Saturday, 16 August 2014

Wk 4 Texture and Positive and Neg space Artists

Edward Jean Steichen 

(27 March 1879 - 25 March 1973)

An American photographer, painter, art and museum curator.  He revolutionized celebrity fashion photography in the 1920's and 30's.  As chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair Magazine, his work included portraits of writers, artists, actors, dancers and politicians.   At that time, he was considered the best known and most paid photographer in the world.

Below is a portrait of silent film actor Gloria Swanson.  The textured veil positioned perfectly on her face creates an interesting mood.  Her facial expression seems quite piercing, her eyes appear strong as she looks straight into the camera. Her mouth clench tight keeping her lips together.  The pattern over her left eye appears darker, with a bit of blur over it.  Shes looks as though she's waiting behind leaves for the right moment to pounce.  I like how this texture adds another dimension to the photo,
as if an alter ego - showing us the inner person of the subject.  More than just a pretty face!

The texture on Edward Jean Steichen's subject adds drama to the photo.  The texture uses negative space to draw attention to the main subject while providing areas for the eye to rest.

Title: Gloria Swanson 1924, Artist: Edward Steichen,
“A Steichen photograph is first a study of light,” wrote Alexander Liberman, Vogue’s art director, in a 1959 tribute. “The secret power of his work is in his instinctive knowledge of the exact moment when illumination fully reveals the subject.”

Title: Wind Fire - Marie-Theresa Duncan on the Acropolis 1921, Artist: Edward Steichen, Medium: Photograph
 The texture of the leafy branch is very strong, it is in focus and acts as a pointer to the subject.  The curves of the dress formed by the wind adds drama leading movement upward and around the subject.  The smoothness of the dress sits in contrast to the roughness of the rocks, the furry grass and the lumpy movement of what appears to be the sea.  These contrast of textures reinforce the subject, making her stand out even more.

This photos awesome, i like how he captured the dress flowing in the wind.  The curve of the arm melding into the top of the mountains in the distances reinforces the movement of his subject.  Her hair is mirrored by the leafy branches at the bottom of the picture which is positioned leaning toward her.  Her position leads the eye easily around her body, which keeps your eye moving around the picture to see details you wouldn't have seen at first glance.

Eikoh Hosoe

A Japanese photographer and filmmaker.  Known for his psychologically charged images, exploring subjects of death, erotic obsession and irrationality.  His black and white photos are very haunting as if capturing a glimpse of  spiritual beings existing among the living.  You can watch a short interview  of Eikoh Hosoe sharing a brief background of his works.

These images illustrate how Eikoh Hosoe uses negative and positive space.
Title: Man and Woman #33
I really like this photo, the composition is perfect and my eye easily moves in and around this photo.  The birds are the first thing you see, they sit on the intersecting line, the birds are also being framed by the mans hands.  The vertical line defined by his torso, leads the eye up and around to the arm which then directs the eye to the birds.  The man's body contrasts with the black background  which further reinforces the birds in the foreground.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Bernd and Hilla Becher inspired photos

Bernd and Hilla Becher are a husband and wife team known for their grids of black and white photographs of industrial sites.   Below are some photos which have been inspired by some of their photos.  With these photos i tried to take them on an overcaste day, however the second photo was taken on quite a sunny day hence the shadows.  I also tried to take the photos straight on, trying to capture as much of the structure as possible.  In post production i converted to black and white and adjusted the contrast and exposure to give the photos a flat appearance.

Bernd and Hilla photo

f/5.6, 1/30, ISO 100

 Bernard and Hilla photo

Title: Grain Elevators, Bins 1978-82, Bernd and Hilla, Medium: Photograph, Size 12.5x16inch, 8 Gelatin Silver Prints

f/5.6, 1/30, ISO 100

Bernd and Hilla photo

F/5.6, 1/200, ISO 100

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Wk 4 - Textures

Week 4 

The journey continues with manual mode!  Today we are looking at textures and using positive/Negative space.

Textures are described as something you can feel as well as see.  Textures add interest into your images, and often show objects from uncommon vantage points.  Below are some examples of texture photos which i shot.
f/32.0, 1/5, ISO 100
This piece wood has lines running through it.  The wood has many grooves and furry spongy plant matter growing between it. 

The reason why this photo is out of focus is because of camera shake.  This photo was taken hand held at a fast shutter speed.  For any speeds under 1/60 of a second require a tripod.

f29, 1/250, ISO 1600
The tyre marks made in the dirt are raised imprints, between are spikes of grass which are spread all along the tyre tracks. I like how the tyre track patterns are interrupted by the greenery which break up the photo and lead the eye into another direction instead of just up and down.  I think i might play with this image in photoshop and see what i come up with.

