-story landmark with 154 flights of stairs that visitors can climb, but beware: by reserving a ticket to Vessel, you hand over rights to photos shot within.
We’ve received several tips from sharp-eyed readers who noticed the following section in Vessel’s Terms and Conditions, which you agree to by obtaining a ticket:
“If I create, upload, post or send any photographs, audio recordings, or video footage depicting or relating to the Vessel,” the document reads, “I grant to Company and its affiliates the irrevocable, unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, sublicensable, and transferable right and license to use, display, reproduce, perform, modify, transmit, publish, and distribute such photographs, audio recordings, or video footage for any purpose whatsoever in any and all media (in either case, now known or developed later).”
In other words, shoot a photo inside the structure, and the operator of Vessel will be able to use your photos for free, forever, anywhere, and for any reason.
And while you’re not allowed to use your photos for any commercial purpose, Vessel’s operator will even be able to send your photos to third parties for marketing.
“I further authorize Company to store such images on a database and transfer such images to third parties in conjunction with security and marketing procedures undertaken by the Vessel,” the document says.
These terms are found inside the 2,700-word document that you by default agree to when obtaining a ticket to Vessel, which is aiming to be a major landmark and tourist attraction in Manhattan. So now you know what you’re agree to if you decide to enter “the new heart of New York.”
Update: The original version of this article referred to “buying” tickets. The tickets are free and must be reserved two weeks in advance. We apologize for the error and have corrected the text.
Nikon Now Includes the 0 FTZ Lens Adapter for Free with the Z6 and Z7
If you shoot with a Nikon full-frame DSLR and have been considering a jump to the new Z Series of full-frame mirrorless cameras, it’s now easier on your wallet to bring your existing lens collection over with you. Nikon is now bundling the $250 FTZ (F-mount to Z-mount) lens adapter for free with the Z6 and Z7.
The FTZ adapter allows over 360 F-mount NIKKOR lenses to be used on Z Series mirrorless cameras with no change in image quality, and it guarantees full compatibility with over 90 NIKKOR lenses. F-mount lenses mounted via the adapter can make use of Z camera features such as Hybrid-AF and 3-axis in-camera Vibration Reduction (VR).
The lens adapter was previously available for $100 off when bundled with a camera, but now it’s included for free with the $1,997 Z6 and $3,397 Z7. The bundle can be found across all retailers (here’s B&H, Adorama, and Amazon for the Z6 and B&H, Adorama, and Amazon for the Z7).
F1 Superstar Lewis Hamilton Thanks the Photographers Who Cover Him
Here’s a neat gesture from one of the world’s greatest athletes. British Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton, widely considered one of the best F1 drivers ever, took a moment this weekend to pose with Formula One photographers to thank them for their work.
After qualifying for the 2019 Australian Grand Prix at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Hamilton gathered together all the photographers who have been documenting his races over his career for a group photo. He then shared the photo to social media with a message thanking them for their work.
“I took this picture after qualifying with all the photographers that have photographed me for the last 12 years,” Hamilton writes. “I just wanted to take this moment with them as life is precious and can sometimes fly by.
“I know I’m not always easy to work with photo wise but I do appreciate you guys, thank you”