Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The Best Photo of Birds Fighting Over Food (and Other Sony World Winners)

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The Best Photo of Birds Fighting Over Food (and Other Sony World Winners)

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Imagine there’s just one appetizer left—and your friend grabs it without asking. Irritated as you may be, you probably wouldn’t tear it out of their hand. But a gannet would.

Dive-bombing from heights up to 300 feet and at speeds as fast as 60 mph, these sharp-beaked birds don’t bother with etiquette—as Tracey Lund captures in this amazing image, taken near the Shetland Islands last summer. “There was almost a fight going on,” Lund says. “Like, ‘I’ve got it! Get off! It’s mine!'”

Lund has witnessed this spectacle from above plenty of times, at a nature reserve near her home in Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire, England. But she wanted to see what it looked like underwater.
So on July 7, she drove six hours north and took a middle-of-the-night ferry to the Shetland Islands, located in the “wild sticks,” as Lund puts it, where the Atlantic and the North Sea meet. Tens of thousands of white northern gannets—the UK’s largest sea bird, with a six-foot wingspan—nest in its cliffs and feed in its cold blue waters.

Once there, Lund hired a small boat to take her out near the Isle of Noss, accompanied by fellow photographer Richard Shucksmith, whose own photos of gannets have made headlines. He lent Lund his underwater shooting gear—namely, a Nikon D4 camera with a fisheye lens, protected in waterproof housing and mounted on a 6-foot-long pole with a shutter release attached to the end. For a couple of hours, Lund sat on the edge of the boat with the camera dropped just under the surface of the water, squeezing the trigger as Shucksmith threw dead bait to draw the birds. “It was quite hard,” she says, “because literally as soon as they see the fish they’re dive-bombing.”

Among the 1,800 images she captured that afternoon was this one, which just won the wildlife category in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards, which celebrated stellar images of all kinds (see above). Lund’s photo illustrates the birds’ incredible speed and force as they plunge from the sky, splashing bubbles exploding every which way as they squabble over fish. Etiquette be damned.


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Photo Gallery: Trippy Nocturnal Photos Capture Japan’s Ever-Shifting Aura

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Photo Gallery: Trippy Nocturnal Photos Capture Japan’s Ever-Shifting Aura

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Jean-Vincent Simonet’s frenetic photos of Japan aren’t your average tourist shots. There are no flowering cherry trees, misty shrines, or snowy peaks—instead, an acid-washed whirl of neon lights, underground bars, and rain-drenched sidewalks.

The images, compiled in his new book, In Bloom, reflects the impression Japan made on him during a 2015 vacation in Tokyo. They’re less a depiction of the actual place than of the unique atmosphere surrounding it; its aura, if you will.

“I really had the feeling of being swallowed by a huge living entity,” Simonet says of that initial experience. “Everything happens in the street. It’s like being in the belly of a monster.”

Plenty of visitors feel that way, but few put so much effort into capturing it. During two subsequent trips to Tokyo and Osaka, Simonet traded the tourist’s smartphone for color film and a suite of analog cameras—a Contax T2, Mamiya 7, and Mamiya RZ. He also shunned day for night, partying with locals at karaoke joints, video game arcades, and illegal outdoor raves until long after most tourists are snug in their Airbnbs (bowls of steaming ramen and dips in traditional onsen baths helped him recover).

Sure, he snapped a few pics of famous sites—who wouldn’t whip out their camera at Shinjuku Station or Tokyo Tower?—but his complex post-production process transformed these scenes in a way a mere Instagram filter never could. Simonet scanned the negatives and printed them with an inkjet plotter loaded with a roll of plastic foil. The ink globbed and dripped every which way, creating a sticky mess that Simonet then dunked into a chemical bath. After washing off the excess color, he let the prints dry, revealing the final images beneath.

They capture a different side of Japan—one you probably won’t find on any postcard.


