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Tag Archives: Comfort Levels
The New Barrier to Entry?
We start off with Rick trying to dial back his (seemingly) hatred of the French but then he turns his attention to the Basque region of Spain. But, hey, he does an Irish friend. If you’re familiar with the other podcasts that Tony is involved in, you’ve gotta be shocked that he is the voice of reason and sanity on Polarizing Images!
And don’t forget the new segment! Send us the name of a drink via our Twitter account – @PolarizingImage – and we’ll have Rick drink it through a Red Vine straw. Remember to tag the Tweet with #RedVineDrink.
Anyway, lots of good stuff in this episode once you get past our usual goofiness (A.K.A. the reason you keep coming back). Topics today include:
- Do we really expect Tony to do any heavy-lifting? *Can* he?
- If E&J is good enough for us, it’s good enough for hillbillies. Let’s just call it “domestic”… I wonder if Rick is blind yet?
- With the cost of software, does that make it a barrier to entry? How about the learning curve of software?
- Does keeping on top of software updates prevent the guys from updating their gear?
- Is there a perfect tool or piece of software?
- How terrible or lazy are actions and filters? (hint: Rob has changed his opinion)
Even just 20 years ago, it was quality camera gear that posed the greatest barrier of entry to being a professional photographer. You would never have dreamed about becoming a wedding photographer with “just” a 35mm camera and a couple of inexpensive zoom lenses. Today? Different story! But you need something for post production. Whether you’re buying high end applications like Photoshop (still the “gold standard”), paying less for a more appropriate version of Light Room, or stand alone apps and filters, your collection and library of software is going to grow and, regardless of how much you spend (or don’t) it all takes time to learn. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the time required to hone your craft as a photographer!
Starting with our photographer, we look at Italian photojournalist Clay McLachlan. Want to see how a working (and successful) photojournalist sets up a seemingly easy food shot? Check out this behind the scenes video called Blue Bottle.
As an homage to Rick’s father, Rick chose the German-American architect, Helmut Jahn. Jahn was the architect behind the United Airline’s terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. And yes, at one time, O’Hare was an example of modern architecture. Chicago is a city filled with architectural history and relevance but, beyond that, a city of artistic importance. Anyone who wants to be a travel or architectural photographer will, at some point, need to travel to Chicago and see the works of influential designers such as Jahn.
When You Find Yourself Lacking Inspiration
At one time or another, every photographer deals with lacking inspiration. It’s frustrating as hell, knowing that you want to shoot but you end up just sitting there trying to figure out what to shoot. But don’t worry, you really aren’t alone; we all go through it. It’s just a matter of how you power through it, right? Right? Hmmm….
It’s easy to be distracted and blame other things like spending too much time on Facebook, or shooting only for clients/income, etc. But, in truth, sometimes we just get burned out and we seek out those distractions. Fortunately, we don’t leave it on such a negative thought – we also talk about how to get past it.
Rob is starting to shoot new material again and has gotten deep into hybrid photography and that’s seems to be the catalyst for finding inspiration again. Rick’s finding inspiration by specifically not going out and shooting for clients. But, for both of them, allowing themselves to be open to new creative vision and direction has brought a certain spark and inspiration back.
Just watch out for the “analysis paralysis”!
Tony chose the artist and, as you can guess, he went way outside the box. But, if you can believe it, he doesn’t choose a musician. Yeah, we’re surprised, too! It’s Sam Calagione. Who? Sam is the president and founder of Dogfish Head Brewery. All three of the guys are into home brewing (big surprise, right) and Dogfish Head provides plenty of inspiration not only for their home brewing but also on a higher creativity level. Sam, and Dogfish Head, don’t allow themselves to be constrained by what’s been done before or by thinking that experimental beers can’t (and shouldn’t) be done. By allowing the creative spirit to flow, Sam and his brewery produce some of the most exciting and creative beers today. And there’s some huge lessons for all of us who are photographers in that approach.
