Photography transcript 7 — Interview with Dita Kubin —

[Cam­era clicks]

This is an audio tran­scrip­tion — Spelling, punc­tu­a­tion and gram­mer may not be perfect

Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Hi there every­one and wel­come to the Pod­cast on‚ My name is Marko.‚ We are com­ing to you from Mon­treal.‚ Today is Decem­ber 24, 2006.‚ So, it is the day before Christ­mas and we are all hav­ing some fun, get­ting ready for the hol­i­days and I have decided to put together a pod­cast with a fine art pho­tog­ra­pher, Dita Kubin from Mon­treal.‚ So, we actu­ally were able to do a tele­phone inter­view together and you are going to lis­ten to it very shortly.‚ The inter­view lasts about 20 min­utes, so I am going to get into it right away and with that, I guess I just want to wish all the lis­ten­ers the hap­pi­est hol­i­day sea­son pos­si­ble and a Happy New Year as well.‚ Thanks so much for lis­ten­ing to our shows.‚ We intend to do so many more dur­ing 2007 and we are going to do many more inter­views.‚ We would love to get your com­ments, so what­ever you have to say, send it to us on the blog by e-mail, on the bul­letin board and it will be my plea­sure to dis­cuss any­thing you like with you.‚ So, Happy New Year every­one and on that note, let us get into the inter­view now.
So, I would like to wel­come a really spe­cial guest today.‚ Our guest is Dita Kubin and she is a fine art pho­tog­ra­pher in Mon­treal.‚ I would like to wel­come her to the show and we are going to ask her a cou­ple of ques­tions and hope­fully, she will give us some insight into her art and her activ­ity.‚ Wel­come, Dita.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Thank you.‚ Thank you very much.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Excel­lent.‚ Good.‚ Nice.‚ Wel­come.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Thank you.‚ Thank you very much.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ First off, you have a very unusual web­site name for peo­ple that wants to go and visit your pho­tog­ra­phy and it is‚ Phudge is spelled P-h-u-d-g-e,‚ How in the world did you end up choos­ing
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Well, what is funny I guess is people’s reac­tion to it because I think that it is pretty obvi­ous and peo­ple often also mis­pro­nounce it and they say, “Fyudge.”‚ That is pretty funny to me.‚ Actu­ally, it is pretty sim­ple.‚ Phudge, obvi­ously, pho­tog­ra­phy with the ph.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Phudge, well, the idea that it is all just visual dessert, visual plea­sures and not to take it so very seri­ously because I think that within sort of this arts, arts milieu, there is this ten­dency to take every­thing so seri­ously and every­thing has this heav­i­ness about it that I just absolutely did not want to go there with the art that I was mak­ing.‚ I just wanted it to be kind of a light thing, a very light thing.‚ It is not brain surgery.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, it is just very, very play­ful.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah, it is.‚ It is.‚ I find the whole art process to be ther­a­peu­tic and play­ful for the indi­vid­ual and not to get stuck behind the heavy con­cepts of art.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Excel­lent.‚ Okay.‚ That is great.‚ Well, thanks for that intro­duc­tion.‚ So, I would like to get right into it with you.‚ A lot of your pho­tographs, they caught my eye, which is def­i­nitely one of the rea­sons that I con­tacted you.‚ I def­i­nitely find your pho­tographs some­what unusual.‚ Is there some way you can describe your cre­ative process a bit?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Well, unusual, an inter­est­ing adjec­tive to describe my‚¦
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ They are unusual, just let me clar­ify.‚ They are unusual in that they make you look twice.‚ They are just not like the reg­u­lar head and shoul­ders por­traits within an envi­ron­ment.‚ There is other stuff def­i­nitely going on.‚ I guess for that rea­son, they caught my eye.‚ So, back to the ques­tion.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Can you describe the process a bit?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I guess you are talk­ing mostly about the last series that I had been work­ing on.‚ That series, I was work­ing on for two years.‚ It actu­ally began orig­i­nally because I needed a cou­ple of images to donate to an art show and I had noth­ing new.‚ I just decided to pho­to­graph some­one and I was just exper­i­ment­ing in ways that I had not done before.‚ When I started to put the image together, all of these really inter­est­ing tech­ni­cal ele­ments started com­ing out and I had such a fun time work­ing on it that I decided to actu­ally to try to push this sort of tech­nique that I did not even know what I was doing at that time just to push it fur­ther and see what I could get out of it.‚ For me, it began very much as a tech­ni­cal explo­ration.‚ I did not really have any pre­con­ceived ideas of what I wanted to do.‚ Then when an image kind of made itself, I stood back and I quite enjoyed what the result was, then decided that I would try a cou­ple more por­traits in that vein to see if there was some­thing in it.‚ When I had then the next two, I just some­how really opened my eyes and enjoyed so much the process of it that I decided I would do a whole series of that.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Let us talk about one photo in par­tic­u­lar and we are also going to put that as the main photo for this entry in the blog.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Let us talk a lit­tle bit about the Soma por­trait that you did.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ How was that por­trait con­structed?‚ Can you describe the process a bit for that one in par­tic­u­lar?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ That one in par­tic­u­lar was one of the harder ones that I had made although con­sid­er­ing that this was a two-year project, the ear­lier ones were not as elab­o­rate, as com­pli­cated because I was not in the place where I under­stood what I was doing very much.‚ So, this was the first very dif­fi­cult one I had set for myself think­ing, “There’s no way I’m gonna be able to do this, but let’s just go and try.”‚ Obvi­ously, for the main rea­son that you can­not con­trol smoke and what it is doing.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, I had invited this woman, Soma, to pose for me.‚ She is a friend of a friend.‚ We just brought sort of props with us to the stu­dio.‚ I rarely shoot in a stu­dio, but I thought that with the smoke and it was still quite cold out, that this was the best place.‚ It was all shot with ambi­ent lights, so no flash in that at all.‚ We just played around with very many dif­fer­ent sort of I would say com­po­si­tions because we were within one set­ting, so there was not too much we could do with that and just sort of played.‚ There was no real, again, pre­con­ceived idea of what the final image would be although I had thought that I really wanted to do an image where she was lying on the ground and the smoke was com­ing up towards me, that was one thing that I thought would work.‚ It did not at all.‚ I really found myself to be quite smoked very quickly.‚ It was com­ing into my face.‚ It was hilar­i­ous at the same time because I just could not see any­more.‚ There was so much smoke in my face.‚ Yes, we laughed and then we just con­tin­ued doing dif­fer­ent things and it ended up that after the shoot was over, I did not really know what would result from it.