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Stairway Frames

I think I inherited passion for photography from my grandfather and my father after him. That was somewhat ironical because my grandfather lived his prosperity years and his youth in the age when photography was in its early years and developing, state of the art, black and white photos of the time belonged strictly to professional realm, so to speak. Even so, his living room and hallways were always full of artistic photos, paintings and remastered photographs he liked the most.

Even later, during my father photographer's passion, some 40 years ago, when first color films came to stores, having your own optically and chemically equipped darkroom lab in order to develop negatives and print your own photographs was too expensive. Although it was not so cheap to buy even a decent SLR camera to capture perfect moments in time, if you are following your passion and to quote master Oogway, nothing is impossible. So in the aftermath, what I remember the most from my childhood was those precious moments of spending time in the dark assisting my father in delicate process of developing films, exposing photo papers for exact number of seconds and 'bathing' them in several chemicals for each color to appear and hanging photos for drying. The magic of slowly fading in the image under the red light was something not every boy of 10 years old can share. Especially if you do that with your own films.

Today, we are living in digital era and the magic of analog photos is gone long ago. Darkrooms are replaced with digital photo printing machines and all you need to do now is to provide them with number of jpegs, feed them with color and paper and wait on the other end for all the prints to sort in the exit tray. Tablet computers and smartphones replaced old photo albums and that's fine, even with me after all those great memories of old fashion lab experience. However, we still have walls, hallways and stairways and, in a way, I never stopped enjoying paper prints and from the very beginning I am hanging the best photos to display, just like both my father and grandfather did. Almost every painting or redecoration of the walls was my chance to replace the exhibit and today I'd like to share the latest three photo selections I made from the time of the first digital camera appearance in our home. So let's start with the latest one, entirely created by the Nikon D5200 and the latest smartphones we used, HTC 8X and LG Nexus 5X.

The problem for any photo display is to select the photos. I have 23 frames throughout the stairway and choosing 23 photos are not so easy as it looks in the first place. I decided to use raw photos this time, only slightly enhanced in post production and with exception of only a few photoshopped images, I eventually took 84 of them and sent them for printing. When they came out, selecting 23 out of 84 added another not-so-easy effort but in the end from last month we are proudly presenting "The Stairway 3.o" within four walls of our house main stairway. Above are just four of them. Imagine how hard was choosing 4 out 23, but to see them all, you will either have to visit us or click on the 3.o link.

Before last month and for almost 5 years staid "The Stairway 2.o". The original images were almost all taken with Nikon P500, great old digital camera that served us pretty well. However, this was not the usual photo showcase. It was more about what you can do with your normal photos and modest Photoshop skills. Above three images are what I think was the highlight of the entire collection but all images were modified and montaged above small blackish and sparkled rectangles to add additional contrast with white walls at the time. The third image above is my own caricature made by one great Bulgarian street artist during one of our Black Sea vacations (you can see him in action in previous exhibit which is up next).

I used all my imagination to filter the outcome in the most interesting way and like to think that each print doesn't need any words to describe it further. I guess for some of them I succeeded just as intended. Some of them are from various contests from the net, like the one above from the "Spock is Not Impressed by your Photoshop skills" where I successfully pointed Viktor's ears and eyebrows.

Beginning of new century was pretty much the start of the digital era in our family as well. First two cameras we used for a while were two HPs - HP PhotoSmart 320 and C850. Above four photos are from the stairway and our living room collection and they staid the record time on our walls. Some of the images I added or replaced over time but you can see them all within album "The Stairway 1.0". Several of the photos are also from the final years of the analog cameras as well. Except for one, all the photos are purely non-modified and showed as-is without any photoshopping or with only a little color/shading fixing.

Finally and maybe what future might bring to our walls would be some interactive slideshows, instead of still images. I think these times are closer than we think. Perhaps with further developments of color e-Ink displays. Some sort of future screens that will drain power only during images change. We will wait and see. In the meantime, I decided to include one slide show I made from our entire stock of photos from 2015 chronologically ordered, uploaded to YouTube and enhanced with background instrumental music file. Many of these images are part of our current 3.o display. If fixed in right order with adequate music these slideshows are capable of triggering more emotional reaction than stills and despite the reason that almost every photograph is better if followed by words, in this case no description is necessary.

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