Flickr friend, and the star of several photo streams.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Amazing stuff this week from Renq, courtesy of resident curator madeinsheffield. Our first-ever Estonian artist in Spotlight 7, it's hard to believe that he first picked up a camera 2 years ago. Just goes to show that some people just have an amazing natural talent for photography. Rene Piirkop is the odd photographer that started on digital-- in 2006-- and now exclusively shoots film. The photos are timeless and eye-catching, and Rene gives us a small peak into his work habits.
3) Your portraits are very considered - do you spend much time planning them before hand?
Most of my portraits have been taken spontaneously, quite accidentally, and by momently emotion. I do not plan my portraits.Naturally I pay a lot of attention to the background, but these are quick momently decisions in the course of shooting. I do not make classic photo session where during long hours a model is forced to try hundreds of poses.
Check out all 10 portraits please, and be sure to leave some comments and feedback for our featured artist on the interview page. Thanks all!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
That's me, photo courtesy of Daniel Krieger, aka smoothdude on Flickr. Smoothie, as he's often called on Flickr isa terrific New York City-based wedding photographer, commercial photographer, photojournalist and a stunning portraitist, too. We met up for lunch yesterday in Chinatown, and then snapped far too many shots on the street. Check out all his work, and be sure to pay extra attention to his great portraits.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Week 33 of Spotlight Seven features our first South American, Verónica Noonan aka teleoalreves, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Which means we've now featured artists from six different continents! This is just a little bit of this week's interview.
4) How do you interact with your models when you're photographing them. Do you joke around with them or talk to them a lot? tell us how you get emotion from them?
That's the question. There's a magical success when the model is front of me , perfect strangers who naturally fell comfort, I usually let them be , but when I need something in particular, I guide them with little words, only that. Some awesome things happens to me with the persons in front of my camera. I 'm very thankful. Maybe it's a gift somebody gave to me!!!!
Verónica also maintains her own website, which no doubt features some of the best portrait photography in Argentina. The photos there are definitely worth a visit, and the website is very elegant. She probably has written a wonderful description of her work on her profile page, but as my Spanish is very rusty, I'll depend on her English testmonials to tell you that she has some huge fans. But hey, take a look for yourself in this week's Spotlight Seven exhibit.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
From the photographer:
At six in the morning, fire engine sirens woke me from my sleep. Less than a mile from my home, dark smoke was pouring from a house. I quickly grabbed my photographic equipment and left. You can see from the face of the fireman, that the house could not be saved.
Ce matin à 6 heures, de nombreuses sirènes de pompier attirent mon attention. A moins d’un kilomètre de ma maison, un incendie dégageait une épaisse fumée noirâtre.. Vite préparer mon matériel photo et partir... Nous pouvons lire sur le visage de ce pompier que la maison n'a pas pu être sauvée.
Los Angeles, California, USA
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Oxjonte was asking for advice on how to get more people viewing his photos in Flickr Central, so I decided to look at his stream. It's really top-notch stuff, and this is one of the best child portraits I have ever come across-- really amazing. It holds together so well, from the jet-black background, to the attentive yet inquisitive stare, the huge buttons, the tones, the shadow, the lighting... everything.
Oxjonte added many other photos to the pool as well, so please check them out and give this gifted photographer some of the attention he deserves.
Superchou is another Flickr friend, and she takes some really neat photos. The one above, from a computer lab, is a great portrait and I was pleased when she added it to the group. Lately, it's been a treat to view her photos of the Western Center in Pittsburgh, and it's always a treat to see her wide-angle shots. Superchou's wonderful husband (or so we're told) is a musician or musical producer or just some sort of all around musical genius. I'm certain he is both, so if you need a music dude, especially if you're in Pittsburgh, check out Josh's composition, remixes and more.
About a Man, a Mouse, a Gun, a Moustache, Some Gold Chains, a Pair of Glasses, and a Polkadot Bow...
