90 Ans Apr

The popular French news site LeMonde.fr published a phenomenal collection of news and multimedia related to World War I at the start of this month in remembrance of the 90th anniversary of the Great War. The édition spéciale, which corresponds to a print publication in France, compiles stories, photographs, audio and video associated with the war nearly a century ago.

One such video is a shot documentary highlighting Volume Pills the works of Jacques Grison who, as a child, played in the countryside of Verdun without even realizing that 300,000 men died there in 1916. Now a photographer, Grison has documented the landscape of Verdun, capturing a world that looks as if the war ended only days ago. Even if you don't understand a single word of Français, the six minute long video is worth watching.

The Big Picture: Storm-battered Yemen

Silt and mud cover the land around damaged homes following two days of storms in the eastern Yemeni province of Hadramaut on October 25, 2008. (KHALED FAZAA/AFP/Getty Images)

Silt and mud cover the land around damaged homes following two days of storms in the eastern Yemeni province of Hadramaut on October 25, 2008. (KHALED FAZAA/AFP/Getty Images)

The Big Picture, by far the best blog for photojournalism geeks, posted some with 180 deaths and over $1 billion USD in damages.

The ancient city of Shibam is seen in this aerial photograph in the southeastern Yemeni province of Hadramaut, October 28, 2008. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

The ancient city of Shibam is seen in this aerial photograph in the southeastern Yemeni province of Hadramaut, October 28, 2008. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

The mystical city photographed here is the ancient city of Shibam (شبام‎), famous for its mud brick tower houses which are between 5 and 11 stories high. Known as the "Manhattan of the desert," the town was threatened by the major flooding, though it remains largely intact with the exception of a few houses which unfortunately toppled over.

Photographs courtesy of The Big Picture, posted without commercial intent.

Stunning Press Photographs From Afghanistan

I absolutely love great photojournalism. I've always believed that photographs should tell a story, and photojournalists are often masters of this skill. Most individuals only know photojournalism as the photos that appear alongside news stories. In reality, a larger, and much deeper, world of phenomenal photography exists beyond this realm. Often times, truly remarkable photography is displayed by major magazines and news agencies in the form of photoessays. The Big Picture, however, brings to light wonderful works of photojournalistic art that otherwise might have gone unnoticed. I've written about The Big Picture before, and their content never fails to impress me.

A pair of ISAF soldiers stand on a hillside overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan on the night of January 11, 2008 (ISAF Photos)

A pair of ISAF soldiers stand on a hillside overlooking Kabul, Afghanistan on the night of January 11, 2008 (ISAF Photos)

In one of their most recent postings, The Big Picture highlights photographs taken by and of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is the UN Security Council's mission in Afghanistan that works separate from the United State's "Operation Enduring Freedom." The task force is "presently made up of over 53,000 troops from 43 different nations," which represents a large cross-section of world cultures. Living in the United States, one usually only hears about American troops overseas, which is a direct result of domestic ethnocentricity preached to the nation on both a local and national level. It is great to see these foreign troops appreciated, especially through these wonderful photographs. One thing that really jumped out at me in the image above is the landscape of the city at night. Anyone familiar with San Diego county knows that the climate and landscape of East County has much in common with the geography found in the Middle East. This photograph, complete with the illuminated antennas on the distant mountaintop, could have easily been taken in El Cajon or Santee.

German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the ISAF monitor a valley during a mission near Kunduz, Afghanistan on September 26, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the ISAF monitor a valley during a mission near Kunduz, Afghanistan on September 26, 2008. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch)

Though I am not an advocate of war, and I strongly believe in peaceful diplomacy abroad, a large part of me wishes to become a war photographer. The emotional intensity involved with any conflict or war provides many opportunities for great photography and storytelling. As with any art form, I have seen many lackluster war photographs. But truly great photojournalists can take a simple subject--such as a soldier standing on a hillside--and create a feeling of wonder and awe. In addition to this, war photographers stand alone in their ability to truly capture the human side of war. Through their work, direct human emotion can be conveyed. Stories can be told, and lives can be touched. Photographs can inspire hope, and alternately fuel sadness and rage. The images I have posted here are only a sample of the truly great works of art found in The Big Picture's post on the ISAF efforts in Afghanistan, and I encourage everyone to click through explore this great photojournalism resource.

Photographs courtesy of The Big Picture, posted without commercial intent and solely for the purpose of increasing awareness of their blog.

Capitol Hill Police

If you've been following my recent bloggeries, you probably know that I tend to post images in trends. A couple weeks ago, it was images edited using Corel Painter X. Now, it'll be photos edited in Lightroom to bring out detail and tonal depth. The image above was taken during a protest in Washington D.C. back in April of this year. I initially rejected the source photograph because the composition seemed off, but I was drawn back to it by the contrast between the center officer's bright orange sunglasses, and the greys of the surrounding men. Ironically, halfway through the editing process, I converted the image to black and white. Nonetheless, I think this photograph shows great depth of field and decent visual focus. Oh, and it was shot using a 70-300mm lens I picked up on eBay for $5. That's always a plus!

The Economy In A Nutshell

Alright, so the truth might not be quite this simple. Nevertheless, average individual. Think of Lehman Brothers as a wholesale investment bank. While you don't deal with them directly, many of your banks do. As the BBC states, "This in turn is likely to intensify the credit crunch, with potentially dire consequences for businesses and consumers." Seriously, folks. Why not just live within your means?