Wednesday, November 18, 2009
For his theme, Brad has narrowed his selection Holga portraits. Holgas are an old toy camera from China that have attracted quite the following over the past decade, and Brad has done a great job finding shots the demonstrate the uniqueness of the medium. Make sure to visit the gallery to see all 10 shots, and wander on over to his New Jersey Wedding Photography website to learn about this week's curator. Here are a couple of Brad's selections.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
4) Your portraiture seems to focus on the very young and the very old. What draws you to those two ends of the the spectrum.
Well, I try to make interesting pictures, different than what the others photographers usually show, otherwise, there is no sense to practice photography. I look after emotional pictures, and directly, it leads me to children, because they like overall to play with the camera, it is game for them, and then to rather old people, as we can read their life (suffering, happiness) in their glances. Generally, they’re also the most eager to be a model.
Here are a few selections from Ray's feature. It was really hard to choose my favorite, because each one is engaging in its own way. Make sure you read the entire interview and view Ray's 10 selected portraits-- I highly recommend viewing them full-screen as a slideshow.
Spotlight Seven is a regular interview and photo series, featuring 10 portraits from one photographer and accompanied by a 10 question interview. With over 30 features so far, a wonderful breadth of portraits is available from photographers worldwide, each with a style his or her own. Each exhibit is curated either by talented New York City photographer Daniel Krieger (aka smoothdude) or one of the artists previously featured in the group. Sponsored by the 6 Million People project, Spotlight Seven has created its own presence on Flickr as the home of sign of its finest portrait photography. To make sure you never miss a feature, sign up for the newsletter, bookmark the blog or just check the group regularly.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Spotlight Seven is now on it's 38th installment, and this week's exhibit features CiaoChessa (Monica Shulman). Monica is a lawyer-turned-photographer residing in New York City, and maintains both a website and a blog. We were lucky to have the 6 Million People's top contributor, Denmark resident Itzick.
In addition to her outstanding portraits, Monica also creates wonderful seascapes and landscapes. Almost never without a camera for fear of missing that one great moment, Monica shares some of her experience shooting in New York City and around the world in this excerpt:
6) Looking in your stream I can see that you took pictures in different parts of the world. Are people on the street reacting differently in different countries? Can you give us some examples?
I find that there are two kinds of people: those who LOVE to have their photo taken and those who do not.
In New York you never know what you're going to get but I'm obviously always careful and respectful of people. I prefer candid shots but if the person notices me and puts their hand up or looks away or shakes their head, then I put my camera down. Many years ago, when I was still shooting primarily film, I saw this elderly woman on the street on 5th Avenue in NY. She was wearing the most colorful outfit that I've ever seen and her eyes were all made up with black eyeliner. I took her photo and she started screaming at me in the middle of 5th Avenue. I realized that she might be mentally ill and my photo was not meant to be disrespectful in any way but I wasn't about to explain this to her and it's not like I could delete the image from my camera...I just thought she was so...interesting and unique. She was small and old but she chased me across the street and I ran into the Disney Store of all places. She didn't follow me in. Years later when I look at that print I miss shooting film and I still laugh to myself about how I ran away from a woman on 5th Avenue. That's an extreme example but people in New York either don't care about you and your camera or they chase you down. I found that the same goes for cities in Europe and South America.
The only place I've traveled where I felt like it was exclusively one way - that people seemed to be indifferent about having their photo taken and that some of them actually embrace it - is in Southeast Asia. I was in Thailand and Cambodia and my experience was that the people were so relaxed and did not mind having their photo taken at all. But, basically, I think it's a person by person basis...
There's much more in the interview, so be sure to give it a read and enjoy all 10 of the photos selected for this week's exhibit. If you have any comments or questions or plaudits, please add your comments in the interview thread. Ciao!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Here's a brief excerpt from this week's interview:
3) Your flickr stream is mostly made up of portraits, is that your favorite subject photographically? Why?
Yes portraiture has always been a favourite of mine.
