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posted by Michael Thorn alias achuka on Tuesday 2nd of November 2010 09:36:09 PM

with colour... resubmitted, now with completed commentary... In this, my first new set of achukapicks in almost a year, I have allowed myself just four black-and-whites. The rest are celebrations of colour photography and image-making. Leaving the four corner images till last, but otherwise working from left to right, from the top: A beautiful photo by crack jackson jr - everything is perfect, the near hand resting on the bank, the far hand touching the surface of the water, fingertipping the reflection, that lovely fairy-like hue and light, the girl’s fair skin and draping auburn hair. M is for Mylens and for Marilia and also for the pure magic of the macro world she observes and records, as here in ‘Microcosmic’, brought to us from her very own garden. Much macro photography is coldly microscopic rather than microcosmic. Marilia’s work is never coldly analytical but always a warm celebration. Ralph (nardell) is one of the nicest people around, and I’ve seen lots of other people say the same. Recently he has been posting emblematic image after image with spot-on title captions. What could be more poignant as a title to an eloquent photo of a broken-heart-shaped leaf still in one piece only by virtue of its stem than “strongest where we started”. Well, it touched my heart. Pahud has featured in my achukapicks many times. I love the way he and Emilie wander around finding different places to shoot. The results are always pleasing. Not all photos look their best when presented in a grid and I think now I would have been better selecting to represent his work here. But do go to his stream. There is so much there, and most importantly of all both he and Emile clearly adore cameral life! ‘Portrait of a Lady’ by vannessa~ho typifies the elegance and fine compositional touch found in this photographer’s art. There is always a back-story or prevailing mood and atmosphere to be read into her images. Her work is never merely pictorial. She has heart and compassion in abundance. Notwithstanding the comment about the previous photo, pictorial photography can be perfectly pleasing and sometimes everything the eyes require. The next image seems to me to be the perfect example of such an image. A red polkadot dress, arm holding a white jug filled with blossom cuttings, the thumb so perfectly in focus and all presented against a dark black background. Very satisfying indeed! Thank you Agnieszka. I like photos of people reading. I really like Hitoshi’s medium-format photographs. So it goes without saying that I like ‘She loves reading’. Hope you do too. Isn’t ‘Re-bound’ fun? Big coloured bouncing balls held static in the air, girl about to jump (and catch), boy seemingly about to bounce. So fanciful and playful. ..AVA.. (Vanessa Munoz)’s stream really needs no introduction from me. Paul Grand is a professional Illustrator photographer & artist, and it shows. Such classy image-making. And he doesn’t require an exotic setting to achieve his results, as here in ‘Venice’. On his stream there are many superb images made from photos taken on the Sussex coast near where I live. As the theme of this achukapick is colour I simply had to include an image by Chaulafanita, a Spanish photographer whose colour work always has sufficient flamboyance to put the viewer in flamenco mood. Salome Vorfas is a young fashion photographer of immense creativity. I have picked out two images - the next one and the image immediately below it - to give just an impression of her work. Visit her stream and experience the full extent of her imagination and flair. Oh, the lighting in this next image! Recently I have been discovering more Russian photographers, and Katarina Smurga’s stream is somewhat typical of the mood and style favoured by many of them. It’s a style of accentuated reality, in which film cameras record with fine detail and purity the essence of a scene, with little obvious postprocessing or artful presentation. This is a beautiful example, if somewhat more staged than is usual. Next we come to our first black-and-white. cmvoelkel (Claire) has fast become one of my favourite black-and-white photographers. She shoots mainly but not exclusively film (and self-develops) but most importantly interprets the coloured world in a way that can immediately see the potential for a monochromatic version of the scene. You only have to visit her stream and you’ll see what I mean. Like lots of her images, ‘boxed in’ has the air of one of the all-time great mono shots. An ageless, classic image. Rui Palha is a black-and-white magician. He loves semi-silhouetted back views and many of his street scenes are so marvellous they look like crafted, choreographed stagesets, with every step of a leg and every nuance of light timelined and planned. But he writes that photography for him “is to discover, it is to capture giving flow to what the heart feels and sees in a certain moment, it is being in the street, trying, knowing, learning and, essentially, practicing the freedom of being, of living, of thinking...” I am sure Claire (above) feels the same. I can never resist a beautiful head-and-shoulder portrait. Lou