‚ After I processed my negs, I had my proofs I started to see what could be pos­si­ble, that only this idea came out.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ At that point, which is actu­ally how I do all of the por­traits, is that I reviewed all of my shots and started to see how I could make it work towards a final.‚ I worked with sort of low res maque­ttes at first because there were so many images involved that I sort of weed out what does not work and work my way to a final.‚ With the small maque­tte, I was doing in this direc­tion of the final one.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ For those, I am sorry to inter­rupt.‚ For those peo­ple that do not know what a maque­tte is, can you give us a quick def­i­n­i­tion?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Sure.‚ It would just be basi­cally a model to work by.‚ So, what I do is I work dif­fer­ent vari­a­tions, dif­fer­ent small scale mod­els.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Then I weed out the ones that are not work­ing visu­ally or tech­ni­cally and then I start work­ing towards the ones that do.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, they are just like quick work­ing copies, if you will.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Excel­lent.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, this one started to form in front of me.‚ You are ask­ing me how exactly was this one made because so much of the work is post­pro­duc­tion.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.‚ It looks like it might be using more than one pho­to­graph.‚ Is that cor­rect?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.‚ I believe that this one and it is funny, I do not have an exact count for any of them, but this one would be any­where between 8 and 11 images‚¦
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Wow!
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ That were used to make this one.‚ The idea being that it would be seam­less in how it is blended together.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ But not nec­es­sar­ily seam­less that it looks like one sin­gle image.‚ The images that I made after this one are more nar­ra­tive and obvi­ously, they are not always real­is­tic.‚ So, you know that it is not made with one image.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.‚ Are all the images that you used of the same shoot or some can be taken from com­pletely dif­fer­ent times and places?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I started that it would be just one shoot and then got into the mind­set to be a puri­tan, that I had to use it from one, but again, I was reminded by another artist friend of mine to just not limit what you are mak­ing in any way.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, I threw that idea out and I started using images from other shoots with other peo­ple in fact.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I do not do that very often, but some­times it works and some­times I will have some­thing from a year ago that I shot that has been wait­ing to be used and I just do not know in what way and that was partly the case with this one.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.‚ Are these blended using some­thing like Pho­to­shop?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yes.‚ It is all Pho­to­shop.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ How long would it have taken you to cre­ate to this par­tic­u­lar image?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Well, it is funny because I do not sit down and work at it until I fin­ish.‚ I really need to let them breathe for a while.‚ For this one, what I would have done was I worked on a small maque­tte at first, so maybe that would have been a two-day kind of thing.‚ Scan­ning, clean­ing them, work­ing maque­ttes and then I have to let them sit because I am not sure in what direc­tion to go into.‚ This one I know I left actu­ally for about two months.‚ I just really did not know what to do with it.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ When I started to weed out the ones that did not work and decided this is the one direc­tion I would go in, then it would be about I guess four solid work­ing days of mak­ing the image, but also bro­ken down, not four days in a row because again I will get up to a cer­tain point and not know what to do with it any­more.‚ So, I have worked on the face area and then the back­ground and I do not know what to do with it, so I am just going to let it sit maybe do a lit­tle print­out and hang it on my wall, walk by it for a few days and then sit down at it again and work it again.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Quite the cre­ative jour­ney.‚ If peo­ple were think­ing that it was just like a snap, they are absolutely wrong.‚ Maybe you set it up in a three– or four-hour ses­sion, took a snap and then they are com­pletely wrong.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ There was like sev­eral days of work in this.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Well, what is funny is that in the begin­ning when I would be show­ing the images, peo­ple would have their reac­tions and com­ment on it and thinks that it is one pic­ture.‚ My reac­tion was always, “Peo­ple, I’m work­ing so hard on this one pic­ture.“
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ That is not obvi­ous at all.‚ How­ever, now, I guess I see that that is a com­pli­ment if seen as a one shot.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I think it is a com­pli­ment.‚ It is a tes­ta­ment to the good blend­ing and post­pro­duc­tion skills that you have def­i­nitely.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Some­thing like that.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Def­i­nitely.‚ The image at least from my per­spec­tive is so strong and so unusual tech­ni­cally because the eyes are sharp and the hands are sharp as well, which for some­one more in the know will just obvi­ate the fact that it is more than one image, but for some­one less in the know or some­one just pass­ing it by quickly to see and feel that it is one image taken on the spot, I guess it really is a great com­pli­ment to the work that you did to it.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I think in par­tic­u­lar with this image as well, it has a lot of spir­i­tual sug­ges­tion.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Def­i­nitely.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Not that even that was my inten­tion in the begin­ning although incense I think for every­one has some sort of a spir­i­tual asso­ci­a­tion.‚ This woman in par­tic­u­lar, she is from the States, but her fam­ily comes from Bangladesh area.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ The incense bowls were a gift to me from a friend of mine who went to India about five years ago on a big long trip and he had got­ten me these incense lit­tle burn­ers from Agra from a cre­ma­tory.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Wow!
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Brought back four of them for me and I had always thought that they would be so won­der­ful to use in a shoot, but I never what or how and I had just kept them think­ing that one day I am going to pho­to­graph some­one with incense, with them, so it just kind of came together when I met Soma and after I found my smoky lady.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ It def­i­nitely, def­i­nitely worked out.‚
