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More photography resources

September 8, 2009

There are more resources concerning photography than anyone will ever be able to read. This list is a follow-up to my earlier post concerning photography books. That post covered what I consider the ‘basics’ in terms of photography books. I don’t expect, within these posts, to produce comprehensive lists that everyone will agree with. Just lists of resources that I’ve found and enjoy.

Photography can be enormously expensive. Ask anyone who shoots with a Leica, view camera, or Hasselblad. For certain types of photography, the cost of entry can be measured in tens of thousands of dollars.

I don’t have that kind of money, so many of the sites I visit are DIY sites, concentrating on making things as cheap as possible. I’m also very interested in older cameras, toy cameras, and alternative processes. I like digital, but I’m not a zealot. Part of the fun is being able to explore without having to say you’re sorry.

Sites

f295
A site run by and for photographers who like to make their own cameras, lenses, film and other equipment. You will not always be able to follow instructions to the letter, but these folk make incredible cameras, and even better photographs. Many pros and semi-pros lurk and post here, and it’s a vital resource for photographers seeking inspiration.
Instructables
Although Instructables is a general how-to site, there is a lot of photography information here, from how to make red-scale film to salvaging old film cameras to finding replacement batteries. Membership is free, and allows you to download the entire how-to as a single convenient PDF.
photo.net
This is the grand daddy of all photography sites. A lot of professional photographers frequent this site, and many of the articles pull no punches, assuming you know as much about the technical side as a pro. That being said, the wealth of information available here will keep you busy for a long time.
Photojojo
A blog and a camera accessory online store at the same time. Not as brash as Lomography, and not as serious as photo.net, it sits somewhere in the middle. The blog portion digs up good articles on photography from around the net, and the store sells some genuinely useful products, as well as some dreck.
photoethnography.com
This is a site maintained by a university professor and avid photographer who uses cameras to record and supplement her field work. She has a very large collection of cameras and has listed detailed reviews of them. This site is directly responsible for many of my purchases, including my Olympus OM-1, my Canonets, and my Yashica cameras.

Magazines

Canada has a very vibrant photography magazine community, which covers aspects of photography that most of the major magazines don’t.

photoEd
PhotoEd is published 3 times a year, and each issue has a different theme. The current fall 2009 issue is devoted to schools, but previous issues have focussed on panoramic photography and alternative processes. It’s modest price and frequency make it a refreshing antidote to all the other magazines which are just basically infomercials for the manufacturers.
Photolife
Photolife is a more traditional photography magazine, but it’s focus on the Canadian scene and it’s short, to-the-point articles make it a gem. It’s also a very well-designed magazine, with good typography and breathing space for the photos.
Shutterbug
I tend to read Shutterbug for product reviews only. It lets me keep up-to-date for a modest price. It’s also fairly even-handed in its reviews.

Cameras

Pinhole Blenders
I really want some of these, particularly the anamorph model. These cameras are simple, beautiful, and unconventional. Chris Peregoy has done an amazing job creating wonderful cameras from simple objects. Take one of these with you, and you will get a lot of stares of confusion…and admiration.
The Populist
Nick Dvoracek’s design that puts pinhole photography within the reach of almost anyone. Unlike the many designs that only accept photographic paper, Nick’s camera is designed to use 35mm film, and can be built with a cereal box and other common household supplies.
lomography.com

I once made the mistake of confusing The Lomography Society International with the Russian manufacturer of the same name with a Russian camera enthusiast. I will not make that same mistake again. The LSI has made many friends and many enemies, and I can understand why. The company places its marketing ahead of its products, almost always to their detriment. And many of their products are not worth the price the extra packaging (which is outlandish) incurs. That being said, if you are judicious in what you buy, you can have a lot of fun and make some great images with many of their products.

Their Diana + and Diana F+ (the F is for flash, and there is really no reason not to buy the non-flash model) cameras are fairly faithful to the originals, while offering interchangeable lenses and camera backs (supporting 120, 35, and Fuji Instax films). The LC-A is a classic. I’m also interested in their remake of the TLR Lubitel +, and the Horizen Kompact panorama model.

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