thoughts -> NYC
2012-09-16
This month I'm celebrating an anniversary - the third one of having a very close relationship with The City. It was all interest and excitement at the beginning, almost hatred afterwards (during one of the hottest and most humid summers recently, while being unemployed and fighting the first trimester nausea), but then it got settled somehow, and we are on good terms now. What's more, I think our relationship may be even improving or at least, I stopped the care so much about the lack of visible evidence regarding functionality improvement, and can value the effort of trying.

What helped to change my point of view, besides other things, was experiencing NYC by bike and seeing some single-street downtowns elsewhere in USA. Both helped me to realize how colorful and rich in possibilities NYC is.

This photo quite sums it up. Shot in one of the most iconic neighborhoods of the new NYC that (non-hipster) tourists never heard about, with the famous skyline in the background, it displays what you think may be the best about living there (or here?). Here are my few takes.

fine palette
the market at Union Square

postcard from NYC
New Jersey skyline

silent dance
ballet practice at the shore, Manhattan west

bon appetit!
Chelsea

in prospect park
Prospect Park

god bless little poland :) ...
Greenpoint

yes, just another day in new york
Halloween, D-train

Untitled
Union Square

premiere
Union Square

premiere
Boerum Hill

Untitled
Park Slope

an evening at the museum
concert at Brooklyn Museum

snowy brooklyn
Park Slope

the snowiest days of this year
Park Slope

a view from the brooklyn ikea
Red Hook

a memory of winter
NoLiTa

a day in downtown manhattan
East Village

brighton beach
Brighton Beach

a view from the highline
Highline Park, Chelsea

chat atop a beach
Orchard Beach, Bronx

williamsburg
Williamsburg

a story from williamsburg
Williamsburg

in barnes&noble
Barnes&Noble, Union Square

prospect park idyll
Prospect Park

prospect park november
Prospect Park/Park Slope

winter in nyc
Prospect Park/East Village

matching palette
Midtown West/Brooklyn Heights

april sunset on our roof
our roof, Park Slope

east village street art
East Village

the symbol of brooklyn
Coney Island

park slope thrift store
thrift store, Park Slope

in chelsea market
Chelsea Market

However, I noticed that I'm taking pictures of now-my city quite a bit less than in the past. And it's something to consider, because NYC is definitely worth it.
thoughts -> On flickr
2012-06-16
Thomas Hawk, once an avid flickr enthusiast, said that flickr is dead. What he meant is that flickr lost its significance as a social photography platform. Thankfully, that doesn't make flickr dead for me. What is that social photography anyway?

My approach to photography has evolved since the time I joined flickr, as has the approach of my contacts. While at the beginning I was actively seeking social interaction - comments, favs, people adding me as a contact, I've now found my place in a small community, and frankly don't care how many new people come and browse through my memories. It is good enough that flickr allows me and my family to view them in a neat way. So maybe that's what actually happened to more users - after all, flickr has been around for a while, and it's normal that the community has become a bit more mature, and the current network can be characterized by stable clusters rather than by a rapid growth.

Two observations:
  1. Growing popularity of analog photography in my contact circle. Since film photos typically cannot be shared real-time, this looks like an antithesis of social photography according to the wikipedia definition. Yep, I too got hooked. Better colors, higher acceptable exposure range, aesthetic grain, archiving options, the moment of surprise, I don't need to continue.
  2. I feel overwhelmed by the vast amount of photos I saw, thanks to social media and online sharing. I have such a hard time to feel that I'm doing something original, that I don't even attempt it anymore. It seems that everything worth being photographed has been shot from all possible angles. And shooting a cup of coffee, the mirror reflection of myself, or a random flower just to spit out the daily dose of pictures is imho quite boring.
    Instead of the frequent attempts to be original, I now aim for personal significance. This results in fewer photos taken on average through a given period of time, and my photostream now resembling an old-school family album, mapping vacations and children's milestones. So again, I've drifted away from social photography.

To conclude, flickr still works great for me and my needs. And it has an awesome community of talented photographers who don't superficially overshare. Because you know - flickr is dead, and there are google+, facebook, and instagram for that purpose.
thoughts -> What makes a good photo?
2012-06-09
I'm not quite satisfied with my photos lately. Thus I compiled a few notes for myself:

  1. Good light is important but not sufficient, if the scene is boring and there's no vision behind.
  2. It helps to let the others have a peek into your personal life but beware of being show-offy. If you are, it may deserve you attention (think celebrities) but not respect.
  3. Get out of your home, head to nature at best. It is not only beautiful but there's much more freedom to photograph people than it is in the squeezed city streets. A small person amidst vast landscape somehow makes a powerful statement.
  4. Don't shoot random people in the street if there's no personal connection between you and them. It's not artistic, it's boring. Especially the 15th+ picture.
  5. Try to have a story behind each photo. In that way, it becomes unique, not just the same picture that everyone else has taken in the same place.
  6. Think. Ahead. Being spontaneous is often rewarding but if you are at least a bit familiar with the photoshoot circumstances, it helps to spend a while thinking what picture would you like to bring home. It's less likely that you'll get a great idea afterwards, while lying in the bed in the evening.
  7. Having decent gear helps, especially with landscape photography, but anything really high-end is very secondary to having a great vision.
  8. Not sure about photo projects. On one hand, committing to regular photo projects challenges creativity and after all, complies with 6. However, can we really create a memorable moment out of nothing? Probably the best thing would be to make memorable events more frequent in one's life.
Here are a few examples of photos that immediately caught my attention:

Untitled
anna/marek

Untitled
Mr Sullivan

ansela adamsova
eyebex

Untitled
Kornei

Untitled
slnka

Untitled
eros turannos

Untitled
Bradley Farrish

Untitled
Katrina Lane