I wasn't really wow'ed by my textured photos during class, so i'll definitely be taking some more and at different angles.

Textures revisited...

Went for a drive down to Highbrook and stopped off to take some landscape photos by the water.  It was a terribly cold and the wind was going crazy.  I was able to take some of textured photos which i liked better - i was aiming for natural matter hence the dirt, stones and roots.  Anyways here they go!

f/5.6, 1/500, ISO 200
I know another dirt shot - but look how beautiful the detail is of the tire marks.  I like how the light cast shadows in the little groves of the patterns forming darker spaces only broken by flatterned parts which the tire did not fully go over.  This is a much better imprint, the patterns are a lot closer to each other which make them visually interesting.

f/36, 1/100, ISO 200
This is a shot of the carpark road.  Glistening from the recent pocket of rain which decided to let rip moments after i drove in to the carpark.  The water adds another interesting element to the texture of the stones.  Giving the edges of the stones touched by the water a smoother softer look.  There are some little puddles which have formed in between the spaces which have been filled with water.

f/36, 1/15, ISO 200
This is a shot of grass roots mixed with stones from the path.  The texture of these roots look woody, dry, tough and soggy.  I like how the stones can be found in different parts of the roots.  This could be because the roots have grown over the path or because the stones were kicked to the side by people walking by.

Wk 4 - Positive and Negative Space

Positive and Negative Space

What is positive space?
It is the part of your photo which is the central focus, it is your subject.
What is negative space?
This is the space which surrounds your subject.  The purpose of negative space is to direct your eye/attention to the subject.

f/29, 1/160, ISO 1600
Negative space can be anything such as a surface, patterns, faces, clothing etc...  Above and below are my examples of positive and negative space.  The negative space is the wood chips, i position my subject (the mushrooms) on an intersecting line to reinforce its focus.  I like the contrast in shapes and forms the wood chips being linear while the mushrooms are circular.

f/5.6, 1/80, ISO 200
My subject is the two little green plant matter.  The use of leading lines and the solid red directs right to the little plants.  This is a photo of the rear lights of my car.

Self directed:

Here are some shots i took using positive and negative space -
f/36, 1/250, ISO 400
 This is a shot of mt Wellington.  I framed the branches around the mount, i focused on the midground to give the photo some texture.  There is few textural elements in the photo, the different shapes of the leaves some are straight edged where on others their is more furry looking leaves.  The sand is has some flat areas and wavy parts which lead your eye to the ripples in the water. 
f/36, 1/320, ISO 400
This is another shot, i moved over positioning mt Wellington on an intersecting line.  These shots look as though they were shot in black and white, i deliberately didn't adjust my settings to bring in more light to highlight how negative space can be used to reinforce the subject.

f/20, 1/250, ISO 400
This was taken at the MIT Game of the Week rugby game.  The sign is the main subject, it dominates the photo by its size and because it is in the foreground.  By including the grass and roof top in the background i reinforced the colours of the sign.  The colour of the sky and clouds also add a boost of colour to complement the sign

Wk 4 - Digital tech

 Well well well good old photoshop.  Took a bit rebooting (my brain that is!), but with the help of Caryline (my ever so patient teacher) i was able to complete all my exercises.  I definitely will have a go with these so that i am able to navigate through photoshop easier.

The photos are from the photoshop exercises we did in class. 

f/3.5, 1/500, ISO 200
 Below is textured image placed over a portrait.  The texture photo i used was a piece of wood.  I tried other texture photos i had taken, but it didn't really work.

This was pretty cool, it took a few goes to get it right - i can see that i didn't get the textured part right on the edge.  I would definitely do this again and try and not have any of the face edge clear.
f5.0, 1/15, ISO 100
This was cool, converting to black and white using the B&W adjustment layer.  I felt like i was actually painting the colour on to the bag.  I had to zoom right in and try and stay within the lines.  I really like this, and i know i will be playing around with this feature.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Wk 3 - Framing and Composition

Shooting in Manual

Hello manual! Over the last two weeks we have been shooting in Aperture and Shutter priority.  So when we were asked to switch to Manual, i was a bit apprehensive.  After great direction, it didn't feel so foreign.


Framing, draws attention to the subject in the photo by using other parts of the image with something in the scene.

f3.5, 1/500, ISO 200
This isn't the best example of framing but i promise i will post up a better photo.  This was taken during our class exercise.  Shot at a low depth of field, my main focus was to practice shooting in manual.  I'm not 100% sure what im doing so i'll be doing alot of research with it all.  As you can see the colours are a bit blah, which i absolutely hate but i hope that as i become more informed the quality of my photos will show some sort of improvement. 

