naophoros Posts

I really could not say for sure why I decided to distort the whole QingMing photo collection. It really is a shift for me, for usually, I am a pretty standard issue, depict real life, photojournalistic type of photographer. Usually, I just want to document what is going on, telling the story that is already in front of me.

The first photo, if I remember correctly, that I distorted was “Say What”. Something about the colors and subject matter just jumped out at me when I shot it, and I wanted it to jump out at others, too. Really, though, all the original photos from that day had some strange coloring already. I still cannot quite figure out what was going on. I am guessing it was just the bright sunlight. One thing is for sure: mountainside graveyards at midday are not the best lighting situations.

Read the Post Experiment with Photo Distortion

I ran across a quote today that emphasizes something I value in my own photography. The late war photographer, Robert Capa, said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”.

This small precept could completely renovate many of the non-inviting, dull photographs out there. A close and personal face shot is much more valuable than picking some speck out of the crowd. Not only that, but even if a telephoto lens is used to bring a far subject in close, the lack of depth in the photo still somehow communicates a lack of closeness.

Read the Post Up Close Photography

A friend and fellow photo experimenter, just bought a Nikon D40, which is a serious upgrade from my loaner all-manal Vivitar. He and I were already sending e-mails back and forth with photos and comments on each other’s photos. So, since I was already writing far too much for an e-mail, we decided to just move that information here to benefit all.

Read the Post Children in a Chinese Village School

Having somebody stare at you everywhere you go would really get old fast, would it not? I live in China, and certainly receive my fair share of “socket lock”, especially since my wife and I live in a rural town. I would imagine, though, anyone who travels enough endures the same treatment (depending completely on where you travel). So, I have a little homebrew photographic psychology to help prevent unnecessary mental anguish.

Read the Post Photographic Psychotherapy

From truly frieghtening to innocent babes, from Don Knotts to Danny Glover, I found one of the most evocative collections of portraits that I have seen in a long time. Bruce Jackson found and printed photographs from the Arkansas State Prison between 1915 and 1937, calling the collection “Mirrors”. And indeed they are if you look through them. There is an incredible amount of character that flows through these faces. Save the prison ID number tagged on their chests, you might think some of these faces were average house wives. And some of the photos make you wonder how a…

Read the PostMust See Prison Portrait Collection

Quick Answer: “Film Safe” is a lie!

film safe x-ray machine damaged photoHere is the perfect example to explain a photographic tip that will hopefully save many of you from the five years of torturous distortion I had to endure with my own photographs.

You will need to imagine the inside of your camera as you load your film for this. The particular section of film (Kodak 35mm EliteChrome 100) shown at left, was half way out of the metal film container after finishing a previous shoot, but itself was still an unexposed (no picture taken) section of film when I passed it through a “Film Safe” x-ray machine. In other words, it does not matter whether you have taken a photograph with your film yet or not:

Read the Post Are X-Ray Machines Really “Film Safe”

After my first few years in China and bearing with the constant need to communicate with those back home, I started a website. These past few years of having the website, though, have made one thing clear: people want to see the photos. That works: I love taking them and others like viewing them. Therefore, this third version of the ChinaCoop.net website (what I call the “PhotoCoop” version) has now come into being. And what is with this “photosophy” stuff? Well, I will have many other categories, some focused on simple photography how-tos, some how we average folks can make…

Read the PostStarting the ChinaCoop PhotoBlog

Never have word and beauty so combined,
Saying what neither could if said alone;
Eyes hold me fixed from their first loving touch.

Your words of patience slay my hardened heart,
A sacrifice for love you have yet gained;
Aroma sweet burns off the dross of years.

Read the Post Upon a Dream

Sweet small insignificant are the memories that hold you most. Innocent they lead me to my most desired place, Child-like, clinging to the waist of the one they most love. An even pastel, the pleasant and soothing setting, Smoothing edges, preparing for friends to come in peace. Simplest of fabrics, drawing no attention but in serving, Bringing to each their wants with reward only in joy. Thus, the gentle night breeze guides my mind to thoughts of home.

Read the PostAn Apron

From day’s beginning, I could feel spring infecting me. The rainy season is full of energy: it is the worst of travel, it is the best of travel. With it come the rains, floods, and landslides that epitomize the very worst of China travel. It is also vibrant China at its best. The mountains are green, the paddies are freshly sprouted with new rice, and the rain keeps everything brilliantly colored all day. I had always avoided travel for the negatives, but now find the beauty tucked behind the foreboding veil.

Read the Post The Garden