Friday, November 30, 2007

From The Stream, Pt. 2

Brian Widdis

From The Stream, Pt. 1

Brian Widdis

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Where We Live

By now, everyone knows what's going on in the American housing market. In Detroit, it's particularly grim. According to a story in today's Detroit Free Press, Metro Detroit prices have fallen almost 10% during the past year.

Above is a photo of a special insert in this past Sunday's Detroit Free Press. It lists all the foreclosed homes in Wayne County, where Detroit is located. And unfortunately, that's not the classified ads or the funny papers underneath the top section. There are eight full sections, 121 pages of want-ad size print, listing these homes in foreclosure.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

David P. Gilkey - Window on Iraq

Since David Gilkey is leaving the Detroit Free Press, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to show a series of his from 2004 that was a personal favorite of mine. And you may remember, he was part of the team at the Free Press who won a national News and Documentary Emmy this past September for a different series, Band of Brothers, about National Guard Soldiers from Michigan. See the story at - Columbia Journalism Review also had a nice piece here.

Story and Photos - David P. Gilkey, Detroit Free Press. September 2004.

BAGHDAD - This neighborhood is divided into two worlds: the one Iraqis live in and the one U. S. soldiers drive through.

The people in both understand the dangers of interacting with each other. Iraqis seen talking with the Americans could be killed by their neighbors. Soldiers must regard all Iraqis as potential armed enemies.

The troops with the Army's 1st Cavalry Division, Apache Company 1-12 Cavalry from Fort Hood, Texas, make daily patrols through the Al Tamar and Al Oubaidy sections of Sadr City. Everyday scenes are framed through the bulletproof windows of their armored Humvee -- from men gathered in front of posters of Muqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric who has led a bloody resistance to the Americans in Iraq, to the gentle site of his-and-hers comforters hanging on a line to dry.

As the soldiers pass, the Iraqis signal their feelings in an instant, from disgust to excitement, from curiosity to indifference. The only constants on this tour are the walls, steel and glass that separate the two worlds.

Free Press staff photographer David P. Gilkey has spent more than six months in Iraq since covering the initial U.S. invasion with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division.

David is off to Washington to shoot video for National Public Radio, where they are making serious efforts at producing high quality video content for the web. Best of luck, David.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stray Light

Ben Huff posted on his blog recently about the disappointment of realizing that a few photographs from an important project were slightly altered because of a light leak somewhere in his system.

© Ben Huff

Like him and, I suspect, most other photographers, I also have had unexpected light hit the surface of my film. This is among the most frustrating occurrences in photography - to have gone all the way through your process and discover that it's less than perfect because of technical problems. It especially hurts when you know that the photos were good.

Below are a couple of my own "altered" photographs. In my case, I was processing my film, taping the tank lid closed, when the tape pulled the lid off for a split second. I was quite upset, even after looking at the processed film and realizing that I could at least make a print from it if I wanted. And after grudging acceptance, I grew to appreciate these photos and their imperfections.

© Brian Widdis

It helps that Ben's photos are quite nice to begin with, but the unexpected addition of the slight fog/discoloration gives them an organic feeling that is really nice. With digital technologies, it's still possible to ruin your photos after you've taken them, though not in nearly as beautiful a way.

In his Buried project, Stephen Gill took photographs in Hackney Wick and later buried the prints that he had taken there in an act of "collaboration" with the earth.

Here is part of what he says of the project:

"Not knowing what an image would look like once it was dug up introduced an element of chance and surprise which I found appealing. This feeling of letting go and in a way collaborating with place - allowing it also to work on putting the finishing touches to a picture - felt fair. Maybe the spirit of the place can also make its mark."

Maybe these light leaks are an unexpected collaboration with the light. And I hope it never happens to me again.....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Rose

© Brian Widdis

One From Last Week

© Brian Widdis
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