Death of traditional photography? Kodak’s hurtin’.


Kodak’s CEO, Antonio Perez, warns that the company might have to raise the price of its photographic paper and chemicals by as much as 20 percent over the forthcoming weeks as the demand for raw materials cause the costs to soar.

Prez said that the entire traditional photography market would be effected by rising prices as aluminium, silver and oil, vital ingredients for the sector, shot up in the last year.

This, added to other costs related to distribution, logistics and shipping expenses, is putting extra pressure on Kodak’s bottom line.

The forthcoming price raise could prompt photographers to either rush to deplete existing stocks at current prices or switch to the digital alternative which would be yet another blow to the ailing traditional photography industry.

— article by Desire Athow

Stash of Weegee prints and letters found

From tomorrow’s New York Times:

…this week the Indianapolis Museum of Art plans to announce that it has acquired a trove of work and correspondence by Weegee, the crepuscular, stogie-smoking New York photographer whose visceral pictures became a template not only for artists like Diane Arbus but also for much of the uncomfortably close tabloid imagery that exists today. The museum described the acquisition as a partial gift and partial purchase from the dealer.
The trunk is assumed to have once been the possession of Wilma Wilcox, a social worker who was Weegee’s companion and lived with him from 1957 until his death in 1968. Upon her death in 1993, she bequeathed the bulk of his work — thousands of prints and negatives — to the International Center of Photography in Manhattan. How the trunk full of prints and 62 letters to Ms. Wilcox from Weegee (born Usher Fellig in what is now Ukraine, and later known as Arthur Fellig) ended up in Kentucky is a mystery that neither the Indianapolis Museum nor the dealer, Steve H. Nowlin, has solved.

“People who work in the daytime are suckers,” he once said. Before the publication of his first book, “Naked City,” made him famous in 1945, he lived in a cheap room near police headquarters and was said to be so accustomed to working on the run that he once developed a picture of a prizefight in a subway motorman’s cab while rushing back to a newspaper office.

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How to make a sound blimp for your camera

A few weeks ago I got hired to photograph a stand up comedy performance. It was to be filmed for a DVD release, and the producer called me a few days before the show to tell me I’d need a sound blimp–my camera noise would be picked up by their microphones. I’ve shot on film sets before, but it was usually during rehearsals or in between takes, so camera noise wasn’t an issue. I called around town and couldn’t find a blimp for sale or to rent. The only place that I know of that makes these is in L.A. So I did some Googling and found this site, which illustrates how David Buzzard made his own blimp from a Pelican case and a length of plumbing pipe. I made my own based on that idea. Since the aforementioned site doesn’t go into detail, I thought I’d share how I did it.

homemade camera sound blimp

Disclaimer: I did this for my Canon EOS 5D with 80-200mm f2.8 lens and it worked out well. I have no idea how this will work with other bodies and lenses.

  1. The main parts: a Pelican 1150 case, with foam, and a length of 4″ PVC pipe. At Home Depot I found that they had precut 2′ lengths. The pipe comes in (at least) two thicknesses; I got the thicker-walled version, because I thought that might insulate the sound better. I’ve heard that most of the camera noise travels through the lens. Tip: look for pipes where at least one of the edges is smooth–you’ll need a smooth edge to glue to the case.
  2. Pelican 1150 case

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Camera phone pictures part two: Fullerton Avenue

No Cruising Zone 9PM-9PM

I found this sign on Fullerton Avenue (in Logan Square, Chicago, not far from where I live). I’m really stumped here–why 9PM to 9PM? WTF does that mean? Does it mean cruising is allowed, as long as it’s not 9PM? Does it mean don’t cruise between 9PM and 9PM, ie, no cruising 24 hours a day? If that’s the case, then why not just say, “no cruising zone” period? If you have any thoughts, please post them in the comments–I’d love to hear from you.

Fullerton Avenue, Chicago cornerstone

This is just down the block from the “no cruising zone” sign above–another Logan Square curiosity. I Googled this slogan, including the year, and found this page from the book The New Constitutions of Europe, which you can download in its entirety, if you’re so inclined. According to Title II, Article 6, of the Belgian Constitution:

There shall be no distinction of classes in the state. All Belgians are equal before the law; they alone are admissible to civil and military offices, with such exceptions as may be established by law for particular cases.

Good to know. Why do I suddenly crave waffles?

Baby Dee music video

Last November I had the pleasure of taking publicity photos for the fantastic singer/songwriter/pianist/harpist and former carny Baby Dee, for her recent Drag City release, Safe Inside the Day. A few months later I started work on a music video for one of the songs on that album–“The Dance of Diminishing Possibilities.” This was a fun project that involved the smashing to bits–with axe and sledgehammer–of an upright piano.

Baby Dee


Earwax Cafe panorama

Here’s a 180 degree view of the Earwax Cafe in Chicago. If you stop in for a visit, be sure to tell the monkey at the back of the room to cut it out.

Earwax panorama

(photo by Jim Newberry)

camera phone pictures

I shot these with my camera phone last Sunday–a gorgeous spring day– in Humboldt Park while waiting for my turn at the plate during a Wiffleball game. I reduced the size but otherwise they are untouched–no color, brightness or other adjustments. I like the exaggerated, unnatural colors. This reminds me a bit of shooting with a toy camera. I guess it is a toy camera, come to think of it.

(photos by Jim Newberry)