As we close out the end of the year 2010, we would like to look back at the accomplishments of our readers – our family, if you will. One of the most prominent features of Shutter Photo Magazine is our weekly Inspiring Photos column, the selections for which come directly from our Shutter Photo @ Flickr Pool. As we’ve demonstrated each week, the Flickr Pool is great inspiration for all of us. There really are a lot of great contributions in the group. So before the year concludes, we’d like to outline the photos we feel are the most inspirational from the pool.
Before we get into the list, I’d like to take a moment to highlight our accomplishments as a group. We first started the group about five months into 2009. At the end of last year, I was proud to have attracted over 240 contributions to our little group in seven months. Being our debut year, I didn’t expect to average 57 photos per month. But then the new year came around and we grew to a total of 77 full group members (and about a half dozen who contributed without joining) and we added 1,924 photos as of this writing. That’s an average of over 333 photos per month – more photos per month than we did in seven months our first year! That’s a whole lot of inspiration. That makes my job this year incredibly difficult. So here goes, I’ll do my best.
Without further ado, I bring you the 10 most interesting photos of the Shutter Photo @ Flickr Pool of 2010.
The Waiting Is the Hardest Part by Mike Garza – Mike Garza taught us a very interesting lesson about photography: If you’re bored, grab your camera. Apparently, Mike had a pretty long layover at Chicago O’Hare airport, and he captured some fantastic photos, including this one (which we spotlighted back in April). There are two major elements that make this photo fantastic. The first is the candid approach. While this is inside an airport, it is basically a form of street photography – shooting from the hip and capturing real emotions. But the gem in the crown on this photo is the second element, the lighting. Really big plate glass windows let in a lot of natural light, and why shouldn’t Mike have taken advantage of that? The light is hard, but it’s warm – a classic sunrise (or sunset) quality light from the golden hour. Since writing about this back in April, I made an effort to shoot more while I was on layovers this year. If Mike’s photo inspired me to step outside my comfort zone, I can only expect that you would be inspired as well.
Dark Reflections by Jos – Jos has contributed a great number of inspiring photos to the group this year. His work is often architectural-centric. But the works that are so inspiring to me – and to us all – are his more abstract studies. A great number of his photos, including P2032221 which we spotlighted back in August, are quite abstract in nature. Abstract photography is unforgiving. It walks a very fine line between art and junk. As such, composition and exposure need to be absolutely perfect in order to shed any doubt that the photograph in question is in fact art. This, is not a problem for Jos in the case of his photo, Dark Reflections. His shadow work is fantastic, the repetition is wonderful and the photo as a whole is inspiring. Jos reminds us that there is beauty in the fourth dimension: Time. Imagine how this scene would change in fifteen minutes.
[Editor’s Note: Photo #3 has been removed at the request of its creator.]
Of Darkness and Light by Ray Rhodes – In August, we shared a number of Ray’s works through a photographer’s profile, The Many Roads of Ray Rhodes. Aside from his obvious love for the road, we learned about his natural love for the American countryside. Ray’s other hobby, motorcycle riding, has helped him to see the world in a unique way. See, a person on a motorcycle isn’t simply driving from point A to point B, they are driving for the sake of the ride. They’re looking around, they’re enjoying the environment and the day. They see things that the rest of us neglect, such as the barn in the low, warm morning (or evening) light as seen in this photograph. I do not know if this photograph was the result of being in the right place at the right time, or if Ray planned the shot in advanced. But however it happened, Ray presents us with this warm, dramatic, wall-ready photograph. Ray’s photo reminds us that we should always have our camera with us. It also reminds us that we can communicate our own vision through our photographs.
NY Marathon B&W 24 by Laura Casner – Photography is about perspective – about showing others the things they don’t (or can’t) see. Laura ran in the New York Marathon this past November with her camera. She snapped a bunch of great photos, including this one shot at a water stop along the way. We introduced you to this photo late in November because of the perspective that Laura shared through it. The downward angle, the wet pavement, the reflections and the bottoms of the feet of the runners ahead – these are all techniques used to portray tension, fatigue and of course the zen of running. The photo places you in the action as if you were really there, literally in her shoes. Laura is telling a story through her photo – and whether or not you’ve ever been in this situation, you are able to understand the feeling and emotion of being a runner in such an event.
