This page is about the interesting photography-related articles I have come across and thought it is worth penning down my thoughts. More articles will be accumulated over time.
This article follows a day of storm chasing with Brandon Goforth, an extreme weather, nature, and landscape photographer based in Oklahoma, USA.
His powerful photos of gigantic storm clouds and lightning strikes in sprawling landscapes transport you right to where the action is—capturing what is both beautiful and violent in the unpredictable face of nature.
“Destroying nature is destroying life” – This time Illusion CGI Studio were on assignment to help Robin Wood (environmental organisation), the environmental activists, by creating three powerful full CG visuals to raise public awareness of the ongoing destruction of animals’ natural habitats.
Like many others, I instantly fell in love with the illustration after seeing it. On first impression it looked like a double exposure of the animal and the negative human activities. The incorporation of 3D animation and graphic illustration to produce this level of detail, and the message is so visually powerful and provocative.
For his new project Lux Noctis, photographer Reuben Wu lit and photographed landscapes at night by mounting powerful LED lights to GPS-enabled drones. Reuben wanted to use them as flying lights. Using a prototype AL250 light mounted to the drone, he artificially illuminated massive formations in the North American landscape for his fine art photos.
This technique differs from the normal long exposure photography and how Reuben used drones to light paint reveals a landscape from a different perspective, which looks technically challenging. I presume he flew the drone with the lights facing away from the camera.
Reuben was able to produce moods of drama and tension through use of chiaroscuro, and the ability to illuminate isolated features of a scene. I also noticed on certain images, he included a human element to show the comparative size. Using the same light painting concept, this is one fine example of a photographer using technology to create something ‘provocative’.
I began to explore more themes on contrasting elements that could contribute to something “provocative”. Though the photographers who have submitted entries of the creative ways in which they have captured “Technology Today”, this article explores how technology helps us preserve moments and memories; of how it powers both innovation and creativity.
To be honest I was quite inspired by these images that these photographers have captured and I picked a couple images that were more landscape oriented. My favourite among all was the two monks holding the tablet, in contrast with the cityscape. It reflects the complexities of secular living and how people (in this case monks) could use technology to navigate around the city.
I also kind of like the subtleties of the windmill image. The trail invites one to pass through the fields and to the edge of the horizon. It is as though walking through the trail one can find these windmills seem to be a ruthless, cold & scary beings dominating the fields.
For his project “Counterflow,” photographer and visual artist Mauro Martins has created a series of composite photos showing people going against the flow in life by making their own path instead of following the masses.
I think this is quite an interesting project theme, something which we don’t often observe in our environment. It still looks realistic despite they were digitally manipulated. This black and white series is almost similar to the style of Pedro Meyers, as well as Henri Cartier-Bresson, looking for the decisive moment.
The contrast between the single person against a crowded landscape, as Martins puts it, “It’s made to remind us that even if your own path feels against the flow sometimes, you should keep going if you want to.” His statement has the provocative element supported by its strong visuals.
Photographer Seph Lawless visited River Country and captured a set of eerie photos showing what the various attractions look like now after years of being abandoned. He calls it a “real-life Dismal Land.”
I thought this series of images explores the theme “abandonment” of landscapes, which has a sort of provocative element to it. It shows the subtle eerieness of the park and also beautiful at the same time. This could be a possible direction for the development of my own photography.
Nick Brandt’s photos offer a stark look at how humankind has impacted places where animals used to roam, but no longer do. He found locations where explosive urban development displaced animals due to the building of new factories, wastelands, and quarries. He then erected one of his animal portrait photos on a giant panel, placing the animals back into the scene.
By shooting giant panoramas of life-size animal prints in their former habitats, Nick Brant has highlighted the human destruction of animal habitats, thus using provocative imagery to raise awareness among the public. The choice of using in black and white format effectively puts the focus onto the animal prints.
After shooting multiple photos of each location with a Mamiya film camera, Brandt stitched the images together in post-production to create epic panoramas. In this way, the animals are presented as ghosts in a barren, human-dominated landscape.
For the past eighteen months, Dutch Photographer Dirk Hardy has been working on a personal project called Void, developing an obsession for the elevator.
