Flickr Photo Champs; The Best Of Readers’ Photostreams
“The review in the paper said, ‘the aesthetic subtext of his work is the systematic exposure of artistic pretension.’ I thought I was just taking pictures.”—Elmore Leonard
My Flickr page (www.flickr.com/photos/joefarace) contains images I’m currently shooting, some of which are rounded up into thematic “sets” that relate to Shutterbug product reviews or articles. My free Flickr account lets me upload two videos and 100MB of photos each calendar month. A Pro account costs $24.95/year but provides ad-free browsing and sharing, unlimited uploads and storage, and unlimited sets and collections. When I asked readers to submit photostreams for an all-Flickr edition of Web Profiles, someone e-mailed that I would get buried with submissions and was he ever right! That’s part of the reason this column was so long in coming, but it will not be the last you’ll see here vis-à-vis Flickr. I went through hundreds of submissions for this all-Flickr column and have collected some of our best from readers this month.
Steven Pinker is a Harvard College professor, cognitive scientist, author of seven books on the human mind, including the bestselling The Stuff of Thought, as well as an avid photographer. Pinker’s photostream contains nine sets organized geographically. His “Santa Barbara & Pacific Coast IV” set contains photographs ranging from his sweeping wide-angle image “out through the Golden Gate,” which appears to have been made on a boat passing under the bridge, to whimsical bird images such as “portrait of whimbrel” that like all of Pinker’s work is superbly composed. The photographs in his “Israel” set take on a photojournalistic tone and mix the sights (and you could swear you hear sounds) of daily life in that country. A perfect yet unexpected example is his image “dancing hasid in Safed,” which has a Cartier-Bresson feel, although in color.
In his “Chile” set, Pinker takes on the landscape and he shines with images of snow-capped peaks, sculptural icebergs, and yet finds some indigenous and unusual-looking birds to capture, as in “red spur showing on southern lapwing.” Flickr makes it easy to add descriptions and titles and Pinker is diligent about adding contextual information to help you enjoy his photographs. I peeked into his “Arizona” set to get a preview of where I might be living in the near future and his nostalgic views of small desert towns, snow in the desert (not much but definitely a surprise) along with images of flora and fauna such as his delicate photograph of a pink cactus flower were a delight. All of these sets show a dedicated and versatile photographer who is equally at home photographing a pita baker or a sea otter. Want to see more? Visit Pinker’s website at: http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/photos/index.html.
Jennifer Remias is a prolific photographer whose photostream includes 48 sets of images covering a wide range of subjects, including some that are as personal as the must-see “The crayon box I call home.” In this set Remias shows you around her colorful home not in a House Beautiful way but with images that show how she can design a photograph as well as her living space. You know I just had to scour her “Cars, cars, cars” set that’s packed full of supersaturated colors and spectacular compositions of classic American rides such as “Teal Impala,” but there’s so much that is great there. Don’t miss “Along the Beach,” a set that mixes equal doses of whimsy, photojournalism, and elegant seascapes, and if you don’t think that’s a difficult combination to achieve, you gotta look at this set and see for yourself. And if you’re intrigued about modernism as featured in the movie Visual Acoustics mentioned in Digital Innovations, you need to take a look at “Midcentury Modern Homes.” I’m not saying Remias is another Julius Shulman but her work, often made with just a Canon PowerShot SD800 IS, is worth a look. Flickr is a social-networking site and I am not alone in my raves about her talents. You can tell by the number of comments under her images that Remias is clearly a beloved Flickrite, and why not? Her work has a delightfully retro feel that is oh-so-Florida in the way it embraces a pop art sensibility with hit-you-over-the-head color and strong design.