Night Errand

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Night Errand. Inspirei-me no poema de Eric Berlin com o mesmo título para produzir este ensaio. Night Errand pode ser a história de alguém “high on ecstasy” deambulando pela cidade à procura de tudo e que acaba por nada conseguir encontrar.

IMG_009Ou porque não, errante, alguém perdidamente apaixonado – amor correspondido ou não, pouco importa – bordejando a loucura, perdendo-se cidade adentro.

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Night Errand é um daqueles momentos universais, razões pouco ou nada importam – perdemo-nos na cidade, somos por ela absorvidos até nos tornarmos parte da sua malha, da sua traição, tragados pela maré de solidão em que ela nos envolve, repetidamente, agora, amanhã, depois, sempre.

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Ou será apenas o impulso consumista – a necessidade permanente de consumir, de ter, de possuir, de morrer na teia de luzes psicadélicas de cores berrantes, apontadas a uma alma atraída para uma morte lenta, escravizada pela cultura neo-liberal?

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Ou será apenas solidão? Daquela que mata, que mata por dentro sem que nunca se veja por fora. Daquela que consome as entranhas da alma, deixando-nos podres, egoístas, rancorosos, secos, incapazes de mergulhar na imensidão do mundo.

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Ou será só uma viagem em que todos os tempos verbais se entrecruzam, em que universos paralelos colidem enquanto a náusea permanece? Náusea que se desfaz devagar, numa teia de fumo envolta em mistérios densos, adensados pela aspereza do tempo. Agastados, já não sabemos bem, mas será apenas uma viagem, disso estamos certos.

Leiam o poema de Eric Berlin – banda sonora? Harlem River, Kevin Morby.

Sem manipulação digital. Todas as imagens © John Gallo/Chappa 2019

 

Understanding Prejudice – How It Forms and How to Prevent It

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Prejudice can have a strong influence on how people behave and interact with others, particularly with those who are different from them. Prejudice is a baseless and usually negative attitude toward members of a group. Common features of prejudice include negative feelings, stereotyped beliefs, and a tendency to discriminate against members of the group. While specific definitions of prejudice given by social scientists often differ, most agree that it involves prejudgments that are usually negative about members of a group.

The main disadvantage of Micro Four Thirds is prejudice. Keeping an open mind I challenge you all to read carefully:

1 – Bresson, Capa, later Meyerowitz and other masters of this craft early adopted what was in those days a very small “sensor”: 35mm. By that time “full frame” was, at least 120 roll film. Meyerowitz began photographing in color in 1962 and was an early advocate of the use of color during a time when there was significant resistance to the idea of color photography as serious art…

2 – The enormous advances in digital photography allow MFT to mitigate alleged limitations of the format when compared to FF, much more than 35mm did when it was introduced, compared to 120 film.

3 – No other system provides better image stabilization (7.5 stops).

4 – No other system provides this level of portability. Even Olympus E-M1X weighs less 370 grams than Canon’s flagship 1 DX Mark II. Forget lenses size and weight…

5 – Only MFT delivers 18fps with continuous AF and 60fps with locked focus.

6 – No other system offers this level of performance at this price point, not even close.

7 – Olympus new E-M1X AF system focus down to -6EV.

8 – E-M1X specifications regarding weather, moisture and dust sealing are referential – there is no other camera on the market offering this level of protection against the elements. Have you ever tried to wash yours under the tap?

9 – AF “deep learning” is not available in any other camera on the market today (Sony a6400 path is similar, nonetheless).

10 – Integrated (electronic) ND filters with this level of accuracy, delivering fabulous results were unheard of until today.

11 – RAW Handheld High Resolution and RAW Tripod High Resolution modes are unique features, delivering stunningly detailed pictures.

12 – Panasonic GH5 is one of the best video tools the world has ever seen, unbeatable price/quality/features/results.

13 – The range of available lenses and accessories is huge – enough to satisfy the needs of the most demanding photographer.

14 – Noise levels are on par with many other systems until 12800/16000 ISO. Need more?

15 – Bokeh depends of many factors; moving your ass around the subject, changing lenses, walking further into/further away will deliver the results you need.

16 – Due to the size of the sensor, flange focal distance and thread diameter, MFT delivers pin sharp images across the entire frame. No other system offers this level of sharpness across the frame.

