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The Core77 Design Blog

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  23 Apr 2014  |  Comments (2)

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It was just a few years ago that Lytro released their Light Field Camera, meant to usher in an era of "computational photography." Users capture the ambient light field rather than a bunch of static pixels, and this radical technological approach allows one to re-focus shots after the fact.

But the LFC never really took off, whether because of its alien, boxy form factor or the educational hurdle the company faces in explaining this new generation of product. So now Lytro is releasing a new model, the Illum, featuring both improved internals and an entirely new form factor. What most caught our eye is that it echoes an SLR in shape, but is clearly an entirely new class of object—not an easy design line to tread.

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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  21 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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For the third interview of Creative Minds, I would like to introduce Giorgio Giussani. I've been following him and his love for analog photography for quite a few years. His way of experimenting with analog cameras and traditional films is refreshing in these days of photoshop and Instagram. Born and raised in Italy, Giorgio lived and studied in London for ten years, traveled the world and is now based in the tropical island of La Reunion.

You can follow him and his adventures with the camera on Flickr, Facebook and Twitter

Core77: You have been in the creative field for a long time, what was it that first awoke your interest?

Giorgio Giussani: I believe people are born creative. Personally, I have always loved "making" things from when I was a kid. I grew interested in graphic design and photography later on, probably around when I was a teenager. I still remember having an old Kodak compact film camera that I loved using. Somewhere along the way, I abandoned the use of film cameras, until nine years ago, when I stumbled upon a bright red Holga camera in a market in Stockholm. I've been using film ever since—I believe that it was that Holga camera that more awoke my interest for analog photography.

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You say you used to make things when you were young, can you give us some examples?

A little bit of everything. I remember taking kids magazines and drawing a copy of the cover on a piece of paper. This was definitely one of the things I loved the most. Sometimes I was simply tracing over the magazine to copy a character or a picture; other times I was just trying to make my own characters... Not always successfully, but remember that it definitely was fun!

I've always loved bright colours and today you can see how this translates into my photography... I experimented with paint and colored pencils but never took this any further. You can definitely say that making things with my hands has been a constant pattern ever since I was young.

Does this streak of creativity run in your family?

I am the only creative one in my immediate family, at least when it comes to a 9-to-5 job. I believe that each individual is creative, but some show it and nurture it, others do not. Some members of my family can be creative on some tasks—my mom when she is cooking, for example—but they don't make creativity their way of life. Perhaps some people have a need to always be creative, to experiment with their creativity, while others can be creative on occasional tasks but without having this constant urge to create.

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Posted by erika rae  |  17 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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While some may call a clear, blue sky art enough, French artist Thomas Lamadieu might say otherwise. In fact, he might call it a blank canvas. His ongoing series, Skyart, takes the blank spaces between buildings and turns them into illustrated wonderlands filled with bearded inhabitants and imaginary animals.

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His illustrations started out as line drawings lacking any intense detail (see below) and have grown more cartoonish with his recent pieces. It would (almost) be easy to mistake some of his earlier work for messes of telephone lines or flocks of birds in abnormal formations.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  16 Apr 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Photography accessory company Photojojo might consist of "a small and passionate team" of designers (who are hiring, by the way), but despite their dimunitive size, the SF-based outfit distributes a staggering array of product. And what they've got in the pipeline is bound to draw some attention: "We're working on some stuff to make drone photography easier for anyone to get into," the company writes. Specifically, they may be helping to usher in a new category of photography: The drone selfie.

What's a drone selfie? Well jeez, whaddaya think it is?

That one was shot by Amit Gupta, the SF-based entrepreneur who runs Photojojo. No word yet on what the physical products they'll be releasing are.

Posted by Kat Bauman  |  31 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)

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My project-crush for the day goes to the FlyRig. This thing was designed and built by Real Art for the University of Dayton's basketball team hype videos, and despite having interest in neither professional photography or ball sports, I really want one. It's a 360-degree rig with the camera mounted below a rotating 16-foot arm, mounted to the ceiling of their workshop. Modeled after a massive ceiling fan and powered by an electric wheelchair motor, it allows for fast, smooth centripetal pans of the subject. In this case the subject—the University of Dayton Flyers themselves—came out looking great.

