August 19, 2014
A couple of weekends ago, I had an unplanned, walk-in portfolio review with Gerd Ludwig. I was attending the Photosynthesis event at the Annenberg with my friend Jerry Webber. I had a small number of prints with me to show to him. I had 4 night-time color images from my journey to Oaxaca which I printed on my Epson R3000 and my old Canon PixmaPro 9000 mk II. There were printed to show the difference in the two printers, especially in the bright oranges and magentas. I also had a stack of about 20 images which were part of my B&W film project for the NSEW (North-South-East-West) project for the Film Shooters Collectivegroup I’m in. This wasn’t a portfolio prepared for review, it was just a collection of recent work that I had printed to casually show to a friend. It wasn’t my best work nor was it my most representative work, but it was good work.
Gerd did a first silent pass. Then he started on his main comments prefaced with “My job is not to tell you that you are good, my job is to show you how you can do better.” He went through each image with a short comment, stopping on some and being pretty cursory on others. Overall his impression was that my work was “too safe”, too distant from the subject. As photojournalistic photographers, we hear this admonition of not being close enough all them time – quoting Capa: “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.” He also commented on the cleanliness of my compositions, but indicated that perhaps they were too clean, too quiet.
When I returned home I started studying Gerd Ludwig’s work. As a photojournalist (one from the top stable at the National Geographic), he is a wide angle junkie. While I’ve been shooting mostly with a 35mm for the past year and a half, I suspect most of his images are more in the 24–28mm range. I’m not sure I always agree with his wide-angle style to pull the viewer into the image, but I did what good students do, and challenged myself to step closer, shoot wider, and add a little more chaos.
Here are a few from my night at the Ventura County Fair challenging myself to get a little closer and work a little looser with more (even more) layers.
August 8, 2014
My friend Jerry and I were shooting around Beverly Hills and wandered into this art gallery. Even though we were dressed by bums (i.e. street photographers) they were very polite to us and even gave us some bottles of water. While I was admiring the art of Dali, Picasso, and Miro, Jerry struck up a conversation with one of the Gallery art reps. Turned out he needed a head shot and he had two photographers at his ready. After the posed portraits were done, I turned around and noticed he had used the bronze statue to hang his coat.
Olympus OMD E-M1, Oly 17mm f/1.8 (35mm equiv)
July 6, 2014
Horizon Perfekt, TMax 400
July 4, 2014
I’ve been a bit under the weather, so I won’t be finding any Red-White-and-Blue this evening. Instead I leave you with a few from the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade – June 21, 2014.
Although many find it easier to take street portraits than complex layered images, I find it just the opposite. So I worked on picking people out of the crowds and finding the portraits that captured the feeling of the day ranging from last minute makup preparations, float decoration, or looking for a little cool on the sidelines.
June 30, 2014
These past couple of months I continue to work both film and digital, nature and street. In May I spent a weekend in Bodie and June Lakes in the Eastern Sierra’s. I spent more time being with my husband than shooting, but I got in some late afternoon shooting at Silver Lake and then the next morning at Bodie. I previously posted my Bodie images from the Horizon Perfekt.
These are from Silver Lake in the late afternoon, around 5pm. Silver Lake is on the northern side of the June Lake loop. There is a nice lake with marshy grass and lots of aspens. The area I was shooting is right off a parking lot which probably accounts for the graffiti on the trees. It seems that no mater how much I work on my nature subjects, I’m still attracted to the scenes with a human touch.
I’m fairly happy with these images, but still view them as learning-sketch images. Compositionally, nature scenics is something that I still need a lot of work at to capture the quiet elegance that I’m after. Recently I learned of the photographer Tim Rudman through an interview with him on the Film Photography Project (FPP) podcast. I like his imagery very much (and the FPP too!).
In this scene of Silver Lake, I was attracted to the texture of the marshes, the sweep of the shore-line and the bushes on the far side. I have only an 80mm and 60mm lens for the Hasselblad. I am working hard at capturing the right light for these black and whites.
I think the aspens are somewhat more successful. Here is a different composition of the trees with the graffiti. Though I’m not so sure about the space between the group of trees on the left and right.
Camera: Hasselblad 500C/M
Lens: 80mm Planar T*Filters: Yellow, ND Grad on the scene with the lake
Film: Fuji Neopan Acros 100
Development: Rodinal 1+50
June 13, 2014
My color photography has taken a back seat lately while I’ve been focusing on my black and white film photography. Here I treat you to a few color images from a Memorial Day walk around Venice Beach working with the Olympus OMD E-M1.