Photography

Jimmy Chin Photography

photo by Jimmy Chin

photo by Jimmy Chin

After listening to David Goggins curse and cus and create a reality much different from what I’m used to, I’ve been thinking a lot about adventure and pain and pushing myself to the limit. I’ve been inspired.

These images by Jimmy Chin are cut from the same cloth. Because so is Jimmy.

Photo by Jimmy Chin

Photo by Jimmy Chin


”Jimmy Chin is a photographer, filmmaker, and mountain sports athlete known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments” (via).

Photo by Jimmy Chin

Photo by Jimmy Chin

“As a filmmaker, his years of experience in the adventure and extreme sports world enables him to bring an authentic and unique perspective to his storytelling. His 2015 film Meru won the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was on the 2016 Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary” (via).

Photo by Jimmy Chin

Photo by Jimmy Chin

You can see more of Jimmy Chin’s work on his website (where he allows you to download his images for free . . . because he’s a badass), or on instagram.

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2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

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National Geographic recently announced the winners of the Travel Photographer of the Year contest for 2018. You can see the winners here and the people’s choice awards here.

I don't know why, but that alligator one really intrigues me. Maybe it's because I just spent the last ten days in a cabin on a lake and watched my kids play, almost daily, some form of king of the mountain (on rafts). I bet that's what those gators are doing too. And if I were the current king, I'd be leery of the big momma coming to claim her throne . . . sheesh.

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View of Life in a One-Room Home

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"For eighteen years, {Masaki Yamamoto's} family of seven coexisted in a one-room apartment in Kobe. His father drove trucks, and his mother worked as a cashier in a supermarket. They and their five children all slept in the same space, a room the size of six tatami mats, limbs overlapping amid a pile of ever-multiplying junk. When you looked up, you couldn’t avoid meeting the eyes of someone else, Yamamoto, the second-oldest of his siblings, said, adding, 'The one place you could be alone was the bathtub.' 'Guts,' his new photography book, is a celebration of his family’s everyday existence in these close quarters (via).

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"The power of Yamamoto’s photos lies in this subversion of the viewer’s expectations. Yamamoto is clear-sighted and un-nostalgic about his family’s precarious economic circumstances. When he was eight years old, the family was evicted from their previous apartment in Kobe. They all lived out of a car for a month, and Yamamoto and his siblings spent time in a children’s home before being reunited with their parents. In one photo, Yamamoto shows his mother playing rock, paper, scissors with her husband, to decide whether their money should go to his pachinko games. The camera focusses on the bills clenched tightly in her fist" (via).

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Photographs by Masaki Yamamoto

Photographs by Masaki Yamamoto

Kinda puts a lot of my life - my needs, wants, expectations, disappointments and fears - into perspective. 

 

You can read and see more here, at The New Yorker.

 

For more on . . .

Photography  :  -N- Stuff  :  Ebrahim Noroozi: Iranian Coal Miners  :  Hong Kong in the 1950s  :  Standing, for a moment, with refugees  :  jtinseoul : Loud yet Clear

Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag

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I thought this book was going to be about more than what it was, but I still found it worth reading because, if nothing else, it raised some pretty provocative thoughts and questions. And any book that can do that at least once is worth reading, at least once.

Here are some of the highlights:

The photographs are a means of making “real” (or “more real”) matters that the privileged and the merely safe might prefer to ignore (pg 7).

This reminded me of Jacob Riis and his revolutionary work, "How the Other Half Live" which exposed the rich and privileged to the reality of how many lower income families lived. His work is largely credited with the reform in child labour laws and opening the door to a new way of thinking about the world - Realism.

We are not monsters, we members of the educated class. Our failure is one of imagination, of empathy; we have failed to hold this reality in mind (pg 8).

This sentiment struck a cord with me because it doesn't simply apply to financial status, but all. To those who are emotionally wealthy, to those who are physically or mentally healthy, political or religious it doesn't matter. Those who have find it difficult, at times, to imagine a life that does not. 

In contrast to a written account – which, depending on its complexity of thought, reference, and vocabulary, is pitched at a larger or smaller readership – a photograph has only one language and is destined potentially for all (pg 20).

The slight of hand allows photographs to be both objective record and personal testimony, both a faithful copy or transcription of an actual moment of reality and an interpretation of that reality – a feat literature has long aspired to, but could never attain in this literal sense (pg 26).

This might apply to most writers, but whenever I ask my students to draw what they see in "The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams, they all draw - almost to perfection - the exact same thing. It doesn't matter the age, the ethnicity, the location, or anything else, it's all the same. And that's pretty amazing.

