Starting Here, Starting Now; Predicting The Future For More Than 25 Years
“Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic than they originally predicted.”—Krista Now, Southland Tales
When Olympus announced the Four Thirds concept at PMA 2001, I was among the many members of the press who were, to put it in the most polite terms, skeptical. At the time, it seemed to me like a cure for no known disease, but I began to get cautiously optimistic. Two things happened that changed my mind: I started shooting the Olympus E-1 at events, such as the US Grand Prix and New York’s Fashion Week, and my wife, Mary, enthusiastically embraced the system, producing some amazing images, first with the E-1 and then with every new SLR Olympus has launched since. She and I are currently shooting the E-620 and I am especially impressed with the way the camera echoes the glory days of the company’s jewel-like OM series of film SLRs. Olympus was the only camera company to show an all-new production SLR at PMA 2009 and after the show launched the new E-450, the smaller sibling to the already compact E-620. There is no doubt that the world of Four Thirds is growing, with new cameras from Panasonic using the Micro Four Thirds standard, and in the not-too-distant future I’m hoping to see production versions of the prototypes Big Oly displayed at photokina. If you’re interested in learning about the Four Thirds system, I recommend that you visit FourThirdsPhoto’s website (www.fourthirdsphoto.com). It’s a place to discover new information about the world of Four Thirds as well as communicate with fellow users.
Prepare to be amazed. His website says that Georgia native Steve Thornton is “one of the world’s leading international fashion, beauty, lifestyle, cowboy, travel and resort photographers.” Lest you think that’s hyperbole, there’s an old cowboy saying that says, “if it’s the truth, it’s not braggin’,” and that’s certainly the case with Thornton’s photography. Take his “Cowboy” portfolio. Click the button and the already sprawling site explodes with 14—count ’em—individual cowboy collections, each containing images more incredible looking than the next. Peek inside “Silhouette” to see photographs in the John Wayne/John Ford/The Searchers school of Western imagery and if any one of us had made one image as colorful, dramatic, and technically superb as any one of Thornton’s photographs we would consider ourselves to be geniuses. The only problem is that Thornton has a whole page of cowboys silhouetted against a Western sky, each one more outstanding than the other for his use of color and composition.
For something different, click on his “Beauty” collection and bang, zoom here are four more collections showing a softer side, including the “Body” collection which showcases sensitive images of women. (Nudity Advisory.) Click on “Industrial” to see nuts and bolts photographs of real nuts and bolts captured in pristine and precise studio photography along with images of factories and rail yards that echo Margaret Bourke-White’s idealized photographs made for Life, except these are infused with the color and vitality that are at the heart of all Thornton’s images. Want more and different? Thornton’s “Racecar” photography captures the color and action of what appears to be American Le Mans Series racers in the pits and on the track—at night! If that isn’t enough, the entire site is available in an Italian version. And yet I’ve barely scratched the surface of the diverse, creative, and downright imaginative images that populate this site, so I suggest you dig deep and look in all the nooks and crannies on this website because Steve Thornton is King Midas, everything he points his camera at turns into photographic gold.
Craig Hudson is a 16-year-old high school junior who’s serious about photography. His work is collected into seven different galleries and executed with skill and maturity that exceed his years. This is especially true of the arresting black-and-white and color images made at anti-war rallies in his “Photojournalism” portfolio that confounds so-called journalistic purism with an editorial image that combines both color and monochrome in an unsettling aesthetic that is powerful and thought-provoking. “Portraits” contains images that while featuring his contemporaries as subjects demonstrates his grasp of the medium that hits the ball out of the park more than it swings and misses. Particularly notable are a young red-haired woman who resembles Maureen O’Hara and is photographed in The Quiet Man style and a brunette posed against a fence à la Hitchcock’s Rebecca, showing that Hudson has a certain Hollywood flair when photographing people. There are others, such as the graffiti portrait showing Hudson’s talent not only in capturing the image but also working with people.
He does pretty well with nature as the “Landscape & Nature” collection plainly shows, especially when he embraces the drama of black and white. On the other hand, his nighttime “Cityscapes” images soar with color. “ConcertsShows,” while a small collection, shows an excellent grasp of both the technical and aesthetic challenges of photographing live musical events and I was pleasantly surprised (I usually dislike concert photos) at how well Hudson’s compositions carefully focus on the person being photographed. Craig Hudson is obviously a versatile photographer and one who clearly has a bight future.