The Collection

And so we go... on

As 2011 bids us farewell it seems only logical that we take a look back at some of the greatest and most inspiring items the art and tech worlds gave us. From gadgets to film all the way over to music Through the Lens presents the very best of 2011... filled with complete bias.

Best in Consumer Tech: Apple iPhone 4S

How do you improve upon the most popular and advanced phone known to man? Apparently you add an 'S'. Apple unveiled the 4S to a rather dull roar, as consumers expected them to release an iPhone 5. But much to everyone's delight the iPhone 4S turned out to be much more than expected. Faster processors, a new camera - one that rivals the best point-n-shoots-, and the almost scary-smart Siri voice command software make the iPhone 4S the very best smartphone on the market it. Couple that with the ability to play games, connect to all your social networks, a huge library of apps, and the ability to call your friends and brag about your incredible phone make it the best tech of 2011. 
Honorable mentions: Apple iPad 2, Lytro Camera

Best in Film: 50/50

This was a tough category. There were a ton of great movies released in 2011 hidden among the blockbusters and romantic comedies. In the end 50/50 comes out on top. The story of a young adult discovering he has cancer and the resulting battle with it seems all too real. The heart and humor of the film really strike a chord, maneuvering between jokes and drama with surprising finesse.
Honorable mentions: The Tree of Life, Rango, Drive

Best in Television: Breaking Bad

If there were a slew of great movies out this year then there were a ton of great television series. Between Justified, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, and even Parks and Rec there was always something on. But the one show that stands out and has so for the past few years is AMC's Breaking Bad. While the season may have started out slow it quickly proved it is still as brilliant as it ever was. There's a reason this show is touted as the best show in last 20 years. If you haven't seen it do yourselves a favor and get on Netflix right now!
Honorable mentions: The Walking Dead, Wilfred, Justified

Best in Music: Watch the Throne

To those who really know me this should come as no surprise, but its not just because I'm addicted to Jay-Z that Watch the Throne is declared the best album of 2011. What on the surface appears as "luxury rap" is actually artfully constructed with storytelling and strong, sometimes ironic, motifs. The albums best tracks are the one's that have received less airtime; "No Church in the Wild," "Murder to Excellence," and "Made in America" all become instant classics as they deal with arcane theology, racism, and the rags to riches motif respectively. 
Honorable mentions: Barton Hollow, 21, Bon Iver

Best in Art: ???

Is is fair to declare one work of art better than another; one photo more intriguing than another, or one sculpture more appealing than one painting? There's a gambit of mediums and art forms, and what appeals to one may not have the same effect on another. So is it fair to declare one better than the other? We just did it with films, music, technology, and tv so surely the same can be done for art, but strangely... it seems wrong. 
For the art category I don't want to rank one subject higher than another but instead celebrate multiple items. So here are some of the greatest things that appeared in 2011:

Something Black by Matt Black
"An excursion into the bloodstream of American Iconography; a personal subjective vision through the paragons of desire, violence, cities and landscapes." Enough said.

Evolution (Megapixel) by Marco Brambilla
A 3D video collage showcasing the evolution and destiny of humankind. Breathtaking visuals and iconic imagery make this video mural one of the most fascinating things you may ever see. Actually created in 2008 this work gets its recommendation as it was the first of its kind to be screened at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. While its next to impossible to find the full-length version of the mural online the excerpt below is a perfect teaser.

"Beyond" A photography collection by 1X

This collection of photographs should be on every photographer's coffee table or bookshelf. Unfortunately only 1111 copies were made, all of which have been bought up. Luckily you can get a sneak preview (50 photographs) of the book here. One look at that link and you'll quickly see why it makes the list.


2011 was a great year for more than just what is listed above, it was also a great year for Through the Lens. The blog launched exactly a year ago today. When I first decided to launch Through the Lens I had no idea what the outcome would be - but I couldn't be happier with the result. I'm looking forward to what 2012 brings about as well as sharing more content and my personal photography with all you readers. Thanks so much for your continual support! Happy New Year!

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