pjhstudios blog

Framing pixels


A member of Chase Jarvis’ team writes up how they mounted iPads for an art installation:

The challenges: iPads are designed to be interactive, to move between apps. How do you keep people from messing with them, checking their email, pointing them at un-savory sites, or worse yet walking away with them entirely?

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Vanishing America – Michael Eastman


Michael Eastman’s book, 51wxP7WbngL._SL160_.jpg
Vanishing America, is a warm, visual elegy to small town America and vintage pop culture. Theaters, signs, stores and other everyday interactions are shown in rich detail with saturated colors. The collection is curated across 10 sections: theaters, churches, hangouts, doors, signs, stores, services, automobiles, hotels and restaurants.

Each section is reverent to its subject matter. Where some photographers would show decay and the end of life, Eastman focuses on bringing the subjects to life, preserving them as a visual time capsule. Even those subjects that appear derelict, such as the doors and signs, they don’t feel cynical. Theaters, hangouts, signs and automobiles receive the most in depth portraits. From section to section, the subject matter transitions well. From the secular to the things that lead us there and back to the places where we converge, Eastman sees where socialization and relating to others occurred.

Brinkely’s introduction is poetic, describing how Eastman found beauty in decay.

Of note, as reverent as Eastman is towards his subject matter, his book was printed in China. Perhaps this bit of irony escaped the process or the publisher had no choice, or market forces determined the outcome much like the small towns have fallen to.

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Movie Bar Codes


Slice a frame from a movie, stitch ’em together, you’d get something that resembles a bar code. A bar code that illustrates the color palate of the film. Here’s Singin’ in The Rain.


Prints are for sale, too.

The Tao of Photography –


Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing by Philippe L. Gross, S.I. Shapiro applies Zen concepts to photography, interspersed with quotes and anecdotes from photographers that were well known for their visionary approach to what they took pictures of. Each section contains principles, applications of the principles and suggested assignments one can do to apply the principles.

The biggest takeaways from the book are the principles of Great Understanding and Little Understanding. The former refers to the unconscious and receptive nature of self. In photography this applies to composition and feeling of the subject. Little Understanding focuses on the small and immediate, this being tools and equipment available to a photographer. You need both in photography. Often, photographers focus solely on gear and techniques that they forget to seek out something larger in their work.

One way to seek something larger, to filter out unnecessary details, is to constantly discriminate to see the most basic, essential aspects of a photographic vision. Discriminating is not the same as being critical. You actively choose what is needed, not why it’s not needed.

I’d definitely recommend this book to understand a different creative approach. The quotes from famous photographers and personal stories are insightful.

Growing is Forever


A gorgeously shot, deftly narrated and appropriately soundtracked video, Growing is Forever.

Growing is Forever from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Google museum view


Google takes its street view concept to the world’s top museums:

Cameras mounted on a special trolley travelled through empty galleries after the public had left, taking 360 degree images of selected rooms which were then stitched together. So far 385 rooms are navigable, and more will be added.

Rock Gods – Forty Years of Rock Photography


Rock Gods: Forty Years of Rock Photography by Robert M. Knight is a diverse collection of photos that span his entire career. He’s taken pictures of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck and many more.

He focuses on lead guitarists, and his body of work shows that, especially with his live concert shots. Knight excels at the live concert photography. He says his approach is like a journalist or someone doing a documentary, where looking at the photos afterward they come to life in a more visceral way.

In Rock Gods, he tells stories about some of his memorable shoots. Greeting Led Zeppelin in Hawaii as they walk off they plane carrying the master reels to Led Zeppelin II. Meeting Jeff Beck for the first time, after years of trying. And as he’s known for, being the last photographer to shoot Stevie Ray Vaughn.

After paging through the book, I wanted more. More of his old concert shots, more of his more recent work. For photographers, viewing Knight’s work can tell a lot about composition and lighting–what worked, what moment created that visceral feeling you get from a concert photo.

Digital Masters by Nancy Brown


Digital Masters: People Photography: Capturing Lifestyle for Art & Stock (A Lark Photography Book) by Nancy Brown is perfect for the Mom With A Camera crowd, who own a digital SLR and want to get into the portrait business. The tone of the book isn’t overly technical, and what technical aspects are mentioned are basic so that one can have a working understanding of equipment. Her tip of having a reflector for outdoor, sunny portraits will help a lot of people. For the most part, she focuses on the process and how to approach the shoots. The sample shots look like stock photos (which is one area she specializes in) of children or people in their 50s, 60s or 70s.

A Day in the Future


As I rise and stretch, I notice I’m sore. Not from tending the fields though. I have no fields. Some unseen person does all the field-tending for me. Sometimes I forget that there’s any field-tending going on at all.

Lyrically written.

Joe McNally knows sugar plums


Ballerinas are all the rage at the moment. Black Swan, New York Times critic Alastair Maccaulay stating that one dancer, Jenifer Ringer, “eaten one sugar plum too many” for a recent production of the Nutcracker. And now Joe McNally, famed photographer, comes to her defense.

Joe took portraits of Jenifer with a giant, 40×80 Polaroid camera on his own dime. He knew she possessed the poise and grace to keep her composure for the length of time needed to get a decent shot.

You also could not focus the camera. You had to focus your subject. Small shuffles back and forth would place them in that tiny zone of critical sharpness. Then they had to hold that position for about 30 seconds while the interior workings of the camera got spooled up, the lights got shut, and the flash fired. Not easy to do. Especially on point.

But Joe recognizes an artist whose body is their art.

It’s been equally wonderful to watch from afar as she has fought through personal struggles, dropped out of dance for a while, and then returned to the stage as a principal dancer. She has always talked straight up about the life of a ballerina, and her struggles with her weight. Her talent and candor, I feel, make her a beacon in the dance world, which prefers to keep the pain, the anorexia, the sweat and the tears behind the curtain. Ballerinas look amazing on stage. Offstage, their bodies can be just as beat up as an NFL offensive lineman.