mardi 7 décembre 2010

Wedding Research: Contemporary Weddings

To be honest, I am a big fan of contemporary photographers and even if I appreciate the masters of the past, new photographers of the 21th century will always impress me more. I started and learned photography because of flickr, it may sound stupid but this is maybe why I like contemporary photographers so much. I know most of the teachers in Dawson College despise this new style, especially when they use a tilt-shift lens the ''wrong'' (creating blur) way. For my research I found pictures from one of my favorites photographers (Brooks Reynolds) and I will share my thoughts about the new trends that are going on.

I took Brooks Reynolds because he is the perfect example of what is going on with the good new young contemporary photographers on flickr. His style is being imitated a lot and there are reasons behind, which I will also try to analyze.

I think the most evident trend that is going on technically is either shooting wide open with a 35mm, 50mm or 85mm prime with natural light and having really bright tones. In the past, the trends were going more toward low key but now it is the opposite. The images are also more contrasty, very few details in the shadows. Shooting in front of a light source also is something that is very contemporary. The use of flash is still there but less present; there are more and more pictures with ambiant light, even if it means they have to crank up their ISO.

What I noticed also that is a trend is taking pictures of objects. It is a good idea, a bit cheesy but now it's everywhere. But honestly, being a couple I wouldn't hate it.

I guess weddings pictures will always be cheesy but another thing that is popular too now is putting your pictures in black and white to give them a ''photodocumentary'' feel but sometimes it still doesn't remove the cheesyness of the picture.

Brooks Reynolds does all of this but at the same time he seems flexible, there is a lot of variety into his work, from posed pictures to photodocumentary shots. What I like is that even in his posed shots he tries to give them a feel, to have a minimum of connection with the subject. Overall, I think he is a great example of what is going on today when you pay a good price. Of course there are a lot of wedding photographers out there and I think Brooks is a good example of what you should pay a big price for. There are better photographers than him of course but I still think he is great and has his own style.

Here is the link to his Wedding Portfolio
Or you could just visit his website,
or his amazing summer night project,
and finally his very interesting blog.

mercredi 17 novembre 2010

Food research

Here are 10 pictures that I find interesting:

I'd say the main difference with the pictures we see in a menu or even some product shots at the grocery store is that the composition is well thought and that there is some thinking behind it. Sometimes we can see diptychs, concepts and plays of colors that make the image. The graphic elements and the lighting play a huge part of in the success of these images. Sometimes it is not really to show the product I'd say since the approach is very ''artistic''.

One thing I noticed is nowadays wherever they come from, I feel that most of the food photographers do the same thing. It sure looks pretty good but it becomes strange, like if it was some kind of job they were doing everyday and not intending to improve, like a butcher or a baker. But sometimes I fall on pretty good pictures that push things further and make things interesting. Sometimes the food does not fit, sometimes it's funny and strange. Here are a couple of examples:

dimanche 31 octobre 2010

Narrative Project

My narrative project is divided in two parts, in ''mini-scenarios''.

The first scenario is: here

The second scenario is: here

I will probably re-do a series of three because I don' t like working on a narrative series. I am more into concentrating into one very good picture and I thought that 10 is too much. I feel like I have done my series too fast, with too much pressure, with no ideas and with some technical issues.

mardi 12 octobre 2010

Fashion research

I found an interesting series done but a couple of Russian photographers, Andrey Yakovlev and Lili Aleeva. Here is the link.

I know it is not my Picasa web album but they are already all there together. All these images show perfectly how narration works in most fashion shoots now. I used to hate fashion but the narrative dimension brought to most of the works now created some interest to me since I am a big fan of cinema. What I liked with this series of pictures is that the story is so easy to read and all the composition are so well thought and planned. Their approach is quite interesting since it is related to our reality, it's a story that probably already happened and they just recreate this macabre event in a funny and interesting way. This shooting really caught my attention and opened my mind about fashion.

For more work of them here is the link

I also provided some more pictures on Picasa web album from many other photographers -> here

mercredi 6 octobre 2010

Good and bad environmental portraits research

For my bad ones I tried to find pictures that could be considered good but the cheesiness and the bad taste in editing makes them not that good. Some of them are actually extremely good technically but sometimes I think it's too much... and sometimes not enough. HDR composites are definitely something I despise but I used to love back then. I also posted some portraits that I found interesting but at the same time so pretentious (the guy with the fox). Maybe I'm not brilliant enough to understand. I got also band shots that are not done very well or with very few taste in lighting, location, colors and especially strange photoshop editing. I've got also cheesy portrait where people take themselves too seriously.

For my good ones, well it is really a question of opinion. Some people in the class I know would find them boring and uninteresting but most of them are my style. Most of them are done with natural or ambiant light and are more about feelings and emotions than composition and direct link with the environment. Some of them could not be considered environmental portraits but I don't know I think they are. I tried to be different from the usual old school photo-documentary pictures and find some work from my flickr contacts who inspire me. These are not masterpieces but definitely good work in my opinion that deals with emotions and feelings.

mardi 21 septembre 2010

Emulation of Gregory Crewdson: Final Results

Unfortunately, since I don't give a cinema crew, a gigantic studio, hundreds of thousands dollars, a large format camera, art directors, stylists and lighting assistants, I did my emulation with many exposures of ambiant light and flashes. It was pretty much impossible to get the same ''dreamy'' feel but I get something more dramatic and still a bit similar in the spirit of his work. I hope you like it, because there is probably almost 20 hours of work into it:

I also posted older stuff I've done that is similar. My favorite one (I find it even better than what I've done for this assignment) is the one with the girl and her gas tank:

jeudi 9 septembre 2010

Gregory Crewdson

When Roy Hartling showed us this photographer in our Studio II class, I immediately fell in love with his work and it instantly had an impact of my photography. It was very hard to limit myself with my examples because every single picture Crewdson produces is a masterpiece. I love every of them and just type his name in Google Images to get more. In my opinion he is one of the best photographer of all time. His pictures have always an interesting and perfect lighting mixed with a huge amount of details, rich colors and strange things happening. Enough of my opinion, let's talk about him and his style.

