Fujifilm FinePix Z100fd

By Edvarcl Heng

The compact camera seems to have reached the end of its tether. The megapixel race is largely over (consumers are seeing the relationship between increasing megapixel count at the same sensor size and increasing noise) and cameras can't seem to get any smaller.
The good: Chic design; CCD-shift stabilization; useful auction tool; 5x optical zoom. The bad: Irksome menu; overexposed images. The bottom line: The Z100fd is a good looker of a camera, but as they say, beauty is only skin deep.

So instead of practical additions, manufacturers are pushing out zany features. Some Nikon and Sony cams have Wi-Fi built-in. Olympus has digicams that are as tough as nails. Casio is partnering with YouTube. And the Fujifilm Z100fd, well, it's got a camera slider that glides… diagonally.

Yes, the Z100fd is fearless in the face of common slider design philosophy. Sony do it vertically. The first Fujifilm FinePix Z1 and Casio does it horizontal. So the oblique slider must be Fujifilm for thinking out of the box.

Functionally, the diagonal slider works the same as a sideward version--if you pull it from the side. It doesn't work when we tried from the top. But we like it for the glide mechanism moves with a smooth fluid motion.

But the Z100fd is more than a design aberration. It's one of the best-looking compact cameras to gallop out of the Fujifilm stable. In fact, we like to think that its brushed metal finish and straight utilitarian lines puts it on par with the best that Sony's got (the Cyber-shot T200).

It's solid in feel and weighty (138g). The two-tone color scheme chic. Buttons are functional in design with good tactile depth, and that's true even for the too-tiny Display and Playback nubs beneath the scroll wheel.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T200 compact camera

By Rob Thomas

The first thing you see when you pull the T200 out of the box is a great big sticker proclaiming the camera delivers “Full HD 1080” still images. So you would've thought that Sony would make it easy to enjoy this feature. But no - it’s only when you read the instruction book that you discover that the HD connecting cable is an optional extra. Duh.

That’s not to say that the T200 doesn’t have some very nice features. For a start, it looks very smart and if you’ve seen the DSC-T100, you'll have a distinct feeling of déjà vu as they look almost identical. Both cameras use a sliding front cover which protects the lens and powers on the camera when it’s pushed downwards.

Sony's DSC-T200: smart-looking snapper

Along the top of the T200 you'll find the power button, shutter button, a tiny playback key and a zoom lever. At the back, you'll find the 3.5in LCD touchscreen. Actually, it's closer to 3in in reality, because the display has black borders on both sides. Finally, at the bottom is situated a slot for the lithium-ion battery and another for the Memory Stick Duo/Pro card.

Inside, there’s 5x optical zoom, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar lens equivalent to 35-175mm on a 35mm camera, plus the usual Sony offerings: Steady Shot, red-eye reduction and face-detection systems. Image size ranges from 3264 x 2448 down to 640 x 480 pixels, and there’s 31MB of internal memory. The ISO range is from 80 to 3200.

In addition to the 16:9 mode, the DSC-T200 also shoots in 3:2 aspect ratio for postcard-sized prints and can shoot movies at 640 x 480 resolution at 15- or 30fps. There are ten scene selections, including landscape, beach, snow and smile. But more on this later - for now, it's enough to say that if you like lots of manual control, then this is not the camera for you, although you can tinker about with the focus, exposure, white balance, flash and metering, depending on what camera mode you’re in.

Also available in red

If we had to sum up in one word how the DSC-T200 operates it would have to be 'fiddly'. This isn't the most intuitive camera to use, which might come as a surprise as it boasts touchscreen control. Now, touch control can be good, especially if you’re using a microwave to heat up your pizza, but we’re not convinced that it works that well on this camera. For a start, the screen isn't that sensitive and we found that you had to press it fairly hard to get things moving along.

Using the touch menu system involved a lot of tapping, and Sony seems to have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the menu display. In normal display mode, there are more on-screen icons than on a Space Shuttle flight deck and even the simple display format is festooned with icons for image size, timer, recording mode, menu selection, flash mode, macro and display type. There’s also a Home option that lets you select auto adjustment, screen selection, program auto and movie modes.

Setting up the DSC-T200 involves wading through various pages and sub-menus. The power and playback buttons are small and fiddly, and the zoom lever can be frustrating to use as it’s not easy to make fine adjustments with it. Even the cover for the battery and memory card slots proved to be a pig to open and close.

Although it is a case of the 'nice performance, shame it’s a bugger to use', don’t run away with the idea that we didn’t like this camera. Switch on is easy, although it seems ages before the DSC-T200 warms up and you’re left a staring at the white legend “Sony Cyber-shot” on the LCD screen for several seconds before the camera springs into life. But once ready, the DSC-T200 is a pretty fast worker and shutter lag is hardly noticeable.

Picture quality was very good under a wide variety of shooting conditions, including low light. Even with the ISO set at 1600, the DSC-T200 produced sharp images with little noise – we were impressed. The movie mode cut the mustard too, with smooth action and reasonable sound quality.

Two features we really liked might seem a little trivial, but they are fun to use and shouldn’t that be part of photography? The playback mode includes a slideshow, which has the cheesiest music soundtrack we’ve ever heard – it’s so bad, it’s good!

In addition to the face-detection system - which works well - there’s a smile shutter mode which is designed to only capture – you guessed it – smiles. We tried this out and to our surprise it actually worked well. Scowl at the DSC-T200 in smile mode and it refuses to take a shot. Simply open your mouth wide and it doesn’t want to know. Even a half-smile isn’t enough to excite the camera, but when you give it a full smile, it fires off a shot. So hats off to Sony for producing a camera that performs well, even if it isn’t the most friendliest to use.

A bit of curate's egg of a camera. It offers a very good performance and quite a few useful features, including some that are fun to use. But it's let down by a rather temperamental touch screen interface and some fiddly controls.

A camera that delivers good pictures but is let down by a iffy touchscreen system and Multiple Menu Madness Syndrome™...

Rating 85/100

A review of the Samsung NV20 Digital Camera

Samsung have released the NV20 along with two other digital cameras, but this one takes pride of place at the top of the premium NV range.

The Samsung NV20 has a solid, chunky individual feel about it which creates a different look to other typical designs for digital cameras and the black finish is also another aspect that makes it stand out. There is a large 2.5” LCD screen on the reverse as well as two rows of buttons along the side and bottom of the screen. It is not instantly clear what these buttons are for, but when the screen is in playback the menu becomes quite clear. There is also a zoom rocker at the top of the back and a back button which comes in very useful. On top there is a power button, shutter release and a mode dial.

Samsung have included 12.1 mega pixels with the NV20 and a 3x zoom along with an Advanced Shake Reduction Mode, touch-sensitive smart button system and 15 scene modes. The Advanced Shake Reduction mode (ASR) is not to be mistaken for optical stabilisation but and alternative method in which the camera automatically chooses a faster ISO speed to try and compensate for slow shutter speeds, avoiding camera shake. The Face Detection feature on board detects up to 9 faces within an image, then sets the correct focus and exposure as well as remove any red-eye from the shot. 20MB of internal memory is included and images can also be stored on SD memory cards. Personalise your images even further by trimming, resizing, rotating and changing effects to create an image to suit you.

The performance results were a very mixed bag for the Samsung NV20 digital camera, to say the least and although we did manage to get some spectacularly clear results and very bright and sharp images there were a few areas that did slightly disappoint us. Noise started to appear on images at around ISO 200 and to a degree which made the images unusable. The macro function worked brilliantly and close-ups were very impressive indeed with hardly any loss of quality at all. The Advanced Shake Reduction function also worked very well with great results and a definite improved image when comparing shots with the function switched on and off. Overall though, colour was reproduced extremely well and images were of a high standard even with a few small flaws.

What's in the box?
Samsung NV20, Rechargeable battery, Charger, Strap, USB cable, AV Cable, Software CD, User Manual Overall Opinion The Samsung NV20 is a thoughtfully made digital camera that has many impressive features to assist in creating superb images. There are a few minor flaws that can be improved upon given a bit of time and effort, but overall the NV20 produces some great results and is a strong and solid, as well as attractive, camera. Pros+ 12.1 mega pixels+ Advanced Shake Reduction+ Face Detection+ 3x zoom+ 15 scene modes+ Brilliant Macro Function

Cons- Noise at low ISO 200
Picture Quality9/10
Battery Life9/10 Setup Simplicity 9/10
Build Quality10/10
Ease of Use8/10
Overall Rating 4/5

Cameras are getting better and cheaper

By Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY

There's never been a better time to buy a digital camera.Sure, you've heard this before, but consider: Amazon is selling the nifty Canon (CAJ) PowerShot A560 for $129. It has a 7-megapixel sensor (a megapixel is a measurement of a camera's resolution) and a 4X zoom, for getting in close to the action. A year ago, it would have cost over $200.

I picked up a similar model this summer. It is a terrific all-round camera. Many newer point-and-shoot cameras, including Canon's PowerShotline, have solved some early problems. While shutter lag (that annoying time between when you click the shutter and when it actually snaps) is still a problem, it is less severe than it used to be. Exposures are better, focus screens are bigger and video modes are so good they rival video-camera quality.

About 45% of digital cameras are sold in the fourth quarter, says Chris Chute, an analyst at research firm IDC. If you already have your first, second or third camera, and are thinking about upgrading to a new model, here's what you're likely to find this year (as priced at Amazon):

•Bigger LCD screens. Many popular cameras sport 2.5- or 3-inch LCD screens, a great help when you're trying to compose a shot. The screen on Sony's $350 DSC-T200 is 3.5 inches. But it's not just more expensive cameras that have the bigger LCDs. Panasonic's $150 Lumix DMC-LZ7K clocks in at 2.5 inches. Just two years ago, 1.8 inches for the LCD was common.
FIND MORE STORIES IN: IDC Canon Cameras Casio LCD screens LCDS •Image stabilization. The concept is simple: a built-in tool that deals with your shaky hands. Consumers really get it, Chute says. "If you don't want blurry shots, here, try this camera," he says. "And the thing is, it actually works." Many cameras offer image stabilization, and charge more. Canon's PowerShot SD750, for instance, sells for $214, while the comparable SD800 IS (with image stabilization) sells for $240.

