Sunday, December 6, 2009

Analogue Techniques 11.2 - Karsh

Jacques Cousteau (1972)

Before going to see this exhibit I'd never even heard of Yousaf Karsh, so it was definitely an exciting experience to see his work which I enjoyed a lot. It was amazing to see all of the different people through recent history that he's captured on film, some famous and some not. You can really see the work, care and detail that Karsh put into every portrait. As far as shooting people goes I think he captured his subjects very well and they look at ease and relaxed for the most part which I think is one of the hardest things to do in a portrait. I've always found it difficult to ask people to sit or pose for a photograph and am uncomfortable shooting them with a camera in their face, which gives me a much bigger appreciation for Karsh's work and can see why he's one if not the best portrait photographers.

I chose his Jacques Cousteau portrait as I find that it's just a really amazing profile shot. It's looks rather simple but it just stands out. Cousteau has a very characteristic and incredible profile and I think that Karsh saw that and took advantage of it. I hadn't really known much about Cousteau until a 2004 film called The Life Aquatic with Steven Zissou (now one of my all time favorites) came out, which was basically a homage and tribute to Jaques Cousteau.

Cousteau definitely lived an interesting life and was a pioneer in underwater exploration. I like to think the photo captures an older man who has been through a lot already but is still looking forward, ready to seek new adventures. The only lighting looks to be coming from the front. I feel that the light frames in Cousteau's face nicely and almost gives it a border to make it stand out more against the darkness around him. I'm thinking that Karsh probably would have dodged the face to make the darker tones around Cousteau even darker in order to have the face be brighter and stand out more. I think it's also a nice level of contrast between the lights, dark and midtones of the greys. I also like that Cousteau is wearing his scuba suit which also frames in his face rather nicely. Overall it's just a really well composed and nicely lit shot, that captures "Captain Cousteau" very well.

I'm glad I had the chance to see the Yousaf Karsh exhibit and discover for the first time this man's life's work in portraits. It was great to see the photos up close and in person.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Creative Imaging - Color Block

I didn't really have any set plans going into this assignment, I was just going to try and discover colors to shoot as they came, sometimes it was easy to discover colors and other times I came up with things that I could set up to shoot. Originally I was never going to shoot yellow but I came up with the egg yolk, which I thought would be an interesting photo if I shot it right. Actually for most of my colors I shot a couple of different things with the same color, and I even did a couple of other colors and would decide what I liked best after. I took 150 shots for the entire assignment, not everything worked quite like I wanted to but it was a fun challenge to try and get the most out of the colors I was working with. It was hard to just pick one for some of the colors as I liked several of the images I chose.

I've always been partial to earth tone type colors (greens, browns, orange, etc.) and I feel that those are warm and inviting colors. Never been a fan of really busy colors or really bright colors. I find they can be more stressful and harsher to the eyes and not as soothing and relaxing as the warmer more simple colors. Most of my images I thought depicted a warmer/happier feeling.

For this assignment I tried to stay away from the normal things that are often depicted with the 4 colors I chose. It was challenging to get the right composition for them and to make the most of the particular color in the frame.

I think for the most parts colors usually depict the same type of feelings for most people but it's always variations of the color or perhaps particular colors although give off either a warmer or cooler vibe it may have a different meaning from one person to the next.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

CI - Field Trip 1

When I first heard we were going to the Zoo I wasn't all that enthusiastic as I'd just been there a few days before shooting for another assignment. This time instead of going alone I'd be with my fellow classmates, which was cool. There actually ended up being a few things outside that I shot that I didn't get my first time around. However the hi-lite of this trip was the Tropical Center. I'd actually missed it the first time around and boy did I have a blast in there. There was so many things to shoot and experiment with different styles of shooting and playing around with different white balances.

The Aquariums were really neat and it felt like I was really in a different World shooting under the ocean. You'll never get the same shot twice and there's just so many interesting and strange things to shoot. Experimenting with shutterspeeds, different focal lengths also added a lot of differences to the photos. The whole tropical center was like a tropical paradise with many different animals and fauna. Definitely a photographers dream, also it was nice in warm in there as well. I could have spent so much time in there but it was getting time to go to get home and get the photos uploaded.

The trip actually turned out to be much more fun than when I went the first time. The only thing is I forgot to go to the section with the bats... next time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

AT 6.2 - Photographic Hero: Robert Doisneau

My choice for Photographic hero is Robert Doisneau. A French photographer born in Paris in 1912. He passed away in 1994 and was most famous for his "street photography" in Paris from the late 30's through to the 50's which often had a humorous outlook to them. He originally trained as Lithographer but switched over to Photography in 1929 in which he was self-taught. Robert became a freelance photographer in 1939 and was drafted to the French Army and served until 1940, upon returning he continues his freelance photography. During this period he used a Rolleiflex camera and later also used Leica cameras. Doisneau did high-society and fashion photography for Paris Vogue from 1948 to 1951. In the 60's he travelled to the States to shoot in Hollywood & Palm Springs and later that decade made his way to the USSR to work for the magazine Working Life. The last part of his career was mostly shooting in and around Paris. Over his career he also won several awards, two of them being the Kodak Prize (1947), the Niepce Prize (1956), and the Balzac Prize (1986). Most of his prints were developed using the gelatin silver process and were mostly done on 12" x 16" and 16" x 20".

As you can see below there are a few photographs from his earlier work from the 50's, which I will talk about...

Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville) (1950)
From AT 6.2 Photographic Hero

This is probably Doisnau's most famous and most recognizable photograph. There's a lot going on within the foreground and background of the image but Robert managed very well to keep the focus on the couple in the middle of the frame. I believe he would have used a slightly slower shutterspeed in order to get a slight motion blur effect for the people around the couple. There's some really good use of Depth of Field in the photo which also adds to the focus on the couple. You still recognize everything in the photo even though some elements of the forground and background are slightly out of focus. I think it's a great use of natural light and I also think that by cropping the left and right sides (which cropped the people) it made you focus more on the center of the image as well and put more attention on the subject. It's really interesting how he captured the chaotic life of the streets of Paris yet made everything slow down to the couple kissing which made it almost seem like they were the only two people in the World. Definitely a very effective photo and I could understand why it's arguably his most famous photo.

Hell (1952)
From AT 6.2 Photographic Hero

One of Robert's more gothic type photos which if you see more of his work there are other great photos he did that have a darker type of mood or subject. Some of Robert's work was staged but I'm pretty sure this is a candid photo. I'd imagine Robert (as he was known to do) would stay in one place for many hours throughout the day to capture that one perfect image, I think he succeeded here. Although it could be debated what the subject actually is, the man in uniform walking or the giant monster sculpted into the wall behind him? I'd like to think that each compliments the other and the photo would not be as effective without both. There's no motion blur on the man walking so I'm sure a faster shutter speed was used. The photo is extremely well framed and he captured everything you need to see (I even like that he got a gargoyle in the top right corner). The use of framing really makes you focus on his subject and nothing else. I really like the contrast of the whites, greys and blacks it really makes the photo "pop". The photo is rather kind of creepy but at the same time humorous.

Information Scholaire (1956)
From AT 6.2 Photographic Hero

This photo is pretty funny and one of Robert's more humorous photos I've seen from him. Again, I really like the use of natural lighting coming from the windows. You can tell from the side lighting of the boy in the foreground that there was a window to his left. It's almost like there is a spotlight on him and everyone else is sort of in the shadows, which makes you really focus on the main subject in this photo. It's easy to tell that the setting is a classroom and it looks like there is a test. It's hilarious that the boy next to him is peaking over at his board while the main boy looks to be trying very hard to come up with an answer. I really like the use of Depth of Field here as well which gives more focus on the foreground. The framing looks to be very good to me, my only complaint may be that the photo looks slightly underexposed and that maybe the window in the background is a bit distracting. Although I think he wanted the boys face to be one of the brightest things as to grab the viewers attention to it.

Over the course of doing research and getting to check out a lot of Robert's photos I've really enjoyed getting to know this photographer and really like his work. I hope to do more street photography in the future and Robert is definitely a huge inspiration for those that want to do something similiar. He was a really accomplished photographer and I think something to aspire to.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

CI - Composition At Home

When I started this assignment I actually found it hard to get motivated or find inspiration so I left it for a day or two. I did a little research online to find some examples of the required shots we had to get. It did help some but I found by just relaxing more I found that I found much more objects and things around the house that I need to shoot. Things I never really would have thought of before probably? Of all the things on our list to shoot I actually found texture the most difficult, maybe it was simply because there's not a lot of things in the house that have much texture or maybe I'm not fully comprehending what could be considered something with texture. Anyway, it was an interesting assignment and opened my eyes to new ways of shooting photography.


From Composition at Home

Shape or Form

From Composition at Home

Pattern or Rythm

From Composition at Home


From Composition at Home

Symmetrical Balance

From Composition at Home


From Composition at Home

Saturday, September 26, 2009

CI - Working the Subject Thoughts

This was a really interesting assignment and a fairly difficult one as well. Going in with my three subjects I had a vague idea of what I was going to do but nothing really set in stone.

My subjects were 2 action figures and a miniature pool table. I decided to add a background bar scene as well which actually complicated the assignment much more for me. I decided I was going to include a story into it where the two figures would play pool while stuff happens in the background up at the bar with some other characters.

To accomplish this is what posing and changing all of the character and stuff happening at the pool table in almost every photo, it was almost like a stop motion photo film. It was pretty primative compared to an actual film but still very difficult to do and really exhausting mentally and physically. It would have been much easier to do it on a table than on the ground. I really had no idea what I'd gotten myself into when I started it but there was no going back once I started. It was a lot of fun but very hard. I may have veered off a little from the focus of the assignment by focusing a little more on the background in several shots, but I tried to keep the 3 main subjects in the frame. It was somewhat tricky to come up with different angles and poses that kept it fresh and different from the previous photo. The harder part was making up the story as I went along and the reason the assignment took longer that I'd anticipated.

I'd definitely try something like this again but only if I had much more time. There wasn't a lot of time to complete this assignment and for that reason I shouldn't have made mine so complex. And again, if I'm ever going to do something like this again it will be on a table!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lines Assignment

I found this assignment more challenging than I thought it would be. After shooting for a while I found it hard to come up with new ways of shooting lines and still trying to be creative. If you look hard enough you will find stuff, but also it help to step away from the project for a little bit once in a while just to recompose yourself and start fresh and hopefully think and see new things to shoot.

I actually did try and shoot outside of the district at the beginning of the assignment but found that actually more difficult and wasn't finding or seeing as many things that had to deal with lines. The last part I did go back to the district and found more, but again I did find it difficult to try and get a different variety of "line" photos. I think it's something I'd like to try again at some point. It'll be interesting to see what everyone else shot and perhaps that will give me more inspiration?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Class Activity

My favorite type of photography is wildlife photography. I'm a huge lover of all type of animals and just nature/outdoors in general. I think it's a very challenging type of photography and you must be very patient but if you get that amazing shot it's all worth it.

I hope to learn how to be a better technical shooter as well as learning more about the business side of photography.

My best photography-related moment is probably the Wedding I just recently shot. It was a very challenging and intense day of shooting. I learned a little on what it takes to shoot a Wedding so it was a very good learning experience.