31 March 2003

Saturday's Daily Yomiuri had an interesting feature article on Japanese photographer Shinichiro Kobayashi who is famous for documenting abandoned buildings, mines, theme parks, schools and hospitals within Japan over the past 20 years. His books include Ruins and Deathtopia.

Ruin Japan is a site by another Japanese photographer continuing Kobayashi's explorations of abandoned urban spaces (via Easterwood).

Melissa Lyttle is a photojournalist based in South Florida. She also has a fondness for Polaroid's i-zone instant camera (via netdiver).

Zave Smith has a beautiful flash portfolio, specialising in portraiture and still life (via netdiver).

[Update: 1 April 2003. Ruins Photograph features photographic tours of modern ruins in Japan (via gmtPlus9)]

30 March 2003

I have just returned to Tokyo after a fantastic 10 day trip to Shanghai to visit Alek and Michael as well as to shoot some photos for my portfolio and this site (hopefully the galleries will be ready by early summer). As I prefer the overall colour range that Kodak offers, I mainly used their Portra Vivid Color 160 & 400 negative films, as well as Ilford Delta Professional 100 & 400 black and white negative film to shoot the older, more run-down parts of the city. While there, Alek and I also took a day trip to Suzhou, the so-called "Venice of the Orient", which is a very old city filled with beautiful gardens and canals. (Note to self: if you take spare camera batteries when you travel, don't forget to actually put them in your day bag...the day you forget, your camera *WILL* run out of batteries).

Experiment-wise, I also tried out Polaroid's medium format 80-series film (84 and 89) for the Polga, but found it a little more tricky than just point-and-click and peeling off the backing paper. For starters, the Polaroid back mostly covers the Polga's viewfinder (which is not 'through-the-lens' anyway), so it's very difficult to actually see what you are shooting, resulting in lots of sky in the first few shots. As this is the first time I've used that kind of film, I had a few development errors due to removing the backing paper too soon (damn, those chemicals are messy), and not letting the photo paper dry long enough. By the end of the trip though, I got the hang of it and came back with a few lovely images from both Shanghai and Suzhou. Now I'm ready to play with 120 film for the Holga.

23 March 2003

Images of Shanghai blogged from Shanghai...

A night view of the People's Square in downtown Shanghai, 360-degree panorama style.

Shanghai Photos contains an interesting selection of street scenes and snapshots of daily life.

Yang Zhen Zhong is a Shanghai-based photographer whose work featured in the Shanghai Biennale 2002.

An early photograph depicting severe flooding experienced in Shanghai in the mid-1920s.

An article on building the Shanghai in Images photographic database.

Postcard-style images of Shanghai.

I'm returning to Tokyo on Friday 28 March, so normal daily blogging will resume shortly after that.

17 March 2003

Japan's version of the Holgaroid is the Polga camera (same camera, just marketed with a lot of media savvy by the people behind Tokyo LomoHeads). Polga Web features the work of Daido Moriyama.

Close up photos of the Polga (in Japanese).

16 March 2003

As I'm off to Shanghai for ten days on Tuesday to do some photography and hang out with dear friends, I'll be posting rather infrequently over the next two weeks. I just picked up a Holga camera with a Polaroid back from Bic Camera as well as some of Polaroid's 80-series film in black & white and colour to experiment with during my trip. Once my site is launched properly with photo galleries and a fully implemented blog (not the half-arsed effort you see now), expect to see these medium format experiments on esthet.org in coming months.

14 March 2003

A curator, a photo editor, a photojournalist and an art historian present their opinions on the controversial photo by Luc Delahaye of a dead Taliban soldier.

Mark Goldstein's PhotographyBLOG site compares a number of photo sharing/critique websites such as Photo Forums and ShutterCity.

Japanese lomographers Satsuki Haino and Miwa Oonishi were both medallists in the Lomography World League 2002.

My Own Self features 75 self-portraits of Asya Schween, each looking remarkably different from the next (via 28mm.org).

13 March 2003

Pallalink, an Osaka-based architectural photography site, takes symmetry to the next level. Osaka has never looked this good!

