Photography forum image of the month – September 2013

Hi Photo lovers!

Every month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum mem­bers nom­i­nate images that they like. Then at the end of the month I choose an excel­lent image and talk about why it rocks. The photo I choose is not nec­es­sar­ily the best one of the month. I’ve come to real­ize it’s not really log­i­cal to pit images from totally dif­fer­ent gen­res against each other. That’s why there are cat­e­gories in photo con­tests. I just choose a photo that has extremely strong ele­ments that we can learn from.

This month’s choice goes to Hill­bil­ly­girl for cap­tur­ing this image from Rodeo Action

I chose this image for sev­eral reasons:

1 — Deci­sive moment and ges­tur­ing — This cap­tured moment is extremely well timed and the cap­tured ges­tures are superb. Look at the mus­cu­la­ture and the angle and stretched out leg of the horse in mid–maneu­ver — It’s fab. The con­cen­tra­tion on the rider is also fab.

2 — Sharp­ness — The sharp­ness here is bloody gor­geous and any­one who has tracked mov­ing tar­gets knows it’s not easy. A nice fast shut­ter speed cou­pled with pre­cise focus­ing has frozen an intense moment. Even the kicked-up dirt in the air and on the ground is sharp — love it.

3 — Com­po­si­tion — Com­po­si­tion works really well here with the fence of spec­ta­tors in the back­ground, The Coors barrel/obstacle on the left and the intense ges­tures of the cen­tral main focal points.

4 — Post processing/exposure — I like the fairly real­is­tic pro­cess­ing in this image with good well con­trolled tones in the sky and good clar­ity in the faces of the horse and rider.

For all these rea­sons, this is my choice for image of the month. Since we all have opin­ions, some mem­bers may dis­agree with my choice. That’s cool but THIS thread is not the place for debate over my pick, NOR is it the place to fur­ther cri­tique the image. The pur­pose here is to sug­gest strong ele­ments in the photo that we may learn from.

Con­grats again to Hill­bil­ly­girl for cap­tur­ing this fab­u­lous moment!

Rodeo Action by Hillbillygirl

Rodeo Action by Hill­bil­ly­girl — Click to see larger version

122 — How Big Can I print that Photo — Interview with Royce Howland

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #122 fea­tures an inter­view with Royce How­land where we dis­cuss how large we can print our pho­tos. These days cam­eras of all kinds are every­where and if we want to make big enlarge­ments from those cam­eras we need to know how big we can print the image before it starts to look bad. Royce offers up tips on how to make ‘the best enlarge­ment’, ‘a bet­ter enlarge­ment’ or ‘a good enlarge­ment’ based on the cam­era, the print­ing mate­r­ial, the sub­ject mat­ter and some other factors.

Thanks to The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca podcast!

To recap the math in this pod­cast the best images get 300 pix­els per inch. 200 pix­els per inch gets you bet­ter enlarge­ments and 100 pix­els per inch yields good results. To get an idea of the pos­si­ble enlarge­ment range, we divide the image pix­els of our cam­era by the PPI to get inches of print size.

Our the­o­ret­i­cal 6 megapixel cam­era pro­duced images of 3000 x 2000 pix­els. So a good enlarge­ment could be 30 x 20 inches, bet­ter could be 15 x 10 inches, and best 6.7 x 10 inches.

If we look at a 12 megapixel image (from a Canon 5D for exam­ple) the pix­els are 4000 x 2666.  So a good enlarge­ment could be 40 x 26.7 inches, bet­ter could be 20 x 13.3 inches, and best 13.3 x 8.9 inches.

If we look at a 24 megapixel cam­era the pix­els are 6000 x 4000 so we could have a good enlarge­ment of 60 x 40 inches, bet­ter one of 30 x 20 inches and best one of 20 x 13.3 inches.

7.5 megapixel camera phone shot by Royce Howland. This image could easily be printed 20 inches high.

7.5 megapixel cam­era phone shot by Royce How­land. This image could eas­ily be printed 20 inches high.

 

37 megapixel medium format image by Royce Howland. This image could easily be printed 45 inches high.

37 megapixel medium for­mat cam­era image by Royce How­land. This image could eas­ily be printed 45 inches high.

Links /resources men­tioned in this podcast:

The Dig­i­tal Neg­a­tive by Jeff Schewe
Per­fect Resize
Qim­age Ulti­mate
Sep­tem­ber reg­u­lar assign­ment — Shoot from a high per­spec­tive
Sep­tem­ber level 2 assign­ment — Shoot into the light
Illu­mi­nite — Pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tion by Marko Kulik

If you liked this pod­cast and want to review it on Itunes, this link gets you to the main page

If you are inter­ested in writ­ing for our blog please con­tact me photography.ca ( A T ) G m ail Dot co m (using stan­dard email formatting)

Please join the Photography.ca fan page on Facebook

My Face­book pro­file — Feel free to “friend” me — please just men­tion Photography.ca
My Twit­ter page — I will fol­low you if you fol­low me — Let’s con­nect — PLEASE email me and tell me who you are in case I don’t rec­i­p­ro­cate because I think you are a spammer.

