What makes a good photo? That’s what photographer Jörg Colberg asked his fellow tradesmen and women on his blog, and the replies that came back — including some by Minnesota-based artists Alec Soth and Paul Shambroom and “Chicagraphers” Brian Ulrich and Jonathan Gitleson — are engrossing. The answer I like best, which references Joel Sternfeld’s 1978 shot of a burning farmhouse in rural Virginia (above, left) foregrounded by a roadside stand selling blaze-orange pumpkins (and a fireman helping himself to one), suggests the role chance plays in amazing photography. The image, writes Jason Lazarus, “at once fails to show the quiet pleasure of a photographer always looking, yet reveals the fruit of stumbling upon a moment so iconic it will outlive its creator by generations.”
Dinky Thinker: Auguste Rodin’s 1880 sculpture The Thinker, which has already appeared everywhere from t-shirt fronts to a campaign commercial for then-candidate Jesse “The Thinker” Ventura. So, why not the head of a pin? Korean scientists using lasers have created a mini-thinker twice the height of a red blood cell — or 93,000 times smaller than Rodin’s approximately 6-foot original — in three dimensions. The technology will hopefully be useful in helping develop biosensing devices and other highly complicated microscopic machines.
Street-Level Art: The year-old Nasher Museum on Duke University’s campus is opening a fantastic show Thursday night. Street-Level will include works by South Africa’s Robin Rhode (whose first show in the U.S. was the Walker’s Latitudes), Los Angeles’ Mark Bradford, and William Cordova (Lima/New York), three artists whose work “explores the ways that cultural territory is defined and space is transformed in urban environments.” Read an interview with exhibition curator Trevor Schoonmaker.