Monday, April 26, 2010

Links and Things IV

Kevin Van Aelst is a photographer dealing who makes very intersting setups with touches of digital trickery.

Wayne Belger makes deliciously elaborate, themed (and a touch morbid) pinhole cameras which he uses, implementing photography and sculptural processes, to create his complete installations.

Jim Verhulst writes a sobering article about acid attacks on arab women, along with some amazing, but heartbreaking, photographs.

On a more chipper note, recently several animals have been caught getting a little friendly with people's photography gear, including this polar bear and a thieving octopus.

A more technical side of photgraphy is revealed with Aspex Co. asking people to send in samples to be imaged by their scanning electron microscope - at no cost.

Marcus Coates created a fascinating work called "Dawn Chorus" in which he recorded bird whistles, documented the notes, then taught them to people at a pitch and speed that could be reproduced. He then sped the results back up again to create his film. There are some other good works as well if you sift through the site.

The UK government is pushing forward some rather unpleasant laws concerning photographers and usage rights.

Some simply phenomenal animal photography.

Photographic "cheat sheets."

Themes for those using wordpress.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I need to update this blog, but I've been severly bogged down with finals.

I do want to post what I have completed for my final, however. Feedback is much appreciated. So far people have told me that the triptych format is pretty much neccesary to really "get" what is going on, but they disagree on the layout. Any advice?

And This My Friend

Monday, April 12, 2010

War Final Images

Wrapped up shooting for my project images this weekend and got them edited and prettied up. I went ahead and posted them to a set on flickr. Feedback is appreciated.

The final shots.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

War Progress Shots

Here are some progress shots from our current project. The one above is the only one I am sure of, the ones below need to be chosen from their respective pairs, but I am particularly indecisive at the moment and will settle on this later. Input is welcome!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I've been working hard and literally shooting every day to get photos together for my "war" assignment. At first I had been considering ways to address the theme in a less direct way, but in the end I realized I really just wanted to meet it head on and have been constructing scenes as if war had broken out in contemporary America - suburban Florida even in my case. Throughout history war has been something, for Americans anyway, that is fought elsewhere, in foreign countries. There has not been real fighting for hundreds of years on American soil, and I wanted to address the hypothetical reality of that. I am not focusing so much on the guts and glory aspects of war, the dramatization you see on TV and in movies, but the very real and very human aspects of those left behind, those in the margins and on the sidelines, their lives turned upside down as their cities, their homes, are invaded by enemy forces. In my photos, this unknown enemy is never seen or brought to life except in its obvious presence and effect on those being documented. Their emotions, their frailty or panic or resilience - these are the things I am thinking about, the things I think will provoke a response and make the images wholly relatable.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Painting Emulation Progress III

I do believe these are the final images I have created for our painting emulation project. Any comments before I go to print?

Painting Emulation Flickr Photo Set.

Friday, March 26, 2010


It's the eve of ArtHouse! I hope you guys can make it!

I have a few works up, including my rockin sculptural piece. You can watch people react to it live at the event, or on this webcast.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Painting Emulation Progress II

More dioramas for today. Again, I need to take photos of them that are actually good, these are just snapshots. I got a new bulb, I should have some shooting done Sunday.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Painting Emulation Progress

I've decided on a concept, which took me forever and ended up evolving into a tongue in cheek, almost satirical, first grade aesthetic, and have constructed two of the four dioramas that I wish to make. I snapped off a couple shots, just to provide a proof of concept. I will retake them with better lighting and the such like, as soon as I get a new bulb for my busted lamp. It casts a nice light. That and a flashlight, with a long exposure and some trickery, should provide interesting results, though part of me just wants to make really crummy snapshots, in the spirit of the thing.

What I have so far:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Links and Things III

From what I can tell, this lovely photo is hosted on this Russian photo site, and perhaps you might be able to find other gems if you look a little.

Audubon wrote an interesting article about "faking" wildlife photographs, and how it effects the industry.

Non-photo related, but I rather like this site I found, that offers a lot of video demonstrations for various art techniques.

Blind With Camera
is exactly as the name implies - it is a gallery of photographs taken by blind people.