Better yet, Real Art documented the making-of the rig in a short case study:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  20 Mar 2014  |  Comments (1)

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How can something that beautiful (above) be captured with something this ugly (below)? Those unbelievably detailed macro photographs of snowflakes captured by Alexey Kljatov were shot with this monstrosity:

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A conventional lens set-up to achieve shots like Kljatov's could run you in the thousands, but the clever Moscow-based shooter hacked this together on the cheap, all from obsolete equipment. He took a common, unremarkable Helios 44M-5 lens (a Soviet-era Carl Zeiss derivative that can be had for less than US $30 on eBay!) and somehow figured out that if you flip it around backwards, then place it against the lens of a common Canon Powershot A650 in Macro mode, you get some pretty awesome zoom. (The A650, a camera whose heyday was the year 2007, goes for less than US $200 on eBay.)

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Kljatov then mounted his Canon to a wooden slat by drilling a single hole and driving a screw into the tripod mount. The Helios was then attached to the board with strapping tape, with the makeshift connection then "protected" from light leaks and weather using a cut-up garbage bag.

Still not impressed? Of his two shooting surfaces, one is an upside-down stool and a piece of glass, and the other is what looks like an old wool sweater. (And his lighting source, not pictured, is a freaking flashlight.)

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Yet from these most ghetto-tastic of set-ups, Kljatov can start with these...

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  19 Mar 2014  |  Comments (1)

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We saw some pretty crazy snowflake photos back in January, from physicist Kenneth Libbrecht. Libbrecht uses a scientist's tool, a digital microscope, to capture his images.

Moscow-based photographer Alexey Kljatov, however, is an artist. And by using conventional camera equipment (more on this in the next post) and a special postprocessing technique called "focus stacking," whereby he overlays and averages multiple RAW shots, he has captured macro photographs of snowflakes, some partially melted, that blow Libbrecht's out of the water.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  18 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)

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This is so awesome we're surprised no one else has done this yet!

L.A.-based Corridor Digital is a tiny production company that makes full-time YouTube videos. Their latest combines a Dronefly and a GoPro, which we've seen before on the 'Tube—but they've also added the Man of Steel, which we haven't. Enough talk, behold:

The subtle attention to detail is what got me—did you notice how they got the lighting just right, in virtually all of the shots, including the barrel roll? The suspension of disbelief barrier is broken as handily as that guy's AK-47.

So given that Corridor Digital's videos are free, where does the funding come from? In two words, youse guys. CD is made up of directors Sam Gorski and Niko Pueringer and producer Jake Watson, and the trio has a kind of no-deadline Kickstarter business model: They scrape up the scratch to make awesome vids that they release for free, then accept donations to both recoup their costs and set future videos up.

To accomplish this they've partnered up with Patreon, an organization set up to back creative content producers through crowdsourced funding. Sadly I don't see much application for the service to industrial design, but for those of you curious, here's how the Patreon system works:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  10 Mar 2014  |  Comments (0)

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While Chuck Close's tool of choice was the pencil, artist Seung Mo Park makes his marks with a very different medium: Stainless steel mesh.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  27 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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The 1993 Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle Hard Target was director John Woo's first U.S. film. Woo, the acclaimed action director hailing from Hong Kong, was for the first time exposed to American production largesse: Six cameras where once he might have had two, and a variety of expensive, elaborate camera rigs well beyond the budget of your average HK flick.

In this little-seen spot produced by the L.A. Times, the Muscles from Brussels himself—in fine 1993 form and style—gives you a brief look at the unusual rigs used to "make the magic" on the set of Hard Target. (Who knew they had drone cameras back in '93?)

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Posted by erika rae  |  25 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

LondonPhotos-Tower.jpg"St Martins in the Fields (1888) William Logsdail"

I stumbled across a historic mash-up of sorts while perusing Reddit the other day. Anytime there's a visually enticing chance to learn a bit about history without opening a musty book or sleeping through a monotoned narration, I'm sold. This series of photographs featuring modern-day London superimposed with old paintings depicting the same scene caught my eye, to say the least.

LondonPhotos-Brownstones.jpg"Blackman Street London (1885) John Atkinson Grimshaw"

LondonPhotos-Sidewalk.jpg"The 9th of November, 1888 (1890) William Logsdail"

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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It's hard to believe that Fujifilm and Kodak were once competitors. Whereas Kodak declared bankruptcy in 2012, following one business failure after another, Fujifilm should be a business school case study on how to deal with tough economic times and a signature product that the world is telling you is obsolete. How does a company that made their name in film stay relevant in the age of digital photography?

