Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Best of the Web

Best of the Web

A roundup of outstanding photography, video and multimedia from across the Web.


Climate Wisconsin, stories from a state of change

Educational Communications Board and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting have created a great new project to teach climate literacy.   Climate Wisconsin is a resource-rich website that supports the teaching and learning of the rapid climate change in the state of Wisconsin.  Warming trout streams and longer summers are a few of the many topics covered in video stories, interactive graphics and other teaching resources.  The stories centered around Wisconsin can serve as lessons for the world at large.

I am glad to see more innovative websites that shed light on issues that affect the tiny planet we live on.  This project offers viewers multiple angles or points of interest from which they can enter the site.  The website is robust with great teaching components such as a teachers’ domain that provides additional resources.  Climate Wisconsin is a great example of what education in the Internet age can offer.


Growing is forever



Jesse Rosten’s film “Growing Is Forever” is a whimsical expression of what is dear to his heart, the redwood forests of Northern California.  Giant trees stretch into the sky, the majesty is awe-inspiring.    The voice of Rostens’ friend Kallie Markle echos over images of a living, breathing forest: “It was very quiet all the time because the trees needed to focus on their lives.”   The stunning imagery, melodic pacing and deft editing makes me really want to go camping.


The Bajau Laut people of the Coral Triangle



Stunning, saturated still images against muted video imagery played to the melodic pace of the ocean movements take us to the Coral Triangle, a triangle-shaped area in the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.  The Coral Triangle is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.  The Bajau Laut are tribal people who live off the Coral Triangle.  They are considered the last true marine nomads in the world.  They are a people who have lived in harmony and balance with waters around them for hundreds of years.

Photographer James Morgan had initially planned to document the Bajau to incorporate their  indigenous knowledge of the ocean into marine conservation strategies.  The reality is, the Bajau are succumbing to the demands of the $1-billion global life fish trade.

Traditional fishing methods of free diving to improbable depths and the use of nets and lines are being replaced by cyanide and dynamite fishing techniques causing a deep impact upon a marine environment that is like no other in the world.

Finding Vivian Maier

Street photography is in many ways photography in its highest form.  As coined by photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, street photography is the “decisive Moment,” a fraction of a second, pure serendipity coinciding  with instinct and talent that freezes a moment into a photograph that can capture the essence of a scene, era or culture in a single defining image.  Street photography holds a mirror up to society telling so much within the frame.

Vivian Maier a reclusive nanny who spent her days off photographing Chicago, the city in which she lived most of her life.  From the 1950s to 1990s Maier make more than 100,000 exposures, capturing the world through her eyes.

Maier’s photographs were seemingly destined for obscurity.  Much of her collection  ended up in a storage locker that eventually was put up for public auction.

John Maloof bought a bulk of Maier’s catalog hoping to find historical photographs for a book he had been co-writing about the Chicago neighborhood of Portage Park.

When Maloof purchased the 30,000 prints and 100,000 negatives, he didn’t even know what street photography was. Little did Maloof know the course of his life would be changed after becoming the custodian of these images.

Maier’s work was a labor of love, not shot from any financial motivation.  During a time when many women did not do street photography, Maier walked the streets of Chicago with her Rolleiflex Twin lens camera in hand capturing Chicago with perfect verisimilitude, reflecting the city as it was around her.  Her work reminds me of Helen Levitt or Diane Arbus with her subjects leaning toward downtrodden or abstract.

Maloof was able to finally trace the origin of images to Maier.   A Google search on a name that had been scrawled on an envelope would return with her obituary in the Chicago Tribune.

Maier passed away at an Oak Park, Ill., nursing home on April 20, 2009.   She died from complications when she slipped on ice and hit her head, while she was on one of her many Chicago walks.

Maier’s work will be featured at the Chicago Cultural Center in her stand-alone show “Finding Vivian Maier: Chicago Street Photographer” starting Jan. 7.

Maier’s work also will be featured in an upcoming documentary and book.

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