Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Challenge yourself.

Challenge yourself.

I am a great fan of challenging myself, I believe it is important in my growth as an artist photographer to set challenges or some might call it projects.
 I predominantly shoot busy images, images with lots of stuff in them, I challenge myself to produce work that I see as being simple, not busy. I find this hard, but in saying that it causes me to slow down and smell the roses so to speak. My brain both of them generally run at 400MPH with many different ideas, tasks being thought about at the same time. By making/forcing myself to slow down and consider the simple elements of a scene, it gives the brain a rest. I see this as a challenge or a project, so too make it a little more difficult I choose only one lens and only allowed myself to take only 36 exposures, as was the count on a roll of film and no deletes and all images must be usable.
Try it, go out somewhere new or well traveled, take a lens you do not normally use, give yourself a challenge, only 36 shots, only simple, only as a mouse would see the world, as examples. Or go all the way and set a long term project like my Story tellers imagination that I will not stop till I have 50 images, I will then produce a book and that will be the end of that body of work. I will then do something else. Remember a project is not finished in my opinion till it is in either a book, an AV or printed as an exhibition. A project can be on any subject it is your choice like so many things.

If you want more help join me on my workshops

Friday, 22 September 2017

To process or not!

To process or not!

( the images on this blog have been changed from RAW to JPEG, no playing was done by ME in the processing of these images, all the computers own work!They were all shoot RAW 2008 and converted to JPEG 2 days ago)

Recently I got a comment on Facebook, here is the comment- "Explain to me why a photo has to be modified in your Workshop. Come on Natural is real so why change it unless you don't have the expertise to take the real shot" Harsh words, one might say!

I thought to myself what is "Natural", does the author mean straight out of the camera, if so I have bad news for them, there is no such thing as "Natural". I am making an assumption here that the natural photographer is not talking about shooting in the nude, but they mean JPEG which in my mind is an anagram for -"Just Pray Everything's Good".  You press the shutter, the camera sensor collects all the data in RAW format, then if you have it set to JPEG format it will do a whole bunch of predetermined adjustments to your image and gives you a JPEG image, your image has been processed, the camera has done it, it is not "NATURAL".

 The "Natural Image" has been altered twice on this image's way: first, it was perceived by the sensor in its own way, and second, it was optimized by the in-camera software. Post-processing is often necessary to correct the camera's mistakes and let photos look realistic. Software post-processing is not only for making photos more vivid, its original goal is to make them realistic!

The choice to process your images, is a personnel choice, the same as, do you shoot RAW or do you Just Pray Everything's Good. DO you post process using Photoshop or the likes, do you print and what printer do you use, what paper do you like. 
The other part of the question was directed at my workshops, I only give a helping hand where and when asked for, it is not a prerequisite to post process your images, or to shoot RAW, as I always say it is YOUR choice, however make sure you have all the information so that YOU can make an informed choice, not because some so called expert says so. As for taking a good shot, I like them and that is all that matters, The "natural photographer" well I have not seen his images so I could not possibly comment!
Remember you can enjoy one on one time with me at one of my many workshops.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Arguably unique amongst the visual arts

Photography is arguably unique amongst the visual arts. It can be categorized in two parts, or steps, each with its own technical and creative hurdles which have to be combined to make the final art work.

The first part is the creation of the image- the click of the shutter, that nano second captured that was important for you, was it a look or the light, an event that you had been waiting for or planned. The aperture selected, does this have an artistic element to this image and the lens choice.
The second part of this production of the art work, is the interpretation of the image, the post processing, are you going to print or is the image destined for the web only?

Ansel Adams famously compared photography to music when he said" The negative is comparable to the composer and the print the performance".
What does this mean to the artist photographer, it means that for every image we create we have two opportunities to be creative and interpretive. It does not matter if the image is Black and White or Colour. Before pressing the shutter we make decisions about subject matter, composition,  lighting and exposure. When we edit and post process in whatever program we have, we make decisions about, tonality, lights and dark, remember that dark is as important in an image as light.
As Matisse said, "Black is the queen of colour".
We remove distracting objects and emphasize the main subject.
Unfortunately the second part of the process is often neglected by the artist photographer who see post processing as time consuming and difficult. They often will say to you that their images are pure or unmanipulated. I wonder if what they are saying is there images are boring and unfinished!
Are you going to print your art work, have you considered the paper to use, not all papers are created equally or printers for that matter. I have been studying paper for a portfolio I want to print, I think I have found a unique paper with excellent credentials, now to find a printer equal to the task ahead.
There is no such thing as distortion or fakery in art. Art and that includes Photography is not real to begin with. It's a creation of our respective hearts and minds.

