Archive for People Photography

Inspirations – Gaby Vicent Oliver

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on July 17, 2011 by sabrina

© Gaby Vicent Oliver

Holga image scanned with
Camera Canon EOS 450D 55 mm 1/100sec f/9.0 ISO 400

The photo was taken with a Holga 120 CFN, for which I paid $ 30 dollars on eBay. It was loaded with Kodak color film (Kodak Pro 160). I sent the film to develop but I do not own a scanner (and can’t afford one at the moment for scanning 120 film). The person who usually scans my film has been extremely busy, so I had the rolls for two months in the cupboard. A couple of days ago, I read about a method to scan without scanner. It consisted of taking macro photos of the negatives and inverting them later in Photoshop. The problem was I do not have a macro lens.

A month ago my father-in-law died, and my husband inherited a 70 year old lightbox from his grandmother. I tried to reproduce the method with that lightbox and the Canon 450 with EF-S 18-55mm IS lens (standard lens) handheld. It worked.

I invert the files in Photoshop and change a bit the curves. Turned them to black and white and voila. There is no processing in Photoshop as such, just a tiny touch in the curves. The photograph is a double exposure on film and then ridiculously scanned. ~ Gaby Vicent Oliver


Photographer of the Month – Eric Kruszewski

Posted in Photographer of the Month with tags , , , , , on July 15, 2011 by sabrina

© Eric Kruszewski

This month I’d like to introduce you to Eric Kruszewski, an up and coming photographer from the Pacific Northwest. His work was most recently recognized by PX3 (Prix de la Photographie Paris) where he was awarded a Gold Medal for “Cowboys’ Rodeo” and a Silver Medal for “Haitian Despair”.

Darwin: Eric, from your bio it appears that you just started photographing in 2008, yet your portfolio has a richness to it that suggests someone with much more experience. Why do you think you have made such progress in developing your craft and your art when others stuggle for much longer before seeing the returns you enjoy?

Eric: While living overseas in Former Soviet Union countries and traveling to other distant places, I wanted to capture what I was so fortunate to witness and share it with family and friends in my homeland.  So in late 2008, I decided that I wanted to learn how to capture profound imagery; to do so, I participated in a hands-on photography expedition through India with three amazing professional photographers.  After soaking up information and practicing photography for the 18-day journey, I became hooked with the camera.

After returning from India, photography became an integral part of my life.  Everyday I devoted as much time as I could to some aspect of the craft – shooting, editing, reading, attending exhibitions, surrounding myself with other photographers and people who respect what I did, studying others’ work, etc.  I literally left my camera hanging on the doorknob so I could grab it as I left home.  I certainly do not know what the “normal” or “average” timeframe is for developing, and no longer struggling in the field.  Seeing progress in photography, just like with anything, comes down to working hard, having a vision, having the passion for it, embracing the received “no” and striving for the desired “yes.”  As an artist, I will always challenge myself; that, combined with dedication and hard work, motivates me to develop and hone my vision as a photographer.

Darwin: How has your “New Talent “win in the prestigious TPOTY contest affected your audience and opportunities for new ventures in photography?

Eric: The Travel Photographer of the Year “New Talent” Award was an amazing surprise for me – not only winning the award, but also communicating with the contest’s creators / organizers, fellow winning photographers and experienced judges.  Fortunately, I was able to attend the ceremony and exhibition opening in London, where so many lovers of travel and photography came together.  The contest truly was about the imagery, the story behind the pictures and the artist behind the camera.  The organizers went to great lengths in creating a top-notch website, a wonderful exhibition experience with such a high profile and reputable gallery and showcasing the images for industry personnel, the public and the press to enjoy.

Since the Travel Photographer of the Year contest was open to all international photographers, it brought together imagery and followers from all over the world.  Therefore, after winning the “New Talent” Award, there was definitely more interest in my photography and how I have developed.

Darwin: How did you manage to get access to the street people depicted in your Blocks Apart, Worlds Apart portfolio?