This is my friend Trejack, in what has to be one of the more original photos ever submitted to 6 Million People. It's a satire of a parody, or a parody of a satire. Whatever. Tre is a really good photographer, taking great photos of his daughter, all around Katy, Texas, the local pooches and much more. Really, Tre's true genius is taking one great photo for themed photo competitions, which he has turned into a bit of an art. You can find more of Tre's fantastic work on his website and at his Flickr stream.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
This is my friend Ian, perfectly posed in this perfectly taken self-portrait. Ian, or 01101001 01100001 01101110, is really a great photographer, and is a genius with both MS Paint and Photoshop, using whatever tool is necessary to create the effect he wants. One of his favorite tactics is to create symmetry where none exists, and building outrageously fun camera rigs for his car. Whether you want a photo of car parks or skateboards, Ian's your guy. Be sure to check out more of Binary's work on his photostream and his website, which just leads back to his photostream actually. So no need to check out both, really. Hopefully he returns to America to he can take more photos of the states and so we can have another Flickr meet-up.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Please visit the 32nd installment of Spotlight Seven, featuring the photography of p0cket-paul, as curated by madeinsheffield. Obsessed with cameras since using his dad's Olympus to take photos of the television, p0cket-paul has no doubt improved considerably since those early days-- his portraits are stunning. Here's a short excerpt for the interview.
8) You shoot portraits in both colour and black and white - do you have a preference or does the choice depend on the subject?
If it is not digital or an organised situation then it will be whatever is in the camera. Although, I believe that everything I shoot should be in colour for conceptual reasons but I have a love of B&W for aesthetic reasons. Sometimes it is hard or pointless not to contradict your own ideology.
Please check out all 10 ten photos and the interview.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
you can see the interview at Spotlight 7 here:
Hi all - wanted to invite you to come and see this week's interview with Rod Monkey - He's a Scott living in London - who brings his fascination with modern urban landscapes to bear in his portraiture - Thanks again to Jake and Smoothdude for inviting me to guest curate again and of course to Rod himself!
Here are some teasers!
4) I know you have traveled all over the world to shoot - from Chile to the south west of America to Eastern Europe - what's the portrait you wish you'd gotten to take on your travels - the one that "got away"?
4. I'm going to cheat here and talk about a shot i did actually take, and I'm going to class it as a portrait, even though the subject was an inanimate object.
I took a shot of a toppled giant Moai on Rapa Nui (Easter Island) just after sunrise - he looked so serene, lying on his back in the warm morning light - totally relaxed and at peace. It was a gorgeous shot and I'm convinced it was one of the best shots I've ever taken. Unfortunately I managed to drop my portable hard drive with all my Chile images on it when I got home. This damaged the drive and meant i couldn't access the photos. I spent a lot of money to have the data recovered by a specialist firm and they managed to recover about 95% of them....but not this particular image. Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhhh!!!! Oh well, it just gives me even more reason to go back to this amazing island!
5) In your recent year you've focused a lot more on people - what has influenced this movement?
5. I think I just wanted to try something different - up until 15 months ago, if a person was in my photo it was a mistake - they'd wandered into shot and I hadn't noticed. I think spending so much time on Flickr seeing so many wonderful portraits made me realise i was missing out, so I took the plunge and bought a small home studio kit - I have to say I've really loved the change of emphasis.
and More of Rod's work here:
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
That's right, Krieger scored an interview with the one & only merkley???? Here's an excerpt from his interview-- which fits in perfectly with everything else I've read about this genius.
5) You don't care much for cameras but have you ever shot with a DSLR or something like a Hasselblad, or as I think you've named it, the "Hasselhoff" ? Would you play around with one if someone lent you one for a day?
Haven't yet shot medium format style but i absolutely would if someone lent me one, i'm not anti-tech by any means, i'm just anti the notion that it's required and i like to champion the notion of getting to work with what you have instead of endlessly making excuses about equipment.
plus i'm lazy and i like to travel light.
when most people talk tech they are really talking about turd polishers but all i can see are their turds, polished or not. the anti-tech "filmy" people are even worse. it's mostly those with no ideas that clamor endlessly about tech up or down.
i'd love to have a camera that would capture the resolution of an eagles eye and i can't wait until they are also that small. btw i have a dslr and i use it for official shoot type stuff, i just can't wait til it no longer offers me anything i need or want. that day is fast approaching.
i want small.
a good camera will never make a good picture, people with good ideas and work ethics make them.
Part of the genius of merkley??? is his unique communication style-- half promotional, half befuddled, half shocked and half bored. Which makes for, like, 2 merkley???s. And always interesting, of course. And good-humored, and proud yet humble at the same time. Go read his profile. View his photostream. Read his blog. And most importantly, buy his book! So in that vain, here's some more of his genius, taken from some follow on questions that merkley??? answered in his interview.
Q: How do you get the cats to cooperate?
