Help Portrait and Beyond

Yesterday, professional photographers, stylists and others from around the world gathered to provide portraits to people otherwise haven't had the opportunity to have their portraits taken.

CHC participated in Help Portrait for a second year and we had some great photographers and stylists help ou.

When I got home from my various events of the day, I checked on Facebook and saw a couple great posts about this.

It appears, for whatever reason, photography was on a lot of people's minds yesterday. Several people shared different links to collections of photographs, Initially, I was going to reshare them on Facebook, but there were too many, so I decided to share them as part of this blog posts.

So, from the sublime pictures of Help Portrait, I move to the humorous if not ridiculous.

Invisible women: can you spot the mothers in these photographs?

30 Naughtiest Dogs: You’ll Crack Up When You Find Out What They Did

Walmart called — Your Photos Are Ready

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Exploring Images from Flickr through Empire Avenue to Instagram, Streamzoo and Gimp

People have often told me, I need more images on my blog. Images get people to stop and look, and, if you're lucky, read a little bit. Yet, mostly, I haven't gotten around to it. You see, I love words. I love text. Putting words together has always been easy.

I typically tell people I'm not really a visual sort of person. Yet that's not exactly right. I was in the photography club in junior high school. I had an early fifties vintage Exacta SLR. I would roll my own canisters of black and white film, shoot roll after roll, and then spend hours in the darkroom developing the film and making prints.

Morgan at Amanda's Wedding
I learned some of the tricks back then of over exposing, under exposing, burning in clouds, and so on, but while ability to craft words made it over to the Internet, my photography never has. Now, recently developments online are causing me to consider ramping up my digital image making.

One thing that has gotten me thinking about this is Pinterest. People 'pin' articles on their boards at Pintrest, and this seems to be very image driven. Perhaps, if I want to keep building audience here, I need to have more images with my stories to encourage more pinning.

Then, there is a discussion going on over at Empire Avenue. People have found that being active in photo sharing sites can really boost your performance on Empire Avenue. A key focus has been on InstraGram. The problem with InstaGram is that it is limited to iPhone users. So, some people have become more active on Flickr.

One person who has some very interesting images on Flickr is Liz Strauss. I commented that it looked like one of her photographs had been put through and Edward Hopper filter and another through a Soviet Realism filter. It made me think about different filters for different famous painting styles. Can I create a Chiaroscuro filter? How about a Pointillism filter? Perhaps something emulating Picasso's blue period? Maybe I could even create some sort of palimpsest.

InstaGram, Hipstamatic, and the Flickr app for Android have some sort of filters like that, and another site I recently discovered thanks to a friend on Empire Avenue, StreamZoo, has a bunch of interesting filters. Unfortunately, StreamZoo does not seem to have an easy way of posting to Flickr. I couldn't even find a way to do it with IFTTT. So, I'm mostly cross posting my StreamZoo pictures to .

Beyond this, sites like InstaGram have their set of filters you can apply. With something like StreamZoo, you can really do an awful lot, but what if I want to create my own filters?

I've always been an open source sort of guy, so I started looking around for articles that talk about how to do some of this via Gimp. A good starting point is Create Instagram Style Photo Effects with GIMP or Photoshop.

I read through that and started experimenting. It took me a little while to get comfortable with layers, and color curves, but slowly it started to take shape. There is a lot more that can be explored, as well as how to relate this to semiotics. So, who else is doing interesting thing with modifying images? Got any suggestions?

Wordless Wednesday

@Fuelfrog 246.2 3.979 9.421, originally uploaded by Aldon.

Flickr and Beyond

Today, Mashable reports that Flickr is getting a makeover to make it look more like Pinterest. This caught my attention, because recently there has been an upsurge of interest in photo sharing sites over on Empire Avenue.

It started off with a discussion about how to maximize people's Instagram scores on Empire Avenue. However, Instagram is currently only available for iPhone users, and this left out a bunch of people, so some of the discussion shifted over to Flickr.

With that, I've picked up about a dozen new contacts in the past couple days. (If you're interested, please connect with me at I've received and place more comments in the past couple of days than I have probably over the years on Flickr.

I'm also spending a lot more time looking at other people's photos. There are some really good ones, and I'm trying to figure out how best to tie together what I am seeing and talking about there with my other social media presences without becoming duplicative.

I often comment about being much more of a textual person than an image oriented person. It will be interesting to how this shifts.

So, are you doing new and exciting things with images? How do you decide whether to share the images on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, or other sites?

Your Chance to Star in Validation

Have you watched ‘Validation’?

Take the time to watch this video. Then ask yourself, what are you doing to validate others.

Here is one way to help. Help-Portrait 2010.

Help-Portrait is a community of photographers, coming together across the world to use their photography skills to give back to their local community.

On or around 04 December, photographers around the world will be grabbing their cameras, finding people in need and taking their picture. When the prints are ready, the photographs get delivered.

Yep. It really is that easy.

Here’s a video from 2009:

New Haven Photographers Matt and Lindsay Branscombe are helping organize Help Portrait 2010 - New Haven. (Sign up on the Facebook Event Page.)

It isn’t just in New Haven. There are efforts in Bridgeport as well. For more details, check out Mark Smith's blog post about Help Portrait in Bridgeport in 2009 as well as the Bridgeport Public Allies Community Portrait Session to raise awareness for affordable housing in Bridgeport, CT. If you are interested in the Bridgeport efforts this year, check out the Bridgeport Group on the Help Portrait website.

You can help validate people as well. As Mark said in his blog post, “Don't Take Pictures, Give Them!!!”

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