Eric: A photographer or passerby could come across the imagery and street people seen in my Blocks Apart, Worlds Apart story by walking down the streets and alleyways of Downtown Eastside.  One of the amazing things about “Ground Zero” in Vancouver, BC is that drug use, drug deals, prostitution and sex are practiced so openly and commonly on the streets, and they are all concentrated within several square city blocks.  Access, and getting close to the people, was accomplished by asking their permission to observe them, learn what they do and respect their practices.  I let them do their thing and they let me do mine.  Of course, there are plenty of bystanders in the streets that warn a wandering photojournalist of potential trouble while in their territory.  Fortunately I did not encounter anything serious while developing the story.

Darwin: You seem to travel extensively, how do you finance your travel photography?

Eric: I am an engineer by degree and a photographer by heart.  Since graduating from university about 10 years ago, I have been working as a mechanical engineer for an international engineering-construction company.  It was this engineering work that took me overseas to the Former Soviet Union, allowed me to travel internationally at a relatively young age and eventually drove me to begin photographing the cultures and societies in which I was immersed.

Currently, I still perform the 40-hour-a-week engineering job and spend all my free time and vacation time photographing and developing stories that motivate me.  Most times it feels as if I have two full-time jobs, and all of my family and friends support my endeavors as I continue to strive in pursuit of making the transition to full-time professional photographer.

Darwin: You are in the ‘thick of things’ with your images, making it feel as if we, the viewer, are right there on the street with the subjects you photograph. How do you achieve this narrative point-of-view?

Eric: Being around people, capturing their stories and sharing those stories captivate and motivate me as a photographer and storyteller.  In order to do this effectively, I feel that being close and intimate with the subjects is necessary; it allows me to communicate openly with them, build a rapport, truly learn the subjects and then relay their story and voice in imagery.  However, it takes trust on the subjects’ part to allow a camera into their lives and it takes trust on my part that I will be received openly, thus being able to tell the story correctly and accurately.

For most of my work, I use a lens with a short focal length.  It forces me to approach people, to concentrate on and work with main subjects that are practically within arms reach and to not worry about what is happening a mile away; I can always move and get closer.  This “in the thick of things” approach allows the viewer to feel as if they are a part of the scene and immersed in the same story that I had the privilege of witnessing.

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

© Eric Kruszewski

Inspirations – Porcelain Beauty by Ellie Ericson

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on July 6, 2011 by sabrina

© Ellie Ericson

Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm EF-L F2.8 IS Lens @ 70.0 mm, F2.8 1/125sec, ISO 100

I had been envisioning the look of this image for quite some time before I actually photographed it.  The vision I held was to create an image that had a very soft, almost angelic and rim lit feel to it – in B&W.  I wanted it to be an elegant figure study that wasn’t a blatant nude. I went to great lengths in making sure I had the right model chosen that was in line with my vision and that my lighting concept was sound – and tested it with stand-in models before bringing Kaitlin into the studio to work with me.

Three lights were used in total: two 3‘ long, slim softboxes at lowest power on either side of the model and one small 2’ x 3’ softbox as far back in the studio as possible also on low power to give the slightest fill. There had to be separation, however slight, between the unlit background and the model by having her softly rim lit all over.

I learned a great deal from the creative play, experimentation of possibilities, and the vision driven process I went through in creating this image.  The finished product expresses everything and more of what I wanted it to say. ~ Ellie Ericson

Inspirations – Sagi Kortler

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on June 29, 2011 by sabrina

© Sagi Kortler

1/250 sec at f/5.6 ISO 400

This picture was taken in Jerusalem, at Mamilla center which is a small shopping mall right outside the old city that has a centered outdoor boulevard that features art work (mostly sculptures) along it. I passed through that center on my way to the old city when that sculpture/mask caught my eye. I stood there for a while, waiting for someone interesting to pass by or stand next to it but nothing happened so after about 30 minutes or so I moved on and walked to the old city.

On my way back I passed there again to see if I can get anything and there this guy was leaning like that against the wall. I immediately saw the resemblance of the guy mouth  to the sculpture and just got close to the scene, snapped the photo and kept walking.

