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Tag Archives: Photographer

24 Blue Hour Photographs for Inspiration

From those nice people at LightStalking The blue hour is that beautiful period of time that isn’t quite day time and isn’t quite night time. The quality of light thrown off is an absolute gift for photographers who can really use that quality of light to produce special colors in photography. It’s had enough of an impact on the general public for at least on restaurant in every city to be called L’Heure Bleue too. This collection should show you why it’s such an inspiration to people.

Cindy Sherman

Another in our occasional posts about master photographers. Cindy Sherman is unusual as a photographer, she only photographers herself, most photographers I know avoid having their photographs taken. Her work is challenging, some may say disturbing but her intelligent approach to making art demands you think about what she is saying through her images. This short introduction from her biography site explains some..

By turning the camera on herself, Cindy Sherman has built a name as one of the most respected photographers of the late twentieth century. Although, the majority of her photographs are pictures of her, however, these photographs are most definitely not self-portraits. Rather, Sherman uses herself as a vehicle for commentary on a variety of issues of the modern world: the role of the woman, the role of the artist and many more. It is through these ambiguous and eclectic photographs that Sherman has developed a distinct signature style. Through a number of different series of works, Sherman has raised challenging and important questions about the role and representation of women in society, the media and the nature of the creation of art.”…..more here

She is featured on the Masters of Photography site with more images

 

There is also a very interesting interview with Cindy Sherman in The Guardian here are the opening paragraphs

“I give Cindy Sherman the once-over. Then the twice- and thrice-over. I know I’m staring more than is right but I can’t help myself. I’m looking for clues. Sherman is one of the world’s leading artists – for 30 years, she has starred in all her photographs – and yet the more we see of her, the less recognisable she is.

She’s a Hitchcock heroine, a busty Monroe, an abuse victim, a terrified centrefold, a corpse, a Caravaggio, a Botticelli, a mutilated hermaphrodite sex doll, a man in a balaclava, a surgically-enhanced Hamptons type, a cowgirl, a desperate clown, and we’ve barely started.

In front of me is an elegant woman with long, blond hair and soft features. She’s stylish – black jodhpurs, thick, white sweater, Chanel boots horizontally zipped at the top to make pockets, and a furry handbag that doubles as a great golden bear. She looks much kinder than in many of her photographs. She also looks petite – until you notice the big, strong arms: she used to box. She will be 57 next week.”

For many her assault on the way the fashion industry objectifies and presents women was primary in forging her reputation as one of the most important photographers working over the last 30 years. 

Karen Knorr

Strange that I had not heard of Karen Knorr before as she is certainly celebrated. Serious stuff often beautifully crafted with purpose and intent. This series of images from India had her using large format film cameras to capture the sumptuous palaces in Rajasthan and then photographing animals in nearby zoos and digitally combining the images. Can you see the join? Fun and beautiful. Her website has a number of other series of works worth investigating

The best advice for a photography beginner

“The book “On Being a Photographer” by Magnum Photographer David Hurn and Bill Jay (this only seems to be available as a Kindle download unless you are prepared to spend about £140 for a paperback! Worth buying the Kindle)  helped me more than any other book about photography I have read. One of the main things I learned is the importance of picking a project rather than just walking around looking for pictures. And it is important that the subject matter you choose be continuosly accessible. This translates for most people into picking a subject close to home. It is harder photographing your own day to day life. You don’t need exotic places — and often they are deterrent because the photographer does not know the exotic place well enough to capture its essence. Showing what is beautiful (or not beautiful) in your day-to-day environment is infinitely more interesting.

Decide on one or two qualities that you will search for. Perhaps that quality is “symetry”. Find all the photographs that use symetry as a dominate quality. Churches are often symetrical. People can be symetrical. The ocean can be symetrical. A car can be symetrical. So, spend a day just looking for this one quality. That is alot cheaper than spending money on taking pictures, at first!

When you use your camera, try to emulate or use this quality of “symetry”. After looking at symetrical objects in magazines, go outside and find an object, like a sign or a newspaper rack or a telephone, or an apple, and make a symetrical photograph of it.

 

Is that exciting? Nope. But either is playing on a piano with 1 note. But now you really know where that 1 note is. You can pull it out and use it anytime you need to in the future.