For Dirk Hardy, the thing that intrigues him most is the fact that elevators impose physical closeness with strangers and there’s no clear code of conduct to follow in order to avoid uncomfortable and awkward situations. He was astonished by the staggering amount of invisible moments lost during the trip in the elevator. Hence, the personal project in which he invites viewers to explores the kind of stories that could happen in the moment of confined space, with a voyeuristic approach.
All of his images in this series are staged shots, and the elevator built from scratch, taking full controls over details and meticulously created compositions. In order to get the best possible image quality for large prints, he used a Hasselblad camera and shot handheld for half of the time.
I particularly liked the idea of looking into the intimate moments such as those in the lift. As these are private moments, I believed that Dirk Hardy choose to direct his sets, as a preconceived plan. If he were to shoot in a real situation, the end result might have been totally different.
An iconic shipwrecked fishing boat in Point Reyes, California, was severely damaged by a fire, caused by a photographer’s long-exposure light-painting photo which involved sparks from burning steel wool.
The fishing boat at Tomales Bay was a local landmark and a popular subject of photos. If I were a local, I would be just as angry at these photographers. Which made me think bout the question: how far does a photographer go to capture beautiful photographs, at the expense of damaging the landscape? When dealing with stuff which concerns danger and safety; surely, there should, at least, be a certain level of risk assessments before the shoot?
It is precisely these reasons that policies and bans were put up to deter people from repeating the same mistakes and it also spoils the fun for everyone who enjoyed it.
In this article, the tech giant, Google discovers the key elements to good teamwork. Though unrelated to photography, I was looking up for ways of collaboration and the article caught my interest.
Google’s data-driven approach found that the best teams respect one another’s emotions and are mindful that all member should contribute to the conversation equally. It has less to do with who is in a team, and more with how the team members interact with one another.
Matt Sakaguchi, who works in Google as a midlevel manager, took his team off-site to open up about his cancer diagnosis. His colleagues were initially silent but then began sharing their own personal stories. At the heart of Sakaguchi’s strategy was the concept of “psychological safety,” a model of teamwork in which members have a shared belief that it is safe to take risks and share a range of ideas without the fear of being humiliated. Google describes this psychological safety as the most important factor in building a successful team.
In my takeaway, it still boils down to positive communication. For teamwork and collaboration to be successful in any groups or team with interdependence relations, regardless of background, appointment or who the people are; everyone needs to be as genuinely humane in communicating with each other. It’s the choice of words, the kind of responses to the other party that is the crux of communication that makes or breaks the team. This is difficult to achieve these days as everyone comes on with a ‘Me first’ mindset, which does not establish the psychological safety in any way.
Well, this is something for me to learn and I hope to be able to improve in this aspect in my collaboration works.
In an article dated 2013, talks about how Irish photographer Richard Mosse and his two collaborators traveled the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012. They took video and photographs of rebel groups with Kodak Aerochrome film, resulting in photographs which constitute a series that rethinks the tension between a photograph’s violent or disturbing content and its aesthetic virtue.
Albeit the danger his group were exposed to, I think Richard Moss’s captures of the beauty and tragedy in war and destruction are a provocative one. Using special infrared cameras that capture the lush Congolese rainforest, he renders the landscapes into a beautifully surreal of pinks and reds. His concerns in this series are persuasive. It challenges the conventions of the generic mass media narratives and the way we assess conflict images.
New York-based art collective Triple Canopy noted that Mosses images of cruelty can be sublime and violence can be ravaged or remake a landscape in ways we may politically detest, but also find them visually arresting and even beautiful.
This series follows the development of Hungarian photographer Bence Bakonyi‘s attempt to find “home” during his one year stay in china. He started the voyage from the countryside to the man-made world. It is a photographic journey of a foreign space, as depicted in landscapes and inanimate objects.
Most images in this series, like the example below, shows the juxtaposition of two spaces; a contrasts of the old and new, the traditional and the modern. The overal tone in this series are subtle and the way he uses leading lines to seprate the contrasts are effective. I think his challenge of what humans called home is an interesting concept. It makes one think twice of the home we live in, and reflect on the consequences of humans changing the environment.