•More megapixels. Camera makers up the megapixel count every year to tempt consumers to buy new models. Most people don't need more than 4 megapixels for lightly cropped, regular-size prints.

Most camera models now are in the 6-megapixel to 8-megapixel range, and some go all the way up to professional levels — like Canon's 12-megapixel PowerShot SD950IS ($368) or Casio's 10-megapixel Exilim EX-Z1050, which sells for $220.

The average 6-megapixel point-and-shoot sells for $149 this year, down from $266 a year ago, Chute says. Seven-megapixel price drops are equally as drastic: $199 this year, from $349 a year ago.

Fujifilm FinePix F440

We take a look at Fujifilms's tween-friendly Finepix z10fd, designed to blog your 13-year-old's bar mitzvah photos, or beam shots at a high school dance with its IR sensor. Was it as easy as Fujifilm makes it sound?

Design & Interface – Very Good

We can definitely see the Finepix z10fd fitting right in with the MySpace set; the variety of colors (7 to choose from), metallic finish and smooth lines make it appealing to the eye. The "Twin Ring" button structure on the back panel of the camera is both attractive and convenient, its simplistic design making the interface easy to navigate. Our favorite design choice, however, is probably the decision to include compatibility with both SD and SDHC memory cars in addition to the Fujifilm xD standard.

The 2.5-inch display is average, providing representations of our images but failing to blow us away. We suspect this may have something to do with the thick acrylic layer protecting the screen; for us, the tradeoff is worth it. The 150,000-pixel is pretty sub-standard, but Fujifilm is going for low-cost, and the LCD is the easiest place to start.

The interface hasn't changed much from the standard Finepix menus, but the slideshow, scrapbook and micro thumbnail view options are probably the most interesting of the camera's features. The slideshow could be played with music, and both the scrap book and thumbnail views allowed us to view a lot more images than we'd ever imagined looking at on a camera's LCD screen.

We love the slide-open front panel that doubles as a lens cover and on/off switch, but we imagine that sliding it in and out of pockets may lead to some unwanted powering-on, especially for the skinny jeans set. The aforementioned "Twin Ring" button design on the back worked great, and the zoom buttons on the top ring, while not our favorite setup for zooming, worked well too. The design makes it possible for the z10fd to be one of the few cameras without a selector wheel or switch of some sort, which keeps in line with the simplicity theme of the camera. We wish the tripod mount would have been centered with the lens, something we’re not seeing often enough.

Shooting Features – Good

From the get-go, we expected the shooting features on the Finepix z10fd to be limited. We were only half wrong. Traditional specs, like 20+ scene modes, a multitude of aspect ratios and manual aperture and shutter speed settings are missing, but included are unique features like the IR beam and settings that ideally pre-formatted images for blogs and auction sites. The "Blog mode" crops and resizes photos in-camera for instant uploading from a computer, and "Auction mode" allows users to combine multiple images into one to quickly post to an auction site like eBay.

In addition to the 14 presets, there was also an Auto and a Manual setting. The manual mode allows for adjustment of white balance, exposure compensation and ISO levels. There is only one widescreen (3:2) setting, but you can choose from 6 different quality settings, and next to each one was a number representing how many pictures you can take at that quality. The VGA video offered by the z10fd is standard, but we were very disappointed that we couldn't zoom during video recording, something we've come to expect.

Spec-wise, the Z10fd is incredibly average; the 7.2 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom lens, VGA video and face detection can be found on countless other cameras. We liked that it has 54MB of internal memory, but the low ISO setting (max of ISO 1600) and the 2.5-inch LCD with only 150,000 pixels are disappointing.

That being said, we found that the lack of shooting features kept the menus a bit streamlined, and much less confusing than many cameras we’ve seen. Keeping in mind the audience, we thought the shooting features are appropriate, even if the images did suffer a bit from the lack of options.

Image Quality - Good

Generally, when a camera has an internal zoom lens that does not protrude from the body, the convenience gained in the form factor is usually taken out on the quality of the images. We can’t say we’re impressed with the z10d’s lens; many of the shots we took were subpar and not suitable for distribution. We were however, pleasantly surprised occasionally, and frequently, only a little tinkering was required to get a decent image (it goes without saying that the “little tinkering” is all the tinkering possible.)


Indoor shot taken in 'Text' SCN modeWe took this shot in this mode simply to try to figure out where this mode would actually be useful; other than taking spy shots of some ultra-classified document like in some spy movie, we had trouble finding one. It seemed to capture the text well enough, and all the letters were clearly legible, but why the massive .tiff default format? Our sample shot is 18MB, we don’t recommend clicking on it from a dial-up connection.
Indoor shot taken in 'Museum' SCN modeWe’re not sure this mode does anything other than disable any visible lights or sounds from the camera for incognito shooting in quiet locales like a museum, but it handled this shot fairly well. Taken with less than ideal natural light and no flash, the image escaped any serious shadows (the shading is part of the mural) but still could benefit from proper lighting, like in a museum, as supposed to our Brooklyn apartment.
Indoor shot taken in 'Flowers' SCN modeWith no “Food” setting for our obligatory fruit/vegetable cart shot, we selected the next most logical settting, “Flowers.” Our flash is slightly noticeable in the forefront of the frame, but the colors are represented richly, with the bright colors (red peppers) looking best, but the variations of green remaining completely discernable.

Indoor shot taken with 'Macro' setting in Auto modeThe “Macro” setting on point-and-shoot cameras is one of the toughest to do well, because the tiny sensors and lenses usually fail when you get too close. Without enough light, the flash was necessary and noticeable, but the details and color in the shot were still impressive. The little brown spots in the center of the pear remained individual spots, only smudging together in places where they actually blended together. If it weren’t for the unavoidable spot of glare, this image would be pretty respectable.
Overall, the video experience on the z10fd was average. We were troubled by the lack of a zoom capability while recording, and the maximum resolution of 640x480 (VGA) bored us. In-camera editing was almost non-existent; the only changes to be made to photos on the z10fd were cropping.

Image Transfer - Good

Fujifilm kept it simple with their software installation, packaging everything into a single install. The FinePix viewer is fairly basic, and seems to be focused around getting the user to send their pictures over the internet to be printed and mailed back to them. The viewer’s minimal editing options include cropping, text addition and rotation, but that’s about it. A click of the “Improve Image” button opens the FinePix Studio software, but it’s only for RAW files, which the z10fd does not support. We can’t see ourselves using the software frequently, unless we’re ordering prints. It’s OK as an ablum viewer, but beyond that, the software is pretty “blah.” Transfer speeds were decent though, and we saw no noticeable lag when uploading photos with the included USB 2.0 cable.

Accessories – Good

Accessories bundled with the z10fd are pretty standard, including a USB 2.0 cable, an A/V cable, a wrist strap, battery, battery charger and a software CD-ROM. Quite possibly the most annoying and inconvenient way to charge a battery, the external battery charger bothers us. We prefer a dock that charges as well as syncs our camera, but at the very least, we’ll settle for a charging USB cable.

HP Photosmart R742 Compact Digital Camera

The inexpensive R742 is a cinch to use, but its image quality could be better. Comes in silver, black, and dark blue.

At $150, the HP Photosmart R742 is an affordable 7-megapixel digital camera. It's available in a choice of three colors--silver, black, and dark blue--but you may also find it in other colors at some large retailers. For example, Best Buy offers a pale-blue version.

The camera is very easy to use, in part because it's so simple. The menus offer just a few options divided into categories for still capture, video recording, playback, and general camera settings. Expert photographers may find such basic features limiting, but novices should be happy leaving the R742 in its fully automatic mode or choosing from among the eight scene modes.

The R742 looks similar to many other compact point-and-shoot cameras (another in the Photosmart line is the R727, for example). A 2.5-inch LCD stretches across the back; although the camera lacks an optical viewfinder, this screen is clear enough for composing your shots in all but the brightest sunshine. The tough metal body looks like it can stand a few knocks, but the mode slider on our test model was a little loose--and seemed a tad flimsy.

The camera is very easy to use, in part because it's so simple. The menus offer just a few options divided into categories for still capture, video recording, playback, and general camera settings. Expert photographers may find this limiting, but novices should be happy leaving the R742 in its fully automatic mode or choosing from among the eight scene modes.

At this price, you don't get fancy features such as face detection for automatically focusing portraits. A single focus point in the center of the image means working the old-fashioned way when taking photos with off-center subjects: hold the shutter release halfway to focus and then compose your shot.

While shooting is almost too simple, you get plenty of in-camera editing features for working on your images. The camera lets you remove red-eye, crop and rotate, change color tones, and apply some simple borders. The built-in help system offers a few words of explanation for every operation, plus many pages of useful information on shooting with the camera. The unit also comes with HP's excellent Photosmart software for managing and editing your images. HP includes a two-piece charger for the lithium ion battery, which survived very well to complete 334 shots in our tests.

The R742 produced well-below-average results in PC World Test Center evaluations, however. Our shots were quite blurry, and we saw lots of distortion in fine details. But its battery life of 334 shots was about 16 percent better than the average for the compact cameras we tested in the same batch.

The HP Photosmart R742 makes an adequate choice for beginning photographers or those just wanting to capture the moment with a minimum of fuss, but you can get a much better camera for not much more money.

--Paul Jasper

Olympus Stylus 820

This camera is only water-resistant, unlike Olympus's dunkable Stylus SW models, and its buttons emphasize style over function.

