Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

Monday, August 06, 2012


If you remember, a few months ago Theory Corner devoted a post to the fact that a lot of women lean forward without realizing it. Well, months have passed and I'm here to report that this is what I'm still seeing on the streets. I see it everywhere.

They stand askew a lot too, at least in photos. We're so used to it that we don't notice it,  If I hadn't called your attention to it, you probably wouldn't have noticed that the woman above is listing like The Leaning Tower of, did I spell that right? One more inch to the side and she'll fall over.

I'm not talking about bad posture (above). I'm talking about women who are not generally regarded as having posture problems.

This woman (above) was probably asked to stand up straight, and she probably believed she was...but she wasn't. She's leaning forward.

Maybe you thought high heels were what thrust women forward, or maybe a big chest. Nope, none of the above. Look at this woman (above). She's small chested, is wearing flat shoes, and is still leaning. I guess women were just born that way.

Maybe that's why they're always leaning on things.

I always assume that magazines are run by people who know more than I do. They say that flirty women always lean against walls, and who am I to disagree?

 I'll try to remember that when I draw cartoon women.

Rich women (above) sometimes prefer pottery or trees to walls.

Well, if it makes them happy.....


BTW: Congrats to NASA for landing the Curiosity rover safely on Mars. I'm all for Mars exploration, but I haven't supported previous rover missions because they didn't seem likely to collect enough information to justify the cost. 

Maybe this falls into that category too, but I couldn't help but be impressed by the precision of the landing, and the hardware on this vehicle. It's got a laser that can read stratas on exposed cliff sides in high-def, and the cliffs probably probably date back billions of years.  

We learned a lot about the origin of the Earth from the manned missions to the Moon. Maybe we'll learn as much from this mission.    

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Recently Michael Sporn and his friend Bill Peckmann put up a blog post about O. Wilson Link, the great railroad photographer of the 40s and 50s. I've long been a fan of Link's work, and it was nice to see him get some recognition on the internet.

It was Link's book that made me realize that dramatic Hollywood-style lighting could transform the urban night time landscape. It could make the night more fun to inhabit.

Of course I'm not talking about making night into day. That would be too expensive, and would probably look terrible. I'm talking about selected targets that are near existing nightspots. And I'm talking about dramatic lighting, the kind of thing you see in Film Noir movies.

I like the way night light transforms things. The locomotive above may have looked unimpressive in the day, but at night it appears to be a cyclops emerging from the smoke, maybe to scratch its back on the railroad office. The right kind of dramatic lighting could lead to whole new urban mythology.

The right kind of lighting could extend commercial hours and bring more business to a city. Paris is a good example. It's called "The City of Lights." It got that name in Louis XIV's time, when he ordered oil lamps to be put at all intersections in the city, especially in the shopping districts. The idea was to promote the novel idea of night time shopping, and to promote Paris as a tourist destination.

Louis's innovation was a big success, and was much imitated. It began to dawn on people that the city at night was potentially a thing of beauty and mystery. Night was no longer a nuisance to be endured. Thanks to Louis, it was a resource to be exploited.

And why not? Half our time on this planet is spent on the dark side of the Earth, staring up at outer space (above). We should celebrate the experience, not just tolerate it. Thanks to electric lighting, and the example of Film Noir (and Louis and Link) we have the ability to make the night come alive.  We have the ability to be poets of the urban landscape.

You could argue that lighting shouldn't have to save the appearance of a bland building. Buildings should be built from scratch to look good at night. Balconies, iron fences, trees, tiered sidewalks, alleyways, recessed enclaves, stairs, railings: all cast interesting shadows. An architect should ask himself what combination of features will allow the building to appear differently at different times of day, and at different seasons (above). He should think about what silhouette value it'll have, and how it'll look at night.

Foggy towns have great tourist potential, provided the fog is helped along by the right lighting, and provided that there's night time cafes and restaurants. Towns like this might even even consider fog enhancers. And how about adding plants that thrive only in foggy areas?

Well, I guess its possible to overdo this. If it starts looking fake and contrived, then we've gone too far.

The space program would surely get more taxpayer support if the rockets were lit more dramatically at night. Come to think of it, our rocket exteriors should be designed by artists. No doubt they would be less efficient, but they'd look cool, and that would bring in taxpayer dollars.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Hands down, Retro Atelier (link in the sidebar) is still the best portrait studio that I know of. A number of studios do first-rate work with models, but these guys seem to be out to prove that ordinary people can be made to look good in photography, and they make a good case for it.