12 March 2003

Chinese photographer Rong Rong documented student poverty in the student artists' 'East Village' in Beijing in the mid-1990s. I find this image of a man with a shaven head especially striking.

Avant garde photography in China emerged in the late 90s, and incorporated new forms of media (computers, painting or performance, for example) into their photographic image making.

The Asia Society curated an exhibition in 1999 (subsquently touring China and USA in 2000/2001) entitled China: Fifty Years Inside the People's Republic, consisting of 152 images by 33 photographers illustrating the spectrum of modern Chinese life. Sebastiao Salgado's stunning black and white image of Pudong viewed from the Bund is one of my highlights.

Shanghai in Images, a database with around 1200 photographs from the mid-19th century to 1949. The images can also be viewed by album.

A man of few words, ziboy photoblogs from Beijing, capturing his daily life with extreme candour.

11 March 2003

While I'm currently a film enthusiast (mainly using a Canon EOS Elan 7E), for the past nine months, I've been lusting after the Canon EOS D60 digital SLR camera, but heard recently that it had been discontinued. Launched at the PMA 2003, Rob Galbraith reports on the new Canon EOS 10D, which has also caught my eye. Since the Canon Powershot G3 is a little closer to my price range, I think that might be the winning digital camera for me in April/May (unless Canon brings out a 5 megapixel pro-sumer model in the meantime).

New York City through a Holga.

Digital Sucks is a site for Holga and Diana enthusiasts. Check out their picture of the day taken with a Holga.

Instructions on how to build a Holga pinhole camera.

A short tutorial on black and white nighttime photography

10 March 2003

Desiree Dolron is a documentary photographer who has travelled to India, the Philippines, Pakistan and Morocco to photograph religion and death in these cultures. Also see her Cuba portrait series, which is especially lovely (via Scene 360).

Tips and tricks for modifying and improving your Holga.

The definitive Holga modification and disassembly resource page, including how to fix light leakage.

Toy Camera features a special Holga primer, as well as tips on modifying the lens and which parts to tape up.

Holga isn't just medium format. They even make a 35mm version of their camera.

9 March 2003

I'm thinking seriously of jumping on the Holga bandwagon and getting one before I jet off to Shanghai later this month. The Japanese photographer behind HOLGA de KISS is also an avid Polga fan (via consumptive).

Intransient spent New Years 2002/2003 in Kyoto.

Two beautiful collections of nighttime urban landscape exploration by fStop designers: "freeways and spaces for public movement (via Design is Kinky).

L'ambience documents the photographer's travels to Italy, Tunisia, France and Hong Kong.

Laurence Labta is a fashion and portrait photographer from Montreal.

More fashion photography by Dirk Lambrechts on a very interesting (humming) flash site. The images themselves are vibrant and crisp with pinsharp focus, but suffers from miniscule text size on a Mac in IE (via Design is Kinky).

8 March 2003

So, strictly speaking, it's not photography, but I just couldn't resist posting this very cheesy but truly undefinable graphic homage to world religious and political leaders. Just wait until you come across Mao...

7 March 2003

Candid Colors hosts The Shadow Project, a collection of reader-submitted shadow portraits from around the world.

PDN Online has just selected its top 30 emerging photographers for 2003.

Polaroid Image uses a Polaroid 600 and a Polaroid SX70 to produce beautiful abstracted and manipulated works. The movie sequence (click menu>intro>movie) is particularly striking (via Media Inspiration).

David Nicolas' beautiful flash photography portfolio contains both personal images shot in Cuba and commissioned work (via netdiver).

Hungarian photographer Kristian Kiszely's flash site utilises unique sliding transitions between each navigation section. Moving the sliding arrow at the top fades one image elegantly into the next (via Media Inspiration).

Colombian-born Jorge Restrepo has a lovely collection of in situ photography on his site. His image-making style favours high contrast, shallow depth of field and slow shutter speeds, with a special fondness for out of focus shots (via Media Inspiration).

