Sunday, April 9, 2017
Reminiscing the days before digital: I remember ogling the Canon 10D digital camera when it came out in 2002— I steadfastly clung to my EOS-3 film camera and told it... you will not be replaced by this new-fangled not quite good enough yet digital thing-a-ma-jiggy (I was already an old man at heart), and I still have important work to be done in my brand-spanking-new-better-than-ever darkroom. Then came the 20D— well, the poor EOS-3 didn't have a chance. Here is a film image from 2004. Tanya said she loved the fact that I was still shooting film and giving out real prints from the darkroom, and I didn't have the heart to tell her I was about to change over...
Sunday, March 26, 2017
This is one of those images where a story behind it is just as interesting as the image— and the picture doesn't really tell the story. Kati is a contortionist, among other skills that she possesses. She was not only thrilled with the idea of being tied up but she also claimed that she could get out of whatever I put her into, within reason. Indeed, it took her less than five minutes to get out, and this documents a point towards the end of that process. It was fascinating to watch. The ratty wig and nice bruises (she always seems to have nice bruises) only add to what I consider one of my favorite shots. Of course, a happy memory or an engaging anecdote tend to bolster my own feelings towards a photograph of mine. I'd like to believe, though, that this stands on its' own well enough even without that all that being known.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Lee is pretty serious and experienced with ropework, so I wanted to do something both different but well executed. This tie is fairly traditional Kinkabu, although the use of cheap twine definitely is not. Kinkabu usually employs quality jute rope (or hemp rope). I tend to be more concerned with my own aesthetics rather than being proper. I think that the twine gives a wonderfully rough look- practically falling apart as I apply it. It's difficult to work with, and it's not comfortable- but I none the less want to try some more of this. It really digs into the skin and leaves nice marks, too...
Friday, March 3, 2017
I'm pretty happy with this series on suspensions. I think that it's ironic, though, that their appeal seems to be in their visual simplicity— suspended model/ white backdrop and nothing else, while the actual setup is pretty involved. It takes about 12 feet high and 15 feet deep of white backdrop, with me being positioned about 20 feet back to get the shot. The lighting is more complex than anything else that I do— two heavy duty Mole-Richardson fresnel spots, supplemented with a pretty good array of Smith-Richardson photo flood lights. The nice thing is that once everything is ready to go, all I have to do is press the shutter. That's good, because the most time I have to get the shot is ten minutes tops, and sometimes as little as a minute or two...
Sunday, February 26, 2017
With the exception of suspensions, I regret spending as much time as I have in the past shooting with a white backdrop. With the suspensions, I feel that it gets rid of unnecessary distraction, while keeping things elegant. I actually tried black backdrops first, but too much information disappeared into them— the white gives everything a nice pop and a sense of depth that black was missing. Otherwise, in retrospect, the white back grounds feel kind of soulless. They also feel fake, like a fashion shoot— which is what I originally got them for. These two are not too bad, but I still think that they would have looked better on black...
Monday, February 20, 2017
The chemistry between them was rather intense. It was even rougher than it looks. All I had to do was stand back and keep pressing the shutter. Easy peasy. Well, not entirely easy— the hot lights and steam made it quite uncomfortable for me, and my lens kept fogging up...
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Most of my newer work tends to consist of movement and spontaneity— trying to get away from being posed and composed. This is one of my occasional returns to my roots of very formal compositions with careful lighting and a film noir essence. Of course, closer to the truth is that my newer work is a mash up of quick and sloppy— mixed with decent lighting and quick but careful thinking on the compositions. I don't think that I could ever fully embrace that lazy hipster snapshot aesthetic that is really popular these days.
Monday, January 23, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
Friday, December 30, 2016
Thursday, December 22, 2016
I'm really happy with all of that black, negative space in the center. It's as if it is a vacuous void drawing you in. There really is no detail there— I had two 1000 watt light boxes behind her, and nothing in front. All of the side detail comes from that massive amount of light trying to wrap around her like an eclipse.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
I may very well decide a few years from now that I took the detail a bit too far into HDR territory with this and other images, but for now I really like it. It's perhaps ironic that I look at other photographers doing similar things and that I don't like it. It's not lost on me that I may be indulging myself with the detail. That's no worry, though, because I save many different versions along the way. Everything from RAW and untouched, to this and beyond. I can decide later to make a new portfolio (or portfolios) with different versions. That's the beauty of photography, both with film and digital— there is no such thing as a definitive image. Even with famous masters, you might see what you think in a book is the definitive image. The reality is that that image in the book is in all likelihood rather inferior to the print it came from— not to mention that there may very well be many prints and versions, each with something different to offer. There are so many possibilities after the shot is taken. Of course little to nothing can be done, which is usually boring but sometimes perfect. Usually a variety of things are employed— such as old school film things like different development processes, burning & dodging, cropping, solarization, high contrast or low contrast papers or filters, and on and on. Now there is Photoshop, which is based of film techniques but can do some things that could not be done with film. Both perfect B&W and color from the same shot! This can be both a blessing or a curse, but I try to look at it as a blessing...
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
I tend not to interfere during these couples shoots— I let them know in the beginning what I'm looking for. I like for there to be a push & pull, a realness without being posed, and I tell them to ignore (as much as possible) my presence. I also like consensual violence, which I think makes for more dynamic images. That request does not seem to ever pose much of an issue with the people I've been working with lately...
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
I've always really liked this image below, with the cigarette— even though out of context it does not hold any particular meaning for anybody else. Well, it happened to be shot just after a very intense shower scene— where she had got herself off with a Waterpik to the point of exhaustion. So consequentially she is taking a relaxing smoke break, hair still dripping. Photographs are often like that. A favorite quote of mine by the photographer Diane Arbus sums it up best— "A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know".