With the recent popularity of the Deadpool movie, industry film editor Vashi Nedomansky shares about his experience as an editorial consultant to the said movie. He created a custom 2-monitor Premiere Pro template for post production and introduced what he called the ‘pancake timeline’ editing.
In my experience in using premiere pro, it was the first time I heard of this term which got me interested about his workflow. The more I read into it, the more I realised that the rationale of his editing workflow actually makes sense.
In the much earlier article dated in 2013, his editing tips for music video was a great insight of how he incorporated the technique into his editing workflow. I could definitely try out this editing workflow on my next video editing opportunity.
For the ‘Premiere pro template’ article, click here.
For the ‘Pancake timeline’ article, click here
For the ‘Editing tips for music video’, click here.
What the western world remembers about the Vietnam War is defined by a handful of iconic photographs taken through the lenses of western photographers. But the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong had hundreds of photographers of their own who worked in perilous conditions documenting every facet of the war. They worked for the Vietnam News Agency, the National Liberation Front, the North Vietnamese Army or various newspapers. Others were self-taught civilians, many of whom anonymously sent their films to news agencies. Many of these photographs are rarely seen, even in Vietnam.
When photojournalist Doug Niven first went to Hanoi, he was interested to see the war from the Vietnamese perspective. But to his surprise, there was not even a North Vietnamese book on the war. After tracking these war photographers of the days, He eventually uncovered thousands of images, many of which were still in negatives —never printed. There had not been a single comprehensive attempt to put all the war images together. To Doug Niven, he wanted to find out what pictures filled the memories of the Vietnamese people and if their view of the war was impacted by images in the same way.
“The vast dark forest was my giant darkroom. In the morning I’d rinse the prints in a stream and then hang them from trees to dry. In the afternoon I’d cut them to size and do the captions. I’d wrap the prints and negatives in paper and put them in a plastic bag, which I kept close to my body. That way the photos would stay dry and could be easily found if I got killed.” LAM TAN TAI
The result was Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side, the first published collection of images of the conflict made by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong photographers. Niven and Christopher Riley edited the book, a publication of National Geographic Books. This book was an attempt to put together pictures showing how Vietnamese people viewed the war, and what those photographs looked like.
I have only come across this article recently. Although the Vietnam war is something distant to me, yet viewing these documentary images does leave a huge impact on me, of my perspective about war.
In one image, new recruits undergo physical examinations in Haiphong, when all able-bodied males were drafted. By the mid-’70s the NVA grew to over half a million men, a force the U.S. military conceded was one of the finest in the world. Another image, a young Viet Cong guerrilla stands guard in the Mekong Delta. “She was only 24 years old but had been widowed twice. Both her husbands were soldiers” Said the photographer, “I saw her as the embodiment of the ideal guerrilla woman, who’d made great sacrifices for her country.”
Yet another image: a victim of American bombing, an ethnic Cambodian guerrilla was carried to an improvised operating room in a mangrove swamp on the Ca Mau Peninsula. This scene was an actual medical situation, not a publicity setup. The photographer, however, considered the image unexceptional and never printed it.
Some of these images do convey hints of propaganda at some point, of patriotism in the face of foreign invasion. But at the same time, it showed how real and dangerous those situations were. At the thought of death in war, it made me empathise with the people whose comrades did not live through the day.
“I was certainly not taking photos for their aesthetic appeal. I was not thinking of beauty. Burned and shattered homes and dead bodies are not pretty. Any pretense of aesthetics was replaced by our purpose of recording the war.” DUONG THANH PHONG
My experience in National Service has allowed me to better appreciate the people who lived through these dark times, but at the same time made me respect at the ingenuity of these Vietnamese photographers who captured these images in extremely dangerous conditions. Though this article I have come to better appreciate these series of images after understanding the context of these images from the photographer’s perspective.
This is perhaps why aestheticised images have no room in photojournalism; it does not portray the reality of the situation. But it is precisely the same reason why scenes of human suffering and hardship should be presented in a way that is ethical and considerate, yet also striking and thought-provoking.
