Posts Tagged ‘Black’

Cheap Seats: Sculptural Furniture Showroom Facade Made of 900 Black Chairs

19 Jul

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

Using cheap and repetitive materials sounds like a recipe for kitsch, but this furniture-oriented facade clad in generic black chairs (at around $ 5.00 USD a piece) manages to pull off an elegant and refined look.

The clients, MY DVA (a furniture company), were looking for something additive, layered onto the existing bland building, but also reflecting their function (to showcase office and school furniture). The ideal solution would promote their wares while also entertaining visitors. It also had to be inexpensive.

Versed in product and urban design, Ondrej Chybik and Michal Kristof of studio CHYBIK+KRISTOF, took these concerns into account when designing the facade. Tapping into their respective backgrounds, they came up with cladding literally composed of product designs that also fits a neighborhood theme of repetition (filled with identical blocks of flats).

In total, the team used 900 Vicenza seats, a regular offering of the company, to form an undulating black box around the showroom, which functions well with the reduced light provided by these exterior shading elements.

Inside, the space was pared down to expose a raw concrete ceiling, from which suspended curtains hang to create little galleries — adjustable lights in these zones simulate different lighting conditions for furniture client spaces.

Staff offices are located along the edges, off to the sides and out of the way behind translucent partitions, leaving a large, open, blank-slate showroom for furniture buyers.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Offices & Commercial. ]

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Through the lens of black women photographers

17 Jun

Photography is storytelling, and the photographer’s perspective can be an important part of the story. The exclusion of diverse perspectives deprives us of valuable insight. In an attempt to address this exclusion and the associated under-representation of black women photographers, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn and her colleagues have self-published “Mfon: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora”.

Read about the first issue of their planned series publication at the New York Times LENS blog or watch their video above to learn more.

Articles: Digital Photography Review (

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Turning the Black Sea blue: NASA’s image of the day shows phytoplankton bloom

13 Jun
NASA’s image of the day is a composite, taken by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on its Aqua satellite. It shows phytoplankton swirling in the currents of the Black Sea. Credit: NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response

The Black Sea is one of the largest bodies of water on earth, measuring 168,500 square miles, and it turns out not to be black at all. NASA’s appropriately-named Aqua satellite captured this shot last month, showing the deep blues and turquoise colors of the Sea from an orbital altitude of 438 miles. This is actually a composite image, made up of multiple photographs taken during several passes over the region.

The light-colored swirls are billions of phytoplankton – floating microscopic organisms plated with calcium carbonate.


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Swimming with giants: Black and white whale portraiture by Jem Cresswell

02 Jun

Creativity showcase site My Modern Met recently interviewed Jem Cresswell, an Australian photographer who has just completed a project he calls Giants. The project is a series of portraits of humpback whales presented in black and white and offers an intimate look into the personalities and emotions of these ‘gentle giants.’

In the interview, Cresswell describes his process (much of which you can see from the behind-the-scenes video above), as well as some interesting details concerning his interactions with the whales. In addition to only swimming with ‘certain whales,’ Cresswell says they never use scuba gear and he always enters the water ‘as calmly as possible, keeping my heart rate low and wait to see the behaviour.’

The interview also addresses the presence of ‘spindle cells’ in humpback whales, which are cells that are thought to be responsible for social organization and empathy. ‘It is obvious though, that humpback whales exhibit complex emotional behaviors, have intricate social networks and complex song structures,’ says Cresswell.

Head on over to My Modern Met or Cresswell’s website to view these stunning portraits for yourself – all of which, Cresswell says, were captured on a Canon 5DS R, 24-70mm F2.8L II and 16-35mm F4L in an Aquatech underwater housing.

Via: My Modern Met

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Fading To Black: 13 Abandoned TV Repair Shops

22 May

[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

TV repair shops, once fixtures of our tuned-in society, have faded away as televisions became more reliable and the broadcast medium itself lost its relevance.

Take Milbee Radio & TV, a tiny TV repair shop supposedly operating out of Elizabethtown, PA. We say “supposedly” because neither Flickr user Katie Burkey (StarPhotographs) nor Wendyvee of RoadsideWonders have been able to find anyone actually working there – “I think this shop might be abandoned, but I never knew for sure,” stated Burkey in March of 2011.

Aside from the minuscule size of the shop (and its queasy two-tone green paint job), the gloriously retro sign tells a story all on its own. Does anyone remember brand names like Admiral, Zenith, Philco and Quasar? How long since the word “RADIO” on a sign attracted customers? Last but not least, “COLOR” television was once a feature worthy of note.

