Here at PV, Reading Week = Movie Week.
We were required to watch 3-6 movies related to Photography, and give our opinions, so here is what I have to say:
Movie one - BORN TO BROTHELS
An Academy Award winning documentary by Ross Kauffman and Zana Briski, of the Red Light District in Calcutta. The movie is about a few children who are living in a Brothel, who's futures spell prostitution and drugs. With the parents and family addicted to drugs, alcohol, and working in the line, the kids have no hope for education or a decent future.
Until New York photographer Zana Briski steps in and gives each child a camera, to view Calcutta in a different way. Zana spends time with these kids, helps them take better photographs, and discovers what these kids can become if they could only get out of the Red Light District. Zana goes on to help these kids get into boarding schools, and into a better future. The film is very powerful and eye opening.
I really enjoy the film, because it's real. The events that happened in the film actually occur, and need to be stopped. It's awesome to see the lives of the little kids changing, and the parents willing to get their kids into a better future, all done through photography. When I see a movie that actually has meaning, and real events, it's more impacting than watching, lets say, PECKER, which is just for humorous pleasure.
Born to Brothels really made me think about just grabbing a simple point and shoot 35mm and photographing everything that goes on around me. Having so much gear just turns me off most of the time.
Movie two - PECKER
Wow. This movie was ridiculous. Pecker's voice was really annoying, and it had pretty unnecessary nudity in my opinion. BUT, it was pretty funny at the same time, and again, really made me want to snatch a really simple 35mm and photograph everything around me! It was a funny plot, with the kind of family he had, the life he lived, and the amount of fame he received so quickly from his photographs. I realized that he had absolutely no problem taking someone's picture, and I wish I had the guts to do the same. I mean, what's the worst that'll happen, if I try to photograph someone?
Two things I noticed about the movie, was that he'd NEVER change his roll of film and would shoot about 2,314 frames, and when his friend and him were developing prints in the basement, they only washed them for about 3 seconds, before hanging to dry.
This movie was amusing though.
Movie three - ONE HOUR PHOTO
Robin Williams does a great job playing a lonely, single Photo Clerk in this creepy Psychological Thriller. Sy (the Clerk) displays disturbingly great interest in a young family of 3, who's been his favourite customers since their son was born 9 years ago. After years of tracking this family through their prints displayed in his apartment, he discovers from another customers prints, that the man of the family was cheating on his wife. After being fired from bad behaviour and hundreds of missing prints, Sy goes on to straighten out the families' lives in a somewhat disturbing manner.
The film was really enjoyable for me, as I like Robin Williams, anything photo related, and Thrilling movies. The curiosity of why this man was doing what he was doing really kept me on the edge of my seat. I had a really good feeling when Sy found the photographs of the man cheating. I knew he cared too much for the family, to let the father/husband do this to them, but before I found out the man was cheating, I was really curious why the Clerk was stocking the family the way he was!
I enjoyed the dedication of the Clerk to his photo printing and the calibration of the printer. He really valued his customers and wanted the best for them.
I am pleased with a lot of shots I got over the holidays, but it was tough to find good shots that weren't really school related! Here are some shots representing some events that took place.
On my way home from the city for the holidays. I've driven past this hydro thing pretty much every day of my life, and have always wanted to photograph it. The sky appealed t me just after the sun went down so I stopped to get some shots.
That same night I was back from the city, Altona's High School (W.C. Miller) had their annual Candlelight service. I enjoy photographing live performances in venues like this so it was a great time to get some good low light shots. Of course, I did use a shot from this for an assignment, but it wasn't strictly school related!
Derek and Jill are originally from Altona, and just recently got engaged. So they asked me to do the engagement photos. We shot at U of M and it was a really great opportunity to broaden my portfolio with some creative natural light photographs.
I went to plenty of abandoned places over the holidays, and had to leave my "assignment settings" to get photograph these. I'm glad I did.
Here is my friend Crystal. We were at one of my favourite abandoned yards, trying to capture the owl the lives there. The Owl was close to impossible, so I was satisfied with this!
I volunteer at the YFC centre in Altona, and we've gone to the Edge indoor skatepark quite a bit this year. Here's a photo of one of the Youth, Nick who is progressing greatly with skateboarding.
I took a Saturday to tour some abandoned towns and yards, and found this Sekine up against one of the homes. I fell in love as soon as I saw it, and was 90% sure it was going to come home with me, but it didn't.
Back at my favourite abandoned yard, alone this time, AND CAUGHT THE OWL! The Owl and I had such a great time playing hide and seek around the yard. But seriously, these things don't like being photographed, and can hear your shutter go from 200 yards away.