17 – Yes, you can print massive sized outdoors from an MFT file. Outdoors have been around for more than a century and photographs have been used for decades and decades on this medium.

What MFT will not do for you:

1 – It won’t turn you into a great photographer. If you’re photography sucks, it will continue to be bad like hell.

2 – It won’t make you look like the “great white” predator. If that is your scene buy those FF 600mm monsters, big and noisy FF cameras. It will be impossible not to spot you, even if you wish to go unnoticed.

3 – It won’t break the bank. If you wish to spend a fortune go FF instead.

4 – It won’t make you look like a “professional, seasoned and old fashioned photographer”; you will look like a clever person that saves money, weight and effortlessly walks for miles with a backpack full of hi tech gear… Using MFT gear you’ll look like contemporary photographer taking advantage of today’s technology.

5 – If there is something about you that needs to show off  big phallic objects you’ll be in trouble. Go FF.

6 – If you’re not an early adopter forget it. Innovators already bought the system many years ago. You’ll end buying it when everyone has it and uses it. Probably these clever users will be jumping on to the next big thing when you finally settle for MFT.

Final comment:

You need to be able to abstract yourself from your old beliefs and credos to really understand the benefits of MFT. Bresson’s photography was initially coined as anti graphic by the status quo… Get it? Prejudice cannot be part of the equation.

Photography is about photographers, about emotions, art, technique, sense and sensibility, about inspiration, about life, death, tragedy, joy, faith… Photography is about conveying emotions, passing on ideas and ideals. Photography is, essentially, an art form. Sorry, not everyone can be an artist, much less a great one.

When I switched from FF to MFT do you know what my clients said? Nothing. They didn’t spot the difference.

 

Photograph: Octopus, one of Chef André’s delicacies. What a cook he is!

 

 

Digital manipulation – What is and what isn’t

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Digital manipulation – what is and what isn’t?

Beyond ethics, what can we really consider as acceptable nowadays?

Before we speak about manipulation let’s not forget pure and plain lies. Many photographers have been caught lying about location, context, subject manipulation on their photographs – beforehand this is about ethics, has nothing to do with digital post processing.

In spite of the natural grey area this issue implicates I believe that to make matters simpler and easier there is a perspective we must consider, as long as we are familiar with the analogue/film process.

Plenty of times I read or engage in conversations where it is affirmed that almost everything one can do with Photoshop or with any other imaging editing software is digital manipulation. Well, it is not. For those that have no idea of what is possible within the analogue realm it is hard to realise that plenty of what we can achieve with Photoshop nowadays was also achievable using film development and/or enlarging techniques during the film era.

Just a glimpse of what was possible with film development: using different chemical solutions, altering dilution ratios, changing temperature of the diluted chemicals, increasing or decreasing development time resulted in changes in the shadow and highlight areas of the negative. Furthermore, the fine silver halide particles “changed” when exposed to different chemical combinations/brands, the output changing accordingly. But, even prior to this step we could expose a film one or two EV’s below or above its nominal sensitivity (ISO) changing dynamic range and therefore the shadow/highlight relationship and rendering. We could compensate for this in the development stage or increase the desired effect changing recommended development times.

Once the negative was ready to be enlarged a whole new frontier opened up: more or less sharpness could be achieved changing the aperture in the enlarger’s lens, cropping, recomposing, correction of converging/diverging lines, enhancing shadow or highlight areas using masks or overexposing certain parts of the image. This was a very long process, trial and error, undo was not possible. I spent hours and hours of my life locked inside the darkroom experimenting, enhancing and fine tuning my images. I have to confess that we’ve gained a lot with the digital process, our life being much easier today. Undo is probably the best command the digital era invented.

Last but not the least, print development was the last frontier. And again, different papers combined with different chemicals, temperatures and timing provided exceptionally different results. Selenium toning was just one of the final touches available, changing a print’s colour and making the image more permanent by bonding selenium particles directly to the metallic silver in the emulsion. There were a few different toners usable to finish the prints, all of them providing dissimilar results. The output of fibre-based or resin coated papers was also substantially distinctive.

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Ansel Adams book trilogy “The Camera”, “The Negative”, “The Print” is mandatory if you want to get to know (and learn) about the extraordinary potential of the analogue process. Ansel Adams was a master, second to none when it comes to exposure, development and printing techniques. “Manipulation” of the original image using analogue processes was absolutely mind blogging.

