Twenty years after the 9/11 tragedy, Amy Davies looks back at iconic images from the event, and some of the photographers share their stories
Marcy Borders by Stan Honda
Freelance photographer Stan Honda had been contributing to the press agency AFP for five years at the time of the attacks. Living in Manhattan, he was able to get to the scene quickly to document what was going on. He describes that morning here:
‘One of the other AFP photographers called me and suggested I get downtown. I took the subway line from close to where I live down to the city hall exit. While I was in the subway, the second plane had crashed. So, when I got out, there were hundreds of people just standing looking at the Twin Towers.
There was smoke coming out of both of them, which confused me because I had only heard about the first crash. ‘We had no idea what was going on – this was in the days before smartphones. For AFP, I would cover lots of the business and Wall Street stories, so I knew my way around the area pretty well. I started to make my way towards the World Trade Center, and there were probably thousands of people running against the direction I was going in. It was probably the most chaotic day I’ve ever experienced.
‘Eventually I found some phones in a bank. We had cell phones, but the service had been out, so I managed to contact my boss here in New York, and also another colleague in Washington DC who filled me in. At one point I decided that the people were really the story. I tried to concentrate on getting pictures of people escaping, helping each other, trying to get out of the area and so on.
‘I was photographing the first tower when it started to collapse and there was this giant cloud of smoke and dust, and a noise like a train. I was photographing people as they were running out of that, and suddenly it became like night – you couldn’t see anything.
I was near a building with a lobby and there was a police officer pulling people in off the sidewalk for shelter. I went in there, and after about a minute, this woman walks in completely covered. ‘She sort of paused just for a second and I took that one frame and that was it.
‘At the time I didn’t think it was anything real special, but later, after I walked back to our office in Midtown – by then the public transport options were all closed – it was kind of striking to see it. It was kind of eerie, almost like something from Pompeii where the person is just white or grey. I think it resonated so well and got used so much because people can relate to the picture.
‘For news photos like this, we rarely find the identity of the person. A few months after September 11, her family called the AFP Washington office and identified her as the woman in the photo. The editors contacted me and a reporter in the New York city bureau, we were eager to find out who she was. We finally met Marcy at her Bayonne, NJ, apartment. It was a relief to see that she was physically fine.
We heard her story and I photographed her in a calmer setting. She worked for Bank of America on the 81st floor of one of the towers and managed to escape with other office workers. Unfortunately, she was still frightened of returning to lower Manhattan and was scared when hearing airplanes flying overhead. I lost touch with her and was sad to hear of her death from stomach cancer in August 2015.’
This is perhaps one of the most famous photographs to come from the events of September 11. Hugely recognisable, it was used as the front page of The Record the following day, on 12 September, 2001. It was also put out on the Associated Press wire, used in newspapers and publications around the world.
One of the reasons why the photograph became so famous is that it was compared to the ‘Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima’ photograph, captured during World War Two by Joe Rosenthal. Franklin’s photo shows firefighters from Brooklyn (George Johnson, Dan McWilliams and Billy Eisengrein) erecting a flag cut from a yacht docked in the yacht basin in the Hudson River at the World Financial Center.
The photograph was taken from a distance using a telephoto lens, at around 5pm – less than eight hours after the towers had collapsed. Franklin stated that he was about 150 feet away from the firefighters, with the debris seen in the background about 90 feet behind them again. To get to the location, Franklin had hitched a ride on a tug boat across the Hudson River, arriving at the scene after both towers had collapsed.
When he saw the firefighters, he was with the famous war photographer James Nachtwey, who also went on to produce a body of work relating to the attacks. Speaking to Politico about the picture, Franklin said, ‘This picture did not stand out to me. The three men raising a flag paled in comparison to thousands of people dying and two buildings falling to the ground. I can’t even say this is the best picture I ever took – but it is the picture with the most meaning.’
As well as being used in a variety of publications both at the time of the attacks and in the 20 years since, the photograph has had a lasting legacy in other forms. It was used for a ‘Heroes 2001’ stamp by the US postal service, and there has been at least one statue commissioned replicating the shot. The actual flag itself went missing shortly after being raised, but it was recovered several years later.
The photograph is now a part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress, and it has received dozens of other awards. In 2002, Franklin was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his photographs from September 11, including this shot. It was also included in Life magazine’s list of 100 Photographs That Changed the World. It was used to raise money for charity on several occasions, with a 2002 autographed original print selling for almost $90,000 at Christie’s Auction House, with the proceeds being donated to two 9/11 charities.
World Trade Center Attack by Mario Tama
New York-based photojournalist Mario Tama was one of the first photographers on the scene. He describes the panicked situation on that fateful morning.
‘I was at home in my apartment in the Lower East Side, when my editor called me in a very frantic voice to tell me that a plane had hit the World Trade Center and I needed to get to Lower Manhattan. So, I grabbed my gear and quickly headed out the door. When I got to the corner of Chrystie and Delancey [streets], I was able to see the Twin Towers and the big jagged hole in the North Tower, where the first plane had struck. I remember thinking to myself, “This is war.” I tried to hail a few cabs near that corner but had no luck, so I ran down from there to the scene.
‘That morning, before the towers collapsed, was managed chaos. I remember seeing people heading out away from the buildings towards me as I made my way there, some in shock, some bleeding, nearly everyone trying to somehow get home. As I got closer to the perimeter of the towers, I encountered more and more photographers and members of the media, and many of us were trying to get under or even into the towers.
Something that we are often taught in photojournalism school is the famous Robert Capa line, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough”. The police kept us a bit away from the scene and probably saved a lot of photographers’ lives that day, including mine. ‘I tried to make my way around the police barricades and walked around Trinity Church to head up Greenwich toward the South Tower – when I heard a sharp sound, looked up, and saw the South Tower begin to collapse above me.
At that moment I was transformed from a photojournalist into just another New Yorker running for their life as the tower collapsed. I made it a couple blocks before the tornado cloud of dust subsumed myself and two other men, at the edge of a parking garage. Daylight turned to night and quickly into a blackout where it felt like the world had stopped. Manhattan had disappeared. One or two of the men said prayers. Somehow, after a while, the dust began to settle and a bit of light started to filter through. We were alive.
‘I remembered telling myself that I had been thrust into history and I needed to document it, that was my job; I told myself, over and over, “just do your job”. The camera was a shield that day. I had a pretty new digital set-up of Canon 35mm cameras, I think it was the D30 – which was 3.1 million pixels.
Having digital was hugely advantageous because I was able to walk from Ground Zero back to our office, on Varick and Canal [street], and drop off my cards to our picture desk, who were able to get those images out quickly to the world. Our picture desk team were amazing that day – they could have left and gone home but they stayed and sent our pictures out.