These are some of the most mesmerising landscapes I have seen yet. Digitally manipulated akin to that of the movie Inception, where the landscape warps and bend into a different dimension. Its visual is so surreal, it makes one wonder how it is done.
There is something “magical” about Masashi Wakui’s photography. It is taken at night, it is urban landscape, and there are many bright colours in contrast. I have the same style as him!
However, his image editing process is unique only to him and it is not something other people can replicate exactly to his style. I will analyses his style more in-depth here.
This article is about shooting portraiture through the lips and tongue which tell stories through micro-expressions, and experience the joys of how things in the world taste along with presenting another form of touching.
This is actually quite a fun idea to play with, and the photographer Jason Bassett‘s process of developing this concept is so similar to the Rough Cut we are doing.
My takeaway from Jason Bassett is that he speak of the same things as with my previous entries:
“Being adventurously creative is less about just being different for the sake of it, and more about discovering yourself along with self-reinvention. …You don’t need to purchase super expensive equipment, in 2016 it’s easy to rent and affordable as well. You can also just use what you have, including a cell phone, or just borrow from a friend. You don’t need studio time, permits, or even a team of people.”
This amazing composite picture by photographer Stephen Wilkes shows the different animals that visited a watering hole in the Serengeti over the course of twenty-six hours.
The image is part of Wilkes’ Day to Night project, which features composite photos of different locations, captured over many hours and then blended into single frames. Wilkes shoots an average of 1,500 photos now, for each of his Day to Night pieces. He then selects choice frames and spends many weeks editing the interesting areas together to show the passage of time in a single composite photo.
I was blown away by the richness of colours and the amount of animal details in the image. it reminded me of a time slice technique which I came across a while back, but in a more subtle approach. With all that time spent on shooting and editing, that is a lot of patience and dedication!
Another ingenuity of photographers using available equipment and environment to build an image. Or in this case, portraitures. using short-throw projectors, home-built V-flats, fences, and many other unconventional techniques. It is these kinds of techniques that inspire me to work hard and seek creative solutions to problems on shoot.
many times from my experiences I have learnt that it is not about getting the most expensive equipment to do the job, but to understanding the capabilities of these equipment and improvise or work around to attain the same effect.
What I like about this article was the ingenuity of using available material to build an image. In this case, a flat screen TV. How would I have thought of such a simple yet useful technique for shooting still life. This is definitely a useful tip which perhaps I might utilise someday.
I came across this interesting article about twenty photography-related films that photographers should watch. I have also heard of our lecturers mentioning the film of “The Bang Bang Club”.
As I scroll down to read its description on the gist of these films; most of these films were relatively new to me until I saw a familiar name: Gregory Crewdson. I didn’t know he had a documentary sort of film. And that pique my interest.
I will definitely watch it when I have the time. until then, this sits in my pipeline of to-do lists.
I first got to know about Glitch art during one of the group crit for the second assignment brief. I wanted to find out more how such techniques could be applied to my coloured theme photography style. As i research about the process of creating glitch arts, this article came out, explaining about the mechanisms behind the glitch.
I learnt that Glitch art is about tweaking the code of an image file, sometimes known as data bending; editing tiny portions of data to create errors in the image. German multimedia designer Georg Fischer has created a script that automates this process. While each tweak is never the same, experimenting with trial and error on the image coding could produce colourful glitches, and it can be quite fun exploring around.
New York based Artist Phillip Stearns has compiled a list of Glitch art resources and are not complete and exhausted. For more information, click here.
This article provides an in-depth explanation of images between Commercial and Editorial, and under what conditions which certain permissions are required for each of these.
The question about commercial photography is not whether a person is recognisable to you, but whether they are recognisable to themselves. Even people who are silhouetted or partially obscured may be able to recognise themselves based on contextual details such as location, clothing, or the other people around them. The same applies to locations and properties that are privately owned.
Editorial photos should be relevant and meaningful and engage readers by illustrating newsworthy subjects. Since the vast majority of people and places depicted in Editorial images are not released, they are not suitable for promotional use of any kind—they can be used in a journalistic or informative way only.