 Why not join one of my courses and see what you can learn.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Bleached the bones of countless millions

On the plains of hesitation, bleached the bones of countless millions, who at the dawn of victory sat down to wait and in waiting died.---- George w Cecil
I often say in my head the saying above, for me it is about procrastinating, do not just think about it do it, or are you going to be another pile of bleached bones next to the million others.  We should just do it, get out there and take images.  If it moves you to look at it why not capture that nano second in time that will never be repeated.
Last night I was involved in a light hearted debate with regards to the value of shooting RAW Vs JPEG. An interesting discussion held at a clubs 60th Anniversary, part of the entertainment one could say. I understand that some parts of a professional photographers life demands he or she shoots JPEG, I get that, most of these ladies and gentlemen are on a time constraint, to get the image to the early edition for example. They have often spent many many years honing there skill level to know what to do and often have the best equipment that money can buy. On the other hand an amateur usually does not have the same time restraints or demands and has the time to lets say play with their images, would it not then be better to shoot RAW and have all the information available or am I missing something here.
Memory card are not expensive anymore, external hard drives can be cheap, look out for sales. I see a RAW image as the recipe of my work, the image I have captured which I can then use as much or as little of the information in the recipe as I want, where as a JPEG the  camera makes critical decisions on my image and decided how it should look not me, the camera, why would I want some computer who has not lived a second of my life telling the story of my vision, NO thank you.
As I have said in many of my blogs it is still your choice, at one time yes RAW conversion could seem daunting, I do not feel it is anymore, YOU just have to give it a go.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Art of healing comes from nature.

"The art of healing comes from nature, not a physician".-- Paracelsus

Brains are easily fatigued with the busy lives we live. Slow down and spend time with nature, (not your computer or camera), can give the brain a well earned rest, a time to clear away the clutter and let it rest. Just take a walk, listen to the sounds of nature, clear your mind,  think of nothing, look at the world around you from the lenses connected to your head, take in the beauty of where you live.
Research has shown that a 15 min walk yields noticeable changes in stress levels, blood pressure, heart rate, and a walk of 40 - 50 minutes can yield even greater mood and attention benefits.
 I always take a camera with me on our walks, I don't always use it. I love the outdoors and have since an early age. The smells, the silence, the beauty, the size, the skies, the weather, the animals, the flowers, the chance to let the brain rest, I guess it could be deemed as a kind of meditation. 
A walk along a beach can be therapeutic, as the rhythm of the waves crashing on the beach, the rumble of the pebbles as they flow with the water. Let your brain empty of the day to day fertilizer that is rushing around. You might even find an image, that you could capture in camera or just keep it too yourself on your own hard drive, your brain.  
Getting to the top of a hill or mountain or a track or the end of the beach can be an awesome feeling. I have often found some of my craziest ideas have developed on one of these walks, or the concept of an idea has developed clearer with better understanding of the finished image. I finished the image below after such an excursion.
Try it what have you to lose, take a walk and clear you head, let the ideas in the subconscious out for a time, allow the creativity that is in us all time to grow and flourish, see what ideas appear for new work.
Another idea is join me on one of my workshops  and see what crazy inspiration and education I can offer you.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Seeing in B&W

Learning to Live and See in a Black-and-White World
I rarely think about colour. Instead, I deconstruct the image in my head and categorize it by its strengths. It takes a lot of practice to learn to see in black and white, but it can be done. I recommend practicing as often as possible, and you’ll see that you’ll get better with time. By practice I mean look at Black and White images that have been taken by the masters, look at the image, deconstruct it, what are its strengths, how has the photographer constructed the image to control the journey of your eye through the scene. The best part of this practice is that it will not only strengthen your black-and-white images, but your colour images as well. Black-and-white photography gives us a chance to take away a very important element — colour — and focus on the other elements that are harder to envision. I have this year more than before came across images that have said at the point of capture, I need to stay colour, simply because the story is enhanced by the tones of colour and removing those tones will lose the essence of the story I am trying to tell.  This takes practice and an understanding of your own vision.

 A black-and-white portrait can be very powerful, once you remove the distraction of colour, you truly begin to see things for what they are. I like to think of it as redirecting the visual conversation.

Ted Grant said "when you photograph people in colour you photograph their clothes, when you photograph them in Black and White you are photographing their soul. "

Knowing that light tones advance and dark tones recede will further help you visualize what will draw a viewer’s eye in the finished black-and white photograph. Just the same as in a colour image where, warm colours come forward and cool colours recede, this will cause the eye to see the image more dimensional.
The best B&W images have a "timeless" feel to them. Ultimately, it could be argued that the most likely way to find success in black-and-white is to look for the same compositional elements that are important to every photograph, regardless of colour, the basic rules of composition. Things like S-curves, leading lines and the Rule of Thirds are the perfect place to start. Place your isolated subject, with help from the Rule of Thirds, or focus on a pattern that might create strong leading lines, or allow a texture to provide a minimalist composition that’s inherently compelling. They’re all great ways to get down to the fundamentals of what makes a simple and compelling photograph, and that’s especially effective when working in black-and-white.
 If you want to learn how to take timeless B&W images, why not join me on one of my Black and White workshops--- https://www.scottfowlerworkshops.com/

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Why B&W?

