Tag Archives: photography

What’s a stereogranimator?

What’s a stereogranimator  you ask? Well, I used it to make this 3D animated gif with photos from the archives of the New York Public Library.

GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator - view more at http://stereo.nypl.org/gallery/index
GIF made with the NYPL Labs Stereogranimator

The instructions are sparse so I’m not sure if my picture is supposed to vibrate so violently – but what a concept! I read about this on the iLibrarian website -

The NYPL’s Stereogranimator lets users create and share animated GIFs and 3D anaglyphs using more than 40,000 stereographs. Users can browse through the NYPL’s collection of dual photos and then combine them to make a 3D image. This project was inspired by Joshua Heineman’s project that he started four years ago. The San Francisco-based artist was using the NYPL’s collection of stereographs to create animated gif images for his Cursive Buildingssite. His project went viral and the Library took notice and began collaborating with him to create the Stereogranimator.

Go ahead, make one yourself.

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Flattening the world with Flickr in the classroom

Photo courtesy of matthewpAU on Flickr

In his book, The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman says that there are certain ‘flatteners’ that promote and allow for connection, collaboration and creation via distance.  He was referring to technological applications which shrink geographical barriers and make global connections possible. This is my aim for a special project at my own school – a project which would enhance teaching and learning through ‘connection, collaboration and creation’, taking the students out of the classroom and into the world.

In 2009 I decided to take up a Flickr challenge to upload a photo every day for a year and post it to appropriate flickr groups. As a result I connected with others through interest and dialogue, and three of us –  Marie Coleman, Sinikka Laakio-Whybrow and I –  agreed that a similar project  would be an enriching experience for students. I was lucky to find a teacher who was interested in the project and who has supported it wholeheartedly.

Sinikka reflected:

‘I would really like to challenge my students to bring out their real personalities in the foreign language. I have learned over the years that Finns especially seem to suffer greatly from a sort of ‘personality reduction syndrome’ when using a foreign language. I blame our text books and language classes for this, since students hardly ever get the chance to express THEMSELVES in the target language, but are always asked to talk about external topics, or role play. Their use of the language is also far too fact-based – emotions and feelings are hardly ever touched upon’.

I think Sinikka hit the nail on the head by underlining the importance of students expressing themselves, instead of practising their writing skills using isolated topics and writing mainly for the teacher.

The learning is happening for us as teachers too. In the planning stages, we collaborated in a Google document, using Google spreadsheets and slideshow (thanks Marie!) to brainstorm and formulate our project. The geographical time differences weren’t a problem at all, and occasionally Sinikka would catch me in Google chat before going to bed if I was online early enough in the morning.

The final product is an 8 week project with a weekly assignment based on a photo and written description following a theme. The first assignment is to take a photo which ‘is not you, but represents you as a person’ – so, an introduction to initiate the sharing of personal information and interests. Although almost every student included sport and music in their introduction, there were diverse details which created interest in the group. The cultural differences were obvious conversation starters, and the similarities brought the students together through shared interests. I know that our boys, being in a single sex school, were interested in the opportunity to connect with the girls!

Photo courtesy of MorganT7.USA on Flickr

The project is quite  simple but with very rich results. The weekly themes set  diverse tasks. Some themes ask for the sharing of personal, cultural or geographic information, some encourage photographic creativity (‘Take a photo: of something you go past every day and take it from an interesting new perspective”), while others require deeper thinking and creative solutions (‘Take a photo that goes with the title or lyrics of a song’ or ‘Take a photo that somehow represents learning to you’).

We have used Flickr as a platform for this project. Flickr provides an easy way to upload photos, an automatic photostream for each student, and a profile for identification. Our group, Through global lenses, is a one-stop shop for the whole operation. It holds all the members from the three schools, allows for instructions and program, as well as storing all essential information such as netiquette, creative commons, commenting guidelines, etc. It even has email.

