Our 50 Favourite Photo Sites, Articles and News of 2008

Posted Thursday, 5 February 2009 by Lars Hasvoll Bakke, Gudmund Aarseth and Josh Hodge in Photography, Inspiration
Well into 2009, Lars, Josh and Gudmund have finally finished arguing over compiling their list of favorite blog posts, galleries and news pieces picked among the stuff they came across during the last year, and now that the dust has settled, here are the best 50 that remained standing:

Tutorials and learning

A blog focused on where a potential photo professional can find a market, and how to break into it.

Cambridge in colour tutorials
A bunch of excellent tutorials on understanding essential camera technology and photographic physics, as well as tutorials on the most important topics and techniques with regards to post-processing.

HDR tutorials roundup
A great guide to the best places to go for learning about HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography.

Digital Photography School
Highly active website which combines a blog and a photo community. Blog posts are sorted into three broad categories, photography tips, equipment and post-production. Somewhat unusually for a photography website, it's well designed and good looking.

As the name suggests, here's a do-it-yourself approach to photography gear in particular, and other related topics. Many excellent, practical tips on building your own equipment.

General photography

A very popular blog on working with one of the most important aspects of photography, light, or to be more precise, lighting. Sprinkled with more general advice, such as not taking time of work in the week between Christmas and New Year, because nothing gets done anyway, so you can just sit back and relax, and get paid doing it.

RED Epic and Scarlet cameras
Newbie (but hardly amateur) movie camera producer RED is apparently branching into professional still photography with the announcement of their Scarlet and Epic camera systems. The site linked to above is confusing to say the least, so check out the Luminous Landscape's article for a more down-to-the ground explanation on what this is all about.

The essence: RED is working on two highly modular camera systems, which promises changes to the concept of high-end photography equipment hardly seen in the past. If these camera systems do in fact materialize (which may happen during 2009), they may force the established camera producers to think long and hard about how they design their camera systems.

Of audiences and best sellers
Luminous Landscape article discussing the need of an audience for ones photography, how to find it, how to please it, and how to not bore yourself to death doing it.

Do sensors "out-resolve" lenses?
Written by a curious combination of an economist and a fashion photographer, this lengthy and somewhat technical article, revolving around the question of whether the resolution in today's SLR sensors is getting so high that the lenses, not the sensors are now the bottle-necks with regards to technical qualities.

Some of us here at Crestock had assumed that this point was long past, but apparently not. Before embarking on this article, be warned, the end conclusion is not a simple, satisfying yes/no answer.

There's a lot of learning to be done here, much of which is focussed on the technical/practical part of photography, though not in a schematic, scientific way like the Luminous Landscape article above.

There are articles on the (equipment) history of photography, dynamic range, buying equipment abroad, but also coverage of more artistic subjects.

Best Photo Books of 2008
Magnum photographers Alec Soth and Martin Parr has compiled lists of their favourite photo books of 2008, to be found in Magnum's blog.

Promotion website for the photo book "Motherland" by Simon Roberts, shot all over Russia during 2004 and 2005. The nice thing with this site is that there's a fair few sample photos from the book to checkout. From the vast Siberian taiga and the Altai mountains to hydroelectric plants, decaying tenement blocks and teenagers in Tomsk, the book seems to have a bit of everything. On our wish list!

Love me Turkmenistan
Lens culture's short review of a photo book published in 2008 about one of the world's most bizarre dictators through the ages, Saparmurat Nyazov of Turkmenistan. Lars eagerly followed Nyazov's career up until his death in late 2006, and once won a rather nice Manchester City team jersey for being able to spell his name.

The book covers the personality Nyazov, and the results of the cult-of-personality which he set up around himself. If the few sample photos here don't convince you, do some quick reading about him, and you might be convinced that a photo book about the guy has a lot of merit. Another definite placement on the wish list!