The compact Olympus Stylus 820 (about $250, list) seems like an odd duck in Olympus's digital camera lineup--and a duck out of water. It's water-resistant, meaning that it'll survive raindrops and occasional splashes, but if you accidentally drop this point-and-shoot in a birdbath, you may be shopping for a new camera for your ornithological outings.

If you're really worried about your camera surviving the elements, you should probably be looking at Olympus's Stylus 770 SW and Stylus 790 SW, both of which are waterproof to a depth of 10 feet; they're also shockproof from a height of 5 feet. Or, if you're looking to save money, you could consider Olympus's FE series, including the FE-280 we reviewed at the same time; it costs about $50 less.

The Stylus 820 does have a 5X zoom lens, which is 2X longer than those on the other Olympus models (and most other compact cameras). But it has the same in-camera Help Guides as on the FE-280, which present descriptions of photographic tasks; when you pick one, the camera adjusts settings appropriately. Like the FE-280 and the Stylus SW series, you can get the Stylus 820 in a few different colors; the 820 comes in bright red, baby blue, black, and silver.

The control buttons on the back of the camera are very slippery; compared to the 15 other cameras we tested in the same group, I found the 820's buttons the most difficult to press. In addition, the buttons are really shiny, and as a result, I found the text on them hard to read. The zoom button is a thin rocker switch about the width of a piece of linguine; the camera's mode dial sits just below the telephoto end of the switch, and the ridges around the edge of the mode dial makes pressing the zoom uncomfortable.

The Stylus 820 takes a pretty good picture, though. In its test group of 16 compact cameras, it earned the highest scores for color accuracy and exposure quality. On the other hand, its marks in distortion and sharpness tests, despite its 8-megapixel sensor, were below average. Judges overlooked those problems and gave it the highest score for overall quality in that test group (the image quality score in our test reporttakes all the scores into account, not just the single overall quality score). The camera lasted for 221 shots in our battery life scores, or about 70 shots below the average for our test group.

The Stylus 820 is flashy, but if you're going to pay for its weatherproof features, you might as well opt for one of the Stylus SW models and get true protection from the elements.
For an overview of similar cameras, see our chart of Top 10 Compact Cameras.

--Alan Stafford


Gift photography books

The promise of a lavish photography book is that it can remove you from the here and now, if only for a spell. So if you choose to cast that spell on a friend, just consider their passion (some would refer to it as interests) and browse through these titles. A match makes a perfect gift.


POOLSIDE WITH SLIM AARONS (Abrams, $75, by Slim Aarons and Getty Images) The late Slim Aarons called his work "photographing attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places." Nice. This full-color coffee-table tome reveals the "jet set" as a bikini-clad "wet set" at splashy international retreats.

Look for Kirk Douglas and Cheryl Tiegs and Slim's wife, Rita, whose Hollywood pool is deliciously decked for Christmas, in pics taken over five decades beginning in the late 1950s.

THE SOPRANOS: The Complete Deluxe Edition (Time Inc., $39.95, by Brett Martin) If the measure of a TV show's popularity is the obsession it generates for its trivia, the "Sopranos" may never die. This coffee-table remembrance doesn't provide much that fans of the show don't already know, but it does continue the conversation. It feels like sitting around with a bunch of fellow fans, chatting and reminiscing. "Glory Days," Tony Soprano-style.

THE KENNEDYS: Portrait of a Family (CollinsDesign, $29.95, by Richard Avedon and Shannon Thomas Perich) More than 75 never-before-seen images from Richard Avedon's iconic sittings with JFK and family, just weeks before he was inaugurated, offer admirers an intimate peek inside the crafting of the Kennedy legend at a pivotal moment in history. Numerous outtakes, accompanied by notes and anecdotes detailing everything from Jackie's wardrobe choices to the family's interactions on- and off-camera, are as much of a treat for fans of Avedon's work as they are for those fascinated by the Kennedys themselves.

THE HERE AND NOW: The Photography of Sam Jones (HarperEntertainment, $39.95, by Sam Jones) Celebrity snapper Sam Jones captures some of the world's most recognizable faces in a dramatic series of portraits that's a visual greatest hits collection. There's plenty here for Hollywood aficionados, from shots of Matt Damon caked in mud, to the late Anna Nicole Smith displaying her baked goods. George Clooney fans in particular will enjoy his numerous appearances.

The actor offers his stamp of approval with a brief but droll foreword and, where Clooney leads, we usually follow.

Sherryl Connelly, Robert Dominguez, Joe Dziemianowicz, David Hinckley, Patrick Huguenin, Eloise Park

Photography should develop people’s capacity to see from all sides

As the party faithful gather for the 52nd national conference of the ANC in Polokwane, South Africans will face a ceaseless barrage of stereotypical political photos in the media.

“We are obliged to experiment,” proposed Alexander Rodchenko. It was 1928 and the multi-talented Russian artist was involved in a heated public debate over the daring verticality of his photographs.

Not only was he accused of plagiarising visual experiments common in Europe, he was also denounced as a proponent of “bourgeois formalism”, this in an era when Russian ideologues railed against “fake setups that obstruct the meaning of photography and cheapen reality”.

Rodchenko defended himself bravely: “Photography — the new, rapid, concrete reflector of the world — should surely undertake to show the world from all vantage points, and to develop people’s capacity to see from all sides.”

Thoroughly immersed in the possibilities of what it meant to be progressive and modern, he rejected the horizontal view — “of man standing on Earth, looking straight ahead” — in favour of pictures that jolted the senses.

This photo, part of a series depicting “New Moscow”, showcases his preferred oblique style, of seeing things “from above down” and “from below up”. Unfortunately, Rodchenko’s particular way of looking didn’t win him many friends. Three years after joining the influential October circle of artists, he was expelled in 1932.

Years later, the distinction of Rodchenko’s vision has been retrieved. Earlier this month a private European collector paid R628000 at a Christie’s auction in London for a vintage print of this photo — a duplicate also appears in a collection in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Although small change compared with the R19.2million paid for a rare photo by Edward Steichen last year, and not without irony given Rodchenko’s strong Leninist views, it is a vindication of a life committed to showing more than the plainly factual. — Sean O’Toole


New threat to stock photo sales

By Ian Hardy
Reporter, BBC Click

Stock photography - the pictures used by companies on packaging, leaflets, and websites - used to sell for thousands of dollars. Changing technology has meant you can now pick up these images very cheaply. But not everyone is happy with the development.

Shannon Fagan is one of New York's top stock photographers.

His goal is to produce photographs that evoke the message potential clients want their packaging or product to convey.

When he goes on a shoot he finances it himself. Location fees, equipment rental, and staffing costs can run into thousands of dollars per day.

"We have up to five models, a make-up artist, a stylist, sometimes there is an art director, sometimes the producer is on set, sometimes the producer is off on a different location. There is a photo assistant and then there is sometimes a production assistant who is in charge of the paperwork," says Fagan.

Shannon sells most of his photos as exclusives or "rights managed" images.
Clients pay a premium to use his photos exclusively and prevent them from appearing anywhere else.

Snap job

But his livelihood is under attack thanks to a proliferation of websites dedicated to amateur and semi-pro stock photography called "microstock".

All you need to turn your precious collection of memories into saleable images is a super fast scanner, a reliable internet connection, and written permission from your subjects.
The steady march of technology means that the more recent images have been snapped with a four megapixel or better digital camera.

Smart tools on the latest compact cameras also mean that amateur snappers do not have to be very skilled.

Shutterstock claims to have over 2.5m royalty free photos

"The auto function on cameras has really allowed a wide range of photographers to get instant access to taking great photos," Jon Feinstein from Shutterstock, a stock photography website.
"They don't have to learn light metering or the large technical issues beforehand. They can still produce images that are close to the quality that seasoned professionals would be shooting," he says.

Every time a file is bought and downloaded from a microstock website the photographer gets paid a nominal amount. The market place for cheap images is growing fast and quality is no longer a priority.

Because almost anyone can produce sophisticated leaflets, newsletters, blogs and websites a so the customer base for microstock has ballooned.

"Stock photographers are really a new generation," says Auriga Bork from online training library "They are having interesting ideas and more meaningful content. It is not necessarily a technically perfect photo any more. It is a lot more than that now."
MS Bork's advice for those that want to get into microstock photography is to be original - especially if they want to make money from it.

Support the artists

The microstock websites claim they are not affecting the highly paid pro-stock snappers.
"We're targeting a different market," says Stephen Kapsinow from Stockxpert, another stock photography website. "We're targeting a more consumer orientated market - non-profit, religious groups, school teachers - people who would not be paying hundreds of dollars for images."

Unfortunately, we need to be paid to survive. I have seen very little evidence, if any, that anyone can thrive on a microstock income

And there are those who claim that the growth of microstock has opened up a previously closed world. was set up after founder Jon Oringer became frustrated with his lack of opportunities as a semi-pro photographer.

"I had a collection of 30,000 photographs," he says. "I went looking for a place to sell them. The top agencies didn't return my phone calls.

"When I put them online to sell them at the price point I wanted to sell them, hundreds of other photographers started e-mailing me saying they wanted to sell them too," he says.

But for the stock photographers, the growth of microstock has not been so welcome.
"If photographers, like any artist, are going to continue to invest and create and be involved and if the business want to see the types of images from professional photographers that are really extraordinary then they are going to have to support the artists," says Betsy Reid from the Stock Artists Alliance which represents professional stock photographers.

Shutterstock claims to have 80,529 photographers"Unfortunately, we need to be paid to survive. I have seen very little evidence, if any, that anyone can thrive on a microstock income," says Betsy Reid from the Stock Artists Alliance.

Microstock has also put pressure on professional photographers like Shannon Fagan. He now has to produce 60 saleable shots in one session rather than the 10 he used to aim for and the budget cuts affect his entire operation.

"My fees are dropping. I presented that to the agencies that sell the photos, said this is a problem. There is nothing they can do about it. It is not their problem. It gets transferred to me, the crew, the models, the locations," he says.

