Oxford School of Photography

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Tag Archives: Keith Barnes

David Constantine Photography Exhibition – Bristol 13-28 August 2011

David is one of my oldest and best friends, I met him when he joined The Photographers Workshop in the early 1980’s. We taught each other about so many things, he was my first web master and computer guru I showed him how to develop and print. His work has always been an inspiration photographing in more countries than even the most seasoned travelers. If you can’t make it to his exhibition then have a look at his website here

For the first time in over ten years Bristol
based street photographer David Constantine
is exhibiting his stunning collection of portraits
at the View Art Gallery in Bristol.
Open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm; Sun 12pm-5pm
The exhibition is open on 13th – 28th
August 2011.
19th August at 7pm – Come to an evening
where David Constantine speaks about his
photography and experiences. All welcome.

“If I think back I feel I have always ‘seen’ images. Having the ability to capture them in the way I wish to see them has always been the challenge. I am particularly enthused by light and the sun. If I am in a room, I have a overwhelming urge to always move and place myself near or into the natural light, particularly sunlight.

During my teens when I started to photograph more seriously I was finding my way to the type of images in this book. However on this journey I did try as many photographic forms as possible, dabbling in sports, surf, landscape, music and people.

However, my focus was brought into sharp detail when, following my injury in 1982, aged 21, I was left paralysed from the shoulders down and unable to grip or pick up my camera. I decided to give up photography as just another one of those things I was going to have to accept in my new life as a quadriplegic wheelchair user. What I hadn’t counted on was that I couldn’t just give up what I saw that easily.

With help from a number of key people, in particular Ian Dickens, Head of PR at Olympus Cameras and photographer Keith Barnes, I was able to start taking pictures again just over a year following my injury.

It wasn’t until I moved to a medium format camera and started to travel that I found my real challenge. That challenge is to photograph people in their own environment in a relaxed setting and at their ease. I am not quick, I cannot run after my subjects and I certainly can’t blend into the background as Henri Cartier-Bresson mastered so skilfully. However I can present myself to my subjects who are generally as intrigued by me, as I am by them. A foreigner in a wheelchair with a camera is not something one sees everyday, if ever in many of the countries I have had the privilege to travel to.

I am inspired by the way people live and in many countries I go to, how their faces tell many stories, often of hard work and struggle to survive in a way that we, living in more privileged circumstances, often take for granted. The recent history of a place or country always fascinates me and I try to photograph people who would have lived through or even possibly will live through times of great change in their country.

The images on this site have been taken over the last 20 years, often in moments squeezed into or around my working day. Luckily for good light, one has to rise early. I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I have enjoyed taking them.”

David Constantine
July 2011

33 Useful And Informative Wedding photography Tips

I have photographed weddings for more than 20 years, mostly because they are such enjoyable occasions. The money is an attraction but not as much as the opportunities weddings offer a photographer who is interested in people. Getting started was, for me, something that came out of the street or reportage photography I did for my own interest. I was one of the first photographers around to work exclusively as a documentary wedding photographer, prior to about 20 or so years ago every wedding photographer organised groups and if pushed did a few ‘informal’ pictures. The basis of wedding photography was a specific number of rolls of film (12 shots per roll medium format) to capture the groups, the more groups the more film and so the cost increased, so something as un-defined as documentary shooting where they could be endless images to capture was not attractive to the old school wedding photographers.

Times change, many more photographers started offering ‘the story book wedding’ and when digital came along it seemed that everyone with a camera, a suit and a free Saturday wanted to be a wedding photographer. The skills needed were of course about camera control but also people skills, to get those seeming informal natural shots from an unnatural situation. Now there are a plethora of books and web sites which will help and guide would be wedding photographers, this article in Tripwire Magazine has a list of helpful tips

all pictures Keith Barnes Wedding Photography

Another great tutorial from Ed Verosky at About Photography

Simple Direct Flash For Effect

Julie-1

There’s no doubt that light modifiers are extremely useful for controlling the look and behavior of flash. Manufacturers are constantly coming up with new ways to snoot, spot, diffuse, bounce, color, and ring-light a basic flash unit. It’s gotten to the point where you rarely see anyone use a speedlite (or speedlight) these days without some extra attachment. But it doesn’t mean your flash is useless without a mini-softbox or piece of plastic on the end of it. Many people choose to use their flash units with no modifier, aimed straight at the subject.

Classic-portrait-1

I like to use the direct approach with my flash units for a certain look people have often referred to as “dirty.” I think of it as kind of a raw or dangerous look. Not that direct flash has to look that way, it’s just the look I like to get from it.

Last week, I did a quick set with actress Julia O’Neill. The plan was to explore darker characters, so I dispensed with my usual shoot-thru umbrellas and got these shots.

The idea for the first shot was simply to have Julia get on the floor and play the part of someone who’s had too much going on that night (use your imagination). I used a Canon 580EX II positioned on a light stand to my right, at a lower power setting, and aimed in her general direction. I used a step-ladder to get some vertical distance.

Classic-portrait-2

As you can see, there are hot spots and uneven lighting which adds to the amateur or “low-budget” effect of the shot. I added some vignetting in post to add to the darkened back-room feel. A spotlight or vignette look might also have been accomplished with a grid or snoot attachment, flags, or a combination of the two, but it’s just so easy to change and control this look in post I prefer to do it that way.

I’ve included a couple of images showing how I normally setup my flash on a stand. The image on the right illustrates the shoot-thru umbrella configuration, however I didn’t use the umbrella for the shots in this article.

Shot above: 17-40mm @ 33mm, ISO 100, f/4.0, 1/250 sec.

Julie-2

In the next shot I used two lights; one positioned hard right and one just above Julia’s head. Both were unmodified Speedlites. Again, the idea was to portray a darker character in an emotionally-charged situation. In the photo below, she moved half her face into the shadow area for an intense, partially hidden look.

B/W Shots: 50mm, ISO 200, f/4.0, 1/250 sec.

Julie-3

Just remember that all photography doesn’t have to be made with soft, pretty, even lighting. Lighting is a tool you can use to tell a story, not just something you need to “get right” according to what you’ve seen other people do. Check out the work of Terry Richardson and Ellen von Unwerth for great examples of harder lighting (NSFW). Experiment with your DSLR or even a point and shoot to see how you can tell a story with direct flash on, or off, the camera.

 

You can see more from Ed on his site, here is the link