6 March 2003

The March 2003 issue of 28mm.org is now online, and seems to be growing from strength to strength and popularity since its launch in June 2002. This month's edition features photo essays by Heather Champ (harrumph) and Rannie Turingan (photojunkie).

In this month's Digital Journalist, famed war photojournalist James Nachtwey responds to ex-combat photographer Deborah Copaken Kogan's (author of Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War) January 2003 interview where she asked “Does he live his life with conviction, or is it denial?”

Also in this month's Digital Journalist is a collection of images on ordinary life in Iraq by Jerome Delay.

Etienne-Jules Marey was a late nineteenth-century chronophotographer who perfected the art of making motion analysis filmstrips by the turn of the century. This early photographic technique was also practiced by Eadweard Muybridge, Thomas Eakins and Lucien Bull (via MeFi--see entire thread).

5 March 2003

Munich Underground is a collaborative photography and media design site by a group of students from the Mediadesign Akademie München. The 'City Lights' section contains particularly vibrant and dynamic colour images.

Black and white street photography from the Netherlands by Nils Vermaning on Mighty Dwarf.

Alan Wilson, an Edinburgh-based street photographer, has been taking a photo a week for the past two years.

The galleries on the Union of Lithuanian Photographers site contain some powerful black and white photographs in the fine arts and photojournalism genres.

Barpix, digital art for the cocktail culture, a subsite of Gaper, with its own photo gallery.

4 March 2003

The History of Japanese Photography has been published this month by Yale University Press to coincide with an exhibition of the same name at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (until 27 April).

The Spring 2003 issue of Aperture just arrived in my mailbox yesterday, with a special feature article and photospread on the history of Japanese photography.

PhotoGuide Japan have recently updated their site with a new look and feel, both adding new sections or revamping others, including the Japanese photography history section.

The Excitement Machine visited Mexico, returning with an intensely rich collection of colourful images.

3 March 2003

Continuing on the theme of digital manipulations, the Hoax Photo Gallery contains some well known photographic fakes (via consumptive).

Snopes debunks the widely-circulated 'see-through skirts in Japan' urban legend as a Photoshop hoax. Kjeld Duits, a Tokyo-based photographer, has written that images like these often appear in cheap Japanese pRon magazines, and that is possibly where they were sourced from.


20 Sites n Years, by Tom Phllips, documents a part of London, around a kilometre in radius, where twenty locations have been photographed at the same time of day around the same day of the year for twenty years (via Coudal).

Japanese Lines, a photo essay of architectural styles of traditional Kyoto and high-rise Tokyo.

A lovely pair of Prada patent leather Mary Janes that sometimes grace my feet on special occasion. Yes, those shiny shoes in the top left corner are mine!

2 March 2003

Clean and minimal presentation of photographic diptychs by Witold Riedel.

Claudiu Falub photographs urban details and nature scenes in vivid colour.

Yasushi in Kyoto on ningen.com (means 'humankind' in Japanese). See also this interesting Tokyo series.

Jim McCormick interviews Noah Grey (Grey Expectations and Noah Grey Photography as well as the author of the popular greymatter opensource blogging software) in this revealing article

1 March 2003

Last night I went to the Tokyo Bloggers social gathering organised by Nadine Zukoski and Mike Clarke. It was very encouraging to see such an active community in Tokyo with a keen interest in personal web publishing, although it's definitely still a 'boy's club' in this city. I was particularly glad to meet Kurt Easterwood, Jeremy Hedley and James Luckett, whose blogs I've been enjoying for most of the past year.

Some were supportive and understanding of my "stealth-blogging" position of not wanting to go public with this blog just yet (read: feel free *not* to link to me if you find anything on here you like), since there's still a long way to go before this site is ready to be officially launched, while others were pressing me to stop standing in the shadows and start promoting my site. I think I'll stick with my undercover status for the next few months while things are developing behind the scenes. First things first: get rid of this damn ugly generic MT template...

[Update: 2 March 2003: HunkaMike managed to snap me and Kristen, my former DE-J co-conspirator, during the course of the evening.]

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming!

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