Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012
The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, founded in 1964, is an annual international showcase for the very best nature photography.
The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, founded in 1964, is an annual international showcase for the very best nature photography.
LAURENT CHEHERE is the latest photographer to catch my attention.
While I hold onto the statement like I like natural photography best, surrealism is a close second.
Employing traditional photography and digital manipulation, Chéhère seemingly elevated typical Parisian houses from the monotony of their choked city streets. Isolating buildings, making his viewers take pause and notice the individual personality and scenario of each by simply separating the subject from its usual surroundings.
His earlier work is equally as powerful. He captures memorizing portraits and manages to make the mundane seem exciting.
I’m not a Francophile but the french really do know how to do culture.
This is a group of images I took at a festival in South Australia.
The purpose of the festival or ‘protestival’ was to encourage the SA government not to build the biggest uranium mine in the world.
It is an aboriginal belief that if we dig up the uranium earth, which is the great lizards belly, the lizard will seek revenge upon the custodians of the land.
The plans for the mine have since been shelved.
DAYDREAMIN’ THROUGH A LENS
I fell asleep between the flowers
for a couple of hours
what a wonderful day”
When was the last time you let your mind drift off, or you slipped off into thought and allowed yourself to stay there for a while?
For many of us this rarely happens, as we are quick to fill each spare moment of the day by picking up our phones or jumping on the net.
It is even rare to see somebody walking along without interacting with some form of technology.
For me, photography is as close as I get to daydreaming.
I allow my eyes to dictate what is important or beautiful, and I’ll stop at a spot if it brings up something special, like a past experience or an exciting thought.
This is why I take natural photographs, of things I see, rather than constructing artistic images.
As much as I love contemporary photography and appreciate fashion shoots, I don’t feel they have the same meditative qualities as just capturing our beautiful environment.
While you may not actually be able to daydream through a camera lens, it is a powerful tool for seeing the world differently, or noticing things you’d otherwise miss, and allowing yourself to get into that mind-wandering creative space.
I guess this is what all artists seek to achieve in order to
keep producing new exciting pieces.
But maybe in seeking nothing we allow ourselves to organically produce new ideas.
Ideas we can call our own.
I remember when I was learning Japanese in high school and I’d go to sleep stressing about vocab and wake up knowing new Japanese words after dreaming about them. It was during this time I began to really appreciate the power of the unconscious and our brains capacity to work things out with out us forcing them too.
You know when you read something and it might not make sense and then you go back to it later and suddenly its all clear? This is the unappreciated power of the mind.
They say you get wiser as you get older because of ‘life experience’ but maybe those old people we respect have really just had more time for daydreamin’. Let’s hope that, even in our fast paced technological world, we grow up to be wise too!
I’m going to make a conscious effort not to pick up my phone as soon as I wake up or fall asleep with my laptop.
And next time I take my camera out I think I’ll just sit down and see what happens, and maybe without waiting or searching, the perfect moment will come to me.
World’s best photography 2011
A bloggers choice of the top 3.
All pictures courtesy of the Sony World Photography Awards
(link above will take you to all the winners)
Admiring the work of the best photographers is a great way to push yourself to achieve and seek amazing quality work that leads you to also be the best.
Looking at this competition makes me want to run away with nothing but the clothes on my back – and a camera of cause. It makes me want to experience a life full of the unexpected, the unique and the mysterious.
I think that this is what real photography is about. Bringing you those untouchable places and experiences that could never be re-created.
So I want to share with you my three favorites of the Sony World Photography Awards.
This first one is the winner of the ‘Best Pro Arts and Cultures’ category.
This photo has straight up charm, but it isn’t until you realise that this man is situated in a picture theater, that it comes to live as a true moment of beauty.
The photo is by Amit Madheshiya, and was taken at a traveling cinema in India, where many of the audience may have never seen such a large media projection.
This photo allows us to experience this moment through the eyes of this fascinating man.
A moment I would trade my Sony plasma TV for any day.
Below is my second favorite.