I use a wide 24mm lens on a full frame body for most of my street photography and I get really close, with this technique the subjects usually are not aware that they being photographed, this was also the case here. The guy is not looking at the camera but looking at me and what I’m doing, this results in a kind of gaze that goes beyond the camera which I really like. ~ Sagi Kortler

Inspirations – Soft Nude by Graham Lowe

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on June 8, 2011 by sabrina

© Graham Lowe

This model in question is a friend of mine of about 20 years’ standing, and she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, so was due to have an operation which would disfigure her, although not a full mastectomy. As you can see from the shot, she is very trim, albeit in her 50s, so wanted me to take shots that she could remember herself by, and there was hardly any time between biopsy and operation, so we had to move fast. They were shot in December, in an unheated building (!!) that was being converted from a bank to an art gallery, and which I am involved in. It was the only space available in a hurry, both for the atmosphere of the place and the privacy. It was shot on film, on an original 60s plastic Diana camera. ~ Graham Lowe

Inspirations – Tracey Tomtene

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , on May 18, 2011 by sabrina

© Tracey Tomtene

Canon EOS 50D Canon f2.8L 16-35mm at 16mm 1/50 second f/2.8

I was at a friend’s house taking pictures of her new twins, Megan and Victoria, and she mentioned that their dog, Marley, had looked really cute in a swaddle. Since she was going to swaddle the twins for a picture anyway, we all agreed that perhaps she should be swaddled too! I think the twins enjoyed it a little more than Marley did but she was a good sport! ~ Tracey Tomtene

Inspirations – Saloon by Pete Eckert

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on May 15, 2011 by sabrina

© Pete Eckert

The image “Saloon” I did using a Zone Plate. A friend lent me her new zero 2000 camera. I used Illford 125 film. I like high contrast B/W images so I looked for a situation that I could get white to black. Since I am blind, I listened to the chatter of the patrons to compose. I picked out a table, went leisurely up to the bar, touching empty tables and chairs as I went, I listened intently at the bar. I lingered listening to sound bouncing off the objects to solidify my minds eye image. I went back a different route collecting more information. The shot took five minutes. I timed this with my Braille pocket watch as I sipped a Manhattan. The tripod I used was old . I’ve replaced it with an articulated new one to make leveling easier. The old fashioned camera attracted attention. People noticed my guide dog and dark glasses. I was busted, giving up shooting to answer questions. ~ Pete Eckert

Inspirations – Lizzie Shepherd

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , on May 11, 2011 by sabrina

© Lizzie Shepherd

Canon 1DSiii, Canon 24-70 2.8L @ 67mm, ISO 100, 1/200s @ f11

My husband and I spent a week ‘perfecting’ our cross-country skiing skills in Norway’s Rondane National Park. We soon discovered just how much improving was required in the difficult late season conditions of mixed slush and ice! The latter was particularly troublesome on downhill stretches and we were soon both covered in bruises. My camera gear, thankfully, was safely stored on my back in one of Kata’s excellent sling backpacks. This not only proved comfortable for a day’s hard skiing but also allowed very quick access to camera and lenses – crucial, when you are combining an activity like this with photography.

After a particularly tough day, skiing through thick cloud and falling snow, this was my reward for lugging several kilos of gear on a day when it might have been tempting to leave it behind! Towards the end of the afternoon, as the clouds broke up a little, I looked back across a frozen lake and noticed lovely patterns of light and shade. As luck would have it a lone skier was making his way across the lake and – even luckier – he was wearing a bright red jacket. There was just had enough time to grab my camera out of my backpack and make the most of that fleeting moment.

We photographers spend a lot of time waiting for the light, visualising and planning a particular image. In contrast, this was one of those occasions when instinct, awareness and the ability to react quickly are more important: a combination of circumstances allowed me to make what remains one of my favourite images to date.