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We industrial designers can of course appreciate Fujifilm's retro-designed cameras, but there's more to the company's success than that: They've survived and thrived by focusing on the user experience. While they address the physical design of the cameras, they then look beyond it to ask themselves: What role does photography, and photographs themselves, play in people's lives?

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  20 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Watching movies in 3D is fun, if you can stand the splitting headache those headsets give you. For now they're the moviemakers' way of tricking your eyes into feeding your brain a false sense of depth perception, but a bunch of GIF-happy blogosphere denizens have discovered a more low-tech way to do that: By adding two vertical white stripes to your moving image.

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Presumably they needn't be two perfectly vertical stripes, nor is it important that they be precisely white so much as in sharp contrast to the predominant tone of the image. But by adding a visually static element that interrupts, and becomes interrupted by, a moving object, our brains are fooled into perceiving depth.

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Posted by Shaun Fynn  |  10 Feb 2014  |  Comments (1)

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STUDIOFYNN presents A Brave New Modernism: Shanghai · Dubai · Delhi · Mumbai

Mumbai, the fourth chapter in the STUDIOFYNN's 'Brave New modernism' series, continues the exploration of cities in the developing world. As always, this chapter captures snapshots of the day-to-day lives and faces of the city's inhabitants, investigating dimensions of the metropolis beyond just architecture to reveal life at work, perspectives from the street, daily transit and the overall theme of emergence.

Another giant of the developing world mega-cities, the metropolitan area of Mumbai is home to around 20 million people. Often considered the place where India gets down to business, the city is home to the country's commercial and trading centers and is rapidly establishing itself as a major global player in the creative industries, from advertising to all forms of media and film production. Mumbai also represents a cultural mosaic like no other, and although ethic and religious tensions inevitably exist, the city also represents a pluralistic new frontier of culture as the diverse and complex cultures of the Indian subcontinent mix with the global forces of international trade and commerce.

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Such dynamic growth does not come without its growing pains. As in Delhi, infrastructure development struggles to keep pace with a population that is expanding on a daily basis as new migrants arrive in unknown quantities seeking a better life. The collision of ideas, beliefs and values also occurs as migrants from the rural and traditional communities come to terms with a city whose values are becoming more aligned with contemporary global perspectives.

Ordinary lives are never really ordinary and this chapter mixes elements of portraiture and social realism with architectural documentary as a storytelling method to reveal aspects of the mosaic that form the city.

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Posted by erika rae  |   7 Feb 2014  |  Comments (1)

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From self-balancing cubes to Pete Wegner's inverted city within a city, it's safe to say that we've seen our share of gravity-defying designs. Since then, we've found three projects that we can't help but draw similarities between. Here are a few more force-defying projects that we've come across recently.

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60 Series from XYZ Integrated Architecture

The Tbilisi, Georgia-based design studio is no stranger to sharp angles and head-tilting constructions. Their series, which takes its name from the acute angles of the pieces, consists a trio of reality-bending furniture pieces: a red chair, a console & chair and a blue table. While the photos are a little too "American Apparel" for our tastes with their leotard-clad models, we can't deny the conversation starter appeal of this series.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   7 Feb 2014  |  Comments (2)

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The PillCam is designed for, as the AP puts it, "patients who have had trouble with the cringe-inducing colonoscopy procedure," which we'd imagine is just about everybody. The pill-sized camera doesn't invade your butt but instead goes in from the other end, and once you've swallowed it, it starts beaming high-speed photos of your insides to a device on your waist as it makes its way towards your waste. Then the doc checks the resultant video out, and uploads it to his Facebook or whatever, and you didn't even have to take your pants off.

Now that the PillCam has received FDA clearance, it's set to become a sort of GoPro for your colon. Aren't you excited to see the fun PillCam videos people will clog YouTube with? Great, because we've got one after the jump! I would have put it before the jump but I don't want to get fired! Enjoy!

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Posted by erika rae  |   6 Feb 2014  |  Comments (1)

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In a twist on the Tao tenet of emptiness, New York City is a place where empty space can be worth more than anything that one might fill it with—so goes the real estate industry in our fair city. Yet overdevelopment is all the more reason for urbanites to appreciate negative space as respite from the never-ending crowds. Whether or not you dwell in a concrete jungle, it's a pleasant surprise to have the chance to appreciate a bustling neighborhood's negative architectural space in from an unexpected perspective.