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :)  Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes|Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

Calgary Canon EXPO 2013

Our spon­sor The Cam­era Store, and Canon are intro­duc­ing the Cal­gary Canon EXPO 2013. If you are in Cal­gary, Alberta the week­end of Sep­tem­ber 27th 2013, you may well want to check out the Expo. Leg­endary celebrity pho­tog­ra­pher Dou­glas Kirk­land will be giv­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion “A Life in Pic­tures” and local pros will offer sem­i­nars and tips on shoot­ing land­scape and wildlife pho­tog­ra­phy. Although this event is not free, it comes with a $50.00 credit toward new Canon gear. For addi­tional infor­ma­tion check out the Cal­gary Canon EXPO 2013.

Marilyn Monroe by Douglas Kirkland - 1961

Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe by Dou­glas Kirkland

Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal — Photo Month in Montreal

Every two years, Mon­treal, Que­bec, Canada fea­tures a major, month-long major con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy fes­ti­val called Le mois de la photo à Mon­tréal. This year’s fes­ti­val runs from Sep­tem­ber 5 — Octo­ber 5, 2013 and fea­tures 25 pho­tog­ra­phy exhi­bi­tions in dif­fer­ent parts of the city.

This year the theme of the fes­ti­val is Drone — The auto­mated image and it is guest curated by Paul Wombell. I’ve been going to this fes­ti­val pretty much since it started and the exhi­bi­tions are almost always laden with exper­i­men­tal (less con­ven­tional) pho­tog­ra­phy and themes that require reflec­tion. If you’re look­ing for more con­ven­tional pho­tog­ra­phy (beau­ti­ful land­scapes, still lifes, street pho­tog­ra­phy) you nor­mally won’t find it at this festival.

Although Le mois de la photo is a pho­tog­ra­phy fes­ti­val, many exhi­bi­tions will be video based and some will fea­ture instal­la­tions. I always find a few exhi­bi­tions that I really like and will report back on my faves.  Feel free to check out the exhi­bi­tions here.

Le mois de la photo

121 — Make Better Self Portraits

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #121 offers up 6 tips on how to make bet­ter self por­traits in pho­tog­ra­phy. Mak­ing a self por­trait, some­times known as an auto­por­trait has a long his­tory in pho­tog­ra­phy and many past and mod­ern pho­tog­ra­phy Mas­ters (Man Ray, Robert Map­plethorpe and the extremely pro­lific self por­traitist Cindy Sher­man for exam­ple) have pro­duced fab­u­lous self por­traits. Please know in advance that we are not refer­ring to ‘selfies’…which I rant on about for a lit­tle bit in this pod­cast. We are refer­ring to self-portraits which require delib­er­ate fram­ing and think­ing about the light, envi­ron­ment etc.

Thanks to  The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  for spon­sor­ing the Photography.ca podcast!

Angst - Self portrait by Marko Kulik - 2000

Angst — Self por­trait by Marko Kulik — 2000

 

Self Portrait as a Parisian by Marko and Carmy - 2009

Self Por­trait as a Parisian by Marko and Carmy — 2009

 

Self Portrait as a Dock Worker by Marko and Carmy - 2013

Self Por­trait as a Dock Worker by Marko and Carmy — 2013

 

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Sty­ro­foam heads on Google (helps with focus­ing the cam­era)
Cindy Sherman’a 2012 exhi­bi­tion at MoMA

If you liked this pod­cast and want to review it on Itunes, this link gets you to the main page

If you are inter­ested in writ­ing for our blog please con­tact me photography.ca ( A T ) G m ail Dot co m (using stan­dard email formatting)

Please join the Photography.ca fan page on Facebook

My Face­book pro­file — Feel free to “friend” me — please just men­tion Photography.ca
My Twit­ter page — I will fol­low you if you fol­low me — Let’s con­nect — PLEASE email me and tell me who you are in case I don’t rec­i­p­ro­cate because I think you are a spammer.

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :)  Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks to Royce How­land, Ken Wolter and Alvin who posted a blog com­ment about our last pod­cast. Thanks as well to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board. Most of the links to actual the prod­ucts are affil­i­ate links that help sup­port this site. Thanks in advance if you pur­chase through those links.

If you are look­ing at this mate­r­ial on any other site except Photography.ca — Please hop on over to the Photography.ca blog and pod­cast and get this and other pho­tog­ra­phy info directly from the source. |Sub­scribe with iTunes|Sub­scribe via RSS feed |Sub­scribe for free to the Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast — Photography.ca and get all the posts/podcasts by Email

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.

Thanks for lis­ten­ing and keep on shooting!

Greg Cohen — Untitled Gun Project

Last week, Jas of our pho­tog­ra­phy forum posted a link to the work of Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­pher Greg Cohen and his Unti­tled Gun Project. This photo essay depicts mod­ern Amer­i­can chil­dren pos­ing with guns. It intrigued me enough to con­tact Greg Cohen and ask him the fol­low­ing ques­tions about this project. Here are his answers below.

Luke - Untitled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

Unti­tled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

 

MK: How did you con­ceive this project?

GC: The project was inspired by the mas­sacre in New­town, CT, where I grew up. These fam­i­lies’ entire uni­verse have been turned inside out and if we don’t keep this fer­vent con­ver­sa­tion alive, it’s des­tined to become another story soon to fade away. The prob­lem is com­plex, and part of it is that we’re com­pletely desen­si­tized to vio­lence and killing; so I wanted to cre­ate images that are dif­fi­cult to look at. If they’re dis­turb­ing, then that’s an emo­tion worth explor­ing. If they’re not dis­turb­ing, then that’s some­thing to con­sider even more. Essen­tially this is a plea from the chil­dren… why can’t this vio­lence stop?