Disclaimer: er...actually I don't recall that they ever explicitly declared that intention...but my near flawless intuition and ability to read between lines has confirmed that this is the case.

I'm guessing that a number of the photos here are of professional models, but the selection is mine, and I couldn't help myself.

Try to get this effect (above) from your mall photographer.

It must make a portrait photographer's day when a subject with an angular face (above) walks in the door. There's so much that you can do with people like that.

Delightfully and artistically seedy (above).

Wow! I imagine a lot of Photoshopping was done on this (above), but it was time well spent.

This man (above) looks like an old-time gunslinger but I like the suggestion that he's also a laborer.

Amazing! It's hard to believe that this photo (above) is a recent one.

Okay, I'm beginning to realize that all the photos I chose are probably of professional models.

Man! If you were a girl wouldn't you like to be shot by a photographer who could do this (above)?

I love photos that portray people as thinkers. What is she mulling over here? Revenge? Maybe she just realized that her husband has been cheating on her, or that he's caught her cheating. Maybe something puzzling has just been resolved, or maybe she's recalling the events of the day and coming to some realization. Maybe she's composing a letter of great importance.

Alright, alright....I'll concede that a lot of people probably aren't suited for this kind of picture, but I'll bet it would work with more types than you'd expect. I wish I had the time to experiment.

Friday, May 22, 2009


You probably know Edward Steichen for his painting and fine art photography, but did you know that he also helped to create the modern concept of fashion photography?  That's his cover above, one of the most well-known in the history of magazine publishing.

Before Steichen fashion pictures looked mostly like this (above). The idea was to highlight the dress. The woman in it was little more than a mannequin.

Steichen had the revolutionary idea that the women wearing the dresses should look interesting, even if sometimes they almost overshadowed the clothes. They should look like they were having fun and like they had lots of friends. The idea was to make the women reading the magazine envy the models. 

Steichen was a painter before he was a photographer. The influence of Matisse on the two pictures above is obvious. 

Some believe that Steichen was the greatest photographer of women who ever lived. That's Gertrude Lawrence above. 

He made women (above) look mysterious and seductive.

He was no slouch with men, either. What do you think of the pictures above? The picture immediately above is of Conrad Veidt, who played Major Strassner in "Casablanca."

When Veidt was young he played horrific parts in films like "Dr. Caligari."

Nice poster, eh? But I digress....

What happened to Steichen you ask? Well, he dropped out of fashion photography when Borodsky introduced Beaten and Horst to Harper's Bazaar. I put up a blog about these guys a couple of weeks ago. Borodsky introduced humorous surrealism to women's magazines and poor Steichen, who was a serious kind of a guy, just couldn't keep up. That's Steichen's attempt at surrealism above. It just wasn't his thing.  

Why should men be interested in what happened in womens' magazines in the 20s and 30s? Because those magazines, operating beneath the radar of formal critics, helped to shape the attitudes of modern women, and of the whole world we live in today.  That and the fact that these magazines continued the revolution in art that critics supposed had died after WWll.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Many thanks to Anonymous for these photos from the hilarious Boy, I was lucky to get these; if I hadn't I would have been strapped for something to post. It's not that I haven't any mind is teeming with ideas right now...I just haven't had time to write them down.

One of the reasons is that I'm trying to learn a program that infuriatingly resists being learned, and I only have a short time each night to spend with it. Bear with me. I'll be happy just to get it set up, and get the cables tucked away, then I can attack it at a more leisurely pace.

Awkward is certainly the right word for these (above). 

This (above) is my favorite of the Awkward Photo pictures. I imagine that the people shown here are a family of poisoners. Over the years the two ladies tried out samples of their poisons on the guy on the left and he lost all his hair and much of his muscle control. He's not mad, though. He's a poisoner himself, and he understands the necessity of practice.

Like I said, I'd like to try my hand at family photography. If I had willing subjects I'd like to  take a picture where everybody acts out a character. Imagine the four people above in a single picture.  A whole family of over-actors.

A horrific, underlit family (above) would be nice... would a family of super-intelligent space invaders (above). All it would take is the right lighting and the right clothes.

Imagine a family photo where everybody had wide-angle heads like Hillary in the picture above.

Of course I'd take some classic pictures (above) too, but only if I had the right subjects.