Friday, February 8, 2013

David Burnett's Olympic Photographs

 Photograph by David Burnett.

Photojournalist David Burnett has put online a selection of his large format black-and-white photographs taken at last year's London Olympics. He used a vintage 1940s Speed Graphic 4x5 camera for these images, along with a fair amount of swings and tilts to control plane and depth of focus. In many of the shots, Burnett was not trying to maximize the focus, but minimize it. Sometimes the results look like some of the toy settings on camera phones, with only a small portion of the image in focus.

Photograph by David Burnett.

Burnett was part of a team covering the Games for the International Olympic Museum and he exposed around 350 images during the competitions. He also used a Canon 5D Mark III and a Leica M9 for the Olympics. Burnett has been using a Speed Graphic in his photojournalistic work since 2004, primarily to achieve a unique look that sets his images apart from other photographers and in which he surely succeeds. Thanks to PetaPixel for the head's up on this. You can see David Burnett's Olympic portfolio here and you can check out his other work there as well.

David Burnett and his Speed Graphic by Mike King.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The End of Analog Photography

While the subject headline for this article is somewhat inaccurate, as in I don't believe that film photography will entirely disappear anytime soon, there is a newish book called The Disappearance of Darkness: Photography at the End of the Analog Era that is an extended photo-essay dealing with the closing of Kodak manufacturing plants and other photo-related businesses around the world. This book and project was created by Canadian photographer and teacher Robert Burley. Burley, who teaches at the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University in Toronto, spent six years, starting in 2005, traveling and photographing with a large format 4x5 camera and color film. He captured the dissolution of the Kodak plant in Toronto and ended up photographing at Dwayne's Photolab in Parsons, Kansas, which was the last lab to process Kodachrome film. Steve McCurry, National Geographic photojournalist and the man who shot the famous "Afghan Girl" image, shot the last roll that they processed. When Burley started the project, he knew that he was capturing a major turning point in the evolution of photographic imaging, when the technology shifted from silver-based imaging to digital imaging. This is an important subject and I am glad Burley was there to capture it. I know that there will be a time in the not too distant future when black-and-white film-based photography will seem as quaint and old-fashioned as wet plate photography and albumin prints. The Disappearance of Darkness is a memorial to that technology. The book is now on its second printing and can be purchased through Amazon, though as of now it appears to be out of stock.