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Powerful Portrait Inspiration With Steve McCurry’s iPad App

Photographers

Steve McCurry is one of the most prolific photographers alive today. His photograph for National Geographic’s June 1985 cover of Sharbat Gula (also know as the “Afghan Girl”) is one of the most recognizable portraits in history, and his imagery has graced NatGeo’s pages many, many times since.

McCurry has repeatedly proven himself an absolute master of the portrait. His street portraiture, especially, carries tremendous impact. He has an uncanny ability to capture his subjects’ essence, distilling it in a split-second into an image that can range from haunting to exciting and everything in-between.

Steve McCurry iPad App

Steve McCurry iPad App

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Notable Storytellers – Sara Lando

Photographers
Sara Lando Self Portrait

Sara Lando Self Portrait

Welcome to Notable Storytellers, a feature where we point you to some of the best visual storytellers around, from photographers and videographers to VFX and graphic artists.

Sara Lando is an Italian photographer who first came to my attention through her work on David Hobby’s Strobist blog. An occasional contributor there, Sara is a commercial photographer based in Milan, Italy.

I devour Strobist.com with regularity, and remember seeing Sara introduced as the European correspondent last year. I also remember reading an article by her on photographer Christoph Martin Schmidt.

Her recent series of articles, however, weren’t about another photographer, or even a technique – not necessarily, anyway. These were more of an “approach philosophy” piece. I quote David Hobby:

Picture a tiny Italian woman gesturing continuously as she uncorks a full brain dump (from a very, very creative mind) on all of the little things that many people never think of when photographing others.¬†As I was listening I kept thinking, “Someone should be writing this stuff down RIGHT NOW.

I read the article. Then read it again. It was, I realized, pretty damn good. And insightful. (more…)

Flashing Above San Francisco

Photographers

Every so often, we get to talk about our friends, whether they’re doing something awesome in front of a lens, or behind the camera. This time around, it’s both.

Alex Huff by Syl Arena. Image Courtesy and Copyright Syl Arena.

Alex Huff by Syl Arena. Image Courtesy and Copyright Syl Arena.

One of our favorite all-round good guys and awesome photographers, Syl Arena, swung through San Francisco a while back and hung out with our very own Alex Huff. Alex has an awesome (yeah, I’m jealous) view of San Francisco from her balcony, and Syl used the opportunity to do a shoot with the new Canon 600EX-RT flashes and the ST-E3 transmitter.

Using the 600EX-RT, Syl balanced the ambient light with flash, resulting in a very cool image. The complete writeup, with breakdown and before/after shots, is on Syl’s blog.

Syl also has a piece up about a personal project he did recently, called “The Faces of American Coal.” It’s one of those deeply personal series of images that will resonate with you. They’re up close, intense, and searching.

Of course, Syl being the consumate teacher, has also broken down his process for taking the images too, so we get the added bonus of seeing what goes into a project like this.

Maine-area folks, a quick heads-up: Syl will be at the Maine Media Workshops, presenting on Canon Speedlites from Aug 19-Aug 25. If you’re around and have never been to one of Syl’s workshops, they’re not to be missed. Head up there and learn about Canon Speedlites from a photographer who’s often cited as knowing as much about Canon Speedlites as many Canon engineers.

Notable Storytellers – Vincent Laforet

Photographers

Vincent Laforet is a filmmaker and photographer that belongs in any reasonable list of Notable Storytellers. Long before he became one of the pioneers (some, including me, would say he is the pioneer) of making films with video-capable DSLRs, he was a staff photographer for the New York Times – and a Pulitzer-prize-winning photographer at that.

A quick note on “Photo Finds” and “Notable Storytellers.”

BL News Photographers

Late last week, we debuted the first of our “Notable Storytellers” pieces, featuring director and VFX artist Stu Maschwitz. This piece replaces the “Photo Finds” column, and I thought that the switch in name and focus warranted an explanation.

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Notable Storytellers – Stu Maschwitz

Photographers

Stu Maschwitz is, to use his own words, “a filmmaker, photographer, and writer, with a passion for kinetic storytelling.” To that, I’ll add that Stu is a prolific director and geek whose blog should be required reading for all video afficionados.

In Their Own Words

Photographers

Behind-the-scenses, how-tos, and technique tutorials are excellent tools to help photographers get better at their trade. Just as important, however, is listening to and understanding the experiences of the shooters you look up to. Here are a couple of videos along that vein.