Raincity Studios is an awesome web design and development firm here in Vancouver that I've had the pleasure of working with over the past couple years. They're a team of Drupal and Ruby On Rails 'rockstars' as they like to say and wanted street-style edgy photos that represented they're attitudes and projects.
I recently had the chance to shoot photos of the DeSmogBlog team at their headquarters here in Vancouver. They wanted black and white, journalistic style photos that said "We're serious about climate change!" Check out the photos from the shoot here and some nice words from the client in our portrait photography references section of the site.
I've been meaning to post to this site for a while a few shoots I've worked on in the past couple months including this one with Kim Cathers of Discollection and the Torgerson sistas - Margie and Petrina. Thanks to Shai again for doing hair for this shoot. Shai's got a great new blog too BTW - you should check it out at ShaiStyle.com. Oh yeah, Kim's got one too.
Thanks to everyone who collaborated with me on the recent 'Made in Vancouver' photoshoot... especially models Margaret Torgeson and Jessie Harris. Also special thanks to the styling team of Shai from Prepwork, Kim Cathers from Discollection and Jesse from ModelMayhem. Check out some of Static's other fashion photography in our portfolio.
A few days ago (3 to be exact) I got a phone call from Toronto and it turned out ot be one of the writers of Dose Magazine.
They were working on a feature story for Women's Day (today!) and wondered if I might be a part of it.
While the lovely writer was telling me all about it and getting me excited about the project my mind wasn't fully computing the fact that I had only a day and a half to get it in by deadline, so I agreed to do it. Then came the chaos.
The feature is called The Ideal Woman (you can read more by clicking the link or picking up a copy of Dose today) and what they wanted from me was an artistic compilation showing my view of the ideal woman and then I had to write a little piece explaining why I chose this representation of it.
"The ideal woman is faceless; it's not her beauty or flaws that define her. She is formless; her shape simply doesn't matter. Through my eyes and ideal woman is one whose body is definitive of noble character. Her arms are strong, not for appearance sake, but rather so her work is accomplished diligently. Her hands are not identified by perfect nails and pushed back cuticles but rather for her extension of them to the needy. Her mouth isn't defined by the colour of her lips but for the wisdom that it speaks and the faithful instruction it offers. Her clothes are strength and dignity"
So I haven't actually seen the paper yet but supposedly it will be in the center spread. As of yet, I've only found my writing online which you can check out here . Let me know if you see it! I'd love to know how it looks.
I have no idea how long shutterfly has been around for but I just discovered it and it looks super cool.
What is it you ask? It's a website which you can upload your photos to and make various projects out of them. You can either order straight up prints or stylize your prints with borders and text. Best part is, there borders aren't all cheezy. I would actually use some of them. Some....I said, some!
You can also make coffee table type photo books which I know other places like Qoop and iPhoto offer but with shutterfly you don't have to work through flickr - you upload your pictures directly onto their site - and there are way more options as far as layout, design , borders, captions, etc. than iPhoto and in case you need one more reason - It's cheaper than both of 'em.
This post was prompted by a great quote I came across. I was simply going to post the quote by painter, Mark Rothko but figured some of you may not know him or his work so I'll give you a bit of info to kick it off.
Rothko's work is characterized by rigrous attention to the elements of colour, balance, shape and scale though he repeatedly protested that, "I'm not interested in colour" and "I'm not a colourist." Colour, he explained, was nothing more than an 'instrument' for expressing something larger: the all important subjects of his pictures.
I've had a few people comment that some of my minimal shots are "Rothkoesque" which I accept as an incredible compliment though they are nowhere near what his works are.
If you like minimalist works of art and special attention paid to colour and composition then check out more of his work here.
Now, finally, I leave you with the quote.
"Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can only be explored by those willing to take risks."
Go take some risks, people!
I'm one of those people that's totally frustrated with the world of RAW because I can't seem to find a good workflow rhythm with it. I get the benefits of shooting in RAW and that once you get into it you'll never go back to jpgs (so I'm told) but I simply haven't gotten there yet and haven't felt the dire need to jump in.
I'm heading down to Seattle for the majority of the week next week and in preparation I thought I'd look up a few galleries online and see what they're offerering as far as photography exhibits go.
I guess it's a good thing I checked ahead cause I'm having a hard time finding anything that great to go to and I would have shown up at a bunch of places only to be disappointed.
The Benham Gallery, which specializes in local and international fine art photography is currently closed for renovations.
SAM, the Seattle Art Museum that's downtown is also closed for major renovations and won't be reopened until 2007.
Awhile back I started this whole perspective series in which I talked about getting down low when you shoot. I'm hitting it from a different angle today and not talking about angles at all but rather about the distortion that can occur when shooting with a wide angle lens. (I'll tackle other lenses like tele-photo etc. later on)
We all know that one way our eyes perceive near or far is by the relative size of an object. Quite simply, our mind tells us that objects farther away appear smaller and the farther away, the smaller an object looks to us. Got that?
