Five For Friday 129

“Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.” — Ken Robinson



Affinity Photo

If you’re a Mac user looking for an alternative to Photoshop, the folks at Serif just might have you covered. Affinity Photo was designed from the ground up to edit photos and features not only a fantastic customizable UI, but also a huge selection of tools and filters that are fast, intuitive and in many cases outperform their photoshop equivalents. Don’t let the low price fool you—this is a fantastic piece of software.




Bensinger’s Pool Hall

My grandfather was a pool hustler in Nebraska (he also ran moonshine, but that’s another story) so these vintage pool hall images hit me right where I live. Shot as a college assignment by Helaine Garren, the photographs were taken inside Bensinger’s Pool Hall, a Chicago landmark and the inspiration for one of Paul Newman’s greatest films, The Hustler. Gorgeous hard light and grainy film, just the way it should be. Read the story and see the photographs on Vantage.




Drones and Photojournalism

There’s an interesting interview over on LensCulture (via Blink) with photojournalist Tomas van Houtryve, who won the 2015 Infinity Award for Photojournalism for his series “Blue Sky Days.” The series offers a drone’s-eye view of America and raises some interesting conversations around surveillance and privacy. “Before I put my drone in the air there is always a feeling of apprehension,” van Houtyryve says. “Will someone come and tap me on the shoulder and put me in handcuffs? It is a new technology and people react to it in many different ways—fear, wonder, curiosity, paranoia.”




Of Drought and Man in the West

Contrary to what Sarah Palin would have you believe, the answer to California’s drought is not to “build more reservoirs.” When no water is falling from the sky, simply building more places to store it is a zero-sum game. Four photographers –  Christaan FelberBryan SchutmaatJake Stangel and Michael Friberg – were tasked by NY Times Lens photo editors  Luise Stauss and Ayanna Quint to document the drought. The images are not only powerful, but are a cautionary tale about the effects of mismanaging finite resources.

“When I got to Lake Mead, it looked like a dirty toilet: huge ring encompassed the entire shoreline. We stumbled upon a marina that was abandoned, old food still rotting in the kitchen, the docks bent upward by the ground they were never supposed to touch.” – Michael Friberg



True Detective Main Titles [Season Two]

I am a big fan of HBO’s True Detective. The first season was just fantastic television and, in my opinion, the best thing Matthew McConaughey has done in years. I love the story, but I also love the look of it, which is introduced perfectly in the main title sequence, created by Antibody. Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about season two, not because I thought creator Nic Pizzolatto didn’t have another great story in him. It was more around the casting—at the time, I just didn’t see Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughan being able to fill the shoes of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. It’s hard to say whether season two is better, or even as good as season one. It’s just different. The main title sequence, however, is just as good, due in large part to the fact that they were created by the same team. Lead animator and compositor Raoul Marks is back, under the creative direction of Patrick Clair and the results are superb. This time, they’ve moved away from the grey and neutrals of season one and, made color a bolder visual element, inspired by the photography of David Maisel. In an interview with The Creators Project, Marks talks about the project and the use of color as a visual anchor to the story. “The more gloomy monotone vibes of the first season weren’t going to work… We needed some brighter turquoise and reds. We relied heavily on still photography for a lot of the locations and textural elements in the sequence. In fact, the majority of imagery comes from still images. So a large part of production was bringing the photography to life. It needed to reflect our new setting of fictional Vinci, California, and feel like a lucid dream—unsettling and full of Californian heat. The goal was to be recognizable, but also to take a new angle on the iconic aesthetic of California.”



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