Photography is the only major art in which professional training and years of experience do not confer an insuperable advantage over the untrained and inexperienced  - this for many reasons, among them that large role that chance (or luck) plays in the taking of pictures, and the bias toward the spontaneous, the rough, the imperfect. (There is no comparable level playing field in literature, where virtually nothing owes to chance or luck and where refinement of language usually incurs no penalty; or in the performing arts, where genuine achievement is unattainable without exhaustive training and daily practice; or in filmmaking, which is not guided to any significant degree by the anti-art prejudices of much of contemporary art photography) – pg 28,29

This is perhaps the single most reason why photography is so popular, but also why it is so difficult. Anyone can take a good shot once or perhaps just a few times, but to capture the moment, the mood, or the spirit of a moment time and time again takes experience and expertise. Just like any other art form.

What does it mean to protest suffering, as distinct from acknowledge it? 

I don't know, but that's a great question. I'll have to think more on it.

But surely the wounded Taliban soldier begging for his life whose fate was pictured prominently in The New York Times also had a wife, children, parents, sisters and brothers, some of whom may one day come across the three color photographs of their husband, father, son, brother being slaughtered – if they have not already seen them (pg 73).

This quote really struck me. Because it's right. How often do I see the death and suffering of people all over the world and forget, especially in times of conflict, that they too are fathers, sons, brothers, and friends. That they too will have people weeping over the loss of life. That they too are just as human. 

For photographs to accuse, and possibly to alter conduct, they must shock” (pg 81). Yet, “Shock can become familiar. Shock can wear off (pg 82).

Which then begs for more provocative, more shocking photographs, which dulls us even more. The question here that isn't asked but should be is how long will this cycle continue before we no longer feel shock at all? Before all suffering and abuse is simply familiar?

And what can we do to fight against it?

 

Resources:

-       Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade”

-       Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by Walker Evans

-       Kazuo Hara’s, The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On

 

To Consider:

-       The planting of the American flag on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945 by photographer Joe Rosenthal was reenacted. It was staged. Is this okay? For the purpose it was wanting to serve, was it okay to reproduce an event? It has inspired thousands and has become an iconic moment and image of American history . . . does that fact that it isn't completely authentic in time and space make it any less relevant or powerful of a moment? Of what it symbolizes? 

-       How could church going citizens create and use postcards that depict lynched and murdered African American men and woman? But even before that, how could church going citizens LYNCH AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN AND WOMAN?!?!? And how can they/we still do it today?

What will people be saying of us, in just a few short years from now?

 

For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Reading Log 2017  :  Reading Log 2018

Featured Photographer : Hajjat Hamidi

Thanks to my wife, I recently came across this Iranian photographer, Hojjat Hamidi, and I think it's time you do too.

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Ever wonder what people are thinking? I do. And I could sit and stare and wonder at this photograph for hours.

 

Shepherd and his lamb

Shepherd and his lamb

The Horse Story

The Horse Story

When my wife saw this she said, "Who takes photos like this?" and I wasn't sure how to answer because I couldn't pull myself out of this moment. Just gorgeous. 

To see more of Hojjat Hamidi photos, follow him on Instagram. He has over 26.6k followers, so I don't think you'll be disappointed. 

 

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89-Year-Old Japanese Grandma Discovers Photography, Can’t Stop Taking Hilarious Self-Portraits Now

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Kimiko Nishimoto, an 89-year-old Japanese grandma has been snapping and editing her own pictures for the last 17 years, and her pictures are fantastic.

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"Her son was teaching a beginner's course and so she decided to enroll, unaware that she was about to awake a passion and a talent she never even knew she had" (via).

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"She had her first solo exhibition ten years later, at a local museum in her home town of Kumamoto, and now she's about to have her work exhibited at Tokyo's Epson epsite imaging gallery. Titled “Asobokane" - meaning "let's play" - the exhibition will feature previously unseen work from the octogenarian artist" (via).

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There are so many things to love about this woman and her work, but one that sticks out to me most is her love and joy of artistic expression.

After 72 years, Kimiko Nishimoto hasn't given up on offering her spirit and joy to the world, she's investing - perhaps more than ever - to the soundtrack of humanity. 

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For seventeen years she's been enjoying and playing with photography. Seventeen years. For me, that's half a lifetime. For her, it's a whole new beginning.

And after 89 years, the voice of her new beginning, her gift to the world, is a smile. 

And that is both inspiring and encouraging.

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-N- Stuff  :  Creativity  :  Inspiring Art

 

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My Fares : The people Joseph Rodriguez saw through the windshield.

