A bit of inspiration – Trey Ratcliff

I started to follow Trey Ratcliff at the time when his blog – Stuck in customs became #1 travel photography blog and before he moved from US to New Zealand. He focuses on HDR photography and uploads one new (awesome) photo per day sharing many tips. Two details that I found amazing: all his photos are under Creative Commons Non-Commercial licence and he grew up blind in one eye.

I didn’t access his blog in a while, as in the meantime my interest for photography changed. Funnily enough I never actually tried HDR, but what actually inspired me, and I was glad to find it again, is not as much the photos as his contagious enthusiasm about photography.

Head to see his portfolio,  videos or twitter stream.

Below a few of my favorite Trey Ratcliff photos.

 

Around the globe

Photo projects carrying the viewer around the globe are my favorites – same motif repeated in different contexts is adding a new piece to this puzzle called world.

Peter Menzel in his book Hungry planet travels in 24 countries to picture 30 families with their one week groceries. An insightful way to see the differences of life style and quality of life in just a simple photo. A socio-economic study in pictures.

Gabriele Galimberti makes a step further going even more in detail.  For instance, within the same frame – food – an absolutely lovely project called Delicatessen with love is portraying grandmas around the world with their awesome dishes. Despite the different cuisine, ingredients, kitchens there is a same smile in every image. This looks like certainty now: grandmas are the same everywhere. (Btw, make sure you check the entire gallery – there are also recipes!)

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What impressed me most is the project called Toy stories picturing children and their toys. The stories depicted here are no longer only about socio-economic status, but also about their attitudes, their “properties” as well as the hopes and dreams of the ones who give them the respective toys. The different childhoods – the various us.

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But wait – how come the grandmas are everywhere the same?

Toughts…

… from current readings:

“The moment we want to be something, we are no longer free.”

“The function of education, then, is to help you from childhood not to imitate anybody, but to be yourself all the time.”

“To find out is not to come to a conclusion […] the moment you come to a conclusion as to what intelligence is, you cease to be intelligent. That is what most of the older people have done: they have come to conclusions.”

(Jiddu Krishnamurti – Think on this things)

Changing your everyday lenses

8599981363_3ae1a98b07_bLast week I made a short trip to Salzburg and, because I wanted to travel light, I took with me only the 50mm lens. Somehow by the time I got there, I completely forgot what gear I had and when ready to  take a few landscape photos… of course surprise! It didn’t work as expected (usually I take landscape photos with the 18-55mm). I got a bit frustrated, but this mistake made me realised a few things in and outside of the photography framework:

1. Notice your habits and break them once in a while.

It seems I’ve created some habits that I wasn’t even aware I had – same motifs that I constantly repeat in my photos: long streets, panoramas, markets, buildings. Having formed such habits, it means that you have created a structured way of tackling a new place from the photographic perspective. And, of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing. When you are out of ideas, you can always just activate this pattern. The down side, though, is if you are constantly working this way, you might leave out some unexplored places.

How to get out of your routine? Pick a theme or focus on a certain element during your photo-exploration. It can be people, colours or maybe something more abstract such movements, light/shadow, dimensions etc.

But don’t chose your theme before starting your photo-exploration. Let the place pick the theme for you. Just observe the environment, enjoy it first and then take your camera out of the bag. Otherwise, you might miss the fresh vibe of the place.

2. Use your tools for what they are built.

Or the opposite don’t try to transform them in something they are not. With this I don’t mean don’t use your tools creatively, but rather know them first and use them at their full potential.

It wasn’t easy to break my habits and somehow I was falling back and had the tendency to shoot buildings or bridges and even to start thinking at strategies to get somehow a panorama pic. All this when it would have been easier to take close-ups or maybe portraits as this lens can do best.

And I couldn’t help notice a third point:

3. Real change doesn’t happen if you only change the tools you are working with. It happens if you also change the way you use them.

These observations work in the context of the everyday life as well. Just replace the word lens with point of view or personal filter and here you go. In translation this means: observe your thinking stereotypes and loose them once in a while. Your patterns of thinking might not work outside the walls of your home. Challenge them when you meet new people, visit new places or even when catch-up with old friends. Changes can happen: better understanding, deeper bonding, greater exchanges.

This reminds me also of Einstein’s quote: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Photos to follow.

People & stories

Great evening today at Tricky Women Festival 2013!

I saw the animated documentaries section and I have to say it was pretty hard to choose a favorite. Still, I had the luck to find my first choice online and, of course, now I’m happy to share it.

The movie called “Heirlooms” is an impressive bundle of stories beautifully animated about identity and becoming.

Enjoy!

Dancers among us – dance the life away

Jordan Matter has an amazing portfolio of photos with people in dance poses. But the dancing doesn’t happen, as one might expect, in dance studios or stages, but in settings of the daily life. The project called Dancers among us is celebrating the dancer within us, as Jordan confesses.

And no, there is no Photoshop involved for creating the stunning images. To find out more about the making off check the video below and his blog.

 

 

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