 

Untitled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

Unti­tled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

 

MK: Who are these chil­dren, are they from the USA?

GC: Yes, all the chil­dren live in the US. I reached out to fam­i­lies who were affected emo­tion­ally by the event and who wanted to respond in some way.

 

Untitled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

Unti­tled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

 

MK: Are the guns real, where did you get them?

GC: The guns are not real. I am com­pletely against chil­dren han­dling real guns. It’s against the law for kids to drive or smoke, why is it legal for them to play with guns? Fre­quently I hear about a kid with a gun acci­den­tally shoot­ing some­one, and I’m never sur­prised. Why?  Because kids instinc­tively like to play, that’s what they do. And they should be play­ing, but instead we’re liv­ing in a world where many chil­dren are forced to grow up too fast. It’s tragic.

 

Untitled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

Unti­tled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

 

MK: Did you leave the project Unti­tled so peo­ple could title it for themselves?

GC: I con­sid­ered a lot of titles for the project, but noth­ing felt right. They were either too clever and they belit­tled the grav­ity of the sit­u­a­tion; or they seemed too lim­ited, and cor­nered peo­ple in a given direc­tion. So yes, I want peo­ple to run with it how­ever they wish. If an appro­pri­ate title came to me, I’d use it, but noth­ing so far.

 

Untitled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

Unti­tled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

 

MK: How long have you been work­ing on this project and what are its future plans?

GC: The idea to pho­to­graph chil­dren with guns began a long time ago, but orig­i­nally it was a very dif­fer­ent project and the images I had in mind were more involved. When the mur­der hap­pened in New­town, the project became clear, and I felt inspired to sim­plify the entire thing.

The plan is to get these images in front of as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble, hop­ing to inter­rupt their day, if only for a moment. Let us con­sider the state of things, and maybe talk to one or two oth­ers about it. Hope­fully we can keep this con­ver­sa­tion alive long enough to cre­ate some real change. We deserve the free­dom to send our kids to school with­out the fear of never see­ing them again.

 

Untitled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

Unti­tled Gun Project by Greg Cohen

Mitch Dobrowner — Storm Photography

It gives me great plea­sure to announce that our pho­tog­ra­phy blog will be fea­tur­ing inter­views and the pho­tog­ra­phy of some of the extremely tal­ented pho­tog­ra­phers from Adore Noir Mag­a­zine. Adore Noir mag­a­zine is pub­lished online from Van­cou­ver, B.C. Canada and is ded­i­cated to fine art black and white pho­tog­ra­phy. This inter­view fea­tures Mitch Dobrowner, an Amer­i­can fine art pho­tog­ra­pher who spe­cial­izes in storm photography.

Monsoon by Mitch Dobrowner

Mon­soon by Mitch Dobrowner

 

AN: Please tell us about your pho­to­graphic back­ground. What led you to your path of creativity?

MD: I’m pretty much self taught. I worked in New York City for a short time as an assis­tant for two com­mer­cial pho­tog­ra­phers. After get­ting in a bunch of trou­ble and feel­ing lost in my teens my father slung me an old Argus rangefinder, with his fin­gers crossed! The first time I shot a roll of film and processed it I fell in love with the art. Then after see­ing the images of Ansel Adams and Minor White at the age of twenty, I decided to see the Amer­i­can South­west for myself. To make a long story short, I left home, quit my jobs, and left my friends and fam­ily to see the Amer­i­can South­west for myself. Over the next four years I trav­eled cross coun­try seven times, liv­ing out of my car, camp­ing in the deserts and show­er­ing once in a while in a cheap motel. I was shoot­ing pic­tures the entire time.

I even­tu­ally landed in Los Ange­les. I man­aged to get a solo exhibit for Canon at their gallery on Wilshire Blvd. That exhibit was reviewed in Mod­ern Pho­tog­ra­phy, which was one of two major pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zines at the time. My mom sent me that mag­a­zine recently. It was fun to read.

About a year later I met my wife Wendy, she is an amaz­ing designer. Together we have three chil­dren. We also cre­ated our own design stu­dio. Dur­ing that time the tasks of run­ning a busi­ness and rais­ing a fam­ily took a pri­or­ity to pho­tog­ra­phy and I stopped tak­ing pic­tures. Then in early 2005, inspired by my wife, chil­dren and friends, I picked up my cam­eras again.

Today pho­tog­ra­phy is my way to com­mu­ni­cate how I feel with­out words. When I’m out pho­tograph­ing things seem sim­ple again, time slows down and the world around me gets quiet. It’s then that I’m able to focus in a man­ner that allows me to con­nect with my imag­i­na­tion. Those moments are how I’ve learned to still my soul; it’s my happy place. It’s about the only times where I’m alone and can hear my heart beat­ing again. So today I see myself on a pas­sion­ate mis­sion to make up for years of lost time by cre­at­ing images that help evoke how I see our world.

Shiprock Storm by Mitch Dobrowner

Shiprock Storm by Mitch Dobrowner

 

AN: What do you enjoy most about pho­tograph­ing landscapes?

