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Articles from October 2010

Hallow's Eve October Contest

October 26, 2010

Getting prepared for Halloween everyone? We know we are.

Those eyes… and to think these dolls were for children!

To help everyone get into the spirit of Halloween, we’re having a Contest for the Creepiest Photography. After the halloween weekend, we’ll look over the submissions and the winner will get a Parade account for a year. A YEAR!

So get out your gear and start snapping something could make a person ill at ease.

Couple pointers:

  • The photo does not have to be blatantly about Halloween. It just has to be creepy.
  • A story with how you got the photo would be helpful/fun.
  • Please don’t over Photoshop. Let your lens speak truth.
  • Since this is going out a little late, we’ll give you till Nov. 7th to get your photo in.

Send us your submission on this site, or just message @paradepro

Don’t forget: Nov. 7th

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Silk Route Interiors

October 25, 2010

Also known as: Getting into homes to photograph interiors in foreign countries without knowing the people or their languages.

You might ask what possessed a sophisticated Jewish New Yorker of a certain age, to travel down the coast of Turkey, Syria, and Jordan using public transportation, stopping off in countless cities, meandering through the streets of ancient villages to photograph interiors of Nomad, Gypsy homes, and finally into Bedouin tents in the desert. Or how presumptuous it was to think I could actually get in to these homes and tents whose owners I didn’t know or had no connection with. Or, if I ever for a moment entertained the idea that I would travel all that distance and not accomplish what I set out to do. It doesn’t hurt to be curious, creative “never quit, never give in” New Yorker.

copyright Lynn Gilbert 2010

My guide and I had to submit to brutal waves of heat that flowed over our bodies traveling through the Sahara, but going in to a tent was close as close to Nirvana as you can get.

What was it about interiors, that has always touched my soul. Probably it was the imprint of my mother’s own fascination with design. More than fifty years ago she “turned me on” to a life long passion when MOMA opened the most magnificent homes to its members, and ever since I was old enough to travel on my own, I’ve been making pilgrimages to see homes all over the world.

The great homes and not so great homes of Great Britain were my training ground where I traveled just for that purpose for at least 30 years. Throughout the rest of the years there were places like India, China, Bali, Sweden, Peru, Russia, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, amongst a few, not leaving out our own US, going up and down the Eastern Coast, mostly on my own. And then finding and testing various architectural travel groups until I found the perfect fit, only joining groups because there were places I couldn’t get in to on my own.

It is only through this kind of visual feasting year in and year out and over more than half a century that the impact of “seeing” has greater meaning.

This last journey was magical. Who would ever guess that homes by our standards—which have no possessions—had such great beauty and an impeccable sense of style and design, not good but great. Using color, pattern, texture, proportion and a disciplined sense of scale, rich or poor, design is in their bones. 

copyright Lynn Gilbert 2010

Nomads—the word conjures up wanderers—were the aristocrats of this group. Some homes were like those of feudal lords, but even the poor ones in little villages had a flawless sense of style.
Bedouins, who had “nothing” and used almost “nothing,” managed to create a sense of beauty and repose that would calm even the most frayed nerves.
And the gypsies—well, gypsies are gypsies. There is a wildness and freedom that is inherent in their lives …and their style. They also prided themselves on their homes, even though they didn’t possess the discipline.
One big strong gypsy woman grabbed me by the wrist and started skipping with me through the village, with a gaggle of 50 gypsies tagging behind, my guide cracking up, and the taxi driver shouting in Syrian, “We have to go!” But my new gypsy friend, who had me powerfully in her grip, wasn’t having any of that,….not until I photographed her home also. I could feel her burst with pride when I walked through the door. And she had every reason to: for a gypsy it was really out of the ordinary, with embroidered doilies on her book shelves.
What could be more exhilarating than the heart thumping surprises going through a door, passing through the flap of a tent, and confronting the kind of consistency of design that makes your jaw drop?

What a “trip!” in every sense of the word. Will I do this again? You bet.  I have a list of places to go. I just hope the old bones hold out.
Should you want to get a tiny smattering of what I saw, check out my website

Lynn Gilbert

Lynn Gilbert is a photographer from New York. Occasionally she writes an article for Parade.

