ashwednesday: (Travel)
I love National Geographic, and their photo competitions also bring out some amazing talent. This one in particular made me gasp aloud:

(Montana; Sean Heavey)

More extraordinary shots here.
ashwednesday: (Ticktock)
My friend Ollie linked me to some beautiful pictures of Paris taken on an infrared setting. They are stunning - dreamlike but not twee. I've not looked at much infrared photography before but some of it is gorgeous. Makes me want to have a go!

IR from around the web, click to continue )
ashwednesday: (Academic at work)

The Identity Project - Robin by Leonard Nimoy

I had no idea that Leonard Nimoy is an accomplished photographer! Can he get any more awesome? I recently watched the new Star Trek movie - which I loved, by the way - and was very happy to see the sprightly 79 year old Nimoy revisiting the part of Spock. But it seems his talents extend beyond the acting sphere.

A recent photography project he has done is called "The Full Body Project", which is black and white nude photography of plus-size women. Nimoy's description of why he's taken on the project is interesting, and shows an ability to critique his own past attitudes.

For a number of years, I have been producing images using the female figure... But, as has been pointed out to me in discussions at exhibitions of my work, the people in these pictures always fell under the umbrella of a certain body type. I’ll call it a "classic" look. Always within range of the current social consensus of what is "beautiful." In fact, that was the adjective I most often heard when my work was exhibited. The women as they appeared in my images were allotted no individual identity. They were hired and directed to help me express an idea—sometimes about sexuality, sometimes about spirituality—and usually about feminine power. But the pictures were not about them... These women [I am using] are interested in "fat liberation." ... I wanted these pictures to be more about them. These women are projecting an image that is their own. And one that also stems fro m their own story rather than mine... In these pictures these women are proudly wearing their own skin.

cut for nudity )

In 2002, meanwhile, Nimoy caused uproar within the Jewish community with his book Shekhina which contained photographs intending to represent the divine (feminine) presence of God. I don't really know enough about this concept to say whether or not I think Nimoy does it justice, but I think some of the nudes are really quite lovely.

more nsfw )

And finally, he has most recently worked on The Identity Project, where he worked with 100 people to try to portray their "secret selves". Some of the results are quite interesting.

you've got a secret smile )
ashwednesday: medieval tapestry (Tapestry desire)
Yesterday I took a trip to the beautiful Rievaulx Abbey, founded in 1132 by St Bernard of Clairvaux. The abbey was founded by a small group of Cistercian monks, an austere order that wished to closely follow the Rule of St Benedict. The remote location made an ideal situation for monks who wished to live a simple life. However, over the next century the abbey became one of the most prosperous in England, and had a population of 650 monks and lay brothers. Unfortunately, at the end of the 13th century, an outbreak of sheep scab meant that the abbey became bankrupt, as much of its wealth was invested in its sheep flocks (14 000 sheep!). Its decline began at this point, which was not aided by raids from Scotland and the ravages of the Black Death, which reduced the population of the abbey to a handful of monks. Because of this, the rules of the order were relaxed - the monastery could not really be self sufficient, and like other monasteries the lands surrounding it were leased out.

Henry VIII dissolved the monastery in 1538. As well as being stripped of its valuables, I've just come across a fascinating claim that the advanced blast furnace used by the monks of the abbey may have actually sped up the coming of the Industrial Revolution, so the Dissolution may have put a stop to that as well! Since I'm not an archaeologist, and certainly not one who specialises in metal, I have no idea if this is just a crazy theory. However, some archaeometallurgists had some crazy fun doing iron smelting experiments at Rievaulx, which you can read about here! It's high on picture content and relatively low on terminology the layman won't understand. This report came out in 2002, and I'm not sure what the upshot of all this has been... If anyone knows, do let me know. I could go on an actual academic hunt for articles on this, of which I'm sure there are many, but I don't think I have time right now...

So, instead enjoy some pretentious photography of a beautiful location.

ashwednesday: blossoms (Spring has sprung)
I love messing about with Photoshop and the like, and I have discovered a neat little application called Poladroid. It gives your photos that Polaroid feel, with the convenience of them being digital. What's especially cool is that you can save photos in varying degrees of exposure. For example, here is a photo I took of some sheep.


Which through the use of this application, began turning into...

which became...



ashwednesday: ocean (Default)

January 2013

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