Sharpness as a Compositional Technique
Eberhard Schuy is back with the third in our series on form and compostion.
Here he utilizes the location to great advantage to demonstrate varying techniques of sharp and unsharp elements in composition. He demonstrates three different examples that utilize this contrast as a compositional technique.
First we see how showing motion can contrast blurred motion with sharp fixed objects. Then we see how varying the depth of field enhances the focused object and calls attention to the subject employing the out of focus objects as a contrast. Finally, with a little "outside of the box" manual application, an otherwise straight photo can be improved or manipulated with a technique that isolates the subject calling attention to the sharply focused area of the picture.
A really intersting film that maximizes the location with lots of possibilites and encourages you to apply these techniques on your own.
A Visit at the BELGICUM Exhibition
It’s not often that a photogapher is himself so photogenic and so charismatic as Stephan Vanfleteren. This is the first of two interviews with him and it’s really worth watching both.
Vanfleteren’s work is readily identifiable as his own: Classical and documentary portraits, some landscapes, all in rich black and white tones, often with a thick black line inside a white border and mounted in a black frame. Stunning, compelling images.
The interview takes place in his exhibition ‘BELGICUM’ and he begins by talking about how this project came to be. It is an overview of 15 years of his photography in Belgium. A personal, nostalgic, melancholic view. “Just the way I see it“.
Not may photographers do projects on their own country so he’s quite happy about that. As a press photographer he’s seen a lot ot the world but, as he says, “You forget about your own country. And especially while Belgium is so small. It’s like being a boxer – this is your ring, your territory where it all has to happen. And Belgium’s a strange country.”
Some of the photographs were ‘stolen’ from the street. But in the main they are taken in the intimacy of poor people’s homes. Sometimes, Vanfleteren says, he was the first visitor they had had in weeks or months. It is charachteristic of him that he “kind of became friends with them and visited them again” when he was in the neighbourhood. “I feel comfortable with these people, more than sitting with a banker.” Everyone in this exhibition portrayed with dignity and respect.
Vanfleteren then goes on to talk more generally about his approach to photography and his decision to stick with black and white. It was a concious decision made some six months after art school and beginning his professional career. He chose the ‘little thing’, the ‘narrow track’ because he just felt good about it. Resisting pressure from the newspapers to deliver colour images cost him some interesting assignments. But the quality of his black and white work meant that he was still always in demand and he kept getting work. Now he has a body of work which bears his style while others adapt, as he says, from month to month to new fashions.
When making portraits Vanfleteren is rather quiet and contemplative. There is no shouting or loud music or rapid changes of pose. He moves slowly round his subject “as in a dance”, occasionally giving instructions on where to look. Even after all these years taking portraits is something very special to him. “It’s an energy that is very strange. Even if you see the people years later there’s a connection. Because some people really let you into their life, their heart or their mind – so it’s something very intense. That’s why I like portrait photography.”
The beautiful thing about photography, Vanfleteren says, is that you can “really go wherever your head is”. If you feel sad and melacholic you can express that: If you feel outgoing, go out, meet people and express that too.
Stephan Vanfleteren sums up his refreshing approach this way: “I don’t want to be a photographer that proves that he can photograph everything. I want to be a happy man. And how you become happy is to photograph the things that you are interested in. ‘Artist’, ‘documentary journalist’ - The words I don’t think about. I just want to make photographs that I like and that other people can understand and feel too.”
Learn more about this outstanding photographer in Part 2.
Shooting with Hubertus Küppers
In this FotoTV workshop photographer Hubertus Küppers takes viewers on a special shooting during the rain while his model is sheltered from the rain, posed in a concrete tunnel.
Küppers is a photographer that specializes in shooting, people, lifestyle, fashion, lifestyle and portraits. He picks out a seemingly inconspicuous location; a tunnel on the outskirts of town. He creates a shooting that fellow photographers can be inspired by, shooting in miserable conditions while it is raining. Küppers shows how to get the best of any location and what can be created from it. He plans two lighting scenarios, available light and one with a flash set-up with the assistance from Achim Friedrich of Hensel lighting systems.
First scenario is an available light scene where Küppers poses his model inside the tunnel and gives her directions to move freely inside of the tunnel to utilize the space. In the second shooting and lighting scenario he uses two lights, one as a backlight and one light from the front. Küppers gives photographers many ideas and excellent explanations of all the techniques and methods he uses.
A High Degree of Humanism
Having majored in painting and art history she got a scholarship to study photojournalism at the excellent Annenberg School for Communication in Pennsylvania. Here it was possible to borrow any kind of photographic equipment one might want and to have all the paper you needed to print the results – “a fantastic experience”. Mary still uses various formats, each with it’s own particular feel. And she has stayed true to her photojournalistic roots, photographing people and using film rather than digital.