But microstock websites seem unstoppable and are already moving into other areas such as cheap video clips, ready-made backgrounds, and graphic images that can be used for consumer and corporate projects.

Together with better software solutions and faster hardware they are creating a whole new generation of designers, powered by technology that is within everyone's reach.


Nimoy talks photography at book fest


Millions of Americans, and perhaps billions worldwide instantly recognize TV icon Leonard Nimoy as Spock from the immortal Star Trek series and the widely popular films that spun off from that enterprise. But attendees at the 2007 Jewish Book Festival saw another side to Nimoy, his impressive career as an accomplished photographer of unusual subjects.

Back in 2002, he published Shekhinah, which contained highly provocative photographs of women in various settings who represented to Nimoy different aspects of the Shekhinah, the femine aspect of the Divine. Because many of the photographs were erotic in imagery, Nimoy drew both praise and criticism for that earlier work. In 2007, his follow-up collection of photographs, The Full Body Project, was the subject of his talk — as well as the subject of considerable pro and con "buzz" at the Festival Book Shop and the corridors of the JCC during the early part of the 11-day event.

Those among the nearly 800 who heard Nimoy discuss the background to both the Shekhinah book and The Full Body Project, which includes several nude photographs of "full-figure-plus" sized models, included many who had questioned why the book was featured and who considered the photographs to be in poor taste or inappropriate for the Festival. One patron repeatedly approached the St. Louis Jewish Light to voice his negative opinion of Nimoy's book, and another said she felt that the book should be removed from sale. Marcia Evers Levy, director of the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival said the festival's commitee "has a strong tradition of opposing censorship in any form and a commitment to presenting a variety of subjects and themes among our selected authors."

Nimoy's relaxed and friendly manner, and his detailed explanation of what led to his Full Body Project book, largely endeared him to the audience, including the patron who repeatedly questioned Nimoy's reasons for going forward with the project. Nimoy, backed up with a Power Point video presentation, shared with the audience his interest in photography which goes back to his childhood when he received the gift of an old-fashioned camera. "I have been at it, taking pictures since I turned 13 in 1944, taking a picture of my grandfather and then enlarging it into a 5 x 7 print," Nimoy said, adding, "since about 1970, I started studying photography seriously. I had been doing Star Trek, and went to UCLA to take fine art photography. At first I took pictures at birthdays, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, but then wanted to do some serious work."

Nimoy fascinated and amused his audience with his description of how his Jewish upbringing influenced his decision to have Spock, as a Vulcan on the Star Trek series, use the sign used by the Cohaynim, the Jewish priestly class, during traditional services. "My Dad took me to synagogue, and told me to keep my eyes shut when the Cohayn made that gesture. Of course, being a kid, I took a peek. I asked why we were not supposed to look and was told that at that point in the service, the Shekhinah, or female presence of God was supposed to enter the sanctuary, and its blinding light was dangerous to behold."

With those memories still vivid in his mind, Nimoy worked with striking female models for his Shekhinah project. Because some of the poses juxtaposed such images with Jewish practices, such as putting on tefillin, Nimoy said that his scheduled appearance at the Jewish Federation in Seattle was canceled when he was told not to show any of the pictures during his scheduled talk. "The Federation and I agreed to disagree, and a Reform rabbi in Seattle did invite me to give my talks with the photos as part of it. The Seattle Times newspaper did a b
ig story on how I was censored, and the incident was even featured in an episode of Saturday Night Live."
Nimoy said his interest in doing The Full Body Project started when "I was approached in San Francisco by a woman who asked why nearly all of my female models were of a certain body type. She said she and her friends, who included office workers, computer specialists, etc., were 'full-figured' exotic dancers, and wondered if I would consider using them as models. They called themselves 'The Fat-Bottomed Revue,' and we decided to go forward with the project in an art gallery in San Francisco."

Nimoy called his models "wonderful, happy women," who were enthusiastic, professional and cooperative in the project. Many of the photographs are based on paintings or photos taken by famous artists of the past, including Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase, a work by Matisse called The Dancers, and high fashion photos taken by Herb Ritz."

Nimoy added that the book was designed to demonstrate that various body images can be artistically pleasing, and to counteract the obsession with body image that he calls destructive. "In yesterday's New York Times, there was an article headlined 'Chubby Gets a Second Look,' and there have been several articles about the health dangers of being excessively thin and the health benefits of being somewhat overweight. In our culture, billions of dollars are invested in advertisements telling women they don't look right. Beauty, in our culture, is defined as being thin, but it was not always the case." Nimoy pointed out that in the 18th and 19th and early 20th centuries, female models tended to be full-figured.

In response to a question from a physician in the audience who was concerned that the book could be seen as advocating for morbid obestity, which is dangerous to health, Nimoy stressed that he was aware of the health risks of obesity, and his book was not intended to promote greatly excessive weight. "While there is evidence that moderately overweight people may be healthier than thinner people, certainly there is strong evidence that excessive or morbid obesity can and does lead to many health problems," Nimoy said.
"I'm really glad I came to hear this talk," said the previously critical attendee. "Not only did I understand his project better, he was so warm and friendly, it was impossible not to like him and respect his motives. You really have to give authors a chance to explain the background to their work if you don't get it at first."


Mountaineer-photographer Mountaineer-photographer Carolyn Guild takes up father's hobby and brings 'memories back'

By Brandon Griggs

As a girl growing up near San Diego, Carolyn Guild was into horses, not photography. That didn't stop her father, a doctor who snapped photos in his spare time, from trying to pass his hobby along to his daughter. "It was his passion," Guild says. "He was always giving me cameras and saying, 'Take pictures. Bring memories back.' " It took decades for Guild to fully heed his advice. But after her dad died in 2001, she used part of her inheritance to buy professional camera equipment. And in recent years, as she's camped in southern Utah's deserts and climbed peaks across western North America, she's brought along her new cameras to capture striking scenes of nature - many of them inaccessible to Mountaineer-photographer Carolyn Guild, climbing in the Bugaboo Mountains of British Columbia. (Whitney Guild) the casual photographer.

Now Guild, who lives part of each year in Big Cottonwood Canyon, has assembled these photographs for her first solo show, on display through Jan. 10 at the Kimball Art Center in Park City. The exhibition features some 30 images, all in luminous black and white. Some subjects, like Bryce Canyon or Balanced Rock in Arches National Park, will be familiar to most Utahns. Yet as seen through Guild's lens, with her eye for composition and penchant for 3 a.m. shoots, they appear fresh.

"Her photos struck me immediately," says Pamela Crowe-Weisberg, the Kimball's executive director. "They're so artistic and so sculptural. They're not just landscapes. She takes scenes that you've seen photographed [before]...and gives them this interesting perspective. They're like works of art."

If you told Guild 20 years ago that she'd be earning a living as a photographer, she might not have believed you. Her passion then was training thoroughbred racehorses and competing in show jumping, an equestrian event in which horse and rider traverse an arena course, leaping over fences. When she wasn't riding, she was camping somewhere in the wilderness.

Carolyn Guild's photographs will be on display through Jan. 10 at the Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Ave. in Park City. Admission is free. Guild will be at the center to discuss her work with visitors Dec. 28 from 6 to 9 p.m. during Park City's Gallery Stroll. For more information, call 435-649-8882 or visit

Then, in the mid-1990s, she went back to school to study geology. She was planning on teaching when she met mountaineering guide Whitney Guild while surfing in Encinitas, Calif., and fell in love. Thrilled by his love of adventure and the remote outdoors, she married him in 1997. "He's the first man I've ever dated who says he loves camping and really does. The others would want to stay in campgrounds, which to me isn't camping," Guild says. "I'm a hermit, and I like being out in nature with just my husband and my camera and my dog."

With her husband's guidance and equipment, Guild discovered far-flung locales - some reachable only by helicopter - that provided her spectacular new scenery to

A moon over Bryce Canyon, shot by mountaineer-photographer Carolyn Guild, whose work is on display through January at the Kimball Art Center in Park City. (Courtesy Carolyn Guild)photograph. She climbed the rugged Bugaboo Mountains in British Columbia and the Selkirk range that extends from northern Idaho into Canada. One of her best-known images depicts Pigeon Spire, a jagged granite peak in the Bugaboos that required an entire day to climb.

"I'm willing to climb or hike or be late at night at a lot of places most people don't get to," says Guild, who splits her time between Utah and a beach house in Baja, Mexico. "That's what makes my photography different."

Although Guild shoots digital images, not film, snapping photos in frigid temperatures on windy mountaintops presents its challenges. She shoots at high shutter speeds and steadies her camera on logs to minimize

Bugaboo Mountains in British Columbia, shot by mountaineer-photographer Carolyn Guild, whose work is on display through January at the Kimball Art Center in Park City. (Courtesy Carolyn Guild)blurring. And she can't get any moisture on her lens, because it'll freeze.

Guild's photographic career took off after friends and acquaintances began asking to buy her prints. Inspired by Ansel Adams, whose work she has studied, the self-taught photographer shoots in black and white because she likes how it brings out nature's stark beauty.

"There's no color to distract your eye," she says. "I try to see in black and white. When light shines on a peak or breaks through the clouds, it does something to me. It's a feeling that's hard to describe. I just hope that [viewers of my photographs] can see the beauty in what I've tried to make."

People have told Guild they can "feel the cold" in her mountain photographs. She hopes people will be inspired enough by her photos to want to help preserve the wilderness areas they depict. Perhaps most importantly, she knows her late father would be proud of her work.

"When people ask me what my photography makes me feel, I tell them it makes me feel my dad. He was my best friend. And I just know that he knows what I'm doing," she says. "I've actually felt him telling me, 'That's it! You've got it.' "

The Monumental India

Kishore Singh / New Delhi

Size matters, but so does content when it comes to large format books and equally glitzy pricing.