I am fascinated by how, in these frozen moments, the subject can engage the viewer and deliver a message, and encourage a kind of self reflective contemplation. Moments more difficult to appreciate when life is playing at full speed.
While scrolling through falsalama's profile page, I was struck by some of the testimonials, particularly this one from WasabiNoise:
"If I have to describe falsalama in a few words I must to say : enthusiasm and goodness. You can see it in each photo that he makes, how he catch the feelings of the nihonjins with his portraits, every new photo is really amazing and I'm very glad to enjoy with his work in Flickr."
Please check out the rest of falsalama's photos & interview in Spotlight Seven this week.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
So I went out storm chasing a little this afternoon, and then went over to the studio with Surrounded By Light. I've never really messed with studio strobes before, but I got a few decent shots. It didn't help that the strobes wouldn't meter with my camera, so it was all pretty much trial and error.
View On Black
Uploaded by Jeff__M on 20 Apr 09, 8.14PM PDT.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
We're starting a new feature here at 6 Million People, the smoothdude soul-revealing portrait of the week. Since the very talented smoothdude is now a full-time New York City photographer, I ordered him to make sure he takes at least one soul-revealing portrait each week. I'm going to choose one of his photos each week, post it here, and smoothdude will explain a little bit about what went into the photo.
The title of the thread is a bit of a lark, but it's true to itself. Daniel is a great portrait photographer, and that's what caught my eye when I first came across his work on Flickr. Since then, smoothdude has gone from being a very talented part-time photographer to being a full-time photographer with another full-time job. I asked him what happened to all those soul-revealing portraits, and he told me, in his inimitable fashion, "I got to pay the bills!"
Well, he's still got to pay the bills. But as a full-time photographer, he's going to have a lot more time to capture these great portraits which, while probably not paying the bills, have helped established smoothdude's reputation as a great photographer.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Brad is a good Flickr friend, and was actually the first artist we featured on Spotlight Seven. He was a good photographer then, and he's grown into an even better photographer over the past year.
The photography community is a close knit one and today, I’d like to share a few photographs from one of the leaders in NJ Wedding photography, Brad Ross. Brad is a talented photographer with a photojournalistic approach that helps to chronicle everyone’s emotions, from Bride and Groom to family and friends. He is like a fly on the wall in that he sees everything without ever getting in the way. When you look at Brad's portfolio, you’ll have no doubt that he is among the finest wedding photographers in NY and NJ. Give him a call if you’re in the NJ area and need a good photographer. To learn more about Brad, check out his Flickrstream, his website or his blog. But better book him now, because with crazy good photos like this, his calendar is sure to fill up fast!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I ran & photographed the Catalina Marathon for the 3rd time this year, and managed to get some nice photos of many finishers and other runners during the race. Check out the full race report linked above for the full details.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
This is the true face of Britain. That's the promise of the Thousand Portraits project from Carlo and Eamon. And they deliver on the promise. I'll let them describe the project:
Our project is a true portrait of Britain created by photographing 1,000 people. We stopped everyone who crossed our path on the streets of London, excluding nobody, asking the same question more than fifteen hundred times. In a moment where recession is the main subject of every discussion, it was striking to come across such positive attitude.
Now, these are not 1000 ordinary portraits. I've known Eamon on Flickr for a long time, and he was the premier artist in the Spotlight Seven group when he went by 'stpiduko'. Now known as Fabulous Muscles on Flickr, Twitter and his blog, the one constant has been his exceptional photography. Eamon is a film aficionado, and along with Carlo, they shot all 1000 portraits using a Nikon F90X with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. That worked out to about 1 photo every 40 seconds, according to his blog entry.
Eamon has been a part of the 6 Million People project for a long time, and quickly become one of the most prolific contributors when he added all 1000 portraits from that weekend and a few dozen more-- he doesn't stop! There are so many ways to view these photos. See them in Carlo's set, in Eamon's set, or in a video. The video is actually viewable in three different spots-- full-length on Vimeo or Youtube, or an abridged version is available right on Flickr.