MD: I’m in love with the South­west. It’s a truly mys­ti­cal and spir­i­tual place. I find it easy to pho­to­graph. I see my work as being por­traits of the rocks and their envi­ron­ment. I think you have to love what you decide to shoot. The images need to come from deep inside your heart. For me, I love spend­ing time in that envi­ron­ment, learn­ing about it, see­ing in in dif­fer­ent light­ing and weather con­di­tions. It may sounds strange to some, but I need to talk to the sub­ject when I’m shoot­ing, in my own way and with my own voice. When I get to that place I know things will hap­pen. It’s kind of like walk­ing into a dark room and not being able to see but the more time you spend there the more you can see. It’s then that I just enjoy sit­ting back and wait­ing for nature to show me what she’s got. I live for that.

AN: What are your influences?

MD: I love the images of Ansel Adams and Minor White. Besides my fam­ily, they pro­vide my pho­to­graphic inspi­ra­tion. The first time I saw either of those pho­tog­ra­phers works I was floored. Their images left a major impact on my life and the direc­tion it would go. Cre­atively I also have to include the artis­tic vision of Jimi Hen­drix. He was an amaz­ing artist.

AN: How did you become inter­ested in storms?

MD: Prior to the storm series my pri­mary focus was on land­scapes, both in the South­west and urban envi­ron­ments. When shoot­ing them I always found myself seek­ing out nasty, unsta­ble weather. So I always won­dered what it would be like to expe­ri­ence the storm sys­tems in the mid-west. So in the sum­mer of 2009 I said — fuck it, and decided to take a trip out there. I thought that if I could find what I was visu­al­iz­ing in my mind it could lead to the next step in the pro­gres­sion of my work. I also wanted to chal­lenge myself because I wanted to con­tinue to grow in my art and not be seen as the next “color of the month” or “one trick pony.” I wanted to keep push­ing, I directed my focus away from the South­west for a period of time and started work­ing on under­stand­ing the sci­ence of weather and find an expe­ri­enced chaser to help me. And I did! His name is Roger Hill.

Bears Claw by Mitch Dobrowner

Bears Claw by Mitch Dobrowner

 

AN: Know­ing the risks involved, what made you want to pho­to­graph storms?

MD: My imag­i­na­tion. I kept see­ing images in my mind of what pho­tograph­ing a major storm would look like. As I started research­ing the sub­ject I came to appre­ci­ate the sci­ence behind find­ing these large struc­tured super cells. As a land­scape pho­tog­ra­pher it always took skill, and a bit of luck, to be in the right place at the right time. To actively pur­sue these weather events just seemed like it would be a fun exper­i­ment and challenge.

AN: What is your most mem­o­rable expe­ri­ence while on a shoot?

MD: Prob­a­bly my time at Shiprock, New Mex­ico, though there were oth­ers that came in at a close sec­ond, like the Valen­tine Nebraska storm. But Shiprock was very spe­cial to me.

I had seen images of Shiprock before, but never the image I had in my mind. Though I hadn’t seen the for­ma­tion in per­son, Shiprock touched some­thing deep inside me. I think it was because I knew that it is the spir­i­tual cen­ter of the Navajo Nation, or maybe it was because it is the rem­nant of an ancient vol­cano. But this com­bi­na­tion of his­tory and geol­ogy ignited some­thing inside me. So I trav­eled to the Four Cor­ners area of New Mex­ico with my fam­ily to pho­to­graph it.

When I arrived in Farm­ing­ton, New Mex­ico, I was totally over­whelmed by my first dis­tant sight­ing of this oth­er­worldly for­ma­tion. Over the next ten days I woke up at ungodly hours to drive long dis­tances in order to arrive at first light, and then left after sun­down each day in order to catch the last light. I had to drive in the rain, over rocks, mud, snow, and sand. As we arrived in late Decem­ber, the weather con­di­tions made for moody, atmos­pheric pho­tographs, it also gave me frozen fin­gers and toes! I spent the first eight days dri­ving, scout­ing, and sit­ting qui­etly in the area that sur­rounds Shiprock. It also seemed like the more time I spent in the area, the more I knew that I would need to be patient despite the cold.

On the morn­ing of the eighth day I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and got into my truck in the freez­ing rain and snow — with a warm cup of cof­fee. From Farm­ing­ton, the drive to Shiprock was 50 miles one way. It was snow­ing, rain­ing, dark, and freez­ing. The ther­mome­ter on my truck read between two and twelve degrees Fahren­heit above zero. For a few min­utes I remem­ber think­ing I was nuts. As this was the fifth time in eight days that I was mak­ing this trip. My mind kept say­ing, “Why are you going out again when you could have stayed with your fam­ily in a warm bed? You’re an idiot. You’re not going to get any­thing.” But I felt dri­ven, as I wanted to cap­ture the image I had dri­ven eight-hundred miles from Cal­i­for­nia to get.

When I finally arrived at Shiprock that morn­ing it was about 5:45 a.m. The sun was just com­ing up and the Shiprock was behind a wall of clouds. When I finally stopped and stepped out with my cam­era and tri­pod, I sank ankle deep into cold mud. But when I looked up I knew that what was about to hap­pen in front of me was the thing I had come all this way for. For the next three hours I sat in front of Shiprock, not a soul around, it felt like we had a conversation.

My hope is that this image helps com­mu­ni­cate what I saw and the humil­ity I felt while
pho­tograph­ing this amaz­ing structure.