Don’t Give A Hoot

The latest entry in the Anti-Zombie Fortress sweepstakes is the former Hoots TV Service on Highway 80 West, Fort Worth, Texas. According to Joan Carroll, the glass block-enhanced blockhouse dates from 1964 and was the third (and final) location of Hoots TV.

Screen Thy Last Screen

This Japanese TV and monitor repair, assembly and distribution center seems to have soldiered on until 2008, according to calendars found within by Florian and friends from the Abandoned Kansai urbex blog.

Like many Japanese abandonments, the business appears to have been closed in a hurry with much equipment and stock left in place and on shelves. Towards the end, the business serviced Sega arcade machines and monochrome computer monitors but couldn’t afford to retool when ponderous CRT screens gave way to flat-screen LCD and TFT-LCD displays.

Bad Dreams

Odd that microwave ovens were once categorized as electronic devices instead of kitchen appliances but hey, those were the days! Dream Lovers T.V. Shop (why the periods between T and V?) once sold and serviced televisions – and presumably microwaves – from this gritty shop in Nottingham, UK. Flickr user Rust Never Sleeps captured the shop’s well-aged storefront in late July of 2014.

Rough In The Dimond

This ultra-rustic TV Sales & Service shop languishes unlamented in the cold heart of East Oakland’s Dimond (pronounced “diamond”) district. Flickr user Billy (misterbigidea) snapped the shop’s weary weathered facade in late January of 2014.

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Fading To Black 13 Abandoned Tv Repair Shops

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[ By Steve in Abandoned Places & Architecture. ]

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Delkin BLACK USB 3.0 Rugged Memory Card Reader offers microSD, CF and SD slots

16 May

Delkin has launched the BLACK USB 3.0 Rugged, a large memory card reader featuring both microSD and SD UHS-II card slots.  This is the first rugged memory card reader offering both of these slots in a single device, according to Delkin, making it a suitable model for on-the-go photographers who are frequently in ‘strenuous shooting environments.’

In addition to support both USH-II SD and microSD cards, the BLACK USB 3.0 Rugged has a larger Compact Flash UDMA 7 memory card slot. Transfer speeds reach up to 500MB/s, which Delkin says is ten times the speed of USB 2.0. All three card slots can be used at the same time, while the USB transfer cord and one of each type of flash card can be stored inside of the media card reader when not in use.

The card reader itself is made from both plastic and aluminum with a rubber cover that shields the device from water, dust, and impacts caused by bumps and drops. If the BLACK USB 3.0 Rugged does break at any point within its 5-year warranty period, Delkin will ship a replacement to the customer within 48 hours. The model is available now exclusively within authorized retail camera stores; price isn’t clear at this time.

Via: PhotographyBLOG

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Fujifilm X100T in black listed as discontinued on B&H Photo

25 Apr

Is it the beginning of the end for the Fujifilm X100T? The camera has been listed as discontinued on B&H Photo’s website. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this camera show up on an online retailer’s website as discontinued; Digital Rev showed it out of stock back in September 2016, though it currently lists one version the camera as ‘in stock.’

The B&H Photo listing shows only the black version of the X100T as discontinued, while the silver version is still available. In contrast, Digital Rev shows the black version as currently available and the silver version as unavailable. Adorama still lists both the black and silver versions available for a discounted $ 1,099.99.

Via: FujiAddict

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7 Secrets of Black and White Photography

20 Apr

We’ve all heard it … “to master black and white photography you must learning to see in black and white” – but just how do you do that?

It can sometimes seem like actually learning to see in black and white is a skill for only the chosen few. But trust us, it’s for you too!

Here are seven (not-so-secret-anymore) secrets that will help you train your brain and expand your eye for the art of black and white photography.

Read the rest of 7 Secrets of Black and White Photography (844 words)

© Meg for Photojojo, 2017. |
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How to Create Portraits with a Black Background

07 Apr

Who does not love a crisp, deep black background for a portrait? You can achieve this with the application of just two ideas, and just a little post-processing too.

black background

We are talking about a couple of techy things in hopefully, a non-techy way. These two ideas will give you tips for how to make black backgrounds for your portraits.

No calculations necessary

As an erstwhile teacher of Mathematics, I should not apologize for numbers, should I? There is quite a lot of Mathematics in photography. However, you may be pleased to know that I think you can achieve everything, without thinking much beyond the basics. If you have a broad understanding of the concepts you will be absolutely fine.