The other half of the Thousand Portraits team is Carlo Nicora, a stubborn, idealistic, passionate polyhedric person. Or something like that. An Italian trasnplant reassembling his life in England, Carlo can easily be found on Twitter and Flickr as well. I've just discovered Carlo's work, and based on what I've seen so far, it will be a joy to explore it. What's really amazing is that these guys have made ALL 1000 portraits freely available for any non-commercial use, so you can use these photos to make your own videos, or to tell your own story, or for anything else. So on behalf of myself, the other members of the Six Million People project, Flickrites worldwide and photo lovers everywhere, I'd like to thank Carlo & Eamon for putting together a fantastic project and for sharing it with the world. Thanks guys! Now enjoy the video.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Jonas, formerly known as Pixelboy, is an the most exceptionally talented Swedish-born Australian copywriter turned photographer that the world has ever known. But that really understates it. A true Flickr original, Jonas is no doubt the finest wedding photographer in Brisbane, Australia. Check out his stuff on Flickr-- he has a style all his own, but more than that, he can take great photos in many different styles. Spend a few hours getting lost in his work.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
As he is for many that have seen his photographs, Rodolphe Simeon is one of my very favorite photographers. The fact that he has only been taking pictures for about 3 years kinda pisses me off - but he is so full of talent and such a nice guy that I have no choice but to forgive him.
His images hang framed above my computer monitor and next to my front door, providing inspiration while I work and every time I leave the house. They remind me that the art of photography in this digital age is very much alive and worthwhile.
1) Why do you make photographs?
Taking photos is a way to produce what I've had in mind for a long time. I started in October 2005, after seeing the documentary "War Photographer" about James Nachtwey. This documentary was a revelation for me. I understood that photography was the way to make my vision come alive.
So after seeing the movie, I went to a store and bought my first camera. I started to shoot everything I could, again and again, and suddenly I took two pictures that changed everything. One was of a homeless guy and the other was of a friend of mine making faces. This was the real starting point, the basis of what I have done since then.
I do photography more as an art form, because it keeps me alive as a child. I feel very strongly connected to my childhood when doing art. The child I was is really the strong basis of myself now. As a kid, I was always creating my own things, exploring my feelings freely, trying to invent my own rules, trying to understand my environment and other people. When doing art, I'm still the kid I used to be. With no borders except the ones I want. Another thing is that, when doing art, I take everything under control in a way. I can decide about every detail. Everything is my choice. Good or bad. It's a real satisfaction and a struggle at the same time.
2) Until very recently, your Flickr stream was silent for nearly a year - why?
During the past year major changes have happened in my personal life, so I've had less time for photography. At first it was very hard not to have time to produce more photos, but after a while, I found it very cool to stop photographing for a while because I was thinking that I didn't have the quality I wanted with my photography. So I took time to think about it, and I finally had some ideas about how to improve myself as an artist. I'm not really talking about technical aspects, because I'm not really focused on technique. I'm talking mostly about the meaning of what I'm doing. During this time, a lot of magazines interviewed me, and answering all their questions helped me understand more of what I was doing and what I needed to do. I did three big photo shoots during the past year without showing the pictures to anybody. I will most definitely publish some soon. My archives count perhaps 50,000 photos :-) Now, I'm back!
3) You relocated from Paris to Vancouver last year. How has the move effected your photography?
It hasn't changed anything. I have taken pictures in the street in 12 countries. I can do it anywhere, and staged photography can also be done anywhere. The only thing that is different here is that people are more positive and happy to see others succeed. In Paris, everybody is selfish and worrying about themselves. And they are so competitive - most of the time for no reason. Vancouver is very laid back. It's easier for me to create in this type of environment. I do the same things I used to do in Paris but with a better context around me.
4) Do you have a preference between street and staged photography?
It's two faces of the same coin. When things seem to be opposite of each other, it's perhaps because they are very similar.
5) Do you have a method for eliciting particular expressions from your subjects?