, a rather nice photo site, offers a gallery called "The One Who Got Away," featuring photos and stories about lost loves.
My non-artist friend's facebook reads like this:

**** just looked up the photographer Terry Richardson. It is a offense to art and taste that this man is famous.

This is Terry Richardson's website.

So my friend's opinion of this photographer is obviously very poor. Is it good art? I am not sure. It certainly says something. It also says something that my friend, not being an artist, knows who he is and is aware of his work. Is that, then, successful for this person as an artist? I could run circles all day talking about what makes art "successful" and not really get anywhere. But it is an interesting case in point.

Also, on a side note, I was sick today, and missed class. Ugh. Had to have a friend fetch my photos that weren't accepted in the student show, otherwise they would have been thrown out.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I've been an awful person and not gotten enough work done over the break.

For now, some inspiration for my current project...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Here are some more links I found. This may or may not be better and or worse than my prior posts. My life has been pretty hectic of late, and I'm doing my best to manage it all.

Scott Pasfield's work deals with gay men in America, and he spent many months and many miles documenting gay men in every state. While pretty much unrelated, it still makes me think about Forrest's work a little.

Here is a Daily Mail article about a photographer who stayed submerged in an African watering hole for three months to get shots of the wildlife. The photographer ended up catching Bilharzia, multiple cases of malaria, and several kinds of parasites, but he believes it was well worth it.

Here is a set of photos taken in New York in the seventies, and recently scanned and uploaded to Flickr. Alternately, here is a set of photos shot recently, but made to look like older photographs, usually from the fifties. For some reason this latter set reminds me a little of our current photo project.

Going even further back, here are some color photos from 1880's Japan.

Here are the winners from the 2009 National Wildlife Federation Photo contest, and the winners of the World Press Photo of the Year Contest 2009.

Brooke Shaden posted an interesting exposition about planning photographs for a square composition - and working out, not cropping in.

Polaroid is releasing a new instant film camera.

I remember during the critique having a quick talk with Forrest about why students seldom used photoshop and photocompositing in their work. I told him, I thought it was our rebellion against a rising generation of people who immediately pick out computer edited work, and sort of part of the huge debate about what "counts" as photography. Here are some interesting links related specifically to this topic: An article from the guardian, a digital "dissection" of a Victoria's Secret image (which I find fascinating), and a New York Time's commentary.


I wasn't able to get my crummy prints redone for critique tomorrow, so I will just have to go with what I currently have.

I had a very random idea the other day. Instead of doing the elaborate fairy tale based idea, I could make these still life versions of famous paintings, with sort of "ghetto" carboard backdrops, like how we used to make dioramas when we were kids. Maybe use ridiculous objects, like fruits, cloth, thimbles and boxes, instead of people, as well as hand drawn elements. Is this a better idea, do you think? I am not sure if it would take more or less work to do, which I suppose is not altogether a significant factor, but one to think about. I really just want to make work that is good, whatever that takes.

Also, I am thinking of submitting my final from last semester into the student show at the CAM. I can only hope its good enough to be accepted. The pictures need remounting, but this is a minor detail.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hey guys, me again. Today I visited some museums in Tampa. I spent a lot of time talking over the works there with people, it was a pretty great experience. I wish I had more ability to go there regularly, instead I just end up seeing all the shows on campus.

I found this picture on flickr. Well, I found a link to it anyway. It is pretty breathtaking. Be sure to browse the rest of his photostream.

Some interesting photoblogs: Images No Words, and Troisiemeoeil

Not photo related, but I highly recommend everyone check out the art blog of artist James Gurney (creator of Dinotopia). His entries are always really informative, educational, and intriguing.

Here is a how-to on getting high speed video from a cheap digital camera.

Here is a gallery of photos showing the light trails left by moths using long shutter speeds. Some are quite lovely.

Peter Funch has an amazing series, brought to my attention by a photo-loving friend, called Babel Tales. Seriously, check this out. The photo-editing is fantastic. From what I recall, he takes a multitude of pictures at a certain location, than chooses people from them doing certain things, maybe holding certain objects, and composites these particular images into one.