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Thank you.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.‚ So, mov­ing on.‚ I know a lot of our lis­ten­ers, they are also fine art pho­tog­ra­phers and they kind of like to pro­duce art and some of the ques­tions for peo­ple that are just start­ing is “Can I live off my art?‚ Is this some­thing that is going to sus­tain me?”‚ You are def­i­nitely a fine art pho­tog­ra­pher your­self, so I guess we would like to ask you‚¦
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.‚ Do I ask myself the same ques­tion?
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Do you ask your­self the same ques­tion?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Every­day.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Every­day.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ How dif­fi­cult is it to let us say sell fine art pho­tog­ra­phy and make a liv­ing from sell­ing your art­work?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Well, I sup­pose it is dif­fer­ent in North Amer­ica than it would be in other places in the world.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Such as places in Europe per­haps?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Europe def­i­nitely embraces their artists more, not that I have any first hand knowl­edge, but I do have other artist friends who have said that to me, but also I do come from East­ern Europe and I would have thought it would have been eas­ier here to go that route, but I do not even think it is so much geo­graph­i­cal.‚ I just find that peo­ple in gen­eral are not very sup­ported to do art in a very sort of a life career kind of way.‚ I know very few, for instance, friends whose fam­i­lies have sup­ported them in that route.‚ There is always this pro­jected fear of not being able to sur­vive in it.‚ So, already in want­ing to go into art, we have that pro­jected fear on us which we project on our­selves and on to oth­ers as well.‚ That def­i­nitely does not help peo­ple mak­ing the deci­sion to go into art­work.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ That is some­thing that I prob­a­bly still do strug­gle with on some level in my life, but there did come a point where I just could not do all the other stuff that I did not want to be doing in life and I knew that this is what I wanted to be doing now.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, I find that hav­ing made that deci­sion, the rest — it is really just mak­ing that one deci­sion.‚ The momen­tum after that one deci­sion starts to go for­ward and things start to come to you once you have made that deci­sion, but being in a inde­ci­sive place does not‚¦
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ It does not now.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Offer oppor­tu­ni­ties for you to go there and do that.‚ So, back to your ques­tion.‚ It is dif­fi­cult to sur­vive in this.‚ See, I think that it is not, but it has been made to be that way.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I find that it is a lit­tle bit eas­ier now than it was two or three years ago for myself.‚ That is also in the early stages of you doing art.‚ Your art is not worth as much as it would be in the future.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ For sure.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ That is a part of it.‚ Peo­ple are buy­ing it just because they like it for them­selves or as gifts for other peo­ple.‚ There is no fur­ther com­mer­cial value unit in that.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.‚ Right.‚ Are you find­ing you are able to sell more pieces as months go on, as peo­ple see your work?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Absolutely.‚ Absolutely.‚ Maybe that is the thing that has sur­prised me.‚ I know that that is how it would work, but again, hav­ing the fears‚¦
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ That we can­not sur­vive.‚ How are you going to live?‚ When it does hap­pen, I am always sur­prise that some­body would want to pay for it.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Then I am not sur­prise.‚ Yeah, of course, that is why I have been work­ing‚¦
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So hard on that and on other things.‚ So, it makes sense to me.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Well, it is def­i­nitely nice to hear and I sus­pect that a lot of our lis­ten­ers will be happy to hear that as well.‚ I think you are absolutely right.‚ It is a mat­ter of pas­sion really in say­ing, “This is what I want to do.‚ This is what I’m going to do.‚ Let me go full force at it.”‚ I guess some­one can try it and fail.‚ Every­one does fail occa­sion­ally, but if you do not give it your all and you do not give it a shot, then you will never know.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Sure.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Espe­cially when you have kind of devel­oped a cer­tain style for your­self and you really appre­ci­ate that style and you explore it, I guess if you put your heart and soul into it, it is going to work.‚ Just do not quit.‚ If you quit, it is def­i­nitely going to fail.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I think the other thing is the moti­va­tion behind doing our work.‚ I have met peo­ple who are moti­vated to do it for fame and money.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Right.‚ Right.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Or even let us just say fame or recog­ni­tion or to leave some kind of a legacy behind.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I find that when­ever that has been my motive, it never works out.‚ In fact, when the motive is sim­ply to express that thing that you have to express inside, that is when things hap­pen.‚ Yeah, in the art mak­ing process and also in what you get out of it in return.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, back to our orig­i­nal ques­tion.‚ Do you do any other pho­to­graphic work as well or is it always work­ing on your art­work?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ No.‚ I am doing a lit­tle bit of com­mer­cial pho­tog­ra­phy.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I would say very lit­tle.‚ I never look for it, so only when I get called to do some­thing and then it has to sort of fit in with what I am doing in gen­eral then I would do it like let us say pri­vate por­traits for peo­ple.‚ I pretty much do not do any kind of adver­tis­ing work at all.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah, so it is pretty much pri­vate, pri­vate por­trai­ture.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Another impor­tant ques­tion that we like to ask.‚ I always get this by e-mail.‚ What equip­ment do you use?‚ So, for all the gear­heads out there who are dying to ask you this ques­tion, what gear do you use, Dita?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Sure.‚ What­ever I can keep my hands on.‚