A few days into the launch of his The Monumental India Book, photographer Amit Pasricha was surprised by a phone call from a Spanish count in Paris who had bought the book and then traced his number from the net.

“He was probably sloshed even though it was afternoon there,” grins one of India’s famously reticent photographers, “but he loved the book and had taken the trouble to trace me and tell me that.”

It’s something Pasricha might just have to get used to. For years, he has been contributing his pictures for illustrated publishing, an euphemism for the more common but no less pejorative term, coffee table books.Those were, well, nice enough pictures in nice enough books, but nothing that would get people, even less Spanish counts, excited enough to start calling through a haze of cocktail vapours.

But with Monumental India, Pasricha has broken that mould. It is a zinger of a book for a photographer, almost entirely consisting of panoramas of landscapes and monuments in north India. The places, or at least most of the places selected by Meera Ahuja of The Shoestring Publisher, for whom this is her debut book, are almost clichés in themselves — it is the width and surprising depth and lushness of each picture that makes the difference.

Pictorial books on India are hardly new and over the years publishing houses, led by Roli Books which pioneered this form of publishing in the country, have been filling shelves with a mix of forgettable touristy folios and more distinguished tomes.

Photographer Raghu Rai’s eponymous Taj Mahal book got him a lot of attention and equally speculation about the posed affect of a woman drenched in the rain with the Taj in the background.

Other titles followed, on the Sikhs and on Khajuraho, even though publisher Pramod Kapoor of Roli says these books were hardly in the category of bestsellers.And yet, that’s the transition high quality pictorial books have now made as they become works of art in themselves, and are expensively priced as much for deterrence as for enhancing their value. Pasricha’s book is being sold at an introductory price of Rs 9,995 and will be priced at Rs 12,000 beginning January 2008. Kapoor explains it as a worldwide trend.

“Most of our books,” he says, “were a part of what is called promotional publishing, where a book is notionally priced at, say, £9.99, but from the day it goes on sale, it is at a discounted price of £4.99. This form of publishing collapsed in the West two-three years ago.”

Fortunately for him and a few others, that coincided with a trend towards the making of “larger books”. The tourist trade in pictorial paperbacks continues, but Kapoor says, “We are doing more expensive books now.” Er, why? “Because with an advancement in photography, everyone is a photographer today,” explains the publisher, “which is why you need the kind of books that might have been considered a risk earlier.”

If anything, these books are proving otherwise. Roli’s Made for Maharajas, a beautifully packaged tome on the fashion and jewellery houses and establishments that created tableware and baubles exclusively for the princely houses of India, and which was nominated among the best books of 2005 by Time, has been reprinted with 15,000 copies after the first edition of 10,000 copies sold out, and “we will probably reprint in spring again”.

Sold in a leather box that is not quite Louis Vuitton, at Rs 4,500, the book has made a killing, especially since time and effort rather than cost went into its making with a wealth of archival pictures.

Yet, “India cannot sustain more than two such books a year”, insists Meera Ahuja of Shoestring, who also explains that an international co-edition allows you the freedom to go ahead and publish, but if you are on your own, chances are the book “will not be financially viable”. It’s easy to see why. Prabir Purkayastha spent eight years shooting pictures for Ladakh, experimenting with films, working in the winter, freezing half to death in sub-zero temperatures at night.

Published by Timeless, the book priced at Rs 11,500 for the regular edition and Rs 17,500 for a special edition, is still to recover its costs. This despite Purkayastha taking on the project part-time (he was working with advertising agency Mudra). The 3,000 copies of the book have still to sell out, and already its photographer, who has taken a long break from his corporate career, has been working on another book for three years.

Aiming for a summer launch, the new book will probably raise the bar further. “When I raise the camera to my eye,” says Purkayastha, “I want to see art within art, the aesthetics within the visual, and I need to raise the bar by many, many notches.”

But what Ladakh did for him was provide him a platform for galleries in the West who are now keen to exhibit his work and sell limited editions for as much as Rs 3-3.5 lakh each.

Already, all 10 copies of the picture on the cover — a monk seemingly embracing the light from the heavens — have sold out. It is such collaborative associations that photographers are now looking out for.

“Pricing is a dodgy thing in India,” says Purkayastha, but galleries such as Bodhi, Tasveer, Vadehra and Nature Morte have brought about some semblance and rationalisation now. But, says Purkayastha, the time is not far when you will have “small, limited edition books supported by private collectors or by corporate houses”.

That’s happening already. Delhi Art Gallery has been commissioning books on artists for some time, but it is Art Alive which has raised the barrier with its Masters series featuring sculptor K S Radhakrishnan, and artists Thotta Vaikuntam and S H Raza, but it is its more recent book, Faces of Indian Art (Rs 6,500), which has Nemai Ghosh photographing 52 senior artists in their studios, that is the more monumental work.

Artist Satish Gupta chose to self-publish what is arguably India’s most expensive art catalogue in a sense, when he launched a 700-copies edition of Satish Gupta complete with original, signed works of art forming part of the book for Rs 27,500. The book has practically sold out.

“But these are not commercial ventures,” points out Roli’s Kapoor, “they have some support.”

He agrees that with more disposable incomes, younger people are now spending more money on books. It’s one reason their Kite’s Eye View of India by French photographer Nicholas Chorier has moved so rapidly despite a prohibitive price of Rs 2,975.

Already, within two months of its launch, the 32,000 copies internationally have sold out (5,000 in India), and a second edition is in the works. “It would have been inconceivable five years ago,” says Kapoor.

It doesn’t make it any easier for photographers though, who say the value doesn’t match their expectations. Pasricha, for instance, has been working on several simultaneous projects over the years.

Monumental India fell into his lap even while he has been working on pet project Indiawide, a series of images that require him to pan from a panoramic head atop the tripod. Each picture is made up of as many as 12 shots selected, in turn, from some 120 frames. It isn’t easy considering one photograph may require as many as three hours on the same spot.

“And if you find there was a better location,” grins Pasricha, “you can only curse your luck!” No wonder Indian Weddings and another book on Delhi photographed from the height of fire engine ladders (imagine getting the permissions!) have been so long in the making.

Eventually, “to be successful, a project has to be viable”, he says, “just praise is not enough”. Like Purkayastha, therefore, he is in touch with galleries like Belgravia in London for selling limited edition prints from his books.

They may not be easy to sell, but it’s not proving too difficult either — one collector has made him an offer from the unpublished India-wide for a Holi picture taken in Brindavan provided Pasricha sells him all 10 prints — at Rs 2 lakh each.

It is a moot point then that Indian photographers might be pricing themselves out of the market. “Some better-known international photographers are less expensive,” insists Kapoor, while pointing out that his publishing house has used the archival pictures formula successfully.

“Archival publishing is personally driven,” he says, “there are so many untapped archives.” It was those pictures that formed the bulk of The Unforgettable Maharajas. “We went from one princely state to another, sourced museums and collections in London,” says Kapoor, “it’s a book that cannot be replicated.”

Those archival pictures will be seen in a gamut of forthcoming books, on polo, in Royal Rajasthan, though it could well be Rudrangshu Mukherjee’s tabloid-like Dateline 1857, Revolt Against the Raj that might be the more interesting for its format, if not its scale and price.

Other books are in the making on C S H Jhabvala’s paintings, on gardens through the ages, but the big monster book to beat them all will be a Kamasutra in special casing, priced at Rs 20,000.

If that sounds huge, it’s nothing compared to the really big books that come from Taschen in Germany and Phaidon in France, says Dipa Chaudhuri, editor at Niyogi Books, which is trying to contribute its bit to editorial content and packaging through books on cultural heritage, political institutions and biographies.

“Taschen did a really big book on Mohammad Ali,” says Shoestring’s Meera Ahuja, “that showed the monumentality of the boxer, muscles and all.” It required a lectern on which to place the book and flip the pages, and was impossible to carry around even the house.

Perhaps Pasricha’s Monumental India isn’t so monumental after all.

A conversation with photographer Wing Young Huie

By Liz Riggs and Jeremy Stratton

In August of 2001, award-winning, Seward-based photographer Wing Young Huie embarked upon a 9-month cross-country road trip with his wife, Tara Simpson Huie. The idea: to document Asian America and “explore the changing cultural landscape,” he writes in the preface of his new book, Looking for Asian America — an Ethnocentric Tour, published in November by the University of Minnesota Press.

The book highlights some of the 7,000 images Huie captured on the newlyweds’ trip, with 15 accompanying narratives by Wing and excerpts from Tara’s travelogue.

Wing spoke with The Bridge’s Liz Riggs while driving home from a more recent road trip, on which he photographed a migrant community near Sonoma, California. He talked about the nine-month trip and resulting book, film versus digital photography, and about his next project — a Lake Street USA-like public art project focusing on St. Paul’s University Avenue, from the State Capitol to the Bridgeland border.

Wing also talked about what he learned about himself on the journey, which revealed not only his subjects, but what Wing called in the preface his “personal ethnic personae.

“Before the trip the word ‘ethnocentric’ rarely passed my lips,” writes the 52-year-old Wing, who was born and raised in Duluth, the youngest and only American-born child of Chinese immigrants. “Now I believe that ethnocentrism affects everything, societal and personal — the whole enchilada, as they say.”

TB: How would you contrast this project with some of your other work, including Lake Street USA and Frogtown? Is it fair to say Looking for Asian America: An Ethnocentric Tour has been a more personal journey for you?

WYH: Yeah. A lot more personal. Absolutely. My other projects, I didn’t really [focus] on Chinese people and Asians specifically. But even with this project I would say probably one-third of the book at least doesn’t have any Asian references, photographs.

It is more personal. I mean, part of the idea was growing up in Duluth, I always wondered, ‘What would it have been like, how would I have turned out if I had grown up in Chinatown or the remote South?’ So that was a driving reason for going.

