Sunday, 18 November 2012

Imagination equals Inspiration

Does it or Doesnt it. I ask myself this often. Recently my imagination is producing images that I dont think I have the skill set to produce yet, this is a good thing. The stronger we allow our imagination to work the easier it will be to use when we need it? I have been coming up with ideas about 10 different ones a day that get quite indepth with the thinking, loving it it is so much fun to let your brain take control & come up with stuff. It is all about the child within being let to run free & have fun. Try it just let loose, let your sub concious take over & see what happens.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Been busy

Been busy, life has been hectic over the last couple of weeks. I was getting stuff ready for my second workshop over on the coast.Another great weekend with 4 very patient sponges. They sucked the knowledge right out of me & I loved it. I come away exhausted but satisfied. I feel I have helped each one to another level of understanding. It doesnt matter if it is how to capture an image, how to think about taking your images or post processing it is all important. I love sharing my knowledge, over the last 5 years it has grown by leaps & bounds as I have found various past & present masters to study & learn from. I think it is important to find a style you like especially when you start & study how this image maker came to the understanding to produce such fine work. Sometimes even they dont know all they know is they love what they do & so do you?

As you grow within your photography your style willchange & so wil lyour likes & dislikes of others work. I think it is important for you to be active in searching out other good  or even great photographers work. The bottom image may in time to come become the basis of a composite it has alot of potential.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Moment of capture

Moment of capture can make or break the impact of an image. That nano second too soon, or too late you miss it, you have to get it dead right. How do we do this, do we go spray & pray or do we become part of the situation & try & read what is going to happen next. Couple of weeks ago I went to the Methven rodeo. I set myself the task of only taking single images at F2.8 & try & capture the moment, I think I succeded. It doesn't matter if you are going to photograph a wedding, a landscape, a flower or a portrait of a beautiful person, you have to capture that defining moment that tells the story, captures the gesture for the viewer to enjoy. Like all skills you have to practice, get yourself involved photographing dance competitions is a great way to do this, it is challenging, both with light or lack of it capturing the moves that are impressive to capture. I have photographed the ChCh ceroc Champs the last two years & this year would have been my best series of images. Go out & practice, but only perfect practice will give you the results you need.

Friday, 26 October 2012

The moment we abandon the so-called rules of the purists. & allow ourselves to as an example ,blend multiple images to do what our optics or shutter could not, we take our craft a little closer to the possibility of being art-a story that transcends the means by which it is told, something that makes us feel something, see the world a little differently or experience something in a two dimensions that we've never experienced in three.

We need to listen to our own voice the more you do this the stronger it gets, Vision is something that lies within all of us. We all possess the ability to be creative. Whether we pursue this creative instinct is a matter of personal choice  There is a rewarding warmth that comforts the soul once you have been inspired & then create something tangible that can be shared with others.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

If the horse is dead get off.

If the horse is dead get off. So what are you talking about, well lets think about this statement in regards to Photography. If it is not working then try something different, are your images not doing well in the competitions you enter, why, is it they are just not good enough for the competition you are entering or do you need to look at the finishing, are you getting all the information out of your image. Most of the time the images that do well are just that 2% more finished, better post processing, better colour management, or tell a better story than yours. Are we trying to make our images too technically perfect & losing the story, the emotion that is there. Technique should never get in the way of your voice, never.Do not focus on Technique for the sake of technique but discover what it means to see rather than to merely look. Once you discover that technique is merely a detail, you will be free to create images that will change the world of the people who view it.
These are same image, I have added my creative self into them.

Monday, 22 October 2012

What is Failure

What is Failure, is there really such a thing. In art or more specifically Photography, we should not look at a bad image as a failure, rather a learning curve. At the start the learning curve is pretty big & has a huge curve in it.But as time goes on the curve gets smaller but trust me it is still there. We should look at the images that dont work for us as a means to progress, we should study these images & work out why they dont work ,what is it that I have done that doesn't make this work, or more the point what do I have to do to get it right.
I do this all the time when one of my new images gets rejected in a competition, what ,why & where have I gone wrong with this image, is it the detail, is it the story, is it just crap? even though I think it is great, am I too emotionally connected to the image to see the trees for the woods. This is where your friends, peers, or what ever you want to call them come into it, someone who is not emotionally involved with you is generally less bias. Send the image to them ,what do you think be honest, remember you might not like what you hear so be prepared for criticism.

On Sunday I went to the Methven rodeo, I watch young men & Women compete against mother natures creation, horses & Bulls, they fell off.One guy got dragged around the arena by a horse, do you think he sees this as being a failure, I dont think so he will use this experience to hone his skills a little more to be a little better or if he is too badly hurt he may feel it is time to hang up his spurs, but he will pass on his knowledge to the younger one's. So as we learn new ways of doing thing pass it on & people will pass it back?

