Around The World In 400 Websites; I Pick ’Em And You Click ’Em Page 2
John-Paul Jespersen's website is deceptively simple and has only one gallery. It is called "Night 1," so I'm guessing he plans to add others in the future. What follows is a brilliantly conceived and executed series of images made when there is little or no existing light, captured using really long exposures. I'm guessing about that last part because no technical data is provided but the streaks of light from cars passing through certain scenes is a good indication. What makes these low-light pictures different from others is a combination of subject matter with a supreme mastery of craft. There are no pictures of buildings illuminated at night because the architecture in some of Jespersen's shots tends to be part of the gestalt and not the subject.
The real subject of all these images is the photographer who in the mold of René Magritte, another consummate technician, juxtaposes ordinary objects within an unusual context--in this case "the night"--giving new meanings to familiar things. Unlike Magritte, his photographs are more often than not soft, yet there are a few hard-edged images creating even more disconnect between reality and Jespersen's interpretation of reality. To get inside Jespersen's head read his blog, which is subtitled "Daily postings, with images from the Leica M8 and Phase One P45+ digital back." This blog also tells you about his non-nocturnal photographic pursuits.
Basil Childers is a Portland-based editorial and advertising photographer whose site design is as vibrant and exciting as the images it showcases. Childers' photographs are collected into slide show-style galleries, including "People," "Places," "Life," "Dance," and "Series," and while each one approaches the subject matter differently they bear the indelible stamp of a photographer who uses color and strong composition to produce arresting images. Even within a collection, such as "People," you'll see a blend of photojournalism and fashion, not an easy combo to pull off, but Childers does it with ease. I was taken by his "Dance" images, especially "Winter in Lisbon" that has an "X-Files meets Martha Graham" quality you don't expect to find. In fact, if there's any commonality in any of the images in any of the galleries it is that right after you see one type of image you'll find another that's completely different, yet still fits that collection's theme.
In "Series," Childers takes you around the world, blending whimsical
photographs, such as "Moustache Brothers," with pensive images of
monks in Cambodia. His "Life" gallery includes colorful photographs,
such as "Urban Decay," with images of real urban decay in "Tribeca"
followed by a documentary photograph of a 16-year-old girl taken down by Portland
police during a Free Mumia Abu-Jamal rally. If you haven't already figured
it out, each day at Childers' website is "Anything Can Happen Day"
and his powerful imagery holds a mirror to our world letting us see ourselves,
as well as the thought-provoking sights that he's captured.
Errata: In the March 2008 column I featured www.hortonphoto.com and identified the person in the image under the word "photographer" on the homepage as a portrait of the photographer. It is not and I apologize for any inconvenience I caused Ms. Horton or any reader.
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