If it is, then it will change the way we think about photography.
A company called Lytro are developing a new camera based on the concept of Light Fields, rather than traditional DSLR light sensors or camera film.
The Light Field sensor captures the colour, intensity and direction of every ray of light in the scene that you’re photographing, and then does some pretty hard-core processing to render the scene afterwards.
OK, so what’s the big difference? Here’s what Lytro say on their website:
The way we communicate visually is evolving rapidly, and people’s expectations are changing in lockstep. Light field cameras offer astonishing capabilities. They allow both the picture taker and the viewer to focus pictures after they’re snapped, shift their perspective of the scene, and even switch seamlessly between 2D and 3D views. With these amazing capabilities, pictures become immersive, interactive visual stories that were never before possible – they become living pictures.
Focus pictures AFTER you’ve taken them? NO WAY!
“Shoot now, focus later: Because the camera captures the entire light field, there is no need to focus ahead of time. You can simply capture the moment, and adjust the focus later. This means you can concentrate on what’s happening in the scene, not fiddle with your camera. Lytro pictures can be focused to your liking days, weeks, even years after they’re taken.”
Check out this example of what you can do. Click anywhere on the picture to shift the focus, looks incredible!
Another feature of interest to me as a gig photographer is the low-light sensitivity, and according to Lytro, the camera will capture all of the available light in a scene, giving great pictures in low light environments without use of a flash – from clubs to concerts to candlelit dinners.
There’s no concrete release date yet, and no word of price – don’t they say if you have to ask how much then you can’t afford it?
Lytro have promised the camera will be available later on this year, and will be both affordable and portable.
It was a beautiful spring morning, and I was reading the paper on the train. There was a feature about the Sony World Photography Awards, accompanied by some stunning pictures. One of them in particular caught my eye…
Natural History Museum Main Hall by Jamie Gladden 2007
I was trying to figure out how I felt about this. Should I be shocked that someone could steal my idea? Should I be concerned that it’s hard to come up with something original and I’m just being derivative like everyone else. Or (most likely) should I be thinking, Damn! Why didn’t I enter that myself?
Reading further down on the WPO site, there are several comments below Marek’s photo. It seems some people are actually accusing him of plagiarism. The main complaint is coming from a guy called Nobuyuki Taguchi, who asserts that Marek has stolen his intellectual property by taking that photograph. You can read for yourself what Nobuyuki had to say, and compare the photographs in question on Nobuyuki’s site here:
You want to know what I think? I’m not convinced by any of this… OK, I read Nobuyuki’s complaint, and looked at his comparison of the photos, and sure, they’re similar, but they’re not identical. It seems to be two similar black and white shots, taken from the same position, about a year or so apart. Is that plagiarism? I don’t think it is. In fact my photo and Marek’s are a closer match. Should I be accusing him of plagiarism? I don’t think so.
Nobuyuki complains that since he took his photo first, Marek must have copied him, and he must have seen it, because it’s been published. So, does that also mean that since I took my photo in 2007, and uploaded it to flickr, that I can also accuse Nobuyuki of plagiarism? No. If I did that, then you know there will be 10 people who complain to me, saying that they’ve got a similar shot, taken years before I got mine. As I noted in the comments on the flickr page, that spot was pretty popular on the day I was there, and there was even a queue of people lining up to take the same shot – and I went on a quiet day. If we take this to it’s logical conclusion, then the first photographer to point their camera in a certain direction at a given location will own all future rights to any photograph taken there, like planting a flag on the moon. If that’s the case, then it’s time to put your cameras down, as Google will have sewn up pretty much all exterior photography with their Streetview cars.
I don’t think you can expect to go to any tourist attraction in a major city and take a photograph that isn’t in some way similar to what’s been done before. Does that mean we’re all guilty of plagiarism?
No, it doesn’t.
I spoke to a representative of the WPO, as I was interested to know their position on this issue. Here’s what Astrid Merget, Creative Director of the World Photography Organisation, had to say:
“Plagiarism is a very complicated issue in the world of photography and one that the World Photography Organisation (which organises the awards) takes very seriously – especially as we have so many photographers entering the competition each year, and thousands who make their living from photography.