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Photographing an event

Yesterday I spent nearly all day at the Methven Rodeo, I like to go early to these events, I was there for the gates opening. This allows me to spend sometime getting the feel for the venue & places I might want to visit to photograph. I spent about 5 years helping out in the main arena of the Omarama rodeo as the score totaller. I would go from judge to judge get the scores for each cowboy & add them up & show the announcer.  I used to love being in the ring, up close & personnel with the animals & the cowboys. Well yesterday I was wondering around early & I overheard this conversation this cowboy was having with someone, "Fuck I am hung over & Horny going to be a good day".

I had a great day. I love being at these events & taking the time to take good images, not spay & pray, thats take lots of images & hope that one will work.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

It's not easy being an artist

It's not easy being an artist, a follow on from yesterdays blog. I work very hard trying to achieve a level of photography that is pushing my bounds & the people who judge it. I expect the people who judge my work to take the time to look & see what I am trying to say to them ,some get it some dont. As judges & I have a done a bit over the last 2 years, we need to give the artist the respect to spend the time to try & understand what they are saying with there art work they have asked you to judge. We suffer from self doubt as an artist does, so we dont need needless criticism just for the hell of it. That's enough of this.

Lets produce art that we enjoy, why should we produce work to  please others, isn't it about the pleasure we get in the process we went through to come to the final image, the print. The enjoyment for us is often the process we went through, creating the image, from the initial capture to the post production to that magical moment when you go ,that's it, it feels like putting on sunglasses on a sunny day. Go for it.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


Judging, a time when our images are accessed by a more experienced member of the photographic community, or we hope so. We all have horror stories to tell, like the judge who judged a print comp & started by saying that obviously all the good print competitors had not entered this competition, oh my not a great thing to start with, or the judge who throw one of my images out because as far as he was concerned no such place could possibly exist so I had photographed some art work somewhere, when in fact it was an image from Antarctica. Here is the image.
 Over the last few years I had lost alot of faith in the judges in the PSNZ judges list. But credit to the new president & Bruce Gridwood, they are trying to improve the way PSNZ accredite their judges. They have ran one course in Chch recently,I attended the weekend workshop & it was very good. They have gone to alot of trouble to try & get new more open minded judges to go through the accreditation process. I hope they succeed because if we stick with some of the closed minded judges we have NZ club photography will not improve to a world standard & that is where we need to be aiming for.
The girl riding the sheep was a FIAP gold medal winner,there was 4000 images entered, it achieved an acceptance in Natex.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Acceptance or Approval

Acceptance or Approval, are these the things we look for when we create our images, or do we not give a rats arse.
When we send our images out into the world for our Peers to look at, what are we looking for from them, do we want acceptance from them of the standard of work we are achieving or do we won't their approval that we are doing the right thing. What is the right thing, are we going to be one of the sheep & do what everyone else is doing or are you going to push the envelope. How are you going to progress if you are one of the flock ,not a hope in hell. You have to be brave & take your art by the balls & do what you think is best, remembering many people are going to question your decisions, but the person you have to impress first & foremost is YOU. How would art have been if artist hadn't pushed the envelope & progressed with their art to another level, we would still be painting in the caves wearing leather thongs???????.

I send my images out into the world competition circuit as I want to know that my image/art is progressing with the rest of the world, not just NZ. Do your peers really understand where our mind, emotional state was at when you produced your work. I dont think so, they can only comment on what they see, if they truly look they might get the essence of what you are trying to say but they will never understand what ,why you produced your work.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The creative process is not so simple

The first thing we have to realise is that the creative process is not so simple that it can be reduced to a formulae- go here, wait for , shoot brilliant images. It is not a reactive process dependent on a  magic fairy appearing & beating you with an inspiration stick. Creativity is something you have too constantly work on. You should spend time on the Internet & source out people who inspire you, by doing this it adds to images in your head. The more images in your head the more ideas you can create. Look at lots of old masters both Painters & Photographers as the basics haven't changed. The power of the image is often in the use of light, how you use the shadows to tell the story.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Do we take images that are emotionally moving

Do we take images that are emotionally moving to the viewer or are we hell bent on getting that technical perfect image. It is harder to get an emotionally moving image than a technically perfect picture because do we really know what a technically perfect image is. It is in the eye of the beholder. Emotionally moving image's are more about you letting go & letting your emotions take charge, how did you feel when you took the shot, what moved you to take the image, can we really let ourselves be that vulnerable to let yourself be that moved, if you dont you will find it hard to get the emotion into your image. It is not something that you will suddenly be able to do, it is something like everything else you have to work on it. Technically perfect images have no where for the view to rest or get involved with the moment you have captured.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The artist mind is notorious

The artist mind is notorious for being on the edge of reality, on the cusp of madness & sometime driving over the edge into the abyss that we call insanity.

Imagination that is what the above image is about. Tie up the editor/adult &  let the grown-up child take control. 