I didn't have much to do on Christmas morning, so I was hired to photograph the Bergmann's. I was really glad I got the opportunity because it gave me some more experience with my studio strobes, and photographing many people. The shoot consisted of some full group shots, as well as 7 individual family shots, and a few head shots.
The Holidays came to a close with a family Ski-trip to Red Lodge, Montana.
This was about half a mile from our Chalet, and I set the camera & tripod on the road about 50 feet away. With a 10 second timer, no wireless shutter release, and deep snow to run through, I was not going to do this more than once.
So I didn't!
The portraits of Yousuf Karsh blew me away today.
I was intrigued by the simplicity of the photos, the expressions he caught from the subjects, the lighting he used, and the fact that it was an 8x10 Large Format camera.
There were lots of photos fighting for my #1, but the winner ended up being Earnest Hemmingway.
What stands out right away, is the lighting.
From what I can tell, Karsh lit Hemmingway mostly from above. With that, one light camera left and slightly behind the subject, and possibly one light camera right slightly behind the subject.
Both of these side lights (if there are two) form a rim of light around Hemmingway, causing him to pop from the black background.
The light above Hemmingway creates a far more dramatic image than a light, lets say, head on, as it emphasizes the large round collar of the sweater, as well as the shadow of the beard.
This, together with the simple, center framing catches my eye right away.
As for Dark Room techniques, all I can make out from this particular image is the way he would've dodge and burnt it.
If you look closely between his shoulders and the background, you'll see a very feathered grey zone (more dominant on Hemmingway's left side).
I could say that this was done by a third or fourth light aiming at the background, but the feathered grey area follows his sweater curves, where a light wouldn't do that.
So, using Dodging and Burning, I feel he would've done nothing more than dodge in Hemmingway, and Burn out the Background.
Lastly, I'm not aware of the contrast coming out of an 8x10 negative, but it looks like he would've added contrast as well.
I've always enjoyed art and design, which has always attracted me to colour. I feel that colour has a lot to do with personality, emotion, and character, and affects us without always realizing it. The colours we do or do not use, is an important decision in every situation, whether it is business/professional work, or personal/playful work, as it plays a large roll in how we feel about it.
For more professional/business oriented work, it's good to include either Black and White shades, or light/dark colours instead of really bright colours. This would depend on the type of business of course... and who your target is. Businesses usually want something catchy, while staying professional and serious about their work, so something too crazy could hint immature work, and drive clients away.
For more playful work, or something directed to a younger crowd, it would probably be good to include bright colours, and maybe lots of them. Kids are fast, busy, and loud, therefore a variety of bright colours suit more.
I find that a variety of bright colours are suited for eccentric people, and either black and white shades, or light and dark colours are suited for calm/quite people.
I find myself in the middle.
I love a lot of busy colours, but at the same time, I really like minimalism with soft colours, or shades. The reason for lots of colour is my outgoing personality, and my drive to be different. The reason for the minimalism and soft colours, is because I take me and my work seriously, and I enjoy creating professional visions.
The colours I shot:
Blue - The blue wall with fencing and shadows gives a very dark and mysterious feeling. When viewing the image, I get the sense of coldness and depth.
Cyan - Hoopers has a very attractive logo, being simple but catchy with the exaggerated "h" and the eye catching Cyan sign. The Cyan is a pretty soft colour, but grabs your eye when walking down the street, because the colour is rare to see. The Cyan in this image gives me the feeling of infinity, and surreality.
Red - Canada Post has done a great job in my opinion, of slapping a catchy design onto all of their mail boxes around the city. It's easy to see the bright red everywhere, and the busy text around the whole thing adds dimension. Even though there are accents of blue in the image, it's the red that pops out and grabs your attention. I don't really think about anything but red when I see the image. I'm pretty sure my heart rate goes up when viewing this image.
Orange - The Clothing Donation Bin pops out a lot with the single bright orange colour, and white text. It's super warm and because it's so bright, it feels busy.
Cyan / Red - The Cyan sky is a soft, clean, soothing background for allowing the important red fire hydrant to pop out at you. The two colours are very different, in the way they make me feel when I look at them. In this scene, the colours both match the way we sort of WOULD feel about the subjects. The soft blue sky is what we always wait for in a nice day. The soft and gentleness gives us hope, and joy. The red Fire Hydrant on the other hand is for use in an emergency, leaving us with a panic and busy feeling. Basically what we'd feel when there's a fire.
Warm / Warm - The sunsetting sky gives us a soft violet, red, and orangellow in this image. I feel like fire when I look at the photo. The colours are very vibrant and hot.