To be credible and maintain truthfulness, editorial images must reflect the subject matter in a way that is honest and factual. Slight adjustments in colour, contrast, exposure, etc., are acceptable, but modifications that alter the context of your photo are considered misleading and inaccurate.
This includes cropping, use of filters such as HDR, or digitally manipulating the photo in any way. Even sepia is a no-go, it doesn’t alter the physical facts but many people use sepia toning to imply age for a vintage effect which changes the context.
All in all, i think this article has explained both industries better than I have learnt from the lectures. Good read.
After reading this article for the first time; a cheap alternative of how a clean white bathtub can be used to imitate studio lighting for still life objects, with a semi-transparent screen to diffuse the light. I though it was quite innovative, and the results were surprisingly convincing.
“What only matters are the results. The shoot isn’t pretty, but it saved time and money, and the results delivered.” – Krasa
This has been a very encouraging article for me. It shows the creativeness of a self-taught, enthusiast photographer, Attilio Bixio, who used still life objects to create a landscape without using any professional equipment.
The winning placement he receives is a testament that powerful visual imagery is not about using the best tools, but the ideas that comes from the mind, and the resourcefulness to achieve the same effect.
I was looking for references of colourful portraiture, ways which I could expand further from exotic oriental styles. The works of Laura Ferreira caught my eyes. It has that colourful, vibrant and contrasty style, consistent in both outdoors and indoor shoots.
Based out of Trinidad and Tobago, the photographer, retoucher, painter, and gamer specialises in conceptual portraiture, fashion, commercial photography, and digital art. Admittedly though, I am completely mesmerised by her conceptual portraiture.
Kandyse McClure of Battlestar Galactica and Hemlock Grove
In this piece,a portraiture of actress Kandyse McClure, captured by photographer Laura Ferriera.
The first thing I notice is the balance of warm and cool colours. I am drawn by three things structural: the intricate costume design, the shape of the candles, and the crease texture of the background cloth.
The bangle accessory on the arms of the Kandyse reveals some clues on how the image was taken. There is a long bright highlight, probably a large strip soft box lighting the frontal of the subject. The catchlight on the Kandyse’s iris seems to accentuate this. The reflection and shape of the candle suggests the image was taken from bird eye view.
I like how the shape of Kandyse’s hairstyle and the posture of her arms creates a harmonious flow, quite coherent with the round shapes of the candles and the backdrop.
Surprisingly, the photographer choose 50mm Prime lens for the portraiture.
What I have learnt from analysing this image were three things:
1) The costume gives character to the subject. The posture and hair style of the subject either makes or break the image
2) Creative use of light and doing away from the usual beauty dish lighting
3) 50mm F1.8 Lens works too.
I found a photographer whose style is as similar as mine. Rob Woodcox is a realistic surrealist, who finds happiness telling stories through his creations and crafting together photographs that weave dream with reality.
As he shares about his ideas, concepts and processes of his works, I am particularly drawn to this piece, titled “Colours of the Wind pt 5: Orange”, a portraiture of a female model in the woods.
one thing was the definitely the saturate use of orange colour, balanced with a contrasting cool colour of the sky in the background. The tree adds interesting structure to the image, adding depth to it. I love how the light falls onto the face of the subject, and there is contrast of luminosity in the image. but I think it is the leaves thats made the composition work.
As to whether I would be able to replicate similar effect on my portraiture works, I think it would be very challenging, because the weather condition is mostly cold and wet, and can be quite erratic.
This is yet another instructing portraiture, with the paints constructing a mass of colours.
Researching for ideas of my portraitures, coloured themes for portraitures are so broad and daunting. I stumbled upon this article by photographer Juan Osorio and I was instantly mesmerised by the exotic image of the snake charmer and the python.
There is so much beauty and detail between the portrait and the animal, in focus and well-illuminated with the black background, and yet the process of setting up the shoot seem to be extremely challenging. The choice of lighting equipment was well thought of, considering working with a delicate animal and that these camera lights might cause stress to it.