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Joseph Rodriguez drove a cab from 1977 to 1985, and in the last two of those years, he was studying to be a photographer. He lost his first set of gear in a classic ’70s New York stabbing and mugging, but with a new camera, he documented what he saw on the job (via).
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“I loved the frenetic energy of the city at that time. I once picked up a guy from the Hellfire club, an S&M club, and by the time I dropped him off on the Upper East Side, he had changed his leather cap and everything and put on a pink oxford shirt and some penny loafers. ‘Good morning, sir,’ the doorman said.”

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Meatpacking District | “ ‘Don’t I look sexy?’ she said. ‘Hey, how are you today?’ My response was ‘Oh, you look very pretty.’ And then she did that.”
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We are what we've always been. Imperfect, beautiful, and fantastically human. 

 

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Portrait Photography : Martin Schoeller

I first came across portrait artist Martin Schoeller when he published his "Faces of America," and I've since seen him pop up in various places. 

What I love about his work is that, as he says on his About page, the people he is photographing "are treated with the same levels of scrutiny as the un-famous. The unknown and the too-well-known meet on a level platform that enables comparison, where a viewer’s existing notions of celebrity, value, and honesty are challenged." 

And I just love that.

You can see more of his work on identical twins, close ups of famous people who are still on the same level as the rest of us, female bodybuilders, and portraits.

"Schoeller’s close-up portraits emphasize, in equal measure, the facial features, both studied and unstudied, of his subjects— world leaders and indigenous groups, movie stars and the homeless, athletes and artists— leveling them in an inherently democratic fashion" (via).

Corey Arnold : ALEUTIAN DREAMS

Corey Arnold can take pictures. 

"Fifteen years ago," he writes on his info page, "I wrote a job-wanted sign and hung it outside of a bathroom near Seattle’s Fisherman’s Terminal. It read: “Experienced deckhand looking for work on a commercial crab or halibut fishing boat in Alaska --- hard worker --- does not get seasick” I was 24 years old, energetic and ambitious, with a few years of salmon fishing experience but naive to the world of high seas fish-work. After a few shifty respondents, I was hired by a seasoned Norwegian fisherman and flew on a small prop plane past the icy volcanos and windswept passes of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, eventually slamming down onto the short runway in Dutch Harbor. The experience would forever change the direction of my life and shape my identity as both a fisherman and photographer. Isolated from the mainland by some of the world's roughest waters, Dutch Harbor is a thriving, working-class commercial fishing port surrounded by steep mountains and lonely windswept valleys. It’s a place where industry and nature collide in strange and beautiful ways, a place where people harvest seafood on a massive scale, and share their meals and their refuse with local wildlife --- from rapacious bald eagles to curious foxes. That first year I worked jigging for Codfish in the Bering Sea and continued to return for work as a crabber for the next seven seasons. What lured me back though wasn’t only the money, but the curious and often masochistic realization of the American dream happening in the Aleutian Islands. Those who come here often possess a desire to escape the safety of home to work in an environment filled with risk and visual grandeur that is far from ordinary. In recent trips, I joined fisherman at sea aboard crabbers and trawlers, and on land documenting the surreal landscape of fishing culture that once captured my imagination as a young greenhorn. Aleutian Dreams is a collection of images from my journey through this wild and unforgiving frontier of Western Alaska.

You can follow his blog here, or see more of his work here. Some of his works include exploring modern man's complicated relationship with animals, Great White Shark diving near Guadalupe Island, Mexico, and Chum Salmon season on the Yukon River in Alaska. And more.

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There was an (ahem) operations error and it didn't go through (sorry about that).

 

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Steve McCurry Photography : its own place and feeling

"What is important to my work is the individual picture. I photograph stories on assignment, and of course they have to be put together coherently. But what matters most is that each picture stands on its own, with its own place and feeling." - Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry has taken some of the worlds most iconic images, and he's been doing so for the past thirty years.

This picture of Sharbat Gula, an Afghan refugee, has been described as one of the most recognizable photographs of the world.

But there are many more of equal beauty and splendour. 

Here are a few from his Portraits gallery:

"Most of my photos are grounded in people, I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face."

His other galleries include "On Reading":

"The photograph is an undeniably powerful medium. Free from the constraints of language, and harnessing the unique qualities of a single moment frozen in time."

His work on Kuwait is astonishing. 

"A picture can express a universal humanism, or simply reveal a delicate and poignant truth by exposing a slice of life that might otherwise pass unnoticed."
 

After several years of freelance work, McCurry made his first trip of what would become many trips to India. Traveling with little more than a bag of clothes and another of film, he made his way across the subcontinent, exploring the country with his camera (via).

"There are certain, inescapable images, forever part of our collective consciousness, that influence who we are, whether we are cognizant of it or not."

All works by Steve McCurry.

 

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