If you've been reading this department for a while you know I have a weakness
for photographs of lighthouses and Gerald "call me Sam" Tang's
website has some of the best. Tang's site is proof that fancy site design
alone won't net you a spot in Web Profiles. All you need, as The Beatles
sang, is good photography. Good enough, as Tang's are, to be featured
in National Geographic magazine.
© 2006, Gerald T. Tang, All Rights Reserved
Tang's Photo Memories contain 16 different categories, including people,
bugs, plants, and travel subject matter. His Lighthouse images are beautiful
in the classic mold, impeccably composed and skillfully exposed and shot at
different times of the year and different times of the day. They hold lots of
variety and zero predictability. If you think those shots are great, take a
look at Weeds. After seeing these scientifically accurate but nonetheless aesthetically
pleasing images of invasive species, you won't look at the crabgrass in
your lawn in the same way. Equally deft with photographing animals as small
as a ground squirrel or as large as an African elephant, Tang's generalist
approach isn't always up to his level of achievement when he attempts
sports or people. No matter, whatever subject Tang trains on his camera seems
approached the same way: With the intention of capturing the best possible image
in that particular moment. Now that's something we should all strive for.
The photographs found on David Bacon's website prove that we are, like
it or not, "living in interesting times." His camera never flinches
from capturing images of the world, and not in a coffee-table book way. His
unflinchingly powerful images show a world that many of us think we know, but
clearly don't. When you think of Iraq you are not prepared to encounter
his images of "Workers of Baghdad," made in power plants and refineries.
© 2006, David Bacon, All Rights Reserved
The site is big and sprawling. The Photographs section is filled with mostly
monochrome images that demonstrate the power of the medium to cut through the
clutter and Bacon's ability to show the soul of the person, place, or
situation. In the Culture collection you'll find photographs of extreme
grace and poetry showing native dancers in Tagulaylay. The Portraits have compelling
black and white images of people in the news, including author James Ellroy.
Bacon is the author of The Children of NAFTA and the site contains essays that
may offend some readers' political sensitivities. While you can always
put your personal spin on the subject matter, there's no denying that
the events are real and that the images are undeniable.