“Carbonated Ocean” Photos Raise Awareness for Climate Change’s Lesser Known Evil Twin

Striking conceptual photography is once again a major component of Christine Ren’s latest conservation campaign, called Carbonated Ocean

Last time we were in touch with performer, filmmaker, and underwater “artivist” Christine Ren, we had an insightful discussion about her (then) project about ghost fishing titled Silent Killers. Now, she’s back with a new website and another evocative project centered on marine conservation. This time, she zeroes in on climate change’s lesser known evil twin, ocean acidification.

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Sani/Nation: The Surreal Grief and Loneliness of Quarantine

Creating the Photograph is an original series where photographers share how they created an image with lighting and minimal use of post-production. The series has a heavy emphasis on teaching how to light. Want to be featured? Here’s how to submit.

“I’ve never before included so much practice and rehearsal time for a series’ images,” Christine Ren tells us. We’ve featured her work many times on this site, and it’s always dazzling. “Justin and I spent at least 2-3 sessions of practice shooting at different times of day and with different lighting setups before we layered in sets, props and I brought Sammy in for her and me to rehearse together. All of that incremental prep I think also really shows in the final shots.” The collaboration between Sammy, Christine, and Justin is a result of quarantine. When you’re stuck inside, you tend to become creative. And arguably, we’re in a golden age of creativity right now. At least Christine’s series, Sani/Nation, is big evidence of that.

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Ocean Guardians Tackles the Issue of Trawling in a Creative Way

All images by Brett Stanley with creative direction by Christine Ren. Used with permission.

“It’s becoming so hard, even with incredible imagery, to get messages to land with impact online.” says Christine Ren, who was both the model and provided creative direction for the Ocean Guardians project. “I won’t stop putting content online digitally, but digital-only is absolutely failing when it comes to conservation storytelling and even non-profit fundraising, in my opinion.” We’ve featured Christine’s work before on Silent Killers and Carbonated Ocean. Christine is passionate about the conservation of our oceans and uses art to get that message across. Specifically for Ocean Guardians, she tackled the issue of trawling. Like any creative who places specific elements in a scene to tell a story, her and photographer Brett Stanley collaborated on a photo series that does a great job of getting a message across. But as I talked about with Christine, we both think that the world needs to start doing more about this than sharing on social media.

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Silent Killers Puts Pollution of the Ocean Front and Center in these Photos

All images for Silent Killers by Jose G Cano and Christine Ren. Used with permission.

“To stop derelict gear being left in the first place, requires international policy change and regulations & monitoring of the fishing industry.” stated Christine Ren about her project Silent Killers. The photo series has been making the rounds on the web and is designed to bring attention to a big problem: pollution of the water.

So naturally, we wanted to get to know a bit more about the creative message behind the project.

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A Unique Option for GFX! Mitakon Speedmaster 65mm f1.4 Lens Review

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In a world where the quest for technical perfection has led to clinical staleness, the Mitakon Speedmaster 65mm f1.4 lens is a breath of fresh air. It arrived on my doorstep in a small, unassuming brown box. Inside was a surprising luxury feeling black box padded with foam which housed a very standard-looking manual focus lens. My first impression wasn’t great. It is heavy and lacks extreme sharpness at its widest aperture. The bokeh this lens produces can resemble something that was painted or added in post-production. However, like all worthwhile relationships, it was a slow burn. The Mitakon 65mm f1.4 makes you work for it, making it all the more satisfying when you nail the shot. The more I used it, the more its quirks grew on me.

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Did Canon Philippines Make A Misogynistic Choice?

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Wouldn’t it be nice if the powers that be in the industry had the fortitude to admit they don’t value women? Each new offense is a middle finger salute, and the reaction to remedy them is increasingly hollow. The newest chapter of this mundane book is being written by Canon Philippines. Naturally, their decision to name an all-male ambassador team is met with resentment and outrage. It’s hardly a shock. What is surprising is their non-apology apology paired with silence from the other global divisions.

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Xyza Cruz Bacani Retells the Poignant Personal Story of Migrant Workers

In her compelling book, We Are Like Air, Xyza Cruz Bacani turned to her personal experiences for retelling of the story of migrant workers in Hong Kong.

