Flickr Superstars

A post on the Flickr blog got me thinking about my 12 ‘Flickr Superstars’. As I made my notes, several themes emerged:

i. The Far East, specifically Japan. Having visited the Far East specifically, and having a Japanese fiancee, it’s no surprise that I’m fascinated by Japan, and I think there’s also a sense of me trying to understand it – culture, people, places, feelings – through images.
ii. Fast lenses. Quite a few of my favourite Flickr images rely on fast lenses (f1.8 and below).
iii. Simple, strong, compositions. If you look in the group devoted to these lists of 12, a lot of the photographers suggested are ‘high concept’. Lots of PhotoShop, and self-consciously arty compositions. Not for me – as with film, music (where I’m a big fan of 80s and early 90s alternative US groups such as The Replacements, Pixies, Nirvana), I tend towards images which are more strongly rooted in reality.

My favourite 12 are after the jump.

1. The first of several photographers on this list based in Japan, I wouldn’t say I ‘like’ .:*ghost*:.’s photos – rather, I’m drawn to them. There’s a sense of darkness in many of his photos that goes beyond spooky or creepy, but the subject matter is never, ever explicit. If anything, it’s the slightness, even vagueness of the subjects – little chunks of light, cats, sunglasses, empty parks – that gives the images their unsettling feeling. It’s the sense you might have when you’re in a strange place, in a strange mood, and the day is changing to night, making shadows and shapes out of normal objects. .:*ghost*:.’s ‘burari’ set is well worth exploring.

Panda

2. dannybird is the main photographer at the publisher where I work, and when it comes to still life product photography, he is simply one of the best photographers I’ve ever seen. A genius when it comes to using flash lighting to make even the dullest objects appear interesting, as you can see from this shot.

3. davemason is based near me in South-East London, and his subtle compositions slice up mundane scenes and render them surreal and intriguing.

Rome

4. A journalist in real life, there’s a strong narrative to many of greenwood 100’s photos, linked to a great visual instinct. Well worth adding as a contact, as the updates vary between the topical and the personal, proof positive that far from coolly observing the world, the best photographers are in the thick of the action.

5. Yes, yes, I’m a sucker for the Far East and from the moment I saw this terrific shot I’ve been a fan of Gori-JP’s photos. His shots are frequently bright, colourful and best of all are shot from a vantage point that’s completely immersed in the scene.

6. Tim Rudder is another photographer based in Japan, Tim’s portraits are fantastic – there’s a directness to them which I often find lacking photos you see online. He has a way of shooting that renders the glass of the monitor between you and the subject invisible. He’s also never content with the obvious shots either, which in a world when it seems everything has already been photographed, is a real talent.

7. Not only a fantastic photographer, Alieh is also based in fascinating place that is often represented in the media in a very one-sided manner: Iran, specifically, the historic city of Isfahan.

(This is my fave shot of hers, but she’s disabled off-site images.)

8. Navid J. There’s a real sense of poetry to his shots, and his sense of composition is very strong – frequently managing a fine balance of simplicity, abstraction and intrigue.

(This is my fave shot of his, but he’s disabled off-site images.)

9. Horses and Tigers provides subtle travel photography from places such as China and Iran; it gives the viewer a sense that there’s another world out there, and that strange as it seems, it’s not as radically separate from your one as you might think.

10. I’m a big fan of fast lenses, and re.mo always inspires me with the way he uses his Nikkor f1.4 turning simple objects into scenes filled with wonderful blobs of bokeh.

(This is my fave shot of his, but he’s disabled off-site images.)

11. Jonas Peterson is a pro and you can see why. Unlike many photographers on Flickr he’s not drawn to maximum contrast and whacked up colours – instead, what you find are a sensitivity to muted tones and the power of soft light.

12. There’s nothing showy about Kimicon’s photos – if anything, at first glance, they’re homey snapshots, almost to the point of being dowdy, but spend some time really looking at them and they’re have an undeniable charm which really communicates a strong feeling and humanity. You’re never in any doubt of the warmth of the heart and hands that held the camera and framed each shot.

(This is my fave shot of hers, but he’s disabled off-site images.)

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