O’Bedlam seems to have an endless supply of female friends to photograph. Some of them are professional models, but there is always an informality in the way they work with Lou that comes across in the resulting photos. This is just a damn nice portrait. And if you’re not a contact of Lou’s yet, make him one now, and you’ll get to see many more damn nice portraits like this. The story behind the ‘Perfect Accident’ by laurenlemon is as follows; “I set the exposure and focus, handed the camera off and told my sister what to shoot - but she watched, and caught this moment. Little did I know I was shooting on slide film, and would end up getting the roll cross processed when I developed it (not knowing what I shot on the roll either). But it works! I like it! So, this is one of those pictures where everything just worked out perfectly, on accident.” A fantastic accident indeed. The blue-toenailed, wide-angle delight that is ‘row my boat’ by elsakawai just had to be included here. Such a great frame and shot! What can I say about Steve? Let’s start by saying he’s a nice guy, and I know that because I’ve been told it by someone whose judgement I trust. But it also comes across in his self-deprecating sense of humour, and in the kinds of comments he leaves. From what I can make out, he has his own business which has been sufficiently successful to let him take a bit of a back-seat so that he can spend his days driving around taking the most amazing photos of the bridges and waterways surrounding Vancouver. He’s represented by a black-and-white shot here, but his colour work is probably more popular with most of his followers. He claims to have only recently acquired Photoshop. I say he doesn’t need it! Halfway through 2010 Gary Isaacs posted his 200th image, announcing “This has never been for me some sort of gallery where i throw spaghetti at the wall In most respects i think i’ve said what i wanted to say and like the song says why say it again? i’m not so sure that i have something else that i’m all that interested in communicating at this time and i don’t want to put up images as some sort of expression of a mindless needy habit i think there is a kind of power to limiting ones self - working within limitations - and i think a declared ending is often more powerful than something that dribbles out unconsciously till it’s simply over plus i’m a sucker for symmetry and balance i think this is a good time to step away - an even 200 - this body of work stands complete because . . . . because i say so” And so he left. We still have those 200 images and the spellbinding prosepoems that accompany so many of them. But I miss him a lot. Ekaterina Grigorieva... another Russian photographer... another gorgeous head-and-shoulder portrait. She’s a wonderful photographer. Highly recommend a visit to her stream. Ilze Vanaga is Latvian and, oh gosh, her ‘Isle of Skye’ photo has to be one of the most beautiful decisive moment photos ever taken. I never tire of looking at it. It carries so much emotion and story. The frown on the older child’s face, her yellow headband, the man looking like he’s just been left holding the baby and not knowing what to do, the baby itself got up in white lace, the ferryboat seating... oh, just so much to savour in the magic of a frozen moment. What a marvellously autumnal concoction is the next image by Oleg Oprisco. Such a swirl of leaf and dress and hair. Beautifully warm Gauguinesque body forms in ‘towards the dream’, the image included from martikson. Next, another reading photo, by Marianna Fierro, which I love especially for its lighting and the way the page seems to be illuminating the subject’s face. Brooke Shaden is a very gifted creator of images and ‘lined up’ is a fine example of her work. Bogdan Zwir - Russian again - creates disturbingly surreal portraits and does it very well indeed. Ha, ha, next up gosia janik and ‘Paula’ show us how to drink a mug of coffee! All the best photographers have fun from time to time, and this is a great mood-lifting photo. Of course, there is much more to gosia’s style and scope than the mood reflected here, but most people will know that already. I believe passerby3 took the next photo in Bulgaria, where she is currently resident. Wherever, it’s beatifully taken and presented. ‘almost fairytale season’ by Katya / slight clutter is like a beautiful screenprint. Wonderfully judged use of texture layer. ‘Wheat dreamscape’ is the second image aby Paul Grand. I haven’t much to say about the Aleksey Kovalev’s warm photo of a closed-eye couple, other than I adore the warm sense of loving togetherness it conveys. In the top left image - ‘Autumn, the year’s last loveliest smile’ - Quizz performs some magic I’ve not experienced before with the photograph’s colour palette. I love the resulting enhancement. What a dramatic image is ‘the storm came on the seventh day’. A bleakly beautiful composition. ‘The old man drinking’ (bottom left) has something of the quality of her very earliest Polish streetscenes. It is a beautifully observed moment in passing, at once natural and at the same time looking like a painting. Finally, ‘I’m a fan’ sees Quizz exulting in the light, which she always makes her own.

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