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53 Dark and Sometimes Twisted Images

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Film noir. The sharp, stoic imagery is almost self-parody, this overly masculine compensation for maudlin emotion. It's also just really creepy when someone photographs a baby this way.

Winner - The Black Umbrella

It poured all day Sunday. In the evening, I got my mother to get out an old raincoat and umbrella that looked appropriate to me, and we went for a walk to the park in the pouring rain. A stroll in the deserted park in a downpour was surprisingly enjoyable. I particularly like this shot because it's pretty bright, so the few things in the photo - figure, bench, trees on either side of the path - show up as silhouettes. The rain on the sidewalk made for some nice reflections, too. This is one of the first successful shots I've taken using the manual settings on my camera (Sony DSC-H20). Or possibly not so successful, since I ended up using iPhoto to adjust shadows, exposure, and contrast a huge amount. Many thanks to my mother for being a very cooperative model.
-Leah Nicolich-Henkin


Flour Car

I got so excited about this challenge. I've been sort of basking in noir fiction lately... L.A. Noire, Mad Men (well it may not be strictly noir, but it's thematically similar), and count Chinatown and Blade Runner amongst my top 5 favorite movies. For this shoot, I was inspired by the L.A. Noire menu screen. Very cool and evocative... Also, my buddy, (the model), got a lot of photographic attention at my wedding because he was sporting the rat pack look to a T... and our wedding was at Frank Sinatra's pad in Palm Springs. We set up the shoot in an alley where I live (Redlands, Ca, USA). I parked my car at the end of the alley with the headlights on. I had my buddy throw handfuls of flour in front of the headlights in an attempt to capture the light beams. It worked well in this shot because I was able to get a good shillouette of our model (Ryan Luce). Of course the slight breeze got the flour all over my car, but hey art's forever, right? ;)
Canon Digital Rebel XT, 17-85mm zoom @ 30mm, f/22, 2.5 second exposure, ISO 800, B/W conversion in PS CS4 with some minor editing.
-Colin Robertson


Adorable Horror Film Baby

Our south facing windows let in a lot of sunlight making mid-day naps sometimes difficult to achieve, but it gives my daughter enough light to stay mesmerized by her mobile, and just enough to provide a great noir scene. Shot using a Canon EOS REBEL T2i, f/3.5, 1/30, ISO-100, 18mm.
-Kris Balow


I wasn't entirely sure what would be appropriate, so I decided to enlist a taxi, my girlfriend and her son in which to tell a story and picked a fairly remote location away from too many lights. The shooting took place for almost an hour doing various poses with the kiddo saying goodbye. They were such great sports. My absolute favorite ones was the flash photo version, but I think this told the story in this genre better. Sony A55, F-stop 3.5, 1/16th exposure, ISO 1600
-Rick Villarreal


The Shadow

My buddy and I, whose name also happens to be Colin, heard about this challenge and immediately tried to come up with some ideas about what to do. We both sketched up some pretty unique ideas and set about trying to accomplish what we envisioned. My first thought was to have a detective type guy squatting over a chalk outline of a body in a dark alley, trying to fit the pieces together of just what had happened. That shot turned out pretty good and I was happy with it, but then my friend told me we had roof access to his business. We scoped it out and I knew I had to change up my plans. I like the tension in the shot and am curious about what's going to happen to our dear detective. Many thanks to our friend Ryan who was a good sport about being directed by someone who seemed to know exactly what he wanted, and me. Canon Rebel T3i, f/8, .8 second exposure, ISO 6400 for that grainy look
-Colin McLellan


Gas Station Hotel

Took this while I was on a hitchhiking trip with my friends in South Korea (which is where I'm from). Not very film noirish, I know. But I thought the lighting from the gas station in the back and the thick fog we had, and my friends who fell asleep in the middle of nowhere, made an impressive scene.
It was around 3 o'clock in the morning when we were dropped off at this service station. And it was so foggy at the time, nobody was driving out of the station, so we waited and waited until the fog died down. By the time somebody finally picked us up, it was almost dawn. We were trapped in there for almost 3 hours. Canon EOS 7D, Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS, ISO: 3200, Exposure: 1/60, f/2.8, Focal Length: 17mm
-Hwy-Seung Ahn


Smoke In the Rain

I shot this early this morning (8/15) just as my friends from out of town were pulling out of my driveway to leave for the night. I was sharing a cigarette with my friend when the rain and the car lights reminded me of your contest for this week so I had my friend hold his cigarette out a little to his side and got the shot off before the car turned down the road. I'm a big fan of the bit of smoke coming of the cigarette and I love film noir (favorite= Maltese Falcon). As far as specs go: Canon 7D at 1/60 at 24 mm with a 24-70 f 2.8 at f/3.5 and ISO 800. All I did was place it in greyscale and a basic grain filter from photoshop.
-Jordan Kenna


I'm equal parts proud and ashamed of how many of you clearly own a full wardrobe of 1950s detective gear, kept pressed and in the ready at all times, right in the front of your closets. See the full gallery below and find wallpaper-size images on flickr.

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.