Vestiges: Photo Series Commentary on Humanity’s Relationship with Earth

The “purple mountain majesties” which Katharine Lee Bates reflected on when writing the words of America the Beautiful, would likely be unrecognizable to her today. Humankind appears intent on consuming all of what was a seemingly endless landscape in Bates’ day. However, we may at least credit ourselves with recognizing some value in wild places. […]

Vestiges: Photo Series Commentary on Humanity’s Relationship with Earth

The “purple mountain majesties” which Katharine Lee Bates reflected on when writing the words of America the Beautiful, would likely be unrecognizable to her today. Humankind appears intent on consuming all of what was a seemingly endless landscape in Bates’ day. However, we may at least credit ourselves with recognizing some value in wild places. We guard their remains behind the high fences of pay-as-you-go national parks.

Humanity’s relationship with the natural world is problematic. Although humankind is broadly seen as part of nature, human activity is often thought of as a separate category from other natural phenomena. Human activities are now largely destabilizing the fundamental balance of the global climate system.

The pictures from the work “Vestiges” are not about deformations of the picturesque. Rather, they are examples of human activity that are more interesting, less-than-monotonous and sometimes quizzical efforts, aspirations, and constructions in the places we live. Realizing their impermanence, we might then view these anonymous abandoned structures and traces of our presence in a more informed and compelling framework.

Walker Evans once commented, “A garbage can, occasionally, to me at least, be beautiful. That’s because you’re seeing. Some people are able to see that – see it and feel it. I lean towards the enchantment, the visual power, of the aesthetically rejected subject.”

Ambiguity and visual contradictions offer a broad palette of possible narratives. The architectural variety and spatial organization, the opportunity to consider the phenomenon of change and loss, and the meditative and utter stillness of these places become valuable resources when considering the clutter and rubble of today’s “purple mountain majesties.”


The article is courtesy of ELEMENTS Magazine. ELEMENTS is the new monthly magazine dedicated to the finest landscape photography, insightful editorials, and fluid, clean design. Inside you will find exclusive and in-depth articles and imagery by the best landscape photographers in the world such as Freeman Patterson, Bruce Barnbaum, Rachael Talibart, Charles Cramer, Hans Strand, Erin Babnik, and Tony Hewitt, to name a few. Use the PETAPIXEL10 code for a 10% discount off the annual subscription.


About the author: David Zimmerman is an American photographer who works on long-term projects of landscape, portrait, and social documentary photography. He is best known for his landscape photographs in the desert regions of the southwestern US, his work in homeless and marginalized American communities, and for his large-scale portraits of Tibetan refugees in India. David’s work is exhibited internationally.

Zimmerman is co-founder of the Himalayan Art Centre, a free-school open to all. The Art Centre is dedicated to teaching visual storytelling through photography and filmmaking in under-served regions of the Indian Himalayas. Zimmerman is a member of the World Photographic Academy.

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Google Pixel 6 Leak Shows Multiple Photoshop-Like Features

A new report alleges several Google Pixel 6 hardware specifications, as well as software enhancements that are very similar to Photoshop features, are coming to the soon-to-be-released device. Back in May, known smartphone leaker Jon Prosser published a set of renders that showed a dramatically unusual camera design for what he alleged would be the […]

Google Pixel 6 Leak Shows Multiple Photoshop-Like Features

A new report alleges several Google Pixel 6 hardware specifications, as well as software enhancements that are very similar to Photoshop features, are coming to the soon-to-be-released device.

Back in May, known smartphone leaker Jon Prosser published a set of renders that showed a dramatically unusual camera design for what he alleged would be the Pixel 6. Three months later, Google confirmed his leak when it quietly launched a Google Pixel 6 page that shares pretty much the exact design leaked by Prosser: a horizontal camera bump that stretches across the upper portion of the rear of the device.

While Google revealed what the phone would look like, the colors it would be available in, and that it would be powered by it’s new in-house custom chip called Tensor, other specifics were not given.

While Google has officially kept details under wraps, recently published a detailed story on what it reports will be the upcoming camera features of the Google Pixel 6. It covers everything from the camera array through potential software additions that were revealed to the publication through an unreleased, internal version of the Google Camera app that was provided to it by a source.

To start with, XDA alleges that the rear camera array for the Pixel 6 will feature a 50-megapixel Samsung GN1 sensor, a 12-megapixel Sony IMX386 ultra-wide, and the Pixel 6 Pro will also add a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 4x zoom telephoto lens. On the front of the camera, the Pixel 6 will allegedly use an unspecified 8-megapixel sensor while the Pixel 6 Pro will have a 12-megapixel Sony IMX663 sensor.

As far as software is concerned, XDA admits that many of the features that it found in the code could not be positively identified because they use code names. However, the publication says that it was still able to see quite a bit that have raised “exciting” questions about possible camera features.

One of the more interesting features could be “magic eraser,” which XDA believes could be the return of anobject removal feature from Google Photos which was thought to be long-abandoned that, supercharged with the Google Tensor Chip, may make a return in the Pixel 6. The feature was originally teased during a Google I/O keynote in 2017 but after what was shown in the above video (screen captures below), it was never heard from again.

Before Object Removal
After Object Removal

What was promised looks a lot more impressive than the features currently available through Samsung and more recently VSCO. While such removal is possible in Adobe Photoshop, it is a fairly intensive and manual process. What Google describes is something far more approachable and automatic.

XDA also references an already-confirmed feature called Face Deblur that the company revealed in late August. Google showed a blurry photo of a toddler who was moving during the capture and a second version of the same photo but run through Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), and the child’s face was comparably sharper.

XDA found several other interesting features like a motion blur feature, a “nima aesthetic,” baby mode, the return of “frequent faces,” and more. Those interested in seeing the full slate of features uncovered by XDA are encouraged to read the publication’s full story.

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