When the pandemic forced us into isolation, many of us had to find new ways to pass the time and new subjects to photograph. Lithuanian photographer Justinas Stonkus is not an exception. When the pandemic hit, he had to find a replacement for his photography gigs without leaving home – and so he did. With […]
Most meetings are happening via video call platforms nowadays. And where there’s video, there are video effects. Sometimes they appear in the most inappropriate situations, and this is exactly what recently happened in Texas. When a Zoom court hearing began, one of the lawyers appeared looking like a cute, sad, little cat thanks to a […]
Plenty of Fujifilm gear has leaked over the years: from instant cameras to medium format. Most recently, we saw the now announced GFX 100S appear online – but did it really leak? In this brilliant and hilarious ad, Fuji tells us “the truth” about how the company’s latest medium format camera got to leak days […]
As part of its launch for the GFX100S medium format camera, Fujifilm has published a commercial that pokes fun at the idea of “leaked” tech products. While it stops short of referencing rumor sites, it does play with an idea that has actually happened.
In what seems like a clear reference to a case where an Apple engineer left a prototype iPhone in public in 2010. In the commercial, a Fujifilm engineer, still dressed in a colorful Hawaiian shirt and lei, leaves the $6,000 camera at a breakfast buffet in Oahu.
In the iPhone case, a 27-year-old software engineer who was at the time field-testing Apple’s unreleased fourth-generation iPhone accidentally left it at the bar of a German restaurant in Redwood City, California. It is one of the few documented examples of Apple’s now-legendary sphere of secrecy was breached.
In the commercial, the camera thieves threaten to (and actually start to) delete sensitive Fujifilm product launch imagery unless their demands are met. Capitulating, the Fujifilm employees eventually ask to hear what the thieves want.
The commercial takes a turn for the silly when the demands are just for the camera to retail for $6,000, which was Fujifilm’s intent the whole time.
Fujifilm missed an opportunity to poke fun at data leakers like FujiRumors, who had posted pricing and photos of the camera well ahead of the product’s official announcement. The commercial could have shown the thieves threatening to share photos of the camera online instead of deleting the company’s treasured launch content, which is a more realistic scenario.
That aside, the commercial is a funny and lighthearted take on tech product launches and is extremely well produced. If you’re interested in reading more about the FujiFilm GFX100S, you can read PetaPixel’s full coverage of the camera here.
One of the most widely published photos shot during the inauguration of Joe Biden this week doesn’t feature Biden at all, but rather Senator Bernie Sanders sitting in isolation while wearing a big coat and homemade mittens. In case you somehow missed it, the photo has taken on a life of its own as a viral Internet meme.
Freelance photojournalist Brendan Smialowski was documenting the event on Wednesday with his Nikon DSLR and telephoto lens when he captured the independent senator from Vermont sitting with his now-famous posture.
After the meme went viral, Bernie Sanders’ campaign even turned the photo into a $45 “Chairman Sanders Crewneck” sweatshirt, with 100% of the proceeds going to the charity Meals on Wheels Vermont. The item has already sold out.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Smialowski reveals that he snapped a couple of quick shots of Sanders while his mind was actually focused on other politicians at the event who have been more prominent in the news in recent weeks.
“The picture itself is not that nice. It’s not a great composition. I’m not going to be putting this in a portfolio,” Smialowski tells Rolling Stone. “This exact moment, I took two photos. It’s funny because the second one — for me — I thought was better. But I sent the first one because the moment — his posture, his pose — is a little better. But the composition was garbage. It was messy, but it was a better moment.
“I always say that in photojournalism, composition comes second to content. And content is the moment. Make it look pretty after.”
As with many memes of this sort, the photographer behind the photo had no idea what was coming when he shot and submitted the photo — Smialowski says he shot the photo because it was a “nice moment” and a “good slice of life.” In fact, Smialowski says he would have never created a meme-worthy photo if he had the choice.
“If I could know, I would never take a meme,” the photographer tells Rolling Stone. “I would be more than happy to never have a meme.”
After rioters stormed the US Capitol last week, one of the surreal photos that emerged showed a smiling man walking off with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern in the Rotunda. Then things got even more bizarre: people began calling for “Via Getty” to be arrested for his actions.
Getty Images chief photographer Win McNamee was the man behind the now-infamous photo that was quickly published by news outlets around the world.
