Sunday, July 08, 2007


I was reading a book those last days on artists' pigments - not a bad book, although I made the mistake of buying it in French (it was originally published in England), with a translation so bad it made my teeth hurt.

Anyway, it made me reflect on my own practice of photography, even though I'm not too sure it would qualify as art. I am mostly taking color pictures, both with a digital compact (Canon Ixus 400) and with a 135mm film SLR (Pentax MZ-10); most of the pictures you see on my blogs are taken with thoses cameras.

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, August 2004.
Camera: Pentax MZ-10 SLR with its standard 35-85 zoom; film: Fuji Superia 400.

The eternal question of color photography is that of color fidelity : is it our goal goal to produce "true colors" - and for a start, is there such a thing? I don't think so. Your perception of colors at any given time is influenced by many parameters that can't be captured by a camera, and that's as true for the moment when you take the picture and for when you're watching the result. The influence of framing on the perception of a picture is a perfect exemple of that.

What this means is that your goal is not to render the true colors of your object, but the right color impression. And the thing is, you haven't got much control on that - basically, you've got to find an harmony between your subject, the lighting and the type of film you're using. And then hope the lab won't screw things up for you. And of course, if you're an amateur, you won't devote a whole film to a single subject.

So what I'm saying, basically, is that luck has a lot to do with it. Probably the reason why art photographers tend to stick to black & white, where a talented individual can master most parameters..

I might try B&W sometimes - but for now, I'll stick with luck!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Panda bear

As I planned to use a picture of a panda on my main blog, I remembered that old joke:

A panda walks into a bar, asks for a dish of bamboo, eats it, then take out a gun, shoots around randomly, reholsters the gun and walks out.

The bartender runs after him: “Hey, Sir! You've got no business coming into my bar, eating my food, shooting down the whole place and then walk away just like that!”

The panda answers: “Of course I do, man! I'm a panda! Look it up!”

The bartenders goes back to his bar, finds an old dictionary, where he reads this definition: Panda (masc. noun): a chinese bear who eats bamboo shoots and leaves.

Anyway: here is a picture I took a few years back at the San Diego Zoo and which I'm borrowing from myself:

San Diego Zoo, Aug. 15th, 2004. Bon appétit.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What's on my desk?

As good a way as any to get this blog back to life...

On my desk you'll find:

A few Books:

  • Howard N. Fox, Eleanor Antin, L.A. County Museum of Arts, 1999.
  • P. Chabot & G. Hottois (eds), Les philosophes et la technique, J. Vrin, 2003.
  • Technology and Culture, vol. 48, n. 1, Jan. 2007.
  • Jeff Horn, The Path Not Taken, French Industrialization in the Age of Revolution, 1750-1830, MIT Press, 2006.
  • David A. Kirsch, The Electric Vehicle and the Burden of History, Rutgers U.P., 2000.
  • Christophe, L'idée fixe du Savant Cosinus, 1900 [reprint Armand Colin, 1946].

Two Atlases, for Paris and Metro Philadelphia and a map of the Père Lachaise cemetery.

Several packs of photographs: 3×4" prints of XIXth Century works of arts, 4×6" prints of Amsterdam, Philadelphia and Paris, 7×11" prints of many different places, plus one framed picture of Gamkaskloof, South Africa.

A pile of xeroxed archive documents concerning an XVIIIth Century gun foundry.

Lots of personal documents that ought to be stored, archived, destroyed or maybe answered, who knows. Among those: my passport, several train tickets and a heap of bank statements.

A few electronic devices among which a Canon Lide 80 scanner, a Garmin etrex GPS, a Palm Tungsten craddle, an Apple Ibook and a Dell laptop, plus various peripherals: earphones, mouse, and all kind of cables; and the old Texas Instrument 57-LCD I've had since high school.

Many pencils and pens of various types, thickness and hardness, plus rulers and dividers, all stored in a large beer mug. Also: a magnifier, scissors and two penknives.

A belt with the great buckle I got for my birthday last week. A pair of leather gloves. My keys. My watch. A few coins. A lamp

That's it - my desk. What's on yours?