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Photo Gallery: Maybe Scientists and Artist Aren’t So Different

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Photo Gallery: Maybe Scientists and Artist Aren’t So Different

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Founded in 1879, the prestigious Technical University of Berlin boasts an all-star faculty of 355 professors in fields ranging from electrical engineering to computer science to business management. And then there’s Stefanie Bürkle—the university’s single professor of fine arts, with the responsibility of teaching aesthetics to several hundred of the school’s architecture students every year.

“I try to teach them that art isn’t about making more beautiful products or prettier models to sell your architecture,” says Bürkle, a celebrated painter and photographer. “Art is a way of thinking.”

Over the course of her 10 years at the Technical University Bürkle has gained a new appreciation for the artistry of scientific research, which, she discovered, is far more unruly than most people realize. “Often the scientific labs look really chaotic and spontaneous,” she says, “and they reminded me of how artists work in their studio.”

That insight led to her photographic series Studio + Laboratory, which will be exhibited from February 1 to March 3 at Berlin’s Museum of Photography and is the subject of a new book from publisher Hatje Cantz. The series juxtaposes Bürkle’s photographs of scientific labs—mostly taken at the Technical University but also at other Berlin sites such as the Max Planck Institutes—with her images of art studios. Her goal was to show the often-messy processes behind the production of both artworks and scientific knowledge.

“Scientists may have a goal, but they don’t know how to get there,” Bürkle explains. “And artists also have an idea of where they want to arrive, but they don’t know the way there. It’s very important to fail in order to discover new things—failure is a big part of the creative process.”

Nearly all of the scientists and artists whom Bürkle contacted agreed to let her photograph their spaces. She insisted that they not clean up or “stage” their workspaces, since she wanted to convey the workaday reality of the production process. And she purposely excluded the actual artists and scientists from the images. “I absolutely did not want to personalize it, and I didn’t want to tell a story,” she says. “I told everyone that I wanted to portray your space because your space is the imprint of how you work.”

As it happens, both scientists and artists seem to have been flattered by the comparison. “I think the artists were charmed that their way of working was compared to that of scientists,” Bürkle says, “and the scientists liked the idea that their work is creative and is being compared to artists.”

Rather than feeling lonely as the sole artist in a faculty of scientists and engineers, Bürkle has embraced the challenge. “An art academy is pretty cozy—you usually have 10 or 15 students in your class, and it’s the same group semester after semester,” she says. “Here, I have seven or eight assistants, and together we teach 250 students a year. It’s a huge privilege.”


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Photo Gallery: Our Favorite Cosplay From NYC’s Black Comic Book Festival

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Photo Gallery: Our Favorite Cosplay From NYC’s Black Comic Book Festival

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

As comic book and pop-culture conventions have swelled to superheroic dimensions, so too have conversations about genre fiction and fandom. Whose stories get told, who tells them, and how we identify with them are long-overdue questions that are finally being asked and answered in public ways—and this past weekend in New York, the Seventh Annual Black Comic Book Festival celebrated those questions, and interrogated the answers. The annual event, hosted by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, featured two days of panels, screenings, and book signings, as well as the wall-to-wall cosplay that’s become a staple at any fan convention. For photographer Dee Williams, it was an event too perfect not to shoot. “The main purpose of my work is to highlight and tell the stories of marginalized groups, specifically those of the African diaspora,” she says. “So photographing the festival aligned perfectly with my personal photography goals.”

The Brooklyn-based Williams kept her setup simple when shooting attendees outside the event—a Sony A7 and a Canon 5D Mark III, both with prime lenses—and her curiosity undisguised. “I’m not embarrassed at all to say I had absolutely no clue what some people were dressed as,” she says, “but everyone was so kind, and I didn’t feel any negativity toward my lack of knowledge.” (She got into comics and anime a couple of years ago, but points to her younger brother as the real expert.)

And while the cosplay stretched across cultures—attendees came styled as Sailor Moon, Kayako Saeki from The Grudge, Coming to America‘s Prince Akeem, and all manner of superheros—Williams says that there was no mistaking how more inclusive storytelling has changed the feeling among fans. “A lot of people didn’t grow up seeing too many comic book characters or superheroes that weren’t white,” she says. “The young kids got to see Black Panther and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in the same year! That is remarkable representation for Black and Latino kids.”