“While this “Via Getty” misunderstanding brings some humor to what was truly one of the most unfortunate and even disgusting events in our nation’s history, it highlights too that social media can spread misinformation so very quickly.” – Via Forbes
Neil Kramer has spent close to a year quarantining with his ex-wife and mother in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom Queens, New York City rent-controlled compact apartment. This has produced a sitcom of chaotically humorous photographs that are actually based on real-life situations that have occurred while they are holed up.
His mother usually spends winters in Boca Raton, Florida, but when her plans fell through, she asked her son if she could stay with him for the winter. At the same time, his ex-wife, who was in California, had a roof leak that destroyed her apartment, and she asked if she could come and live with him temporarily.
“At first, she was just staying here a few weeks,” Kramer, an event/street photographer and TV writer, tells PetaPixel. “Then the pandemic hit and realized that she was too scared to be alone and looking for an apartment in LA, so basically stayed here… we didn’t realize it would end up being a year.”
Mother Elaine took the master bedroom, and the ex-wife, Sophia Lansky, the other bedroom. Kramer was relegated to the lumpy couch in the living room. This living situation soon became stressful. His kooky coronavirus pod was not working, and Kramer considered family therapy.
But instead, Kramer decided to use phototherapy! They would recreate a stressful situation that had occurred in the recent past and do a complete photoshoot with mother and his ex-wife, Sophia, a Hebrew and Russian language translator and actress. Maybe he figured that if they rethought it, they could resolve it.
I actually started the project more documentary style, but it just didn’t work. I realized that a photographer has to be somewhat an observer, and when we are scrubbing groceries, no one wants the photographer just standing there taking photos. It’s like that perennial case of the photojournalist who captures the guy dying on the street but doesn’t help. So was pushed to use my more film school approach of restaging stuff.
How did his ex-wife even agree to these crazy photo sessions?
“Well, she knows me as a slightly crazy artsy type, so it wasn’t surprising,” the photographer says. “But she figured it was just going to be seen by a few friends on Facebook.”
“To be honest, once I bought a few lenses, I got too cheap to upgrade,” Kramer says. “If I can do more work, I will immediately get a newer full-frame Sony.”
One of the problems is that he has to be in the photos as well, and if he is going to enact complicated scenes like when all 3 of them are doing different things in the bathroom, how do you keep continuously pressing the shutter?
Kramer starts researching the camera and finds the intervalometer.
“I didn’t even know what it was,” he says. “Then I saw some video about using it for time-lapse, so I figured you could use it instead of a timer but for multi-shots.” Idea!! What if he set the intervalometer to shoot 6-7 shots 10 seconds apart?
And what about viewing the images to get the pose/expression right? No problem there too! He loaded Sony Imaging Edge on his Dell, and now there was a monitor to look at with tethering. Although Kramer shoots in RAW, he does not “use the editing part. I later put it into Adobe Lightroom.”
He restricts the shooting to about 30 frames per session.
“I really had to overcome my perfectionism because I had basically unpaid actresses for a whole year,” Kramer says. “In a way, I had to learn to collaborate more. Like sitting with shots afterwards and letting them choose which ones they liked.” He even coaxes them to work on his photo projects by bribing them with Dunkin Donuts.
In the Sony a6000, you used to be able to focus with the phone, but they stopped it with the latest cameras,” explains Kramer. “Frankly, the tethering is a pain in the ass…and everyone starts looking at themselves on the monitor… [and after the shoot], so a few of the shots are not the best shots, but the ones where her hair looks best.
The Sigma 16mm f/1.4 was never used in the past, but now in the tight quarters, it became the lens of choice “90 percent of the time” to get everybody in the frame.
“Although it distorts near the edges, I suppose, it helps give the photos a slightly off look,” the photographer says.
Kramer is now getting better at his photography and discovering new things. “I’ve made a few prints…. just at Walgreen’s, and I have already seen that the colors are way off…. so, I have a lot to learn, and even buy… like a better monitor that is calibrated.”
My father was one of those crazy guys with a super 8 camera and always taking photos, so he was my first connection to photography. I know this will make people hate me, but I was a bit turned off early on by darkroom stuff being a wimpy, hypochondriac New Yorker worried about chemicals, so I really didn’t get into photography until the iPhone, like many others.
