Friday, February 29, 2008

Out with Flickr Explore. In with FlickRiver

Nothing beats the internet for novel ways to waste time. One of the Flickr's most-popular time-wasting features has been their Explore/Interestingness page. Flickr E/I uses a "secret" and ever-changing algorithm to automatically identify photographs uploaded over the past seven days that exhibit the most "interestingness". Each time you reload the Flickr E/I page, the viewer is presented with nine "interestingness" photographs. After reloading the page ten or twelve times, you'll probably start seeing repeat images.

Flickr user Strange Quark recently introduced me to a Flickr mash-up that is a better (and more addictive) time-waster than Flickr's Explore. It's called FlickRiver. Developed by Alex Sirota, it has many improvements over Flickr Explore.

The first improvement is that Flickriver displays the photographs on a black background, which is much easier on the eyes than Flickr's white background.

The second improvement is that you don't have to keep reloading the Flickriver page. When you first visit Flickriver, you're presented with the top four interestingness photos. When you scroll down, it uploads four more photos. You can continue scrolling down until you've looked at all 500 photos in the current stream (the stream seems to update throughout the day). You can also hit the SPACE bar on your keyboard to advance through the photographs one-at-a-time.

(My most interesting photograph, according to Flickriver)

But, the most interesting improvement is that Flickriver lets you specify your own criteria for searching for interesting photos. You can specify only "night photography", or you can specify only specific Flickr users (such as "thelordofthemanor"), or specific groups ("nocturnes"), or by specific tags (which is a subset of the general search field). Would you like to know which of your own photographs rank highest on "interestingness"? Flickriver can do that. There are even links to switch between "Recent" and "Interesting".

(Flooded Trailer, by Troy Paiva. On Feb 29, 2008, this was ranked as the most Interesting photograph with the tag Nocturnes, according to Flickriver)

Now that you've spent a few hours playing with Flickriver, it's probably time to get back to work!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Amy Stein

Amy Stein is one of the most interesting up-and-coming photographers on the art scene, right now. She has recently added some new work to the Stranded series and her Domesticated series. The following image from the Domesticated series really struck me. Not only does it include that stark, film-noir lighting that I love so much, but how did she manage to get the wolf in there?

(Photo by Amy Stein)

I would give anything to get a shot like this. Does anyone know of any parking lots in the San Francisco Bay Area that are frequented by wolves? I'm willing be realistic about my expectations for the snow; the but the wolf will be non-negotiable. Maybe someone knows someone who owns a wolf? Maybe we could get a German Shepherd that looks like a wolf.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Brendan Austin

Brandan Austin is a London/Stockholm-based photographer who has done a number of night photography projects, including Darkspace which was shot inside tunnels.

(Tunnel, by Brendan Austin)

I find the most impressive aspect of Darkspace is the stark, black-and-white film-noir look of the images. His other NPy projects include Under a Clockwork Sky and Nightshift.

There's lots of good NPy work on his site. Take the time to check it all out.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Darkness, Darkness

Lance Keimig is curating "Darkness, Darkness", a huge exhibit of night photography at the Three Columns Gallery at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. The show will run from March 18 through April 30. The opening reception will be March 19, at5:30pm. The list of participating photographers is very impressive, and includes Tim Baskerville (of The Nocturnes), Troy Paiva (Lost America), Steve Harper, Joe Reifer, and many others (including myself).

When I was in high school in Danvers, just north of Boston, everybody wanted to get accepted to Harvard. I always knew that someday I would get into Harvard. I never imagined it would be through an art show.

(Dugout, by Andy Frazer)

My photograph "Dugout" (above) will be featured in this show. The print is 24"x18".