New York City-based artist Peter Wegner took to the urban streets and turned the city's famed cityscape upside down to unveil his own natural—and otherwise invisible—inverted constructions.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   5 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Globetrotting photographer Amos Chapple has shot in sixty countries, eventually working his way up to be named Cathay Pacific's Travel Photographer of the Year for '09. More recently, New Zealand native Chapple photographed a region with weather very opposite from that of his home country: Oymyakon, Russia, where the average winter temperature is negative-58 Fahrenheit (negative-50 Celsius). As Chapple told Weather.com, "occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips," and "focusing the lens would sometimes be as challenging as opening a pickle jar."

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Viewing these photos officially means you can never complain about being cold ever again. The temperature is so brutal that Oymyakon residents' lives are structured around surviving it, with inconveniences aplenty. For example: No wearing eyeglasses outdoors, unless you want them to stick to your skin. Even worse, there's no indoor plumbing. It's impossible to keep underground pipes from not freezing, so guess where you'll go when you need to use the bathroom:

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Then there's the gas situation: When you stop your car, to run into a store for instance, you cannot turn the car off, or it won't start again. So everyone leaves their cars running (except at night, when they're parked in heated garages)...

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Posted by erika rae  |   5 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

LegoBakingPowder-Lead.jpg"Last Ship to Rendezvous Point"

When it comes to designs involving LEGO, we're pretty serious. From a prosthetic leg made from the infamous building blocks to hardware design, we can't pass up a chance to show off the post-childhood opportunities LEGO has to offer. This time around, the mini-figs are starring in a series of photographs spotlighting characters from Star Wars films.

LegoBakingPowder-Group.jpg"Bossk's Cool Day Out"

LegoBakingPowder-StormTrooper.jpg"Snowtrooper's Delight"

The main ingredient and ultimate deal-maker? Baking powder.

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Posted by Shaun Fynn  |   3 Feb 2014  |  Comments (0)

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STUDIOFYNN presents A Brave New Modernism: Shanghai · Dubai · Delhi

Delhi takes the spotlight in the third chapter of the STUDIOFYNN's 'Brave New Modernism' series, an ongoing exploration of cities in the developing world and how the human condition is influenced by the rapid development and expansion of the built environment. As noted in the first chapters, the developing world is expanding at an unprecedented rate, giving rise to all manner of social, economic, environmental and infrastructural challenges.

Delhi, by most matrices or measures, is one of the world's fastest growing cities. 2013 census figures document a population of just under 17 million with other sources estimating as high as 22 million, which would make it the world's second largest city after Tokyo by many rankings. The Economic Times of India indicates that Delhi's population has grown by 21% between 2001 and 2011, which is higher than the national average of urban population growth of about 17%. The resulting density turns the urban landscape into a complex and unique visual tapestry.

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Providing for a rapidly expanding metropolis outgrowing its infrastructure faster than it can be built is an enormous task. Every environmental and socioeconomic issue becomes amplified in a city where many of the inhabitants are classified as the urban poor, lacking those basic amenities, such as sanitation, that are too often taken for granted in the world's developed metropolises.

The consequences of such a population burden is evident in all aspects of life. Inadequate infrastructure creates negative economic impact, where goods and services become harder to deliver and labor patterns become increasingly disrupted as traffic gridlock gradually ensues. This in turn may eventually result in new working patterns and the development of mega corridors as a solution for affordable housing in relative proximity to places of work, an equation that remains considerably out of balance in today's Delhi.

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Posted by erika rae  |  29 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)

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You might remember watching in awe as your grade school science teacher magically lit up an LED with a potato or three. There's not much to it—a natural acid serves as the electrolytic medium between a pair of terminals—but it's certainly a clever way to illustrate the basic principles of batteries and circuits. Now, photographer Caleb Charland is bringing back the science of natural batteries in a series of photos that might just evoke the same sense of wonder as those classroom demos from your childhood.

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Back to Light, features daisy chains of fresh fruit basking in a glow of their power, so to speak. The apples and limes are a little more photogenic than the tubers that traditionally serve as the humble battery, but given his sense of composition, we'd bet that Charland could make potatoes look this good too. Since the long-exposure photographs are illuminated solely by their subject matter to make for a kind of autonomous still life, the light source is paramount; the arrangements are either backlit or clustered around the bulb, huddled together in quasi-ritualistic fashion powering small light sources.