I took a course in photography for 3 weeks. This is how I learned. We were given assignments like: “shadows”, “near and far”. We did about 5 different qualities. As a result, I was somewhat equipped to do assignments for the college newspaper and I did PR for the college as well. Therefore, I became professionally almost immediately. All I knew was 4-5 qualities. But I knew the qualities that would help me as a beginning professional, and I didn’t fail.

Decide what it is you like in life. Having a *passion* for old motorbikes, landscapes, flowers … is the real driver to making good photos. I find it almost impossible to shoot good images of things I have no interest in, but I can happlily spend a whole day photographing what I love.

I suggest to you that you would concentrate on one quality of a good photograph at a time. Spend a week just looking for this one quality, and take about 40 pictures of things or events that have this one quality. A good picture usually has 4-5 good qualities. However, there may be 100 good qualities out there to choose from. The rule of 1/3rds is one quality.

Another, is “diagonals”.

Another quality is “near and far”.

Another quality is “shadows”.

The way I started, my first picture was of stairs. I pictured the stairs diagonally across my frame. And with that, I learned the first quality. You must spend one week on your assignement to learn about each quality. Then after a month or so, you can combine qualities.”

My advice echoes this, to get better at photography always consider composition, you could even take our composition course and practise one feature at a time, spend hours or even days just looking for and photographing using one compositional device like rule of thirds. When you start seeing images even when you do not have a camera with you then you are on the right road

The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera”
Dorethea Lange

Working to projects rather than just aimlessly wandering around with a camera sharpens your eye, helps you see better and if you come across the slim paper back “On Being a Photographer” by Bill Jay and David Hurn snap it up

The Art of Travel Portraiture: 10 Tips to Get You Better Shots

Aloha Lavina is an Asia based photographer and has contributed this article to Lightstalking

Capturing travel portraits is one of the hardest assignments you can undertake as a photographer. Traveling to a new place where you may not be that familiar with the customs, there is no way you can predict who you’ll meet, and even less chance of developing some definite expectations of what images you can make and take home. You need to be open to anything and flexible enough to change focus at a moment’s notice.
To help you maximize your chances of capturing memorable portraits that have impact, there are some things you can remember.

Here we have just a few of the 10 tips, go here for the full article

1. Wait for the decisive moment.
Cartier Bresson once said, “There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.” Finding this decisive moment is one of the most exciting things you can search for in your quest for portraits. Being patient and waiting for moments can result in expressive portraits.

Laos

2. Provide context for your subject.
Using the environment can help you tell the story of your subject. Whether it is about work, play, or other themes, giving bits of the surroundings can add impact to the story because the elements around the subject add to the narrative of who they are, what they do, linking their story to the viewer’s story.

Laos

4. Interact with your subject.
It helps a traveler to interact with their subject. Some would argue that interacting with your subject changes the image; that by imposing yourself into their lives, the photographer changes the natural way a local person would act. But you could also argue that travel is one way to get to know other people whose lives are different from yours and make new friends, and that certainly doesn’t hurt anyone.

Laos

 

 

 

MIMI MOLLICA . PHOTOGRAPHER

György László at  L1GHTB1TES keeps finding gems to tantalise us with, this one is from his first post.