WPO has investigated the claims made, consulted the judging panel for this year and been in touch with both the photographer making the claim and our winning photographer. The result of the investigation shows that the claim is unfounded and at this point there is no evidence of intended plagiarism, thus the matter is closed. WPO supports their winning photographer Marek Troszczynski and is delighted to have awarded him the prize.”
Published at: 01:11 am - Thursday November 11 2010
The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010 has been won by David Chancellor, 49, for his portrait, Huntress with Buck, of 14 year old Josie Slaughter from Alabama on her first hunting trip to South Africa. He says: ‘Josie had hunted her buck earlier in the day and was returning to camp. As we arrived, the sun set below the cloud cover and I had almost unreal light for around a minute. The contrast between the peace and tranquillity of the location, plus Josie’s ethereal beauty and the dead buck, was what I wanted to explore. Here was a vulnerability and yet also a strength.’
The £12,000 award was presented to Chancellor at the National Portrait Gallery, London. The portrait is from his project documenting hunters, the hunted and spaces associated with hunting. He says: ‘As a child I was fascinated by the tales of Colonel Jim Corbett hunting man-eating tigers in India. As an art student it was Peter Beard’s seminal work The End of the Game that fascinated and inspired. This work will seek to explore the intricate and complex relationship between man and animals and how both struggle to adapt to their changing environments.’
Chancellor spent two days with the 14 year old and her family, shooting Kodak 160VC 120 film on a Mamiya 7 II camera. The painterly quality of light is a striking component of Chancellor’s winning entry. ‘I’ve always been interested in Africa; it’s impossible not to be inspired by the place,’ he says. ‘Once you are bitten by the continent you never recover. And for an artist or photographer, the light is indescribable.’ While Chancellor acknowledges that hunting is an emotive subject, he stresses the importance of remaining objective in his reportage. ‘The aim is always to be detached’, he says. ‘In reality that’s rarely possible, but I do hope I can observe without an agenda and without the necessity to shout.’
Born in Solihull in 1961, Chancellor inherited his interest in photography from his father, a keen amateur photographer, and started taking photographs of his boyhood passions: wildlife and motorsport. After an unfulfilling early career in banking, he studied photography at Kent Institute of Art and Design. Now based in both London and Cape Town, he shoots documentary reportage and portraiture for a range of clients, and regularly works on projects for Non-Governmental Organisations. Named Nikon Press Photographer of the Year three times, he also received a World Press Photo Award earlier this year, and a study of his wife and son was exhibited in last year’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize.
Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, says: ‘David Chancellor’s Huntress with Buck is a powerful and beautiful portrait; a worthy winner amidst a strong international submission.’
The ELLE COMMISSION
The winner of the ELLE Commission 2010 is Clare Shilland, 36, for her portrait Merel. Shilland will be given the opportunity to shoot a feature story for ELLE magazine. Now in its second year, the ELLE Commission was judged by the fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief, Lorraine Candy, together with the art director, Tom Meredith, and picture editor, Hannah Ridley.
Shilland, from South London, met Merel in Milan when she shot her for an Italian magazine and later asked her if she could photograph her for her exhibition Girls! Girls! Girls! She says: ‘The concept was that it would be a combination of female nudes and female drummers. I asked Merel if I could photograph her for it and she agreed. I travelled to Antwerp where she lives and we spent a few days there taking pictures. One day we rode bicycles out of the city to some woods and fields – that is where I took this picture.’
Shilland studied at Camberwell College of Arts and the Royal College of Art. She has shot for clients including Marni, Hardy Amies, Warner Music, Lyle & Scott and H&M, and her photographs have been published in i-D, Italian Rolling Stone, GQ Style and Teen Vogue amongst others.
Lorraine Candy, Editor-in-Chief of ELLE magazine says: ‘Whether it’s new designers, models or photographers, discovering and supporting emerging talent is part of ELLE’s heritage. So it has been an honour for us to work with the National Portrait Gallery on this prestigious photography competition. Entries were strong but we decided on Claire Shilland’s portrait because of her evident ability to capture a striking scene with remarkable technical skill. The lighting captured is wonderful and is of the same calibre of photography that you would find in our magazine.’
Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2010
11 November 2010 – 20 February 2011
Supported by Taylor Wessing
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin’s Place
London WC2H 0HE
Opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm)
Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm)
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