This image was commended in the Adventures category of Travel Photographer of the Year and is currently being exhibited at the Royal Geographical Society in London, along with all the winning and placed photographs from last year’s competition. TPOTY and the RGS have done a fantastic job setting up the exhibition and all the images are beautifully printed and displayed. Definitely worth a visit if anyone is in London over the coming month, with details about opening times found here~ Lizzie Shepherd

Inspirations – Andrew Brooks

Posted in Inspirations, Techniques with tags , , on April 17, 2011 by sabrina

© Andrew Brooks

Shot with the camera in waterproof housing so I could have the camera point of view around an inch of the top of the water.  Shot at f8 on a lens at 24mm using exposures of 1 second, to allow me the time to fire the flash whilst the lens is open.

The Flooded Tunnel image is a composite photograph, made from over 250 captures.  The tunnel was pitch black and I could get no power down there to bring a lighting set up,  so the whole things it lit using one Nikon flash gun.  I set the camera to open it’s lens for 1 second every 5 seconds, allowing me to walk within the shot, firing the flash in a different position for every exposure,  I then used Photoshop to bring all of these exposures together,  taking the light information from each burst of flash and then overlapping that with other flashes.  It took me around 45 minuets to shoot the shot and around 3 days to bring all the elements together.

The image is from an ongoing project working with curator Andy Brydon where we look at the Hidden City, visit this gallery to see more from this project. ~ Andrew Brooks

Inspirations – Justin Hartford

Posted in Inspirations with tags , , , , , on April 13, 2011 by sabrina

© Justin Hartford

the dune
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF16-35mm f.2.8L II USM, on tripod, remote shutter release f22, 1/25, ISO 100

the cave
Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF16-35mm f.2.8L II USM, camera wedged in the crack of a large rock face on 10 sec delay f11, 1/6, ISO 100

The body of work this image comes from is titled Proserpina – a Self Portrait. Proserpina is a Greek Goddess whose name means “to emerge”. She is synonymous with springtime when she emerged from her six months of being forced to reside in hell. Proserpina is a series about how we as humans so often stay in our own caves not letting the real us be seen so we can be accepted by society and removed from its judgment. I use my body to further show the metaphoric tie between societal pressures on our individuality and how we go out of and retreat back to our own caves in response to that pressure. This work is also quickly becoming a representation of my life, where it has been and where it is going.  The increasing tensions in the images pointing towards impending big changes.

This particular image is a composite made from images taken in 2009 while in Serra Cafema, Namibia on the boarder of Angola. While in a major dune field for an evening shoot, I took off running to find a clean spot to work on my self-portraiture. I found this particular spot after much time trekking into the dunes. My first order of business was to set up my camera on the tripod, compose the stage and attach the remote shutter release. At that point I took a few images making certain the composition was what I wanted and the exposure was appropriate. Using the tripod allows much slower shutter speeds that help to make softer images in dunes when the wind is blowing the sand as it was that evening. The light was quickly leaving me so once my equipment was set up and the initial images were made, I was free to enter the stage. I had three poses to execute and worked through them quickly getting to the laying down pose last.

I knew in the field that it was an image I needed to use in my work. The best pose was easy to pick out. I pulled it into Photoshop along with the initial stage image I captured first. I used that initial stage image to remove any trace of footsteps I made while entering the scene. I also kept the initial clean shadow lines, while retaining the light falling on my body in the shadow. From there, I found a cave image I made from a small crevice in a sheer rock wall not far from the dune field. The single top rock with the dune extending into the cave is similar to what is sometimes found in the Serra Cafema area. I made a simple drop shadow and positioned it according to the light of the dunes. The last piece to put in place was the appropriate cloud cover to finish creating the mood I was looking for.

Ansel Adams once said “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” This is why I choose to focus my art into bodies of work that have very clear and personal objectives. Each images does tell it’s own story, yet it is the entire body of work that I hope brings that story even more focus by making the statements I intend. Proserpina is a body of work that is still ongoing, it is a story that is unfolding over time and has much more to tell. A story that, in the not too distant future, will add a new dimension. ~ Justin Hartford