Leeroy Gribbon, Dimitrios Pananakis, Emma Townsend
by Chantal Stone
One of the amazing attributes of the Internet is its ability to bring together people from all over the world. Never before have we been able to so easily chat with a friend on the opposite side of the planet, or see how life is lead in a strange land we likely will never visit. The Internet allows us to go from New York to London, from Cairo to Beijing, to see the sites, to glimpse the culture, all with a click of the mouse.
Photobloggers from around the world are sharing their lives, and interacting with each other, shrinking our planet. One day, we may all be homogenized, but until then, a brief trip around the world through photography can open our eyes to new lands.1. Lee Gribbon
Photographer Leeroy Gribbon is an English teacher living in Japan, in a small, rural town not far from Takamatsu on the northern coast of the island Shikoku. A native New Zealander, Lee is spending three years teaching in Japan, absorbing its rich culture and documenting along the way with his camera.
Leeroy's interest in photography began at age 18, when he borrowed his dad's Olympus OM-10. He was instantly hooked, and despite many unsuccessful endeavors, Leeroy continued to shoot. He finally saw a vast improvement in his work and felt much motivation after purchasing a digital SLR. Now, six years later, each image created by Leeroy is a masterpiece of diligence.
Lee Gribbon, So Far Away
Being far from home, a photoblog is a fantastic way of sharing new adventures with friends and family left behind, and after a suggestion from his brother, Leeroy decided to take his curiosity in web design a step further by designing and coding his own site. Decoys Like Curves
is a voyage through a land unknown to many, and a journey through the mind of man who enjoys the solitary life he is now leading in Japan.
Leeroy's photos reflect his feelings of being on the fringe of a society that prefers he stay there. A stranger in a strange land, Lee explains: "Japan is a fascinating country to live in, due to its relatively closed nature to foreigners…I have never, ever once felt like I was anything but an outsider, although, I'm happy with that arrangement." Despite depicting Japan with such integrity and grace, his images often feel like they are from the perspective of an observer, rather than a participant.
Leeroy's images can also evoke feelings of nostalgia of an ancient culture in a modernized land. "I would love to show exclusively photos with a Japanese flavor, but time and creativity are unfortunate restraints. So, occasionally there's stuff I post that looks like it could have been taken anywhere."
Lee Gribbon, Tori
Shooting mostly black and white, Leeroy's subject matter is indicative of his environment. People in their natural settings, often unaware and uninhibited; natural structures or abandoned industrialization; magnificent landscapes and seascapes all grace the pages of Leeroy's photoblog.
Exploration is Leeroy's passion, and photography is the vehicle. "Having a camera allows me to see [the] world in new and interesting perspectives." And having that camera allows us to see Leeroy's world too. When he returns to New Zealand after his three years teaching in Japan, Leeroy hopes to exhibit his images from Japan. Until then, we get a glimpse of his life through his photoblog.2. Dimitrios Pananakis
Every now and then you may come across an artist who, through his work, can evoke emotion, mystery, or even abstraction. There are few that can do this, that can transport the viewer to another time and space, almost to another state of existence, almost like a dream. Near the town of Eindhoven, in The Netherlands, lives photographer, musician, and poet, Dimitrios Pananakis. A casual shooter perhaps, but certainly no novice, Dimitrios attempts to recreate dreams with his ethereal photography on his blog: Imagechoes
Dimitrios began shooting in the mid-90s, as an alternative to his highly technical and specialized job in the field of medical technology. Born in Greece, he later relocated to The Netherlands for work. A passion for art has been with Dimitrios his entire life, but photography was the medium that was able recreate the visions in his head best. "Everything I shoot is part of some dream", explains Dimitrios.
Dimitrios Pananakis, Flap Your Wings
His photoblog began in March of 2006 as a means to display and share his reflections and dreams. Dimitrios' images can be best described as ethereal, almost unearthly, and many times sensitive and sentimental. He shoots mostly color images, often of landscapes, but mostly anything that is able to aptly illustrate the inner-workings of a beautiful mind.
Poetry most often accompanies each image that Dimitrios posts to his blog. "The poetry tries to reflect the reason I shot the photograph, although some times it becomes an extension of my thoughts, not only about the subject of the [image] but of the world in general." In addition, the viewer is also invited to listen to the ambient music composed by Dimitrios himself. Provocative, emotive, and sublime, a tour through Dimitrios' photoblog is sure to inspire.3. Emma Townsend
Simplicity and grace are words that can be used to describe the lovely photoblog by Emma Townsend: Photoblogster
. Emma is an amateur photographer living in Reading , England, a city outside of London. She works in marketing for a software company, and uses photography as a creative outlet.
Emma always had an interest in photography and the printed image, but it wasn't until she received her first SLR that her passion was unleashed. She enrolled in a photography course where she studied the fundamentals of photography, including darkroom technique. About midway through her course, Emma discovered photoblogging, and conceived Photoblogster. Since then, she's enjoyed the community involved with photoblogging, and has even encouraged her father and sister to start their own photoblogs.
"Photoblogging and the community has been way more [fun] than I ever imagined it would be. Looking at others' work is really inspiring and makes you want to try new things and new techniques."
Emma Townsend, Nikki
Emma's pictures are clean, crisp, and free from all the frills and over-processing that has become so common. Her subject matter consists of scenes from the everyday. "Typical everyday observations," she says to describe her work. "I like to make normal things look interesting." And so she does. From moody landscapes to delicate flowers, Emma has the ability to bring beauty out of the mundane. But her real strength lies in her portraits, where she effectively can bring out the soul of a person with a simple click of the shutter.
Although she's happy with photography as a hobby, Emma may pursue more serious photographic endeavors in the future, including possible gallery representation. Until then, she will continue to shoot, learn, and grow as a photographer.Previous posts in Chantal Stone's Photobloggers Exposed series:
I: Daniel Seguin, David Desjardins, Dean Sherwood
II: Christian Wagner