Duty to Experiment: The Photography of Alexander Rodchenko


“Our duty is to Experiment.”
Alexander Rodchenko (1891-1956)

Even if you haven’t heard of the Russian photographer Alexander Rodchenko – who created his iconic photography during the first decades of the 20th century – there’s a chance you’ve come across his photographs. You may also be familiar with the artistic look he helped create as part of the early Avant Garde movement in Soviet Union. To this day, Rodchenko’s art has not lost any of its freshness and power, and it can still inspire us to look beyond the ordinary and find new ways of seeing the world.

Aleksander Mikhailovich Rodchenko (Алекса́ндр Миха́йлович Ро́дченко) was born on 5 December 1891 in Saint Petersburg, and died on December 3, 1956 in Moscow. He lived through the stormy years of the communist revolution in 1917 and was a supporter of its ideals. Before venturing into photography, Rodchenko worked as a graphic designer, painter and sculptor. He was involved in founding the artistic and architectural movement called constructivism, which emphasised the function of art as a social ‘construct’ and wanted to use it to instigate social change. Rodchenko married another constructivist artist, Varvara Stepanova (1894-1958), whom he met at the Kazan Art School in Odessa. The couple later lived in Moscow in an apartment owned by Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944).

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Ricoh GR Five-Year Review: Still Going Strong

Ricoh GR camera review

Ricoh GR is probably my all-time favourite camera. I won’t be exaggerating too much when I say that it’s been love at first sight.

I bought my Ricoh GR not long after it was released in 2013 and have been using it ever since – which means I’ve had it now for close to five years. It’s still as wonderful as it was when we first met – perhaps more so, because I’ve gotten acquainted to it better.

So, this is our five-year anniversary and we’re still going strong!

What’s so great about Ricoh GR, you may ask.

One, it’s really small and fits easily in your jeans pocket.

Two, It looks cheap and unassuming but is made out of sturdy magnesium alloy.

Three, the image quality that it produces is truly fantastic.

For more great reasons to love this camera, read on.

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Architectural Photography Lighting

architectural photography lighting

In brief:

  • The three kinds of lights used by architectural photographers are the flash lights, ambient lights and the natural light.
  • Using a camera flash in interior photography, it’s important to make the light source as large as possible. To achieve this, you can either modify the light coming from your flash gun or you can bounce your flash from a suitable surface.
  • Various light fixtures are used inside and outside the house. Often it’s a good idea to see if leaving them on makes your photograph more interesting.
  • The natural light from the sun is our main source of light against which we’ll match our artificial lighting. The nature of the natural light is determined by the weather and the time of the day.

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Architectural Photography: The Basics


In brief:

  • Architectural photography is as old as photography itself. The first known photograph, View from the Window at Le Gras from 1826, taken by Nicéphore Niépce, depicts a French farmhouse.
  • At first, architectural photography was used to record buildings and other structures more or less realistically. As time went by – and the demand for architectural photography increased – photographers started to experiment with various forms of artistic expression.
  • The basic equipment required for successful architectural photography includes the camera, a wide-angle lens, flash lights and, importantly, a sturdy tripod.
  • Balancing the ambient and the flash light is possibly the most useful ‘trick of the trade’ in architectural photography. While not difficult in itself, working with these different light sources is based on a solid understanding of the exposure triangle.

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Wilderness Idea: The Environmental Photography of Ansel Adams

Ansel Adams and camera

In brief:

  • Ansel Adams is possibly the best known landscape photographer to have lived in the 20th century.
  • Before becoming a full-time photographer, Adams studied music and contemplated seriously on becoming a classical pianist.
  • Ansel Adams is a co-creator of the Zone System which allows photographers to precisely determine the exposure of their photographs.
  • Besides being a famous photographer, Adams was known for his environmental work. His photographs and writings were part of a successful campaing to designate the Sequoia and Kings Canyon areas in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California as a national park.

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5 Reasons Why Photography Is Bad for You

No, this is not a tongue-in-cheek article. Well, not completely.

As a photographer, you obviously see yourself as creating something valuable that the world will want to share.

You may also firmly believe that what you’re doing with your camera – and what you’re dreaming about day and night – will make you a better person as a human being.

But, first and foremost you have an urge to create. You were born to make pictures of the world.

Photography is freakin’ awesome.

Well, no it’s not, and here’s why.

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On Fame and Photography: The André Kertész Story

andre kertesz fork

In brief:

  • Fame can be a fickle thing: sometimes the ones who would deserve it the most go without it in their life and only get recognition posthumously. For André Kertész, acknowledgement did come during his life but he felt under-appreciated regardless.
  • The photographic career of André Kertész is usually divided into four periods: The Hungarian period, the French period, the American period and the International period.
  • André Kertész’s first camera was a 1912 ICA box camera. He also photographed with a Goerz Tenax folding camera before switching to a 35mm Leica camera. At the end of his career, in the 70s, Kertész was donated a Polaroid camera by the Polaroid Corporation itself. He used the camera to make remarkable images that were a continuation of the themes he’d explored all his life: simplicity and distortion.
  • André Kertész was the first photographer ever to have his own solo exhibition at an art gallery. His show at the Sacre du Printemps gallery in Paris in 1927 was received favourably by critics. Throughout his career, Kertész’s photographs were exhibited in dozens of galleries all over the world.

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Ten Ways You and Your Camera See Differently

In brief:

  • The human eye and the lens of a camera have similar components to them. The iris of our eye represents the glass in the lens. The retina, on which the image is focused inside our eyes, can be seen as the film or the digital sensor in the camera. The brain that makes sense of the images projected onto our eyes compares to the computer algorithms used to manipulate images in modern cameras.
  • Despite the similarities, the eye and the camera system differ in some fundamental ways, which I’ll be listing in this post. The main difference between the two is the level of complexity: the human vision is light years ahead of even the most advanced camera technology.
  • Understanding the dissimilarities between the eye and the camera, and trying to imagine how the camera sees the world, helps us hone our skills and vision as photographers.
  • Some of the differences between our eyesight and the way the camera sees the world have to do with the limitations in our biology; while others stem from the superior technical capabilities of the human vision.

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Three Ways to Remove an Object from Your Photo with Photoshop

In brief:

  • Removing objects and people from images with Photoshop is a routine task for photographers. Even before digital photography, images were often manipulated in the physical darkroom.
  • Commercial photography, as well as art photography, is rarely concerned about replicating reality. In the first instance, images are edited to reflect the vision of an art director, or a client. In the second, the artist will endeavour to materialise his inner vision – which may or may not match the outside reality.
  • Jesús Ramirez runs a popular Youtube channel called Photoshop Training Channel. In this article, we will follow along on his Photoshop tutorial on object removal.
  • In Photoshop you can do almost anything using multiple methods, which also applies to object removal. The methods learned in this article, and in Ramirez’s video, utilise the lasso tool, patch tool and the clone stamp tool.

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DSLR vs. Mirrorless: Why I Haven’t Switched Yet and Why You Should

In brief:

  • Many photographers, especially men, suffer from GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome. This photographic ailment causes you to constantly dream of and lust for new cameras, lenses and other photography equipment.
  • Mirrorless cameras and advances in algorithms have made it possible to manufacture smaller cameras capable of taking just as high-quality images as their larger counterparts.
  • DSLRs are still widely used in sports photography because they allow very fast shooting. This advantage is rapidly diminishing, however.
  • DSLR cameras are a dying breed which will most likely be superseded by mirrorless cameras within five to ten years.

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