Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Jacques-Henri Lartigue 1981
Last week we went on a field trip to the WAG to view a Yousuf Karsh exhibit. I had never seen any of his work before, but after viewing this exhibit I became a big fan. Karsh was able to capture each of his subjects so realistically. He went beyond capturing their 'picture faces', the ones we all know so greatly, and captured the true Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Winston Churchill, Earnest Hemingway, Audrey Hepburn and many others. After looking at the entire exhibit, not only did I notice that Yousuf was really a master of the darkroom, but he was also a master of light. He knew exactly how to light his subjects properly to help show the true side of them, it wasn't necessarily the kind of light he used, but they way he used it on his subjects. Karsh overall used a wide range of lighting from front, back, side, and top, all in the best way possible to bring out his subjects true features. A lot of Karsh's photographs expose so much detail from the wrinkles on the face's to each individual hair, there was nothing to hide in his portraits.
On the technical side of things, Karsh's prints were nearly perfect. All captured using a large format, usually 8x10 camera, each print was so clear and each told the story of its subject so well, yet were all so simple. This print of Jacques-Henri Lartigue stood out to me so much because I fell in love with the expression on his face. His eyes look so inviting and friendly with the smile on his face, and you can tell they have many stories behind them. After viewing the exhibit and choosing this photograph as my favorite, I decided to research who this Jacques guy was. I found out that he was also a photographer for many years and now knowing that and looking back at the photo that Karsh captured, I believe he captured him perfectly.
I believe that when Karsh printed this photograph he used the following techniques; burning, dodging and contrast. He would have used a higher magenta filter to make the darks darker and the whites whiter. I am guessing that he could have dodged Jacques-Henri's face and shoulders to keep it lighter than the background. It is hard to tell in this copy, but it was more noticeable on the print at the WAG that he probably burned the corners to add a vignette to the entire image, which isn't really noticeable at the top because it is already super dark, but you can see it on the bottom corners on his sweater.
Overall, this and every other image in the Yousuf Karsh Exhibit were amazing! It really gives you an appreciation for true darkroom printing, Yousuf Karsh truly was a darkroom master!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Colors play a big part in the way we view and perceive images. A color image verses a black and white image can give two totally different feels to the same image. Just like certain colors specifically can give different feels. I found that in the end half of my images looked 'happy' and half looked 'sad'/'lonely' in a way. The brighter colors like cyan, yellow, green, bright orange and blue are 'happy' colors because they brighten up the image and draw the eye. The dark green, blue and soft orange in the other images were dull colors which gave them more of a down feeling. All colors have feelings linked to them, the brighter the happier and the darker the more sad, scared or angry they are. We automatically link red to love and romance, yellow to happiness, etc. When shooting the fish cracker I thought it would have gave a happy feeling, but as I tried to capture it, it ended up looking more lonely than anything. So I crushed the cracker which gave it even more of that sad and lonely feeling to the entire image, and to me this proves even though we have these feelings we automatically link to the colors, it doesn't mean that that is the only way they can be perceived. Color is only on part of an image, yes it helps us determine how a photo makes us feel, but it also depends on all the other design elements in the photo. Although I would definitely say color is one of the most important elements in an image because it has the greatest effect on how we read the image!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
This Monday we took a field trip to The Zoo in my creative imaging class. After a long shoot week and tonnes of homework the week before, it was nice to be able to just go out and shoot without having a specific assignment in mind! I had gone to the zoo the monday before we went to complete an assignment for a different class, but I was still able to get some new and interesting photos. I tried to capture a little bit of everything and think I ended up with a good variety of images. Take a peak at the shots I took!
Thursday, October 22, 2009
For this assignment I choose Irving Penn, a famous photographer known for his unique portraits and fashion photography. He was born June 16th 1917 in New Jersey and just recently passed away on October 7th 2009 at his home in Manhattan. Penn graduated from Pennsylvania Museum School for Industrial Art in 1938, some of his drawings were published in Harper's Bazaar and he also painted. As time went on he became known for his post World War II feminine chic and glamour photography. In 1953 Irving Penn opened his own studio, after working for Vogue Magazine for many years.
The thing I like best about the way he shot most of his photographs is the way he was able to use such simple white or gray backgrounds to create amazing photographs of people which were still interesting and could tell a story about the person. Penn also created another simple background by placing two backdrops together to form a deep corner, where he would place his subject. Even though he used such simple backgrounds, the images still told so much about the subject by the unique way he was able to capture them. The plain backgrounds in the image made the subjects pop because it made them the only focus in the image which really works well. He didn't need anything else in the image to help tell a story about the subjects because the way he portrayed his subjects were strong enough. Irving Penn was one of many photographers who tried this in photography, but he was one who was able to use it more effectively than others.