In photography, perspective is identified in just this same way.
A good thing to know...
You should hand-hold a lens only when your shutter speed is at least equal to the focal length in millimeters. That is, a 100 mm lens should not be hand-held below 1/100th of a second; a 500 mm lens should not be hand-held below 1/500th of a second, and so on.
However, to assure razor-sharp images it is recommended that you set your shutter speed even faster to double the focal-length of the lens. That is, a 50 mm lens should not be hand-held below 1/100th of a second; a 100 mm lens should not be hand-held below 1/200th of a second.
It's not rocket science but it is photographic technology. Use this info at your leisure for super-crisp pics!
We've all seen really beautiful pictures. A quick glance through Time Magazine's photos of the year or National Geographic or Rolling Stone or Nylon make us very aware that there are great photographers out there. Problem is, just looking at these photos doesn't make us better photographers. I've tried to will some of their greatness into me by staring deeply into the pictures but alas, it doesn't work!
I've also done the deep diggin' into what cameras are being used, which lens the photos are taken with, the f-stop they're shot at and what kind of film is recording it all. While these are all great things to know technically they really can't help you produce better pictures any more than knowing what kind of guitar Sigur Ros uses to create such mesmerizing music. The most perfect guitar in the world couldn't make me play like them and in the same vain the best photographic equipment won't a better photographer make.
So what is it? What's that super-duper-alla-kazaam of a something that makes a photo so great? Simply - it's knowing what to look for.
If you think about the following guidelines in relation to the above picture it may help you visualise what I'm talkin' 'bout. Now...without further hesitation I give you my three basic guidelines on what to look for in order to enhance your photographic eye and use that to make compelling pictures...
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that the majority of the people reading this have taken a picture at some point in their life. I'm also going to walk out a little further on that branch and make the conclusion that you are, at this point in your life, interested in photography. This doesnt mean that you are a professional photographer. It doesn't mean that you feel a great calling as an artist to use a camera as your tool. It doesn't mean that you even call yourself a photographer (which is a different topic for a different day.) To put it simply, you like to take pictures, right?
My question is why?
I'm what you might call a perpetual student. I've never gone long without being enrolled in some class of some sort, whether that's to build on my degree or something completely unrelated, I just love the whole school thing. Engaging my brain. Learning from others. Cracking open textbooks. You get the point.
As you can imagine I was proper excited yesterday when the fed-ex man came to my door bearing a great big, brown box with the words New York Institute of Photography stamped on it.
NYIP offers, what seems like, a great correspondance photography program. You work at your own pace through the lessons they send. They include reading, watching tutorials on dvd and then practical application of what you've just learned. When you've finished one, you send in your work to be evaluated by an instructor and they send you feedback on your projects and shoots on audio cassette. I'm even excited at the old-school nature of that. I'm all reminiscent of my pen pal days and when we advanced to actually speaking to each other on cassette. We thought we were so cool. But I digress...
If you'll remember I also added a little, "boy I'd love to get one for Christmas" line at the end and I'm pleased as punch to say that my husband was way ahead of me and had already sent in his order to Russia and my wonderful, little lomo lc-a arrived on Christmas Eve and hasn't been out of reach since.
If you, like me, desire a new challenge you have got to get your hands on one of these old-school cams. It's crazy hard to focus and setting your aperture? forget it. Even the handbook says that. But I've been taking it on and shooting like crazy and finally some of my shots are coming out clear!
I've had Adobe Lightroom on my computer for about a week now and I've been fiddling with it now and then getting use to the new format. While there are some great features it's a little frustrating to use, as of yet, because of all the bugs.
The good points:
It has a really cool look so you can impress your friends just by having it open on your monitor.
The "tagging" option where you can add keywords to your photos or groups of photos is such an awesome tool. It makes your pictures easier to find when your searching for them later.
The way it sorts and collects your photos by shoot.
The presets are pretty good. Things like sepia, antique etc. Though I'd still rather do these things myself and adjust the pictures to exactly my liking. (which is very possible with lightroom)
The not-so-good points:
You know how you can see a sign and the thought goes through your mind, "what on earth were they thinking using that font?" But you'd never admit it for fear of sounding like a massive geek. Okay, maybe I'm the only one, but I find there are some type-styles that just really work for me and others that make me cringe.
The idea behind found-type and photography, the way I see it, is to strip away much of the clutter of our society. Every business, association, church or school has some sort of sign. Some are beautifully done, others extremely gawdy, while others still cling to the retro-glam vibe that is neon. As a whole these signs and type, whether telling us to keep off the grass or informing us of a new drama on the telly, become a massive jumble of wordage. But taken out of their context they can become something altogether different.
There's a type out there for every personality. Some of it is decaying, some suprisingly - even unintentionally beautiful, some is hidden away by newer more modern lettering and others are so smooth and sleek you can't resist the urge to touch it.