Quincy Boiler and Shaft by David Clark – David is no stranger to our pages. As one of our Flickr Group’s oldest members, he still continues to contribute many great and inspiring photos. We spotlighted a selection of his work back in October, 2009. But this is also his second time on our Most Interesting Photos list, he was also part of the 2009 list as well. So he returns to the list this year with yet another photo from one of his favorite haunts, the Quincy Mines. This time, he takes us outside on a foggy, snow-covered day. The snow and the fog help to make the boiler house wall pop out of the shot. The contrast is fantastic, but the thing that makes this photo wall-ready is the way the shaft house – barely visible through the fog – mimics the shape and form (but not the texture or makeup) of the crumbling stone wall. We continue to admire David’s work because his extensive knowledge and comfort with his chosen site – the Quincy Mines – shows through in each and every one of his photographs. David reminds us to become familiar with a site as only great things can arise from that.
Fall in Monochrome by Simon Hucko -Not every autumn photograph needs to be in full color. Simon’s photograph, Fall in Monochrome, shows us the changing of the seasons in black & white, a bold move considering the subject matter. As I lamented earlier in the year as we shared this photo, many autumn photographs focus on the colors but otherwise ignore composition or even neglect to present a clear subject. Simon, armed with his Lensbaby, set out to demonstrate just how great an autumn photo can be, even if the color is completely drained from the shot. Instead, he chose to focus on the interesting bark of a tree and used the bright shades of the chlorophyll-drained leaves as a texture-rich backdrop only. The effect is somewhat dizzying (thanks to the Lensbaby’s work) and nearly matching the quality of an infrared photo. I believe Simon achieved his goal creating this fantastic image. He also won our hearts by sharing an autumn photograph that doesn’t suck.
Back From the Future by Brian Day – While we all love our photography, Brian Day is a man who seems to love light first and foremost. Like David, Brian is no stranger to our pages with three individual photo spotlights: Boomtown, Awakenings and Swag. Brian’s specialty is in self portraits – which is even more interesting seeing as we very rarely actually see his face (and I don’t recall ever seeing his eyes). As if that fact weren’t haunting enough, his experiments with carefully chosen and placed props and his wizardry with scuplting the light only adds to the eerie effect. Back From the Future, as shown here, is perhaps one of my favorite uses of back-lit silhouette portraiture. It’s not just the way the light overpowers edges and alters the shape of his body, though that is an appealing aspect of the photo. It’s the way that he uses the light source to graze the wall, revealing the texture of the brick surround. It reminds us of a portal, which is probably the inspiration for the photo. The vanishing point has never been so well highlighted, nor has it ever been as interesting.
Motion: Subway – by Nesthel Flores – As the path to Nesthel’s Flickr profile might suggest, Nesthel shoots in full-manual as often as possible. While that might be some uncomfortable territory for some, it affords Nesthel the ability to shoot some really intriguing subjects, like a moving train as we see in his photograph shown here. Clearly, this is a long shutter as we see the light trails and whatever is barely visible of the moving train. But what I find interesting about this shot is that he held the shutter open well before and/or after the train’s passing, at least long enough to get the far wall (behind the train) in the shot. As if we were looking at a ghost, we can literally see through the train. This gives us a unique view that we’ve all experienced, but may not have seen recorded in a photograph. This is an inspiring concept that continues to catch our eye every time we see it.
Dupont North Metro Escalator by Emily Ferry – Wrapping up this year’s list is Emily’s fantastic photo shown here. We highlighted Emily’s photo in April, but we really were a few months late on discovering this fine image as it was taken in the winter. What we have here is an escalator leading out of the subway system in our nation’s capital. There are some very subtle details in this photograph that would render the photo worthless had they been overlooked. There is such a delicate balance in the exposure settings here. Any darker, and we’d lose some of the context such as the flaws in the wall and ceiling or the texture of the snow on the escalator bed rail or even the highlight on the nearest person’s arm which separates it from the person in front. All of these details are important. But once again, I would like to point out that this is yet another fantastic photo that would not exist if Emily didn’t carry here camera with her at all times.
And so we conclude the 2010 list of the 10 Most Interesting Photos of the Shutter Photo @ Flickr Pool. You guys really did make it difficult for me this year and I struggled to narrow down this list. But that just goes to show how inspiring our group is as a whole. So if you’d like to see more great works, head on over to the Flickr pool to browse thousands of photos from nearly eighty members. If you’re not already a member, you should join. You’ll have a lot of fun and maybe – just maybe – your work will be featured here at Shutter Photo.