Photo blogs, galleries and exhibits

Jamie Livingston's "A photo a day" project
Jamie Livingston took a polaroid photo (almost) every day from 1979 until his death in 1997. The entire collection was later scanned and put online by two of his friends, as a public exhibit and memorial to his life. The collection consists of 6697 polaroids, and is one of the most singularly amazing photographic websites we've ever seen. For a short primer on this project, check out the mental_floss blog's coverage of it.

The Magnum blog
Not new for 2008, but it deserves mention and a recommendation. Magnum is pretty much the most glamourous it gets in the realm of photo agencies, and so, they've got their fair share of skilled photographers. Even if you skip all their writings, just browsing the blog every now and then for their photos is interesting enough.

Keith Yahrling - American consumerism
Using a large format camera, Keith has photographed something as simple as store isles, shelves, clothing racks and other manifestations of consumer culture. With lots of colours mashed together in a sort of organized chaos, it's more interesting than it might sound.

A photography blog.
Frequently updated blog by New York photographer Rachel Hulin. The main focus seems to be on professional photographers, and most importantly in my mind, the presentation of a lot of great photos by said photographers in the blog, in a proper size!

Asian Photography Blog
While the claim to being an "exploration of Asian photography and what it means to the world" may be a bit ambitious, this blog does indeed seem to cover a whole lot of Asia, not just the south-eastern portion where Yaohong (the blogger) lives. Further, it does so well, with big,interesting photos and good commentary presented in a clean and very suitable blog format.

Personal photo blog of professional photographer Zack Arias. Aside from the sometimes amazing photos he turns out, there's also concrete information on how the various shoots where set up, equipment-wise.

According to its own statement, BAGnews is "dedicated to visual politics, the analysis of news images and the support of 'concerned' photojournalism". The visual approach is important to us here at Crestock, to put it mildly, so naturally, this is a way of covering the news which we can appreciate. Mainly focused on the United States.

Seemingly focused on promoting the work of little known, yet highly skilled professional (and possibly some amateur) photographers, our favourite feature on the site is their huge thumbnail gallery, filled with goodness of all sorts from the different photographers that submit their work to the site.

NickOnken shop talk
Calls itself "a blog for fellow photographers", and that's about as specific as you can get about this blog. Good looking blog covering a lot of subjects within photography, mostly focused towards people doing it for a living, which should mean it's also of interest to the hordes of people dreaming of doing it for a living.

Fascinating, well researched and utterly rock solid photo documentary blog about Detroit. Focused on urban decay in Detroit, but also looks at the lives of ordinary people living in between it all.

50 strange buildings of the world
The title pretty much sums it up, 50 weird and wonderful buildings from Pyongyang to Pennsylvania.

Verve Photo
Blog focused on promoting great photo documentary work from around the world.

[daily dose of imagery]
Toronto resident Sam Javanrouh posts one big, solid photo per day in his photo blog. Pure, simple and sweet.

Another great photo blog along the same lines as the above..

Frequently updated photo blog. No captions, just good photography.

Gaza strip fighting photos
Outstanding photo collection from the recent Gaza strip fighting. Most, if not all are taken from outside of Gaza, but they're nevertheless highly dramatic and evocative.

Cool Photo blogs
A simple website listing and ranking a whole host of interesting photo blogs. For a quick fix, check out their "Top Contributors" list.


Lomo shop
Behold the power of gadgetry! While there's really nothing new about the whole Lomo industry, it had been a few years since any of us looked in on the official shop of the so-called Lomographic Society International, only to be amazed by the sheer amount of ludicrous gadgets they're pushing. An excellent, and rather funny case study in how one can create a demand that didn't exist beforehand.

The Intrepid Art Collector blog
As the title suggests, this blog revolves around buying art, photographic art to be specific. Written by professional art(collecting) adviser Lisa Hunter, it features tips on great bargains,interviews with photographers,

We Heart It
There's been a fair bit of fuss about the image bookmarking thingy FFFFOUND! recently. It's invitation only, and since none of us have bothered with putting an effort into getting an invite, we never really got into it. Someone mentioned We heart it as a non-invite alternative, so we checked it out. It sounded a bit like a cheapo rip-off, but as it turned out, it seems to be genuine enough.

