View Full Version : Here's Johnny

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
09-14-2011, 10:46 AM
Yesterday's HS Senior.

09-14-2011, 11:03 AM
Love this one, Ernst!

09-14-2011, 11:07 AM
Ernst, I don't know if you know or not, but the union of the flag (blue section) only goes to the right in death to cover the heart. The union should always be to the left even when the flag is hung vertically. When the flag is draped on a coffin, the union goes to the right.

I just figured you may need to know since it is this kid's senior picture and some people maybe superstitious or take offense to it.

Just a FYI. It is a great image.

09-14-2011, 01:12 PM
Interesting play. I have to ask, did the senior know you were creating this composite image in advance?

09-14-2011, 08:43 PM
I just want to bump this thread to maybe help Ernst from making an unintentional mistake. I actually called you today (got your number off the Internet) to see if you read what I wrote. It went straight to voicemail, but I didn't leave a message.

To be honest, if I didn't know this was a senior picture, I would have said this was a portrait of a fallen soldier, police officer, fireman, etc

09-15-2011, 05:55 AM
really like the composition Ernst, post seems a little soft/ethereal

interesting factoid theantiquetiger

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
09-15-2011, 11:41 AM
Thanks everyone for the comments.

antiquetiger, Thanks for your concern, no disrepect intented. I'm just playing around with textures and sandwiching images, if someone takes offense I'm terrible sorry. As an artist am I not allowed creative freedom for the images that I might come up with?

Marco, No Johnny had no idea as to what I was going to produce with his portrait, matter of fact I didn't either.

09-15-2011, 11:57 AM
I didn't mean I was offended or anything, I just meant his family may take offense to it or be superstitious. I understand creative freedom as an artist, but I wasn't sure if you knew about the rules of displaying the flag.

I remember a tv show (forget which), were a American guy was getting engaged to a Chinese girl. Her parents were coming to the states to meet their future son in law. He wanted to get them a gift, so he found an old picture of them and had it framed with white matting. They took offense to it because white is the color of mourning in China and they usually frame the picture of the deceased in white.

Your photograph reminded me of that episode.

By no means did I mean to offend your art, I just didn't know if you knew the meaning of the flag hanging the way it is hanging in your image.

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
09-15-2011, 12:24 PM
You know what, I never gave it a second thought.

09-15-2011, 12:45 PM
Thanks Ernst - It's a very powerful image. Since AT mentioned it, my instinct as well was that this looks like an image of a fallen soldier.

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
09-15-2011, 01:18 PM
My thoughts were that Johnny was just All American.

Interesting, I just went back to the orignal image of the flag. This is a 49 Star Flag that a friends father gave to his son. It is framed and hanging above their mantle in their living room, with, displayed with the field of stars on the right side. Maybe the other side was soled more that this side. It's a great flag, one that I was proud to see and photograph.

09-15-2011, 02:56 PM
This is a common mistake that many people make when display the flag horizontally. People think you just turn it 90 deg and hang it, but you actually have to flip it as well.

I didn't realize it was a 49star flag. That is VERY rare, only used for one year.

Since it is a 49 star flag, it is decommissioned, so not an official US flag anymore. Because of this, you can hang it or display it anyway you want, including in the image that you have here. If Johnny likes it, you may want to tell him about the union to the right in death, but it is OK for the flag to be displayed like this (just in case some one ask him).

Does this make sense?

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
09-15-2011, 07:19 PM
I hear what your saying and it does make sense, however when creating art their are rules and we can also break those rules, it doesn't matter what
symbols we might be using in our final image.

09-16-2011, 05:38 AM
I hear ya Ernst and agree w/you 100%.
Sometimes though, images elicit a reaction or a 'viewpoint' not intended by the photographer. If many people have the same reaction, it's worth considering....or completely ignoring. Your image, you da boss.

Did the sitter get a copy or is this just for you?

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
09-16-2011, 11:03 AM
Thanks Marko!

I did the portrait just for me, trying out some new things I learned during my class with Darton Drake a few weeks back. Darton has been influenced greatly by Edward Steichen's work, of course I've known his images as well, however it was a reawaking and recently bought the book
Edward Steichen "Living in Photography". WOW great book and now I've been Steichenized! ;-)

Johnny is my next door neighbor, I'm doing his Senior sessions for FREE. I have no doubt that Mom and Dad will purchase from me because they value portraiture. So far we haven't had the ordering appt. I'll update you when that happens.

If you've noticed, beside being a portrait photographer, I also have a huge interest in photographing other things, lots of "Personal Projects". I believe the biggest theme in my work is an Americana Theme. As a Naturalize Citizen, a Vietnam Veteran, I am very proud to be an American, even though I was born German. A few years back during Memorial Day I was documenting a serivce at one of our local cemetaries. I got there early and came across two very large soled flags draped over a couple of head stones. Of course I had to take some photos of it. I shared the image on a number of fourms and it was censored/deleted on everyone of them. ;-( I personally would never do anything to dispect our flag and yet I also feel strongly about the freedom that flag gives each and everyone of us. I might not like what your doing with your art, but I will defind
your right in doing your art. I don't have to view it or buy it if I don't like it. I love most of the work by Robert Mapplethrop and would love to have some of his images in my BW Collection, however I will never want or buy his Sex Art.

Best regards, Ernst

Ernst-Ulrich Schafer
09-16-2011, 11:05 AM
Oh, Here are two more portraits of Johnny that I did yesterday.

09-16-2011, 01:05 PM
Thanks for the extra info Ernst - always cool to hear where people "come from".
I prefer Shot one in post 16. Cool 'grainy' processing. If it were mine though, lol...I'd dodge the hands and burn the mid-right edge by about 15%.