‘I haven’t really looked through the images yet for this anniversary, but I usually do a few days ahead of time. I’m sure I will. I’m just not ready yet. It takes a bit of mental preparation. In some ways, the emotions can become raw again when I go through the images. I’m not surprised we are still talking about it, it was a moment in our history that should never be forgotten. I hope the photos speak to that.’
Manhattan From Ferry by Tom Stoddart
We have featured much of the work of Tom Stoddart over the years here in AP. His image above was taken almost a week after the attacks, when the Staten Island Ferry reopened for the first time. He describes what it was like in the days following September 11:
‘I was in London when the attacks actually happened, so it took days and days to get there. Everyone was saying “don’t go, there’s no point”, but it was just something I had to do. I think if memory serves me right, I had to get there via Niagara Falls because all of the air space was closed over New York.
‘Like all the rest of the photographers, I was spending lots of time just walking around trying to make sense of this event. For about a week, I was just literally walking around seeing what I could get, photographing all kinds of things. Since this was the first time the ferry was open, I expected there to be lots of photographers on it, so I was very surprised when there was only myself and one other guy.
‘It’s a picture I really like. The people in the photograph were able to resume their commute, but they’re faced with a scene that is changed from the one they’ve seen for years. It was absolutely silent as the ferry moved towards Manhattan, and there was still lots of smoke and dust in the air. Everyone was very, very still. Some people were praying.
‘Whenever I look at the picture, it brings back a lot of memories for me. I remember how quiet it was, and the enormity of it. People were looking at this space where the Twin Towers used to be and realised that their daily commute would never be the same again.
‘I’m not really sure how the picture was used at the time – if at all – but it didn’t matter. Other photographers had already done a lot, I wasn’t expecting to get lots of publications publishing my stuff, but it was just something I had to do. I was shooting film too, there was no rush to develop it because there were wall-to-wall photographers. I’m sure those who were in New York at the time of the attacks had a different experience from those of us who arrived later chasing the story.
‘I think I only shot maybe two pictures in the entire time I was there – about two weeks – that I thought were worthwhile. My feeling was – and is – that if you go and get even just one picture that you appreciate or that you like in terms of the event, it’s worthwhile, so I was happy to get the picture.’
JFK photos revealed after negatives lost in 9/11 attacks
In an effort to protect the experiences of young people, Instagram has announced that starting in the next couple of weeks, all users will be required to provide the company with a birthdate in order to continue using the app.
Instagram says that this initiative is a follow-up to a system it put in place back in March, where adults were prevented from sending messages to people under the age of 18 who don’t follow them. Last month, the company also started defaulting accounts to private for those who state they are under the age of 16.
The company says it has been working for years to acquire birthdays for all its users, but it will now institute two new ways to protect underaged users utilizing birthdays. First, the company will begin to show a notification asking to provide a birthday if one has not been provided. If a user does not provide a birthday after this notification has been displayed a few times, the app will lock that user out until they provide one.
Secondly, Instagram will start adding warning screens to posts that will actively ask for a user’s birthday if the company deems them to be sensitive or graphic if the user has not provided a birthdate to Instagram already.
These warning screens and prompts will start to roll out to all users starting in “the next few weeks” and will eventually require that all users provide some kind of birthdate to the company before they can keep using the app.
It is still possible for a user to lie about their age to Instagram, but this is something the company says it it working on addressing.
“We recognize some people may give us the wrong birthday, and we’re developing new systems to address this. As we shared recently, we’re using artificial intelligence to estimate how old people are based on things like ‘Happy Birthday’ posts,” the company writes. “In the future, if someone tells us they’re above a certain age, and our technology tells us otherwise, we’ll show them a menu of options to verify their age. This work is still in the early stages, and we look forward to sharing more soon.”
Nikkei recent published a synopsis of Techno System Research’s Market Share Survey for 2020, a detailed paywalled survey of camera shipment data from major manufacturers. The headline is a 5.0% drop for Nikon, decreasing its total market share. This isn’t great news for Nikon, but is it all it seems?
Nikon isn’t having a great year in terms of sales and market results, a topic I recently covered reviewing their latest quarterly report. The good news is that income is up across the whole business, however that is mediated by the fact that they are expecting a reduction in ILC camera shipments this year. Overall this paints a worrying picture for sales of Z-system cameras and lenses as they remain firmly rooted to the lower end of the mirrorless shipments table, not coming close to Canon and Sony while also trailing Fuji and Olympus last year.
Another data point in the year that gives a little insight in to how the 2020 market evolved is the Techno System Research Market Share Survey which uses self-reported survey data from camera manufacturers to paint a similar picture to CIPA’s shipment data but also breaks down the data by both sector and manufacturer. The report is almost entirely behind a paywall, but two recent pieces of information that have been released are the manufacturer breakdown for the entire digital camera market, along with a breakdown for the mirrorless sector (as reported by Fuji Rumors).
There are several key points to note from the report. Firstly, it confirms camera shipments for 2020 at around 8.9 million units and shows that the impact of COVID was a 41% drop, partly because factories were closed for a period of time and partly because consumers weren’t buying cameras. A double edged sword that severely affected shipments.
Secondly, the split in those total shipments shows that Canon topped the table at 47.9%, with Sony second at 22.1%. Both are up on last year by 2.5% and 1.9% respectively. These gains are a result of a loss of market share by Nikon who trail a distant third at 13.7%, down 4.9%. Fuji (5.6%) and Panasonic (4.4%) bring up fourth and fifth places respectively.
When looking at mirrorless cameras only, the figures are reported by quarter with most companies having a better second half of the year, Nikon in particular. That said, both Olympus and Panasonic saw shipments decline sharply which can’t be good news for Micro Four Thirds. Looking at the figures in the graph, Sony lead market share at about 36% (down from 42% in 2019) followed by Canon at 33% (up from 24%), Fuji at 12% (down from 13%), Nikon at 8% (up from 7%), and Olympus at 7% (down from 8%).
What Does This Say About the Market?
The obvious stand-out point is Canon’s utter dominance of the market; they ship nearly half of all cameras manufactured. The inference is therefore that that they sell nearly half of all cameras shipped. The second key point is that Nikon is trailing a very distant third and is no longer the force it once was in the camera market. Not only that, but it lost a significant portion of that last year. In fact, that 4.9% equates to some 430,000 cameras, not a trivial amount in the current climate.
However, we need to mediate these figures on the understanding that they represent the whole camera market and not just DSLR and mirrorless cameras. What we do know from the CIPA data is that integrated cameras made up 3.5 million units last year, their smallest share of the camera segment ever at just 39.7%. That figure has been in freefall since the smartphone saw widespread uptake and the expectation is that it will only continue to drop. In fact, so much so that Nikon has implemented a medium term restructure (which led to large write-off costs last year) and purposefully all but pulled out of the integrated camera segment with a minimal 14% share in 2020 and an estimated 7% this year.