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Are you shoot­ing mostly tra­di­tional pho­tog­ra­phy?‚ Are you shoot­ing more dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy at the out­set before pro­cess­ing it?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ No.‚ Every­thing is shot on film.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ In fact, I find myself to be very for­tu­nate that I am still from the old school photo world.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, every­thing is wet lab.‚ I process my own black and white at home, send the color out, but basi­cally I do shoot on almost any­thing I can.‚ The series that the image of Soma came from was shot on 35 with F90x Nikon cam­era.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I would like to say I have that cam­era and it is amaz­ing.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.‚ It is pretty good.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ We did not dis­cuss this in advance, but I love that cam­era.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.‚ I really do as well and I came upon it because it was actu­ally one of the cam­eras they used on a film set as a prop.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ They have pur­chased 10 of them and then they were sell­ing them off, so I really came in to a very good deal and that is why I bought it.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Excel­lent.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ It is also a cam­era that for instance I let one of my other pho­tog­ra­phy friends use, so she is work­ing with it all the time.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I am very much into lend­ing and help­ing each other out in that sense.‚ So, this series was also shot on Agfa, Agfa film.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ For me, I had wanted to do some­thing like this for about six years.‚ I have applied for grants, always got rejected and I took it per­son­ally at first and then I just thought, “Well, that’s ridicu­lous.‚ I’m not gonna let some­thing like that get in the way of me work­ing on a project.”‚ So, I decided that I would fund it myself.‚ So, what is the cheap­est way that I could do it?‚ What is the cheap­est film I could buy?‚ What is the cheap­est way I could process it, scan it and work on it?
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ When they were finally printed, were they printed via inkjet, from a lab, what is the final result?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.‚ They are inkjet prints using the most archival inks that are out there and also printed on archival paper.‚ That would be the lim­ited series edi­tion that I have.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I have really decided to go that route and limit the pro­duc­tion of it.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ For those that are think­ing of pos­si­bly doing some­thing sim­i­lar with their own projects, would you be able to sug­gest what paper you are using?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ You know what?‚ I would not because every­one likes some­thing else and I have gone through it like for instance I bought the most expen­sive paper you can pos­si­bly buy on earth.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ After start­ing to print, I really did not like it.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Which other peo­ple swear by that paper, so it is not for me, but it works for other peo­ple and I am now still in the process of find­ing some­thing that I really want to stay with.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, the papers that you use vary from image to image?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Well, they vary not too much.‚ They vary a lit­tle bit because I am still in the process of try­ing to find the best route for me, but that is also talk­ing about black and white images.‚ I really like a paper that has a very pure white in it.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Yeah.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I find that a lot of dig­i­tal papers out there are a lit­tle bit creamy.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Which low­ers the con­trast of your image and for me, I need to have my whites to be white.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, that would be the per­fec­tion­ist in me that does not like the most expen­sive paper on earth.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.‚ I guess we have taken a lot of your time.‚ I do not want to con­tinue too much longer.‚ So, I guess I just like to ask you at the end, are you hav­ing any upcom­ing exhi­bi­tions or besides, where else could peo­ple see some more of your work?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Well, at the present moment, I had just fin­ished an exhi­bi­tion in Novem­ber and I packed it up and I am now look­ing for other places to exhibit in.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ This would be the series, the Rec­ol­lec­tion.‚ So, I am at the place now where I am send­ing out my dossier to other artists and gal­leries and what-nots and start­ing my new series.‚ So, at the moment, I do not have it up any­where.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I am look­ing and as soon as I find a place, I will have it up on my web­site.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Excel­lent.‚ Excel­lent.‚ If you send me a link once you do have it done maybe I will be able to put that in the show notes as well.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ A lit­tle bit of a sneak peek maybe.‚ Are we able to?‚ What will the next set of work be ded­i­cated to?
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Actu­ally, I think that it is going to be — there are two things that I am very inter­ested to work on and one will be a con­tin­u­a­tion of this project.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Okay.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ But in color.‚ I am sure it is what that has to tell me.‚ The other one is I am look­ing to go travel, to get out of town for a lit­tle bit and to con­tinue a lit­tle bit of a sort of a series of squares that I have been work­ing on that actu­ally are very abstract and has new peo­ple in them and are just sort of almost abstract col­ors, hori­zons, that kind of thing.‚ So, I am curi­ous.‚ That one I have not really worked out very much.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Excel­lent.‚ Excel­lent.‚ Well, we will look for­ward to it def­i­nitely.‚ So, I guess I would like to take this moment to thank you, Dita, for agree­ing to do this pod­cast with us.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Thank you very much, Marko.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ It was totally a plea­sure and I know a lot of our vis­i­tors are going to get a lot out of it.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Thank you very much.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, thanks again and we do hope that you will send us an update as well.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ I will.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Thanks, Dita.
Dita Kubin:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ Thank you.
Marko Kulik:‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚‚ So, that was our inter­view with Mon­treal fine art pho­tog­ra­pher, Dita Kubin.‚ I cer­tainly hope you enjoyed that inter­view.‚ I hope you learned a few inter­est­ing things.‚ I know I did.‚ We intend to do more inter­views in the new year.‚ I would like to take this oppor­tu­nity once again to wish every­one Happy hol­i­days and Happy New Year.‚ I hope every­one is healthy and well and gets what­ever they want.‚ Please, as always, leave some com­ments in the blog or on the bul­letin board or you can shoot me e-mails at‚ It is my plea­sure to hear from you.‚ So, take care every­one.‚ Be well and we will be putting more stuff out in 2007.‚ Bye for now.
[Cam­era clicks]

