Winter is a great time to capture black and whites because most of the colours are covered in snow. ‚It’s also a great time to shoot lines and patterns for the same reason; the lack of colour emphasizes their forms. The lines, angles and contrast caught my eye when I spotted this bench and I was happy to have the G11 with me. This was a tricky shot because it was later in the day (less light) and I was holding ‚a loaf of bread and a pie in the other hand as I shot this. While this was on the screen I knew that I’d likely prefer the shot if it were flipped as it would make it more abstract.
Today’s vintage photo of the day is called The Photojournalist by Andreas Feininger and was taken in 1951. It has become an iconic portrait and the subject is photojournalist David Stock who won a photojournalism competition. Feininger shot the image‚for Life Magazine where he worked for decades.
Feininger is perhaps best known for his‚architectural‚ and street shots of New York City in the forties and fifties. This portrait does not represent Feininger’s average subject matter and yet it is amongst his most famous photographs for many good reasons.
What draws us to this photograph is obviously the unique way it’s presented. The Leica camera is turned to one side so that the lens and viewfinder act as the subject’s eyes. Both lenses have specular highlights which mimic the catchlights seen in portraits. In addition, the image is beautifully printed with rich blacks and whites with detail. The eye is skillfully guided to the focal points (lens and viewfinder) in this image, likely through selective dodging and burning (selective darkening and lightening of specific parts of the image). It’s the combination of technical skill and well thought out composition that make this image superb.
A friend of mine is moving out of his place with a great view of Downtown Montreal in 2 days so I was lucky enough to get one last crack to shoot a night scene. As it happens there’s also something called Spheres Polaires in town and the spheres add to the image.
Because Montreal now has snow everywhere, here’s another snowy shot; this time it’s a cat.
Yesterday I was dog walking Zeusy, and a cat spotted this 7 pound terror. Zeus started barking insanely but the cat barely moved. (That’s one of the things I love about cats btw. Unlike dogs that waste their energy willy-nilly, cats will only ‘waste’ energy if they have to). All the cat did was get up from where is was resting, locked focus on the dog, and raised it’s hackles (back fur) which made its body bigger. Basically the cat was saying, “you want a piece of ‚this, come and get it, but I ain’t moving!”
And that’s what drew me to the shot. It’s the cat’s gesture that helps suggest a story.
I should also mention that after we took the shot and moved on the cat sat right back down to rest in the snow.
Today’s image of the day is called Mondrian’s Glasses and Pipe by the late master Hungarian photographer Andre Kertesz, and it was shot 84 years ago. If you can find this one at a garage sale, keep it, it’s worth a few bucks.
This photograph is brilliantly composed and that’s why it stands the test of time. Kertesz plays with shapes in a masterful way here and uses leading lines to get to those shapes. Triangles occupy not only the positive space, but the negative space as well. This creates an incredibly dynamic composition. The circles in the spectacles as well as the pipe and bowl further engage us visually.
So I’m dogsitting a teeny 7 pound mini-poodle named Zeus for the next 2 weeks and we go out for a quick walk so little Zeusy can do his business. It’s snowing pretty hard but little Zeusy keeps trudging forward looking for interesting scents to track when all of a sudden I notice a path made by huge tractor tires. The lines go from foreground to midground and Zeus is pulling me in them. Immediately I think of the Grinch’s dog Max and I start laughing. I pull out the Canon G11 and call Zeus’s name and he looks back at me. I take a few shots and then I tell him to ‘Mush!’ as I continue laughing to myself.
What drew me to this image was the humourous aspect and the lines. I noticed the leash’s line entering the frame while I composed the image and that made the ‘scene’ even funnier suggesting that I was on a sled being pulled by this little dog. I guess my point on this one is be on the lookout for lines, they really help tell visual stories!‚ I cropped this image squarish because it suited the scene better and I likely would have taken more time with the scene if L’il Zeusy and I were warmer.
I’ve been following the work of Jan Saudek (note: many graphic nude images on the site — NOT for the timid) for about 15 years and he is a Master photographer. What originally drew me to his work is his storytelling, his non-conventional models and backgrounds, his themes and the handcolouring. Jan has a very notable ‘style’ and you will love him or hate him.
Today’s image of the day is Hungry For Your Touch, 1971 by Jan Saudek. I love the angle of this image and the positions of the hands which are reminiscent of‚ the Creation of Adam painting. I love the bright light entering the doorway in the background as it makes the theme of the image far richer. Without the door the image is more about hands and intimacy. WITH the door though, all kinds of additional themes (at least to me) are suggested. These themes include, creation, spirituality, union, longing and birth. That’s my take on it anyway, what do YOU see?
I’ve come to realize something about myself‚ lately, I just love detail shots.
There was a crazy snowstorm yesterday so it was the perfect time to go outside and take pictures.