A: now it wouldn't be fun to toss them if they cooperated now would it :)
Q: And finally, you say on your site that you don't have meetings to set up your shots but they are often very complex and occasionally seem to take inspiration from paintings (one I looked at reminded me very much of a fucked up contemporary klimt) so is this intentional? Does it take a while for you to get your muse for want of a better phrase or do you just go for it and see what happens?
A: I think I have heard the klimt thing before but let me google again to see who you're talking about. -- oh yeah, no -- he was never an inspiration, even in my painting days i always thought those images were kinda faggy -- which isn't really a bad thing but you know, i'm so effin MACHO :)
besides the infections i carry with me from the inspirations i list in my profile, i don't set out to emulate or base things on other works. i'm too insecure for that.
as far as the getting my muse thing -- for the most part my subjects are all excited about getting into the retarded spirit and having fun, occasionally i'll get stuck with a person that isn't as receptive to unusual ideas and that can hurt the spirit but at the same time something inside of me enjoys a challenge and even a really frustrating experience can turn into something rewarding. but yeah, sometimes it's easier than others and at no time is it ever as bad as having an actual JOB.
Monday, September 29, 2008
In the first week of our Visiting Curator series, madeinsheffield has selected Lou O' Bedlam to be the featured artist for week 29 of Spotlight Seven. Lou picked up his first camera, a Polaroid, after reading the Stephen King story Sun Dog. Lou, an EMT living in the Los Angeles, is a true Polaroid devotee. So much so that if given $10,000, Lou would spend the whole sum on Polaroid film. Here's just one of the question & answer exchanges.
3) Your subjects seem very relaxed with you. What's your method of working - how do you put them at ease? Do you give them much direction?
My "method", as it is, pretty much is hinged on conversation. I started doing more Photo Shoot type work mainly because I wanted to hang out with particular people I found interesting, and wanted to know more about. As a result, most of a standard shoot revolves around simply talking. Asking questions, sharing stories, discovering people. I think a lot of the "ease" seen in my photos is mostly because the actual photography is, hopefully, well-integrated with the hanging out and talking.
I tend to give very little direction, sometimes as little as "freeze right there, don't move." I'm trying to capture things I see in a particular expression, or pose, more than trying to place a model in a situation I've crafted.
Learn a lot more about Lou and his creative process in this week's Spotlight Seven interview. And check out all 10 of the amazing portraits selected for his exhibit. And be sure to check Lou O' Bedlam's website if you have a chance.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
This week in Spotlight Seven, guest curator kelco selected the amazing Rodolphe Simeon, aka Tous les noms sont déjà pris... pfff..., for the Spotlight Seven exhibit. I'm going to crib from his testimonials, because my words cannot do Rodolphe justice.
"Words fail to express how brilliant this guy is. I guess the only way to realize it yourself is to take a look at his photostream...it is one of the best I've ever seen! Bizarre, unconventional, unique and filled with imagination from the first picture to the very last. When I was just a Flickr virgin a few years ago I remember having seen his photostream back then...and now, three four years later I came to the conclusion that his work is something you simply won't forget.
Perhaps one of my favorite photographers here!"
Having photographed people in 12 different countries, Rodolphe has taken his move from Paris to Vancouver in stride. Equally at home shooting in the street or the studio, Rodolphe shows a dedication to his work that most of us can't even aspire to. I know that sounds like an exaggeration, but I think this excerpt from the interview will convince every last one of you.
6) What camera/lenses/computer/software/workflow do you prefer and how much time do you spend processing your images?
I'm a Canon/Mac guy, like perhaps 80% of people in the business. Nothing spectacular. I have a Canon because all the people I know use Canon and it's more easy to exchange lenses or cameras. I have a 5D - it's an amazing camera. I can count on it all the time. My lenses are a 50mm f1.4 and a 17-40mm f4L. I have a Mac computer because Macs are 200% reliable. I use Lightroom to transform RAW files to PSD. I don't do any processing with Lightroom (not even the White balance). I do the entire post-processing in Photoshop.
I usually edit 300 pictures down to only like one photo. I spend, on average, 40 hours in post-processing on the one photo I really like. I'm pretty slow. Especially because I take a lot of time to think about what I'm doing. Technique is not really a problem. Sometimes I could probably do a better technical job, but meaning is more important. Meaning is everything, so I spend more time on research - looking through painting books, reading things, thinking, etc...