Challenges

Following  a weekly theme and guiding questions, students’ task is twofold. Firstly, to take their own photo – this requires thinking and reflection, creativity, individuality, and it is hoped that, as students become accustomed to the challenge, they will become more creative and try different things. Secondly, to write something which responds to the theme, answers prompt questions, and informs and entices readers.

When students view each other’s contributions, this sparks curiosity, natural questioning, and ensuing dialogue. It also brings out  a desire to do as well or to do something different. Students are not writing for the teacher, but for a peer audience, sharing generational views and tastes, and learning about cultural differences.

It really is one big conversation, with everyone getting a go, and nobody feeling they can’t get a word in. Several people can engage in dialogue under the same photo. Conversation arises from shared interests and curiosity about cultural differences. Students encourage each other and develop trust and respect for each other. The result is writing from desire instead of duty.

Differences in language are often the subject of conversation. Students ask and explain linguistic and semantic differences, for example, the first week’s photo has resulted in a discussion of the differences between American and Australian football.

Challenges for us include encouraging students to move away from ‘chat language’ and to write correctly and fluently. Despite our instructions, I’ve noticed in the early stages students reverting to their preferred chat in the comments.

Practicalities

It’s easy to keep up with who is commenting on your photo, or further conversation in photos you’ve commented on, when you visit the homepage for the group. Another useful feature is the availability of editing comments or writing. Teachers can ask students to improve or correct their writing at any time.

Reading through comments in the early stages, I can already see the conversations developing as more people enter the conversation, as questions are answered and elaborated on, and the desire to develop the dialogue becomes self motivating. This is very different to writing for your teacher which is a static exercise. Here the writing is interactive and can continue at any time.

I’ve noticed that our boys seem different in their writing and comments to the way they present themselves at school. In the comments they seem unafraid to say that something is beautiful, comment on cute dogs, and be generally more open. I guess that’s what comes with writing to a peer audience. That and writing to connect with kids like them from distant places. For these reasons I’m excited about this project which, even in its initial stages, has sparked authentic and engaged conversation, and which will no doubt develop for each student  his/her voice through images and words.

Photo courtesy of BasseFI‘s photostream on Flickr

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Filed under 21st century learning, creativity, network literacy, photos, teaching, Web 2.0, writing

Power of photography: Prix Pictet

I stumbled across this website and have been moved and absorbed by these images, as well as the artists’ thinking behind their works. The information in this post has been selectively copied from the Prix Pictet website.

Sponsored by the Geneva private bank Pictet & Cie, the Prix Pictet is the world’s first prize dedicated to photography and sustainability

Prix Pictet’s vision

Food riots. Loss of forest cover. Desertification. The ecosystems we depend on appear to face resource demands already beyond their capacity. As governments try urgently to stimulate growth, a central question remains. Can the earth’s complex living systems sustain the future consumption patterns of another three billion people in the world’s population by 2050?

Or are we making the transition, as the Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen has suggested, to a point where the face of the earth – its soil, its waters, its groves, its hollows – is no longer natural, but bears the terminal scars of man’s intervention.

I was looking through the shortlisted artists, I thought I’d share some of my favourite ones.

Yao Lu : Dwelling in the Mount Fuchun

YaoLu

Photography can be understood in traditional ways: It can ‘record’ many histories long before our own time, and it can take people back to times and situations many years ago. But photography is also very contemporary. It can re-assemble and re-edit the things that we actually see in order to produce illusions that people see when they are in front of such photographic works. In these works, you see images that are both real and fictional.

Darren Almond: Shan Shui fullmoon

DarrenAlmond

 Since 1998, Almond has been making a series of landscape photographs called the Fullmoons. Taken during a full moon with an exposure time of 15 minutes or more, these images of remote geographical locations appear ghostly, bathed in an unexpectedly brilliant light where night seems to have turned into day.