As I was thinking about my still life images; subjects, techniques, method of execution. constructivist approach seems to be getting difficult for my theme. I struggle to separate blue background from my subjects, and the shadows and reflections were still visible.
As I read about the article on how to balance still life objects, which eventually got me to think of unconventional ways of stacking my objects, and the way to light them up.
The idea of utilising transparent base surface and how to set it a short distance from the coloured background, and photographing it form an angle. All the shadows that show the volume of the objects will remain in place, but the shadows falling on the background will disappear. This was a brilliant trick I had not thought of, which help me get on with my still life works.
The style of architecture photographer Eric Dufour can be described as minimalist, strikingly simple, even 2D at times. Buildings fold in on themselves until they have no depth, stairwells become pieces of art, even doorways and security cameras become points of interest.
As my idea of using colours and structure in my photography assignment, I was researching for references of interesting, colourful structure. Architecture photography was one of the possible outcome I could work on.
Eric Dufour’s architecture images kept me captivated in the sense, I love the uniformed and structural, yet not too complex and the colourful patterns that made the image interesting.
This article shines a spotlight on artist Alexis Coram, a photographer, videographer and time lapse creator based in San Francisco, who produced an amazing time lapse of the Aurora Borealis igniting the Alaskan sky.
I find this piece of moving image inspirational, just by watching the movement of the lights flickering in the night sky. What I am even inspired, was how time lapse technique became part of a tool for her story telling and vision. It conveyed the experience and the emotion of that moment in a way that no still photograph could not achieve.
“Time-lapse takes sequences of still photography and transforms it into a living, breathing, rapid journey through time.” – Alexis Coram
In a way, a moving image can be a still image with moving sequences, or a sequence of still images. I think cinemagraphic approaches are one of the better methods to convey the vision of landscapes in video form. To tell the story and my vision, I want my moving images to be adaptable to both aspects.
Looking at inspiration form various photographers on 500px.com. This post caught my interests because of how the colours these photographer use to make their breathtaking landscapes.
I think about autumn colours, going macro, or visiting the coastal area, etc. I wonder if I will be able to do all these within the short timespan.
I have done cosplay photography in comics conventions, meeting strangers and making new cosplay friends. I love photographing cosplay people of all walks of life. It make me less stress on how perfect cosplay portraitures should be. It is more of meeting new people and discovering of what angle and composition works and what not.
This article caught my eye, as photographer Felipe Buccianti explains his process from linking with the model to the capturing of the cosplay image. The preparation process is just as important as the final image itself.
Just as he says, what makes a great (cosplay) photo is a combination of research, prep work, coordination, scouting, execution, and thoughtful post-production. It seems daunting, but taking extra time to plan and prep your photoshoot will yield the interesting and visually stunning images every photographer wants to have in his or her portfolio.
This article is about using model release forms in commercial and stock photography sites. Through the explanation of this article and its examples, I have a better understanding of how model release forms are needed in different contexts.
Areas which model release are not required:
If the person is small and there are no context or details that can make it recognizable.
Areas which model release are required:
If the person in the image is the main focus or if his/her distinctive features can be identified from the silhouette, you need a model release.
Body parts and tattoos: Normally a model release forms are not needed for detailed shots of body parts, like hands or feet. Though in some cases, a person may be able to identify themselves due to tattoos or birthmarks, in which case a model release is required.
Location and context: Even if the model’s face is not clearly visible there may be contextual factors that could make him/her identifiable. Factors like unique outfits or clothes, locations, photo shoot setting, etc.
The following article is an excerpt from 500xx tutorials.
What is a model release?
In the photography industry, a model release is a binding legal agreement between a photographer and their model or any potentially recognizable human subjects. This agreement ensures that everyone is aware, feels compensated, and has consented to this type of usage. There are multiple versions and formats of model releases, but all of them must share five main statements to cover commercial licensing, like we offer with 500px Prime:
- The model authorizes the photo to be published;
- The model authorizes that the image can be used commercially;
- The model authorizes the use of the image for advertising and editorial purposes;
- It is made clear that the model will not be further compensated beyond what is agreed on at the time of the shoot and no longer has any rights to the photos.