This image was produced without the use of drugs or Alcohol.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

"Imagination is more important than Knowledge"

"Imagination is more important than Knowledge"- Albert Einstein

So what does this mean, simple really when you think about it, we can buy knowledge, how you do something, you can buy books, go on courses, self learn. You can learn to create images, but the most important thing IMAGINATION you can not learn, well perhaps you can. Imagination is a skill we all have as children but along the way in our life we catch an ailment called ADULTISM with the onset of this ailment we lose the ability to think like a child, to use your imagination to it's fullest. We need to step back from being an adult & let the child out. I have worked hard in controlling my imagination for many years  now I channel my imagination into my art/photography. Some people like it some don't, but basically I don't give a rat's arse. Sometimes we take images that are more about the photographer & only they understand what they are saying, but if we take the time & learn to be patient, try & understand we will see the story they are telling us. But this is a skill we need to practice.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Really take the time to LOOK at the image & SEE

I went for a walk around the Port hills today & while I was heading up the hill I started to think about LOOKING & SEE an image that an artist has produced. In this day & age we live in, we want instant gratification from images, we want it all spelt out for us without us making the effort to try & analyse what the  artist is telling us or not about the image they have allowed us to view. Do we really take the time to LOOK at the image & SEE what is really there or do we always want the quick fix? The artist has taken alot of time or not to produce this image & sent it out into the big bad world to get feedback, so WE should take time to LOOK & SEE what is being presented shouldn't we.
I went & visited my Judging Mentor the other night & we were discussing images, I showed him one I took recently & he sat back in his seat & took a few minutes to LOOK at it, it moved him the way I was moved to take it. I felt a sense of achievement, as I hold this photographer in very high regard.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Often deemed as either "mad" or "genius"

The greatest artists are often deemed as either "mad" or "genius" & in all societies, debate has raged over how to individually label each one. But this is the lack of understanding in the eye of the viewer.  If we were to learn to see, perhaps both labels would become obsolete. perhaps the conscious viewer would learn to see through the eyes of the madman & the genius together, recognizing that they are both & neither at the same time.

They were merely seeing for us.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Most people never learn to see things correctly

Most people never learn to see things correctly. While it is true that we learn to look but do we ever learn to see. And nowhere is this more evident or valuable than when it comes to art. As any serious artist will tell you, seeing is not just with your eyes, we look with our eyes, but we see with our subconscious  We see ,almost , at different level, with our ears & with our emotions, our own perspective, our own histories which shape context.

With  a clear mind & a clear perspective, the mind's eye has the unique ability to transcend the casual passivity of not merely looking at a painting or photography, but delving deeper into what those images mean.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

I took a few images that have caused

Over the last weekend I took a few images that have caused me to do some very deep thinking & analysing  why I went where I went & why I processed the images the way I did.
I took one image because it told me to do so, it is a way out there for me something very different from what I usually do, why did this image move me so much that I had to capture it. I do not know at this point but I will see what comes out of my head. I will share these images with you & see what you think.

I really like them, they have taken my thought processes to another level. I feel like a light went on ????????????, too much reading of psychology of photography.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Zone System

You use the Zone System to expose a negative by first looking at the scene to be photographed & deciding what areas of it you want to be black, very dark grey, middle grey, light middle grey, very light middle grey, extreme light grey & white is the final point.
Zone 0 is pure black no detail
Zone 1 is near black & may show some sign of image detail.
Zone 2 you begin to see some if little but some detail in the shadows.
Zone 3 this zone shows detail in the shadows.
Zone 4 Full texture & image structure is visible.
Zone 5 Middle grey 18% reflectance.
Zone 6 strong image structure & texture exists
Zone 7 is the zone in which you should place lightest grey areas & highlights for which you want to preserve the important image structure detail & highlights with texture.
Zone 8 Is to highlighted image structure & texture as Zone 2 is to shadow image structure.
Zone 9 Almost pure white but with a hint of image structure & texture opposite of Zone 1.
 Zone 10 is pure white & contains as much usable detail as  Zone 0

Sunday, 30 September 2012

On Saturday I

On Saturday I had a wonderful day photographing a very talented young model. We asked her to cry & she did, now that is talent. I spent alot of the time taking my time & watching through my lens as this talented model done her stuff. My mind would instantly tell me that is B&W or  that's a colour one for sure. I have over 300 images to go through so here is a couple of one for you to look at.

Next we may discuss the importance of the Zone system in B&W where Zone 0 is Black & Zone 10 is pure white, with different levels of chromatic greyscale between these.

Friday, 28 September 2012

If it doesn't excite you

Today's Blog is a short poem by Jay Maisel a wonderfully gifted photographer;

 If it doesn't excite you
the thing that you see
then why in the world
would it excite me?

Something we should think about?

Today I found out that I am too get printed in the world renowned magazine B&W this justifies my love of B&W & that I must be doing something right as this is the most prestigous fine art magazine in the world, my opinion only?