Here and There

John Clang, Stephanie Chi-Weng Tsui (Singapore); her mother Alexia Wai-Chun Tye and partner Pierre de Fouquet (Paris) 2011

Singaporean photographer John Clang combines new technologies to update a very old genre – the family portrait.

Singapore being what it it is: a dynamic city with a motivated international population, its people tend to get separated and spread across the globe. To rejoin its families, Clang sets up a Skype link to connect people who are thousands of miles apart. The Skype image of the distant relative is projected inside the home and the family members pose as if in the same room. Then he photographs the result. It’s reassuring that despite all this globalisation, new technology and post modernity we still badly need our family connections.

You can see the complete set on the New York Times website

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High resolution camera

AWARE2 digital camera

A new camera is being developed that will take 50 gigapixel photos! This is about a thousand times more resolution than the average full-frame SLR. Is is being developed at Duke University in the US, and yes, it is funded by the military (although it doesn’t actually kill people).

The camera doesn’t have a 50 gigapixel sensor, instead it synchronizes 98 cameras inside, each one allotted a section of the subject. The results are stitched together in the software. It’s an ugly beast, nearly a metre across, and is only a prototype

In the science journal Nature the researchers describe the virtual impossibility of developing single sensors of this resolution due to optical limits. But they allude to a future where such cameras become normal, “Ubiquitous gigapixel cameras may transform the central challenge of photography from the question of where to point the camera to that of how to mine the data.

At this stage the camera is intended for surveillance, presumably from satellites, but think what Google Street View could do with it!

These example, from The Age online, show the possibilities at only one gigapixel.

See the full article from BBC News and the scientific paper in Nature.

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Refusé

What is this? A close-up of burnt metal? A landscape painting of a fiery sky? Or a photograph of a chemical spill?

The answer is curious. Since about 1983 I’ve been collecting discarded prints from darkroom bins. Frustrated students throw a developing print straight into the rubbish, without fixing or washing it. It sits there dripping in developer and gradually oxidizes – the silver reacts with the air and tarnishes, as silverware does. I have a couple of boxes of them, collected when particularly interesting ones appear. This is something unique to the photo-chemical photography, impossible with digital technology.

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