Interview with Dita Kubin — Photography podcast #7

Soma by Dita Kubin

This show fea­tures a recent tele­phone inter­view with Mon­treal fine art pho­tog­ra­pher Dita Kubin. We talk about what moti­vates her work, her cre­ative process and even a bit about her camera/computer/printing technique.

And just like that. Bang. We’re already at the end of Decem­ber — it goes so fast.
Happy hol­i­days to every­one that lis­tens and that has sub­scribed.
More inter­view pod­casts with fine art pho­tog­ra­phers will be fea­tured in 2007 along with reviews and ‘how to’ pod­casts as well.

Happy hol­i­days every­one! Only the best for 2007!!!

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast tran­script #7

So many amazing photographers

I’ve recently come into con­tact with a few AMAZING fine art pho­tog­ra­phers. They have great sto­ries and great pho­tographs. A cou­ple of them have even agreed to do inter­views with me for future pod­casts and you’ll be see­ing their work and lis­ten­ing to them shortly. Stay tuned!

Shooting through glass — results

Here are the results from my exper­i­men­ta­tion with shoot­ing through glass. Basi­cally I went to a glass store and asked to buy scrap pieces of bro­ken glass. I was espe­cially look­ing for glass that had a bit of tex­ture in it. I looked through the glass with my eye and chose pieces that had just a bit of pat­tern and/or tex­ture. I bought about‚6 pieces of scrap glass for around 5 dol­lars. The pieces of glass that I bought were a bit too small in ret­ro­spect. I’d rec­om­mend the min­i­mum size to be 6 x‚8 inches (15.2 X 20.4 cm)

To shoot I put the cam­era on a tri­pod and placed dif­fer­ent pieces of glass between the lens and the fake flow­ers. Seems to me that the best shots were those where I placed the glass closer to the flow­ers than closer to the lens. I man­u­ally held the‚glass dur­ing the expo­sure, and I did this with­out using a cable release (which would have been handy). On some shots I focused on the flow­ers through the glass, and on other shots I just focused on the glass. The effects are quite painterly and I encour­age exper­i­men­ta­tion. Here are the results.

normal shot
Nor­mal shot

shooting through glass 1
Through tex­tured glass

shooting through glass 2
Through tex­tured glass

Photographing through glass
Through tex­tured glass

photographing through glass
Shot through amber glass with texture

Pieces of the actual glass that were used

Camera and grey card exposure example

This is a good exam­ple of the expo­sure we talked about in pod­cast #6. In the first image, I took a shot of the scene using only the camera’s meter and no adjust­ments. As we dis­cussed in the pod­cast the job of all cam­era meters is to aver­age out the scene. Since so much light was com­ing in via the win­dow, the cam­era ‘said’ hey I need to reduce expo­sure. There­fore the cat has almost no detail, but the cur­tains look great.

In shot two I based my expo­sure on the grey card by approach­ing it, fill­ing the cam­era frame with it, plug­ging the read­ing into the cam­era and tak­ing the shot with that read­ing. Notice how the cur­tains have almost no detail now. This is a much bet­ter expo­sure if the goal of the shot‚in to show a cat in the light by the win­dow. The expo­sure should have also been very sim­i­lar had we used an inci­dent meter read­ing based on the cat.