It appears to me that a lot of his close up portrait work is printed in square format which could mean he cropped his mages, or they could have been shot in square format I guess depending on which camera he used. The equipment, materials, and methods Penn used varied in line with the assignment and his interpretation of it. He sometimes used Lecia or Nikon's with a selection of different lenses, or 4x5 or 8x10 Deardorff view cameras, Rolleiflex or Haselblad cameras. He taught himself to print his own images using a turn of the century process the uses platinum instead of the conventional silver, which produced velvety tones in the images and was also one of the most permanent printing processes. He also wasn't afraid and did a lot of experimenting in the darkroom, such as bleaching his nude prints to make flesh appear more harsh and unforgiving. Penn's black and white printing was done in his own studio, but any color printing was sent to an outside location.
I am a big fan of the way he did close up portraits and the way he framed the subjects inside the frame. Although even when he did full body images the way and the place that he put them in the photograph also worked really well. His use of the simple backgrounds really makes his subjects pop and proves you can can tell great stories with out even including a background. Irving Penn's images tell stories about his subject just by the way he poses them and crops them in the photos and I absolutely love this! You shouldn't need to include anything else in a portrait than the subject to get your point across and he does an awesome job of it.
Along with fashion photography, Irving Penn's work includes a lot of interesting still life studies. His portraits include a wide variety of different people including Tribal Warriors of New Guinea, Moroccan and Peruvian woman, all the way to a series of Female Nudes, the Hells Angels and Hippies of San Francisco, just to name a few. Even though Penn is a master of studio flash, he shoots most of his work window lit or it natural lighting.
Irving Penn is an amazing photographer! I admire his work because his styles are of wide variety and he is great at all of them. I would love to be like him one day making photography my career, opening my own studio and being such a success for most of my life. Irving Penn lived to the age of 92, living a long and great life.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
So for this assignment we had to capture 6 different design elements. It wasn't finding the different kinds of design elements that I found tricky, it was getting a good image of each of the six. It was difficult because I ended up shooting this assignment on a rainy day, which meant slow shutter speeds and using my tripod. It was awkward setting up my tripod to shoot some of the objects that I choose because they were mostly small in size and all in different locations, like my kitchen floor or bathroom counter. I think I took a total of around 100 shots just to get 6 good ones, a lot of my other shots in the assignment were blurry or just out of focus. I did end up getting the 6 images I needed, but I was unimpressed by the amount of decent shots I got out of the 100 that I took. I need to start clearing my mind more when shooting these assignments because I still have too much on my mind when doing them and I think that is what is taking away from my work and outcomes sometimes! The rain was a big thing that had my mind out of focus on the assignment, but I realize now that I can't let stuff like that affect my work because you will never always get great shooting weather, you have to work with what you get. Here are my final six shots for this assignment:
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I was lucky enough that my three objects for this assignment fit quite well together. Sure a dinosaur talking on an old school telephone sitting on awesome chair isn't super typical, but it worked. I found that most of my shots focused on the dinosaur and the telephone the most. The chair was harder to get more close up, different and interesting angles of, that is why almost all of the pictures don't really involve the chair I guess! I tried to get 100 completely different shots all together, but it was tough. Some look a little similar, but I tried my best to make them all unique even though near the end that was extremely hard to do. It was fun doing this assignment because it was different than a lot of our other work so far this year. In stead of going out in The Exchange or just out and about finding things to shoot, we knew exactly what our pictures needed to be of and had it all right in front of us. It is also a lot different than photographing people when you shoot still life because with people you change there pose, their expression or their settings to make a new photo, but with still life you mostly change you and your camera's angle/position to find a new photo of the objects. This is something fun and important to learn because you are always trying to take that new, interesting and unique photo, and you never know what you may be asked to shoot next. This exercise has began to teach and make me think about doing this more often while taking photos and it also helped me clear my mind because I was able to completely focus on the assignment and nothing else while doing it!
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I would have to say my favourite genre of photography would be portraits & weddings, as well as nature shots such as flowers, insects and anything outdoors. Right now these are my favourtie because they are what I have most experience with, but I am sure over time as I get into new genres I'll start to like them all. Oh, and I have a great love of macro shots!
I hope to become an expert on all technical aspects of photography, seeing as I know absolutely NOTHING about it and have only been shooting in program/auto since the beginning because I have no idea about the rest. You need more than just a good eye to take a great picture, and I can't wait to have the whole package!
My best photography related memory was being asked by a complete stranger to shoot their wedding, after they had only seen my work in a piczo website that I had created to showcase my work to riends and family. I am still not even sure how they came across my website, but it was the most amazing feeling ever! This all happened probably about a year after I got into photography, and that was the moment I knew I wanted to shoot photos for the rest of my life!