mollicam_ertd_007

GL: Your pictures from Dakar are currently on display at the Somerset House in London. When I saw them I sensed a mixture of immediacy and formal discipline. How did you take these pictures?
MM: While working on En Route To Dakar, I was lucky enough to be mentored by Mr. Martin Parr, whom I like to call Mr. Martin. Once, as he was commenting on my photographs, Mr. Martin told me, to spend much more time on taking my photographs. “Mr. Martin, more than one hour per photograph?”, I asked. “One hour? Mimi, you must stay one day, one week, one month on a photograph… until it is good!”
So I went back to Dakar and applied the methodology suggested by him. This picture must have been taken in March 2008. There was this spot along the motorway, where a bridge was to be built, but at that moment people still had to just cross the highway to go from one part of Dakar to the other. Every day from early morning until the evening, commuters, school kids, vendors, women… Everyone was flowing from one side to the other and I thought this was pretty symbolic, important for my story, and mostly, it was visually compelling!
I waited in the middle of the carriageway and stayed there all morning and the day after all afternoon and the following day from morning until late afternoon and so on… I have a lot of photographs of people jumping across the highway. This is one I am quite happy about. I like the colors, and I like the posture of this lady imposing her elegant and eloquent figure on my frame.
GL: How do you get ready for such moments mentally? And how do you make sure that the image is going to be okay technically?
MM: Generally speaking, I believe in the photographer’s expertise to be able to catch volatile moments, to be able to render them universal in a photograph. This is what is exciting about reportage/documentary photography. Only by doing so can you maintain a good honest balance between you, the photographer, and the reality you are trying to capture.
It’s a bit like fishing. If you go out to the ocean, place a bomb into the sea, detonate it and then come and collect the dead fish, this is not what I call fishing, this is plain and simple mass murder! But when you go out and spend a day with your rod waiting for the good catch, not only you’ll feel more in balance with nature, but you’ll have thought a great deal during that day. That’s why fishermen and photographers are usually wise people, because they learn to observe and to listen. The means are as important as the end!
I am always aware of the moments I would want to catch with my camera, even if for some reason I do not have the camera with me. This is my natural attitude towards life. Yes, I do go to places where things are more likely to ‘happen’ but photographs are virtually everywhere!
As far as the technical aspect of capturing the right image, here you need some skills, you need to know your tools, you have to master your camera and be ready to capture the moment without hesitation. I must admit that I did loose a few photographs along the years, but this is also part of the game. If it is true that you learn from your mistakes, then I must be very clever by now!

More

7 Creative Ideas to Spice Up Your Photography

Lightstalking is a great site for general tutorials, tips and inspiration. If you are new to photography or even with years of experience there will be things to find that are interesting.

This article  is by Jason D. Little . Jason Little is a photographer (shooting macros, portraits, candids, and the occasional landscape), part time writer, and full time lover of music. You can see Jason’s photography on his photography blog or on Flickr.

Human beings are creatures of habit; we seek out patterns, we search for comfort and contentment, we settle into routines. These aren’t necessarily bad features of our existence, but if your attention span is at all as truncated as mine can be then it’s likely that you find yourself actively looking for — and often enjoying — anything that’s a departure from the norm. 

It’s part of the burden of creativity, I suppose. Sometimes you just can’t bear to keep doing the same old thing. So you go in search of something new. 

So whether you’re driven to the brink of insanity by boredom with your own photography, or you’ve been looking to add a new element to your style, or you just want to have some fun with your photos, I’m confident that at least one of the following suggestions will cure whatever ails you.

How to Start Exploring Infrared Photography

Infrared photography is sort of like discovering a new world, or a different version of the world we’re so accustomed to seeing. The human eye can’t see the infrared (IR) range of the spectrum, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing there.


summertime blues by mugley, on Flickr

Read more about Infra Red and the other suggestions to get you going here

Click Here: 7 Creative Ideas to Spice Up Your Photography

Professionalism in Photography

Addressing the often mis-answered question: “what constitutes a professional photographer”

From the excellent Peta Pixel blog comes this extensive article on what being a professional should mean

One commonly asked (and commonly mis-answered) question on the Internet these days is around the definition of what constitutes a ‘professional photographer.’ The usual definition is that it is somebody who is shooting for pay, and deriving the majority of his or her income entirely from photography or photography related activities. I suppose in the strictest sense of the definition, that is true. However, it says nothing about professional conduct or skill.

What I’m going to attempt to do in this article is express my own views on what I believe constitutes professional behavior in photography. It is important to note, however, that this is a very personal opinion, although it is shared by many of my colleagues in all areas of the industry — both primary providers of photographic imaging, as well as supporting services and videography/cinematography.

I think, as with all things, a large amount of the confusion stems from education, or more specifically, the lack of it. If standards are not clear to photographers themselves, it becomes very difficult for the general public to have any idea of what to expect when engaging or working with a photographer. Professions are trades or crafts that have enforced standards, regulatory bodies, certification requirements and generally some sort of formal training or apprenticeship before one is able to practice independently.   Want More?

professional-photographersThis image comes from the ShutterStoppers site which has an equally interesting article on how to choose a professional photographer…

There are very few people who don’t have access to a camera these days – even if that camera also doubles up as a phone.  With images flooding our world it’s a surprise that the photography profession remains intact or, indeed, remains at all.  However, professional photographers are more than simply happy snappers and professional photography requires skill, passion, dedication and much patience on occasion.  When choosing a professional photographer for a commercial project it’s worth understanding some of the key skills that you should consider when picking a photographer to work with…..MORE?