Nadav Kander : Frozen River, Qinghai

frozenYangtze

China is a nation that appears to be severing its roots by destroying its past in the wake of the sheer force of its moving “forward” at such an astounding and unnatural pace. A people scarring their country and a country scarring its people.

Edgar Martins: Untitled from the series ‘The diminishing present’.

EdgarMartins

For all their historical evocation and appeal to the sublime, these images reflect on both the physical death of the landscape and the death of the landscape as a pictorial ‘theme’.

Chris Steele-Perkins: Early morning shadow of Mt Fuji from summit

MtFuji

Nowadays, Mount Fuji is a national park but it is covered in, or surrounded by, theme parks, golf courses, resorts, cities and scrap yards as well as being used as a military testing ground by both the Japanese and American armed forces. At the same time there are still magical areas of great tranquillity, but they are increasingly being eroded.

The Prix Pictet is born of a flicker of hope — that photographs … have the power, as Gro Harlem Brundtland put it in her remarks at the launch of the inaugural Prix Pictet in 2008 , “to move us and shake us”. To take the sustainability statistic, validated, econometrically correct, but devoid of emotional force, and make it something that moves us to action.

Sponsored by the Geneva private bank Pictet & Cie, the Prix Pictet is the world’s first prize dedicated to photography and sustainability. It has a unique mandate – to use the power of photography to communicate crucial messages to a global audience; and it has a unique goal – art of the highest order, applied to the immense social and environmental threats of the new millennium.

So much talent…

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Doorways around the world

I’ve always loved doors and doorways. Imagine my delight when I came across this blog, Doorways around the world.

Here are a couple of my favourite doorways:

doorwayspainresampled

The Art Nouveau entrance to a jeweler’s shop in Montblanc, a medieval walled town in Catalunya, Spain.

doorwaybarcelonagaudiresampled

Elevator door in an apartment building in the Casa Batlló, Barcelona (Antoni Gaudí, 1907). 

If you are even remotely interested in doors, doorways or architecture, check out this blog.

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What can you do with a mobile phone and creativity?

This is what Jason van Genderen did:

The 3 minute film cost $57 to make, was shot in New York and Sydney, and won first place at the New York Tropfest. Tropfest is the largest short film festival in the world, with the aim of bringing exposure to talented, young filmmakers from around New York and the world.

Can you imagine the fun and creativity for students with such a project?

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Filed under creativity, photos, Web 2.0

crowdsourcing

Found this video on Education Innovation and it prompted reflection. How quickly things have changed in the world of technology in the last few years. Well, ‘last few’ to a person of my generation could mean anything from 5-20. The theme of the video is crowdsourcing. The basic message – we used to have to be physically together to create a crowd, but suddenly, with the internet, we’re able to create a virtual crowd. That is, virtual communities can just form themselves on the basis of shared interests. Fascinating, also, to acknowledge how technology has changed possibilties with photography. Three things have changed what photography can do forever: the development of affordable digital cameras; photo-editing software; and the internet. People are sharing photos, and more and more applications are popping up for creative use of images. Stock photos which used to be expensive are now abundant and therefore cheap because of amateurs’ communities. Think Flickr, think Picasa. Think about photo sharing on Facebook and MySpace. Think about the combination of photos and Google Earth.

Interesting, too, is the blurring of lines between amateur and professional, company and customers. Crowds, or groups, can change a business dramatically, or so the video says. And the most interesting thing, in my opinion, is that online communities organise themselves – what used to take corporate managers to achieve. Could the same be said for schools? How could we free up the system to allow for self-organising groups to form on the basis of shared interest and passion?

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Filed under Education, flickr, photos, Web 2.0

Amazing


marienplatz 360 panoramic

Originally uploaded by tsheko

I found an amazing link from the online art magazine Art Daily. If you click on the photos you’ll be able get a 360 degree  panoramic view.

There’s more to check out on this site, for example, if you click on Graphic Gallery, you get a graphic calendar, creative numbers.

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