As a final note both these shots illus­trate another point from the pod­cast which is that if the con­trast (the dif­fer­ence between the bright­est and dark­est ele­ments) of the scene is too great, the cam­era will NOT be able to record both ends properly.

Photography transcript 6 — Exposure in photography —

[Cam­era clicks]

Please note that this is an audio tran­scrip­tion. Gram­mer and punc­tu­a­tion will not be per­fect.Hi there every­one and wel­come to the Pho­tog­ra­phy Pod­cast on‚ My name Marko and we are com­ing to you from Mon­real, Que­bec, Canada, and today is Decem­ber 8, 2006.
For today’s show, we are going to talk about expo­sure.‚ Although a lot of peo­ple know about expo­sure, a lot of peo­ple do not.‚ Some­one on the bul­letin board men­tioned that they like to know a lit­tle bit more about get­ting good expo­sure, so I thought I talk about that today.‚ Even if you know about it, I guess you can hear about it again and we all learn from each other’s tech­niques.‚ It is a good thing to do.
Expo­sure refers to the quan­tity of light hit­ting the film or dig­i­tal sen­sor, in terms of a dig­i­tal cam­era, to cor­rectly take the shot.‚ This quan­tity of light, it needs to be pre­cise.‚ If too much light hits the film or sen­sor, the shot will be over­ex­posed or too light.‚ If not enough light hits the dig­i­tal sen­sor or film, then the shot will be too dark and it will be under exposed.‚ It really needs some pre­ci­sion.‚ The good news is, is that in today’s mod­ern cam­eras either tra­di­tional cam­eras or dig­i­tal cam­eras, the sen­sor in that cam­era is very sophis­ti­cated.‚ Gen­er­ally, that sen­sor will give you good results most of the time.‚ Under nor­mal cir­cum­stances when there is good mix­ture of tones in the scene, your shot will be cor­rectly exposed because basi­cally what the cam­era sen­sor is try­ing to do, it is try­ing to give an aver­age read­ing of all the tones in the scene.‚ If you have a lot of dark tones and a lot of light tones and some mixed tones, well, then your cam­era will gen­er­ally give you very good expo­sure and that is all you need to do.‚ The prob­lems hap­pen when there is too much of one tone or too much of another tone.‚ Specif­i­cally, if there is too many light tones or too many dark tones, what the cam­era is going to try and do and say, “Hey look at those light tones com­ing to the cam­era.‚ In order for me to make this aver­age, I need to close down a bit.”‚ What is going to hap­pen is your shot is going to look grayer or not as light as it should.‚ These are sit­u­a­tions where you need to be care­ful.‚ There are other tech­niques that you can use that will help solve these sit­u­a­tions.
The clas­sic exam­ple, of course, is some­one stand­ing in front of beach or in front of a win­dow and then another per­son tries to take a pho­to­graph of that.‚ When that cam­era is look­ing at the scene, it is say­ing, “Oh my good­ness, look at all the light com­ing into the cam­era.‚ Again, I need to shut down.”‚ What hap­pens is the per­son in front of the beach or the win­dow ends up look­ing too dark because the cam­era under­ex­posed the sub­ject because so much light was com­ing into the cam­era.‚ These are the sit­u­a­tions where you have to be care­ful.‚ When you see extreme amounts of light com­ing into the cam­era or on the oppo­site end, if you are tak­ing a pic­ture of, let us say, some­one wear­ing dark clothes against the dark wall, the cam­era is going to say, “Oh my god, this scene is so dark.‚ I need to aver­age it out.‚ I need to open up a lot.‚ I need to give the shot more expo­sure.”‚ What hap­pens is the black per­son in the black suit against the black wall ends up turn­ing out mushy and not black because the cam­era did not cor­rectly expose for those tones.‚ Like I said, again, to recap, in nor­mal scenes where there is a vari­ety of tones, there is really no prob­lem and you will gen­er­ally get good expo­sure.‚ The trick is being able to notice when the scene is not nor­mal.‚ That only comes with expe­ri­ence.‚ Of course, if you have a dig­i­tal cam­era, you could just look at the results and adjust expose accord­ingly and hope­fully learn from it or if you are with a con­ven­tional cam­era, take notes if you are learn­ing and then when you get back the results you can also see what went right and what went wrong.
Now, the cam­era sen­sor in your cam­era, that is a reflec­tive sen­sor.‚ That is reflec­tive meter.‚ It is called reflec­tive meter because it mea­sures the light that is hit­ting your sub­ject and com­ing back to the cam­era, the light that is being reflected back to the cam­era.‚ These are gen­er­ally excel­lent in qual­ity as we men­tioned before espe­cially in mod­ern cam­eras.‚ Again, you just have to be aware of the sit­u­a­tion where the light­ing is not nor­mal because that cam­era meter will be fooled.‚ What these reflec­tive meters do when they are in cam­era is they aver­age out the whole scene within the cam­era.‚ It looks at the whole scene and the cam­era mea­sures the whole scene.
There is another type of reflec­tive meter called the spot meter.‚ It is exactly the same in prin­ci­ple except that it only mea­sures a smaller area of the pho­to­graph.‚ Usu­ally, you will see like a cir­cle in the mid­dle of the cam­era when you are look­ing through it. ‚In the cen­ter of that cir­cle, there will be smaller cir­cle or a smaller square.‚ If you have spot meter­ing avail­able on the cam­era, it will mea­sure exactly what is in that teeny spot.‚ It is really handy when you are more advanced and you want your expo­sure to be based on a par­tic­u­lar area of the shot, but for most peo­ple the type of meter­ing that is non-spot that eval­u­ates the whole scene or the whole frame of what you are shoot­ing gives really good results.
