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?

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Interpret the photograph by questions it raises

Interpret the photograph by questions it raises. Let your interpretation be guided by questions the photograph seems to pose. Conversely, ask questions about the photograph that the photographer seems to have ignored. What is excluded in the photograph? What does the photographer take for granted? These questions do not direct you to ask the photographer- ask about the photograph itself, and provide your answers since you are the interpreter.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Describe what you see

Describe what you see,To  describe a photograph to a group when everyone can see the image may seem silly: we tend to believe that everyone can see what we see ,so we feel awkward in describing what we perceive to be obvious. But what is apparent to you might be overlooked by others. If a group of 20 photographers describe a photograph each will attend to different aspects of the image, with different points of emphasis & varying degrees of enthusiasm?

Monday, 24 September 2012

If photographs are to tell or imply a story

If photographs are to tell or imply a story, they must be about something. Truth, justice, love, or the lack of these things, or the search for these things, are strong universal themes. Loneliness, betrayal, our tendency to self destruct, death. resurrection, the bond of family- all these are strong themes. And the more universal the theme you echo in your image, the more powerful it will be & the broader the audience. If you're thinking that this is little too deep for your style of photography, what about themes like harmony, balance or beauty ?

What about the old versus the new or the past versus the present?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

As you look at the image

As you look at the image, think about what aspect of it you like as well as what you might like to change.Whenever you are analysing any of your images & find yourself saying, "I hate this image". before you delete it consider this it is not the image you do not like, it is the aspect of the image that you do not like. When you decided to take the image or more important you where taken by the image, something compelled you to press the shutter. In that moment you liked the image. Hopefully if you didn't like it you wouldn't have taken it would you?.So instead of abandoning the image, take a moment or two & analyse its individual components.

An article I read by Vincent Versace, though you might like, hopefully make you think a little more.

There is no such thing as the innocent eye, there certainly isn't an innocent camera.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

More from yesterday

Some photographers are unaware of their intent when they photograph. Jerry Uelsmann, for example, works very intuitively & spontaneously:"I don't have an agenda when i begin. I'm trying to create something that's visually stimulating, exciting, that has never been done before but has some visual cohesiveness for me,has it's own life.
Many photographers allow room for their subconscious in their work & unintended meanings that it may add to their work, Sandy Skoglund, for example say's that"one  of the most captivating aspects of the way I work is the subterranean content & consciousness that kinds of leaks out, that I don't intend when I'm making art.

Another paragraph from Terry Barrett's book Criticizing photographs

is often not the reason we took the image?

Minor White , the photographer & influential teacher of photography once said that 'photographers frequently photograph better than they know". He was cautioning against placing too much emphasis on what we think we have photographed.White placed the responsibility of interpretation on the viewer rather than the photographer.

This is a paragraph from a very good book by Terry Barrett on criticizing photographs & he is completely right, is it our job as the image maker to say why we took the image or rather the viewers view point as too how they read the image, what do they see in it, is often not the reason we took the image?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

5 Questions

5 Questions
Over the last couple of years I suppose I have been reading/studying the writings of several top fine art photographers, it has taken me sometime to really understand a small part of what they were trying to tell me/us. Over the last month I have had a few brain farts that have, well I believe so anyway, turned the light on a little brighter to where I want to go with my photography or should I say how I want my voice to be seen in my images? From the readings & listening’s I came up with 5 questions, I now ask myself before I press the shutter.
  1. What has moved you to take your camera out?
  2. What are the parts of the scene you need to capture?
  3. What is the light like, Quality & Quantity?
  4. What do you want the eye to focus on when viewed?
  5. What are you trying to say by taking this image?

These questions are by no means my idea I have only, thanks to some over worked brain cells put them into a list that works for me, they came from many different sources. They have helped me.
I would like to thank;
Vincent Versace
John Paul Caponigro
David duChemin
Jay Maisel
Tony Corbell
Peter Eastway
Edward Weston


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

We need to think

We need to think about what we want to achieve in our photography, how do we want our images to look. Are we collecting all the information in the histogram that we need to achieve the results that we see in our minds eye. Are we shooting RAW or are we letting the camera make the decisions for us by shooting JPEG.
Are we making sure we are not clipping the information . Are we taking the image from different angles, depth of field, are we trying to use different lighting if we can. Are we shooting without really thinking or are we turning our brain on & making sure we are using the right white balance, ISO, aperture, speed & lens!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Ok More on the issue of B&W

This is a subject that is close to my soul. I took my first image many years ago & I developed it myself in my hall cupboard in Glasgow, Scotland. It is an image of my Dad, smoking a ciggie while we were out tramping. I feel in love with B&W. I now I have rekindled that love.

