News Blog

New Adventure!

Categories: Film,Life,Photography No Comments

I’ve started a new blog on weisbrodimaging.com, which is focusing on my trip to Africa this summer! I’m going over to Africa to film and photograph water well drilling as well as all sorts of other things. If you’d like to see what I’m doing, as well as get updates from time to time, you can click the link below, or go to the “africa” link in the main menu bar up above!

I’m so excited I can hardly type!

Switchfoot Lead Singer Jon Foreman shares his thoughts on the idea of “Christian” Music

Categories: Life No Comments

The title of the linked article below is rather misleading, but I thought that the quote from Jon Foreman, front-man of the band Switchfoot, very awesome. It really describes how a lot of people feel about this idea of “christian” and “non-christian” music.

I’ve always struggled with this… Not with whether or not I should listen to christian or non-christian bands, but rather with the people who seem to think defining such stuff is so important. I’ve found far more meaning in many “non-christian” band lyrics than most “christian” lyrics. (And I listen to both) I’ve heard “Christian” bands drop more f-bombs than many Non-Christian bands. And, in many cases, it didn’t really bother me when they did. As the fabulous quote from Jon Foreman states, “…judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing.”

Really, in the end, it’s really stupid to even argue about it all, because this is actually a commercial distinction – a distinction that runs more along demographics than anything else.
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A Good Lesson in Truth-Setting – Getting it Right is So Important, Because of the Power That is in a Photograph

Categories: Photography 1 Comment

In this story in The New York Times by David Gonzalez, Paolo Pellegrin, a photographer who has won some very high awards this year seems to have manipulated at least one of his images to mean something a bit more than it really should. Especially with everything going around right now concerning gun control, it certainly seems that thew photographer may have had a political agenda with this photograph. And maybe that’s not bad – at a certain time and place. But in this instance, I think maybe the photographer did not completely do his job here.

One of the most interesting things about the story is the subject’s explanation of what happened. Especially where he says, “One of the first things I thought was that’s strange, asking us to do something. I’m a student, he’s Magnum. I not going to question him.” I think this is a very important and telling statement. We must always remember that the photographer has a lot of power. The power of persuasion and the power to portray our subjects and manipulate them. How will a photographer use that power? Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse.

It’s one thing to move your subject(s) to a better background. It’s another to manipulate them in a way that portrays the exact opposite of what – or who – they are, which I believe has been done in this photo. There’s always a fine line a photographer must walk – the difference between making a good photograph by exaggerating certain parts of a photograph to make the truth more evident, and changing the way the subject is portrayed to change the identity and meaning of the subject completely.

For even more information, read the article linked below:

Can You Spot the Difference Between These Two Photos? Nat Geo Did, and They Weren’t Pleased…

Categories: Photography No Comments

Photographer Harry Fisch won the 2012 National Geographic Photography Contents with the image above. Look carefully at both images. One of them is the raw, unprocessed photo, and the other is what Mr. Fisch submitted to Nat. Geo. Can you see it yet?

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“Liking” Bad Photography on Social Media…

Categories: Life,Photography 1 Comment

I just recently read an article on the New York Times website, and it made me think about something I was discussing with my students yesterday: How autofocus and automatic cameras were going to make professional photographers obsolete because everyone could rely on the camera to take sharp and well-exposed pictures. Happily, this has not done so, because the issues of content, composition, lighting, etc. that cannot be done automatically (yet!). A person still has to make creative decisions when the make a photograph, despite all the automatic features and functions that cameras have these days.

However, as is discussed in this article, by James Estrin, the idea of what makes a photograph successful has certainly changed, because of the new(ish) technology of “liking” an image, or giving an image a “+1″. By defining a “good” photograph the way we have via social media, we may have started to lose the idea of what actually constitutes a good photograph. And we certainly are not rewarding the photographers who take good pictures as much as we used to.

However, what I think this really shows is the, well, ignorance, or the carelessness of the general public as to what makes a good photograph. There’s nothing wrong with baby pictures or blurry pictures a cute child. But they’re probably not a “good” photograph. What we react to with that kind of photograph is the content, and the reaction is purely emotional, and usually does not take into account the photographer’s skill, the composition, or anything like that.

I liken it a lot to the success of certain movies that are, by all accounts, plain and simple crap, where as beautiful and thoughtful movies are resigned to small, short runs at indie art theaters and make almost no money. A perfect example are the scores of horrendous and poorly done slasher/horror films that have very little skill in them. I’m relatively young, but it’s been a long time since I saw a movie that came even close to the likes of Alien or Jaws.

Photography is no different. If we look at a photograph and simply judge what we like based upon the objects that are in the photograph, not the skill inherit in the photograph itself, we essential are, little by little, telling our society what we want; which is simple, crappy photos. We accept these images because they’re easy to make, and because our friends and relatives make them. We “like” them because of the simple emotional reaction we have to them, not thinking about whether or not they are a good photograph. The end result is that we make mundane and poorly-made photographs more popular in our media today than good photos. We don’t revere good photography like I remember as a kid, and I also think that most people don’t aspire to try and make better photographs.

It all comes down to rewards. It’s conditioning. By indiscriminately hitting the “like” button, in a vain attempt to like and be liked in our virtual society, we cheapen the entire idea of what a “good” photograph really is.

