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Tag Archives: Fine Art
Photography: You Ready to Go Pro?
Holy shit, this sucker is one long show. Two freaking hours! Anyway, this show is based on a question that Rick and I (Rob) get on a regular basis. It usually goes something like “I’ve been shooting for a while and I get lots of positive comments on my photography and now I’d like to start charging. Am I ready?”
It’s a tough question. Hell, we don’t mind answering it and for sure as shit’s sake we’ve been there, too. Rick and I are certainly tainted by their own experience, having been through the school of hard knocks, and would love to tell everyone asking this question to hang tight for a bit. But we also know that they won’t, so we try to talk about what we wish we had known and what we think every new photography professional needs to know before diving in. Here’s a hint, it’s a business so treat it like one!
Just as we were wrapping up the show, Rick asks an “innocent question” and then he and Tony start arguing for another damn half hour while I played Words with Friends. I think, dear listeners, that if you can make it through to the end of the show, you’re going to tilt on either what Rick says or what Tony says!
Since wedding photography is often the attempted path into professional photography, we look at one of the best wedding
photographers in the country, Chicago-based David Wittig. David’s photography shows his depth of experience with the wedding niche, an ability to connect with clients, and an ability to shoot great photographs that are unique to his style. If you’re thinking that wedding photography is an area you might want to get into, David Wittig is a photographer you need to be aware of.
Tony, never wanting to do anything normal, chose Adrian Newey as this episode’s artist. Newey designs Formula 1 race cars. They’re pieces of beauty and he creates game-changing designs.
Why the Hell is Photoshop So Controversial?
Photoshop: it’s a tool that, for some incredibly stupid reason, seems to be controversial. Some people love it, others hate, but the smart people know that it is just that – a tool to achieve and end-result. But what got us going this week was a comment from someone on Facebook regarding a photograph they had seen, “…wow, is it real or PS?”
C’mon, really? Just because a photograph has been through the Photoshop cycle, it ceases to be real? But that got us thinking – what does it really mean for a photograph to be “real”? Too many people confuse “real” with “realism”. Are Picasso’s works not “real” paintings because they don’t depict realistic subjects? You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who would take such a position. So why do we say that about photography and Photoshop? If I create a shallow depth of field through a lens choice that’s okay but if I add blur in Photoshop, then it’s not a real photograph? If I make a bride’s teeth whiter than they really are or, more to the point, than they appear because we’re under incandescent lighting, that’s not a real photograph but if the bride had her teeth whitened by a dentist, that’s okay?
This whole concept of post-production, regardless of the tool that’s used, has to stop. As long as the photographer/artist is trying to achieve an image that they see in their mind’s eye, why the hell should we care – or judge – how it was achieved? And we’re not even touching on the differences between using Photoshop to manually alter an image versus allowing a camera to do it outside of our control!
So, to all of you who believe that Photoshop renders a photograph “fake”, it’s time to allow your photography and creative vision to mature a bit.
What about photography before there was Photoshop? Today’s photographer is Kansuke Yamamoto (1914-1987), an early surrealist photographer from Japan. His work included several pieces on film that, today, we would accomplish with Photoshop or other digital imaging tools but, as a film photographer, Yamamoto did his post-production in the darkroom. Are these “real” photographs?
What happens when you let Tony choose the artist? You get a musician! Today we have Captain Beefheart. As long as we’re talking about art being real without requiring realism, the good captain is actually an excellent choice for an artist who inspires. Especially in the realm of surrealism. Let’s let Captain Beefheart have the last laugh today:
“It makes me itch to think of myself as Captain Beefheart. I don’t even have a boat.”
Photography? No, really, we do talk about it eventually! As usual, the guys take the long way around to getting on topic as we have our usual discussion about what we’re drinking, why Rick will eventually play all seven dwarfs, whether Rob or Tony has the larger breasts and, well, you know by now…
Oh, and thanks to Mr. Sadie Breeze for preventing brain damage.
Photography, Dinosaurs, and When You Won’t Change
After the last episode’s emotional tirade about whether or not the photography industry still needs a traditional sales force, things come down in this second part. Instead, we talk about whether the film shooters and even the dSLR users today are being left behind by the advances of technology. Is there still a place for traditional print portraits? Is there still room for the fine artists? How about the RAW vs JPG argument: is that argument going to be irrelevant in the near future? And what about those guys who insist on only selling prints and not providing CDs? That’s an issue we need to deal with.
Let’s face it, photography is indeed changing and, as much as we want to believe differently, we don’t have the actual answers about what will still be viable five years from now. But one thing is clear – if you’re not going to be a visionary in photography then you’ll end up a dinosaur and, historically, we now how that ends.
Artists of the Fortnight
Tony points us toward the amazing photography of Dennis Hopper. Sadly, Dennis is no longer with us but his work in photography remains with us. Rob believes that actors often make great photographers because they live their lives being creative. Regardless of why, Hopper himself has a body of work that is poignant and strong. Anybody who wants to get into the fine art side of portrait photography would do well to take a good long look at Dennis Hopper’s work.
