Archives For photographs


A musical model found in the subterranean depths of a basement in Portland.

A musical model found in the subterranean depths of a basement in Portland.

This is a wonderful story about an old basement in the old Pittock Block building in Portland. Wait, don’t go! It’s really about the magic mojo of urban spelunking. The kind of mojo that’s discovered quite freakishly, what with all the urban spelunking, the cha-cha bathing beauties, and World War I updates on tattered old paper plastered on the walls, deeeeeeeeeep in the bowels of a big ol’ building. It’s old-meets-new. It’s historic preservation. It’s cool discovery. The ironic twist part at the end about old communications intersecting with new communications is just wonderful. As basement stories go, it’s a a dandy. Click, read, enjoy. Here’s a story about it from the Oregonian.

Very old meets very new.

Very old meets very new.

(Here’s a repost of a favorite video – a recreation of some great Blue Note album covers, from August, 2010.)

What a cool idea: take some classic Blue Note album covers from the 1960’s, and recreate them with live action and animation. What a big job.

Check out the original covers below.

The video was created by Bante to promote the Bellavista Social Club‘s concert season. Here is another wonderfully-designed music video he/she/they did.

It would be appropriate at this time to offer a four beat rest moment of silence for iconic jazz photographer Herman Leonard, who passed away this week. Leonard invented (accidentally) a style of side lighting for photographing jazz musicians in clubs that perfectly captured the feeling of the clubs, the players and the music.

Herman Leonard’s photo of Duke Ellington in Paris, 1958

The path to 2013.

Instagram, you rascal. You come out swinging, bury Hipstamatic and a lot of other photo sharing wannabes, but golly, you’re an organizational frowny face. Flickr has got you beat in spades as a place to share photos. And today, Twitter offers the fancy filters and ease that made you unique. How can you possibly win?

As more and more people and pros get into Instagram (here’s‘s Instagram page for photographers, created by the ultimate curator’s curator Andy Adams), the need for people to manage, organize and display their work has got to improve. That’s where Instagram could win. It could grow even more by offering functionality that benefits not just consumers of photography, but creators of it. Flickr simply doesn’t have the sex appeal that Instagram’s got right now, which is unfortunate, because it’s a fantastic tool for slightly-serious-to-serious creators of photos.

Now Twitter is offering filters and Instagram-like functionality. You gotta be feeling nervous about that one, Instagram. But way back in 2011, Instagram got $7 million from Twitter, so it’s not like they’re sworn to each other’s demise. Then Facebook bought Instagram for a cool billion dollars, so it’s not like its beatable, unorganized platform is a great big hobo out there.

Most likely, Instagram is already on this in their secret underground laboratories, ready to out Flickr Flickr and stave off Twitter. Otherwise, right next to Hipstamatic in the digiphoto graveyard, Instagram runs the risk of having “We Were Hot Once” on it’s tombstone, which Mashable says is totally possible. So I’ll just relax and wait for the email that tells me when Instagram will take slightly more serious photographers slightly more seriously.

(Here’s my Instagram, and my Flickr.)


Film. Expensive, bulky equipment. Waiting days for your pictures to get developed. When I took  photos and sold camera equipment in a photography store in the 1980’s, the stuff required to see your family Thanksgiving photos was a lot different. In hindsight, it was lousy.

Many a customer would pay for their photos, take a quick look at them, and frown a great big frown, having gotten only a few good shots out of each roll. Errors could result in a bunch of abstract shots of your lens cap, or your kid’s surprise photoessay with 24 blurry shots of a dog’s nose, costing about $13 in film and processing. Some folks got pissed. Some cried. I learned the amazing emotional power that comes with people’s personal photos.

Then technology changed everything. First, one hour processing rocking the photo business, and our expectations as consumers. Then “Grandma cameras” popped onto the scene. Grandma cameras were what we called the first point-and-shoot, automatic everything cameras that were so easy to use, even Grandma could do it. The day the Grandma cameras went on sale, the old bulky SLRs started to fade away, and the masses were given more creative license.

A couple of decades later, photography has (thankfully) evolved into the simple, less expensive, more creative, awesome thing that it is today. The evolution and democratization of picture taking gave birth to new businesses and industries, and many photo-related companies failed to evolve, and died.

In 1981, the ability to improve your image ended the second the shutter opened. Today, it’s not just taking the photo, it’s how you manipulate it after you take, be it on a laptop, iPad or iPhone. The results you can get in 2 minutes today used to take much more time, more money. Creativity was almost exclusively in the hands of professionals.

Would Facebook be worth $42 billion (oops, I mean $50 million) today if it didn’t have photos? No way. The easy, cheap photography tools and processes in 2011 have democratize creativity. You can thank your Grandma.

Sergey Larenkov is a Russian photographer. He took a common tactic, recreating historical photos. Like the books Seattle Then and Now, and Double Take by Madison photographer Zane Williams.

I bet if you’re from Leningrad, this Photoshop idea stops you cold in your tracks.

Now THIS is a shanty. Three mismatched kitchen chairs looking out a niccccccce bay window. A two-burner cooktop. Three skis on the bottom. I bet those chairs could tell some stories.

I was a bit of a photographer in the `80s. My brother Jeff got me into it in high school, and I worked at a camera/photofinishing store in college, with most paychecks paying for more  film, developing and equipment. Over the 1986 holiday break, a few college buddies took a ski trip to Colorado, but I didn’t ski. So I took a bunch of pictures.

Time passed, and our three daughters came into the world. My Nikon SLR camera was replaced by a “grandma camera”, the do-everything point-n-shoot, and my interest in taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures diminished.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to push my creativity, and get serious about photography again. These shots are from a morning when much of Wisconsin woke up to a surreal, bright haze. I thought I’d capture the big, weird, wide eerieness of the haze. But literally, within one minute, my assignment changed, as I remembered one of the great lessons from my earlier days as a photographer – the difference between “looking” and “seeing.” Welcome back, old friend.