My favorite quote from the article above says it very nicely:
“A photograph is no longer predominantly a way of keeping a treasured family memory or even of learning about places or people that we would otherwise not encounter. It is now mainly a chintzy currency in a social interaction and a way of gazing even further into one’s navel.”

Enough said.
 

Summer Update

Categories: Life No Comments

Well, this summer has been very busy – vacations, and projects galore! I have several projects that are in the works right now, all of which I will share as soon as I can. The first is a video project, which consists of a series of instructional videos on CPR and AED usage. Boring, you might say, but it has been rather educational for me. I’ve learned a lot – not just about CPR and AED’s, but also about long-term projects like this, and the amount of work they are. More later, and I’ll post the videos as I finish them off.

Also, I got the chance to photograph on a movie set just south of Rochester. An old student of mine emailed me and told me they needed a photographer for some on-set shots. I wasn’t able to give them too much time, but I was able to give a little, and I’m very happy with the results. I’ll post those as soon as I’m done editing.

And lastly, I have two websites in the works – those will be coming up pretty soon. Again, I’ll post more when I get the chance. It’s kinda crazy up here in Rochester – what with all these projects, and house-work (getting ready for a new baby, and my office is about to be transformed into a nursery, so I’ve gotta carve out some space for myself!), it’s a wonder I can still stand!
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Oh well. More to come – soon

Some New Photographs From Today…

Categories: Photography No Comments

I don’t get the chance to take as many photographs as I would usually like, but I’m even worse at putting them up on my blog. But here are a few that I took today. I’m trying to continue the work I started last summer: photographing the unique textures and patterns in wood. Today I saw a stump that had it’s larger branches trimmed off, and time had started to smooth them out. I looked closer, and I saw a Van Gogh painting! So cool, this world we live on… So I started shooting. I didn’t have my real macro lens, nor did I have a tripod, so this is all hand-held, at a magnification of approximately 1:4, I would guess. I’m going to have to go back with the proper equipment someday soon!

I also included a fun little shot of my son, just for kicks…

Google’s New “Privacy Policy”

Categories: Life,Technology No Comments

Today, a new privacy setting went active for anyone who has Google accounts. I wish I had paid a bit more attention to this before it actually happened, but last night I did some investigation and learned a lot, and was able to delete my history and turn off this “data mining” that Google wants to do. So, with this post, I’m going to show you how to turn it off yourself.

But before I do that, you might ask, “Why do we need to turn this off? What’s so wrong with Google keeping track of everything? They say it will help make our Internet experience better!” Well, I guess, in all honesty, you don’t need to do this. But I think it’s wise. For multiple reasons. If Google only does what they say they’re going to be doing with this information, then maybe everything will be okay. And even if we can trust Google (which I’m not sure we can, given how they were found to be exploiting holes in certain browsers to unethically mine data when that was specifically not supposed to be allowed), the real question comes when you start to think of identity theft issues: What happens if someone get access to all this information about you? Or, even worse, what happens if someone assumes your identity online and does illegal things in your name? I can easily imagine a case, like these, where someone hacks into your network, and uses your google accounts to surf and download illegal things, and then you take the fall for it. That scares me more than just about anything, really.

(And as a side note, if you aren’t locking down your wireless internet, you at risk for serious trouble, in my opinion. For more information on encrypting your wi-fi network, this is a good article to start with. But I think it best to go even further than that, and use MAC address filtering.)

Another part of this is due process. The government is pushing hard to get access to our digital information as well. You’ve probably heard a little bit about that in the news. But it’s a big issue. Especially surrounding this idea of warrants. Does a police officer have to get a warrant to get access to your digital information, even if it’s on Twitter, which is a public digital domain? So what about the information that is on your computer? Is that private? Probably. But what about the saved information that Google is keeping that you used on your personal computer? Ahhh, now the lines are getting fuzzy…

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Oh, the Violence!

Categories: Photography No Comments

I came across this series of photographs, and I thought them both inventive and hilarious: Martin Klimas dropped various porcelain figurines and photographed them at the moment of impact. He set up a sound trigger, so that the picture would be taken automatically from the sound of the crash as the porcelain hits the ground after a 3-meter fall.

The genius of what the photographer did is really set in the types of figurines he used…

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The Value of a Great Teacher… Part 1

Categories: Education 1 Comment

Nicholas Kristof, in a recent article on “great” teachers in the New York Times, cites a study that, through research, gives an estimated “value” for a great teacher through his or her students’ acheivements. According to the study, having a “great” fourth grade teacher will accord a student an average of $25,000 more in lifetime earnings over an average teacher. That student is also 1.25% more likely to go to college, and 1.25% less likely to get pregnant as a teenager. All of this from a fourth grade teacher? Even though 1.25% doesn’t seem like much, when you realize that you are tracing that back to a single elementary school teacher, then it’s actually a very interesting number to me. Imagine what a whole host of good teachers could do for a child! But the real issue is how do we get – and keep – great teachers in the classroom so they can affect students positively? This is an incredibly important question, especially when just shy of 50% of new teachers quit before their fifth year of teaching… (What does that tell you about the profession?)

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