Well, that should sell you on the rest of the interview. Every week when I put this together I am truly taken aback by the depth of the interviews in Spotlight 7 and the quality of the photos. Please visit Spotlight 7, and join the group so you never miss a show. Oh, you can see more of Rodolphe Simeon's photos at his website. Enjoy these masterpieces on Flickr & beyond. And a big thanks to kelcon & Rodolphe for this week's exhibit.
Monday, September 15, 2008
For the 27th installment of Spotlight Seven, we feature Vignes Balasingam, known on Flickr as devilmangod. This week's interview, artist selection and photo selection was made by week 2 artist 'stpiduko'.
Vignes was born in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, moved to the country as a child where he enjoyed the adventure of the forest and never paid much heed to warnings of tigers in the area, and now has come full circle and lives in heart of Kuala Lampur. Vignes has been fascinated by photography since he was a child, wanting to move past snapshots at the wise age of four. Here's a brief excerpt from his interview.
1: Location is everything, so interested to know where you were born, spent your childhood and where you live now?
I was born in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia; the house my grandparents raised their thirteen children and eight nephews and nieces. It was the house my father would woo the woman that would become his wife and my mother. When I was eight, we moved far out of the city to a new housing estate. It was located between a rubber plantation and a primary rainforest. I remember wild boars would roam the streets at night rummaging through the dustbins for food. We didnt have water supply then, so we walked about 2 kms for fresh water from the river. My brother and I spent most of our time in the river and forest to my mother's grief. Some evenings, the jungle police would drive slowly speaking over their PA system warning residents that a tigers had been spotted. That never really meant anything to me and my brother. The sense of adventure was too strong to resist. Now I live in an apartment on the 6th floor in the heart of the city of Kuala Lumpur. Its not as exciting as the dwelling of my youth but it does make moving around easy.
Be sure to check out the whole interview and all 10 portraits, or feel free to view more of his photos in his photostream or at his personal website.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Please welcome our Week 16 featured Artist, Emaitchess.
1) How did you first get into photography and what was your first real camera?
I was born in Australia in 1963. When I was a young child my family left for the UK. We travelled often, and my parents took a lot of slides with a Voigtlander which they were very proud of. As a young child I was fascinated by this camera - I loved the dials around the lens, the cool smooth sheen of the metal case, and especially the strange yellow ghost in the rangefinder. I even loved the smell of the leather case! I often pestered them to let me take pictures with it. We didn't own a projector, but would look at the slides together through an illuminated handheld slide viewer. I became very conscious of how emotionally powerful photographic images can be; many of those early family images have become almost talismanic ... images of memories, or memories of images...
The first camera of my own was a Kodak Instamatic, which my parents gave me shortly before we left the UK in 1970. The Instamatic used the Kodak 126 format: square images on 35mm film which came in a cartridge. I can still remember getting the first packet of pictures back from the chemist. I was 7, and still have an almost visceral memory of the crushing disappointment of the many blurred and out-of-focus images ... and of the electric thrill of the one or two that worked! I have a couple of images from that first roll in my flickr stream (eg: ).
Not long after we returned to Australia, an uncle gave me a box full of old darkroom gear. By the age of 10, I was developing my own B&W films, and printing onto printing-out-paper.
My first SLR was a Canon TLb, which I bought second hand with my paper round money. I was 14, and passionate about photography ... it was what I wanted to do when I grew up.
2) Where do you live now and how does your photography reflect your environmental surroundings?
I live in an inner-city suburb of Melbourne; it is a very beautiful, gentrified area, with lots of renovated Victorian & Edwardian houses which sell for absurd amounts of money.
I'm not sure that my photography really reflects my environment at all. I think my pictures are very interior ... concerned more with my relationship with myself - and the relationship my subject has with herself or himself - than the relationship of either of us with our surroundings. Perhaps you could argue that that sort of introspection is a luxury afforded by a comfortable middle-class environment. It can be a little intense ... I suppose I should get my camera out of the house more!
3) This set titled Effluxion of Time where you photographed someone 25 years ago and then again in 2008 is really inspiring. Tell us a bit about it.
Thank you – that is a great compliment! I love the idea that my pictures might be inspiring.
At the age of 20, photography was still what I wanted to do when I grew up. I got into the photography course at Prahran College in Melbourne. This was the art school where many great Australian photographers studied (Bill Henson, Carol Jerrems, Chris Koller, Polly Borland, Peter Milne, Leah King-Smith). It was a very exciting, creative and challenging school. I loved it. I was one of the younger students in my year, and I fancied myself as a bit of a star. I think I was probably a complete pain in the arse… The 1984 images from The Effluxion of Time project were all taken for Prahran College folios.
