I think one of the most important aspects of a successful photo is what happens before you ever click the shutter. Pre-visualization of what you want the photo to look like can happen quickly where you immediately envision the final photo, or it can develop over time where you build on your original concept, adding or subtracting elements, re-thinking your take on it before finally deciding on exactly what to shoot. Then after you’ve ironed out what that photo should look like, you actually then go backwards, by reverse engineering the elements of what you’ll need to pull it off.
Sometimes you find what you are not looking for
I always tell people to plan the photoshoots ahead, and urge them to try to see the complete image in your head already before taking the first shots… However, sometimes it takes a full U-turn and completely uncharted routes to end up with an amazing image. Now, I am doing a full breakdown on this image on my workshops, but I wanted to take a second and explain how this photo came to be, and why it failed to serve its purpose.
The story of this image started with the weird things the long holidays does to the brains. Generally a vacation tends to get your creativity in full speed; for me it means that I see ideas for images everywhere. For my wife it means seeing renovation projects everywhere… This could have ended badly for me, but luckily she had already renovated our living room walls during my trip to France and only asked me to make a new picture of our kids for the newly painted walls. Like I said, my head was already bursting with images so this was a perfect opportunity for me to explore one idea I have been wanting to try: to take well known M.C. Escher –style optical illusions such as the “impossible” penrose triangle or steps and make them look more “real”.
You know how sometimes you see a photo and just have to know how it was made. I mean not in the tutorial-follow-me kind of way but more in the who the heck did you make this kinda way?
This is how I felt when I saw Richard Wakefield‘s Circus Doll photo. It had something feeling very authentic, so I knew it had to have had a real photo behind it. So… I asked!
Richard was kind enough to share the steps taken to make the photo happen:
Here is a technique I did not think I will ever be covering on the blog, using smoke bombs. In fact I did not even know that there is such a thing as smoke bombs until I stumbled on the photography of Jovana Rikalo.
Serbian photographer Jovana Rikalo uses smoke bombs to create some unexpected effects in her portraits. You see, some photographers like control in their photos, but Jovana prefers the random effect she gets from the way the smoke moves in the air.
I Asked Jovana about the hazards of using this technique and she says that she only shoots outside where the smoke quickly disperses.
When you look at a photo showing a fantasy world, there is often that moment of armament on how the final photograph looks so real and yet unreal at the same time. That is because good compositors use real elements from real photos and have the ability to blend them in well. Of course, there is more to this art than just selecting photo parts and throwing them together. In fact watching how a composite comes to life is almost as looking at a piece of art that is disconnected from the final photograph.
Photographer and retoucher Renne Robyn records her process of compositing a photo and they are a delight.
Yes yes I know, There is another post about expanding a dress” (thanks for remembering), this is however, a totally different…kinda…mostly…it is, you guys. You see that post was about taking what is already a dress and showing how to make it larger and more glorious. The knowledge I’m going to attack you with today is about creating a dress from scratch out of something that was not a dress…at all.
Ah, “photography”, you loosely defined word that everyone seems to have their own definition of. It’s amazing how polarizing you can be, isn’t it?
And one of your most polarizing aspects seems to be exactly how much retouching is considered reasonable. Purists claim no retouching of any kind is allowed (then they usually reference Ansel Adams, which is quite ironic considering the amount of dodging and burning he brought to the field), while others gladly accept Photoshop as a regular part of their photography tool-belt.
In general though, there’s a viewpoint around the photography community, that too much Photoshop is a bad thing. That it destroys photography as we know it, and those who retouch an absurd amount should be banned or beheaded or at least mildly reprimanded (depending on which Facebook group you happen to be in). But before we all start gathering our pitchforks, can we maybe examine this concept of over-retouching for just a second?
A little creativity goes a long way when it comes to photography, and creativity is something that seems to be an endless resource to Ukraine born photographer, Anya Stoyan. Browsing through her portfolio of images, you feel as though you’ve been transposed into all those magical and mythical lands you recall so vividly from your childhood. For Stoyan, who works under the Anita Anti moniker, that’s a major part of what her photography is intended to reveal. Storytelling, of course, comes naturally to the artist, and her command on establishing mood and atmosphere to assist in that becomes more and more evident the further you dig into her collection of portraits. [Read more…]
To quote a recent article I read titled “Do What You Love” Is Horrible Advice: “It’s easy to confuse a hobby or interest for a profound passion that will result in career and business fulfillment. The reality is, that type of preexisting passion is rarely valuable.”
If you haven’t read that article go ahead and take a trip over there when you get a chance…or not, if you’d rather not be fuming the rest of the day. The author is a great writer, with many other fantastic articles, but this one was just so…wildly inaccurate. I tried to just label it as one of those unfortunate things orbiting the internet, but it was just gnawing at me. How many potential artists are out there now, squashing their dreams because they’re reading fear-mongering articles like this on the internet?
Well hopefully not a lot, but still, the thought of some teenage kid selling his guitar because too many people told him music was a “hobby” and not a career choice just kills me. He’s a teenager. Anything is a career choice.
Of course people are all entitled to their own opinions, right?
Exactly, which is why I’m going to spout mine off right now.
Humans mount themselves on gigantic robots and enjoy to be centrifuged. That‘s what happens in amusement parks. Machines with the power of tanks and the voices of demonic entertainers offer 5 minutes of anti gravity therapy. An innocent attempt to escape from reality, driven by 10.000 horsepower.
Based on his childhood fascination for the strange atmosphere of amusement parks Till Nowak created the fictional documentary „The Centrifuge Brain Project“. He collected footage and used digital animation to create a series of non-existing thrill rides. It is a film about the search for happyness and our sometimes mislead ways trying to find it.
When I first saw “The centrifuge brain project”, I was kind of confused. Is this real?
Next thing was excitement – and I had to watch it over and over again.
After a few years, now I finally had the chance for a little talk with Till Nowak, the Mastermind behind “The Centrifuge Brain Project“.