Oxford School of Photography

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Daily Archives: April 28, 2014

The Grace Of Nuance: Dan Winters

Another helping from the excellent Faded + Blurred, this time the wonderful portraits by Dan Winters

Some people might say that Dan Winters has an amazing photographic style, that you can tell at first glance if he took a particular photograph. His signature lighting style, the red and green tones he uses and the dramatic expressions he gets from his subjects are all part of how he shoots. He would say it is more of a sensibility than a style, however, saying that a style relates more to the technique and materials used. A sensibility would be what you bring to every shoot no matter where it is or what tools you use. Whether you call it a style or a sensibility, though, you can’t deny Dan Winters is an artist.

I found Dan Winters’ work fairly recently. I think the first image I saw of his was his portrait of Tupac Shakur. Even though Tupac wasn’t looking into the camera, I found the image mesmerizing. Image after image in Winters’ portfolio captivated me. Though he is well known as a celebrity photographer, his portraits of “regular people” are every bit as engaging and are treated with the same level of care and reverence, a word Winters uses often to describe his work. “I like the word reverent for portraits”, he says “and I think we need more of that reverence for people and for their own experience and their own path and the way that they’re represented.” Though I am not a portrait photographer, if I were, I would love to be able to take the kind of portraits that Dan Winters takes; portraits you can get lost in. I love that Winters avoids the stereotypical “look at me, I’m famous” celebrity portrait. Rather, he tries to do something purposeful, something unique. Whether he’s catching Stevie Wonder without his glasses or carrying Sandra Bullock on his shoulders to place her in a tide pool or capturing Brad Pitt playing Rock Band. Each photograph reflects not only the time and effort he puts in, but also his profound love of the creative process. With his years of experience it would be easy for him to just stick with what he knows and make every shot the same, but he takes each portrait assignment as a very personal challenge…..READ MORE

 

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How to Jumpstart Your Photography With Self Assignments

From down under and Lightstalking we find this sound advice. During our most advanced course, Intermediate Photography, we recommend working to themes or assignments so this article is like music to our ears

As photographers who wish to improve our art, chances are we always looking for opportunities to practice our craft. The problem is, our practice sessions are not always very educational. While we may have the best intentions, without a little planning, we may not be getting everything we could be from our time spent behind the camera. Whether you’re purely a hobbyist, an up and coming professional, or a seasoned expert, supplementing your craft with self assignments is a great way to augment your skills.

A self assignment is just as it sounds, an assignment created by you and assigned to yourself. Depending on your level of expertise and what style of photography you enjoy doing, the actual scope of the assignment will vary greatly. For example, a novice photographer will most likely have different goals than a full time professional.

Self Assignments For The Hobbyist Photographer

If you’re just getting started in photography, you don’t want to overdo it by asking too much of yourself right from the get go. Like anything, when you try rushing your education, you start cutting corners and missing things. At this stage of the game, it’s critical that you take your time and understand the fundamentals as you are building the foundation for the rest of your career as a photographer.

For hobbyists or novice photographers, a self assignment should be about getting you to think critically about how you are going to go about taking a photograph. It should have you thinking about the workflow of your practice time. Give yourself a project that falls within the realm of your interests–food photography, fashion, portraiture, whatever it is that you enjoy photographing. READ MORE

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by Pixel Addict, on Flickr

 

Sublimely Mundane: Uta Barth

On the ever interesting Faded+Blurred I found this for you, you will either get it or you won’t

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At first glance, the photographs of Uta Barth may not make much of an impact on you – then again, you may find them to be utterly compelling abstractions of color, form and texture. Since first discovering her work a couple years ago, I have found myself to be in the latter category. I am fascinated by her work, much in the same way I am by the work of people like Mark Rothko or even some of the work of Willem de Kooning from the 1940s – it’s the lack of any concrete Something that I find interesting, though Barth is really the only photographer that I can point to that affects me in the same way as the aforementioned painters. Bill and I discussed her on an episode of On Taking Pictures as part of a larger discussion around what does and does not constitute photography. While her work may be easy for some to dismiss, it is exactly the deceptive simplicity of the work that gives the photographs their strength – challenging the viewer to immerse themselves in their own perception to fully engage with them.

“My work is always first and foremost about perception.” – Uta Barth

In 2012, Uta Barth became a MacArthur Fellow, which is a prize awarded annually by the MacArthur Foundation to those individuals who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work. Fellows each receive a no-strings-attached stipend of $500,000 (raised to $625,000 in 2013) that is paid out over five years. Past winners have included artists, writers, biologists, economists, composers and in 2011, Jad Abumrad, the co-host ofRadiolab, one of my favorite podcasts. For more than 14 years, Barth has used the internal environment of her home as her exclusive source of inspiration and subject matter. “If I am interested in light and perception and this visual acuity to the mundane, fleeting, ephemeral everyday kind of information,” she says, “there’s no point in me going out to seek that out.”

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Read more on this article here

Amazing Photography Links to Read With a Coffee

I am not sure the coffee is the pertinent part here, if you prefer tea or a beer that would be OK too.

Those nice people at Lightstalking bring this collection of tutorials and reviews from those equally nice people at Toad Hollow Photography

It has been a fabulous week online in the world of photography, and Toad Hollow Photography has been very busy searching for the best links to tutorials, reviews, special features, collections, great photography and interesting blogs to share here with everyone.  This week’s list contains some great posts and images, and we hope you enjoying checking out these links from these very talented folks as much as the Toad did in bringing this list to you.

bill-brandt-34-288x350This is a favourite Bill Brandt picture and has little to do with the wonderful tutorials brought by Toad Hollow Photography

Here is a taste of the tutorials:

TUTORIALS

Rules for Perfect Lighting: Understanding The Inverse-Square Law – this is a very detailed and highly technical article that goes into great depth in discussing this important theory behind light.  Bits of the article may be lost on those who don’t possess a deeply mathematical background, but the overall post will produce a deeper understanding for the reader, no matter your background or education.

How to Photograph Lightning, From Start to Finish – a detailed and in-depth article that takes the reader from start to finish on the hunt for great lightning photography.  Each nuance of the practice is discussed, from safety issues in the field to how to capture the shot to post-processing techniques to really make the image pop.

The Importance of a Focal Point in Photo Compositions – this is a great tutorial discussing in pretty good detail the importance and use of a focal point in image creation.  This brief series of points will expand the horizon for most who read it, helping you to take your photography to the next level.

How Camera Angle Affects Body Shape – this brief tutorial discusses camera angle and it’s importance in composition when shooting people.  Great shots accompany the article, illustrating quite nicely the points being shared and discussed.