Posts filed under “Art”

THE MAGNIFICENT PHOTOGRAPHY OF ANSEL ADAMS.

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Ansel Adams’ style is arguably the most recognized in photography, and Adams himself our most popular photographer. Though he died a quarter-century ago, his photographs still adorn dentists’ waiting rooms and corporate cubicle forests across the length and breadth of North America.

Adams set up his camera in thousands of different places through more than half a century of active work. But regardless of the subject, there is always a certain instantly identifiable je ne sais quoi (which is French for “beats me”) in every Adams photograph.

Here is a small portfolio of some of Adams’ best-known works:

Barren Hillside with Snow, Rocky Mountain National Park

Winter View from the Back Porch of a Cabin in the Adirondacks 

Interior, Dining Room, Home of Mr. and Mrs. Randolph Wheatland

Portrait of the Artist’s Cat Minerva, Reclining

UFO Landing Site, Taos, New Mexico, Just After Dawn

Some Kind of Big Mountain or Something

THE PARADOX OF ROCOCO ART.

Composite photograph of the interior of Wilhering Abbey Church, Upper Austria, by Wikimedia user “Uoaei1,” licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

The insoluble paradox of rococo art is well illustrated by this photograph, which was Picture of the Day today on Wikimedia Commons. One enters a space like this and immediately feels that it is about the most magnificent thing the human species is capable of producing. Simultaneously, one feels that the decorations could have been even better rendered on black velvet.

FIND THE SOURCE OF THE PICTURE.

This portrait of Christ is dated “13th century” by Wikimedia Commons. It was taken from a Web site that no longer exists. The portrait is attributed to Arsen Bulmaisimisze, a Georgian name that comes up in some Georgian sites, but Dr. Boli has forgotten all the Georgian he ever knew except “Peachtree Street,” and he suspects that may be the wrong kind of Georgian. Every other mention of that name in English on the Internet is connected with this image, which appears on a few other sites scattered here and there. Some of those sites are stock-photo sites that have clearly harvested the same image from Wikimedia Commons and would like you to pay them up to $200 for it, which is a useful cautionary tale for designers who buy stock images. Every site that mentions a date at all dates it to “13th century.”

Clearly, then, this is one of those cases where literally all the information on the Internet has propagated from one source, and that one source is egregiously wrong. If this is a painting from the thirteenth century, Dr. Boli will eat his hat with a side of Marshmallow Peeps. It cannot be earlier than the nineteenth century, probably late nineteenth century.

So your challenge (and it may be an impossible one) is this: identify the true source and date of this image. The prize will be the right to say, for one twenty-four-hour period, that you are smarter than the entire Internet.

MORE ESTIMATED LOCATIONS.

As we saw earlier, Google uses its astounding intelligence to figure out where your photos were taken all by itself, just by looking for telltale landmarks. Here are some more examples, with the identifications that Google has proposed for them:

Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea. Remarkably, the building is brick-for-brick identical to the old Webster Hall hotel designed by Henry Hornbostel in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

This very elegant structure is in Montreal, QC, Canada. The French Canadian architectural flair is unmistakable.

Vancouver, BC, Canada. Vancouver is a city noted for its up-to-date style.

National Mall, Washington. The Mall is known the world over for monumental buildings like this.

Rockefeller Center, New York. The streamlined Art Deco style is a dead giveaway.