While doing research on a website called Digital Photography School advice which was offered when framing a subject was to as whether the framing would add or distract attention away from image.  As this can cause a photo to appear cluttered or on the flip side transform an ordinary shot to a stunning photo.


This is all about how you compose your shots.  Like a song writer, putting together the right words to music can make a song unforgettable.  This is also true for photos, balance is the key.  It's been quite a journey learning how all of these elements work together to make a shot balanced.  There are so many things to consider.   In class Caryline spoke about photography being a "considered" approach, i really like that!  It rings truth to the youth worker in me.  One of the greatest lessons taught to me by a great mentor and teacher Lloyd Martin, is the importance of knowing your audience.  Regardless of what you do for young people, if you don't see things from their perspective then you've wasted your time and theirs.  I'm starting to realise just how important all these elements are in the construction of photos.  At the end of the day, i want people viewing my photos to understand whats happening in my photos and not be left wandering what the heck just happened. 

Below are some examples of rule of thirds:

Rule of thirds

These photos were taken at Manukau MIT site in the late afternoon.

f/5.6, 1/13, ISO 100

f/4.0, 1/25, ISO 1600
My subject is the tree, i used the lines above to direct the eye to the tree.  I also placed the tree in the fore ground using the light from below to further emphases it.  This was taken in "golden hour" which gave a beautiful background for the tree.  I also like the contrast of man made and nature complimenting each other.
f/5.0, 1/15, ISO 100
 I used my bag as the subject.  I thought that the colours would reinforce its focus in the frame.  I also positioned the bag in the intersecting lines and used the lines of the MIT building to direct the eye to the bag.  On second thoughts maybe the colours of the bag was a bit of an obvious choice especially as there is a lack of colours in the mid and background. 

Wk 3 - Dig Tech Artists who employ photoshop for graphic editing

This week we have been looking at various photographic elements used by artists.  The artists who caught my attention were Pat Brassingtion and Yasumasa Morimura.  There fine art works are really interesting and artistic.  They use a variety of photographic elements to compose their pieces.  They craft a perspective which define their styles.

In class we have been looking at the basic photoshop options such as converting colours, adjusting the colour tones, image clarity etc.  Although the artists i am looking at this week who have advanced skills and techniques i will be looking that their photos from a novice perspective.  Just thought id put that in there (hehe).

Pat Brassington 

An Australian artist who produces surreal pieces which are use photo elements layered on top of each other.  Her current works have been described as "classically provocative and ambiguous in nature; striking, beautiful and superbly loaded.."ARC One.   Her pieces are produced print editions.

Pat Brassington - Madelines 2013
63 x 47 cm pigment print
edition of 8 + 2 AP

I didn't really know how to look at her work, at some pieces i was left wondering 'What am i looking at? or 'Why did she portray this?'.  She took my interest because of this.  Although i have a novice outlook at art, what i did like is her freedom to express herself.  I don't quite connect with her storytelling but her artwork challenges me to delve deeper into the image.

The image i chose was one that i thought had recognizable subject/objects.  The faces caught my attention because they remind me of a face of a 1920s starlet, a silent film actress.  I like how at first glance the faces look to be identical, but if you continue to look at them, you can see that one is smaller and thinner than the other. I wonder too, why there is a space between the two heads and why is it the same distance of the band of the clothing at the bottom of the image. 

Yasumasa Morimura

A Japanese artist who is known for his series of self-portraits based on personal interpretations of images from Western art history.  This was later followed by another series of cultural icons of cinema and Hollywood starts.  He has been worked as a conceptual photographer and filmmaker for more than three decades.  Through extensive use of props, costumes, make-up, and digital manipulation, the artist masterfully transforms himself into recognizable subjects, often from the Western cultural cannon.

Yasumasa uses his reinvention of iconic photographs and art historical masterpieces as a way to challenge the viewer while commenting on Japan's absorption of Western culture. (Luhring Austine)

This recreation is of the victory celebrations, taken on August 15 1945, after news of the immanent Japanese surrender leaked out.

I wonder what Yasumasa wants us to look at, the subjects are at the fore front of our view so they are quite dominating.  He features behind the couple as six other characters. His work showcases the fluidity of his work, each element layered carefully constructed and cropped to ensure that it seems as one piece and not competing with each other.

Yasumasa Morimura
A Requiem: Remembrance Parade/ 1945, USA , 2010
Gelatin silver print
Edition of 7 and 3 artist's proofs 
70 1/8 X 53 1/8 inches
(178 X 135 cm)