A great tool that can help with expo­sure, espe­cially if you are just learn­ing or you want to per­fect your meter­ing tech­nique or you want to assure your­self of good results, is a gray card.‚ What the gray card does is the gray card is the exact mea­sure­ment that the cam­era is try­ing to achieve.‚ The cam­era is try­ing to make all the tones mid­dle gray.‚ Although this may sound weird for color pho­tog­ra­phy, again, it is try­ing to achieve a mid­dle color so that the expo­sure will always be aver­age and thereby cor­rect.‚ You can buy this gray card at any photo store and it is a great, great handy tool when you are learn­ing.‚ If you do come across a sit­u­a­tion where you are just not quite sure of expo­sure, espe­cially if you are with a non-digital cam­era and you can­not see result right away, what you could do is, let us say you are tak­ing a pic­ture an object or a per­son, well, you have that per­son hold the gray card or you use some type of device to hold the gray card in place and you approach the sub­ject and you take the meter read­ing off the gray card.‚ You approach the gray card and you have the gray card fill the frame of the cam­era.‚ You note the expo­sure on the cam­era and you plug that expo­sure in when you back up.‚ That will give you a very accu­rate result.‚ You should also be aware that the actual expo­sure is depen­dent on three vari­ables, which is the film speed, the aper­ture, and the shut­ter speed.‚ These three vari­ables, they change.‚ They are not con­stant.‚ Although you may use cer­tain a film or your cam­era may tell you that it is using a cer­tain film sen­si­tiv­ity, it is not always bang on.‚ As you approach in expe­ri­ence or as you approach bet­ter pho­to­graphic tech­nique, you may want to make smaller adjust­ments in order to achieve bet­ter results.‚ In using the gray card, you could really find out the dif­fer­ence between the camera’s expo­sure and what the actual neu­tral expo­sure really is.‚ I rec­om­mend using the gray card when you get like a new cam­era or a new lens or you want to really per­fect your expo­sure.‚ Just take a shot, put the gray card in the scene, approach the gray card, take the meter read­ing from the gray card and your cam­era, then keep that meter read­ing back up and take the shot as you nor­mally would.‚ A good thing to do as always would be to take the shot accord­ing to what the cam­era read­ing was giv­ing you from your posi­tion as opposed to what it gave you when you approach the gray card in the scene.‚ Again, it is a great, great learn­ing tool and expe­ri­ence.‚ The meter­ing we just talked about, this reflec­tive meter, it comes with the cam­era and it is great tool to use.‚ You can also have an exter­nal spot meter if your cam­era does not have one.‚ They are pretty expen­sive, but they are great tools to have as well.‚ What it does is to kind of looks a lit­tle bit like a gun, let us say, and from your posi­tion you aim it at the sub­ject and you can get an expo­sure read­ing that is very, very pre­cise from a small area on an exter­nal reflec­tive spot meter.‚ Very use­ful device for those that are more advanced who really want to per­fect their expo­sure.
Another type of meter that is very use­ful to have and most pros have one, or even advanced ama­teurs they have one, is called an inci­dent meter.‚ What the inci­dent meter does is it mea­sures the amount of light falling on the sub­ject.‚ It does not have to do with the reflec­tion back to your cam­era.‚ It is the actual amount of light that is falling on your sub­ject.‚ You approach the sub­ject phys­i­cally.‚ It does not mat­ter if it is a per­son or an object, but it is def­i­nitely some­thing that you can approach.‚ You would not use it for a moun­tain or a land­scape.‚ I guess you are good — if you want to get a lot of exer­cise, approach the moun­tain and then go back to your posi­tion and shoot, but it is really for por­trai­ture or still objects.‚ The ambi­ent meter or the inci­dent meter will mea­sure the light falling on the sub­ject.‚ The results you get from this meter are very accu­rate because it actu­ally mea­sures the amount of light falling on the sub­ject.‚ You can get into tricky sit­u­a­tions with the inci­dent light meter as well if dif­fer­ent mixed lights is falling on your sub­ject, but in gen­eral just play with it a lit­tle bit.‚ Again, check out the results either on screen on a dig­i­tal cam­era or when you get your film back and you will see that it is just an absolutely fan­tas­tic, fan­tas­tic device.