All manufacturers have made it clear that profit in the camera segment is to be made from the quality amateur sector and the more limited professional markets. In practice, that means building out a fully featured mirrorless camera and lens range but with no bargain basement options. Integrated cameras are all but a thing of the past other than for very specific premium models that include super zoom travel cameras, tough cameras, and high-end fixed focal length models. Expect the shipment numbers in this category to drop further, possibly to a point where CIPA no longer segregate them out.
It’s perhaps the mirrorless shipments that shows how the market is shaking up. Nikon had a particularly good last half of the year and appears to be moving up on Fuji. In short, it is making small but real gains in shipments and so 2021 will be an important year. Again, Canon’s gains and increased dominance is remarkable and principally at the expense of Sony which is losing ground on its competitors. The other weak area is Micro Four Thirds: Panasonic is largely quiet, with Olympus having slowed down as a result of the sale of the Camera Division.
Is Nikon’s Loss a Real One?
Overall then, the headline was a drop in Nikon’s camera shipments of 430,000 cameras, but this has to be set against a backdrop of a falling market of which Nikon has pulled out of one of the segments. In 2019 Nikon estimated it had a 20% market share (20.5% ILC and 19.5% integrated) , dropping to 17.4% in 2020 (20.5% ILC and 13.6% integrated). These broadly match up with the Nikkei report and suggest that Nikon’s market share losses are actually coming from its integrated cameras, unsurprisingly given that it’s pulling out of the sector. It has made small gains in mirrorless shipments with the trajectory from the end of 2020 indicating a more positive 2021. It can be difficult to get a sense of year-on-year manufacturer growth from the nature of camera and lens specific release cycles. In 2021 it seems that Nikon will only release the Zfc which won’t lead to a sudden rush in sales. This is in contrast to the sales bump Canon received from releasing the R5 and R6 last year which undoubtedly helped its bottom line. This is a medium term strategy and if Sony has proved anything, it’s that by having a very good product and filling out your lens range you can encourage users to jump systems. That strategy works both ways and we are now already seeing the relative performance of the big three change.
It’s also worth noting that retailers are increasingly marking Nikon DSLRs and lenses as discontinued which suggests that all their focus is on the Z-system through a fairly extreme rationalization of their product lineup. It really has thrown all its eggs in one basket, with the full-frame and APS-C strategy now very much underway. With its focus in one place, it has to deliver on a convincing set of cameras and lenses that the market can both figuratively and literally buy in to. Within this in mind, can it take advantage of Sony’s very broad consumer focus and Canon’s dithering over its EOS-M system. The next five years will be critical for building out these systems to in order to bring in consumers. One things for sure, it’s been very quiet from the L-Mount Alliance camp over this period!
Photo sharing is a universal activity regardless of whether your mobile device follows the Apple or Android persuasion. But it sure doesn’t feel that way much of the time. In fact, it can be a challenge to share a simple photo or photoshoot cross-platform — complex, but not impossible. We show you how it’s done in iOS 14.6.
Go to Settings > Camera > Formats and choose Most Compatible. The resulting images will be of equal quality, take up more space on your device, and be compatible with all Android devices. Then, go to Settings > Photos > Transfer to Mac or PC and tap Automatic to ensure photos and videos get sent using the JPEG and H.264 formats.
Now that the formats are compatible, you can now decide how to share them — email, text message, or via apps like WhatsApp, Google Drive, Dropbox, Twitter, or any other app that allows attachments or lets you upload and download files and folders, or access links. Below are a few different ways to accomplish this.
Go to the Mail app, long-press, and tap Insert Photo or Video.
Alternately, choose the Photos icon in Messages to insert your pictures. Note that images texted from iOS to Android phones are heavily compressed and might look low resolution.
You can also send an iCloud link via Mail or Messages.
Share images directly from the Photos app via the sharing menu and choose which app you prefer.
Google Photos lets you share albums with groups of people, who can also add to a common photo collection. You can share directly with anyone with a Google account, or everyone else, you can create a sharable link.
When you share photos or albums, the link will be sent to the people you share with, but anyone who has the shared link can view the album or photos. If you share an album that automatically adds photos, anyone with the album link can view added photos in real time.
If you have an Android phone or tablet, you can easily sync your Google Photos account so that any photos shot on the iPhone are automatically viewable on your Android device via the online app. Google Photos comes preinstalled on most Android devices, so if you set up the app to sync, then all images you upload to Google Photos will automatically appear. To download any images you want, tap the three-dot menu button at the upper right, and tap Download.
Share a picture
Google Photos lets you message individual photos to your Google contacts. It’s easy to do without without leaving the app. Recipients must also have a Google account, but if they don’t, Google Photos users can still share images via text or email. Here’s what to do in iOS 14.6.
Launch Google Photos.
Scroll down to choose a photo to share.
Choose the Share icon.
Tap the contact you want to send the photo to.
Type a short note.
Tap the Send button.
Share an album via link
You can also share an album of photos by creating a link and inviting people to view and/or contribute to it. Here’s the quick way to do this in iOS 14.6.
Launch the Google Photos app by long-pressing its icon to access the Make Shared Album Option.
Select a series of photos and tap Next at the top right for the app to automatically create a photo album.
Name the album and add more photos if you want and then tap Done.
Add a short message, if you want and tap Send.
View your contacts to choose who to invite to view or join your album.
Tap the Share To icon and tap Create Link.
You can share that link via email, text message, or any app you choose.
Participants in the group can contribute additional images or videos to the album using the Google Photos app on any platform where they have the app installed.
Fixed f/4 aperture for shooting in low-light conditions
Three aspherical and three UD elements, one which is both UD and aspherical, ensure the highest resolution from edge to edge of the image
5.5-stop optical image stabilisation or 7-stops when used with a camera with in-body image stabilisation (IBIS)
Nano USM motor for fast, smooth, quiet operation ideal for video
Control Ring – giving direct control over Tv/Av/ISO settings
Minimum focusing distance of 0.2m with 0.38x magnification
SWC (Sub Wavelength structure Coating) and ASC (Air Sphere Coating) prevents flare and ghosting
Pricing: The RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM will retail at £1,749.99.
You can learn more about the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM lens from Canon below and we also have sample photos to share with you.
Canon RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM Other sample images
From Canon Europe:
Canon Europe today announces the launch of the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM, its widest RF lens to date. The zoom lens completes its RF trinity of kitbag-friendly, compact f/4 lenses which together offer enthusiast and professional photographers a versatile focal range covering 14-200mm. With quiet autofocus, 5.5-stop optical image stabilisation and a 14-35mm focal length incorporating aspherical and UD elements for crystal clear results, the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM is the perfect lens for shooting landscape and architectural photography, as well as vlogging where content creators need a stable and broad field of view.
The RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM joins Canon’s expanding range of class-leading RF lenses, built on the firm foundations of the EOS R System. When coupled with the innovative camera bodies, the full line-up of RF lenses deliver unrivalled optical performance and unlock new possibilities for photographers and videographers. Enabled by the RF Mount communication system, this lens takes advantage of combined lens and in-body image stabilisation on compatible EOS R-series cameras. It achieves a 7-stop benefit, when used with the Canon EOS R5 or EOS R6, with autofocus and control – making it a practical powerhouse for both stills and movie shooting.
Compact lens with a wide view
Taking advantage of the EOS R System’s large-diameter mount, the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM achieves a powerful combination of wider coverage, high image quality – all in a compact optical system.
Weighing just 540g, the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM stands alongside the compact, lightweight RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM and RF 70-200mm F4L IS USM lenses to deliver a range of f/4 lenses at different optical lengths that can suit almost any photography need. As with the other lenses in this trinity it shares the same 77mm filter thread and compact form factor, which makes them convenient travel companions – users can be confident, capturing a range of perspectives whilst reducing the size and weight of the kit they carry with them.
Offering a broad focal range, the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM affords photographers the flexibility to capture a multitude of different subjects, including landscape and architecture. The lens features a class-leading minimum focus distance of 0.2m and a 0.38x magnification thanks to its rear focusing system. This makes the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM particularly effective in confined spaces, enabling photographers to squeeze an entire scene into the image.
The RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM employs an advanced optical design of three ultra-low dispersion and three glass moulded aspherical lens elements – one of which is both UD and aspherical – that builds on Canon’s 50 years of research and development into aspherical lenses for interchangeable lens cameras. Through extensive investment in lens design and high-precision manufacturing technology, these components feature a non-spherical curvature that gathers light at a single point to reduce aberration and create pin-sharp images, replicating the image quality of Canon’s renowned prime lenses. These elements ensure the highest resolution from edge to edge of the image, which is particularly challenging in wide-angle lenses where the presence of spherical aberrations greatly increases. Combined with Canon’s advanced proprietary Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC), which prevent ghosting and flare, the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM achieves exceptional sharpness and contrast.
Professional, reliable performance for stills and movie
Delivering the very best qualities of the L-series, the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM gives photographers and videographers consistent, precise performance. The rear focus design that enables the close focusing ability of this lens also reduces focus breathing to less than a third of the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM. Its Nano USM focus motor delivers fast, smooth, and quiet autofocus; while the wide-angle, fixed f/4 aperture stays constant over the full focal length range ensuring there is no variation in shutter speed or ISO when zooming. When combined with the 5.5-stop Image Stabilizer (IS), increasing to 7-stops when used with Canon’s EOS R5 and EOS R6, the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM is an essential tool for videographers using the EOS R System, providing steady footage throughout the entire video. Photographers can shoot handheld, even at very low shutter speeds.
The RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM employs a control ring to give users fast, direct control of the TV, AV and ISO settings without the need to delve into menus or take their eye away from the viewfinder. Along with the full-time manual focus ring, which leverages L-series weatherproofing for a robust design, photographers and filmmakers can confidently shoot in all conditions.
Architecture photography has traditionally been a male-dominated genre, as has architecture and the building industry generally, but things are changing fast.
Some of the biggest names in architecture photography are now women, so to give you lots of ideas and inspiration for the current Architecture round of APOY – which closes on 11 June 2021 – we speak to some leading exponents below.
How did you get into photography? I have always enjoyed photographing. In the beginning, I was in doubt if I would study fine arts or architecture. I decided on architecture and graduated in 2003.
From 2007, when I was still working in an architectural office, I started doing various photography courses as a hobby. Gradually, at the request of the office, I approached architectural photography by taking photos of the construction process and development of some buildings.
After that, in 2013, I decided to leave the office and start my own practice to only work with architectural photography. At that time, it was very difficult to find specialised architectural courses. So, I started to wonder about—and build—what I considered important issues to develop my own language.
Did you start out on a specific type of photography that eventually led you to a more architectural style? As I graduated in architecture, this language has followed me since 1998. When I started to become more interested in photography around 2005, I chose some courses that were aimed at photographing people.
I remember a special course that followed the daily work of recyclable garbage collectors on the streets of São Paulo.
The photo essay revealed an almost invisible work of very important urban actors in the city’s informal economy. Photographing people in their activities in the city is something more important to me than photographing just architecture.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? When photographing interior design, I don’t see much difference between male and female photographers. But, to photograph large scale architecture, male photographers are still predominant.
I believe that this “natural” selection comes from two main factors: physical resistance, as it is very exhausting to photograph almost 12 hours in a row carrying heavy equipment and also because of women’s safety while walking through the streets. To make these great essays possible, I do hire a male assistant to help me.
Unfortunately, architectural photographers are still mostly men, but, great female professionals have achieved prominence throughout the years in other fields as well, and this is really encouraging.
What do you shoot on? My first year as a professional photographer was with a basic lens kit (18-55mm / 17-40mm). I remember not being able to photograph a facade of a building because there was not enough recess, and the lens distorted the architecture too much. The Photoshop work was intense to correct perspectives and distortions.
Today, I look at these pictures and I dislike them immensely! Then I have gradually acquired the equipment that I work on today— the Canon 17mm, 24mm and 50mm tilt-shift lenses.
However, the lens I find most versatile is the 24mm TS-E. Another very important item is a good tripod. As I have also photographed large works such as airports, a museum, corporate clusters with several buildings, I cannot have a very heavy tripod. I have a carbon steel Gitzo with a Manfrotto head.
Who do you draw inspiration from? I really admire the works of Cristiano Mascaro and Nelson Kon, two great Brazilian photographers of architecture and cities. In addition, my references include Thomas Farkas, Peter Scheier, Sergio Larrain and Saul Leiter, whose works also focus on common people and day-to-day life in the city.
Is there anything else you’d like to talk about from your work? It is not specifically about my work, but about the work of architectural photographers in the contemporary context. Today, our images are practically disseminated only through digital media, since printed media are increasingly more scarce.
The production of great text and image content depends on good professionals and, of course, with long training and expensive equipment. Today, we see the indiscriminate re-posting of images by companies willing to sell their products shown in the photos without wanting to pay for the right to publish it. So, we all expect (and are grateful for) the recognition and respect for the work we have developed.
How did you got into photography? It all ended up as an extension of filmmaking. I was very encouraged by European cinema—Béla Tarr, Michael Haneke, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Werner Herzog, Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, and other filmmakers.
At that time, I used to watch four movies a day at the local movie theatre and had moved from Portugal to Italy to have a formal education on the history of Italian cinema. Based on my strong visual sense, it was clear to me that I could become a filmmaker and that photography was one of the many fields that I had to be proficient in.