And also, my work is about other people. So it kind of took me awhile to come around to thinking about my own history and my cultural history. It’s something I didn’t really think about growing up. It wasn’t until after I graduated from college that I started thinking about those things. This trip, I really thought about it a lot. And I still think about it.

But on the other hand, they’re all part of a continuum, all the projects. I think there are more similarities than differences. But you know, traveling around the country is, in a way, kind of like walking around Frogtown, because the process is the same. You walk up to people you don’t know. You go down a block you’ve never been to. You walk into someone’s house you’ve never been to.

TB: How did you choose the photos to put in the book from more than 7,000 photographs?
WYH: You know, I think there are really two parts to being a photographer, and they’re both equally important. One is you take the picture. And the second is you decide which one you show the world. I think photographs are organic: they change as you change. And so I’ll look at something one day and then a year later I’ll think completely differently.

When we’re on the road, I shoot film and not digital. And so we went to have the film processed at custom labs every time we got to a major city, so that we could see what it is that we’re doing. We’d sit in a coffee shop and it was just fun to sit there and see if you got anything. Tara and I would both make our selections. I rely on Tara’s eye quite a bit. For one thing, sometimes it’s hard to look at your own photographs. You don’t have much objectivity. The problem is, the experience of taking the picture is still in your head. So you’re not really looking at the pictures. You’re looking at the experience of it.

I’m sure even if I had to select again next year, I’d probably come up with a different selection. So it’s quite a process. It’s not like it’s ever definitive. It’s just what you think at the time. And it sort of becomes a group process.

You have a different animal when you have this exhibit on all these multiple walls and then you have to put them in a book and have a different flow.

TB: Why have you chosen to stick with film?

WYH: I think that it’s probably the main question I get. I give a lot of lectures and people are always surprised; ‘Oh you’re not digital yet?,’ like digital is the norm. I think a part of me always likes to go against the norm. My cameras that I’ve used for a long time, they’re not that great. Because for me it’s not about equipment.

Also, people look at film differently now than they did even five or 10 years ago. When you say film, people think, ‘Oh, it’s more authentic.’ I think with digital, I grew up in a generation that believed that what they saw in a photograph really happened. Whether it was on the cover of TIME magazine or their own personal photos. The current generation automatically assumes that that photograph has been manipulated because of Photoshop. Everyone has Photoshop. Everyone can order photographic reality to what suits them. So I think that’s another reason. People believe that when they see my photographs that this really happened. And if they had any suspicions that it’s been manipulated, then I think the work would be less powerful.
TB: What’s it like spending so much time on the road?

WYH: Well, actually it’s just been this year. Since the nine month road trip — which was wow, like 5 years ago — I really haven’t traveled that much. But this year, I [spent] three months in Milwaukee doing another residency with the Center on Age and Community, photographing people with dementia. I don’t like being gone from home, being gone from the comforts of home — my wife and all my friends. You know, living on the road when you’re young, that’s one thing. But at my age, [laughs] I’m not really crazy about it. But it is a fascinating project, so I’m glad to have had the opportunity.

TB: What’s next for Wing Young Huie?
WYH: Well, the next thing is I’m going to do a project on University Avenue. After doing Lake Street I thought that was it, I’m not going to do this again because it took too much time and effort and I wanted to do something different. I think enough time has passed that I started thinking about it and, if I did something on University Avenue, how would it be different?
So the idea is this: I’m going to photograph for two years on University Avenue from the state capitol to wherever it starts in St. Paul, which is just west of [Highway] 280 — roughly six miles, pretty much like Lake Street.

In 2010 we’ll have a combination of big photographs in windows like Lake Street but the major part of the exhibit will be projections. We’ll project photographs on to store windows using LCD projections from the inside of the store. And the plan right now is for 12 sites, [one] every half mile, and maybe about 30 images each. The show will start at twilight.

Wing Young Huie is hosting two book talks and signings over the next week. Both events feature a slideshow and are free and open to the public. For more information about the book, visit the U of M Press’ webpage.

Peter Moyo: Keen writer and photographer

Leseja Mokgata

PETER Moyo is looking surprisingly relaxed, typing away at his laptop at a Sandton coffee shop just days after announcing his resignation from Alexander Forbes.

“A friend of mine is writing a children’s book,” he explains with a smile.
“She asked me to write something for the introduction. I’m just finishing off the last few paragraphs.”

One would expect a man in Moyo’s position to be writing frantic letters to shareholders or employees putting them at ease about the future of the company.

But, taking another sip of his cappuccino, Moyo says he has already moved past the situation.
“I like this place,” he says. “I can have my meetings here and it’s close to the highway. I have to be in Pretoria in half an hour.

“I don’t go into the office any more; what’s the point if I’m not involved in big decisions any more?”

Moyo’s next position will be with Amabubesi In vestments, a company he set up with Thabiso Tlelai and chief executive Sango Ntsabula.

“I genuinely liked the company [Alexander Forbes], but I felt this was a good time for me to leave.

“Next year I’ll be taking on a permanent position at Amabubesi, but for now I’ll be seeing more of my kids.”

Last week Moyo announced his resignation from Alexander Forbes as the group’s chief executive, citing irreconcilable differences with the board.

While Moyo declines to comment further on the reasons for his departure, he says that he is still very good friends with his executive committee.

“My main issue was with certain positions that the board was taking,” he says.
“They asked me to stay, but it was time for me to move on and focus on Amabubesi.
“I’m a strong believer in black people and at Amabubesi I believe we can create a lot of regeneration of black business,” he says.

“We need more black companies led directly by black people with serious business experience.
“When we started out we had very little choice in the companies we invested in, but now we will be able to work with companies with the same values as us and there are good growth prospects,” Moyo says.

Amabubesi owns assets worth R1.3-billion in transport and logistics, property and infrastructure, healthcare, information and communications technology and other strategic investments.

The company has majority holding in several companies, including a 26percent stake in Iso Leisure, an interest in Growth Point, Basil Read Holdings, Enaleni Pharmaceuticals, Digicore Fleet Management and Peregrine Technologies.

Moyo says: “I’ll be working much more closely with the companies, assisting them with whatever management issues they feel we can provide.

“But until then I’ll be working on my golf game and figuring out how to use a camera I just bought.”

Photographer hopes to inspire pride with book

-By Maribel Villalva / El Paso Times

Even though Mark Paulda has lived in El Paso for more than 25 years, he recently discovered the magic of the Sun City.

For Paulda, it took seeing El Paso through a camera lens to change his perspective and convert the West Texas town into a metropolitan gem.

"When I first started taking photographs, I thought, 'Oh my God, there's nothing to photograph in this city.' But then I started going out and started noticing that El Paso has some really remarkable aspects to it, such as the landscapes and the architecture," Paulda said. "That's when I realized this city needs to shine and be proud of itself."

"Celebrate El Paso" is result of Paulda's discovery. The 120-page hard-cover book features approximately 140 color images of modern-day.

El Paso. The book is published by the company Blurb and is being sold independently by Paulda on his Web site ( and through Space Available Art Gallery.

The last time a photography book about El Paso was published was in 2005. "It's an El Paso Thing" featured the works of El Paso Times' photographers. Another photography book about the city was "El Paso in Pictures" by El Pasoan Frank Mangan, published in 1971. In 1987, "Union of the Eagles" featured photographs of El Paso and Juárez.

"We've grown up a little since then, and I thought it was time for an update," Paulda said.
For the book, Paulda used both a digital camera and a medium format film camera.
El Paso Mayor John Cook wrote the foreword for the book and said he was thrilled when Paulda approached him with the idea of the book.

"Even before he came to the office, I had been calling some of our local photographers to make a new photography book. So this guy comes in and the first thing he says is, 'You're probably going to say no, but ....' I told him, 'My goodness. You must've heard me praying. This is exactly what I was looking for,'" he said.

Cook said he wants the city to use Paulda's book as a promotional tool for the city and has approached other entities, such as the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, to also consider the book for promotional purposes.

The images in the book were taken in the course of 2åyears. Paulda said he found beauty in the everyday life of El Pasoans.

"Take Downtown, for instance. If all you do is look ahead, you'll see the little shops selling stuff, and that's not very attractive. But if you look up, you start really noticing the detail of the Cortez Building or the Bassett Tower. We have a lot of treasures here.

"The El Paso Museum of Art is quite remarkable at night. And then there's the (Judson F. Williams) Convention Center... I didn't realize that it's lit up at night when there's an event there, and it's really beautiful. There's a light with a beautiful blue hue to it that just glows. That's when you begin to appreciate what you have."

One El Pasoan who was left awestruck by the book is Elizabeth Thurmond-Bengtson, who already has a copy.

"The book is just beautiful. Mark is such a creative person, so he has a good eye and that translates well into photography," Thurmond-Bengtson said. "He has such a unique view of El Paso. He's able to take El Paso outside of the regular format that a more traditional photographer would use. Mark looks for that untraditional view."

Paulda, 41, is fairly new to the world of photography. A longtime event planner, Paulda decided to shift gears and learn photography. But he didn't enroll in a course at the local community college. Paulda sought out the photographers he considers the best in the field and took lessons from them. Coincidentally, they are all based in London.

There's Rupert Truman, known for his album covers for bands such as Pink Floyd; Bruce Smith, a fashion photographer for Vogue; and Kobei Israel, known for his own photography books.
"I thought, 'If I want to learn how to do this right, I want to learn from the best,' " Paulda said.
It was Israel in particular who taught Paulda how to see El Paso in a new light.

"He told me I needed to open my eyes and see my city in a new way. It took me four or five months to understand that. At first, I was frustrated and then one day it just clicked. I started noticing the different moods of the mountains and the great architecture Downtown. After that, it became very easy," he said.

