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An 8-Bit Fantasy Come True

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As kids in the eighties and nineties we dreamed of being zapped into the worlds our favourite 8-bit creations. Now, thanks to Aled Lewis, we get a glimpse of what our world would look like if the pixelated heroes and villains of classic video games were able to roam in reality.

The pixel-art images were featured on Lewis’ Behance page with the following statement:

“A mash-up of video game characters and photographic scenes. As a kid I would become completely immersed in there crude pixel environments and they would seem very real! I thought it would be fun to try to express how gamers see these worlds. I spent many hours gaming with my siblings and friends when I was growing up and this aesthetic has really come to represent that time.”

What video game character do you want to see come to life?

Video Game
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(via Visual News)

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One Photograph, Conflicting Perspectives

Homeless Man
PHOTO: Darren Calabrese / National Post

If you’re living anywhere in the colder parts of North America, chances are you’re like me today – wearing two pairs of pants, two shirts and a hoodie and only leaving your house when it’s absolutely necessary. It’s THAT cold. With Canadian temperatures dipping leaps and bounds below freezing point with wind-chill, most of the country is under extreme weather warnings and advisories.

The National Post published this story about the cold conditions the nation is facing and the precautions we should be taking. The story was accompanied by a photograph of a homeless man dusted in snow, asleep on the sidewalk and it stirred many thoughts in my mind.

I understand the intention of the image completely, but something about the fact that someone saw this man and photographed him irks me enough to debate its necessity.

The first thought I have is that of course, the photo drives home an important message. There are people suffering on our streets and this serves as a stirring reminder that winter is cruelest to those without homes. The footprints that trace where people have stepped around him and the people walking in the background paint a picture of the unfortunate reality that people ignore what makes them uncomfortable. In my mind this is no doubt an issue of equality that we should all be working to correct. The image tells a complete story in itself and I can see why the photographer would snap it.

On the other hand I can’t help but feel that the photographer should have sought some kind of help for the man and used that to create an even more interesting story, if not an informative one. Most areas of the country are facing frostbite warnings and in some cases, risk of hypothermia, so I just can’t imagine myself stopping to photograph this scene while for all I know he could need medical attention and at the very least, shelter. To me it seems ironic that in a story about keeping safe from the cold a photographer would pause to capture the image of someone who is highly at risk, instead of immediately getting them care.

I’m currently studying journalism and as such I’ve taken an entire course dedicated to the ethics and laws that rule a journalist’s life and work. For every debate it came down to necessity vs. exploitation to encourage more people to view your pages and pick up your paper. With a simple story about the weather this image felt out of place, especially because the story has only one line about homelessness and not in an informative “this is how to help,” way, but instead says “under such conditions, the city focuses on helping homeless people off the streets.”

If there’s one thing this photo demonstrates, it’s that the city isn’t doing a very good job.

What do you think? Would you have taken this shot at all, let alone to go with a basic story about cold temperatures? Is it the media/photographer’s job to do something or just to tell the story in hopes of encouraging other people?

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10 Great Gifts for the Photographer on Your List

Gifts for Photographers

1. Digital Photo Frame
There’s nothing quite like seeing prints of your photographs for the first time, but sometimes you just need another way to show off your images without having to frame them all. This frame looks like it could hang with the rest of the photos and is a great alternative for someone who is constantly shooting.

2. 500px Plus/Awesome Account
The rapidly growing online photography community, 500px, helps photographers showcase their work while connecting with others and finding inspiration. Give your favourite shutterbug the gift of unlimited uploads and sign them up for an upgraded account.

3. Into Focus Lens Mug
Photographers eat, sleep, and breathe their craft. Now they can drink it too. This lens mug is a fun gift for the truly obsessed cameraperson.

4. SD Card
A commonly overlooked but no-brainer gift, an SD card is a great way to support your image enthusiast’s work. You will never hear anyone complain about having too much image storage and this 32g SanDisk card should do the trick.

5. Camera Keychain
A cute trinket, this keychain accessory is a fun way for someone to show off their obsession without having to wear a camera around their neck. It even makes a shutter sound and has an LED “flash”!

6. GorillaPod
For the photographer who loves to get that crazy angle or hates carrying around a full tripod, JOBY’s GorillaPod is a lifesaver. Sturdy enough to support an SLR with a zoom lens, the GorillaPod’s three legs can be wrapped around almost anything, creating the potential for truly unique perspectives.

7. 100 Ideas That Changed Photography
Creating can be tough, especially in a bustling industry. It is inevitable that, like all artists, a photographer will find themselves in a rut one day.  This book explains 100 concepts that changed photography over the years, giving new inspiration from the origins of the craft.

8. 50mm f/1.8 Lens
Whether they’re shooting Canon, Nikon, or anything else, this lens is a must for any photographer. The low aperture capabilities are essential to creating captivating portraits with blown-out backgrounds and highlighting key focal points. Check out the Nikon lens or the Canon lens.

9. Right Angle Mirror Spy Lens
For the photographer who isn’t quite comfortable approaching strangers or drawing their attention, this super spy lens is super handy. While the photographer aims the lens at one subject, it is actually taking a picture of whatever is 90 degrees to the left or right.

10. 4 Piece Filter Set
Of the many add-ons a photographer can use to create a specific look, filters are one of the easiest and most cost effective. This set contains the four most commonly used filters a photographer could want.

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