The Genius of Photography

genius-bookPhotodoto thinks photography is genius and BBC Four agree with us! In late 2007 they aired a 6-part documentary entitled The Genius of Photography which spanned 170 years of photography’s history. What 2007? That’s old news I hear you cry! But for Christmas I received the accompanying book and it’s got me all excited about the series again. Plus one of my aims for 2009 (I don’t like the term “New Year’s resolutions” – too much pressure!) is to learn more about the history of the art I have such a passion for.

The Genious of Photography Book is a good place to start, it’s well written and contains suitably awesome photographs. If you’re in the UK it’s definitely worth the £19, for everyone else check out the website where you can see some of the famous photos used in the series (and read about the photographers) here. If you’re feeling adventurous you can even follow the instructions in this clip from the show and make a camera obscura.

(The book is available on in the USA but is an import and currently only available used.

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I’ve recently come across Photosynth, I had heard of it about a year ago when it was still in its tech preview phase and then I’d forgotten about it. Which I shouldn’t have done because it really is cool. Microsoft Live Labs, who own Photosynth, call it “an entirely new visual medium.” And they’re pretty much right, it’s a very cool new way of viewing photographs. Basically it works by analyzing a set of photos and using the data to build a model of the subject, then it re-creates the environment and uses it as a canvas for the photo. Which doesn’t sound as awesome as it is so head over to Photosynth where you can play about with creating and viewing synths yourself.

National Geographic is creating synths of global landmarks like Macchu Pichu, Stonehenge, and the Pantheon which you can view on the National Geographic Magazine webiste. The BBC also has a gallery called “The Future of Photography” on their website which has collections of synths built on locations from the BBC One series “How We Built Britain”, including Trafalgar Square, Ely Cathedral, and the Scottish Parliament Building.

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