To those who follow my work closely, you may know that I consider myself a large format photographer. I will photograph with a medium format camera, particularly when I’m trying to save weight on a backpacking trip or save time when I’m teaching a photography workshop, but 35mm has been somewhat shunned in my arsenal, being a format I deemed too small to be used effectively for my work.
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It’s not often I get to shoot very simple, clean white light shots, but in a recent shoot the model asked if she could get some updated ‘Polaroids’. For those of you not familiar with the term when used in reference to a model shoot, it’s actually not the now obsolete and ludicrously expensive single-shot film, but a request for very basic portraits of the model for their agency. This ‘Polaroid’ term is a relic from the analogue film days and it essentially now means shots that are un-retouched and with the model wearing very little makeup.
I love macro photography as it enables us to see the beauty in small things.
For this particular project, I wanted to show details (including textures) of a mundane object; an old rusty screw on a piece of wood (an old cutting board). In addition, I wanted to illustrate how the focus shifts on an object with an odd shape like this across the frame using video animation of the individual still images.
It’s that time of year again! Black Friday and Christmas are on the way, which means it’s time for our annual gift guides. Maybe you’re buying something for a friend or loved one. Perhaps you’re just treating yourself. But let’s take a look at some of the cool, new toys from the last year.
First up, cameras. This year really has been the year for mirrorless, hasn’t it? Panasonic, Sony, Nikon, Canon have all released some rather impressive cameras this year. A couple have stirred a little controversy, too. But they’re not all that’s been announced this year!
Art has arguably been around almost as long as humans have. The moment we learned to mark something for others to see and interpret, the moment art was born. Thankfully for us photographers, we needn’t go quite that far back to begin learning from the history of art, in fact we only need go as far as the ‘Old Masters’.
I have no idea where I first heard this, but it’s extremely true: “the main difference between painting and photography is that the painters need to work hard to put things into their images, whereas photographers have to work hard to take things out of their images.” Painters start with a blank canvas, and every single thing that ends up in the final piece of art is a result of careful craftsmanship, years of hard-earned skill, and raw intention. The photographer’s canvas, on the other hand, is all of the world’s visual chaos, and he or she must deploy an equivalent amount of craftsmanship, skill, and intention to weed out all the fluff.
Before shooting this series, I saw a documentary about how different groceries are made. Big factories with endless assembly lines and hundreds of machines handling the products from start to end. It was quite interesting to watch how the products change their appearance completely from start to finish. An idea was born to create alternative ways of making these same groceries. And when you add just a drop of humanity to it, I think that’s a story.
Groceries are food (really??). They have no persona (you sure??). How do you create a story around them that creates a character to these lifeless pieces of healthy little things? These were thoughts in my head when I opened my refrigerator when brainstorming themes for my upcoming project… so I picked corns, cucumbers, tomatoes etc. and started sketching.
Recently, Fenchel and Janisch made a pretty cool flow motion video in Frankfurt (above). It was made for the Steigenberger Frankfurter Hof hotel, to show off some of the beauty and life of downtown Frankfurt. This type of video is becoming very common as the hardware and software tools are becoming more available to photographers and filmmakers.
But how can you make one of your own? Such films require a variety of techniques, and the workflow that works best for you will depend on the gear and software you have. But Fenchel and Janisch put this video together showing their workflow and how they made the Frankfurt video.
So, it turns out the camera in the iPhone XS and XS Max doesn’t suck. Nor is the software “Beautifying” you. It’s just overly aggressive noise reduction. At least, that’s according to the man behind the Halide camera app and former Apple designer, Sebastiaan de With.
He’s taken a closer look at the new iPhone XS camera and argues that the camera itself is actually better than the old one. But the way it processes images, the computational photography side of things, reduces detail by its very nature. And it doesn’t just do this to faces, either, but everything that you photograph with it.