Rick chose Joel-Peter Witkin as the photographer. It’s artistic and Witkin’s work shows his level of inspiration but, as a warning, his work can be very disturbing and definitely not safe for work. His composition techniques are quite strong and his use of black and white really brings a timeless feeling to the images. His subject matter, though, is where we have to warn you. From his bio on the Acid Skull site (that’s the site we’ve linked his name to): “His works carry the delicate tonality of a 19th-century ambrotype, showing morphed scenes with human body parts and deceased subjects with a strong satirical sentiment against vanity.” Here’s the link to his work on Acid Skull.
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Art – it’s what this is all about, right? Damned straight, skippy!
We get off to a slightly rough start this week, but there’s a reason – Rick was drunk and Rob wasn’t. After we get the universe sorted out, we quickly get into our usual flow and have an amazing discussion (if we say so ourselves) about whether or not the mere act of creating art can be the art itself.
What, exactly, makes something “art”?
After watching a documentary on Spencer Tunick’s Naked States – a state by state journey through the US photographing everyday (yet remarkable) people – Rob was struck by the number of the subjects who talked about how posing for Tunick’s art project was a healing and powerful experience. And that got him thinking (which always is a good idea, right?) If the therapeutic aspect of the project was in the creation of the work then maybe, from an art therapy perspective, the real art is in the creation and not necessarily the final print.
That leads us down some interesting paths as we talk about whether a blind person can create art if they are not physically engaged with the medium and the healing power of being an art subject. Rob opens up about the real strength and joy of his work!
Our photographer and artist of the week
Tony introduces us to the wonderful work of Irving Penn. From his Wiki Page:
(June 16, 1917 – October 7, 2009) was an American photographer most known for his fashion photography, portraits, and still lifes. Penn’s career included work at Vogue magazine, and independent advertising work for clients including Issey Miyake, and Clinique. His work has been exhibited internationally, and continues to inform the art of photography even after his death.
Our artist of the week is the well-known and very talented jazz musician Miles Davis. Considered to be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, his penchant for creating something new from nothing is an inspiration to all artists, including photographers.
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After months of Rob talking about nudes, we finally get around to dedicating a show to the fine art nude. And of all times for Rob to have bronchitis. But, for the sake of the show, he powers through it with a lot of help from Rick and Tony!
Topics today include the difference between a fine art nude and a glamour nude, the kind of subjects Rob likes to work with, what’s it like to have a nude model in front of your lens, trust and vulnerability for both the photographer and the model, and whether or not arousal is the intent in fine art. There’s more… a lot more. After all, these are three guys talking about nudity in art.
Finding Inspiration for the Nude from Other Artists
Today’s artist is Georgia O’Keefe and we discuss her floral paintings and whether or not there is an inherent eroticism in the painting. We spent a little more time today actually looking at the difference between overt sexuality/nudity and images where the nude has obviously been an inspiration. O’Keefe’s work is the perfect catalyst for this kind of topic.
Our photographer for this topic is Mary Ellen Mark. We focused primarily on her portraiture and celebrity work. She has an ability to connect with her subject and pull from them a real reaction, even when the subject isn’t paying attention to the camera. Check out her shot of John Belushi from the set of Blues Brothers.
We have questions for you! Would you pose for a fine art nude? Why or why not? Would you be interested in learning to shoot nudes? Do you have a moral or ethical aversion to fine art nude photography (remember, we are talking about fine art and not glamour)? Is there a difference for you between glamour and art? How would you describe that difference?
Let us know here on www.PolarizingImages.com or send us a tweet @PolarizingImage.
As always, thanks for listening!
Liam from the Isle of Man drops by to hang out with us this week to discuss a topic that haunts everyone: self-doubt. Topics include planning the next five years, overcoming doubt, and not charging enough. Just cash the fucking check and deal with it!
Today’s featured photographer is John Hyde and the featured artist are the Beatles. No link for the Beatles because if you need a link for them, you shouldn’t be using a computer.
BTW, check out Liam’s podcast, Uttabull.
Holy shit – almost an hour and a half?! But it’s worth it, trust me… Topics today include dealing with the different types of people who land in front of your lens and how to help them relax and enjoy the photo shoot. Rob surprises an unsuspecting and long-lost friend and then Tony asks her to reveal what would creep her out. Surprise, she answers!! Sorry, B_Mo, no Van Heusen shirts here! Internet “models” need not apply.