Registration takes roughly ten seconds, after which you can either download their bookmarklet and start bookmarking images you've found on the web to your "heart" (your favourites), or you could browse images recently submitted by others and "heart" them if you'd like. To begin with, we chose the latter option, and found that the average We Heart It user probably owns a Lomo or a Holgo, at least three sets of silly, "ironic" eyewear and a lot of striped clothing. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Flash vs. no flash
An amazing illustration of the difference between photos with flash and without. Har har.
Picked up on Digg.

Best of 2008 photo galleries

The Big Picture - The year 2008 in photographs
Wonderful photo blog presenting big, outstanding photos of current events, primarily licensed from the big news agencies. The link goes to their 2008 summary, but you'll also find the link to the continuously updated main site of The Big Picture. Highly recommended!

Nikon Small World 2008
The winners and runners of 2008's Nikon Small World contest. Bright, otherworldly photos of various tiny, exotic creatures and substances, such as diatom algae, nanotubes and cancer medicine.

DPChallenge - Best of 2008
Popular photo contest website DPChallenge set up a challenge specifically to find the best photos of 2008 shot by site members. The resulting top 500 has the makings of a few hours of intense, high quality photo browsing.

After a non-exhaustive browse of the photo challenges run at DPChallenge during 2008, here are our favourites:
- Macros without bugs or flowers
- Portrait of a camera
- The cowboy
- Chemistry
- Movie titles

UNICEF Photos of the year 2008
The UN Children's fund (UNICEF) is all about children, so too their annual photo contest. This year's winning photo was taken in a slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, by a 21 year old belgian woman. To see larger versions of the same photos, but with less informative captions, check out the same photos at Der Spiegel (gallery link at the bottom).

New York Times 2008 in pictures

With the New York Times being a big newspaper, they can afford to, and do buy loads of excellent, powerful editorial photos from the various agencies around the world. So when they compile their favourites from any given year, you can expect good stuff.

Der Spiegel 2008 in photos
This gallery by premier German news magazine Der Spiegel is the same basic concept as with the New York Times above, but with a distinctly global outlook.

Telegraph.co.uk pictures of the year
From the silly, via the spectacular, to the heart-rending, these excellent photo galleries has a bit of everything in the way of editorial photography, all in the quality you'd expect from the Telegraph:

Most spectacular- Our favourite:
Fireworks at the opening of The Palm, Dubai (check the scale!)
Wildlife - Our favourite:
Saxophone-playing walrus (I HAS SAX0PHONE!)
Funnies - Our favourites:
Sunbathers watch Russian marines training for Navy Day
A baby cries as an amateur sumo wrestler tries to scare her
Weather - Our favourites:
Men play with snow in after a rare heavy snowstorm in Amman, Jordan
Mammatus clouds hang over St Albans
Dramatic cloud formation over Inglefield Bay, Northwest Greenland
Natural disasters - Our favourites:
Aid is dropped over the earthquake-hit Qingchuan
Fish remain stuck in a fence on September 15 as flood waters recede
War and violent conflict - Our favourites:
Weapons seized by Iraqi security forces
A US Marine has a close call after Taliban fighters open fire
Masai warriors with bows and arrows clash with members of the Kalenjin tribe

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50 Links zum Thema Fotografie
By blechBlog - Nichts ist unblogbar! on Tuesday, 10 February 2009 6:31 PM
Crestock.com hat in seinem Blog 50 Links zum Thema Fotografie zusammengetragen. Mit dabei sind Internetseiten, die sich mit Anleitungen rund um das Thema digitale Fotografie beschäftigen, sowie einige Photoblogs und Galerien. Außerdem gibt es ei...
By martoons on Thursday, 12 February 2009 7:12 AM
Thanks for the great list of blog posts.
It's going to take some time to work through it all... But I'm looking forward to it! And by the way, those of you who are interested in photo marketing make sure to check out my http://photomarketeers.com blog... :)

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