The “Blogg”

So many photos that we don’t bother to look at them anymore

Lucy Mangan Family photos have always been a minefield. It must have been easier in the old days, before Kodak's invention of the portable camera made sure that the studio portrait was the only game in town. Off you went to mark a singular life event - marriage, usually, or a weighty anniversary - in your best bib and tucker to a skilled photographer who knew how to wrangle the complicated equipment, and eventually were rewarded with a single, precious print to add to the family album. Improvements in technology loosened constraints somewhat, but even though the first Kodak camera, in 1888,...

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The Meaning of a Word

The meaning of a word can and does change over time, taking on a variety of senses and connotations that can be added, removed or altered over time. This is referred to as semantic change, and can occur in two directions – semantic narrowing where a word takes on a more specific meaning than its original, and semantic widening that develops into a broader or more generalized meaning of the word. Another connotation that a word can undergo is “pejoration,” where the meaning of a word becomes negative or less elevated over time or conversely positive and more elevated, termed “amelioration.” This...

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Another Large Thing

June 1914: Two Ansco employees make the largest negative in the world. The 17 feet long, 16 inches wide image of Atlanta, Georgia, is taken from the top of a smokestack on the Walton Building. S. W. Whiteman and S. L. Brownie climb to the top of the smokestack and take a panoramic view of the skyline of Atlanta. The resulting photograph is exhibited at the next Professional Photographers' Association Convention. Little is known about how the photograph was taken, i.e., type and make of camera.

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Chance in Photography

In a previous post The "Decisive" Moment I ruminated about serendipity in photography, and since then I have been delving into chance in art. Is there a unique relationship between photography and chance, or for that matter between any art form and chance? Can serendipity be part of an art form? If someone just happens upon a scene and it’s capture turns into a great image – and it wasn’t planned and maybe not even thought of as a creative act – can that photograph be called art? I gave two examples - one of lightening in the Grand Canyon and another of a frog having a brief encounter...

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I Don’t Understand Art – Part II

In doing research on art as art, I ran into "Aphorisms for Artists" by Walter Darby Bannard. I found that not only did it tell, but ask. Have a read.

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Do You Really Need 50-mpx?

I was surprised (well maybe not a lot) and amazed (absolutely) that Canon backflipped on its original strategy that its cameras wouldn't exceed the 22-mpx count, by releasing the 5Ds and 5Ds R both with 50-mpx sensors! But do you really need a 50-mpx full-frame sensor? I had a 5D MkII, which at 22-mpx was more than was necessary for most shooting assignments. Shooting with an L-series lens and displaying it on a 1080p monitor, it looked almost unreal. Depending on the type, it was initially estimated that film was the equivalent of 22-mpx, but that estimate was later downgraded to below 10-mpx....

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James Turrell a Retrospective

This exhibition follows three highly successful shows throughout 2013—at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Guggenheim in New York. It brings together works from LACMA's tour, with spectacular installations purpose-built for Canberra, drawings, prints and photographs. Another of the Australian National Gallery's "blockbuster" shows, held 13 December 2014 to 8 June 2015. It explores the artist’s work over almost 50 years, bringing together Projection pieces, built spaces, holograms, drawings, prints and photographs. It celebrates Skyspaces, viewing...

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More Largest Things Again

My previous posts on "large things" covered until 1923, but more recently Chicago photographer Dennis Manarchy created what's being called the world's largest camera. It's 35-feet long and 12-feet tall it's a working replica of a vintage view camera that produces 16- by 24-foot prints, the equivalent of a two-story building. The giant camera is on display in Monroe Wisconsin outside the Historic Green County Courthouse. It was being displayed because a Monroe company manufactured the specially built trailer. Manarchy plans to tow the camera around the country to shoot photos of indigenous cultures....

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More Largest Things

It seems that the more I read through the photographic journals from the early 1900’s the more “largest (things) in the world” are found. My blog article on “The Largest Photograph in the World – 1904” told about a final print measuring 39ft by 5ft, made up of 6 prints 6ft by 5ft. I also published an article entitled  “Largest Camera in the World – 1900” about a camera built by George R. Lawrence in 1900 for the Chicago and Alton Railway to photograph the new “Alton Limited” for the Paris Exposition of 1900. Then in 1923 came another world’s largest photograph,...

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Largest Camera in the World – 1900

In 1900 a camera built by George R. Lawrence in 1900 was dubbed "The World's Largest Camera," He was commissioned by the Chicago and Alton Railway to photograph the new “Alton Limited.” The camera had a focusing screen made of semi-transparent celluloid, fully extended was 20 feet long, weighed 900 pounds, and could produce a photo that measured 8 feet by 4.5 feet. The plate-holder when loaded weighed 500 pounds. It required 15 men to move and operate, and cost a whopping $5,000 US — enough money back then to buy a large house. The lens was by Carl Zeiss, a wide angle with five and a half...

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