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Archive for the ‘Photography’ topic

Short Film: The Third and The Seventh

The Third and The Seventh by Alex Roman

This architectural short film grabbed my attention once I noticed it included the parliament building in Dhaka. I briefly mentioned it in the TEDx post (it includes a link to the video about its history and the life of Nathaniel Kahn, the architect).

This short however starts with some beautiful architectural imagery. It’s filmed in high definition and best viewed full screen. But just when you think that there isn’t that much more to it, it slowly starts to pull you in as a wonderfully strange imaginary world comes to life. One I wouldn’t mind living in to be honest. I was quite impressed by the camera work and first thought it was done with the new range of DSLR’s that support video while offering more depth of field control at affordable prices.

But I was a bit surprised that one would travel all the way to Bangladesh just to film a building. Then I realized the entire movie was created with CGI. Quite impressive as it was all done by one man, Alex Roman, and a lot of time. That it really is all just bits and bytes can be seen here. Real buildings in an unreal world.

A Place Where Ships Go to Die

Two vessels on the beach in a Chittagong ship breaking yard

Remembering Chittagong, Bangladesh

Some ships meet their fate at the bottom of the ocean. Others continue sailing, long exceeding their expiry date, or are docked as museum pieces for the generations to come. But for most ships, their demise is spelled on the beaches of the poorest nations. In particular: the shorelines of Chittagong, the southernmost province of Bangladesh.

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A Stop Motion Tilt Shift Music Video

Tilt shift stop motion video of a helicopter rescue mission at sea

This music video uses a technique called tilt shift photography. Tilt shift lenses are – as the name indicates – able to be tilted and shifted relative to the camera sensor. These special lenses are mostly used in architectural photography where images taken with a normal lens tend to suffer from heavy perspective distortion. Lines that should appear parallel from each other start to converge to a single point instead. But by using tilt shift lenses, photographers can ‘bend’ light in a controlled manner, neutralizing the effects of the perspective distortion, and thus making lines look straight again.

But by overdoing this technique, one can achieve the effect of turning real world scenes into toy like looking models. The shallow depth of field and over saturated colors enforce this idea. It’s the complete opposite of what Hollywood films tend to do: film small models and then make them appear larger than life. Either way, it gives us a completely different look on our world.

Keith Loutit, photographer in question has also made other such video’s such as North Wind Blew South.

View Cameras

view camera Tilt shift photography originated from the accordion like view cameras. Because the photographic plate was only connected to the lens plate by a accordion folded bellow, both plates could be moved independently from each other, letting the photographer distort his image anyway he wanted. These cameras however are mostly only still used by die hard photographers for landscape and studio photography as they quite large, heavy and unwieldy to use.

And for those interested, Canon has just released a new 24mm tilt shift lens for their EOS DSLR line up. It’s a lot more versatile then their previous version and a lot easier to carry around than a view camera.

Powerful Photographs of Extraordinary Moments

This is a non conclusive list of photographs which were taken during extraordinary times. Be warned though. You might find some of the following photographs quite disturbing. First flight at Kitty Hawk

First Powered Flight at Kitty Hawk
Date: December 17th, 1903
Place: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Photographer: John T. Daniels

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Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire: Boy dressed as the Hindi god Rama

It was 1985. We were flying back from Belgium to Bangladesh and had to spend a night in Bombay in order to make our connecting flight the next day. We arrived after dark and were whisked off to a hotel that attempted to convey a sense of high establishment. But in fact, it was suffering from the high humidity in the air. Living in the tropics, carpeted floors were a luxury and it was here where I could see firsthand why. As we walked through the hallways towards our rooms, I witnessed how water dripped from the ceilings down on to the damp hallway carpets. And anything damp in this climate starts to rot. I’ve slept in far worse places since then, but at the time, I was glad we were only staying a single night.
We would return to the airport the very next morning. The sun was up and it was on our way there that I saw Bombay as it really was for the first time. Even though at that point, we had lived in Dhaka for two years, that short ride was sufficient to give me one of the worst culture shocks of my life. The amount of poverty I saw out on those streets was indescribable.

The God Shiva as Nataraja performing the dance of destruction and creation

Slumdog Millionaire takes place in this very same city. Nowadays, it is called Mumbai. The story itself is told in an unconventional yet refreshing way. At first, I thought there really wasn’t a story but simply an account of what it was like growing up in the slums of Bombay. Sort of like watching a travel documentary of a place that otherwise would remain completely alien to us. The cinematography is wonderfully beautiful even though the scenes it depicts aren’t. We are shown the poverty and pollution inside the amazing network of a large slum city. It’s the Bombay I remember driving though as a child.
The film shifts gear half way through, and slowly but surely, an innocent love story starts to emerge between two of the slum dwellers. As they struggle to stay together, it’s the harsh reality of their situation that keeps getting in their way.
While this film reminds me a lot of another excellent movie: Cidade de Deus (City of God), it’s comes over as a more optimistic film despite the environment in which it takes place. Well worth seeing.

The Places We Live

Sticking to the same subject. Here is an interesting site that documents 16 people around the world talking about their homes inside these slum cities and their lives. Also in sort of the same vein are the photographs of Michael Wolf. While technically they’re not slums, he went out to photograph 100 people in their apartments in Honk Kong. The apartments are all pretty much the same, just small boxes. But each one is personalized telling us something about the lives of its inhabitants.

Travel Photos

My travel itinerary
My travel itinerary

I’ve just exported my facebook photo’s from my previous travels to this site. So for those of you who don’t wish to have a facebook account, feel free to view them over here.

The latest photo’s are from my last trip to Malawi. I spent the first week in Machinjiri with my family. After that, I traveled north.

T-shirts with the god Shiva print