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Photo Gallery: Meet the Workers Who Build an Entire City of Ice Every Year

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Photo Gallery: Meet the Workers Who Build an Entire City of Ice Every Year

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

The Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival bills itself as the world’s largest winter celebration, drawing millions of visitors from around the world to China’s northeast Heilongjiang Province to explore a frozen Disneyland built almost entirely out of ice. This year’s festival, which opened earlier this month and runs through February 5, marks the event’s 35th iteration and features hundreds of life-size ice castles, pagodas, bridges, and even functional restaurants. At night, this ice metropolis is illuminated by a rainbow of colored lights.

It takes almost 200,000 cubic meters of ice to construct the festival every year, all of it cut out of the frozen Songhua River in 700-kilogram blocks by a small army of local laborers. Beijing-based photographer Kevin Frayer spent three days last month documenting their work. “The Harbin Ice Festival is something I’d heard about for years but never really had an interest in going to,” he says. “We’re used to seeing the pictures of the pretty sculptures and the tourists, but I was more interested in who built them and how they were built.”

The workers, most recruited from local villages, spend over a month each year cutting 3-foot-thick blocks of ice from the river and transporting them to the festival site, where they are sculpted and stacked by an even larger team of workers. Beginning before dawn and working through the day in temperatures that average -13 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers earn around $35 a day for some of the world’s most backbreaking labor. According to the workers, the Songhua has been freezing over later in recent years, giving them less time to finish the job before the festival opens to locals around Christmas Day.

“Except for the trucks, I don’t imagine that anybody would have cut blocks of ice any differently a hundred years ago,” Frayer says. “They use saws and picks. They have one diesel-powered cutting saw, but it’s pretty simple.” The workers cut all the way through the ice, leaving gaping holes into which someone could accidentally slip. “They told me that over the years people have died doing the work,” Frayer says. “The whole process is dangerous.”

It’s a Sisyphean task—come spring, all those frozen buildings will melt into so much water—but the annual event has become a linchpin of the local economy. Many of the workers Frayer spoke with expressed pride in helping build the festival. “They know it’s the world’s largest ice festival and that it’s super-important to the local economy,” he says. “It’s hard to judge, but it feels like people enjoy doing the work.”


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Photo Gallery: Capturing the Everyday Horror of Dairy Farming in Germany

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Photo Gallery: Capturing the Everyday Horror of Dairy Farming in Germany

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Germany is known for its efficiency—and that includes its bovine population. A century ago, a dairy cow produced 7,700 pounds of milk a year; today, its descendants are doubling that output. But farmers want more.

Nikita Teryoshin documents this quest in Hornless Heritage. It’s an unsettling look at dairy farming in Germany—the EU’s biggest milk producer—where cows are forced to make as much milk as possible in decidedly sub-bucolic conditions.

“I wanted to update the old-fashioned image of a cow in a green meadow that we know from ads and milk packages,” Teryoshin says, “to show the dystopian side of the milk production.”

Germany’s $14 billion dairy farming industry rests squarely on the backs of 4.2 million cows—the majority Holsteins, a sturdy piebald favored around the world for its high milk yield. Though farmers have selectively bred for this trait for centuries, artificial insemination’s arrival in 1950 revved things up. Today, farmers use genomic selection to design ever-more-profitable “turbo” cows that can produce more than 88,000 pounds in their lifetimes.

Most of the dairy cattle spend those lives perpetually pregnant in cow sheds and feedlots designed to further boost supply—just a third get to graze. Heifers are first inseminated after they turn one and separated from their calves nine months later so milking can begin. Machines do the job twice or more a day in milking “parlors” or cramped tie stalls, where roughly 20 percent of German cows are chained.

It’s not fun: Cows that once lived 20 years now wind up in supermarkets before their fifth birthdays, culled due to lameness, infertility, and mastitis, a condition that causes painfully swollen udders. But while life expectancy has decreased, production has increased. Last year, Germany produced a whopping 8.6 billion gallons—enough for 104 gallons per person per year.