"To see in colour is a delight for the eye, to see in Black and White is a delight for the soul"- Andi Caldwell.
Black and White photography has become an obsession for me, a demanding mistress who in my mind needs satisfying constantly. Never really happy with the taste of what I am trying to achieve, I know my skill level need's improving. I can live with that, as tomorrow I might take my best ultimate B&W image that fulfills my taste buds. Then again I do not want tomorrow to come, what will I do if I do finally create the image that fulfills my B&W taste. Sell my gear find another hobby/job.

 The image below was taken October 2006 at Cape Evans hut, Antarctica.

So why is B&W so compelling for me, it is the freedom I am given by black and white inherent abstraction- its lack or reality or is it the story telling aspect of B&W, I love telling stories, some say I am full of fertilizer, I can live with that, that is your choice to think that.

The image below was shoot near the top of Avalanche  Peak in Arthurs pass. 2009
When I look at my images from 2006 to now in 2017, I have gone from shooting Sony Alpha 100 with 10mp to a whole system change to Nikon D810 and 36mp. My creativity has hit a new level and once again I am impressing myself with the images I am creating. Art, and that includes Photography, is not real to begin with. It's a creation of our heart and minds.

The image below is a 2017 creation.
Remember never give up on your dreams, find out what works for you and remember have fun.

Why not join me on one of my Unique super inspiration an deducational workshops;


Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage

 I came across these words that made sense to me and decided to share them with you all.

" Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage"- Anais Nin

 " Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get in to it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple of years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you in to the game, is still the killer.  And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase,  they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.
 We know our work doesn't have the special thing that we want it to have.  We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it's normal, and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.
And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I've ever met. It's gonna take awhile. It's normal to take a while. You've gotta fight your way through"- Ira Glass

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Practice before a performance?

 "Grit, the stubborn refusal to quit, is the single best predictor of success. There's on feature that sets highly successful creative people apart from the rest of the pack. Single minded dedication and resolve to push through in spite of all obstacles-aka-"grit"- is what drives great achievement. In other words, how you react to the inevitable failures along the way will be an important indicator of the end game"- Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: how creativity works.
 Everyone wants the secret recipe to create successful work it is really simple, we can all achieve successful work, if we create more work, the more images you create and the more analytical you are about them, the better your work will become, do not just shoot for the point of shooting, shoot for a reason, if you are not moved by the thing that you see, how are you going to impress me.
Musicians and dancers practice for hours before a performance or just to learn a new movement or piece of music, why do photographers not practice the same, are we somehow better, I do not think so. Is it because of the instantaneous nature of photography, that we do not think we need to practice. What if we changed our mindset and started to look at a photo-shoot as a performance and practiced accordingly.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Creating Art

 Creating art is a wonderful fulfilling experience. It empowers you to say more than using traditional words. I have difficulty with the written word, so I use art in the form of Photography to tell my stories. As a want to be artist it amazes me the therapeutic nature of art, the healing properties for the artist in producing work from ideas or dreams.
 The process in producing art, is not always easy, as artists we can experience a number of psychological and emotional concerns by producing your work. As artists we are driven by a curious disposition and a desire to communicate ,with this in mind we are also well some of us, sensitive and emotional observers, traits that can raise our vulnerability. These traits that make us thoughtful  or innovative as an artist can also make us susceptible to isolation and discontentment.
Regardless of where an artist is in there journey we all have a level of insecurity about our work, the nagging voice in your head , my work is stupid, not good enough, what if no one likes it. I am listening to Billy Connolly as I write this blog and in the words of my hero, Be yourself and F@#K anyone who does not like your work.

If you like what you read and want to have the opportunity to shoot shots similiar to the ones here then join me on one of my unique workshops.


Sunday, 3 September 2017

The purpose of art

The purpose of art is in washing the dust off daily life of our souls- Pablo Picasso.

If you want to learn about composition, light, emotion, depth and subject posing and gesture, spend time looking at the masters in both Photography and Painting. I have my favorites and so should you, artists who inspire you to try harder and do better. The masterpieces in visual art can help you understand beauty and symbolism. As boundaries continue to be pushed, it is valuable to stay abreast of what is happening in art, this is not so you can create work that is similar, as you have your own life's experiences to add to your creations, but rather to maintain  an understanding of where art is traveling. Look critically at masterpieces will also make you a better editor. As  you become more accustomed to dissecting elements of the art you view and pay attention to how the work affects you, you will advance  in your ability to analyze and edit your own work.Never be afraid to experiment, never be afraid to fail, never be afraid to be who you want to be, never be afraid to take risks, most important GO BE YOU.