AN: Please tell us about your post processing.

MD: I’d say that most of my time is spent in the pre-process stage, not post-processing. That focus makes my post process work flow pretty sim­ple. But one thing that is impor­tant is that I stay focused on the total process because it all leads up to the qual­ity of the final print. The way a JPG looks on my web­site is impor­tant but the final print rep­re­sents my final vision.
I come from a film/wet dark­room back­ground, how­ever, I cur­rently use a dig­i­tal work flow for spe­cific rea­sons, the qual­ity of the final prod­uct being num­ber one.

My cam­eras have always felt like an exten­sion of my brain and hands when I’m out shoot­ing. That’s because I spend time learn­ing the tool (ie: cam­era) inside and out, just as I would if I was a musi­cian play­ing an instru­ment. If you wanted to be a great gui­tar player you’d have to prac­tice and learn every aspect of the gui­tar, right? I feel the same way about a cam­era. I’m also not one to buy an expen­sive cam­era and put in in auto mode and just shoot away. I trash my cam­eras, I treat them like paint brushes, it’s just a tool. It’s just some­thing I use to cap­ture a vision.

All my images are cap­tured latent, mean­ing in cam­era. Live-view really allows me to use my cam­era in the same man­ner I use the ground glass on a view-camera. With live-view I can now see the image in the exact way I am cap­tur­ing it, in black-and-white, with the cam­era in black-and-white mode. In the past when shoot­ing film and using a view-camera, I always had to view the image upside down, back­wards and red, green or blue (if I used filters).

Dur­ing print­ing I per­form a nor­mal amount of dodg­ing, burn­ing, bright­ness and con­trast con­trols on the images in Pho­to­shop. Sim­i­lar to what I would do in the wet dark­room. I print on Epson 3800 and 9800 print­ers with cot­ton rag papers.

AN: Can you give us a bit of a time­line regard­ing your rise in pop­u­lar­ity. How did you go about get­ting noticed?

MD: It all started by sub­mit­ting work to LensWork mag­a­zine. The first time I saw LensWork I had low expec­ta­tions for get­ting pub­lished in it. I had only been shoot­ing again for about a year, but I sub­mit­ted any­way. I never expected to even hear back.

About a month later, I received and email say­ing I would be pub­lished in the next edi­tion and that one of my images Church Rock would be used on the cover. To say the least I was shocked, and I jumped up and down! Since that fist port­fo­lio was pub­lished in March of 2007 I’ve been pub­lished in LensWork two more times. A total of three times to date.

After that first LensWork edi­tion I was con­tacted by the John Cleary Gallery in Hous­ton, Texas, ask­ing if I would like to do a solo exhibit. So my first solo show was July 2007. I still remem­ber the email I received from Cather­ine Cou­turier, the gallery’s direc­tor. It read “we love your work and would like to put on a solo show”. What can ya say — no? That show was really well received, much bet­ter then I could have ever imag­ined! At the time I also had the oppor­tu­nity to meet the late John Cleary. My wife and I had a won­der­ful time with him for the four days we spent together. What an hon­our. Since then I have had a total of three solo exhibits at the gallery.

After the first John Cleary exhibit I was approached by Alex Novak at Vintage/Contemporary Works — and from there things con­tin­ued to hap­pen. I count myself very lucky.

AN: You have had a lot of suc­cess in your pho­to­graphic career, to what do you attribute this?

MD: I’m not so sure I’ve reached any­thing yet. The last five years have been really fluid, and I’d like it to stay that way. I’m thrilled that peo­ple have reacted to my work, but what is most impor­tant to me is to con­tinue con­cen­trat­ing on cre­at­ing new imagery. I do count myself very lucky to be in the posi­tion I’m in today, I believe that my best work is still to come.

Church Rock by Mitch Dobrowner

Church Rock by Mitch Dobrowner

 

AN: How did you get involved with 21st Edi­tions for your book?

MD: I was never in a rush to do a book, I always thought that things would hap­pen when the time was right. So I never pushed it think­ing that even­tu­ally the right oppor­tu­nity would arise.

Then in mid-2010 I received a call from the pub­lisher of 21st Edi­tions — Steve Alba­hari. He asked a few ques­tions and before I knew it I found the per­fect pub­lish­ing com­pany to work with. For any­one not famil­iar with 21st Edi­tions, the books are of the high­est cal­i­bre, they’re amazing!

Work­ing with 21st Edi­tions has been a dream come true. They are an amaz­ing ded­i­cated, pas­sion­ate group of crafts­man. The books are all hand made and are in per­fect tune with me. They are totally sen­si­tive to each detail per­tain­ing to the pro­duc­tion of the books and the pre­sen­ta­tion my work. I’m a very lucky man. The first of the two books comes out in Sep­tem­ber 2011. The sec­ond book is out some­time before the end of 2011. I’m thrilled with they way they’re turn­ing out.

AN: What advice would you give to a young fine art pho­tog­ra­pher who is dream­ing of grandeur?

MD: I’d rec­om­mend read­ing Ansel Adams’ Print, Neg­a­tive, Cam­era series of books. For me, it’s my bible. All the method­olo­gies still apply, it was rev­o­lu­tion­ary thinking.