After collaborating at the Italian Cinematique, I decided then to follow my path by starting studying photography and working as an assistant photographer in a studio. This had a tremendous impact on my image-thinking approach. That was my starting point, I became so obsessed with photography that today I’m a photographer.
How did you end up developing a more architectural style? Focusing on space came very naturally. I have always created bidimensional images of physical spaces and landscapes in my mind as a way of trying to tell a story in film—it was a natural part of storytelling.
Moreover, I grew up in Portugal, a country which has a strong cultural sense, interest and sensibility for architecture. I never saw architecture as merely a built environment, but rather as part of society—part of human-kind, a research of social theory, with an important role in sociological and psychological fields.
That is what interests me here as a photographer. Who are the people who use these buildings and spaces inside my images and what are their responses?
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? Gender stereotypes strongly influence people’s choices and are barriers to women’s career progress—and so, mine. I still nowadays experience resistance, but it makes me a tougher woman.
Women are still underrepresented in different fields. In the media industry, for instance, it is very clear that women architects, philosophers, image-makers and so on still have very narrow space to participate and share their thoughts.
I think it is important that we as a society encourage and increase women’s participation. That is the key to promote gender equality.
There are plenty of angles in your work, which you seem to combine with organic shapes. Is that a deliberate choice? Yes, I do consciously use composition and different elements to create contrast. All my images are created with maximum control, and I rigorously organise each millimetre you see inside the image before shooting.
What comes across at the end will depend on the project and expressive feel I am trying to achieve.
What do you use to shoot? It is based on the project I am working with. I can use a 24×36, medium format, large format, or even polaroids as I did when photographing the physical space in Ramallah, Palestine.
Who inspires you? I am a passionate reader, my mind gets very stimulated by literature as the voice of Thomas Bernard, who has a great sense of humanity in his writings. I simply cannot avoid reading, I walk from one shelf to another, consuming old papers regarding Hellenistic culture and its literature, art-historical references, philosophy, sociology in a very rigorous and methodical way.
I am thinking, for instance, all my readings, music evenings and strong interest in visual communication go directly to the consciousnesses—it is all about the essence that lies beyond each discipline.
How did you get into photography? My interest in photography started as an architecture student in Rome, where I would use photography to document and complement my design projects. I got even more into it when I had to make work for an urban photography course.
The professor was teaching with Lewis Baltz in Venice and I got obsessed with Baltz’s work. I’m now less interested in the New Topographics, but I think it’s been a great starting point for my career as an architectural photographer.
How did you go on to develop a more architectural style? After my MA in Architecture in Rome, I moved to Toronto, where I was born. I wanted to try and live there for a few months to discover the city and also be close to a part of my family living there.
While I was looking for jobs in architecture, a photographer I met suggested to get in touch with A-Frame Studio, one of the most famous architecture photography studios in Toronto and so I did. I got completely fascinated with the idea of becoming an architectural photographer, waking up early to spend a full day in beautiful houses and buildings, studying the light to document each space.
Since the assisting days at A-Frame, I never looked back. I came to London and completed an MA in Fine Art Photography and that has been a complementary experience that allowed me to expand my photographic knowledge.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? I’m really proud to be a woman working in architectural photography. This is still considered a predominantly male profession—probably because of the heavy equipment to carry around and time to spend alone in the streets in strange hours.
But I see more and more female architectural photographers producing beautiful work around the world. I often like to look at architecture photographs and guess who is behind the camera, looking for clues in style between male and female photographers. In some cases, women’s work is more atmospheric, I think and if architecture photography is moving away from the classic empty photographs, focusing only on the shape and monumentality of a building,
I hope that the vibrant and dynamic touch of female photographers becomes more and more present over time.
Who inspires y0u? There are several artists I really like, but they have very different styles. I’m always very fascinated by the composition in the work of Jeff Wall and the uncertain meanings of his photographs.
I also love the use of colour and shadows in Vivian Sassen’s photographs; the calmness in the Italian landscapes photographed by Guido Guidi and the soft and atmospheric way Alfred Stieglitz portrays New York. I remember staring at his small photos at Tate Modern a while ago and thinking that I really wanted to walk on rooftops and photograph cities.
What do you shoot on? I had the chance to work with technical cameras – Arca Swiss paired with a Leaf digital back and beautiful manual lenses—from the beginning. Here in London, I also had access to similar kit, but I soon realised that a smaller full-frame DSLR camera would be much more manageable – especially as I usually document the development of a project from beginning to end, on construction site also.
Now, I regularly shoot with the most common set of tilt-shift lenses and I think they are essential to architectural photography. I also use film for personal projects and love shooting with my Hasselblad.
Can you tell us a bit about how you got into photography? I started my photography when I moved to Belgium in 1999. I studied photography at RhoK Academie, and later in Ecole des Arts d’Ixelles in Brussels.
MUDEC Museum, David Chipperfield Architects
What led you to a more architectural style? In the beginning, I was interested in portrait and landscape photography. I was especially excited to work in the darkroom when the image came out of the chemicals.
Working with analogue cameras, developing black-and-white film and making prints in the darkroom, was very important for me in the process of learning and understanding photography. Later on, I got the opportunity to work for a Slovenian architectural magazine, where my work had been published. This has been a great motivation for me, and I became totally devoted to architectural photography.
Nowadays I am appealed to photograph architecture, which is innovative, sustainable, and in harmony with nature. Since 2018 I have been participating at the London Festival of Architecture (LFA), which takes place in June every year. This year, LFA Digital was launched due to coronavirus.
Stelios Ioannou Learning Resource Center, Atelier Jean Nouvel
I’m taking part, with my exhibition A Vision for the Future: Sustainable Buildings. In this exhibition, I present a sustainable office building, 7More London, the PwC building by Foster&Partners.
Besides photographing commissioned projects I also explore architecture as space and as poetry. With my personal projects, I like to present the space as an emotional experience. I photograph mostly contemporary architecture, but I am also excited to photograph the architectural heritage, industrial architecture, historical buildings, process of restorations and constructions.
Series “The Winding Stairs”
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? It is a privilege for me to work as a female architectural photographer, which gives me a chance to present an additional view of the architecture comparing to male photographers. I think that accessibility to this genre is a question of ability to find the clients and the quality of photography work
Also from the series, “The Winding Stairs”
There are plenty of angles and organic shapes in your work. Is that a deliberate choice? I am aware that I always look for light, how the light falls into space, and how creates new shapes and forms. I also pay attention to sound, temperature, smell, material. I’d like to explore the atmosphere of the space and bring it to my photographs.