This photo, taken by Javier Arcenillas, won the ‘Best Pro Contemporary Issues’ section.
What I love about this photo is how it continues to show more detail the longer you look at it.
It’s like a little peek into a world I know nothing about.
The image, taken in Guatemala, captures the hit-man culture of Latin America.
There doesn’t seem to be any hype or hysteria in the photo, simply faces of people going about their everyday lives.
Did the child walking past noticed the assassinated woman?
Were the police were called by use of the telephone in the photo?
Why was she killed?
Third on my list is this amazingly intriguing image.
This photo took home the prize for ‘Best Pro Sport Shot’.
The photo was taken in Ethiopia, at the New Years Fat-Man competition, of two semi-nomadic Bodi tribe members.
For about three to six months before the contest, the young Bodi men consume only cow blood and milk, which is apparently quite fattening!
“On competition day, they arrive to the Bodi King village, and after the dance they are measured by the elders, who then decide who is the winner and the fattest” said the author, Pavel Wolberg of Israel.
It’s beautiful that there are sporting events like this that happen every year and are so unique to a particular culture.
It makes me look at the Olympics as white trash entertainment. Although, I guess the Western equivalent would be The Biggest Loser!
I’m really thankful that through photography, we as media consumers, are able to share this moment, and other moments like this that can be found in photo collections all over the internet.
Speaking of which, The Age website has some great photo galleries.
TINGLES IN MY FINGERS
As a photographer, or artist of any medium for that matter, inspiration is crucial to sucess.
We all seek to understand the work of those that have gone before us, and we are thankful that we have this knowledge of what makes good art, even if it is just so we can challenge the concepts.
As they say- learn from the mistakes of others as there is not enough time in life to make them all yourself.
Furthermore, it is impossible to understand any art outside of it’s environment as all ideas of what is and what is not are construced against something else. What I mean by this is that it is only through knowing what we don’t like that we can understand what we do like.
So I bring to you three websites that I frequent.
These are the websites that inspire me to keep clicking on the links… and on my camera shutter.
First up is Oobject
A collection of events, places and things expressed in collections of 12 photographs.
The categories are endless and each is based on a unique idea.
I find this website great for keeping up with what other thinkers are coming up with, and as it is entertaining, it doesn’t feel like homework.
Here’s my pick of the day
Can anybody can tell me what solo synchronized swimming is about?
Coming in at number two is National Geographic: Photography
Here’s some flicks from ‘Best of August’
The following three photos are courtesy of National Geographic. see above link.
These photos are generally user uploaded and are sometimes peer selected, which is inspiring in itself, as it gives the illusion that anybody’s photography can be enjoyed or even win a competition.
The website is very communal and constantly updated to bring us some of the best photos from all over the world.
Website number three that inspires me is Australian Photography Digital
I love with website partly because it makes me feel like I’m part of a community, but mostly because it encapsulate an Australian take on photography that I can connect with.
The above three images were all taken on the streets of Melbourne
This shows us that we don’t have to fly to exotic or remote places to take award winning photography.
We just need to get out there and give it a crack!
Because sometimes its wonderful to see photos of places we know.
And sometimes it better to see photos of places we’ve never heard of.
Photos of people we share memories with.
Or individuals we would like to know.
Things we can do.
And things we would never want to do.
But the main thing is that a photo of anything, anybody or anywhere can be that perfect photo.
The above three websites are chosen because of their differences, and I believe they are a good foundation for anyone wanting to get a bit more involved with photography.
If you have a photo hiding in a draw that you want to enter into a competition….
I THINK YOU SHOULD DO IT.
After all, we’re all photographers these days.
On a recent trip to New Zealand I climbed a volcano called Rangatoto.
In one of the pictures you can see a crater.
Rangatoto island is so luscious and green because of the mineral rich volcanic earth.
It wasn’t as cool as the volcano I climbed in the Santorini archipelago.
That one was smokin’.