Today there are so many avenues that pho­tog­ra­phers can take to get their work shown. Just think of what avenues the mas­ter pho­tog­ra­phers of old had. They had no inter­net, no e-mail, very few pub­li­ca­tions, and pho­tog­ra­phy only had a few peo­ple that were con­sid­ered true “artists”. How did they get their imagery out there? It was quite a chal­lenge as com­pared to what tools we have today. I also remem­ber what Michael Kenna once told me when I first started: “show to every­one and any­one who is inter­ested in your work and if the gods shine down on you, things could happen.”

My only other piece of advice is: no mat­ter what any­one says you should always fol­low your gut instincts. Don’t care what peo­ple think or how they feel about your work. Do what you want to do as it’s Your art. Even if it means break­ing away from what every­one else is doing. Don’t fol­low advice, just do it! That’s all I ever do. Break­ing from the pack is a good thing.

AN: Can you tell us about any future projects?

MD: I intend to spend more time pho­tograph­ing storm sys­tems and land­scapes, I would even­tu­ally like to pub­lish a few more books. I see books as being time­less, some­thing we can leave behind for our kids, grand kids and future gen­er­a­tions. I’m really look­ing for­ward to get­ting back to my land­scapes project. I miss the South­west tremen­dously. Utah, New Mex­ico and Ari­zona is where my heart truly is. I can feel my antic­i­pa­tion build­ing as I get set to go back out. It’s a hard feel­ing to describe so I try to just describe it in my images.

AN: What’s your final say?

MD: The final image is all that is important.

Civilization by Mitch Dobrowner

Civ­i­liza­tion by Mitch Dobrowner

 

This inter­view and accom­pa­ny­ing images was reprinted with per­mis­sion from Adore Noir.
Adore Noir is a sub­scrip­tion based online pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zine spe­cial­iz­ing in awe­some fine art black and white photography.

Photography forum image of the month – July 2013

Hi Photo lovers!

Every month on our pho­tog­ra­phy forum mem­bers nom­i­nate images that they like. Then at the end of the month I choose an excel­lent image and talk about why it rocks. The photo I choose is not nec­es­sar­ily the best one of the month. I’ve come to real­ize it’s not really log­i­cal to pit images from totally dif­fer­ent gen­res against each other. That’s why there are cat­e­gories in photo con­tests. I just choose a photo that has extremely strong ele­ments that we can learn from.

Just so it’s clear, the photo I choose is not nec­es­sar­ily the best one of the month. I’ve come to real­ize it’s not really log­i­cal to pit images from totally dif­fer­ent gen­res against each other. That’s why there are cat­e­gories in photo contests.

My goal is to sim­ply choose an excel­lent photo and talk about why I think it rocks. This month was another crazy hard month though as the nom­i­na­tions from dif­fer­ent gen­res were of very high quality.

This month’s choice goes to Hill­bil­ly­girl  is for cap­tur­ing Air Time .

Air Time by Hillbillygirl

Air Time by Hillbillygirl

I chose this image for a few reasons:

1 –Deci­sive moment and tim­ing — The moment cap­tured is very excit­ing! The wake­boarder is par­al­lel with the water and yet he looks per­fectly calm and con­cen­trated even though he is fly­ing through the air.

2– Com­po­si­tion — I really like the fram­ing here. The frozen wave at the bot­tom, the spray com­ing off the wake­board at top left, the line pulling the wake­boarder at right — it’s all work­ing well. I like that the back­ground has gone medium soft which high­lights the wake­boarder so nice aper­ture choice as well.

3 — Sharp­ness and high shut­ter speed — I really like that the eyes are nice and sharp. It’s a tes­ta­ment to good track­ing skills and the use of an appro­pri­ately high shut­ter speed to nail this scene. The eyes are sharp enough to see and feel the con­cen­tra­tion. The whole body ges­ture is won­der­fully frozen.

For all these rea­sons, this is my choice for image of the month. Since we all have opin­ions, some mem­bers may dis­agree with my choice. That’s cool but THIS thread is not the place for debate over my pick, NOR is it the place to fur­ther cri­tique the image. The pur­pose here is to sug­gest strong ele­ments in the photo that we may learn from.

Con­grats Hill­bil­ly­girl on this excit­ing capture!

Tommy Ingberg — Photo Montages

It gives me great plea­sure to announce that our pho­tog­ra­phy blog will be fea­tur­ing inter­views and the pho­tog­ra­phy of some of the extremely tal­ented pho­tog­ra­phers from Adore Noir Mag­a­zine. Adore Noir mag­a­zine is pub­lished online from Van­cou­ver, B.C. Canada and is ded­i­cated to fine art black and white pho­tog­ra­phy. This inter­view fea­tures Tommy Ing­berg, a Swedish fine art pho­tog­ra­pher who spe­cial­izes in photo montages.

Photography by Tommy Ingberg

Pho­tog­ra­phy by Tommy Ingberg

 

AN: Please intro­duce your­self. Where do you live?

TI: My name is Tommy Ing­berg. I am 32 years old and live in Upp­lands Väsby, just north of Stock­holm, Sweden.

AN: When and how did you get into photography?

