Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Profiles

Kimberley Profile #1
Kimberley #1
I have recently started to develop a new series of images. These are of profiles of people I know. People who are a part of my everyday life. Not necessarily models.

I'd like to claim to have had this brilliant idea myself, that I saw it in a dream or that during a stormy evening upon seeing the clouds parting and sun shining on them creating a ring light that then this idea was born. But alas, this is true only in the movies.

This idea has a much simpler and probably a far more common birth. Kim asked one day for an image of her, high contrast, black and white (like some of my recent nudes), of her neck and throat from before her surgery. She wondered if I had something from previous shoots that might be processed into this look.

After some searching and some experimenting with Photoshop, I felt that we'd be better off with new images but shot so the scar from the surgery was not visible.
Kimberley Profile #2
Kimberley #2

We did not have much time on this particular visit to do a proper photoshoot but I wanted to try to create a couple of images that I thought would look like Kim's idea or at least would help me to see and understand what she was imagining. I set up my lights quickly and tried a number of settings and a number of poses. Kimberley #1 (above) is one of the first images we created. I was happy with the look excepting a couple of small details. But it was not what Kim was hoping to see. 

We thought we might have about fifteen minutes available to shoot before her girls would start to go rangy from being ignored. I was able to create about ten to fifteen images in that time.

Kimberley Profile #3
Kimberly #3
Image #2 would have been near perfect, in my mind, if we had thought to tie her hair back out of sight. And I think it might be the closest to what Kim had in mind. As it is, the hair completely draws our attention away from the fine detail of her profile. And I am not happy with the strap of her top in any of these images, it is distracting.








Then a few weeks after Kim and I created these images, another friend asked if I might shoot a portrait of her and maybe a couple of head-shots she could use. Cher has a very lovely profile and I was immediately eager to try this technique on her too. She did not mind my experimenting a little at the end of our shoot. 
Cher Profile #1
Cher #1
I am pleased enough with these images that I want to try to develop the technique further. 

As always, I am looking for people willing to sit for me and let me experiment and practice. In exchange, I'm pleased to offer copies of the better images and even do a more "normal" portrait in exchange. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you are interested. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Film

Princess Hannah
 I recently started shooting a lot of film again. I had to take my DSLR in for some service work leaving me with only a couple of other smaller digital cameras to work with. These little cameras are great, but I really much prefer the controls of an SLR. I never thought of my hands as being all that large, but the smaller cameras are just a little too finicky and frustrating for me. And since I had recently bought a couple of very interesting, older cameras I thought it would be fun to actually use them.

Stylish Shopper
Using film again in this digital era is not actually all that new for me. But using it exclusively for a few weeks is! I started using film again a few years ago when I bought an old Yashica 124 twin lens reflex camera. I have taken it out on a number of photoshoots over the years and it has been a lot of fun. This was an excellent choice for me (both the 124 film size & a TLR camera) because it was enough different from an SLR that I really had to stop and think about what I was doing before pressing the shutter. It was not possible to simply point and shoot and not think.

Dinner Time
But those shoots had always been "one off". I would take the camera out for a photo-walk somewhere and shoot one or two rolls of film, get them developed (somewhere) then oooh and aaaah at the images I got back. And that was it. I would then put the camera away for months or a year or more.

This time I decided I would shoot only film, at least until I got my DSLR back and maybe even longer if I was having a good time. It was also my plan to develop the film myself. This, mostly, so I could turn the process around inside a day or two allowing me to get a much better sense of what the camera (and I) was doing. But also, developing the film myself makes it much easier for me to continue posting images to my favourite "one a day" Blipfoto website. And I'll admit it has been fun going "old school" again, the smell of the chemicals, the satisfaction of doing the entire process myself from clicking the shutter to scanning the film, all of it has been quite satisfying.


Street Artist
Anna the Baker

I had recently picked up an old Nikon F3 on eBay and since I already own a couple of appropriate (i.e. fully manual) lenses, I had the perfect kit for my new project. The lenses I have been using so far are a 28mm f1.8 and an 85mm f1.8. A very sweet pair of lenses, I must say. I have a 50mm f1.2 that I have not used much yet, but I will soon.

As for film, I thought Ilford's FP4 and HP5 B&W films would be a good place to start. So far, I have found these to be a very fine choice. They are fast enough for most of my work and the grain is just noticeable enough to give a satisfying old-school film look (but honestly ;)).

It has been a couple of weeks now that I have been shooting exclusively with this setup. I am having a blast! I am getting faster with the manual controls - with my DSLR I shoot probably 90% or more in aperture priority. It has been fun remembering the old ways of fully manual shooting, things like shutter speed and aperture don't actually change much from one exposure to another. Things like when using 100 asa and it's a bright sunny day, 1/250 and f8 or f11 is probably pretty close to right. Things like - if the exposure is a little wrong, it's not usually all that critical. And pre-focusing and zone focusing are really useful tricks.

And I have loved re-discovering the joys of developing film. It's crazy easy. You do not need a dark room just a changing bag, a developer tank and a kitchen. A very inexpensive setup. I have found I can usually develop a roll (or two) and get everything cleaned up in less than 30 minutes (drying time not included ;) ).

And the results? What do you think? I like what I am seeing. These images are maybe not as sharp as my digital images, but I kind of like that. But the feeling in the images is (to my taste) wonderful. In so many other ways, I think they are at least as beautiful as digital images.