INTERACTIVITY: THE TECHNOLOGICAL BRAIN
My blog has been viewed by people in Germany, Spain, France, Malaysia, Poland, Japan, the UK and way too many times by people in the USA.
Don’t these people have anything better to do?
I’ve never been a blog reader. I have to admit I’m usually a selfish blogger – one that just posts.
My connection with blogs is when I Google search images and they lead me back to their home blogs so I can copy and save them.
However, in saying that often I hang around and see what these blogs have to offer. There’s usually more than one picture that captures my eye and I can learn something about the images.
Since studying media I’ve began to appreciate blog content and, especially since I’ve started doing my own blogs, how hard it is to actually come up with something interesting and cohesive to blog about.
There’s lots of time and effort involved that I don’t think bloggers, and blog readers and given credit for.
Part of this I believe, is because of the way we interact with blogs.
A recent study has shown that we read differently on the Internet. Here is an interesting post about it on Neuron Culture.
Our eyes skip and jump and we don’t always take much in.
So, why bother blogging?
It seems to be that every so often new technology of some description is released and whether it’s because of peer pressure or curiosity we all get drawn in.
It all seems so natural, yet behind the facade, there are powerful driving forces, for example the advertising industry.
The culture we live in is one of fear; we fear isolation, we fear being ‘uncool’, we fear missing out and we fear being forgotten.
The media and advertising industries use this culture of fear to push consumption, and part of this culture is the concept of speed, of time and temporality.
The truth is that the technology will always be here, once it is made it will not go away, and if it does its most likely because it was unnecessary to human well-being and you won’t have missed anything anyway.
There’s no need internalize this need to stay ahead of time as time is cyclical and there will be more days, more chances and more things to embrace.
We’ve all clicked on by now that even fashion comes and goes, and if you wear what you feel comfortable in you’ll most likely be discovered as fashion icon one day.
So forget about being the first of your friendship group to have the latest phone and instead pick up a classic book that has already passed the test of time.
And if you think your brain pathways may have lost the ability to read off paper, maybe go back to basics and start with a picture book.
Because that’s one of the great things about photographic images, they give us instant pleasure.
Whether it’s on a screen or on paper, a good photograph will always be absorbed into our minds and maybe even touch our hearts.
CAN YOU CATCH A FACE?
…or will it always run away?
This is a question I asked myself when I saw this video of eight years worth of photos of one man’s face.
It’s amazing how comprehensively I feel I know this guy just by seeing his face, hair and shirt collars everyday for eight years.
Some days he looked handsome. Some haircuts didn’t suit him. One day he got contacts.
The subjects face changes so slowly that its hard to notice the changes and aging through the video.
I wonder what possessed this guy to do this. And what he thinks when he watches the video.
We all know the feelings we get when we look back through old photos.
Repeating comments like…
‘I looked so young!’ …. ‘what was I wearing?’… and ‘omg! rip that up!’
Bottom line is, you can’t stop time.
You can’t change it and you can’t move through it.
But we can change how we understand time and learn to appreciate the changes in ourselves. Be it in our personalities, appearance or attitudes.
And ultimately, we can catch time in photographs.
I think this is one reason people love to take, and look at, photographs of themselves.
With the fashion industry constantly telling us we’re fat, old and ugly it’s no wonder the community is constantly trying the beat the clock.
‘You have to start being successful when you’re young because nobody will want you when you’re old’ is a thought at the back of many people’s minds.
…which reminds me of this wonderful old song.
If only we were continually told to relax and enjoy the good things instead.
Ah how I’m going to enjoy my last summer as a uni student!
Here’s a little journey I want to share with you, which I feel reflects time capture, and allows us to travel through time all around the world.
The Ultimate Seduction
This is part of a visual sequence I’ve taken in preparation for a mocumentary I’m planning to make.
The film is a comedy about graffiti culture in Melbourne. I decided to do this project after many arguments with friends over what makes graffiti good graffiti and debates over where the line is between vandalism and street art.