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Featured Parader: Taylor Summach

October 19, 2010

This month we’re excited to announce Taylor Summach as our Featured Parader. The pleasure is doubly ours because we’re also pleased to have Taylor on board as a parade writer.

Hailing from Manitoba, Taylor describes his work this way:

‘What drives me most as a photographer is the satisfaction that comes with taking a good image, though admittedly everyone else’s approval is nice as well. I’ve always loved art and have dreamed of being some sort of artist since I was young. When I began doing visual art of my own, I nearly always wanted to create pieces with bold colors. Admittedly I wasn’t that good. When I first picked up a digital camera and found I could produce those same bold colors in my photographs, I knew I had found my medium.’

Taylor is an emerging photographer, who has had his work featured in Popular Photography and sells some of his work through Getty Images.

(Check out Taylor’s site at

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October 18, 2010

The sage Huey Lewis, in his infinite and uncontested wisdom, once said, “It’s hip to be square.” It’s just as true today as it was way back in 1986. In tribute to Mr. Lewis, I’ve begun photographing hip people and placing them in square boxes as a sort of visual metaphor for one of the world’s great truths.

In truth, this ongoing series of portraits began when I created my own DYI beauty dish. A good friend of mine created the initial design for use with a dedicated camera flash. You can find his tutorial here. Upon modifying the design a bit, I discovered that the dish, assembled from no more than cardboard, A4 sheets and tape, produced wonderfully punchy portraits. The dish creates a natural vignette (so trendy these days) and minimizes the hard shadows that typically result from a bare flash. Because of the materials used, the dish really limits the amount of light the flash outputs. Initially, I was using a really cheap flash that didn’t produce a lot of light. To mitigate the problem, I used a wide angle lens in order to get close to the subject and maximize usable light. After upgrading my flash, I decided to stick with the same technique in order to maintain consistency.

This is an example of the result I’m getting with my current set-up. It was taken ISO 200, f 4.5, at 1/60s. The flash would of been fired at 1/8 to 1/4 power depending on available light. In my opinion, this shot looks good straight from camera but I put in some work in post-production anyway. When I edit these, my general goals are to eliminate any blown highlights, color correct the photograph, and sharpen the image. In most cases, I also selectively darken and lighten areas using layer masks in Photoshop in order to give the image even more punch. For these portraits, a square crop seems to serve the image best. Eventually I’d like to have 36 separate portraits, print them out, and arrange them in a 6 by 6 square, obviously. Here is the finished product. You can see more on my website under “squares”.

Taylor Summach is a photographer from Manitoba who also writes for Parade. Check out his website.

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What makes your portfolio website search engine friendly?

October 4, 2010

If you want to get your site higher on a search engine’s list (and we all do), you might be scratching your head on how to do it. Maybe you’ve tried some things and you can’t break past 47th. Maybe you’re considering invoking the SEO gods to grant favour on your site and bump you up a few spots.

The truth is it doesn’t take magic to help a search engine find your site, it just takes good code and hard work.

What does good code look like?

Believe it or not there are standards set for code. Some code can be messy, and it makes it harder for search engines to comb through the content to find things that tell the search engine what’s there.

Other sites are clean, but they are built with flash. This may not look like a problem for someone viewing your site because they are drawn in with all the cool swoops and swirls of a flash site. The problem is that search engines can’t see content on flash websites. The Flash text doesn’t show up in the code that the search engine sees, so it could be passing by your site without seeing your content.

What kind of work does it take to get my site seen?

Search engines love two things: good content and lots of links back to your site. When you write content, make sure that it is on topic and well-written. Write as often as you can (using a blog helps).

Also make sure to write other places on the web and link back. Comment on other people’s blogs, make links in your facebook status. Use twitter and draw people back to your site. The more links that refer to your site on the web, the more a search engine is going to recognize your website as a valid and trusted source of information.

Just make sure you aren’t making any enemies out there on the web. No one likes off topic comments or tweets that look more like spam.

If you need to know more about Search Engine Optimization check out our article in the knowledge base.

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