The new world of Digital B&W gives us a greater control over how we make our B&W look. We can all go to the Internet & find a photographer we like & try I emulate their style or look. There are alot of plug ins for Photoshop, lightroom,aperture etc., you use what you can afford. Whatever software you use get to know it as well as you can, & try & find your style. But whatever you do try & not to de saturate your image as it only leave light & dark tones of grey. You want to use the Red, Green & Blue tones. Dont use the in camera option of B&W as the final image as you lose all control of the image the camera makes that decision for you. It is good too use this option as a way of seeing how it will look,but use the RAW option to do all the adjustments.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Imagination cannot be forced

As with every other artistic photographic impulse, imagination cannot be forced, only coaxed. When one pursues only technical aspects of photography, one forces something that needs to be allowed to choose the moment in which it will be seen. A photographer shouldn't be simply a spectator. To be taken by a photograph requires that you be open & active participant in the moment, so when the decisive moment shows itself you can capture the moment decisively.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A wet evening

What a wet evening we are having. I walked home listening to another podcast about putting emotion into you images. Falcon was the narrator, interesting character, interesting podcast. He talks about how it is our job to get it right in the camera, get as much information into your histogram, always go a little bit brighter as it is easier to put ink into the shadows than trying to pull detail out of it.

Photoshop, though one of the most inspiring pieces of software ever written was never intended to be used as a jack hammer, it was intended to be used as a emery board, what do you  do are you a jack hammer or a emeryboard.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

RGB is not a colour, it is a formula to mix colour

If you can see it with your eye it is a colour. How you control colour is one of the elements that will determine how the viewers eyes moves across your image. From the moment of capture understanding the formula to mix colour will make your images more successful when they are printed.
If something moves you take a picture of it, dont hesitate or that moment will be lost. The moment of life happens it will not re happen. Viola Spolin said, in absolute spontaneity, you get absolute truth. You can only be one way when you are spontaneous and that is truthful. By staying in the moment & allowing the spontaneity of your  experience to cause the shutter to be fired.

Friday, 14 September 2012

What happens to you.

The way you live your life is not determined by what happens to you, but by how you react to what happens. You are not defined by what life brings to you, but rather by the attitude you bring to life. If you have a positive attitude, you trigger a chain reaction of positive events & positive outcomes that will be seen in your images, for they are a reflection of how you live your life.

Sometime you have to tie up the editor & let your creative self take over.

Every image you create is an expression of the artistic inspiration that moves you. You express your creative voice by  developing the ability to show this without screaming for attention.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Desaturated image

What is lost when an image is desaturated is all the colour information. What is left is simply luminance, or light & dark aspect of the image. What is not present , as would be the case in film image is the relationship between red, green& blue translated to the greyscale.

Photography should not be about taking images, it should be about being taken by them, It should be about allowing yourself to be completely consumed by the decisive moment that will pull you through the lens & the  image is captured along the way.


B & W photography is a beautiful medium for self expression. In a world dominated by colour, there are still lots of photographers practising the art of monochrome photography. I suggest you seek out some of there work for inspiration & Motivation.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

So why Black & White

B&W gives us an artistic view of the world we live in, you remove the colour & the story has to stand out , the lines, textures & feeling come rushing to the surface if they are there. Too many people think that if the image is a lousy colour image it will make a good B&W wrong on so many levels. A good B&W will stop you in your tracks faster & hold your attention longer than any Colour image, that is due to the emotional impact that B&W has over us. If we think when we see in B&W it is night time, when are we at our most vulnerably at night, there are animals who see better at night & can kill us, so B&W causes a primal emotion within us. For me B&W is the purist form of photography & is far harder to achieve & achieve well. more on  B&W to follow.