What do you shoot on? I have used different cameras and lenses—Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc. Currently, I work with a DSLR, the Canon EOS 1DX. I use different Canon lenses, as well as tilt-shift lenses. I prefer working with the available light and rarely use artificial light.
Series “Architectural Detail”
Who inspires you? Many great photographers from the last century—contemporary artists, and architectural photographers—have inspired me. I would like to mention, among others, a few.
Edward J. Steichen, Josef Sudek, Julia Margaret Cameron, Masao Yamamoto, and Bauhaus artists. I admire their work because of their originality, new vision, composition, poetry.
How did you get into photography? It started out sometime around 1998. In the later years of high school, I always had disposable cameras and would take photos of my friends when we were goofing around. Then, after graduating in 2000, I went to art school and by then I had my first analogue SLR.
In the first year, I studied all the studios (ceramics, painting, textiles, commercial art, printmaking, sculpture, film/animation and photography) as well as art history. In the second year, I continued the art history classes and specialised in the painting and textiles studios.
I had access to the darkroom and photo studio so I was still shooting, developing and printing photos on my own time. I really enjoyed the process of creating an image from start to finish, and I always had a supportive community encouraging me to keep pursuing photography.
After studying architecture, I was accepted into the photography programme at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver. I had realised that four years of university wasn’t enough for the massive responsibility that is architecture and I wanted to focus more on the connection between architecture and photography before entering into the professional sphere.
So in the summer of 2006 I packed up my life and drove 5000kms to start a new adventure. I ended up getting a number of credits covered because of my architecture degree so I was able to spend a lot more time playing with my own ideas and self-directed projects which were mostly architecture/design related. I graduated at the top of my class in 2009 but in 2008 Canada was hit with a recession so I had a surprise wakeup call that any entry-level jobs I would be looking for at an architecture firm likely no longer existed.
That’s when I realised starting my own business as an architectural photographer was one of my only options where I could use the degrees I had just earned and satisfy my passion for both. Now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Apple Visitor’s Center – Foster and Partners, Cupertino, CA
What do you shoot on? I have always used Canon equipment from the beginning so it just made sense to stick with it as the technology changed from analogue to digital. I went to architecture school right around the time digital techniques were being introduced and slowly becoming integrated which was the same experience I had in photography school.
Learning analogue photography and then having to shift into digital was inevitable but was still sad to have to put my 4×5 camera aside. Now I’m using a Canon EOS 5DsR and a backup Canon EOS 5D Mk III, a Manfrotto tripod with a specialized tripod head that combines three-way panning and geared movements for more precise positioning. I have various lenses that I use depending on what the space is like, a 16-35mm for big wide spaces, a 24mm tilt shift lens, a 50mm for details and vignettes and a 70-300mm zoom when exterior shots call for it.
I also learned quickly when shooting architecture that all your baggage should be on wheels if you can’t carry it on your back because there’s so much moving through a space to capture all the angles, details and materials.
Heliopolis Sporting Club, Cairo, Egypt
Who inspires you? I love the work of Vivian Maier. Her work beautifully depicts everyday life in the modern city and the characters she encountered. The story of her life is also mysterious and is pieced together by all the documents and photographs she left behind.
I’ve always been inspired by Julius Schulman’s photography of modern architecture. The way black-and-white photography highlights the geometry of the architecture is always exciting to me. I love math—specifically algebra and geometry—and puzzles, so I’m drawn to the composition of lines and how elements of a space fit together.
I learned early on about street photographers and documentarians, the way Henri Cartier-Bresson composed his images by waiting for the decisive moment has always been the objective. To allow that moment to occur naturally amongst the architecture, and being able to recognise it, brings a level of authenticity to how the architecture is being inhabited. Modern architecture/design itself is a huge inspiration because of the philosophy and ideas behind the movement. If you experience a great piece of modern architecture, it can be magic.
Capilano House – Miza Architects, North Vancouver, BC
Because of my painting background, I’m inspired by Pop Art and Cubism, and the modern artists who were changing art the way the modern architects were changing design. I take a lot of inspiration from film and cinematography as well—the way you can create space with light, composition and repetition to influence emotion is powerful in its ability to affect the experience of architecture.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? Like architecture, photography and more specifically architectural photography, has been a male-dominated profession. As times have progressed, women slowly made their way into architecture as they did with so many other fields and today the ratio of women in architecture has greatly improved.
A few years ago I volunteered with the Vancouver chapter of Women in Architecture and a lot of the concern (that still exists) is being in a profession that hasn’t accommodated the role of professional women who are also mothers so the result has been women stepping away from their careers to become primary caregivers for children but on the flip side, many were able to become small business owners.
Shopify – Linebox, Ottawa
They’ve been able to create a situation that allows them to still be architects but on a different schedule that is more malleable for a growing family.
Since becoming an architectural photographer and small business owner, I’ve seen more women enter into my profession which helps broaden representation and shifts the idea away from men as more qualified since that’s how it’s always been. Occasionally I still get an older guy commenting on what I’m doing and how I’m doing it but I usually get the impression it’s because secretly he wished he had my job.
I do think that the internet and dare I say, Instagram has helped in bringing more exposure to women photographers while introducing the idea that architectural photography shouldn’t be reduced to a small demographic. What I hope for with the societal shifts we’re starting to see is the inclusion of more people of colour in architectural photography as well as the architecture profession.
Bringing more perspectives into the conversation can only strengthen the genre and through that broaden our ideas of the built environment and how architecture inevitably affects our lives.
The Shed – Diller and Scofidio + Renfro, New York City, NY
Any other aspects of your photography you would like to talk about? When I’m not shooting for clients and traveling for work I’m working on self-directed projects. In the background the one project I always have on the go is photographing modern architecture at varying scales. It’s such a treat getting to experience original modernism but to also be able to photograph it satisfies my deep nerd tendencies.
Another project that I’m currently working on is with my friend and colleague Dina Sarhane. In December we traveled to Egypt for the month to study the community spaces located throughout Cairo. While we were there we met with several architecture academics and professionals to discuss the history and design of the spaces that are integral to the wellbeing of the neighbourhoods and urban population.
I was able to document the whole experience and gained access not usually permitted, especially to foreigners. We also went on a three day desert safari to the White Desert where I had a great time experiencing the culture and landscape outside of the city. I have a few different photo series from that trip that I’ve been working my way through.
How did you get into photography? I have always had a strong attraction for images and, I always thought that somehow I should have insisted on this inclination of mine. I come from southern Italy in a small town, which I left as soon as I could to go to study photography.
In Turin I attended a three-year course at the I.E.D. university, where I gained many important skills that helped me to take my very first steps into the complex world of images.
After my studies, I joined a creative collective called “Superbudda”. There, I finally put my aesthetic vision into context with the realization of events and promotion materials, from the planning stage to the final realisation.