Usu­ally, when we use the inci­dent meter, espe­cially in tra­di­tional pho­tog­ra­phy, we are going to mea­sure for the shad­ows.‚ We are going to expose for the shad­ows.‚ If there is a mixed light within the scene, we are going to try and posi­tion the inci­dent meter and we are going to point it at the light source or toward the light source, but in the darker area of the scene if that makes any sense at all.‚ If there is like a bright ray of light shin­ing on the sub­ject at his chest level, you may want to mea­sure the scene below the chest level so that it does not totally blow out the scene.‚ You want to expose for the shad­ows in gen­eral and develop for the high­lights if we are talk­ing tra­di­tional pho­tog­ra­phy.‚ If we are talk­ing dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy, just inci­dent record the scene.‚ Take the metered mea­sure­ment, plug it into your cam­era, shoot, and see what you get.‚ See what you are doing right or wrong.‚ That is really the beau­ti­ful aspect of the dig­i­tal cam­era; you can see the results right away.‚ Again, for any­one that is seri­ously into pho­tog­ra­phy, I highly rec­om­mend get­ting an inci­dent light meter.‚ It is so prac­ti­cal and such a great learn­ing tool and such a great use­ful tool, espe­cially if you are being paid to shoot.‚ Now, again, these inci­dent meters are a cou­ple of hun­dred dol­lars.‚ They are between $200 and $300 to buy them new, but you can often find them used on eBay or you can look in your local paper or go to a local photo store and you will find these meters used as well.
The only other thing I really wanted to men­tion about expo­sure is the dif­fer­ence basi­cally between tra­di­tional cam­eras and dig­i­tal cam­eras.‚ Although the tech­nique of mea­sur­ing the scene will be the same, again, you are going to want to make some small adjust­ments with regard to the meter read­ings that you are get­ting espe­cially if you see that your results are con­sis­tently off.‚ Film man­u­fac­tur­ers and the camera’s speeds, you need to adjust them.‚ They are going to be really good for most appli­ca­tions, but you are going to find that occa­sion­ally the meter read­ing is off and you are going to won­der why.‚ It is because they are not all bang on, you need to adjust them slightly by increas­ing the expo­sure either through expo­sure com­pen­sa­tion in the cam­era or expo­sure com­pen­sa­tion in the meter.‚ You really need to adjust the indi­vid­ual meters if you want to get the best result.‚ You also need to know that when you are doing your tests that although your eye can see the dif­fer­ence in lat­i­tude between the dark­est parts of the scene and the light­est parts of the scene, the cam­era can­not.‚ If there is a really huge dif­fer­ence, the cam­era will not be able to record it prop­erly regard­less of how you are meter­ing it.‚ Now, that is a whole other topic and we can go on and on and on about the fine points of expo­sure, but you need to be aware that if the scene is too bright, your cam­era will not be able to record it regard­less of the meter read­ing that you put in.‚ These types of sit­u­a­tions really only occur with expe­ri­ence.‚ After you have shot many, many pho­tographs, you will be able to real­ize, “Oh my good­ness, this scene is just way too bright.‚ I either can’t shoot this scene and record both sides of the spec­trum, the dark tones and the light tones cor­rectly, or I have to reduce the con­trast of the scene some­how.”‚ Some­times that always will not be pos­si­ble.‚ You need to give it up unless you have such a bud­get whereby you are able to really con­trol the scene with all kinds of equip­ment, then if the scene is too strange in terms of its bright­ness vari­ety, you just have to wait for another time or real­ize it is just not going to work or live with the results you get.
That basi­cally cov­ers our show for today.‚ As always, we appre­ci­ate com­ments in the blog and we also appre­ci­ate com­ments in the forum.‚ We are chang­ing around the blog a lit­tle bit.‚ I hope you like the changes.‚ You can sub­scribe, as always, for free in iTunes.‚ Just do a search for pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast or Pod­cast and you will find our pod­cast.‚ We are going to have some direct links put up in the blog so that if you just click those links you will be sub­scribed in iTunes, which is a great pod­catch­ing soft­ware to have, so I rec­om­mend you down­load it if you do not already have it down­loaded, but a lot of you prob­a­bly do have it down­loaded.‚ That is it for the today.‚ Thanks so much.‚ We are going to do another pod­cast really quickly.‚ Once every two weeks I am find­ing is bit long, so I intend to actu­ally shorten that period in the very near future, maybe once every 10 days or even once a week.‚ Hope you keep on lis­ten­ing.‚ If you have any ques­tions, shoot them my way.‚ It is my plea­sure to answer them, either via email, via the blog, post­ing in the forum.‚ Always my plea­sure, love talk­ing to new­bies, love talk­ing to pro­fes­sion­als through email or directly.‚ Again, thanks every­one for lis­ten­ing.‚ Have a great day and keep on shoot­ing.‚ Bye for now.
[Cam­era clicks]

Exposure in photography — photography podcast #6

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #6 is ready for down­load­ing or sub­scrib­ing. In this pod­cast we talk about basic expo­sure in pho­tog­ra­phy. We go through tech­niques involv­ing using a gray card and we talk about reflec­tive, inci­dent and spot metering.

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast tran­script 6

Shooting through glass

This has been some­thing that I’ve been mean­ing to do for a while. Now that I have that new dig­i­tal cam­era, I’m all over it. Great‚effects for fine art photography‚can be had by shoot­ing through dif­fer­ent types of glass and mate­ri­als with dif­fer­ent lev­els of translu­cency. Have I piqued your inter­est? Results will be posted here within 1 week.