Mymecos Blog is an interesting look at photography, focusing on extreme macro-shots of insects. There are some interesting posts about technical details too, like lighting such small subjects. Great stuff.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Painting Emulation Concepts

I've already started thinking about concepts for the next project, as I said in my last post. Maybe Emily got me started on this, but for some reason I started mulling over the idea of the Disney films, namely the old ones which were all created with cell art - moving paintings. I know a lot of people really enjoyed what I did with my drawings in the first project, and I was contemplating readressing that. I usually do rather straight photography, surprisingly, and tend to really limit my photoediting, though I do know how to do it.

But anyway, I was thinking of a series of images using myself and a sort of mixed collage of Disney cell art, traditional fairy tale paintings, pop-culture references, and magazine clippings. It's a shame though, some of my favorite fairy tales were completely skipped over by the all consuming arms of Disney (maybe for the best). Would the images have the same effect without those elements? Would they say the same things?

And would the whole thing really still be considered photography when more and more of it is actually collage?

There are so many beautiful illustrations from various cultures concerning fairy tales, though, and they have always been inspirational to me. I wouldn't mind doing something from them either way, though to actually replicate them at all would not be doing them justice. It is somewhat a shame how a lot of them have been basically bastardized for modern consumption.

This for instance hung in my bathroom growing up, and I had many wonderful books in my collection. I wish I still had all of them.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Expressive Photo Booth

I am currently doing research on a project for my sculpture class in the Marshall Center computer lounge, and came across this page here, about a piece called The Expressive Photo Booth. It makes images that look something like this:

I found it quite interesting, and thought I would share. I'll probably have another post up tonight as well, when I am home and have access to my bookmarks. I am mulling over ideas for our next project, but I am worried I am making things too complicated for myself, and also that the idea is simply not original enough...

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Indecisive Moment

What with the crit being Tues, I have been busy with photos. I was informed by pretty much everyone that my "Prometheus" shots were weak, so I reshot them - and took everything else - this weekend. I spent tonight playing with fire, troubleshooting why my computer was crashing, and doing editing.

Here are the final results:

The Fall of Man



You can also see the set here, with a description, on my Flickr page:

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Project II - Prometheus

Two shots I got done tonight.

The Indescisive Moment - Prometheus:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Links and Things II

I am much too out of it to make a very in-depth post, so here are more photo based links.

We Can Shoot Too is a blog about photos coming out of LA and the west coast.

Current Photo Contests features photo contest open to amateur and professional photographers.

Macro Kingdom is a pretty awesome video shot with a MP-E 65mm lens.

Here is a list of twenty massive gigapixel images, with discussion about how they are made.

The New York Times featured an essay about photographers in Haiti, namely about figuring out how much is too much.

A quick video demonstrating JPG recompression.

A blog called Americansuburbx features essays, featurettes, and interviews involving American photographers throughout the years.

Make the Photo
featured an amusing article on how to take pictures of your dog.

Fubiz is a site that is depressingly in French, but has some amazing photos in their gallery section, such as this high speed gallery.

And for our internet generation I leave this post and this diagram:

Indecisive Moment Concepts

I've have been amazingly sick this weekend, and have barely gotten anything done. There's no guarantees I'll be feeling any better by class Tues, either, but I will try my best to have everything together.

I have been thinking about my current assignment though, and am pretty sure I know what I want to do. I did a lot of research into ancient mythologies and religions and tried to find moments where man was separated from god and or the animals - and also, in a sense, the rise of conscious self. After looking things over, I decided I would choose the fall of man and expulsion from Eden, Prometheus stealing fire from the gods, and the Hindu concept of Maya - or the illusion that keeps us from knowing Brahman.

I am not going to do a straight up "historical" shot though, I am going to modernize these concepts and situate them in our modern world, in a way that references our current culture as much as the mythology. It may even be a bit satirical, after a fashion.

I'll be starting work on these this week, granted I feel better. Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Links and Things

I think it's time for a link dump!

First we have some color theory, as presented by Wendy Carlos. This sort of plays off of my black and white conversion post from earlier, discussing color channels, various viewers, and colorblindness.

Jay Mark Johnson has a strange and unique photo taking method that creates images that end up looking something like this:

Photo Tuts+ shows us a quick and dirty way to "scan" film with a DSLR

Merill Photo has a horribly designed site,, where you can see photos taken with a huge array of cheap, outdated, and toy cameras. There is also some information about box and pinhole cameras.