Teryoshin got a crash course in the industry four years ago, when he ventured out—along with 150,000 others—to the EuroTier agricultural fair in Hanover. The crowds gawked at the latest in animal husbandry, including a Matrix-like robot that suckled a fake cow. But what struck Teryoshin most was an ad that read, Don’t let cows waste your money. “It seemed impossible that you could think that a cow is wasting your money when you’re already taking everything away from it,” he says.

That prompted him to begin Hornless Heritage. Teryoshin visited farms, insemination stations, laboratories, auctions and even a Best in Show, where owners primped their Holsteins and paraded them before a crowd. He got an up-close glimpse of seemingly happy cows like Lady Gaga—a black-and-white Holstein that’s won bovine beauty pageants—as well as clearly unhappy ones, such as those with bloodied legs he saw on a factory farm. He documented everything with a Nikon D800 and hand-held flash, illuminating the mundane horror of an industry where animals are reduced to commodities.

Of course, it’s not just Germany: The United States far surpasses Germany in milk production, and most its cows live on factory farms. But for Teryoshin, grappling with the industry in his own backyard helped him think about his own priorities and values. “I stopped drinking milk and eating dairy for a while,” he says. His photographs might make you lose your appetite for the stuff, too.


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired The Top WIRED Photo Stories of 2018

Hexbyte Tech News Wired The Top WIRED Photo Stories of 2018

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

In 2018, it was easy to feel trapped in the unending cycle of news coverage devoted to US politics. But photography offered a constant reminder that the world is a much bigger place. And in the last year, WIRED Photo provided a glimpse into as many locations as we could, from an e-waste dump in Ghana to a fake Paris in China to a tech-free zone in West Virginia, where you can escape if you really need a break from all the news. Or just want to hunt aliens.

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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired Photo Gallery: A Dress Rehearsal for a Crewed Mission to Mars

Hexbyte Tech News Wired Photo Gallery: A Dress Rehearsal for a Crewed Mission to Mars

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Minutes after NASA’s InSight lander touched down on Mars last week, it beamed back a photo of the ruddy surface. While the image marked an incredible occasion, it lacked something in the way of oomph. Was the dust-flecked murkiness of the image itself to blame? The seen-one-seen-’em-all fatigue borne of more than 20 years of Mars rover photography? No matter the cause, photographer Florian Voggeneder’s series “The Kepler Station” overcomes our collective jadedness by giving Red Planet portraiture an infusion of wonder.

In the images, silver-suited astronauts test equipment and conduct extravehicular activities (EVA’s) on desolate landscapes. Crew members run experiments and work on laptops beneath the puffy white dome of a landing module. Yet, the photo series wasn’t shot on location—at least, not the location you may assume. Voggeneder took the images while embedded on the series’ namesake, a Mars analog in southern Oman staged by the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF). For the three-week mission this past February, a team of six analog astronauts and nine support crew traveled to the desert of the country’s Dhofar region, settling in a stretch between a tangle of oil pipelines and the Arabian Sea.

“Hands-down, my favorite part was day zero of the simulation,” says Voggeneder, recalling his first EVA (extravehicular activity) simulation. “Within a couple of minutes, we’re already out of sight of the base and then it’s just complete desert. The only thing you hear is the radio chatter in your ear and it becomes eerily alive, this whole thing.”

That aliveness is so crucial to the OeWF’s mission that Voggeneder was only permitted to photograph the analog as a full-on member of the support crew. This meant completing over 50 hours of training, a number of physical and mental exams, and shooting only during gaps in his DAP (Daily Activity Plan). He was the first to shoulder this dual role in the OeWF’s thirteen-mission history—but Gernot Grömer, the forum’s founder, director, and lead analog astronaut, says it was a long time coming. “We are science-oriented. We are engineering-oriented,” says Grömer. “However there’s a dimension to this which is far beyond that and that’s the storytelling. In previous attempts we tried to train the analog astronauts to be photographers, and we had really good photography teachers. But there’s only so much you can do.”