Photos are a great way to clarify thoughts and find plot holes when planning a film. Increasingly visual sequences are being used as story boards in place of drawings. Its a great way to get the crew involved in the early stages and build relationships before you get the the serious and stressful part of filming.
Do you think a visual sequence is the new film- maybe we can call it ‘slow film’?
Today might have been a good day for Apple’s stock prices but it was a bad day for me and my technology.
I woke up, gotta cuppa, and tapped my laptop on, intending to touch up my Netcomm essay and start on essay two of four I have due before I go to New Zealand next week.
Feeling on top of things, I was rudely awoken by five massive letters on my laptop screen;
If you’ve experienced this before you’ll understand the mortification I was feeling! If it hasn’t happened to you yet, I’ll tell you just this once: back-up your files!
As the error screen gave me no more information I though the next best step was to take the battery out, put it back in again and hope for a miracle.
This time I was given the option of losing all my files and potentially restoring the laptop.
Quickly weighing up four years of personal files, photos of 35 countries and endless uni work, against being able to check my facebook again, I decided restoring was the best option.
Restoring didn’t work and my beloved asus repeatedly crashed until I couldn’t bear it anymore.
Next step was to see if it was under warranty…It wasn’t and Harvey Norman pretty much told me it was too expensive to fix and he couldn’t be bothered. He advised me to ask a friend if they would back up my files for me.
After my phone turned off half way though an important call and then I sat through a lecture on how the whole world-wide web is made to increase economic growth and fill the pockets of rich, white, American men, I was feeling very anti-technology.
Quickly working out the extent of my dependency, I forked out for a new MacBook Pro. Yipee!
I’m not really sure if it was ‘spontaneous’ buy or a necessity. After all, if you’re hungry, you buy food.
In a sense, my computer is an extension of my body and a drug for my mental health. While we might not work in complete harmony, I’m definitely on the way to man-computer-symbiosis.
Is there an antidote? Or do I just hold my breath for web 3.0?
I was going to write a blog about ownership of material, particularly photographs, on facebook but I had a had a look around and found many blogs informing people of the rights of users.
So, just in case you missed the lecture,
I’m fairly sure this isn’t going to stop any of us from using facebook, but maybe you’ll thin twice before publishing you potentially award-winning photo.
I recently met the producer of an amazing documentary called Plasticised,
It’s a really honest movie about the problem of plastic in the world’s great oceans.
Microscopic pieces of plastic are found in out beautiful waves, rivers and oceans. Chemicals stick to the plastic which gets eaten by fish and the chemicals are making their way up the food chain.
And this is becoming a problem for those who eat fish!
So I though I’d show some photographs to give you a taste of the problem.
UNREALISTIC INTERPRETATIONS OF REALITY
A BLOGGERS TOP THREE FAVORITE PHOTOGRAPHERS
Erik Johanasson is such a magical artist. His work encourages us to question the world in its own artistic way. Using comic adaptations of genuine photographs, he creates memorable artworks that inspire us to see the quirky side of life.
Ritter is known for his amazing landscapes and travel photography.
Below is one of my favorites.
Ritter has dedicated his life to capturing the perfect shots and it has definitely paid off.
Thank you Florian Ritter for continuing to bring us amazing images.
3. Lauren Greenfield.
Greenfield is one of my idols. She has used photography to challenge the fashion industry and ‘teenagisation’ of young people. She is now a successful documentary maker and has been an influential voice in the campaign to combat eating disorders.
Her photographs are incredibly powerful because they are mostly natural. She sets out to give a natural portrait of the issues while letting the images speak for themselves.
Who’s your favorite photographer?
People often ask me why I’m vegetarian, and interestingly, my answer is never the same.
Sometimes I’ll preech if it will make an impact, but other times I say something lame like ‘ because I love animals!’
The real reason is because I have a choice.
Here are some photos I’ve taken of animal consumption practices across the world.
Tell me what you think about it?
If my mind is a machine then why am I not better at maths?
How can Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which was designed in 1837, be theoretically better at maths, than a human?