For our artist, we look at the well-known Rembrandt. If there was ever a true Renaissance Man, Rembrandt was it. Schooled in math, science, art, literature and history, Rembrandt used that learning to develop a style of portraiture known for its sharpness and, of course, it’s lighting.
Don’t forget – Our Photography Book Review
Head on over to www.PolarizingImages.com now and take part in our book discussion, The Art of Photography!
Elisha and Anne: are you available next week?
Tony is out sick for this episode and it’s left to Rick and Rob to record the show. Listen to what happens when two guys with attention deficit issues try to remain focused on a conversation. Witness for yourself Rob’s amazing talent of taking 5 minutes to set up a 5 second answer or Rick giving an awesome answer that has nothing to do with the question.
It’s a rather personal show, with R² (that’s shorthand for Rick and Rob) discussing their goals for 2013, their regrets of the past year, and their dream assignment. Of course, there is the usual oddball stuff liberally strewn throughout.
BTW, since we forgot to do the opening segment, Rob was drinking whiskey and Rick was drinking his homebrew. So now you know.
What else do we talk about? Well:
- The difference between allowing mistakes and accepting mistakes
- How the business of photography interferes with the art of photography
- Can a style atrophy if you’re not careful?
- Buy stuff from our CafePress Store (it’s a recurring theme)
- Will Rob continue with figure studies in 2013?
- Why photography can still be a viable profession
- How the opening sequence to our first episode was like Masterpiece Theatre… on quaaludes
There’s neither a featured photographer nor artist this week but that will be back.
Happy New Year and, before we forget again, it’s absolutely critical that you never, ever… oh look, a puppy!
With all of the post-production being done on images these days, when does a photograph cease being a photograph? It’s a serious question with serious ramifications depending on who you are. We’re not saying that too much post-production can kill an image, but maybe it transforms it from a photograph into art!
Well, we’ve gotten back on track after Rob accidentally released the live show a week early and the three dimwitted hosts of this show took two weeks to figure it out! So, we’re back to our normal schedule (we think)! Tony and Rob had a great time in Vegas but it sure didn’t help us with the scheduling of shows. In fact, Tony was semi-MIA for this show as he is still in Vegas and heads home to Aussie-land tomorrow (Thursday). Safe travels, Tony!!
In Tony’s absence, our old friend Steven “The Grammar Nazi” Chappell joins us again as our guest co-host. And that makes for a great opportunity to discuss the role of post-production.
When does a photograph cease to be a photograph and can it still be art?
Rob is a fine art photographer, Rick is a portraiture photographer, and Steven is a photo journalist. Each of of the three guys has a different viewpoint of when too much post-production has occurred and you can no longer call the image a photograph. As you can imagine, Rob has the most lenient point of view and Steven has a far more rigid one. (Viewpoint, that is!!)
Nonetheless, we have a lively and good talk about it.
Today’s photographer is Giulio Sciorio, a commercial photographer based out of Miami and can be found at Small Camera, Big Picture. Rob and Giulio have appeared as panelists on Will Crockett’s Hybrid Hangout, including the latest video HH: Mirrorless Myths, True or False? One of the things that the guys immediately recognize in Giulio’s work is his ability to connect with his subjects. Don’t believe us? Check out the liveliness in the faces and eyes of his subjects!
Video Becoming Common?
Is video going to be the end of still photography? Does video present an opportunity for the professional photographer? Do we apply the same level of quality to a video as we do to stills?
This week, the guys chat – and argue – about the role of video in today’s photography. It’s a good thing and we all agree on that, but how do we introduce it to clients and how to offer it in a package sows some seeds of discord. But video is definitely here to stay; Rob and Rick think that photographers definitely need to shit or get off the pot! Tony argues that the true value for a client comes from hiring a videographer who specializes in the art.
We know that a lot of you are going to disagree with us about the role and importance of video and that’s cool. Rob and Rick are pretty certain that the days of the traditional digital SLR are numbered and it’s the focus on video by the manufacturers that is going to bring about the new technologies. Don’t believe us? Look at the number of new mirror-less cameras coming to market versus the number of new dSLR bodies. And there’s not a single manufacturer who isn’t working on it. But it’s video-capable cameras that are allowing this new change. Just watch!
Our photographer of the fortnight (thanks Tony) is erotic portraitist Aeric Meredith-Goujon. Not Safe For Work!! Rob decided that we’ve spent a lot of time looking at great photographers whose work, although wonderful, is “safe”. But what about those photographers who don’t work in the mainstream? They often have to do it better and more consistently than the rest because of the amount of judgement based on the content. The images in her Erotic Portraits sets will not be for everybody and if you’re easily offended… well, if you’re easily offended we’re surprised you’re listening to our show! But, if you are, be forewarned. There are sexually explicit images, images of piercings, and violence. If you can get over the content (if you’re not already cool with it), you’ll see a wonderfully experimental photography with an obvious mastery of light.
Our artist this week is Credence Clearwater Revival. Tony, ever the musical one of the group, once again looks to musical artists. He talks about how he grew up listening to their music as his mom was a huge fan and that she was a creative influence on him. Since he associates CCR with his mom and growing up, it’s not a stretch to understand why he chose them.
See you next week for our shooting event when Tony is in town!