I had to quickly learn compositing with Photoshop, like in the shot where we are all looking out of the window. Sony and Godox didn’t have the power to give me what I wanted, so I experimented with three shots composited. I was so shocked at how easy it was and almost felt ashamed of breaking the law of realism, but at the same time, it was cool, certainly cool, and I did not even figure it out!
Kramer enjoyed street photography in the past, so “once or twice [during the pandemic] tried street photography, which I love, but it seemed too scary and not fun because everyone in the street looked miserable.”
The photos have a humorous side, but Kramer does not want to shoot just funny pictures. These are realistic and mimic situations that have occurred, like struggling to use the one bathroom, listening to pandemic press conferences, and all the disinfecting rituals to keep his mother, who is in her eighties, safe.
But even though some of the photos are funny, I don’t really think of this project as funny. We might have reacted as funny, but this last year was actually pretty scary—especially those first few months when Queens was the epicenter. If I just posted humorous photos, I don’t think the project would have been as impactful. You almost need the reality in between, so not just farce. We do have a pact to keep it somehow real. Even the crazy shots are based on real experiences we had the day before, and we were just too stressed to deal with it. So, we deal with it in a photo.
They even had a Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade right inside their house, with all three handling animal-shaped helium-filled balloons representing the floats.
Although this experience has mostly been therapy, it has been a great learning experience. “Shooting in your tiny apartment is way harder than being in a studio. And dealing with your family can be more frustrating than a paid model. They usually give you ten minutes before some TV show is going to be on.”
Kramer has received wide recognition for his photography, which he originally just posted on Instagram. It was very soon picked up by The New York Post, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and a few TV appearances, including NBC’s Today Show and others. They have even been featured in The Times of Israel. And he keeps getting requests from England, Germany, Russia, Slovenia, and others for interviews.
And this photography has even made Kramer wiser to the ways of the world.
Shooting two women, both over 35, makes me more aware of how photography in some ways is a burden on women sometimes, like I can just look crappy, and no one cares…. but the photo world, especially on Instagram, is so dominated by young perfect women, that it makes other women self-conscious
So, what’s in Kramer’s photographic future? The pandemic may still be around in early 2021 despite the start of vaccinations. He has already amassed 10,000 followers on Instagram who want to see more of his awkward situations, so he will continue his creative impulses and phototherapy, too, as long as this sitcom is on. After all, three’s company!
About the author: Phil Mistry is a photographer and teacher based in Atlanta, GA. He started one of the first digital camera classes in New York City at The International Center of Photography in the 90s. He was the director and teacher for Sony/Popular Photography magazine’s Digital Days Workshops. You can reach him via email here.
Image credits: All photos by Neil Kramer and used with permission
We love seeing a good music video here at DIYP. Over the years, we’ve featured quite a few super-creative ones. But today here’s something a bit different. Filmmaker Sam Newton has created a song and a music video that cracked us up. It pokes fun at all kinds of folks in the industry: those who […]
Google wanted a way to encourage Google Photos users to look back on their cherished memories, so they got Nickelback to record a new parody version of their hit song “Photograph.” You can hear the 1-minute parody above.
The original “Photograph” was released by the Canadian rock band back in August 2005 as the first single from their 5th studio album, All the Right Reasons, and it went on to top multiple charts in the US.
Here’s the official music video for the original song, which has over 55 million views on YouTube:
Here are the lyrics for the new parody song, titled “Google Photos — Look at your photographs”:
Look at this photograph
Every time I do it makes me laugh
Must have shot a million more
Of my dessert but I don’t know what for
And this is where we come from
These matching suits are looking pretty dumb
Falling down the photo rabbit hole
Is it my hair or just a ramen bowl.
Oooohh, my eyeeees
Every memory regretting all my hair styles
If you wove it all together, it would go for miles
It’s hard to braid it, time to shave it.
Good-bye / Highlights
Every memory we never have to look for
They no longer have to spread out on the bedroom floor
It’s time to say it, gotta say it
Good times, Good times
Look at this photograph
Every time I do it makes me laugh
“Fifteen years ago, we had no idea that the photos on our mobile devices would become such a ubiquitous part of all of our lives,” Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger says. “When Google approached us with the idea about marrying the song with Google Photos we felt like it would be a fun and nostalgic way to give the song a lyrical refresh and share some of our favorite memories.”