I always repeat that I don't have any particular methods, and it's true! What I photograph is what people are. I don't invent them. Even with staged photography, in a way it's not really staged. I'm just there with my camera trying to catch a part of the essence of the model. It's a strange process. My role is to push models in different directions and to see how they react. I don't come with any particular ideas to the photo shoot. Each time I did come with a plan, I didn't respect it! People inspire me on the spot! I help them discover aspects of themselves they don't know or don't like - sometimes the model takes the session as a chance to show who he/she really is. Working with models is more like a mind game than a photography issue.
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...
7) Which artists/photographers inspire you?
I'm really influenced by classical painting, from the Renaissance to the 19th century, and all of what I'm doing is connected to that. That's my real inspiration. My favorite painters are Da Vinci, Jacques-Louis David, Wermer, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, etc. In classical painting, the light is really the BIG thing, and I try to have that type of feel in my pictures.
I know how to draw in the classical style. And it's a great help when trying to understand light or manipulating it. I like the way classical paintings deal with reality. Most people think that classical paintings are "realistic" but that is definitely not true. Classical painting pretends to reproduce reality. Can we believe that the portrait of the French King Louis XIV (by Hyacinthe Rigaud) shows the King in his "reality"? No - it merely shows the idea of the King. The decorations, symbols, and personality depicted in the painting is a pretend game. As a conclusion, the "realistic" portrait is a major twist of reality - and I really do the same thing with photography. What I also like is that sometimes as people of the 21st century we cannot really understand all the true meanings of these paintings because the messages are connected to the culture of that time. But we still can feel the heaviness of the symbolism, and I love that mystery. I love to feel things while not really understanding them. OK... I'll stop here because otherwise I'll talk about it for hours! :-)
In photography almost all my favorite photographers are documentary photographers: Nachtwey, Salgado, Curtis, Burrows, etc. First, because they are really "painting with reality" - which means that they can go anywhere and know how to compose paintings with what they have in front of them. Second, because I like the idea of being an artist traveling all around the world, perhaps because I would love to do so.
8) Out of your photos selected here, which one means the most to you and why? (This shot was swapped for another in this weeks gallery per the Spotlight 7 rules, as it isn't a portrait...)
Out of your selection, I chose this photo because it's exactly what I'm doing with photography. When taking pictures of people, I undress them, take their picture, put their photos on hooks in my dark room, and after, I show that to everybody! One day I met a homeless guy who was a philosopher. He used to have Umberto Ecco as a teacher in Italy. He demonstrated to me during two hours why photography is "the art of death". I believe so. Photography is an art form that chooses subjects that are alive as models, but as soon as a photo is taken that subject is "dead". It is completely the opposite of Theater. Theater lets subjects live freely from beginning to end. This photo could be called "the art of photography".
9) Do you have any new projects in the works?
I have many on-going projects. One with black & white photography, but it's too soon to talk about it. Otherwise, I'm trying to give more uniqueness to what I'm doing, because in a way, I'm disappointed by photography. When I print my photos, I'm always sad. The quality of prints is never what I want because it's only a piece of paper and nothing more. I'm now trying to produce more unique pieces. Of course I understand that pictures can live on screens, but when printing my photos, I feel that I can do more than just print them. I think that my love for art pushes me in that direction more and more. Another thing I will do this year is to promote my art. I didn't have time this year to do so, but now, the time has come.
10) Show us your favorite photo on Flickr...
In fact, I have 2. They're not really pictures. They're 2 buddy icons.
The first is yours (kelco):
...because I never understood the relationship with your icon and what you're doing. It intrigues me a lot! I think about it each time I see it, I ask myself about it.
The second one is the one of Junku
...because he's one of my favorite photographers on Flickr too and because I love how he seems twisted in his icon. It's kind of strange. But It's so him for me, and again, each time I see it I try to understand something about it.
I love these 2 icons. I'm sure that the stories behind them are very simple. But I don't want to know. I prefer to stay with the mystery.
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.
