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February 26, 2004

Putting the City Back in NYC (and elsewhere)

I enjoy a fair number of photoblogs out there, and I keep meaning to discuss some of my favorites in more detail...but the sheer number that can be sampled is overwhelming, as one can see at photoblogs.org. Though quantity hardly makes for quality, it's impressive how many interesting variants on the daily image there are out there.

I've got some early favorites (among several) listed on the sidebar, but here's a shout out for two photoblogs that happen to hit my sweet spot these days, especially with my recent trip to New York, and my concerns about the increasing homogenization of urban areas everywhere: Quarlo and Artcoup. The auteurs behind both photoblogs happen to be based in New York, though in the case of Artcoup, his street imagery spans the globe, though a fair number of his images center around street life in the rougher areas and subcultures of New York.

You couldn't find two more diametrically opposed approaches: quarlo makes heavy use of crossprocessed color, funky light, and imaginative compositions to make street art, while Boogie at Artcoup has a rawer, grittier, very in your face style that employs black and white exclusively. I had bookmarked quarlo a while back (his photoblog has always been one of the most popular in the web photoblogging community), but he hadn't posted for quite a while...thankfully, the last three weeks have generated a fresh set of images, and they're worth the wait. I haven't been able to quite pin down yet what makes quarlo's images worth tracking down consistently, but I think it's the heartbeat behind all the technique that comes through...he has a real eye and vision running through all his images, which is no easy thing to come by in a place as overphotographed as New York.

Artcoup, just to warn people, is not for the faint of heart...there's not any gratuitous nudity or violence to shock for the sake of shock, but Boogie likes to let his subjects do the talking for the camera and doesn't editorialize with his imagery in any overt way...this ostensibly neutral approach to some of his subjects may rub some the wrong way. Personally, I see a lot of compelling imagery and true feeling amidst the rawness...this is the part of cities that tourist bureaus and city mayors want to wish away, and Boogie captures much of it with passion. And this sensitivity extends beyond New York to citizens of Cuba, gypsies and even skinheads and crackheads.

Technical wizardry is hardly the main reason to visit these photoblogs, but I should note that quarlo's use of crossprocessing is some of the best I've seen out there on the web...whether he has a particular film/development combination that works well, or whether he employs some digital manipulation afterward, is unclear. I mention this only because one of the most popular searches leading to my site is crossprocessing, as I've discussed the methods of crossprocessing film in a couple of early posts. Anyone interested who's landed here should definitely go to his site...and then throw away the consideration of technical details after a few minutes, and just enjoy the images.


Crossprocessed image, Fuji Sensia 200 slide film developed as C-41.

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Nicely done, the cross-processing adds a certain luminescence to this image that's very appealing. And thanks for the pointer to Artcoup, it's a site that I hadn't come across before.

Posted by: djn1 at Feb 26, 2004 6:24:05 PM

Wow, thanks for pointing out Artcoup. Powerful stuff, just blew me away. Amazing.

Posted by: Jon at Feb 29, 2004 12:58:19 AM