This wasn’t Voggeneder’s first project with the OeWF—he’d tagged along on other missions as an observer and photographed a portion of the forum’s archives—but “The Kepler Station” marks a stylistic departure. Much of the series is drenched in washes of amber and sapphire light, which imbues even the station’s water jugs with an electric sci-fi quality. The precisely composed scenes were also a function of the mission’s rigid architecture. “I couldn’t just walk over there and ask them to do something,” Voggeneder says. “I would have to file a flight plan change request. So I would write in a brief memo which day and which time I would want to them to do something. I would also have to communicate the coordinates and all that sort of stuff to the flight planning team back on Earth.”

If the series evokes the hype and heroism of our first interplanetary foray, that’s intentional; Grömer knows he’ll likely never set foot on real Martian soil. But, he says, that’s not the mission anyway. “What we want to do is trigger the brains of the young people,” he says. “We are offering a sneak preview of things yet to come. We are the bridge between what is now and what will be. And what more privileged position in life could you be in, building this bridge?”

As these missions to Mars are rendered down into a handful of images, they’ll form a singular history of our journey there—whether speckled with Martian dust or aglow in neon light.


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Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers The First Photo Ever Created By A Japanese Photographer

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers The First Photo Ever Created By A Japanese Photographer

Hexbyte Hacker News Computers

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Shimazu Nariakira by Japanese photographer Ichiki Shiroø
Shimazu Nariakira by Japanese photographer Ichiki Shiroø – earliest existing photo taken by Japanese photographer

In 1848, Ueno Shunnojo-Tsunetari (a Japanese trader based in Nagasaki) imported Japan’s first daguerreotype camera from Holland. The following year, the camera was obtained by Shimazu Nariakira, a Japanese feudal lord (daimyo) who ruled the Satsuma Domain from 1851 until his demise in 1958. Shimazu was renowned as an intelligent and wise lord, and noted for his great interest in all forms of Western technology.

Having obtained the camera, the daimyo ordered his retainers to study it and produce working photographs. One of these retainers was Ichiki Shirō (市来 四郎). Ichiki had previously excelled in the study of gunpowder production, which involved an understanding of chemistry. Due to this background, Shimazu believed Ichiki’s background would suit him for the challenge of mastering the creation of daguerreotypes – which entailed use of chemical treatments to develop the final image.

Hexbyte  Hacker News  Computers Alexander S. Wolcott's daguerreotype camera
Alexander S. Wolcott’s daguerreotype camera (above) and a cross section diagram of the camera (below). Image scanned from the book “Photography and the American Scene: A Social History, 1839-1889” by Robert Taft, published by Macmillan Company, 1938.

Due to his complete lack of formal training in photography and in how to use the camera, it was many years before Ichiki produced a quality photograph. To the daimyo’s delight, on September 17, 1857, Ichiki succeeded in creating a portrait of Shimazu dressed in formal attire. Ichiki recorded his struggles, and eventual triumph in mastering the camera, in his memoirs which he compiled in 1884.

After Shimazu’s death in 1958, the Terukuni Shrine (also referred to as Shōkoku Shrine) was built in Kagoshima as a memorial to the late daimyo. He was enshrined there in 1863, and the photograph was placed there as an object of worship. However, it later went missing in the 1800s.

After being lost for a century, the daguerreotype was discovered in 1975 a warehouse. Recognized as the oldest daguerreotype in existence that was created by a Japanese photographer, the photo was designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government in 1999.

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Hexbyte Hacker News Computers Author: Kana Kukui

Part Asian/part Western, and having lived almost my entire life in Asia, photography, particularly photography in Asia, has been a major interest in both my personal and professional life.

Over the years I’ve noticed that there’s a huge pool of talented photographers in Asia that generally goes unnoticed outside their local country. I’ve also found that there is a great interest in Asia by photographers based outside the region.

The purpose of this site, and my Twitter (@KanaKukui) is simple: 1) to share some insights about photography in Asia – introducing talented photographers shooting in Asia, and subjects and locations to shoot in the region. And 2) to provide a little inspiration to everyone interested in photography – from the hobbyist to the emerging professional.