 

EDWARD VAN HERK . PHOTOGRAPHER

György László and his impressive site has become a firm favourite of mine. I think it is so important to understand the motivation behind a photograph and therefore the motivations of a photographer. Of course not all photographers would claim to have ‘motivations’ but they make the dullest pictures. An image is a visual representation of an idea and the more clearly understood the idea the better the photograph. As Ansel Adams said “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” 

György László finds images he likes and then interviews the photographer to understand the concept, the motivation and today we have Edward Van Herk, no I hadn’t heard of him either but I do like his pictures.

edward_van_herk_01-600x411

EVH: Travel comes with a bag full of expectations and clichés to some extent. When I got an opportunity to stay in Buenos Aires for a few days, I immediately had to think about Tango music. When visiting a new place, I always search for authenticity. Tourist dance performances, Tango dinner shows and so on didn’t interest me. When I found out the porteños (locals) passionate about music and dance came together at Milongas, I knew right then I wanted to get inside and connect. I bought a newspaper to search for locations. This particular picture was made in a traditional Buenos Aires Milonga salon, where passionate Milongueros come together to escape everyday life. Time seemed to freeze there and it felt really exciting.

GL: What are you most ‘sensitised’ to? Light? Motion? Emotions? Stories?

Edward van Herk Milonga 2EVH: Mostly emotions. A Milonga night is filled with passion, drama, beauty, grace, tenderness, love, desire, envy, romance, tension, and of course music. This couple immediately drew me in. The age difference between them simply seemed to fade. Generally a photographer’s first choice is what to photograph. David Hurn once said ‘You don’t become a photographer because you are interested in photography’. He meant that photography is only a tool for expressing a passion in something else. A desire to become famous, to get many likes on the Internet or to fall in love with cameras as desirable objects doesn’t improve your photographs. Mostly it requires practice, getting out there and going to work and not letting failed attempts set you back. Therefore is important to do some research and find an accessible subject and start a project or story. When your subjects become most important, your heart opens up and you will respond and discover and develop your own style. It will allow you to enhance your level of perception and get involved in the world around you. I mostly develop a strong desire to connect to people during my projects. The greatest gift I have received through my work is the connection with my subjects.

Read the rest of the interview

L1GHTB1TES a blog worth checking out

I was contacted today by György László who wanted to tell me about his blog and having had a chat with György and had a look at his site I thought I just had to share it with you.

As he said to me his blog is a weekly photography blog that I started about three months ago. Every week I select a picture that I like (mostly street/documentary/portrait photography), sometimes from famous authors, sometimes from young photographers. And I talk to the author about the picture: both about the craft side (camera, lens, settings, etc.) and about the artistic side of those decisions. His choice of photographers and images to discuss is interesting and the interviews can be revealing. If you are interested in photography, and if you are reading this you must be, I would recommend you check out his site, it is very nice looking too

Bruno_Bourel_Lovers

BRUNO BOUREL

Melting-Point-New-York-City-2003

JEFF JACOBSON

Erica_McDonald_window

ERICA MCDONALD

Here is a sample of the interview with Erica

GL: How did you ‘meet’ the woman behind the window?

EMD: It happened close to the end of the time when I was working on The Dark Light of This Nothing. I had the bones of the series laid down but was out looking for the kinds of moments I had missed in the previous months. The woman just happened to be looking out her window – we saw each other and shared a moment.

The Dark Light was done as personal project. Up until that point I had been focused on the single image, and I had decided that I’d like to invest myself in a long-term story. Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey runs a site called Burn and he had been encouraging a group of readers to see what they could accomplish over a period of a month or so. I met with David and told him about a few of my ideas, and together we came to the conclusion that I should focus on this one; what was started as a month-long project became a several-year endeavor.

See more of this interview and read the others here