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Exotic Sports Portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

November 13, 2012 2:10 AM

Multiple award winner, Polish photographer Tomasz Gudzowaty is one of my all time favourites. He captures soulful, high contrast black and white portraits of the lesser known sports around the world, with the help of a good old large format camera. His newest exhibition Beyond the Body shows some of his finest work from the last decade. It consists of sixteen photo-essays, all with exotic sports portraits from different, mostly non-commercial, non-mainstream sports around the globe.

Gudzowaty went from nature photography, to social documentary, and in the last few years he’s been focused on sports photography. Especially exotic, atypical sports that rarely get covered by the media. He’s always been a fan of the humanistic photography style and the classic form of the black and white photo-essay.

Mexico’s Car Frenzy tells the story of a group of auto enthusiasts in Mexico City. It’s regular people who have to work full time to support their passion of custom tuned muscle cars.

Mexico's Car Frenzy - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Mexico's Car Frenzy - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Mexico's Car Frenzy - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Mexico's Car Frenzy - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Mexico's Car Frenzy - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

“Streets, highways, parking lots, ramps, and even indoor spaces – any place can become a racing ground for a more or less spontaneous event.”

The Nadaam Race is a horse racing event during Nadaam, the greatest national festival in Mongolia. It is a 25-30 km race through the Mongolian steppe, and mostly a test for the horses. The jockeys are usually children, since their weight and riding skills don’t really influence the score.

Nadaam Race - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Nadaam Race - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Nadaam Race - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Nadaam Race - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Nadaam Race - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

“Hundreds of contestants ride through the steppe until one rider decides to break for the finish line and the rest of the group follows after. The first five to finish are showered with koumiss, which is poured on the head and the hindquarters of the horse.”

Urban Golf in India was developed by a group of boys living in the slums. Even though golf is considered somewhat a game of the wealthy, with just a crooked metal stick and some balls from the toy store, anyone can play this urbanized version of the sport.

Urban Golf in India - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Urban Golf in India - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Urban Golf in India - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Urban Golf in India - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Urban Golf in India - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

“In a modernizing India, the younger generation is increasingly exposed to Western lifestyles, and sometimes their enthusiasm produces an interesting mix of local traditions and realities with new inspirations.”

Flying Warriors is about Kalaripayattu, which is considered the oldest known form of martial arts. Kalaripayattu masters devote their lives to studying the secrets of the human body. The knowledge is used for healing discomfort or injuries, as well as killing an opponent with a single strike (at least hypothetically). The sporting version of Kalaripayattu can be dangerous too, which makes the medical expertise of the masters very helpful.

Flying Warriors Kalaripayattu - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Flying Warriors Kalaripayattu - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Flying Warriors Kalaripayattu - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

Flying Warriors Kalaripayattu - Exotic sports portraits by Tomasz Gudzowaty

“Each duel is an astonishing performance of wonderful choreography and perfect timing that seems to defy gravity.”

Source: Tomasz Gudzowaty & World Press Photo
all photos © Tomasz Gudzowaty



First Photograph Taken in Finland turns 170

November 8, 2012 11:09 PM

This may look like something captured with Instagram on the newest smartphone, but it’s something a bit different indeed. It is the first photograph taken in Finland, ever. The photo dates back to the year 1842, and celebrated its 170th birthday last Saturday, November 3rd.

The photograph is a daguerreotype, one of the earliest photography techniques (check out the Wikipedia link for an interesting read). It was taken in Turku, which coincidentally also is Finland’s oldest city, though obviously not the only city at the time. The photographer was Henrik Cajander, a doctor by trade who lived on the very street the photo was taken.

The building in the picture was called the Nobel house, and it was located on the corner of Uudenmaankatu 8 (map). The beautiful building had just been finished when the photo was taken. It was later, after several stages of re-modelling and renovations, demolished by the City of Turku in 1961.

As you can see the photo isn’t exactly perfect, technically or aesthetically speaking, but it is a big part of the history in Finnish photography. Some might call the crooked composition an amateur mistake, but the photographer was, in the realest sense, an amateur at what he was doing.

First Photograph Taken in Finland ever by Henrik Cajander

As of right now, the city of Turku publicly displays a “life size enlargement” of the photograph above. It is located at the very spot where the building used to be.