I bet if you bought the Analytical Engine to a party it would even steal the show!
I know I sound like I’m jealous, but really I don’t want to see myself as a computer. Or see computers as a threat to me. I want to understand myself as a human being with a soul that has control over the world. Control over the choices I make. And furthermore, I want to understand that as a special thing. Luckily we’re not at the stage where computers have emotions, although they are beginning to recognize themselves.
I find it helpful sometimes to understand how, and why, I function as I do, in technological terms and technology enables me to be a much better person.
Nobody has to know I have awful handwriting anymore. I get notified when it’s my friends birthdays. And I can google that obscure word before you realise I don’t understand what you’re talking about.
While I may be hesitant to compare myself to a computer, I’ve come to the point where I totally accept the need for Man-Computer Symbiosis.
That’s why I’m sitting in front of a computer, writing a blog, hoping somebody will donate some of their generous time to reading it, and give it validity.
That’s why I spend money on cameras, camera accessories, galaxy sIIIs and Ipods.
And that’s why I eat mi goreng for dinner.
I actually find it amazing how symbiotic, and accepting of this symbiosis, humans in the developed world are with technology but how, generally speaking, most people don’t give a seconds thought a day, on our symbiotic relationship with nature.
I believe we are one with nature. Not computers.
My religion goes a little something like this.
And I remind myself everyday to appreciate the trees that give us fresh air and clean water, the solar system that enabled life to be born and the animals that I share so much of my DNA with.
And I use any excuse to watch the amazing Attenborough
ILLUMINATING THIS CONSUMERISTIC WORLD
Strange to know nothing, never to be sure Of what is true or right or real, But forced to qualify or so I feel, Or Well, it does seem so: Someone must know. Strange to be ignorant of the way things work: Their skill at finding what they need, Their sense of shape, and punctual spread of seed, And willingness to change; Yes, it is strange, Even to wear such knowledge - for our fleshSurrounds us with its own decisions - And yet spend all our life on imprecisions, That when we start to die Have no idea why. -PHILIP LARKIN This poem makes me think about Commodity Fetishism and the notion of being clueless about the products we consume. We're all wrapped up in the culture of commodity fetishism following the lie that we have agency over our lives and power of the actions that we choose. But do we really have control over what we buy and if not, who does? I've recently been introduced to the notion of products having contained energy ratings. (the amount of resources used in their production. Here are some tips for working out contained energy rating.These are some images of what we're talking about. The disposal of E-waste is such a big problem. Click to start slideshow.
When studying media one often crosses paths with the work of Arjun Appadurai, who has written a great deal of work on the topics of modernity and globalisation.
The aspect of his work that interests me the most is his comments on the fetishism of the consumer and commodity pathway diversion.
His ideas are kinda a very complicated way of saying that things have lives of their own. One day they might be products on a shelf, the next they might be having a cruisey trip down the sewage pipes.
But the scary thing is that people forget that products have these lives before and after they hit the shelves, and people simply see them as objects for consumption without giving notice to the harm they may have caused on the way there.
Another one of Arjun Appadurai’s interesting ideas (that he partially credits Benedict Anderson for) is the idea of imagined meanings.
I’ll leave you with this wonderful quote…
“The image, the imagined, the imaginary – these are all terms that direct us to something critical and new in global cultural processes: the imagination as a social practice. No longer mere fantasy (opium for the masses whose real work is somewhere else), no longer simple escape (from a world defined principally by more concrete purposes and structures), no longer elite pastime (thus not relevant to the lives of ordinary people), and no longer mere contemplation (irrelevant for new forms of desire and subjectivity), the imagination has become an organized field of social practices, a form of work (in the sense of both labor and culturally organized practice), and a form of negotiation between sites of agency (individuals) and globally defined fields of possibility. This unleashing of the imagination links the play of pastiche (in some settings) to the terror and coercion of states and their competitors. The imagination is now central to all forms of agency, is itself a social fact, and is the key component of the new global order.”