TI: I have been pre­oc­cu­pied with pho­tog­ra­phy as long as I can remem­ber. When I was 15 years old I got my first sys­tem cam­era, a Prak­tica with two lenses. It had no aut­o­fo­cus and the meter­ing did not work. I spent end­less hours exper­i­ment­ing and shoot­ing as much film as I could afford. It was then I really decided that I wanted to do pho­tog­ra­phy. I needed a way to express myself, and instead of play­ing in a band, paint­ing or writ­ing, I chose pho­tog­ra­phy. What fol­lowed were sev­eral years of inten­sive pho­tog­ra­phy but it was when I could afford a dig­i­tal cam­era that I really started to develop. Thanks to the fact that I could see the result directly in the cam­era, the whole process of trial and error was speeded up tremen­dously by not hav­ing to wait for the pic­tures to come back from the lab.

Since then I have tried sev­eral areas of pho­tog­ra­phy, por­traits, con­cert pho­tog­ra­phy, street pho­tog­ra­phy, nature pho­tog­ra­phy and every­thing in between. I can’t tell you why I chose pho­tog­ra­phy, but there is some­thing about it that really speaks to me. Even nowa­days I can still feel that excite­ment when I know that I just cap­tured a great pic­ture, often when some­thing unex­pected hap­pens in front of the cam­era. No mat­ter how well you plan your shoots, there is still an ele­ment of chance involved, and I love that about photography.

AN: What sparked your inter­est in photo montages?

TI: I have always grav­i­tated more towards art pho­tog­ra­phy than doc­u­men­tary pho­tog­ra­phy. When look­ing back at my old pic­tures I can see how my cur­rent style of imagery slowly but surely matured into what it is today. Sub­con­sciously it’s been there the whole time in terms of light­ing and the choice of a motive. Dur­ing all the years I have pho­tographed I have con­stantly been look­ing for my own expres­sion, but it always felt like a piece of the puz­zle was miss­ing. It never really“clicked”. The motives I sought sim­ply didn’t exist, at least not in real­ity. I could not really tell the sto­ries I wanted to with just the camera.

About three years ago I made a series of pic­tures where I mixed street pho­tog­ra­phy with some edit­ing; such as crop­ping, selec­tively blur­ring parts of the images and adding tex­tures to them. By cross­ing the line into heavy image edit­ing I was able to tell a coher­ent story. Encour­aged by the result I started exper­i­ment­ing with pure photo-montages and it was then when I allowed the images to really grow beyond the cam­era that the pieces fell into place, and I could refine my style fur­ther. That was a great feel­ing, to finally find “my” kind of expression.

Photography by Tommy Ingberg

Pho­tog­ra­phy by Tommy Ingberg

 

AN: Do you plan your images in advance or is it spontaneous?

TI: For me cre­ativ­ity does not come easy. I can’t just sit around and wait for an idea. It is hard work and a lot of trial and error. Some­times I can work for weeks and only pro­duce pic­tures that go straight into the garbage bin, but I know that if I keep work­ing, just keep tak­ing pic­tures and mak­ing mon­tages, I will even­tu­ally get a result I am happy with. I have found that if I keep my mind focused on cre­at­ing it will even­tu­ally get the pieces together and pro­duce a good idea for a pic­ture. Often the good ideas appear when I take a break from the cre­ative work and let my sub­con­scious take over. I find this to be a good solu­tion for all kinds of prob­lem solv­ing, not just cre­ative. When I have a solid idea I start work­ing by cre­at­ing a sketch on paper, pho­tograph­ing the pic­tures I need, and make a rough first draft on the com­puter. Some­times I need to do this a cou­ple of times before I’m happy with it and pro­ceed to make the final composite.

I’ve been pho­tograph­ing dig­i­tally long before I started doing mon­tages, and since I never really throw any image files away I have a huge archive of stock images I can use in my mon­tages. Nowa­days I also shoot gen­eral stock images for use in future mon­tages. When doing a com­pos­ite, I often com­bine images from my archive with pic­tures shot specif­i­cally for the mon­tage I’m work­ing on. Typ­i­cally I shoot my main sub­jects in a stu­dio with con­trolled light­ing, or if too large to fit in a stu­dio, out­side dur­ing an over­cast day and com­bine them with pic­tures from my archive. Even though I do cre­ate spon­ta­neous com­pos­ites out of just images in my photo archive, I find that the results are often bet­ter if I shoot with a spe­cific idea in mind.

AN: Tell us about your Real­ity Rearranged series.

TI: For me, sur­re­al­ism is about try­ing to explain some­thing abstract like a feel­ing or a thought, express­ing the sub­con­scious with a pic­ture. The Real­ity Rearranged series is my first try atde­scrib­ing real­ity through sur­re­al­ism. Dur­ing the two and a half years I have worked on the series I have used my own inner life, thoughts and feel­ings as seeds to my pic­tures. In that sense the work is very per­sonal, almost like a visual diary. Despite this sub­jec­tive­ness in the process I hope that the work can engage the viewer in hers or his own terms. I want the viewer to pro­duce their own ques­tions and answers when look­ing at the pic­tures, my own inter­pre­ta­tions are really irrel­e­vant in this context.

AN: What feel­ings are you try­ing to con­vey to your viewers?