What do you shoot on? A funny side of my path is that for several years I have never owned a camera! I knew very well all the equipment that fortunately I was able to use during my studies but as beautiful and professional as they can be to create images are also very expensive. Outside the university, I have always managed my work as I could and with any equipment, I could put my hands on.
To be honest, I am happy with that because I learned to do my job with any tool and equipment that can create an image, without worrying too much about the quality and the performance itself but always finding a valid reason for the final success.
Where do you find your inspiration? At first, more than in photography, I use to look for ideas and inspiration into modern paintings, probably due to my previous artistic studies. My first shots, perhaps for this very reason, are so graphic that they resemble more a modern painting than a photograph.
I have my weaknesses and are certainly Mark Rothko and Edward Hopper, about painting, in photography instead my perfect mix is composed by Ralph Gibson, Stephen Shore and Thomas Demand.
It is already very complex for me to explain why I photograph. When you do something spontaneous, especially when you do it just for the need of doing it, it is untranslatable in terms of explanation. I would very much like to be able to create images that do not need any explanation.
Unlike many, I am more fascinated by aesthetics than motivations even though, today, we believe it is more attractive and captivating to look at something followed by a declared strong meaning.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? Very often, I am asked this question and just as often I have found myself in situations where I was ‘chosen’ precisely because I am a woman who focused all her work on architecture.
I admit that at the beginning of my journey I never thought that a photographic genre could be associated to a human gender, male or female, but then, someone pointed out to me that architecture photography is, in fact, a male-orientated genre.
Finding that out came as a surprise and, even today, it is still incomprehensible to me. If architecture is a man then it means that while I photograph I will be a man, no problem.
How did you get started in photography? I started photographing in 2002 when I moved to Toronto, Canada. I was 16 and had a compact camera that didn’t work very well, but I took it with me everywhere. I photographed mostly the landscapes—so different from the ones that were familiar to me in Brazil. Everything was so different and fascinating, so I photographed a lot during my walks around the city.
I was always alone during these walks and photographing was a way to connect with this new reality and share it with my friends from Brazil. A few months after I arrived there, I enrolled in a photography class where I had my first contact with a reflex camera and black-and-white lab. In 2004, I came back to Brazil and the next year I got into college to study photography.
Up until then, I didn’t think about photography history and language. I just took pictures. That’s when I started to study and fully dedicate my time to photography.
My first job was as an events photographer—birthdays, weddings, baptisms, all kinds of events. I didn’t identify with that work because working alone, as much as possible, has always been very important to me. All those people, even though they were the main subject of the job, ended up disturbing me. But, I did it for years because I gained experience from it and the money allowed me to invest in equipment.
Meanwhile, I also worked with fine art printing and as an assistant for my friend Ricardo Teles. It was only in 2010 that I came in contact with architectural photography—I started working for Nelson Kon, who is one of the first architectural photographers in Brazil. A couple of years later, I quit event photography for good. In 2013, I did my first architectural photography job for some friends of mine.
Even though I had been working with Nelson for three years, until then I hadn’t done anything related to this area… but it worked. They liked it, I liked it, and now I’m a full-time architectural photographer.
As a woman, what’s your experience of being an architectural photographer? How accessible is the genre? I’ve felt many times that clients doubted my capacity as a photographer for being a young woman. It was nothing openly said – always something subtle, like seeming surprised when meeting me in person or walking around me to see what I’m doing during the photoshoots.
I must say that I feel an enormous satisfaction when these clients receive the images and say how happy they are with the results. And there’s the most common thing to us women in any field: clients choosing a male photographer that doesn’t have as much experience as I do.
What do you shoot with? I work with a Canon EOS 5D Mk II with 24-105mm and 70-200m lenses, as well as 17mm, 24mm and 50mm tilt-shift lenses. Plus, a Manfrotto tripod and bubble level attached to the camera.
Who inspires you? My biggest inspiration is Nelson. He’s the one who taught me everything I know about architectural photography, and he’s a very generous guy with his knowledge.
I also love the works of Lorena Darquea, Iwan Baan, Julius Shulman, Nick Hufton, Allan Crow and Joana França, and I’m a big, big fan of Hélène Binet.
Google Street View was created using an army of iconic camera cars driving up and down all the streets of mapped areas. Starting today, though, anyone with an Android camera can effectively become a Street View car and contribute to the massive trove of explorable location photos.
Google just pushed out a new update for the Street View app on Android that makes it simple for users to collect their own Street View imagery and place the photos in the right place on Google Maps.
The app features a new connected photos tool that lets you record a series of connected images as you travel down a street or path. The tool uses ARCore, the augmented reality technology found in products such as Google’s Live View.
Photos captured with the tool are automatically rotated and positioned to create a series of connected photos Street View users can step through. The series is placed in the correct location on Google Maps for people to find and explore.
“Before this feature, you would typically need special 360-degree cameras to capture and publish Street View imagery,” writes Street View product manager Stafford Marquardt. “Some equipment you could even attach to the roof of your car, but at the cost of thousands of dollars; that’s out of the realm for many.
“Now that anyone can create their own connected Street View photos, we can bring better maps to more people around the world, capturing places that aren’t on Google Maps or that have seen rapid change. All you need is a smartphone—no fancy equipment required.”
Here are some example contributions collected during early testing of this newly launched feature:
Google says its Street View cars and trekkers have collected over 170 billion photos from 10 million miles around the globe, even there are still many areas of the world that have yet to be mapped through Street View. This latest app update should go a long way toward helping get those remaining areas mapped and virtually visitable.
To honor the service of the “Legacy” Hornet jets, the Navy has released a few images taken during the commemorative final flight of the platform by the Blue Angels. In addition to the striking images, the Navy also released a short clip from the inside of the cockpit.
The Blue Angels are the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron which was formed in 1946. It is currently the second oldest formal aerobatic team in the world.
The US Navy concluded the final flight of the F/A-18 A/B/C/D “Legacy” Hornets, signifying the official transition of the Blue Angels to the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet platform. The “legacy” jets had been in service for 34 years. The final flight took place around the Naval Air Station in Pensacola and lasted about 30 minutes.
The flyover locations included Orange Beach, Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Ferry Pass, Navarre Beach, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, Community Maritime Park, and Palafox Street in downtown Pensacola.
This flight was the last of the 2020 season, and the 2021 show season will be the Blue Angels’ first year flying the Super Hornet platform as well as the 75th anniversary of the team.
The Blue Angels are a popular attraction for photographers at Air Shows and it could be argued they are the most well-known of the United States Military’s demonstration squadrons. Both the United States Air Force and the United States Navy have their own demonstration squadrons, with the Blue Angels representing the Navy and the Thunderbirds representing the Air Force.