If you have been thinking you'd like to try film again (or for the first time), I can wholeheartedly encourage you. If the idea of developing intimidates or scares you, don't let it. It really is very easy. And the equipment and chemicals are inexpensive. Besides, you are very welcome to give me a call - I'd be happy to offer advice and maybe even a little tutoring if necessary.


More of my Film Project images can be found on my Tumblr account and in my Film Project set on Flickr.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sharp Intake

I have been invited to display a series of my abstract black & white nudes in a new exhibition at Gallery M in Cambridge (Galt), Canada. This exhibition will feature a number of artists (and this photographer ;) ). The theme is mildly erotic and a lot of fun. Opening night is Thursday May 9th and runs through till June 17th.

The set of images I chose for this show can be seen on my website in the Exhibitions gallery. Please have a look and if you are in the area, please stop in to check out the show.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tumblr

I continue to struggle to find a satisfactory way to bring my art to an audience. I am pretty sure there is no "best" way so I continue to experiment trying to find a way that seems to suit my needs.

My website works well to show a relatively static view of some of my work. But it is awkward to update so I tend to leave it alone for weeks or months at a time. There is much I am creating all the time and I would love to share more of it, more often.

This blog account works well and it is easy to use as a mechanism to get some of my thinking and ideas out. But I also want a venue where I can share images without a lot of (or any) visual distractions. I want something clean and simple.

Flickr is okay, but some people struggle with the navigation and membership issues there.

Recently I have been viewing a couple of artist's image blogs hosted on tumblr and thought maybe that was what I needed or at least it looked like something that could work for me. So I have created an experimental blog there.

If you are curious, please check it out. If you don't mind taking a minute or two, please send me a comment (here or via the Ask me link on tumblr or a direct email, whatever works best for you).



Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New Maternity shoot

Waxing
So, for the longest time I have wanted to do a maternity photoshoot. In other words, work with a pregnant woman.  I have done a number of shoots with new moms and their babies and I have been very pleased with the images I have been able to create. But I have never had a chance to work with a woman who is about to give birth.

It has been a bit frustrating because I have a lot of ideas, so many images I'd like to try to create using her unique, pregnant form.

Finally, last week, I was able to do just such a shoot. The results are, I think, wonderful. But I know I have just scratched the surface of the possibilities.

It all came about a couple of months ago when I learned an old friend was pregnant with her second. She and I had worked together for a couple of different local arts organizations over the years. And although we have not talked much recently, we never lost touch either (nod to facebook ;)).

When I found out she was pregnant, I wrote her asking if she would be willing to do a photoshoot with me. I laid out some of my plans. She seemed excited.

I am looking forward to working with her once the baby is born!

And I am also keen to work with other women. I have a lot of other ideas and am eager to see them come to be.




Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Portrait sessions with a twist

I get a lot of requests to do portraits or other photo shoots with people. I like to put people in environments that seem to suit their personality or their character best. And I like to suggest variations they may not have considered. 

Image of Paige in the a river
Down by the River
This summer I have had quite a few shoots where I have been able to suggest variations on the model's ideas to create beautiful images.

Here is an example. Paige called and asked if I would do a series of images of her by the water. Her initial plan was simple, by a waterfall, in a new swimsuit. But we did not have easy access to waterfall on the day so I suggested this river area.

We started with the image ideas she had of her new swimsuit and had a lot of fun with that. I had suggested (ahead of time, I don't like to spring surprises on people) this length of fabric over her shoulders would look interesting in the water. I was very pleased with the results.


Paige wandering in the river
Wanderer
There were a few challenges to this shoot. We had been having a crazy hot summer all through July. But by the time we got our dates aligned and were able to do this shoot, morning temperatures here now in the low teens - pretty chilly. So complete submersion was out of the question.

There have been other shoots this summer where I have been able to create wonderful images. I am excited to be doing more and more of these.





Paige reflected
Mirrored



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Encore

Torso
As part of the BOX-11 series, I was invited to show some of my new work in a show entitled Encore. This show is being held in the WalterFedy building as was my last exhibition entitled CAPTURED. I was excited as well as a little apprehensive about this show as I had decided to show some of the work from my nude and body art projects. I had no idea how this work was going to be received especially since it would be on display in a corporate environment in a relatively conservative community.

I need not have worried. My work is of a sufficiently abstract nature that it should give offence only to the most sensitive (or prudish?) of people. In fact, I sold a couple of my pieces almost immediately.

For this work I found that printing using normal (even though high quality) ink jet, giclée inks was not quite the quality I was after. Doing a bit of research I found the piezographic print process would provide the best quality images showing the intensity of black that I needed. The piezographic process prints images using eight (or more) ink cartridges of the purest black carbon inks available. The tonal range offered by this process is breathtaking.
Waves

I was especially pleased that so many people enjoyed my work. The comments and praise has been very encouraging.

But probably the most encouraging, inspiring comment I received was from a woman who asked if I would use her as a model for images of this style hoping that she might then be able to hang one of them in her home.

I am always on the lookout for other potential models for my work. If you or anyone you know might be interested in modelling for me, please get in touch. I would be very pleased to work with you to create an image that suits you. (If you think your body might not be appropriate for this style of modelling, please be aware my models have ranged in age from mid 20's through late 40's. I am sure I can create something that pleases you :) ).

More of my work can be found on Flickr in my Nudes/Body Art set.