Photography: More Than Just Pictures

Photography is…

The Famous Tank Man

The Famous Tank Man

Art is the communication of a message through symbols. Drawing, painting and sculpting are some of the most historically prominent forms of Artwork being a part of society for thousands of years.  Over the past two centuries though, photography has quickly worked its way into the mainstream of what we consider to be ‘art’. I think of the old adage of “A picture is worth a thousand words” which is entirely true in most aspects. What is more fascinating than the technological advancement of the camera is the social impact that photography has had since it introduction in the middle part of the 19th Century, the camera has been resulted in social-cultural change, tantalization of emotions, and new standards of communication through symbols.

In this article we are going to overview the development of the camera as an art form during the 1800’s and its social impacts and effects that it had during the last millennium. Next we will review what is happening today with the digital camera technology and how it has continued its impact on society. To conclude we will look at where photography is headed in the future and how it will continue to impact our society. Continue reading

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The Web. Version 2.

View -> Page Source

Web Sites or Apps?

Web Sites or App

If there has ever been one thing that has confused me since working in and studying Electronic Media…it has been web coding. The whole thought of learning and applying basically a new language, whether HTML, CSS or XML, was really overwhelming.  Trying to understand that what I saw in my browser window was much different from what was ‘behind the curtain’. Over time the web has developed rapidly and we are now in the stage of what is known as Web 2.0 which has ushered in this era of open source coding and browsers. Through examining:

  • What Web 2.0 and its characteristics
  • What is open source coding and who are the players
  • How these two concepts work together

We will better understand why open source coding is good for all of us who want to cultivate and establish our internet presence.

U @ Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 Diagram

Web 2.0 Diagram

Through doing my research on open source coding I continuously came across the term Web 2.0, it became almost synonymous, but what is it? Is it something that we can download? Is it the way something functions, or the way it looks? Or is it just a marketing term people use? The truth is that it is a little bit of all that and more. Webopedia has a great definition describing

“Web 2.0 is the term given to describe a second generation of the World Wide Web that is focused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online. Web 2.0 basically refers to the transition from static HTML Web pages to a more dynamic Web that is more organized and is based on serving Web applications to users.” (Webopedia, Web 2.0)

Most of what we do on the internet today belongs under the Web 2.0 name. Popular activities like Blogs, Social Networking, Podcasting, and RSS feeds all are representative of what the point of Web 2.0 is: which is focused on user centered creation of content that can be easily shared with others in a customizable and interactive manner. In short, Web 2.0 is the new way delivering data in a user friendly and adaptable form. It is very likely if you have Myspace, YouTube account, or are on LinkedIn then you’re very familiar with Web 2.0.

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Why Do I Need an SD Card?

The Holidays are coming and if you’re buying someone a new digital camera listen up: please…please do not forget the SD Card. I know from experience, and it is frustrating to get this shiny new toy and then not be able to use it because there is no SD card. So for your own sake, don’t do that.

SD Cards 101

SD Logo

SD Logo

When we think of modern day, common use digital cameras, whether we are using them for photography or video production, the cameras are synonymous with the memory cards that the cameras store their images to. These compact pieces of technology have really been a revolutionary device, allowing us to take hundreds of photos or hours of video and then seamlessly move them to our computers or laptops. So the obvious question is: How does an SD Card work? In a simple explanation, SD or Secure Digital cards is a form of portable or ‘bridge’ storage device that uses flash memory to retain its data. Very popular in digital cameras but also cell phones and portable music players.

So what is it?

SD Size

Size of Flash Memory

So we know that we have to stick an SD Card into our cameras in order to store pictures, but there is much more to them than that. Very similar to ‘USB Drives’, SD Cards are have the same very simple function: store data. The roots of an SD Card can be found with floppy disk from the late 90’s but

“This modern alternative has several improvements over the old forms of memory storage. The main one is the amount of data they can hold. While it is possible to get a Secure Digital card which stores only as much data as a floppy disk, these days you’re more likely to find the 2-8 GB variety. That’s the equivalent of around 8,000 floppy disks in something only a little larger than a stamp” (David Tube,

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Clouds that compute?

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Diagram

Cloud Diagram

As technology continues to become more and more embedded in our business work-flow; cloud computing is quickly becoming a vital part. Whether you are a college student, producer, or even a lawyer, aspects like data storage and bandwidth always will either hinder or facilitate our work-flow. Cloud computing is described by Bright Hub as

‘a computing system in which tasks are assigned through a combination of connections, service and software shared over a network. This collective collection is known as ‘the cloud’.” (Rhonda Callow, Bright Hub)

In short, cloud computing allows for the workload to be taken off of a single computer and applied externally (the cloud), allowing for the computer to still use the applications or data, but through interface software. One of the most adopted forms of cloud computing is email. If you have something like a gmail, hotmail, or a yahoo email account: you are cloud computing. As the account holder, we access the cloud via a browser and through the gmail or yahoo interface design, this is also known as the ‘front end‘. The data or in this case email, is stored on the ‘back end’, which is described as

“the various computers, servers, and data storage systems that create the ‘cloud’ of computing services.” (Jonathan Strickland, How Stuff

When the front and back end are combined we get a very efficient and productive business practice that can have some substantial results.

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Anyone that has an iPhone or Droid can take high quality pictures these days. With one more touch it can be uploaded to published to flickr. This makes them a photographer. Right? That is an argument that I hear all to often. What is more important is how we have gotten to this point? What are the developments that make it possible to do this?

Know Your Roots

We know what a camera originally was, it used to just take pictures, but what about now? With the rapid technological advancement in digital cameras and digital storage devices, the lines are beginning to bend on what exactly a camera does. Whether it is Mother recording her son’s game winning goal on her point and shoot camera or Phillip Bloom recording a High Definition video on a DSLR camera. No longer is a camera…just a camera.

Phillip Bloom

Phillip Bloom

We must first understand what a digital camera is and where did it come from. The basic functions of a digital camera is the same as the traditional camera but instead of using photographic emulsion and film stock, a digital camera captures the images in a more complex way. Bob Brooke has been a writer most of his career but began working in photography and fully embraced the digital photography era, he explained in an understandable way how the digital camera works:

“Unlike traditional cameras that use film to capture and store an image, digital cameras use a solid-state device called an image sensor. These fingernail-sized silicon chips contain millions of photosensitive diodes called photosites. In the brief flickering instant that the shutter is open, each photosite records the intensity or brightness of the light that falls on it by accumulating a charge; the more light, the higher the charge. The brightness recorded by each photosite is then stored as a set of numbers that can then be used to set the color and brightness of dots on the screen or ink on the printed page to reconstruct the image.” (Bob Brooke, Brief History of Digital Photography)

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Pirates v. Congress = Bad for us

                   Bart Simpson and Piracy

Bart and his battle with Piracy

Are the days of illegally downloading  or ‘torrenting’ music, video and other forms of media coming to an end? The tension is heating up as Congress is moving closer to giving power to the Department of Justice to enforce copyright ad intellectual property rules by proposing The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The proposed bill would give the Department of Justice “an expedited process for cracking down on these rogue Web sites regardless of whether the Web site’s owner is located inside or outside of the United States” (Greg Sandoval/CNET).

Who wins?

Didn’t Lars Ulrich put an end to this already? The answer is no. At no time will a governing body be able to corral the illegal downloading industry. Amidst this fight between Congress, performers, and the record labels versus the “Internet buccaneers who helped the masses plunder unfairly priced content”(Greg Sandoval/CNET) there is a group of people who will actually be hindered by this proposed legislation.

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