Gregory Crewdson is an American photographer born in Brooklyn New York and is 47 years old making him a contemporary photographer as most of his work is after the 80's. His father was a psychanalyst so that is why he is interested into doing dreamy pictures, often said to be the dark face of the American Dream. Sometimes his pictures are done in studio and sometimes he just does them in New-England suburbs. They always have an enormous budget behind and every single detail is planned. The lighting equipment is enormous and sometimes he fakes a time of the day with it (an artificial dusk). He works with an army of decorators, stylists and lighting specialists but he is the mastermind behind all of this.

In most of his pictures, the models look absent, livid and are captured in their most intense moment of loneliness. The subjects are always in harmony with their environment and are placed to make them easily seen. Everything is made to look like a movie scene where we missed the beginning of the story. Crewdson often leaves the viewers enough detail to make up a story but he also likes to leave a big part of mystery to leave people confused. The main goal is to have the viewer asking more questions than answering answers. Overall all his series are about the ''boringness'' of the typical American Dream life.

Surprisingly, Crewdson seems to use a view camera and complicated continuous lighting setups. For his inspiration, he named Walker Evans, William Eggleston, Stephen Spielberg and David Lynch.

Since I can't have a cinema crew with me what I will do (and what I have also done in the past) is I will use my widest lens and create dreamy scenes where my subject will look lost. I will also try to get rich colors and will do many exposures with flashes to get the same effect of ambient light everywhere. I will also try to make the viewer make his own story and make him ask questions. Since it takes about 3 hours to build an image like that in Photoshop I might not be able to get 5 pictures by the deadline so I might post already a couple of my pictures that are already very similar to Crewdson's work. Overall, I will do some composites of night and evening scenes with a dramatic yet interesting lighting on my subject who will look lost or absorbed.

mercredi 25 août 2010

Assignment 1

Steichan and Arbus

Edward Steichan:
Steichan has obviously an eye for composition and like strong contrasts. His pictures seems to concentrate more on his idealized view of the subject or maybe that's how the subject really wanted to be seen. It tells us about the person photographed but unlike Arbus, we do not feel that it could be someone in the street, it has a very strong artificial look. He uses all kind of lighting but even if it's soft he seems to still make it look dramatic. The subjects are placed to interact with their environment, providing an interesting composition in most of the pictures. I think the pictures are successful especially for people who are fans of dramatic, elegant and simply composed pictures. They are all pleasing to the eye at first sight. In my opinion, his style is mostly used today by fashion photographers for big magazines but it is also easy to see that it inspired Penn, a very good and known photographer.

Diane Arbus:

Arbus' style is very different from Steichan but they both do portraits. Her approach is going further than the superficial look of her subjects. We feel closer to the subjects as we may see them in a different way than Steichan's subjects. The lighting (if not outside) is often very harsh and coming from a flash a bit off-camera. The pictures are taken "on the moment" and it is easy to see in the facial expressions of the subjects. The photos are not classical like Steichan's pictures; they are often weird and we might think more while looking at them. Some of them are also less interesting at first sight; we have to study them for a longer time. The environment seems less important for her too as most of the pictures the subjects are really close to the camera. Overall, her pictures feel less "staged" and we might feel closer to the subjects; that's why some people might appreciate these. It probably also inspired Witkin, who emulates old pictures and does strange portraits.

Cartier-Bresson and Evans

Henri Cartier-Bresson:

Henri Cartier-Bresson is probably the best photojournalist of all time and he is the creator of this type of photography. His pictures have a very strong composition and are almost all perfect. He used natural lighting because he was wandering around and taking pictures. That is why some people appreciate his pictures because we feel that we see what's going on but it is like if there wasn't any photographer present. It is mostly pictures of everyday life and he focuses on strong compositions, not directing the subjects at all. There is always a relationship between the subjects and their background, making a strong composition. I think Bresson's pictures inspired pretty much every photojournalists out there since we can always see a bit of his work in every good photojournalist work. Today, Bresson's style can be seen in photographers such as Alex Webb and probably many others.

Walker Evans:

Walker Evans is another very known photographer of that era. His work, in contrast with Bresson's, is more photo-documentary style. The main difference in my opinion between these two is that Evans seems to have met his subject and make them pose a bit. The pictures feel like they are a record of the past; that they are less about the composition and everyday life. We can see through the subjects, we can try to figure out who they are; they are more personal pictures. Both photographers work with natural light and taking pictures of people. Evans seems like a less technical photographer, more like he wants to give a message in every pictures and that is why I guess people appreciate his work. I don't know a lot about Steve McCurry a lot but his pictures reminds me a lot of Walker Evans too, proving that Evans was probably a source of inspiration for great contemporary photographers.