Edgar Allan Poe on Photography

On this day in 1849 the writer, poet and romanticist Edgar Allan Poe passed away, leaving behind an America that would be forever be changed in the wake of his writings. In one of his most famous short essays ‘The Daguerreotype’ Poe offers a beautiful insight into how the world felt during the dawn of photography.


One particular extract from the article resonates as loudly today as it did back in 1840, especially when considering the new dawn of digital photography and limitation of the pixel.

If we examine a work of ordinary art, by means of a powerful microscope, all traces of resemblance to nature will disappear – but the closest scrutiny of the photogenic drawing discloses only a more absolute truth, a more perfect identity of aspect with the thing represented. The variations of shade, and the gradations of both linear and aerial perspective are those of truth itself in the supremeness of its perfection.

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Argentinian Politicians Want to Increase Copyright on Photographs to 100 years

A filmmaker, turned national deputy for the city of Buenos Aires in Argentina has just past a draft bill that could see a photograph’s copyright increased from 20 years after its first publication to 70 years after the photographer’s death. The bill, if brought into law would be applied retroactively and have wide ranging implications for creatives and consumers alike.

Liliana Mazure

Lilliana Mazure (pictured) pushed Continue reading

Refugees in Germany give Refreshing Response when Describing Typical Cliche Photographs.

A photographic cliche can be any image that we’re used to seeing and can interpret easily. At Phogotraphy we’ve previously covered thoughts about ‘Standing in Front of a Fridge‘ day which is an image parents and children are all too familiar with. But how do these cultural visual image cliches interpret to other cultures?

German newspaper Die Ziet recently conducted an unusual experiment by asking refugees to describe scenes from what would be a typical German cliche photograph. The answers they gave were not only eyeopening offering some clarity, the felt refreshing in their interpretation.

Below are three photographs from the experiment and a selection of answers given by refugees of two weeks or more from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. Please note that answers have been translated from the native tongue to German, to English.

Picture 1: The infamous Berlin Wall Memorial
Cyclists at the Berlin Wall Memorial in Bernauer Strasse © dpa

“Here are two people ride on the bike. On a road. Otherwise I can not see anything there.”  – John C., 20, from Eritrea, for two weeks in Germany Continue reading

Architects Designed this Building to look like a Computer Glitch

If you often work with digital photography, this building may look strangely familiar and create a stirring annoyance in your waters. The architect has intentionally designed it to look like a typical image file glitch. Look a bit closer.


The brainchild of Christoph Merian Stiftung, the piece was commissioned by the House of Electronic Arts Basel and now sits prominently on display Continue reading

Stunning or Failures? We Chose 30 Imperfect Photographs from the Apollo Archive.

When NASA went to the Moon, digital cameras didn’t exist and therefore exposures of the Lunar landscape had to be caught on film. Recently a team tasked with the preservation of the Apollo mission films uploaded the entire collection of images to Flickr. Among the 2400+ images are a surprisingly large amount of failed frames consisting of light leaks, over exposures, sticky labels and motion blur. Despite being redundancies, they carry with them an abstract beauty and a feeling of realness. NASA didn’t send photographers to the Moon, they sent astronauts and the vernacular feel to the plethora of pictures they brought back works as a surprising twist to a journey that is drifting further into our past.

Phogotraphy spent some time picking through the archive and choosing the thirty best ‘Imperfect Apollo’ frames we could find to share with you. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

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Are Photographers Telling Lies about the Aurora Borealis?

The increasing popularity of aurora photography in recent years has produced some stunning imagery from unlikely latitudes. However all is not as it seems. There are implications for the wider integrity of photography.

We’ve all seen those images over the past few years (popping up in our Facebook feeds or in the media) depicting spectacular displays of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights from Great Britain, Ireland or the lower 48 in the US. Regardless of the location, they’re pretty amazing images. But beneath the wow-factor and thousands of ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ lurks a nasty little integrity issue. These aurora images may be photographic eye-candy, but many of them are pure high fructose corn syrup.

Northern Lights as seen from north coast of Ireland in 2004. Fuji Provia 400F with exposure of approx 40 seconds.
Northern Lights as seen from north coast of Ireland in 2004. Fuji Provia 400F with exposure of approx 40 seconds.

The extraordinary progress in digital photography has galvanised a revolution in night-time photography. Only ten or 15 years ago, really good photos of the Aurora Borealis or Milky Way were pretty scarce. A majority of photographers wer Continue reading

Model Strikes 26 Different Poses in Under 30 Seconds

Step aside Zoolander, there’s a new ridiculously good looking model in town and this one has a super power even better than blue steel. An ability to morph through what seems like countless poses effortlessly during a professional photo shoot.


At Phogotraphy we meticulously went through the video Continue reading

Quick Guide on how to Sensibly Critique a Photograph Online

Anthony Northcutt is a freelance photography tutor who teaches students from all over the world. Phogotraphy reached out to ask if he’d share some fundamental advice on how to judge photographs online.  

During the past 5 years or so, we’ve seen an enormous growth in the birth rate of “photography experts”. Camera owners that have a tendency of being immediately available the moment that you post your latest image on social media. And who, typically, don’t have the first idea of how to analyse a photograph let alone understand how to offer an informed and constructive critique.

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So here’s some help, a by no means exhaustive guide to analysing a photograph. Continue reading

Does Clicking the Shutter Automatically Make You the Owner of the Photograph?

We’ve seen the ‘Selfie Monkey’ hitting the headlines again this last few days, with Peta filing a lawsuit for copyright ownership claim on behalf of the monkey Naruto and sites like Wikipedia using the image freely because a non-human cannot claim copyright. Now the photographer David Slater has hit back with claims that after three days of earning the trust of the monkeys to set up the shot, he set up the composition and ensured all settings on the camera were correct, making him the artist and giving him claim to the copyright as his own artwork.

'Selfie Monkey'
‘Selfie Monkey’ taken with David Slater’s camera equipment.

So has there been any previous precedence for this? Does the act of setting up the shot give you image ownership or Continue reading

Are any of the 50,000,000,000 Images Uploaded to Google Photos Yours?

I’m going to come clean with you guys, I don’t even know what Google Photos is. Sure, I’m aware Google does a lot of stuff and in all likelihood has a cloud storage service for photographs that’s called Google Photos, but I had no idea it was such a big deal.

During their September 29th keynote it was announced that Google Photos now has 50 billion uploads consisting of photos, animations and videos.


That’s enough to cover several selfies of every human being alive with a few left over. I just can’t understand how the number got so high in such a short Continue reading