To those of her students who use digital, she recommends that they tape up the backs of their cameras. It is only possible to judge if an image works, she insists, when it’s printed, not directly on the screen of the camera. Most of what is now produced in computers changes the reality of what you are seeing, she says. It is photo-illustration, not photography.
The business of photography has changed over the years and Mary sees some of changes critically. There is now less interest in long stories and less respect for documentary work, for reality and for great portraiture. Potent, iconic images are what Mary Ellen Mark creates and these images, in her words, “have to be made in the camera”. “You have to find the picture and that’s the way it is.” Your job is to translate what you are looking at into an image.
On the technical side, Mary says that she almost always uses Tri-X. And in shooting situations she says, “you have to take control. The subjects must feel that you know what you’re doing.”
Mary Ellen Mark is as active as ever and describes here some of her current projects and the workshop that she will be running this year for the fifteenth time in Mexico.
Her words of wisdom are based on enormous photographic experience and a lifetime of work with people: “Don’t be pushed into being what you’re not”.
Yuri Arcurs professionell career as a microstock photographer has started three years ago with pictures of his girlfriend Cecile, who is now one of his most selling models.
We have visited this workshop for you and in this film Yuri will introduce his way of microstock photography.
Testshoot with Steve Thornton
In this film, photographer Steve Thornton shows photographers how to properly use strobe lights outside in a completely shaded area, easily and effectively.
All models always are in the need of new shots for their book so Thornton usually works with professional models for test shootings, such as today with Daniele, a beautiful model from Fashion Agency. Shooting during a summer setting, Thornton sets out to create a more wintery effect by using two Nikon SB 900 flash units and placing his model in complete shade without using hardly any of the ambient light from the sun. He does not have to have his strobes overpower the sunlight and this saves energy and the wear and tear of his flash units.
Thornton gives a detailed and accurate description of the equipment he uses as well as the technical specs of his camera and strobe units. He sets out to make some test shots with and without strobe light to show the difference between the two methods. All in all this is a very good guide to shooting outside with strobe lights to give that added, “kick” to photographs. Thornton also shows photographers what to look for in outdoor settings, to make shooting outside with equipment more effective.
Kate Breuer Adds Wrinkles to the Face
This second o three parts is about aging the face. Kate shows how to add wrinkles to the face and to make some parts of the face look sagging like the cheeks and the chin.
In the first part, Kate explained how to gray the hair. The final part will be about aging the image itself and make it look like it lay in a photo box for years and years.
After all three parts you'll be abgle to age a person and a face!
I think one of the most exciting forms of photography is fashion photography and one of the easiest disciplines in my opinion is men’s fashion photography. This blog will teach you how to learn the right things to do when you are starting off on your way to becoming a great men’s fashion photographer. I never walk on to a set without having a concrete idea of what I’m looking to achieve. I have books, and books of tear sheets of images of lighting, styling, posing, editing, etc. It’s very easy to become burnt out as a photographer, but if you have these books of inspiring images to glance through, I can guarantee something will catch your eye, and a concept or story will begin to develop.
The Effect of Lines in Photography
In another film in this series on composition elements Eberhard Schuy is here to explain the use of lines and their application and function in the visuals arts, and in photography in particular.
In the highland moor of the Belgian Ardennes, Mr. Schuy has chosen a long and winding footbridge as the ideal means of demonstrating and explaining the use of lines in photo composition.
The three line types are addressed, individually beginning with the horizontal and then moving to the diagonal and final the tricky application of vertical lines. Through the inventive use of on screen diagrams he shows the effect of the different line types explaining their advantages and disadvantages. This gives us a chance to see what the different line types bring to the photo and their inherent implication. By demonstration, the natural cause and effects are weighed to show us how to enhance the natural lines through using conscious in-camera editing of the frame.
The natural horizontal is weighed against the flexible and useful diagonal line and balanced through careful use of vertical lines and their placement. Don't pass up this great film.
A Brief History of Photoshop
In part two with Preston and Brown, they talk about Photoshop's recent development.
From tools in Photoshop 3 up to CS4, Preston and Brown embrace more of Adobe's software line-up.
Subjects of discussion are the extensive features of Photoshop and how they should be applied in practice depending on the user and his goal. They also regard the capability of Bridge to support one's workflow in the entire Creative Suite.
Third party plugins for Photoshop are another big subject that they expect to develop in the future, as well as camera raw and video support.
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