In my opinion, all that we could do to enhance and improve the original image back in those days was acceptable and therefore, my opinion again, acceptable nowadays within the digital medium. I do not consider digital manipulation everything that one can do to improve, enhance and potentiate the final result, starting from a RAW file (JPEG SOOC already have a considerable amount of manipulation/enhancement). I prefer to tag this process as “digital enhancement”, not manipulation. Jerry Uelsmann’s entire photographic carreer was based upon image manipulation using analogue techniques and his work demonstrates what was possible using analogue techniques to heavily manipulate one, or a set of photographs by creating a new reality, a completely new interpretation of a scene, clearly manipulated.

So before adding “digital” to this conversation I believe we must discern enhancement from manipulation. Putting this openly, Adams’ work is the epitome of enhancement and Uelsmann’s work is the embodiment of manipulation.

Of course, being unaware of the history, complexity and potential of the analogue process doesn’t help. Roots are always important, if not critical, for a better understanding of the present.

If you’re not adding or subtracting objects, subjects or any other items to the image or altering those that were present when the shutter was released I do not think you’ll be manipulating. If you’re using image editing software to crop, reframe, for perspective correction, to enhance shadows or recover highlights, to sharpen, to saturate or desaturate you’ll be enhancing the RAW file (the “negative”) and this is not manipulation.

John Gallo

 

What’s in a photo?

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Terror é algo a que nos habituámos nos últimos anos. Sabemos que nenhum lugar é seguro, nenhuma cidade está a salvo. Esta fotografia retrata, de forma teatral, a potencial ameaça que todos enfrentamos nas nossas ruas, aeroportos, teatros, ciclovias. A postura do esqueleto, misto de admiração e terror, parece contrastar com a calma impassível dos muçulmanos que assistem aos movimentos da marioneta com crítica atenção. Os muçulmanos não são todos terroristas, longe disso – sabemos que a maioria do povo muçulmano não subscreve o terrorismo – mas a associação dos elementos nesta imagem parece querer levar-nos a tirar conclusões simplistas, imediatas.

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No mesmo cenário, momentos antes: uma criança crescida demais aninha-se como pode num carrinho de bebé, escondendo-se atrás de um saco gigante de M&M’s, olhando de forma medrosa, desconfiada até, para o esqueleto. Será este um sinal dos tempos? Assimetrias galopantes entre cidadãos do mesmo país, miséria, quase fome e excessos convivendo lado a lado?

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200 F4 L USM. Leicester Square, London.

 

Porto, many, many years ago… With a stunningly fast Canon EOS 1V-HS…

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Porto, many, many years ago… With a stunningly fast Canon EOS 1V-HS… 10 fps…

Ainda mal se falava do digital, tínhamos slides, grandes lentes e grandes câmaras… e 36 fotogramas em cada rolo…

Produzida com uma Canon EOS 1V- HS… despachava um rolo de 36 fotogramas em 3,6 segundos…

Review aqui, para os nostálgicos: http://stephanbednaic.com/blog/post/canon-eos-1v-hs-review/

 

Fisheye frenzy!

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Voltaram a estar na moda, as velhinhas fisheye. Vulgarizadas nos anos sessenta, quem não se lembra da mais famosa de todas, a Nikon 6mm f2.8 Fisheye, a última das quais vendida por €150000,00 (não, não é erro, cento e cinquenta mil Euros) no Reino Unido. Apenas algumas foram produzidas e apenas por encomenda…

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Hoje em dia as propostas são um pouco mais em conta: a excelente Olympus 8mm f1.8 para MFT, a já velhinha mas ainda actual Nikon 16mm f2.8 (já não é produzida tanto quanto apurei), a Canon 15mm f2.8, no que a focais fixas diz respeito.

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A prova de que estão efectivamente na moda é o facto de Canon e Nikon terem apostado nos últimos anos em lentes zoom fisheye, a Nikon 8-15mm e a Canon 8-15mm (ambas muito, muito similares).

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Usadas com algum critério são belíssimas ferramentas criativas, sem dúvida. Ficam aqui algumas imagens que fui produzindo ao longo dos últimos anos com lentes fisheye diversas, em cenários muito diferentes.

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Have fun!…