TI: My images cover a wide spec­trum of emo­tions and basic human self-reflection that I think we all deal with. I often have a very spe­cific feel­ing or thought in mind when I cre­ate an image, but I try to get some dis­tance from it before I start work­ing on the image, oth­er­wise I have found that the result gets a lit­tle too straight for­ward and blunt. A bit of dis­tance helps me cre­ate calmer images with more sub­dued emo­tion and com­men­tary. I feel that an image works best if there is some ambi­gu­ity to it. I try to make my images ask ques­tions rather than answer­ing them. I think it is very inter­est­ing to hear dif­fer­ent people’s inter­pre­ta­tions of my images, even if it’s an inter­pre­ta­tion I can’t relate to. I think one of the main char­ac­ter­is­tics of sur­re­al­ism is that it forces the viewer to think.

Photography by Tommy Ingberg

Pho­tog­ra­phy by Tommy Ingberg

 

AN: What inspires you?

TI: That varies. Some­times it’s a sim­ple object. For instance, I found this really awe­some hat that inspired me to make a pic­ture. I saw it a cou­ple of weeks ago and had it in the back of my mind for a while before I devel­oped an idea and today I took it home to pho­to­graph it. I read a lot and watch lots of movies and find inspi­ra­tion in that. Lately I’ve also been try­ing to read poetry. My main source of inspi­ra­tion though is music. I always lis­ten to music and could really not imag­ine life with­out it. Despite movies, music, books and other exter­nal sources of inspi­ra­tion I still feel that I need inspi­ra­tion from inside myself, my life and my expe­ri­ences. I need to have some­thing to say that comes from within; oth­er­wise there is no real point in cre­at­ing. I would just be re-telling some­one else’s story, cre­at­ing mean­ing­less, empty imagery.

AN: What are your influences?

TI: Since I’ve tried so many types of pho­tog­ra­phy my influ­ences have been many and diverse, from clas­sic pho­tog­ra­phy and arts, rather than from dig­i­tal art. Early on it was the great mas­ters of pho­tog­ra­phy like Cartier-Bresson, Lei­boviz, Erwitt, Bras­sai and so on — too many to name. I con­sumed a lot of pho­tog­ra­phy and had new favourites every day. When I started doing pho­tomon­tages I started to learn more about the great painters and artists from other fields, like Warhol, Picasso, Magritte, Miró and Escher. I have learned a lot by study­ing great­ness in all fields of art includ­ing music, pho­tog­ra­phy, paint­ing, poetry or any­thing else. It is very hum­bling to look at your own work in that con­text.
AN: Do you have any cur­rent projects on the go?

I am still work­ing on my Real­ity Rearranged series, and plan to fin­ish it this year. I am also work­ing on a series that I call­Stranger. With that series I will con­tinue doing sur­re­al­ism but with more com­plex sto­ries, and with a more com­plex style of imagery. I have also tried to mix in more real­ism, and a dif­fer­ent style draw­ing inspi­ra­tion from pic­to­ri­al­ism. As well I have some ideas and projects in early stages I’m work­ing on.

AN: What is your final say?
TI: Well, I don’t feel I am in a posi­tion to give advice to any­one, I am still early in my devel­op­ment as an artist, but if there is any­thing I’ve learned so far it is that you only have one shot at life, so try to spend as much time as pos­si­ble doing what you love.

Photography by Tommy Ingberg

Pho­tog­ra­phy by Tommy Ingberg

 

This inter­view and accom­pa­ny­ing images was reprinted with per­mis­sion from Adore Noir.
Adore Noir is a sub­scrip­tion based online pho­tog­ra­phy mag­a­zine spe­cial­iz­ing in awe­some fine art black and white photography.

120 — How to Create Interesting Stories Through Your Photography

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #120 pro­vides tips on how to cre­ate, craft and tell more inter­est­ing sto­ries through pho­tog­ra­phy.  Some of the aspects we talk about include being active with fram­ing, hunt­ing down the ges­tures and watch­ing the edges.

I’m super-pleased to wel­come  The Cam­era Store (The largest cam­era store in Cal­gary, Alberta, Canada)  as a spon­sor of The Photography.ca pod­cast! I’ve been buy­ing my own gear there and rec­om­mend­ing them for a few years now, and I’m a fussy bug­ger when it comes to both gear and rec­om­men­da­tions. Their cus­tomer ser­vice is sim­ply awe­some and I often find that they have the best prices in Canada. They ship all over Canada.

 

Both these images were taken within the same minute. The bottom image however, tells a stronger story due to the dramatic gesture of the axe in the air.

Both these images were taken within the same minute. The bot­tom image how­ever, tells a stronger story due to the dra­matic ges­ture of the axe in the air, the smoke com­ing from the side of the roof and the fire­man on the right of the roof that’s fac­ing the cam­era. The top image isn’t bad, but it eas­ily loses in a poker match when it goes head to head with the bot­tom image.

 

Meeting - I waited in my window and actively composed this scene last winter. There is a strong suggestion of story here because the person in the background appears to be waiting for the foreground woman. I clicked the shutter only when I felt the timing was right compositionally.

Winter’s Meet­ing — I waited in a win­dow and actively com­posed this scene last win­ter. There is a strong sug­ges­tion of story here because the per­son in the back­ground appears to be wait­ing for the fore­ground woman. I clicked the shut­ter only when I felt the tim­ing was right compositionally.

 

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Long expo­sure images — Photography.ca forum’s reg­u­lar assign­ment — July 2013
Macro pho­tog­ra­phy — Photography.ca forum’s level 2 assign­ment — June 2013
Lay­er­ing images with inter­est­ing ele­ments — Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #102
Shoot in any light - Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #100

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