Today's World Photo Day! What are you going to do to mark it?

Today is World Photo Day. If you're wondering how a 2009-invented celebration of the visual medium came to be on 19 August, it's because that's the day in 1839 when the French government announced that it had purchased the patent to the daguerreotype method and made it a gift 'free to the world'. Armed with that snippet of information, the pressing question is, what are you going to do to mark it? For anyone in need of a little inspiration, here are some Photocritic suggestions to mark World Photo Day.

1. Try something new

Photography is a learning curve. There's always something new to try or with which to experiment, so pick something you've not done before and give it a go.

Crazy-shallow depth-of-field with a macro lens
Crazy-shallow depth-of-field with a macro lens

May we recommend, in no particular order and certainly far from exhaustive:

2. Go back to basics

The technological wonders that we can perform with our cameras today can sometimes obfuscate the simplicity of photography. It's painting with light. So why not go back to basics: pick up a pinhole camera and rediscover the perfection of capturing light in a box.

The ONDU pinhole in action
The ONDU pinhole in action

3. Have a print made

How many of your photos are hanging on your walls and how many are stuffed away on hard drives as binary files that never see the light of day? Do justice to your skills: pick your favourite image and have it printed to hang on your wall.

4. Set yourself a challenge

We can't all be good at everything. But we can try to improve. Which aspect of photography do you find challenging? What would you like to do better, but find a struggle? Maybe your landscapes come across as flat and dull? Perhaps your portraits fail to capture your subject's spirit? Is your food photography not exactly good enough to eat?

Decide on a point of focus and challenge yourself to improve over the course of the coming year. Read. Practise. Try. Maybe fail. Definitely try again. Keep a record of your experimentations. Come World Photo Day 2015, you can measure your progress.

5. Teach a child to take a photo

There's no better way to share your passion for something than to teach it to someone else. So why not help to develop the next generation of photographers by teaching them how to take photos. It doesn't have to be complicated or difficult, just the basics. We've even got a tutorial to help you.

Get your boots on! It's the Burrard-Lucas travel photo contest!

You might associate Will and Matt Burrard-Lucas with breathtaking wildlife photography, but they also run a super annual photo competition. The final quarter's contest is now open for submissions and the theme is travel.

You have between now and 31 December 2012 to submit your travel-themed images. Will and Matt are looking for striking and original pictures that convey the wonder of the world, from its people and their culture, to its history or the environment.

This quarter's winner will be awarded a 16×24 framed print of her or his winning shot, provided by Committed Photography. The two runners up will be eligible for unframed 16×24 prints. The winner will then go up against the previous quarters' winners from 2012, as well as the winner of the Burrard-Lucas Facebook photo contest, to bag a Canon 60D.

The contest is free to enter and you retain your copyright. There are, however, some basic requirements regarding size and eligibility, so you should be sure to check the rules.

You can also check out previous years' winners for inspiration, as you won't be able to check out the competition this time around! (2011; 2010; 2009.)

Otherwise, I reckon you should crack on and submit something!

Vimeo Awards 2012: The Winners!

If you are doing anything with video on the internet these days, you can't have failed to notice Vimeo. So when my favourite video-sharing site for creatives is showing off the finest videos of 2012, you'd better believe I pay attention!

You could do a lot worse this lovely Friday, than spending a couple of hours with a beer or a few cups of coffee, and looking through this list...

Category winners are

  1. Action Sports: Dark Side of the Lens
  2. Advertising: K-Swiss Kenny Powers - MFCEO
  3. Animation: Umbra
  4. Captured: Sweatshoppe Video Painting Europe
  5. Documentary: Amar (All Great Achievements Require Time)
  6. Experimental: Prie Dieu
  7. Fashion: Skirt
  8. Lyrical: Symmetry (also winner of the Grand Prize)
  9. Motion Graphics: A History of the Title Sequence
  10. Music Video: Manchester Orchestra: Simple Math
  11. Narrative: BLINKY™
  12. Series: Often Awesome The Series
  13. Remix: Rear Window Timelapse

Grand Prize Winner

Symmetry from Everynone on Vimeo.

Filmmaking team Everynone submitted the winning film, “Symmetry,” to the Lyrical category, which is new this year.  The Lyrical category was created to showcase creative videos of the natural world or personal experiences.

Congratulations, everybody, you're an inspiration to us all!