I took about 10 shots of various scenes but when it came time to select just one image, I gravitated toward this detail shot below. I had no ‘goal’ in mind except to take a wintery shot. What attracted my eye to this shot were the lines. Lines in general are an extremely powerful compositional element when used correctly. Often they are used to guide the eye to another element in the image. In this case though, the lines themselves are part of the subject matter and they just screamed to be photographed.
Last month I went on a photo-tour in the Rockies led by Darwin Wiggett and after the tour was over he asked if we could send over our 6 faves for him to post on his site. Now that they have been posted on his site for a week or so I thought I’d also‚ post them here. Feel free to comment or critique any aspect of these images.
The ice formations at Preacher‚„s Point were just awesome. I could have easily stayed there the entire day and the sunrise was also one of the best that we had. I spent a good part of the morning on my belly sliding on the ice looking for cool ice formations. Although the ice I laid on was solid, the lake was not totally frozen and I kept hearing ice cracking sounds which freaked me out quite a bit.
I must have 20 shots of this ‚Ëœice cave‚„. I kept moving closer and closer and closer until my footwear would not let me move any closer or my feet would have been soaked with ice-water. I was super-intrigued with the ice-forms to the right of the central rushing water as they seemed smoke-like to my eye.
I really dug Coleman Creek and had the 105mm Macro on for close up details. The great thing about the 105 (I have the Nikon version) is that it‚„s also a lovely portrait lens. When I spotted the interplay between the water and the ice here, I immediately focused a few feet in front of me. I thought of surfing as I captured this waveform.
The rushing water, the icicles, as well as the rock faces all caught my attention in this composition. I was also struck by the strong shapes and the interplay between them.
I was struck by the painterly feel of this reflected tree in the ice. The cracked ice and textures made for a nice canvas for the tree‚„s reflection.
This was a challenging shot to get because I cut my pinky finger on the ice maybe 5 minutes before taking this shot. I was bleeding a bit and tried to stop it with kleenex and it worked for a while. Every time I needed real dexterity though I moved the kleenex and it started up again. Anyway it healed up nicely. Sorry if I spoiled any macro compositions for anyone. Wait a sec the interplay of blood and ice ‚œ that might have been cool! I chose to convert this image to black and white because the natural colours of rocks in the background were interfering with the form of the ice disks I wanted to highlight.
And those were the 6 that I sent off to Darwin. Just in case people are interested to see a few additional shots, I posted 2 threads in our forum here.
On December 3rd I suggested that the image of the day on this blog would mostly be my photography and 3 days later I’m here to tell you that it will be a mix of photography that I personally find interesting. Sometimes it will be my work but often it will be other people’s and on some days, like today it will be the work of a Master.
Today’s image is by Master photographer Paul Strand and it’s called Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France . I just love the fact that this image is almost 60 years old. It’s a very intense portrait of a boy staring right into the camera. What makes this portrait work for me are the very intense and sharp eyes along with good lighting that reveals texture in the fence, boy’s hair, face and clothing. The well chosen background suits the subject and suggests a working environment to me. The printing is also wonderful with a full range of tones (that show up better in reproductions and books versus here on the web).
This image is by one of my all time favorite photographers, Joel-Peter Witkin.
I’ve been following his work for around 20 years. The second I saw his work I was totally mesmerized but there’s very little middle-ground in terms of liking Witkin’s work, you will like it or not. For me, the attention to detail, the fabulous compositions, the very unusual subject matter that he has photographed for decades, and his mastery of printing make him one of my all time favorite photographers.
As many of you know I spend far too much time in front of the computer.‚ Being the admin on Photography.ca and Pets.ca is a great job and even though I do take pictures regularly, I often go many days without shooting and this just has to change.
Three weeks ago I went on a photo tour in the Rockies with Darwin Wiggett who has been interviewed on our podcast a few times already. Man, that Darwin Wiggett is inspirational and I came back on a photo high. Darwin has been shooting an image a day for well over a year I believe, and he calls it his daily snap. Here is Darwin’s daily snap for today December 3rd 2010.
Although I am envious of Darwin’s passion and commitment, I know myself pretty well. I’ll try hard to post images that are shot by me and others, or post vintage photography that I dig. I’ll even write a few lines about what intrigues me about the images. I should be able to do this several times a week each week — but not every single day. Anyway, effective immediately and thanks again Darwin for your additional inspiration, I’ll start posting photos of the day as often as I can.
Here’s an image I shot just yesterday a few meters from my home. The day was very overcast and windy and puddles reflecting the city were everywhere. The wind caused ripples in the water and gave it a painterly feel which caught my eye immediately. Because the scene already had very little colour I thought it best to convert it to BW using Silver efex pro. Although the shot does feel a bit ‘dark’ to my eye, it did represent the mood of the day and the changing seasons. Please feel free to critique or comment on any aspect of this image.