Sources: Ilta-Sanomat & Turku.fi (both links in Finnish)



Mystic Mist over the City of Qingdao, China

November 1, 2012 10:43 AM

These shots aren’t your average Chinese cityscapes. The city of Qingdao is covered in a thick, clean, mystic mist (or fog, depending on what you want to call it). It was beautifully captured in these colorful panoramic photographs at just the right hour in May of 2012.

It may look like the city known for its exported beer, Tsingtao, is covered in a heavy smog, but what you see here is actually water vapor, not pollution.

I struggled to find the original source, or any information about the photographer or photos. The only thing I could find was this post on the messageboard for a Chinese travelling website, with the pictures originating from a Photobucket album by a user named Lhasaguy. If you recognize the photos and know the source, shoot me a message and I’ll fix it.

Mystic mist over the city of Qingdao, China

Mystic mist over the city of Qingdao, China

Mystic mist over the city of Qingdao, China

Mystic mist over the city of Qingdao, China

Mystic mist over the city of Qingdao, China

Mystic mist over the city of Qingdao, China

Mystic mist over the city of Qingdao, China

Mystic mist over the city of Qingdao, China



Hong Kong in the Rain by Christophe Jacrot

October 17, 2012 7:04 PM

Where I live, as in most of the Northern Hemisphere, autumn has come. And it’s been raining for days now. But that doesn’t necessary mean it’s a bad or depressing thing. I remembered a beautiful rainy set of pictures I’d stumbled upon earlier this year and thought it would be appropriate for this wet, cold, and dark part of the year. It’s called Hong Kong in the rain by French photographer and filmmaker Christophe Jacrot.

Jacrot isn’t exactly known for his “postcard cliché landscapes”. Quite the contrary, he manages to capture the beauty in the roughest of conditions, when most of us would rather get wrapped up under a blanket with a hot cup of tea.

“I like the way rain, snow and ‘bad weather’ awaken a feeling of romantic fiction within me”

Hong Kong in the Rain, by Christophe Jacrot

Hong Kong in the Rain, by Christophe Jacrot

Hong Kong in the Rain, by Christophe Jacrot

Hong Kong in the Rain, by Christophe Jacrot

Hong Kong in the Rain, by Christophe Jacrot

Hong Kong in the Rain, by Christophe Jacrot

Hong Kong in the Rain, by Christophe Jacrot

Hong Kong in the Rain, by Christophe Jacrot

Source & more pictures: christophejacrot.com
All photos © Christophe Jacrot



Natural Phenomena; Awe-inspiring Time-lapse Video by Reid Gower

October 16, 2012 1:51 PM

Well established video producer, filmmaker, and science enthusiast Reid Gower spent a good six months travelling the world making this stunning piece of video art. Even though Gower has a lot of experience in filmmaking, this was actually his first real time-lapse video, but the final result is still simply breathtaking.

Travelling to places like Alaska, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, California, and Turkey, Gower thought, “hey why not make a time-lapse video while we’re at it?”. At times travelling with just a DSLR and a tripod, basically anyone could do the same, but few have the eye and editing skills of Reid Gower.

Gower also used a fair amount of technical creativity. The (almost) outer space pictures for example, were shot with a GoPro camera mounted in a thermal lunch box that he sent up to the sky with a big balloon. He just added some hand warmers to prevent lens fogging in the rapidly changing temperature and humidity, and a GPS device to find the camera once it fell back to earth. Simple, low-budget, but extremely effective.

“Humans are part of the natural order. We’re risen apes that acquired language and learned to use tools. Skyscrapers and spacecraft may seem unnatural, but they’re just as much a part of the natural order as beaver dams and bird nests.”

The video was shot with a Nikon D300 that has an built-in intervalometer. Other cameras that were used were the GoPro Hero 2 we already mentioned, and a Canon EOS 5D mark II. For the amazing panning you can see in almost all the shots, he used two different techniques. Crop-zooming is when you make the panning in post production, without actually moving the camera while filming. Hyper-lapse, on the other hand, is basically moving the camera/tripod, and reframing each shot for an interesting effect.

Some still highlights:

Natural Phenomena - Timelapse video by Reid Gower

Natural Phenomena - Time-lapse video by Reid Gower

Natural Phenomena - Time-lapse video by Reid Gower

Natural Phenomena - Time-lapse video by Reid Gower

Natural Phenomena - Time-lapse video by Reid Gower

Natural Phenomena - Time-lapse video by Reid Gower

Sources: Vimeo & Reddit
All content © Reid Gower / VideoSapien



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