“If I’m photographing them, it means I have the power,” says Hong Kong-based Filipina author and photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani in an interview with This Week in Photo, referencing her work documenting migrant workers. “But because I’m photographing…my own family, that power was taken away from me.” Hidden against the towering skyscrapers, shopping districts, and the world-famous spots of Hong Kong are lesser-known stories of its migrant worker population. While some light has been shed on their plight, there remains an underreported reality that is both shared and personal to the migrant workers and their families. This is what Xyza has been raising awareness about through her work, particularly through her book We Are Like Air.

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Claudia Paul Committed to Shooting a Unique Portrait Weekly for a Year

All images by Claudia Paul. Used with permission.

“My personal trick to keep me on track was to use Facebook as a tool for accountability,” states photographer Claudia Paul about her Wednesday Portraits series. “I publicly announced the project and the goal to post a new portrait every Wednesday. This way I would feel like a fraud if I didn’t deliver.” Claudia Paul is a German artist working and residing in New York City as a commercial photographer. She frequently dedicates herself to non-profit work, and is always developing new personal projects independent of her paid client work. She created a year-long challenge for herself: create a new portrait every Wednesday. In the process, she developed a beautiful collection of images while exercising and strengthening her creative muscle and expanding her skills as an artist. Below we explore the project, Wednesday Portraits.

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Every Woman I Know: A Sad and Honest Look at Sexual Violence

All images by Alyssa Meadows. Used with permission.

”…very rarely are the brave women who speak out doing so with any expectation of reparations – we know the odds are against us.” These are the worrying words of Alyssa Meadows as she opens up about victims of sexual violence. After almost a decade working as a photographer, all whilst being deeply concerned about women’s issues, Alyssa has been able to bring the two elements together. Her project, Every Woman I Know, takes a brave and honest look at the range of examples of sexual violence women have experienced. In this portrait series are women Alyssa knows personally. And whilst they share their story, she also shares hers. Through public and anonymous portraits, and with the use of the written word, she has created a photography project that aims to educate and give a safe space for others who may wish to come forward and discuss their experience. Two years after starting it, we spoke to Alyssa to learn more about this ongoing series.

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How Introversion and the Camera Made Sarah Blesener Get into Photography

All images by Sarah Blesener. Used with permission.

For photographer Sarah Blesener (Instagram), photography began as an experiment into what she calls “an escape.” She started photographing those around her, namely her sister, going through an eating disorder. She’s a documentary photographer by trade who, interestingly enough, took a lot of inspiration from literature. Yes, literature; something lots of creative, surreal photographers typically draw influence from. And of course, she adores movies and film. Sarah was just named one of Adobe’s Rising Stars of Photography for 2018, and we had a moment to ask her a few quick questions about her, her work, and her future as a photographer.

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Outstanding Documentary and Art Photographers You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Here’s a list of links you should bookmark if you’re looking for outstanding photographers to check out every now and then for inspiration.

Inspiration and ideas for creative projects sometimes don’t come easy, even for the most prolific photographers of today. This is most likely why many of us find it helpful to look at what the master photographers of past and present have done, not to copy their finest work, but to help realize our own talents, inclinations, and creative visions. We need all the resources we can get: photo books, zines, online publications, portrfolio sites, and blogs. Surely, all of us keep a running list of links of photographers who we find inspirational. Well, allow us to add over 350 more to your list.

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The Phoblographer Turns Two: Words of Thanks From the Site’s Founder

Two years ago, I had an idea.

I wanted to create a website for the photography world. Fresh out of college and subject to a terrible economy combined with layoffs from freelance work and  jobs, I sat on my bed and said to myself, “I’m really sick of being unemployed,” and so I started the Phoblographer.

At the time I had no idea where to begin but I knew how to develop content and I knew the specific audience that I wanted to engage. To this day, we’re known for our real world reviews and our down to earth tonality. It’s a trait that I pride the site and the site’s staff on. Our egos are checked at the door and we stick to the realities vs being blinded by ridiculous tests. We accomplish tasks in a practical way.

Two years ago, if you had told me that I’d be back to sitting on my bed typing up this blog post and surrounded by all that I am today, I would’ve laughed in your face. I never would have thought that the site would be what it has become. We’ve been linked to by Gizmodo amongst other tech blogs, mentioned by the Boston Globe, and gained a reputation with many companies as a credible source of information. Indeed, we almost often are always the first to report on things as well as is evident when the rumors sites always link to us in the rare occasion that we do news.

Though the actual birthday of the Phoblographer falls on New Year’s Eve, I’m writing this early partially to let you know that we’re taking off for Christmas Eve and Christmas and that we’ll be back to publishing the day after. I think that the staff and I deserve it.

The site has gone through a lot:

– We’ve worked on and scrapped redesigns. A new design will finally launch after CES of next year.

– We’ve created multiple social media channels

– We’ve gone through various staffers

– I encountered some legal trouble from a former staffer

– I’ve had a troublesome time working with certain companies to expand the site’s coverage

– I’ve tried to monotize the site better and when I found that I did it, my old host kicked us off because we brought in too much traffic.

This has been a very tough year for the site. We’ve been offered to have our content rented by a larger site; to which I responded, “No.”

The site, after all this, brings in roughly 10,000 uniques a day now. That’s not a small feat, nor was it easy. But I thank all of you for the help so far; and though I’m not exactly sure how much my thank you means, I want you all to know that it comes from the artistic soul that lives within me and that is dormant in my heart and mind.

I feel the need to make specific thank yous out to certain people:

– Theresa, Joe, Spoorthy, Steve, Douglas, and the other readers that have stuck with us for a long time.

Geoff Fox; who gave me my first traffic spike. Without you, I wouldn’t have some of my long time readers.

– The rumors sites and their staff for giving me amazing traffic. Though I don’t know who you are; thanks so much for building us though it was possibly not intentional.

– Kevin, Len, Jen, Chuck and the rest of the crew over at Canon USA. I want to thank you for helping us grow; especially you Kevin.

– Charles, Keith, Sally, Rick and the awesome people at Mullen and Olympus. Thank you for all the compliments on our coverage and for always being great folks.

– Marci, Jeff, Christine, and the rest of the people over at Matter Now; perhaps the finest PR company I know specializing in the photo industry. Thank you for being such an awesome company and amongst the most pleasant people to deal with.

– Christian, Clara, and Julia over at Evins and Leica; thank you for loaning me my first review unit and believing in the site.

– Michael and Reid over at Snapknot.com, thank you for finding us and the long time partnership.

– Yechiel, Isaac and Moshe over at the affiliate team for B&H Photo

– David Brommer, Gabriel Biderman, Jason Geller, Matthew D’Alessio, Lauren Mayerhoff, Joseph Carey, and the rest of the crew over at the B&H Photo Marketing Depts.

– Rich over at Carl Zeiss.

– Simon and Brian over at Think Tank Photo.

– Kathy, Katie, Josh, Mike, Kate all the models I’ve photographed for the site.

Sander-Martijn, who is responsible for the site’s migration while I pulled my hair out when we were kicked off of Bluehost right before Photo Plus this year.

– Will Greenwald of PCMagazine and Aggrogate

– Sal Cangeloso of Geek.com

– Aimee Baldridge of MAC-On-Campus

– PJ Jacobowitz

– Dan Havlik of PDN

– Terry Lewis of The Other View

– Theano Nikitas

– Allison Johnson of Digital Camera Review

– Laurie Grunan of CNET

– Eric Reagan of Photography Bay, who inspired me to create The Phoblographer.

– Carol Mangis at Consumer Reports: my first mentor in the tech industry.

– Mitch Unger of Planet 5D

– John Conrad Williams, my photography mentor

– Dan Bailey

– Photo John of Photography Review

– Stumble Upon and Reddit

– Ziv Gillat at Eye-Fi

– Mike Pouliot and Travis Lawton; my two main staffers who help me to do lots of the heavy lifting around here.

– Social Media Coordinator Gevon Servo, who this site owes lots to.

– Copy Editor Julius Motal: your talents, wit and 1AM text messages are always more than welcome and it has always been a pleasure having you here.

And those are the biggest ones that I can think of off the top of my head right now after a long day, but I want to thank all of you reading this as well.

The only other things that I can ask of you is to please keep reading and sharing our posts. Additionally, please support us by clicking the links in each writers’ posts and then making a purchase. The links in that writer’s post helps to keep them funded. The banners and the links in my posts help to keep the site alive (and keep me funded.)

So I close this post by saying thank you; and that I look forward to another year running the site.