For those of you not already familiar with Mark Jenkins, he is a sculptor/photographer who produces installations in urban areas that he then documents. They look something like this: posted an article, with video from TED, about the Academy Award winning Light Stage, which uses hundreds of lights and cameras to create incredibly accurate 3D models.

Peter Ross took photos of the belongings of William S. Burroughs in a manner that he aimed to be descriptive, almost narrative, of the author's life. This is the reason he shot the bottoms, not the top, of Burrough's shoes, for example. It was the bottoms that told the story, and were unique to his life.

Sam Javanrouh posts images every day on his award winning photo blog. An example:

Thats it for today, hopefully next week will be as fruitful!

Project I Progress

I've been working for hours and hours more than I thought I would be on this particular project. As of this posting, I have three complete images, one that just needs a little tweaking, as you will see, and one that is still in pieces.

Here is what I have so far:

Maybe my confusing talk about vellum and assemblages will make more sense now. I have another image, but I am very torn on how much of the construct to show...

Any suggestions?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

S.L.A.M. Interview

Transcripts from an interview by S.L.A.M. (Support Local Artists Magazine) when I was made Featured Artist #50.

Photography can be a very time consuming process. Photography isn't all you do though. How do you find time to create so many different pieces of art?

Well, I honestly think I am more of a slacker than you are giving me credit for. I tend to pour a lot of dedication into one project or another if I can, and try not to have the hectic juggling that some people can accomplish. I get really set into what I am doing at time. You should ask the models I shoot with; I am like a different person when it hits me. College is also very good for an artist’s drive – you complete or you fail. But even without that I find the time because this something I enjoy. More than that even, it’s almost necessary. I find that if I don’t create something for a long period of time, I start getting sulky and depressed. Plus, I have a lot of friends who really encourage me, and that’s a wonderful thing to have.

But really, I’m still a slacker.

What does art mean to you? Why is it important?

Oh geez…. I think I already touched on that a little. Art means a lot of things, of course. That's obvious. You look through history and see all sorts of interpretations and individual significances – craft, self expression, politics, viewer education and of course art for art's sake, whatever that even means anymore – but for me personally? That's hard to say. I think that, yes, I am expressing myself after the fashion I see fit. I think I am revealing things about myself. It can't be helped, I am describing what I see and think with these fabrications, how I view the world through my personal mental lens, my subconscious filter. In a sense, I am having a dialogue with the viewer. Not in the sense that the audience has any care at all to how I feel or whats lies in the gray meat under my skull, more in that I am presenting a concept, image, whatever, and then they are responding however they do, addressing it mentally. It's an unspoken conversation.

So if someone saw only your artwork, what do you think they could tell about you? How much of the artist's person is in the work?

It's hard to say, from my point of view. I mean, I know the process that goes into these things, I know what I was thinking about at the time, why I did what I did. The viewer doesn't have that luxury. Something personal and meaningful to me could be seen as really shallow to an outsider without any sort of back story. But then, a lot of contemporary art is highly conceptual, and the ideas are the whole point. I really vacillate on this topic quite a bit. Where do I want to set the fulcrum on that particular balancing beam of instant accessibility? But I think I might be getting a smidgen off topic. How much of myself shows through my work? On one hand, it is like an author writing a book - the characters are not the author, but the author inevitably shines through. I guess what I am saying is a lot. They could piece together a lot. Especially given some pieces.

Some pieces?

Once I wrote down everything I wanted for three weeks and put it up on two hundred odd feet of plastic sheeting. Long story. Interesting experience, that.

Could you tell us a bit about how art has come into your life and how it's affected you?

I started drawing back in grade school. My teachers would scold me for doodling in class. I guess I lapsed for a little, and picked it back up again in middle school. I had a really heinous teacher who lectured for the whole class period and we had to take unnecessary amounts of notes. I mean, she graded the stuff. I did great on the tests, but abysmally on my note taking. I still don't see the point of that, I have a really good recall. But anyway, I would draw a lot in class, basically every day, I find I remember things a lot better when I do, strangely enough. I could flash you a few sciencey type paper to back this up, but that's besides the point. This kick started my career in art, I guess you could say. I ended up doing a lot of work on my own, taking a few art classes my senior year (which I should have done from the start) and have been moving up since. I'm sort of molding my whole life and future endeavors around it now, if that says anything. I still don't take decent notes.

