Blogs > 37th Frame

Photography, notes, commentary and much more from former Reporter Online Editor Chris Stanley.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The end of photography?

We tend to think of paintings as interpretations and photography as truth. Of course, this has never really been true - since the early days of photography images have been manipulated in many ways, from cropping and lens selection to darkroom tricks and Photoshop tools. But somehow the basic building block of a photo was reality, framed and captured by the photographer, tweaked just enough to give it their style.
With every version of Photoshop that came along, new tools were introduced to enable photographers to change the reality in their photos by moving, shaping, warping, or eliminating elements. The clone tool was revolutionary in the early 1990's; the healing tool even more so a few years later.
The newest version of Photoshop, CS5 (which is not out yet) includes a tool that not only can automatically do what all the other tools did, but can actually 'interpret' the reality in a photo and fill in what it thinks should go there.

The Content-Aware tool gives photographers the power to change photos so quickly and so accurately that I wonder if photography as we know it will cease to exist. Don't get me wrong, there are more cameras and photos in the world than ever before, and that seems to only be accelerating. But when entire elements of photos can be changed so easily and so well, I wonder if we aren't actually looking at something different, something closer to a painting. Photos become our interpretation of reality, and now need to be 'read' differently. If I like what I see in an online photo gallery, the correct response is now 'great image' instead of 'great shot'. And since we don't know the history of every photo we see, we have to assume that they might have been manipulated unless we know otherwise.

Friday, March 26, 2010

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Thursday, March 25, 2010


It used to be when you lost Walter Cronkite, you lost America. Is losing Alfred E. Newman worse?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


In line with our new multi-platform storytelling plans, staff photographer Geoff Patton rigged his SLR to shoot video without missing a frame:

He can now shoot video with the flip cam next to his left hand while snapping away on the DSLR with his right hand. Clever, isn't it?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Four-minute fish tank

If you have a wide-screen computer monitor and a reasonably fast computer, play this video full-screen. If they had a live feed, I'd watch it all day.

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

The main tank called the “Kuroshio Sea” holds 7,500-cubic meters (1,981,290 gallons) of water and features the world’s second largest acrylic glass panel, measuring 8.2 meters by 22.5 meters with a thickness of 60 centimeters. Whale sharks and manta rays are kept amongst many other fish species in the main tank.

This find courtesy of Mental Floss, one of my fav sites.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


JFK - one of the busiest airports in the world. Thousands of planes, millions of passengers.

At any given moment, dozens of huge jumbo jets are approaching and departing, zipping into one of the most crowded airspaces in America at hundreds of miles an hour.
The air traffic control center is the hub of it all, legendary for the stress and 24/7 activity.
What a great place for a cute kid moment!

One lucky grade-schooler got to direct REAL JET PLANES into the sky recently at the side of his parent, an air-traffic controller at the airport. Just like Jay-Jay the Jet Plane, only REAL! And with HUNDREDS of LIVES at stake! What fun!
Now, the parent was right there, and probably nobody was really in any danger. But as much as we like to joke around and have a few laughs while working here at the newspaper, nobody will DIE if we screw up a headline or misspell 'committee' in a story. But even a small distraction could be an issue for the folks at the radar screens, which made me wonder WHAT WAS THIS PARENT THINKING?

In this spirit, I offer a short list of jobs that I believe require a high level of 'serious.' I'm not against fun, but when you're sitting in a pressurized metal tube waiting to defy gravity in a sky full of other fast-moving metal tubes, I'd like to think somebody very serious is in charge of it all. Here's a few other times I like 'serious':

- Hospitals. Nothing like hearing doctors or nurses laugh about a recent blow-out party out in the hallway while you're in your room pondering life-threatening surgery.

- Airport security. They say 'no jokes' on the sign. I'm with that.

- TV news. Isn't it great when they switch right from the earthquake footage to the footage of a piano-playing cat just by saying, "now, on the lighter side of the news..."

- Funeral director. Unless you're in Vegas. Or maybe Los Angeles.

- Dentist. I'm in the chair. My mouth is jammed open. Drool is running down my chin. I'm possibly in pain. Get this over with FAST.

- Airport van driver (mostly applies for early, early flights). I'm still asleep. Can't think of witty comebacks. The less you talk, the more I'll tip.

- High-rise crane operator. Imagine him/her bringing the kid to work. "Easy now, careful, NO, NOT THAT SWITCH...Ooooh, that's ugly..."

- Torturer: Well, if the jokes are that bad, maybe...

- Drug dealer: Ever see a happy-go-lucky drug lord in a movie? There's a reason for that.

- Missle launch operator: OOPS!

- My desk-mate Geoff Patton suggested executioner. You don't want Hee-Haw when they're pushing the plunger on the poison.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's new, really new

I can use this when I'm not listening to my transistor bracelet radio: