A quest for the ultimate, beautiful, meaningful picture


Winners World Press Photo 2013 :: nrc.nl

The winners of the best press photos of last year were announced today. Overall winner was Paul Hansen with a picture of a funeral in Gaza: two kids, killed in a rocket attack, are carried by men whose faces express terrible grief–and anger. Together with the almost haunting light, the atmosphere of the picture is very intense.

The light effect sets this picture apart for me. Of course, being a press photo, there is no elaborate studio lighting to create such an effect. If I see it right, the photographer made smart use of light falling through a (broken, or newly-built?) window on the left, while the grey concrete wall on the right helped light up the dark side, acting as a reflection screen. To see that light, while walking backwards, almost with your nose and your wide-angle lens in the faces of crying, angry men and–even worse–dead children!

Of course, the rest of the winners in the different categories are also worth looking at. You can see them here (captions in Dutch–sorry, folks!):
Winnaars World Press Photo 2013 :: nrc.nl.

But this overall winner will stay in my mind for a long time, I fear.


Kids do it

Kushida shrine

Sometimes, the subject of the picture is (almost) more important than how you take the picture. Aren’t these kids in their festive dress cute? (Seen at a shrine, Fukuoka, Japan)Kushida shrine

Portrait workshop for kids was a success

Yesterday I survived a workshop for kids in a creative class–the kids (my daughter being one of them) and camera survived as well! The idea of the class teacher was to have old-fashioned portraits of just the kids’ heads; they would then cut the heads out, paste them on paper made looking old with diluted black ink and then draw or cut-and-paste old-fashioned clothes and attributes, all in black, greys and white. I gave a short introduction about differences between photography ‘then’ and ‘now’, and a little about ligth and shadow in portraits. Then the teacher handed round some copies from real old portraits (found on Flickr).

It was quite nice to do, but the real fun started when I was busy quickly converting the photographed portraits to black-and-white and printing them (I love working with Lightroom!). For then my daughter got hold of my camera and started making modern portraits of her friends! They had gotten the message about differences between then and now, and they had fun taking pictures and modelling. Perhaps that fun with photos shoots was an even more important result than my portraits rolling out of the printer.

This time’s picture is a slide from the presentation I made. You won’t get to see portraits of children whose parents did not get a chance to agree to their pictures being published.

A little late — Building and handball

Dear folks, sorry for not updating this blog last weekend: work, work, work! The work took place in the Copenhagen Business School, by all accounts one of Europe’s top business schools–but that was not my reason for being there and even less was it my reason for mentioning it here. I mention it here, because it offers great opportunities for photography of architecture. Next time when I go there, I’ll bring camera (and tripod!). For the moment, I just have an illustration taken from someone else.

Photo activities last week were there, but rather to make a visual memory of my daughter’s school activities than as serious search for the ultimate photo. I must admit that for most people, the memories are more important than the photographic quality.
The school activity was a handball tournament among some of the village schools. Sports photography proves to be quite a different discipline: suddenly you miss the 2.8/300 or similar lenses of professionals. The one here was made without flash (not used, because it might disturb the players) at ISO 800, and is better at showing the speed and action (hey, I succeeded in panning precisely with the player’s body!) than at portraying the star player of the team: the picture shows his back rather than the front side–why wasn’t he a left-hander? 😉