Since learning the art of photography, Paulda has made it his full-time job.
He's also been recognized for his work locally, nationally and internationally.
This year alone, he was named an abstract finalist in the International Color Awards Photography Masters Cup; was named a commended photographer by the Prix de la Photographie Paris; was a semi-finalist in the Shell Wildlife Photographer of the Year in London; and was accepted in the National Geographic Exhibition in New York City.

Paulda is already working on his next book project.

He and a group of Juárez photographers are working on a book about the sister cities to illustrate the unique geography of the region.

It's official: Paulda has found photography.

"This is my passion. When I go out and about, I can really go into a whole different world when I'm taking photographs. I can see everything."

Maribel Villalva may be reached at; 546-6129.

About the book

"Celebrate El Paso," a book showcasing El Paso through photographs by local photographer Mark Paulda, is $52 and may be purchased through the Web site or by calling 240-0171.

A limited edition of the book, titled "Celebrating El"Paso," is $65 and can be purchased at Space Available Art Gallery, 2419 N. Stanton. There were only 250 copies of the limited edition printed and each copy is signed and numbered, and includes a certificate of authenticity.
The book features approximately 150 color photographs of El Paso taken during the past 2å years.


Canon Powershot G9

If you have mastered the standard point-and-click handheld digital camera but want something more powerful without having to stray into the complicated territory of advanced photography, then Canon’s Powershot G9 is the one for you.

I must confess to being a complete amateur when it comes to photography so I was relieved to find that this worked well on automatic, but it would be a complete waste not to explore all the advanced features it has.

One thing that wowed me was the face-detection technology: apart from being able to pick out and track up to nine faces in one image, it can also focus on and track one face in a crowd of up to 35 people.

Like the professional SLR camera the G9 lets you change the light sensitivity which controls the amount of light entering the lens.

If you want to abandon automatic settings you can use an old school ISO dial instead of an on-screen menu, giving you a feeling of more control.

Its look is endearingly old-fashioned, reminiscent of the Canon cameras from the Eighties. But although there are some retro elements, this does not affect functionality at all: there is a 3-inch LCD display screen with a fairly strong resolution of 230,000 pixels, as well as a viewfinder.

While zooming for some photographs you will notice that the lens appears in the corner of the viewfinder. This can be irritating, but most people use the LCD screen for taking shots so it isn’t a problem.

The lens is a 7.4 to 44.4mm 6X zoom and has the SR coating that was developed for Canon’s professional camcorder range which reduces flare and ghosting.

What brings the G9 closest of all to the professional camera is the format in which it stores the pictures. Rather than store them in TIFF or JPEG format like the average digital camera, they are stored in RAW.

RAW is essentially a digital negative and is packed with more information giving more room to edit photos.

Software included converts the RAW files into TIFFS and JPEGS for further use.

It comes with a 32MB MMC memory card but also takes SD and SDHC.

The G9 really is a powerful, compact digital camera that does just as well with portraits as it does action shots and close-ups.

PROS Face tracking, powerful lens zoomCONS You need to know what you’re doing

Marie Boran

Panaosonic Lumix DMC-FX100 Digital Camera (Black)


Bright F2.8, 28mm Wide-Angle LEICA Lens and 12.2 Megapixel CCD
An advanced 28mm wide-angle, 3.6 optical zoom Leica DC lens system featuring four aspherical lenses (including an EA lens) with five aspherical surfaces. A large 1/1.72" CCD with an effective 12.2 megapixels — the highest resolution in its class. These features add up to make the FX100 a superior camera with extraordinary expressive power. The FX100 also features an Extended Optical Zoom, which extends zooming to as high as 7.0x1. And zooming is super easy: just press the Easy Zoom button and the FX100 jumps instantly from 1x to 3.6x to 7.0x.

Intelligent ISO Control Prevents Motion Blur
Intelligent ISO Control makes it easier to take clear, crisp shots even if your subject moves. Offered in the FX100, this innovative feature detects any movement and automatically raises both the ISO setting and the shutter speed accordingly, preventing motion blur. If the subject is still, the camera shoots at a low ISO setting and you get beautiful, natural-looking images.

Prevent Hand-Shake Blur with MEGA O.I.S.
Hand-shake is a problem with most small cameras, but not with the FX100. MEGA Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) automatically compensates for hand- shake. You get clear, beautiful shots even when shooting in dim lighting, shooting macro close-ups, or taking self-portraits.

Incredibly Fast Consecutive Shooting at 8 Frames per Second
MEGA BURST® Shooting lets you take consecutive shots at a swift two shots per second. The new Hi-Speed Burst Mode® goes a step further, letting you snap off consecutive shots at a lightening-fast eight shots per second. This makes it easier to catch the perfect action shot of a fast-moving subject.

Additional Features:
20 scene modes including the enhanced High-Sensitivity mode up to ISO 6400 with flash from up to 16m away
16:9 wide high-definition motion images (1280 x 720 pixels at 15 f.p.s.)
Category Playback sorts images into categories such as portraits, landscapes, nightscapes and events
Quick settings without taking your eyes off the subject
Up to 320 shots on a single battery charge2
1. In 3-megapixel resolution mode.
2. Based on CIPA standards

Stylus 830 Digital Camera (Black)


When it comes to digital photography, there's one thing everybody wants – clear, blur-free shots. The Dual Image Stabilization in the Stylus 830, along with its smart 5x optical zoom capability, make it a sleek, all-purpose point-and-shoot camera packed with the latest technology.

You won't believe the results of this 2-in-1 anti-blur solution. Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization, which keeps your shot steady by compensating for camera shake, combines with Digital Image Stabilization to capture crisp, clear images in any situation!

5X OPTICAL ZOOM Your photo opportunities will be twice as nice with nearly twice the magnification power of 3x zoom. Get closer to the action, without taking a step, with this ultra-compact, precision-crafted 5x zoom Olympus lens.

This camera' durable, splashproof design – exclusive to the Stylus series – protects your camera from water sprays, splashes and the elements for worry-free shooting anytime, anywhere.

Automatically focuses on your subjects' faces and optimizes exposure for sharp, brilliant portrait pictures.

The extra-wide viewing angle and anti-glare technology make it easy to compose and shoot. You can even share photos with family and friends in bright, direct sunlight.


Sensor-Shift Image Stabilization combines with high ISO sensitivity and fast shutter speeds to capture crisp, clear images in any situation.

The Stylus 830's ultra-compact lens is made from precision-crafted glass that puts you 60 percent closer than a 3x zoom.

All-Weather protection means your camera is resistant to water sprays, splashes and the elements for worry-free shooting anytime, anywhere.

Face Detection tracks your subjects' smiling faces within the frame and automatically focuses and optimizes exposure for sharp, brilliant portrait pictures.
Get superior image quality with a high-resolution 8-megapixel CCD. Make large prints, or even crop, without losing detail.

2.5" HyperCrystal™ LCD provides anti-glare technology and an extra-wide viewing angle that makes it easy to compose and shoot. You can even share photos with family and friends in bright, direct sunlight.

Tough shooting situations are made easy with 26 preset Shooting Modes including Sunset, Fireworks and more.

TruePic™ III Image Processor was developed for the demanding performance of the professional Digital SLR. This new image processor delivers superior images with true-to-life color, sharper detail, and less noise.

Using a live, multi-frame window on the LCD, Perfect Shot Preview lets you see the effects of various settings in real time. It's a great way to preview and learn the effects of each setting, while capturing the perfect shot.

Correct shooting mistakes instantly. With the touch of a button, Perfect Fix will lighten up shadows, remove red-eye and eliminate blur, so a less-than-perfect shot can still turn out perfect!

Confused by Photography? Digital Dad is Ready to Help

(Today we introduce a new member of the Working Dad crew, Digital Dad, also known as professional photographer Will Austin. He'll help moms and dads take better photos and organize those massive digital image libraries.)

I admit it, I'm a photo addict. If I'm not taking photos at my day job as a professional photographer I'm probably taking photos for another purpose. I passed a kidney stone two weekends ago and as soon as the Demerol wore off I took a super close-up photo. If I don't have a camera in my hand it is because I traded it out for a mouse and I am deep in the digital darkroom processing more photos. In my "free time" I cruise photoblogs to learn new tips and techniques.

I've lived in Seattle most of my life and my wife, six year old son, cat and I now live in the part of town that is cut off of most of the maps- Southeast Seattle. We just tell people Columbia City.

Enough about me, what I want to do is help you take better pictures of your family. Maybe I can give you some helpful tips. Maybe we can share photos that are especially important to us and tell the stories behind the images. With the advent of digital technology even the low-end digital cameras are capable of producing great results. The photos you make are a reflection of your vision and tell just as much about you as about your subject.

What's the first tip? When taking a photo start by asking what is your subject? It is more complicated than it sounds. You need to define the purpose of the photo. Are you taking a photo of your child or your child at the beach? This tells you how to crop the image. Maybe you are taking a photo of an idea or a feeling.

Once you define what it is you want to capture you can move to specific techniques that help you do so.

I have one other tip today. Once you are ready to take a picture get one step closer. Many people are too far from their subject, and that adds too much extra detail.

-- Will Austin

Nikon Coolpix P5100

For much of the past fifteen years serious photographers have puzzled over exactly what digital photography was going to be when it grew up. The answer to that question is very complicated, but the past can provide some clues. Every so often a camera comes along that offers an iconic convergence of design, performance, and usability – like the Exacta VX, the Nikon F, the Pentax K1000, the Kodak DCS-100, the Nikon D1, the Olympus C3030, Sony F717, or the Canon EOS 300D. The new Nikon Coolpix P5100 isn’t worthy of place on that list, but it offers an important clue as to where this new technology is going.

The P5100 is an update of the popular Coolpix P5000 and the new flagship of Nikon’s compact camera line. The P5100 features 12 megapixel resolution, a 2.5 inch LCD, an optical viewfinder, a full range of automatic and manual exposure options, face detection AF, distortion correction, the ability to crop and edit images in-camera, and a hot shoe for i-TTL Nikon Speedlights. Nikon has been famous for optics since 1917 and the P5100 doesn’t disappoint in the optical arena – it features an excellent 3.5X (35mm-123mm equivalent) VR (Vibration Reduction) Nikkor zoom.