These techniques are not just applicable to portraits.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Banana palm leaf

Firstly, please think of stops of light as units. Using the term stop is like saying that something weighs 12 kilograms or that it is 10 miles away. As photographers, we tend to talk about stops and stopping down, but it is just as valid to say units. The thing is not to get bogged down in technicalities, the term stop is only a unit of measure.

The falling off of the light

The first concept might be stated simply as light falls off rapidly. Fleshing that out just a little, the amount of light available decreases greatly as you move away from the source of the light. But we are photographers and we do tend to think that a picture is worth a thousand words, so look at the diagram below:

In the example above, one unit of light arrives at our subject, one meter away from the window. If she moves two meters away, just one-quarter of a unit of light will now be arriving at her. Then, if she moves three meters away from the window, which is the source of light, there will be only one-ninth of a unit of light. The available light disappears very quickly.

It might suit some if I illustrate the same point with a graph (which, in the past, I have tended to introduce to students as a Mathematical picture).

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

A mathematical picture tells a story?

How does that affect the background?

When trying to achieve a black background, you are interested in the amount of light hitting it. Again, pictures tell the story best. Both these photos had only white balance and very small adjustments to balance exposure done in post-processing.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Not happy

The image on the left has the background close to the subject, about three feet (one meter) behind her. Then, on the right, the white background is about thirteen feet (four meters) back. You do not need me to do calculations, quote some nice formulae, to prove what is happening above. It is obvious, isn’t it?

In these photographs, the subject hasn’t moved and the exposure does not change. The background moves farther away, and the amount of light reaching it reduces rapidly. Even when the background is white, rather than the desired black, it gets much darker the greater the distance it is positioned from the light source.

In the practical world, there may be limits to what you can do, perhaps by the shooting space you have available. However, the message is simple, push the background as far away as possible, and even a seemingly small distance will help make it appear darker.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Young Filipino.

The background for this photograph was the inside of a room. The teenage Filipino boy was standing in a doorway, getting full benefit from the light source. The background, the far wall of the room, might be only eight feet (just over two meters) away, but it is getting very close to the blackest of blacks, isn’t it?

Combine this reasonably straightforward science, the way light falls away, with the science of the dynamic range of camera sensors and you will be a long way towards achieving black backgrounds for your portraits.

Dynamic Range

Please understand that the numbers I am using here are approximate. They do vary from camera to camera, and from the conclusion given by one source to another. But I am going for using what is easy, what is really needed to make the point so you understand.

Dynamic range is the measurement from the darkest to the lightest item which can be seen. Your camera has a great deal less dynamic range than the human eye. It is much less capable of seeing into dark and light areas at the same time. That is why, when your camera produces an image with blown out highlights, and blocked up shadows. But your eye can still see the detail of a bird, which sat in bright sunlight, and you can also see the black dog which sat in the darkest shadows. Your camera simply cannot see both at the same time.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Light the subject, not the background

It might be stating the obvious, but it needs to be said – the first step to getting a black background is to use a black backdrop. Then, if you can get the subject lit more brightly than the background, that will push the background into the underexposed, dark areas, outside the camera’s more limited dynamic range.

Portrait setup

If you can throw some extra light onto the subject and have them exposed correctly, in the brighter end of the dynamic range, that will help to send the rest of the image into darkness. The brightly lit subject should be properly exposed. Then there is a good chance that the background will be outside of the part of the dynamic range for which you are exposing. It will, at the very least, be heading towards black.

Portrait setup

Here is the setup for a portrait, with only natural light hitting the subject. It is not as obvious in this reduced jpeg as in the original RAW file, but the background is rather muddy, certainly getting towards black, but not the pure black you are looking for. In the original, you can clearly see folds in the cloth.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

Still not happy – most people would describe the background as black, but it is not the blackest of blacks, is it?

Here is the same set up again, with some extra light on the subject.

black background

I think the point is illustrated. Is it clear that the background is worthy of the classic description “inky”? Other things could be improved with a few post-processing tweaks. They are presented to show the backgrounds, not as finished portraits, and I’ve only changed color balance and tried to balance the exposures.

Use the natural law (it is called the Inverse Square Law) which dictates that light falls away rapidly from the source, and the limited dynamic range of your camera and you are a long way to getting a good, deep black, background. Next, you can help complete it further in post-processing.


I am referring to Lightroom here, but there are equivalent tools in other software.

