Analog photo technique brings Bambi to life


Look who decided to wake up!

My new pet...

Get down you naughty deer!

Bambi is not so good at fetch!

Bambi is not so good at fetch!

He always makes such funny faces! So cute!

Always up to no good!

Bambi dreams of Tad...


My little prancing man!

Hide and go seek! LOL!

Bambi spies the blue mouse cat toy!

Bambi and the first hints of spring! Finally warm enough to take him outside.

Splicing a cute little animal into a photograph doesn’t take more than a few seconds for anybody with a copy of Photoshop.

But Colorado artist Janelle Pietrzak spends hours cutting light stencils with a razor blade, then uses a shoebox and long-exposure photography to bring Bambi and other cuddly creatures to life inside her home.

“If you look at my photographs there is fantasy world full of mythical creatures, floating orbs, ghosts and goddesses, all created by manipulating light,” Pietrzak tells Cult of Mac. “The catch is that I hardly use any Adobe Photoshop. What you see in the images is basically what I saw on the back of my camera.”

This museum will have you seeing dead people

A & A Studios, Chicago
Chicago's A & A Studios is home to the Museum of Mourning Photography and Memorial Practice, which houses a most unusual photo collection. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

My little red-haired niece approached the casket with a single flower and placed it with the father she looks so much like.

I raised my camera to my eye and made a picture.

Though secure with my reasons for snapping the photo, I understood how taboo this could seem to others. I never made a print to pass around or display. I look at the photo now, 10 years later, and get reacquainted with grief, struck by a visceral appreciation for a chapter that continues to unfold in my family story.

That picture was a fading memory until my recent trip to the Museum of Mourning Photography and Memorial Practice in Chicago, a collection of more than 2,000 postmortem photographs and funerary ephemera.

Stumptown shooter stalks the sexy and the strange


An eye for the outlandish

The Portland Zombie Walk and similar events give photographer Luke Olsen a chance to stretch beyond his normal studio work.


Olsen's notes for Cardiac: "Strobist: 550ex and Vivitar 285 with a red gel placed in the boxes. WL1600 with a strip bank to the left and above camera. Triggered via pocket wizards."

Portland Zombie Walk

Organizers boast that the 2010 Portland Zombie Walk drew 3,000 undead.

Zombie Lessons

Olsen's notes for Zombie Lessons: "A shot of Ariel consulting a tome of the undead inside the Zombie Apocalypse at the Scream at the Beach.

"Strobist: 550ex in strip bank at camera right and in front of model. 580exII on floor behind model and aimed at wall. Triggered via pocket wizards."

Makeup artist: Matt Huntley

Portland Zombie Walk

The annual event only began filing or permits in 2011 after a record turnout the year before.

Lucy Stone

Olsen's notes for Lucy Stone: "Strobist: WL1600 in strip bank at left of camera. Triggered via pocket wizards."

Portland Zombie Walk

"I try not to be too involved with posing as I like to see what they bring to the table," says Olsen. "That said, I will shift their pose if they are doing something I don’t want."



Olsen's notes for Waiting: "More color infrared."

Portland Zombie Walk

"I was never one for jumping off bridges and things but I did pelt a girl in a hazmat suit with eggs for a photo shoot," Olsen says. "I still don’t find that crazy."


The hazmat suit comes in handy for Toxic.

Portland Zombie Walk

"Like an addiction, I always want to do more photography," says Olsen. "I'm definitely in that camp that enjoys the journey with my only end-goal to see better."


Olsen's notes on Mermaid: "Shortly after she went onto the tire she asked me to make her into a mermaid.

"Strobist (on model and tire only): WL1600 in beauty dish above and right, WL1600 in strip bank to left. Both triggered by pocket wizards."

Portland Zombie Walk

"Photography kind of crept up on me as the years progressed," says Olsen. "There was no magical darkroom moment when I saw an image being developed and thought, 'I want to do this forever.'"


Olsen's notes on Fez: "Strobist: WL1600 in strip bank for fill behind and slightly to the left. WL1600 in soft box in room right of model. Both triggered via pocket wizards."


Portland Zombie Walk

"I’m always with a camera, and usually with more than one camera, ready to shoot at all the Portland events I attend," says Olsen.

Grab a camera when the zombies come. They won’t eat your brains — they’ll strike a pose.

It’s a trick photographer Luke Olsen learned when he was surrounded on the streets of his hometown. His shots from the Portland Zombie Walk showcase the lean and mean side of his stylish but macabre portraiture.

The organized chaos of events like the zombie walk offers comic relief from formal photography sessions filled with intricate lighting, staging and models. Any opportunity to capture inspired lunacy is technically practice, but Olsen gravitates toward flash mobs to cut loose with his camera-wielding compatriots. He’s thrown himself into the thick of SantaCon, the infamous alcohol-fueled rampage that grew from absurdist San Francisco street theater into a national headache. The moribund Portland Urban Iditarod, where teams of costumed runners dragged tricked-out shopping carts from bar to bar, has also been shutter fodder.

“It’s a great deal of fun to wander into a large event with a group of friends, shoot the event and reconvene later to see what everyone got,” says Olsen. “It’s like The Bang Bang Club, just 100 percent less deadly.”

Picture-perfect strategy: Why killing Aperture means Apple will rule the cloud

An aperture. Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac
Apple and Adobe make major moves to change the way we manage our photographs. Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Ubiquitous cloud storage and editing solutions for your photos are like buses: You wait ages for one, and then two come along at once.

Both Apple and Adobe are going all-in on allowing you to view and edit your photos on any device. Adobe has done this by bringing its Lightroom desktop app to mobile. Apple is doing it by ditching iPhoto and Aperture and starting again with the upcoming Photos app for iOS.

While the approaches are different, they both look rad. And they’ll drive a fundamental shift in the way we manage our photos.

Vintage photo booths morph into movie machines

Meags Fitzgerald
Montreal artist Meags Fitzgerald turns intimate photo-booth pictures into short films.

Before anyone ever uttered the word “selfie,” Meags Fitzgerald had accumulated thousands of photos of herself taken in photo booths in the malls and train stations near her home.

She produced strips of four one-of-a-kind poses almost daily, sometimes hiding in a mall photo booth until after close. High-school friends dubbed her “the Photo Booth Girl.” Today, when the Montreal artist pulls the curtain in a booth, the flashes sometimes don’t stop until she has enough photos to produce a movie.

“It’s very much an obscure labor of love,” said Fitzgerald, a freelance illustrator who has produced six film shorts, all in photo booths. “There are certainly people who have used photo booths in their mediums but I’m the only one I know who has used them in this way, in this length or with the narrative purpose I’ve tried.”