2: Every photographer has to start somewhere. Do you remember the first roll of film you took? If so, with what camera and do you still have the negs?
I remember it all too clearly. It was a roll of Kodak colour negative film. I dont remember the specifics of the film though. It was my last week of primary school. I was in Standard 6 and at 12 years of age. I begged my mother to let me use her Olympus Pen so I could take some photographs of my friends in school (after this point, many of us would go to different secondary schools and eventually lose contact). My mother agreed. I was ecstatic! I remember those exposures very well. I dont know if the photographs were technically good, but time has a way of putting great value on photographs. Those were probably the best photographs I've ever taken. The film is still around. Its in that huge box where my mother keeps all our photographs.
3 : When did taking photographs chang from wanting to take snap shots to something a little more serious?
I was probably about 4 years old. I had never been allowed to touch the family camera. But I remember looking at the photos on Nat Geo and Life. It was at that age I knew I wanted to make those photographs. I still wonder if it was the photographs I craved or just a sense of adventure that ran hot in my veins. The real change in respect with the question came in 1992 when I was on a 10 week expedition in Borneo. That is where it all came together. But photos I would be happy with wouldnt have happened until just a few years ago. I couldn't afford a camera for the longest time.
4: What camera are you using now and is it your camera of choice ? Is there something else you wish you had / what is your ideal set up.
My desert island camera would be my Nikon FM2n. It fits great in my hand and it to a point lets me "see" better. The camera somehow lets me take the most amazing photos. I simply love it to bits. As for lenses, I am not fussed. A 35 mm or 50 mm would be great. No flash.
I shoot all my portraits on a Hasselblad 500 C through a 80 mm Planar T*. It seems to be the right camera for the photographs I want to take. All the photographs featured here on Spotlight Seven were taken with the Hasselblad except for one.
I love both my camera setups and dont think I can wish for anything else at this point. Both cameras help me extend my vision of what I see in my head. If anything else, a 120 mm Makro for the Hasselblad and a couple of PocketWizards would be nice.
5 : What is it about photography / portrait photography that interests you?
I like people. I think that is the most important thing about my portrait work. I dont think I can take the photographs I take if I did not have a sincere appreciation for people. Photographing people lets me into their lives, even if its for a few minutes. Looking down the camera for the shot I want, there is a sort of detachment and at once attachment between me and the person in front of me. I guess this is why I mainly stick to people photography- its what is natural to me.
6 : How do you approach your subjects ? what level of interaction do you have with them?
I am very casual and candid with the persons I want to photograph. I just go up to them tell them what I am doing and ask them if they would like to be photographed. I sometimes joke about things and sometimes I can be very intense. And the promise of a copy of the photograph in their mailbox is usually a bonus to them. I always have my camera in the bag when approaching people. I dont know why I do this but I feel it may be less intrusive. I've never figured it out. I also have an iPod full of photos that I've taken, especially some from the project I'm working on. This is an important tool I use to help explain my intentions to people.
8: where do you want to go from here ? aspirations ?
My photographs have to mean more than just useless pieces of art. It would be a waste if everything I did is just a pretty photograph and nothing beyond that. I've got a personal obligation to do something more with it. I cant tell you what I am going to do as I am still developing my ideas and plans. So I guess you'll have to follow me for a few years to see where all this ends up. Or doesn't!
9: Film Versus digital?
Apples and oranges. I love digital for certain work I do. For now at least, my personal work just seems to translate better on film. Thats it!
10: Flickr has become a more than just a show case of peoples work. Do you think it is almost an essential tool for developing photographers?
Like everything else, Flickr is a tool. It can be a very very powerful tool if you know what to do with it. Not just from the marketing and self-promotion point of view. I use it as a tool to analyse my own work, edit, sort and it is a great time-line review of my photographs. It has helped me make critical judgement and in that way helped my vision grow. Its also a great place for discussions, sharing and learning. But of course, you have to make wise choices about what and how you operate on Flickr. It can easily become a self defeating monster that can suck everything out of you.