The project is not only intriguing for highlighting the unusual use of fruit in an energy-giving sense, but also for fueling our curiosity about just how many citruses it would take to sustain household lights.

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Posted by erika rae  |  24 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)

EmbroideredPhotos-Building.jpgMore on Diane Meyer below

Embroidery might not be groundbreaking or new, but the craft is clearly having a moment. We're not talking about the circular pieces you might see your mom working on right before she goes to bed—this embroidery shows up on photographs, metal objects and even human hands.

EmbroideredPhotos-Old.jpgWe've come a long way from grainy photos with splashes of colored embroidery; see more on Design Observer

Embellished photos date back to the turn of the century, originating as a simple method of adding a personal touch to mementos. We've come a long way in terms of art and photography, but this trend is still making appearances in modern art and design—sometimes on photographs, and other times on our own skin.

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More recently, artist Diane Meyer has developed a more contemporary take on embroidered photography, effectively 'pixelating' regions of photographs into geometric 'averages' of the colors there. The result is a kind of handcrafted 'artifact,' both in the sense of a meaningful object and the degradation of a compressed digital image file.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Jan 2014  |  Comments (2)

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We've seen plenty of GoPro footage of surfers from POV and "selfie" angles, as well as cool GoPro quadrotor footage before. But it's not 'til now that we've seen these things combined. Hawai'i-based shooter Eric Sterman runs Sterman Aerial Photography and has captured some stunning overhead footage of surfers on Oahu's North Shore.

Sterman's footage not only captures the breathtaking perspective of seeing waves swell and break from overhead, but it also offers a context you rarely see in surf videos: For every guy on a board catching a wave just right, you see dozens of hopefuls paddling out and waiting their turn, bobbing and flailing until their opportunity to synchronize with nature arrives.

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Posted by erika rae  |  17 Jan 2014  |  Comments (1)

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The last thing some of us urbanites might want is someone getting a close-up of our face while we're waiting (most likely impatiently) for a train home in rush hour crowds. But that's exactly what Adam Magyar is doing with his series "Stainless"—and he's making us all (collectively) look artsy and awesome through slow-motion 'portraits' of public transit platforms.


Side-by-side is a trip (apologies to Magyar for the cheap thrill)

Those are excerpts of Magyar's footage of Alexanderplatz in Berlin and 42nd St/Grand Central Station in New York City. The films were created with a backpack-concealed camera that shoots footage of train platforms from inside approaching cars. It's pretty eerie the way quick gestures are still movements in a mostly frozen frame, but with a small fraction of the speed. Hair flips, hands grabbing for bags, children chasing each other—they're all turned into scenes straight out of Kirsten Dunst's semi-smashing (and super depressing) apocalypse film, Melancholia:

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Posted by erika rae  |  16 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Finally, a sport that tests your biology, design and photography skills, along with your patience. Aquascaping—competitive aquarium design—is a completely real thing and the finished products are amazing. Hundreds of competitors flock to The International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest year after year to show off their water gardening skills.

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The landscapes come off more dream-like than anything else—only when you notice tiny fish and other aquarium dwellers in the nooks and crannies of the photos that you're convinced it's real. I bet many of you, like me, shudder at the thought of how long it takes to clean the tank; an award-winning aquascape can take months to years to complete.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |   6 Jan 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Remember our Car Studio Photography Set-Ups entry? That gave you a pretty good look at the insane amount of equipment required to shoot automobiles. But of course it didn't cover every possible situation; most of the earlier set-ups we saw were all about diffusing the overhead light, like this:

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Australia-based Easton Chang, on the other hand, used unfiltered tungsten lighting while capturing a Holden VF Commodore, resulting in one of the "hotter" shoots of his career:

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"All the lights were (boiling!) hot tungsten lights," Chang writes. "There were a total of 84 lights, including the ones lighting the front of the car which you can't see in the shot.

"The results? Absolutely boiling hot conditions, the paint (which was one off and uber expensive) started to bubble and the metal on my tripod was too hot to touch with your bare hands."

Chang, by the way, may just have one of the coolest jobs in the world: He travels the globe photographing exotic cars, capturing shots like these:

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