Two Tips for Making Portraits with a Black Background

A bit of a muddy RAW file.

This is the photograph from the top of the article, as it first appeared out of the camera. You do not want to hear my excuses, but I did not get it as completely right in-camera as I would normally like to do. However, it turns out that is lucky, as it makes a good example for a post-processing in this case. Because the file was produced with the application of the ideas talked about above, it is very workable.

Most of the way to being processed in just a very few steps.

Edit intuitively

One of the best bits of advice I ever received, which I sometimes manage to apply, is to ignore the numbers. You should move those sliders till they give the look which you think suits the picture. Look at the photo and see what happens, take a breath, pause for a moment, and make some judgment as to whether it gives you what you’re looking for. Often this involves going a bit too far (whether it be with sharpening, or exposure, shadows, or whatever) and then dialing back a little.

I managed to do just that with this image. It makes me smile when I look at it now, a few weeks later, as I am slightly surprised at how far I went. I adjusted the color balance, brushed some negative clarity onto mom’s face, rotated the image counter-clockwise a little, but the exposure was not adjusted at all as the faces looked fine to me. Then I started pushing the sliders around.

Push the limits

It was a bit of a surprise to see just how far towards the negative I had moved the contrast slider. This may be counter-intuitive when you are trying to make parts of the image darker, but because we have got a reasonably well-produced file, we can get away with reducing the contrast, and this has the pleasing effect of lightening the hair and separating it from the background.

Of most significance to this exercise is the shadows slider which was moved in the opposite direction to usual. It was moved to the negative, to block up the shadows, rather than to the right, to try to pull out some detail.

I was also a bit surprised at how far I moved the black point. It seemed to work, though. As I say, I think it often works best if you move the sliders, without too much concern for the numbers they represent. Try to look at each photograph individually, rather than apply some sort of formula.

The final image had only a couple more, tiny, detailed tweaks.

black background

Extra Tips

A couple of other things.

How you decide to throw some light onto the subject of the photograph is for other articles. There are many other great Digital Photography School articles, which offer a huge number of suggestions for illuminating subjects. I thought you should know that I do very much like my LEDs, as I like being able to see the light. I also use reflectors. However, the first source of light in all the photographs above is natural light. You do not necessarily need a fancy kit.

In respect of the black cloth, most advice will suggest that you buy black velvet. I am sure it does an excellent job of absorbing light from all directions. But it is expensive, and with careful technique, it seems to me that another dark, non-shiny cloth can do the job too. One thing to pay a little attention to is making sure that you stretch the background cloth out a little. Try to get it as smooth and even as possible, with no creases, as any imperfections are liable to catch the light.

black background


The power of photography! 25 years after the event, I paid a bit of homage to Annie Leibowitz’s photograph of Demi Moore. I was not trying to replicate it as such, just nod in the photograph’s direction. But I did manage to get a really black background, didn’t I? Please give it a go yourself.

Share your images and questions in the comments below. I’m happy to try to help further if I can.

The post How to Create Portraits with a Black Background by Richard Messsenger appeared first on Digital Photography School.

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Hovering Tiny Black House Haunts the Woods Under a Railway Bridge

18 Mar

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

black flying house 3

Looking like something out of a creepy fairytale, this little black house hovers in the air beneath the arch of an old railway bridge, a spindly ladder reaching down into the fallen leaves. If you weren’t expecting it to be there and happened upon it while on a walk, you might be a bit shocked to see it seemingly floating in space, its skylights glinting in the sun. From far away, you can’t see how it could possibly be supported, lending it a somewhat supernatural appearance.

black flying house 7

black flying house 1

The steel cables that support the structure become apparent as you walk up, and the ladder is usually hidden off to one side, requiring passersby to look around a bit for a way to get up.

black flying house

black flying house 8

But if you did happen to be brave enough to approach it and climb the ladder, not knowing what you’d find inside, you’d be greeted with a bare-bones but cozy hut from which to survey the surrounding woods, complete with a loft and a wood stove.

black flying house 5

black flying house 4

Set in an area that’s 15 minutes walking distance fro the city center of Pardubice, Czech Republic, the installation takes advantage of stark scenery left behind by disused infrastructure, aiming for the feel of a mysterious military complex.

black flyling house 2

Created by H3T Architekti and photographed by Maritna Kubesova and Tomas Rasl, ‘Flying Black House’ is a temporary installation daring passersby to give in to their curiosity, even if it makes them feel like the foolish protagonist in a horror movie.

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[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

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