Halfway through second year, in the fog of a drug-fuelled despond, I let the course fall apart. I dropped out, and in a few years had sold my cameras, and lost touch with serious photography.
I recovered psychologically, but pursued different paths. First, I washed dishes, conducted trams, and cooked tacos. Then I became a lawyer!
I bought a digital SLR in late 2006 to photograph my young son, Arlo. To my astonishment, in using it I rediscovered my original passion for photography, and since then, I have been intensely absorbed (once again) by looking at, reading and thinking about, and making photographs. Flickr has been a big part of this rebirth.
I started the Effluxion project to give me something focus on as I got back into photography. The project, though, became really quite profound (for me anyway!). I realized the project was really autobiographical, and is concerned with my own relationship with photography, and of the various choices I had made (or had failed to make) and which had led me to the middle of my life.
The 1980s pictures (which are all of my friends from the time) had haunted me for a long time – like the talismanic Kodachromes of my early childhood, these were images that gave me a memory … a memory of myself when I thought I might be an artist, and not a corporate lawyer. In photographing my friends again, I feel I have started to deal with the sadness I feel about some of the life choices I have made.
At the same time, though, the project did become very emotionally complex. Not many of my friends were happy with the images, and some were profoundly unhappy. Trying to navigate the ethical questions has been very difficult, and possibly that journey is still unresolved.
Earlier this year I had a solo exhibition of these images, which was a really exciting and rewarding experience.
4) I feel like some of them got better looking..do you attribute that to the awkwardness of youth? or are you just that good a photographer?
Apart from the subjects themselves, many people have made that comment. I think it probably reflects a few things: firstly, the photographer in the 1980s images was trying very hard to be dramatic and provocative; whereas the older photographer probably has a more nuanced vision. It may sound ironic, as the pictures are obviously not necessarily flattering, but I think the recent images are more respectful. There is obviously also an awkward (though beautiful) hubris to the youthful subjects. But I think, generally, people just become more complex, rich and interesting as they get older.
5) Did you know at the time what you were doing? That you would revisit it in 25 years? Did anyone pass away that you couldn't photograph again?
When I was 20, it never occurred to me that one day I would be 45! Some people have compared this to a “Seven Up” type project, but that has never been my intention. It might be interesting to photograph these people again in another 20 odd years, though. Assuming any of them ever let me near them with a camera again!
I am still pursuing several of my old friends to photograph them for the project. Some live overseas. Others just won’t return my calls!
Sadly, a couple of people I photographed in the 80s have died. Vale Jane  and Tom …
6) In this portrait, the Depth of Field seems very sharp on his face, and then falls off drastically to his body. Did you manipulate it at all or was it the lens you were using?
I used a large format (5x4) view camera and tilted the lens panel. This rotates the plane of focus from parallel with the film, and allowed me to shoot at f.22 (to keep his whole face sharp) but to blur the rest of the image. The view camera is very interesting for many reasons, but I think that the ability to move the focal plane is particularly intriguing – it can get gimmicky very quickly, but used carefully, I think it can be very powerful.
7) What is your camera of choice for portrait work?
For the formal, studio-based portraits, I use a Mamiya RB67, and the 5x4 view camera. I will normally shoot several rolls with the RB, and then finish the session with a few sheets using the LF camera. Sometimes I work with the RB handheld (with a grip) – it weighs a ton, but it can be quite interesting to move around the person a little.
8) How do you get the emotion you want from your models?
My photo sessions are generally very quiet. We will often have a conversation while shooting that has nothing to do with the pictures. Sometimes I ask the subject to recall a particular memory. Another technique is to ask them to think of the camera as a mirror, and just to contemplate their reflection.
When I was 20. and an arrogant shit, I tried a more confrontational approach to provoke emotion. I photographed Jacinta  in 1984 and made her cry. I was wracked with shame about that for two decades! I got back in touch with her last year and was delighted that she allowed me to redeem myself!
9) Show us your favorite portrait that wasn't chosen for Spotlight Seven.
That is such a hard question... I do love this picture of my wife:
10) Show us a photograph on flickr you wish you took.
Flickr is full of photographs I wish I had taken! There a many incredible photographers posting here, it seems unfair to single one out. But since you asked… I love this image by .severine [http://www.flickr.com/photos/natur_elle/] : www.flickr.com/photos/natur_elle/1535239454/
The 10 photos chosen from Emaitchess: