Zeng Han Documents the Modernization of China

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Vice recently did a short documentary on Zeng Han, a photographer living in one of the more modernized and liberal parts of China that has been documenting the current modernization period as the nation has really begun to rise. The modernization process is sometimes at conflict with the country’s numerous traditions; and the country has been trying to perfect a balance of getting up to speed with the times and holding onto their identity. It’s something that many places face as Western culture starts to creep in. It happened in Japan, Korea, and even is seeping into the Middle East in some ways.

The documentary is really quite good and includes some of Han’s Soul Stealer project; which includes lots of fine art portraits that I would kill to see in person and in a gallery here in NYC. Check out the documentary after the jump. For the absolute best experience though, I’d recommend watching it on a full television via HDMI cable or YouTube via Apple TV. The experience is just so much better.

(Via Vice: Picture Perfect…photo by Zeng Han)

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Photoshelter Rounds Up The Year In Review With 57 Reasons to Love Photography in 2012

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At the end of every year it seems fitting to look back and see what has changed and take account of what has been accomplished in our midst. Photography culture is no different. Allen Murabayashi, the Chairman and Co-Founder of Photoshelter took this time to put together a brilliantly introspective look at the whole of photography in the year and highlight some really great points. Here are two of the highlights that stood out from the roundup, which you should surely go take a look at.

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Instant: The Story of Polaroid Recounts The Story of Instant Love

The New York Times’s Lens Blog has a wonderful mini book review of Instant: The Story of Polaroid. The book recounts how Edwin Land decided to create Instant Film because his daughter was impatient and wanted to see her images immediately; she didn’t want to wait for the development time that typical slide and negative film need. He went on to do lots of research, trial and error, and eventually founded the Polaroid company; which apparently Steve Jobs modelled Apple after.

Land’s creations are numerous; I own a Polaroid Land Camera 185; and love it to death. News Editor Peter Walkowiak was recently staying in NY and I was able to open his eyes to the beauty that instant film can deliver. However, one of his benchmark success stories is the SX-70; a camera very highly valued even now. Editorial shoots are still done with this camera, with famed photographer Emiliano Granado being one of the users. The article, even goes on to talk about the Impossible Project, and how Land would have been horrified with their unpredictable results. It’s very much worth the read.

The book is available in Paperback or in the Kindle Store.

DIY 4×5 Film Backs Are Apparently Easier to Make Than We Think

One of the users over at FilmWasters Forum has created an awesome 4×5 film back. According to user Damland, it’s easier to do than we think. Damland used bass wood, a knife, ruler, and fast drying wood workers glue. The photos in the lower section of the photo below were shot with the camera back, and exposed on Ilford direct positive paper; which can be tough to work with to begin. Ilford paper is very popular for this type of stuff, and I’ve interviewed another photographer that used it as well when I worked for B&H Photo.

Of course, this can’t always be done by everyone. It needs very careful analyzing and ensuring that the back is light sealed with no issues at all.

Check out more over at FilmWasters Forum.