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|| News Item: Posted 2008-12-21

My Top 5 Cool Things for 2008
By Trent Nelson, Salt Lake Tribune

Photo by

So Bert asks me to avoid the gloom and doom of the industry and list five cool things from the previous year. FIVE?! By my count, there were more than 3,000 cool things in 2008. Let me narrow it down to some that are worth your time. We'll go chronologically.

Global Warming - 20,000 stills.
Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk made a very cool video on global warming using 20,000 still images.

Another Country
Scott Strazzante's diptychs of a family farm that is now a suburb were an amazing display of not only great shooting, but also intellectual editing. They were compiled on the Chicago Tribune's site in January.

Start Your Own Photo Collective
In March, photographers Elyse Butler, Matt Eich, Yoon S Byun, Andrew Henderson, Chris Capozziello, Matt Mallams formed the photo collective Aevum.

Another one to watch is Luceo Images, "a collection of photographers creating a space for fresh visual narratives."

Shoot! The Blog
It was a sad day when the PhotoShelter Collection was closed down, but at least we got to enjoy Rachel Hulin's Shoot! The Blog while it lasted. Hulin's posts over the year should be collected into a book and made available to every young photographer. This post was one of my favorites:
Rachel continues to blog about photography, though less frequently, at

Raw Take Talks Pictures
The Raw Take posted a few great interviews, but this one with (then) Sydney Morning Herald photographer Tim Clayton was one of the best reads of the year for photographers.

The Big Picture
The Boston Globe's Big Picture photoblog, run by Alan Taylor, helped further the trend of showcasing photography large on the web, while bringing a huge worldwide audience to the Globe's site. Many more of this big picture blogs would follow from newspapers around the country, but The Big Picture still leads the pack.

Nikon announces the D700
Also in June, Nikon announced a camera with most of the features of their professional grade D3, but costing thousands of dollars less. Technology rules!

Photo by

Visions of China: A 2008 Olympics Picture Blog by Mike Powell, Donald Miralle and Vincent Laforet
Visions of China: A 2008 Olympics Picture Blog by Mike Powell, Donald Miralle and Vincent Laforet
Newsweek Director of Photography Simon Barnett not only put together an amazing team of sports photographers for the Beijing Olympics, he also got them to blog on a daily basis. These weren't just quick posts complaining about long bus rides, these were in depth accounts of the demands faced covering a world-class event at the highest level of professionalism. Their views on photographing the games were fascinating and enlightening.

Fear and Loathing
"We provide an outlaw view of the underbelly of the beast during the 2008 National Conventions." A trio of young photographers, Tim Hussin, Noah Rabinowitz, and Danny Ghitis put their own visual stamp on the 2008 national conventions and posted the results on their blog Fear and Loathing, showing that you no longer need an assignment from any editor to produce and distribute a great body of timely photojournalism.

Vincent Laforet brought himself a world of attention when he posted this on his blog: "I had it in my hands for less than 72 hours before I had to send it back - but the time I did have with a prototype of the Canon EOS 5D MKII will possibly change the path of my career as well as the photography industry to some degree."

He went on to release a short film, Reverie, which shows the possibilities of the high definition video from SLRs like the 5D Mark II (and Nikon's D90). This self-assigned (again, SELF-ASSIGNED) piece shook up the world of still photography as well as the film and video industries. I would say Laforet and the attention he brought the 5D Mark II outdid Canon's own marketing efforts.

PhotoShelter Personal Archive 2.0
PhotoShelter is always coming up with great ideas to spread photography around, and their 2.0 version of the Personal Archive is no different. From their announcement:
Photographers have needed a way to let bloggers and other sites use their photographs, while embedding. PA 2.0 represents a full re-skin of the site, a trophy-case of new features that we developed in direct response to our users' requests, the
Photo by

PhotoShelter Personal Archive 2.0
cheapest/fastest/coolest way to get a personal photography website loaded with e-commerce capabilities (can you say … website-in-30-seconds-or-less), and some cool new *viral* tools for getting your images for sale all over the place on the web. The forums are back, and our Virtual Agencies are now free!

There was a lot of photography of the presidential elections in the United States. dvafoto, a great resource for views on photography, interviewed two young photographers Matt Slaby and David Walter Banks of the new collective Luceo Images, asking them about. "their process, the value of photographing such choreographed events, and their general journalistic philosophy."

These next two are over the top and clearly meant to entertain, but they also illustrate the feelings of many photographers who bemoan the corporate attitudes of the major camera manufacturers. Through the Internet they find a voice and rage.

Hitler Rants About the Nikon D3X
Melissa Lyttle's A Photo A Day blog was the first (of many) to point me toward this video of Adolf Hitler ranting about the high price tag of Nikon's $8,000 D3X.

And so we're fair, Canon also took some hits from the photography community this year. One of the blogs holding Canon's feet to the fire is Fake Chuck Westfall, which shows us the irreverent thoughts of an alternate (and FAKE) version of Canon's camera guru, Chuck Westfall.

There goes my chance at becoming a Canon Explorer of Light.

Related Links:
Trent's member page

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