EXPOSING THE WORLD THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY
I have a dirty little secret. Don’t we all?
I’m one of those annoying people on the street that asks if you care about the environment and want to save the animals!
From an outsiders view it looks like a terrible job, but I actually love it! I’m doing it for a company that I’ve volunteered for all my life so either I’m brainwashed or they’re on the right track.
A trick I’ve found in signing up members is to show them the most emotive pictures.
For some people it’s about protecting the animals.
So I show them photos of desperately cute koalas
and tiny leadbeater possums that have virtually no homes left
or the photos of humpback whales off the Kimberly coast where a massive gas plant is proposed to be built.
For others it’s about humans.
These people become emotionally involved when seeing photos of children who might not have a future
or elderly aboriginal Australian’s being dragged off their sacred land
or people from countries that don’t have the resources to deal with climate change.
For me it’s about the innate beauty of nature.
My heart strings are pulled when I see photos of ocean reefs that are dying
or pristine rivers that industries want to pollute
or Australia’s old growth forests which are some of the largest and most carbon dense in the world.
Without these photographs I doubt I’d be able to convince as may people to join my cause.
People mostly become interested because they learn about the awful and unnecessary things that are happening in our country but they go that step further and commit to being an advocate for change when they see photos of the places and creatures we are trying to protect.
Photos are the best tool I have for getting people to relate to the issues. They spark emotion in people and inspire individuals to listen to those feelings and seek change.
You may understand this better in relation to holidays. you know when you see a pamphlet or a friends holiday snaps and you’re whole body fills with excitement and a desire to run away to an unknown place!
I think we should all follow those emotions more. We should jump off the wheel and out of the net (maybe just for a short period of time) and do what our hearts tells us to. Whether that be have a relaxing holiday or sailing off into the horizon with Sea Shepherd.
Whatever your journey may be,
I believe the key to understanding the world is seeing it.
Last year I traveled the globe for 9 months. I left Australia hoping I would return a more informed, compassionate and educated person. But it turns out that the more you know the less you know and the more you see the less sure you are about what is right and what is wrong. Through traveling one becomes informed about the facades of other tiny worlds.
The problem for me was that some of these worlds are very different. I couldn’t fully appreciate Morocco because my imperialist, feminist self felt I needed to save the female populations from their own culture. But who am I to judge a way of life against my own?
During my time in North Africa I slowly wore more and more clothes. Partly because the weather was getting colder but mostly because I was becoming less determined to prove myself as a strong, sexually liberated, Western woman. I just wanted to hide from the male gaze. Eventually I began to cover my hair and then my face.
The respect I got doubled. The enjoyment I had tripled. I was experiencing Arabic culture in a more submersed way and I began to see this world from different eyes. I was welcomed in by the people in a way that felt more genuine and by the time I left I found myself doubting whether Western culture is really that much more superior.
My point in telling this is to share my belief that you can’t understand the world unless you have experienced it. Hence, my inspiration to show the world through photographs. To shed light in dark corners, and inspire people to think more about global culture and less about their pockets.
The role of photographic journalism is increasingly important to society as governments’ advance their ability to cover up information and hide truths. Journalism has the ability to change this. Photographic and visual journalism has the ability to make people care and inspire people to seek change.
One of the most powerful documentaries I’ve ever seen is The Cove. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a documentary about the whaling industry in a small town in Japan. The cove manages to be exciting, horrifying and heart wrenching simply by being true and is a great example of why we don’t need fiction. There’s so many stories out there like this one but the sad thing is that many people just aren’t interested.
Food Inc is a more well-known documentary about the global food industry. The part that was most confronting for me was finding out that criticising the food industry in the US is illegal. It’s also confronting that there is a push to make taking photos of farming practices illegal to. To ban trespassing is one thing but to ban somebody taking a photo of a farm from the street is insane. Since Food Inc. was released the bill to ban photographing farms hasn’t gone through. Thank God.
I’m not a crier but this selection of photos is so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye.
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