If you have ever been curious about how images like the ones above are captured, you can watch this short video where Sergeant Larry Reid Jr. explains what he did during his time as the official photographer for the Thunderbirds:
Jets that feature a dual-seat design have fallen out of use by the United States military outside of training and demonstration squadrons like the Blue Angels. Part of the reason the Navy and the Air Force continue to use the dual-seat design is likely that it allows for images like the ones above to be captured, which is of course great publicity for the military.
The Library of Congress has invited all Flickr users in the United States to submit photos of “their experiences living through the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.” The best images will be added to a special online photo pool and some will be preserved in the LOC’s permanent collections.
The announcement was made two days ago on the Flickr blog, and while some photographers will no doubt be upset at the thought of “donating” their images to anybody, this does present an interesting opportunity for photographers who want to get their images added to the Library’s permanent collections.
Anybody who wants to participate can submit up to 5 photographs “or graphic artworks,” which the LOC hopes you will mark as “Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial,” although that’s not required. All submissions will be combed through by the Library’s curators, and the best images will be displayed online here and possibly used more broadly to share this “COVID-19: American Experiences” initiative.
Here are some examples that have already been selected for the Library’s online pool:
According to the announcement, the purpose of the initiative is to expand the Library’s collection of COVID-19 imagery beyond the professional documentary photography that they’ve already commissioned.
“The Library of Congress wants to expand its documentation of the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains the post. “After securing special projects from nationally recognized artists and photographers, the Library is now looking to cover many more parts of the US and many more aspects of the pandemic with the help of your contributions.”
To learn more, or if you’d like to submit any of your own images for consideration, head over to the COVID-19 LOC group page on Flickr by clicking here.
Even if you’re right next to each other, sometimes sharing can be complicated. (You X Ventures / Unsplash/)
You probably do a lot of sharing from your phone—photos, files, links—which is why both Android and iOS have a sharing button prominently displayed on most parts of their interfaces.
As a refresher, on Android phones, the “share” button looks like a “less-than” sign, with a circle at each point, whereas on iPhones, it’s an arrow pointing out of a rectangle. But no matter which platform you’re using, the purpose of the button is the same—to share whatever you’re looking at with other people.
And even though the sharing button is simple, you can make things more seamless and less time-consuming by choosing what happens when you tap “share,” or using other smart ways to share content directly from your photos app of choice. Here’s how.
Customizing sharing on iOS
To customize the sharing panel, you’ll need to get it up on screen, so you’ll need to start by sharing something—a webpage in Safari, for example. You can’t customize the list of frequently contacted people and frequently used devices you’ll see at the top, but you can play with the list of apps underneath it.
Scroll to the far right of the apps list and pick More, then tap Edit to pick and reorder which apps show up first when you share something—use the triple-line handles on the right to change the order. If there’s one app you’re always sharing to, make sure it appears first. Tap Done, then Done again to set your choice.
Finally, scroll down to the actions list—which includes copying or printing items—and tap Edit Actions to choose what appears here. Again, you can add or remove entries from the list, so you could remove the Copy option and add the Zip and email option, for example.
Customizing sharing on Android
Android has had similar customization options for the sharing button in the past, but you unfortunately won’t find them in the stock version of the latest Android 10 software. We’re hoping Google eventually puts some customization options back in, because being able to tweak menus is one of the main reasons users choose Android in the first place.
If you’re using a Galaxy phone, Samsung has an extra sharing setting on top of Android, even if you’re on the latest version. From Settings, tap Advanced features, then Direct share. If you disable this option, you will only see your frequently used apps on the Share list.
One trick that affects the sharing menu on any version of Android is clearing the data cache of any app (like Messages) dominating the direct share links more than you’d like it to. This partly resets Android’s list of the contacts you’re most in touch with. From Settings, tap Apps and notifications, then an app, and Storage & cache to find the Clear cache option.
Sharing from phone to phone
If you’re in the same space as the person you want to share something with, phone-to-phone sharing is usually the quickest option. Traditionally, Bluetooth has been the tool for this task—just make sure you and the receiver have your Bluetooth on, then pick Bluetooth from the Share menu on either Android or iOS to connect your devices.
If devices on the sending and receiving ends are both made by Apple, AirDrop is the fastest and most reliable way to share. Make sure the option is enabled on both phones (General, then AirDrop from Settings) and nearby AirDrop devices will show up first on the list when you tap the Share button. Just select the device to connect to and choose the photo, file, link, or whatever you want to transfer.
The Android equivalent to AirDrop was Android Beam, but it was discontinued in Android 10. If you’re on an older version of the Google OS, you might still find it in the Share menu, but if you’re on the latest Android, you’ll have to settle for Bluetooth or wait for the Nearby Sharing feature (an Android Beam replacement) that is apparently on the way.
Sharing photos and videos in Apple Photos
In the past, more photos meant more problems sharing them all at once. Now, it’s much simpler. (Jakob Owens / Unsplash/)
Photos and videos (baby pics, memes, vacation snaps, viral video clips, and more) are some of the items we most commonly share with our friends and family. If you’re using the default photos app on iOS and you tap the Share button, you’ll see a few options specific to that particular app.
If you want to share a whole bunch of photos and videos at once, choose Add to Shared Album. This lets you create a new album in iCloud (or use an existing one) that can be accessed by the specific contacts you select. This option is perfect for vacation photos or sharing photos of the kids with their grandparents. Invited members can add comments and images of their own, too.
If you only want to share a single photo or video, try Copy iCloud Link. This creates a direct link to the file in Apple’s cloud storage service, and you can send the URL through any app to any person. A warning though—files shared this way can be accessed and downloaded by anyone with a link for 30 days, so if you’re sharing sensitive content, you might want to find a more secure alternative.
Another benefit to iCloud links is that unlike shared albums, recipients don’t have to also be using Apple Photos—perfect if some of your family and friends live outside the Apple ecosystem.
Sharing photos and videos in Google Photos
Google Photos (available for both Android and iOS) has a similar set of options to Apple Photos once you hit the Share button. Select Create link for one-off, one-way shares, and you can then distribute that link to anyone who needs to access the file, be it a photo or video.
Contrary to what happens in iOS, the links Google Photos creates do not expire. This means that as long as the file exists in your cloud, anyone with a link will be able to access and download it, whether or not they’ve previously signed up for Google Photos. Keep that in mind if you’ll be sharing pictures of your kids or any other sensitive content.
Shared albums are handy for sending a bunch of photos and videos with a specific group of people, especially if you want them to be able to contribute their own files and add comments. The best part is that you stay in control of the album and can stop sharing it or prevent people from accessing it whenever you like.
In Google Photos for iOS, there’s a Shared Album option right on the Share menu. In Google Photos for Android, you’ll need to create the album first, by tapping Albums, then New album. Once you’ve got the right photos and videos in your album, you can share it with one or more people via the standard Share button.
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