What's your favorite medium? Do you have any pieces you're particularly fond of?

I never liked the concept of favorites. It seems to invoke, to me, this idea that there are certain things that I would choose over all other things in a given category, at any time. This is strange to me. It may sound like a cop out, but I'm not trying to worm my way out of the question. I am driven by new experiences, inspirational, aesthetic, surreal and super-real moments. I revel in new materials, new ways of working, and I add them to my growing mental library of methods. Experimentation is great! It helps you grow as an artist. But I also love working with the tools that are familiar to me, close to my heart. No one is better than the other, and each medium I work with adds depth and understanding to the others. Photography, for instance, helps better my skills in drawing. It seems counter-intuitive maybe, but it's absolutely true. It broadens the way you think, how you approach your work.

As for pieces I am fond of? I like many pieces for many different reasons. It would be easier to ask me about individual works. They are all pros and cons, my dubious creations. Though I will admit to liking some more than others, there is no easy top five, or even twenty.

If there's one thing you could give the world through your art, what would it be?

Orgasms? World peace? Ok, I won't be snarky. Realistically... So many people end up getting stuck in the monotony of every day existence. They trudge along, sort of caught in their own heads, grinding their gears. It's not necessarily a bad place to be, per se, but you can't be there all the time. Sometimes all I want is to wake people up, to bring them to the here and now and force them to turn the lights on, so to speak. When people are surprised, perplexed, when they encounter new situations that they have no preset programming for, their brains pick up, become more aware. I want to, I guess, get them to think a little, or at least momentarily snap out of themselves. Are you following?

Is there anything else you'd like to say

Be yourself. Follow your heart. Think big. Don't be afraid to try new things. More cliche advice. What can I really say? I hope I get somewhere in this big scary world. But if there is drive, there is a way, and that applies for me and for everyone else out there. I wish everyone luck on their own personal life missions, and I thank you for interviewing me.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Black and White from a Color Photo

I stumbled across a posting on a new blog called Make the Photo! They only have four entries as of yet, and the particular one I want to bring up is called "How to Create Black and White Photos with a DLSR Camera"

It occured to me that I had never actually attempted to turn a digital color photo into a black and white image. All my black and white photography was done on film, in a darkroom. I'm not sure how well known this information is, as I said I've simply never had the occasion to look into it before. Either way, I found the article very interesting, and decided to play around with some things and show my results.

I recommend you at least glance at the article so you can follow what I am doing. I don't want to just repeat that information which is already readily available and probably better written.

All pictures will click through to bigger images.

This is Shaun. He is a musician, as you can see. I took this photo over the break while I was learning about my Nikon SB-22 Speedlight. I had inherited this with my dad's film camera kit, and it had never occured to me to try to get it to work with my new D90 until just recently. This photo was taken at ISO200, f8, at 1/50 of second. The head of the speedlight is adjustable, so I bounced the flash from the ceiling, revealing less of the signature marks of on-camera flash. I adjusted the levels a little in lightroom, as it was a touch dark.

This is the same photo, to which I have done nothing but used the "desaturate" adjustment in Photoshop. Pretty dismal.

So, I brought up Photoshop's black and white conversion tool. In CS4, this is located in Image -> Adjustments -> Black & White.

At the default settings the image, while subtly different, is no better than straight up desaturation, so I play with it a little.

This is Photoshop. You can see the Black and White tool off to the side. Here I've been tweaking the color levels.

Lightoom has similar, and arguably better, tools in its develop tab. You can see the grayscale mixer there to the right, and the effect it is having on our friend Shaun here.

This is Shaun after a short amount of work and a curves layer added in Photoshop. Isn't that much nicer, now? Certainly not fine art, but one step at a time...

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yinka Sonibare and The First Post

While reading up on an assignment on narrative photography I decided to look up some of the mentioned works, including Yinka Sonibare's "The Dandy's Progress" to get a better idea of what I was reading about. This pointed me to the link there, but also led me to further examine the works featured in The First Post's "The Big Picture Gallery." There really are some wonderful photographs in there, including a great deal of narrative works. There are upcoming artists, as well as established photographers (such as new works by Cindy Sherman).

If you have some time and feel like flipping through photos, I recommend taking a look.