Images (up to ISO 400) show impressive sharpness and nicely rendered shadow/highlight detail with bright, hue accurate, and slightly over-saturated colors. The super compact P5100 is just right for informal and environmental portraits, macro/close-up and intimate landscape shots, travel photography, and candid/street shots.

The P5100’s snappy performance, tough as nails magnesium alloy body, nifty rubber clad hand-grip, logical control array, and superb ergonomics make this camera an outstanding choice for photography enthusiasts. The P5100 responds directly to photographers - the sort of camera that a passionate photographer might design for his own use. If all that isn’t enough, the P5100 is one of those rare cameras that really offers a lot of bang for the bucks.

Photo business exploring new angles

Couple elevates photography with unique perspective
Donna Baxter
For the News-Leader

Scott and Stacie Edwards go to great lengths — heights, actually — to capture lofty images for their customers.

MAST-R-PIX Elevated Photography is the Springfield couple's new company, offering digital images of any subject from a vantage point up to five stories high.

"It's aerial photography from a lower angle," explained Scott Edwards. "The picture's a lot more detailed than you can get from a plane. A picture from the ground is a two-dimensional look, but when you raise it up, it's three-dimensional ... more of a bird's-eye view."

Their equipment can take photos from 12 to 60 feet high, he said.

Stacie Edwards said the idea for the business surfaced as they researched work they could do together. A self-proclaimed, lifelong camera nut, she was considering portrait photography.

"She kept mentioning aerial as a possibility," Scott said, "and as we studied aerial photography, the concept of elevated photography came up."

Stacie explained that in the past, elevated photography involved setting a camera on a tripod with a pole, cranking it up and securing it with guy wires tied to heavy weights ... very labor-intensive.

The camera can weigh no more than 3.6 pounds and care must be taken to keep it from wobbling atop the pole, especially in windy conditions.

"I'm almost 50 years old; I can't lug 50-pound weights around all day long," she said. "We needed to figure out how to make this happen."

Scott, an engineer by trade, found a TV van for sale.

The vehicle had shelving and a mast that can handle a 200-pound payload but, as Stacie said, "Scott put it all together ... outfitted it with all the electronics, computer, printers and other equipment."

Raising and lowering the mast takes about two minutes. The camera can pan 360 degrees and tilt almost 90 degrees ... very versatile, Scott added.

In business for about two months, Stacie does the marketing from their home and has developed the company's Web site. Scott works during the week but devotes his weekends to their business.

Stacie does promotional speaking to business groups and at networking meetings.

"Everybody knows about aerial and portrait photography, but we want to educate people on elevated photography," she said. "When I take my car and portfolio to go talk to people they say, 'Yeah, that sounds pretty good,' but when I take the van, they exclaim, 'Oh, I get it.'"

They really understand the difference at that point, especially with high and low pictures on three sides of the van, like a roving presentation.

Possibilities include projects for Realtors, architects and engineers, and large-group photographs.

"Here in the Ozarks and around the lakes near Branson, the homes have such beautiful views," Stacie said. "When you go up five stories, you really get an interesting and enhanced picture while maintaining the integrity of your architecture."


Pentax Optio E40 digicam

Pentax, with IDLDPL (India Digital Life Style Distributors Pvt Ltd) offers the new lightweight, affordable compact digital camera, Optio E40, in India with 8.0 mega pixels at a fantastic price point.

This entry-level model from Pentax accepts widely available AA batteries so that the user need not have to charge it again and again when s/he is on travel to a remote location. As it is designed for simple and intuitive operations, even beginners can enjoy photography effortlessly.

Following the trend of packing innovation and quality into its products, Pentax Optio E40 is packed with a host of new features. Apart from being a 8 mega pixel camera, it has an advanced face recognition technology and digital shake reduction function for high quality photography. From the design perspective, Pentax Optio E40 is slim, lightweight and has simple selection mode. On top of all the features, the high resolution 2. 4" LCD makes it a perfect shutterbug’s delight.

The users can also choose from various options in the given features while taking photographs for better photography.

For example, in flash modes, s/he can either choose auto flash, flash on or flash off and even red eye reduction mode.

Other options, which make this camera powerful, include flash range - 14.1' (wide), 7.5' (tele), white balance, auto preset modes, daylight, shade, tungsten, fluorescent mode, different shutter speed mode from 1/2000 to 4 seconds scene, auto picture, program, night scene, movie, voice recording, landscape, flower, portrait, surf & snow, sport, digital SR, kids, pet, panorama, frame composite and green, etc.

In terms of weight, it is only 6.2 ounces without battery and memory card.

And size is 3.7 x 2.4 x 0.9 inch.

Post taking photographs, the user also need not worry about downloading the pictures as Pentax Optio E40 is also compatible with a wide range of photo transfer and direct printing softwares including PictBridge, DPOF, Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching III and Auto Picture.

Surinder Saini, Assistant VP, Sales, IDLDPL, said, "Pentax is always one stage ahead of the competition. Though in the market there are 8 Meg and above cameras available from various brands, they are offered at comparatively higher price. So, following the philosphy 'Best among the Rest' both in terms of quality as well as price, it has been offered from selected places at Rs 9,999, which is first in the industry. Secondly, we are offering a carry case and 1GB SD card absolutely free with this product."

He adds, "Features like face recognition technology and digital shake reduction technology to stabilise the quality of images coupled with the attractive pricing will surely make this camera a more attractive option than other brands."

Features of Optio E40

Face Recognition AF&AE" function that is convenient when photographing portrait
Digital SR (shake reduction)

Auto picture mode automatically determines the best settings for the shooting conditions

Compatibility with widely available AA batteries

Equipped with the Green mode for automated set-up

8.1 effective mega pixels produce exceptionally fine-detailed photos

3X optical zoom and 4X digital zoom for a maximum of about 12X magnification

Movie capture options include VGA & QVGA

Sound recording – voice memo, movie

Compact design is convenient and comfortable to use

Continuous shooting mode can record up to 16 consecutive images (640 x 480 pixels per image) in a 2-second burst

Compatible with PictBridge, DPOF functions, Exif Print, and PRINT Image Matching III

The MRP of Pentax Optio E40 8.0 is 12,999 but as a special offer from IDLDPL, it is now available at Rs 9999 from IDLDPL.

Youngsuk Suh's concepts of photography

Art Insights features Korean photographer

By: Matthew Montgomery

Youngsuk Suh, professor of photography at UC Davis, offered thoughts on both photography as an art medium and art in a wider sense at Thursday's Art Insights lecture.

Suh, who is originally from South Korea, said he decided to enter the field of photography after studying biology at Sogang University in Seoul, so he moved to New York City in 1994.

New York City was his first view of the United States, Suh said.

"The image of the city was the image I had of this country," he said.

Branching out from the metropolitan area influenced his photographic style, Suh said.

"It was pretty interesting to see other neighborhoods," he said. "Somehow, it made sense for me to look into those areas. I looked into those neighborhoods and cities for ideas to make images."

A big influence in his work, Suh said, grew from how he would reach his photographic destinations.

"Driving and traveling became very important elements to my work," he said. "Sometimes I didn't know what I was doing, but I just kept going and found things."

From his traveling, he developed an interest in public parks, Suh said.

"I was particularly interested in parks as this public space built for the use of a community," he said.

That interest led him to spend time searching out community parks, Suh said.

"I would go out to these small towns every weekend," he said. "Driving around and taking pictures became a very important move in my work."

After earning a bachelor of fine arts degree at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., Suh entered into the master of fine arts program in studio art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University, according to his Web site,

An important influence in his work, Suh said, is rooted in the photographic tradition.

"One thing I learned from the history of photography is to distance yourself from your subject," he said. "One move I made was to keep the distance at a certain range - you can't get too far away, or you lose the details of action."

Before venturing into his current styles of photography, Suh focused on finding the "great moment" to capture as a street photographer, he said.

Departing from that perspective, Suh said he decided to focus on a more traditional style of photography.

"I decided I would take the landscape and photograph what came into the frame," he said. "It was a big decision to get into this more traditional photography."

Traditional photography was less about art and more about exploration, Suh said.

"A lot of photography produced (in the 19th century) was not necessarily art, but surveys of what exactly was out there," he said. "In the past, it was about finding out what was out there, and now, it's more developed. With all this rich tradition of surveying the land, I felt like I was running out of options, so I became interested in this idea of travel."

Suh said he decided to work with national parks and their use as his subject matter.

"I was interested in this sort of place with national parks where your imagination is engaged," he said. "My interest was not just these national parks, but also how they are used and the institutional aspects of how they are used."

Such institutional aspects of national parks were of interest to Suh, he said.

"(I was interested in) the idea of making boundaries taken away from the nature of things," he said. "Another interest of mine was how we define nature these days."

"They use a lot of measurement to control how these parks are viewed, so that was another aspect I was interested in," he continued. "There is this presentation side of nature that's engaging - it's the pure idea of nature, collided. My interest in the national park system is in the conflicting side of it."

From those ideas, Suh developed ideas in his photography involving national parks, he said.

"It was important for me to photograph these human interventions that are placed in a natural setting," he said. "My interest always comes back to the way the parks are used and how they are viewed."

The process by which Suh finds locations and takes photographs involves human interaction in a certain sense as well, he said.

"Once I found the right place, I would absorb what was going on," he said. "In a way, I wanted to make this landscape with human figures. I wanted to make one moment where the tourist is experiencing this place."

Digital alteration of his photographs to make composite images from multiple negatives became important to his process, Suh said.

"I wanted to populate this space but give this collective experience, so I decided to digitally alter my images - create landscapes with a longer time frame," he said. "In a way, I wanted to concentrate on our collective experience."