Our October photo competition

Angles 8 - monument reflected ii

Quite how the inspiration for this month’s competition theme struck me is a bit of an odd one. I wanted to do something associated with postcards, but seeing as ‘go and take a picture-postcard picture’ isn’t exactly very helpful for you or for us, I went for a variation on that. We’re looking for photographs of monuments and landmarks this month. The Eiffel Tower, the Coliseum, the Brandenburg Gate, the Sydney Opera House. That sort of thing. Whatever you fancy, it just needs to be monumental. And preferably quirky. It doesn’t have to be quirky, but we like quirky things here in the Mansion. The one that we like the best will win a fabulous 12″ Fracture.

You’ve from today – Wednesday 5 October – until Wednesday 26 October to submit your entry. As ever, you’re allowed one submission per person, and they need to go in our Flickr pool.

If you’ve any questions at all, drop me a note. Otherwise The Rules are here for your reference, and good luck!

The Rules

  • If you decide to enter, you agree to The Rules.
  • You can’t have written for Small Aperture or be related to either me or Haje to enter.
  • One entry per person – so choose your best!
  • Entries need to be submitted to the right place, which is the Small Aperture Flickr group.
  • There’s a closing date for entries, so make sure you’ve submitted before then.
  • You have to own the copyright to your entry and be at liberty to submit it to a competition. Using other people’s photos is most uncool.
  • It probably goes without saying, but entries do need to be photographs. It’d be a bit of strange photo competition otherwise.
  • Don’t do anything icky – you know, be obscene or defame someone or sell your granny to get the photo.
  • We (that being me and Haje) get to choose the winner and we’ll do our best to do so within a week of the competition closing.
  • You get to keep all the rights to your images. We just want to be able to show off the winners (and maybe some honourable mentions) here on Small Aperture.
  • Entry is at your own risk. I can’t see us eating you or anything, but we can’t be responsible for anything that happens to you because you submit a photo to our competition.
  • We are allowed to change The Rules, or even suspend or end the competition, if we want or need to. Obviously we’ll try not to, but just so that you know.

(The picture? That’s the Monument, in London. Reflected in the walls of a public convenience. I kid you not.)

Rania Matar's A Girl and Her Room comes to London


Further to my Closer Look at her series back in April, I am, quite honestly, massively excited to hear that Rania Matar is exhibiting her “A Girl and her Room” series in The Mosaic Rooms in London at the start of July.

It’s currently one of my favourite series and, as I’m sure you all know, seeing a series of images exhibited and in print is a totally different experience to looking at them online. I suggest you all pop down there and check this series out whilst it’s in London, unless you’re some kind of terrible person who hates nice things. In that case, I would suggest you just sit in a blank room, staring at the wall or something.

Personally, I can’t wait to see this series, as it has inspired my own personal project and, aside from enjoying the images, I’m hoping for further inspiration from having the opportunity of seeing the images in print.

A Girl and Her Room opens in the Mosaic Rooms on the 1st of July and runs until the 23rd of July.

Three blogs for inspiration


Suffering a bit from photographer’s block? There are a whole heap of ways to help you get over it, but sometimes a healthy dose of inspiration from other photos can be just what you need. If Flickr isn’t quite what you’re looking for, three of my current favourite sites might be. Two of them aren’t solely dedicated to photos, but inspiration can take many different forms. So enjoy!

PhotoDonuts might have a slightly odd name, but they showcase sets of work from four or five different photographers everyday. There’re all sorts of different styles to be seen; I’m particularly partial to the vintage collection, and there are some photos under ‘creative’ that’ll make you go: ‘How did they do that?’ What’s more, if you’d like see your work featured there, they are open to submissions of portfolios for consideration, too.

I Like This Blog isn’t just about photos – you’ll find videos, paintings, fashion, and design throughout its corridors of wow. And of course, you don’t have to take inspiration just from photos, do you? They have a team of people who ‘curate’ the site, but accept emails asking for a review, too.

Finally, there’s Yay!Everyday. Again, they don’t feature just photographs, but if there isn’t an image amongst their quirky posters, unusual paintings, or gorgeous photographs that makes you want to pick up your camera, I’m not sure what will. Go check it out.

And have your camera close to hand.

Panographies: Panoramas on Steroids


Picture-3.jpgDo you ever look up at the sky, a towering office building, or an expansive landscape and wish your photos could capture everything you can see with your eyes? We do, so of course, there is a way to do it. Otherwise, why would we bother writing about it? :) 


Our pal Mareen does this neat thing she calls panography. Taking dozens of photos of a scene, she assembles a patchwork of images that more accurately represents what your eyes see when you’re not looking through a viewfinder.

Call it super wide-angle panorama or call it panography, I think it’s awesome. Check out the inspiration galleries on Flickr, and then go check out Panographies: Panoramas on Steroids on PhotoJoJo!