Monday, May 19, 2008


I'm wondering who was my first family relative to buy a camera and take a photograph ? Whether if it was that original family camera pioneer or perhaps, the first one that took a photograph for artistic reasons, it's nice to think that photographs could be seen as a chronological artistic link within my family.

I'm not sure when I first saw photography as an art form and not just as a way to document an event or record pictures of the family. I don't mind taking the odd photo during family events (except the banal dining table or gift opening poses), but I make the best of having a camera in my hands and look for the more unusual shot, the candids, the unusual perspectives, close-ups, etc.

I'm happy to say, photography is a family hobby.

  • My Dad was a keen photographer and taught me how to use an SLR.
  • My uncle was a photographer with an artistic eye.
  • My brother has taken his fair share of artistic shots.
  • My cousin is the first in the family who has made a living through photography, see
  • My sister-in-law spends a lot of time behind the lens shooting for her blog - Pedestrian Typography.
  • My wife is always looking to capture the elusive sports action shot.
  • My daughter is the latest photographer in the family, her favourite subjects being animals, nature and food.
  • And I'm dabbling in it again too, see my photostream on flickr.

I'm still undecided on the best way to organize, edit and share my photos. At the moment, I'm using a combination of Picasa and Flickr. Flickr seems to have a better online experience and is a better known cyber destination for photographers, while Picasa's desktop application has some easy to use, but reasonably powerful management and editing tools. I should point out at this time, before my wife completely blows her stack, that she is a consultant for Creative Memories and uses Memory Manager software to organize our family photos at home.

For quite a while I've been drawn to online photography galleries and photo blogs. My favourite is a local photographer who I think does a wonderful job of transforming everyday places (many right by my office) and people into lovely works of photographic art. I think this is one thing that draws me to photography - you can walk by a building or park everyday and not notice it's beauty, but when an artistic photo is taken of that place it helps tune your eye to all the beautiful things around us. His photo blog is Daily Dose of Imagery. I can spend a lot of time wandering through the cyber galleries on Flickr, but also love to spend a little time with news photo galleries.

As a lover of tech and toys and always looking for technology upgrades (much to my wife's annoyance). I've been researching new cameras and indirectly finding some great online sources of information, whether you're looking for new equipment or getting the most out of your point-and-shoot digital camera. For instance, after learning a little more about white balance, I've now started to use settings other than auto and getting much better results. I won't go into the technical definition, but it's basically how the colour of your subject is influenced by the light source. I'm pretty sure the concept isn't anything new in photography, but now with digital, the white balance can be adjusted in-camera or left to post processing in your editing software. For an amateur tip, white balance settings are pretty easy to set and are typically designated by words (or images) related to weather or lighting, e.g. cloudy, sunny, tungsten, etc.

The other catalyst to my recent rekindled interest in photography is the Contact Photography Festival that's currently happening here in Toronto. I took my daughter to visit some of the exhibitions at MOCCA a few weeks ago, but we enjoyed our informal visit to the downtown west galleries just as much, especially when you get to ask the photographer a few questions about their work. We especially liked Lucy Molnar Wing and Ramesh Kamath (978 Queen Street West).

A few other favourites:

Robert Burley's photo Demolition of Buildings 65 & 69 has been a key image during the festival and one whose story says a lot about the world of photography today. We saw the print at MOCCA and it has also been reproduced as a mural in the courtyard outside (some of my Flickr pictures show closeups) for the festival. When I first saw the image, it looked like something from 9/11 or The Kennedy Space Center. When I read that it was actually a picture of the demolition of two of Kodak's large manufacturing facilities in Rochester, the picture was clear. Viewed by hundreds of people, the event surely tells the story of change in the digital age.

1 comment:

carolyn sewell said...

Thanks for the plug! Glad to see you're on is truly addictive. I've found the Flickr Uploader (that you can keep on your desktop) makes uploading photos and batch editing them (tags, descriptions, geo mapping, etc.) super duper easy.