Friday, 30 November 2012

Lights, Camera, Action...

Where am I at? Well so the saying goes am busy in the studio, have been for the last two sessions focusing on portraiture and an impromptu model namely Annie, thanks goes to Drew for making the call.
Am so happy it happened and am still buzzing from the shoot and hopefully the possibilities of some future business...which is why I started shooting people more so now, I have to say after viewing images of nudes from various photographers like Bailey, Ritts, Rankin, Beaton, Meisel and more recently Christian Coigny, I can see the appeal of shooting fashion more than some emotional landscape.
Perhaps I should incorporate myself into these genres; after all I enjoy being on both sides of the camera. Anyways back to my model Annie, I got some inspiration from the nudes but wanted to get some colour and low key lighting to work. How I went about this was firstly use three Arri 1000 Watt tungsten lights and I also had an Calumet 200, with modelling umbrella for some close up work.
The Arri's work great but after a while can leave your model feeling somewhat 'burnt out', they do get quite hot after a while and using an oven glove/mitt was just the trick for those barn doors, after a few shots, and changing camera as well as lenses during the shoot; I finally had some shots I was happy with for my assignment.

Stars©David Rothwell All Rights Reserved. Please do not use any of my images/digital data without my written permission. 2012

The first one was using one Arri's light from a right angle perspective; here you can see the style I was emulating in making my shot look like Pre-Raphaelite Woman, posing for a painter. I do agree that in paintings, each of these women's expressions embody enigma and distance; oftentimes, their poses remain static versus active.
I have entitled this one Stars I also used a red sheet and a black sheet for the props; the subtle narrow beam from the light placed just literally from the crown of her head down her back, and thus making it look like the sheet is reflected on the floor, adds a certain drama to the shot.
Annie©David Rothwell All Rights Reserved. Please do not use any of my images/digital data without my written permission. 2012
What I don't like about the shot is; on reflection I could have been a bit more adventurous, perhaps if the model had her left arm down slightly further and the sheet had drooped a little more may make this shot more romantic, provocative perhaps?
Here in another shot the model is more relaxed and has shown a bit more of that interesting body art. Yes, this one doesn't look so much like a painting, but it is a good portrait. It does capture some of the essence of the woman, it shows how care free the person is, and how comfortable she is in her surroundings.
I will be posting more shots up soon, so keep an eye out!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

People are strange...

When you're a stranger Faces look ugly when you're alone Women seem wicked...

You see all types when out shooting the street, I just read, well actually viewed an interesting post on Strobist blogspot 

What I found interesting was the approach the photographer had to shooting people in the street, my photography is not literally a mobile studio and asking people to pose in such a way it takes the 'candid' element out of it and the true nature, of the subject being photographed out of context. 

The work is incredible and I wholly agree it is an exciting challenge, that photographer Philippe Echaroux  has set himself but it is not street photography per se, it is a mobile studio following you around whilst you take photographs of people posing for you.

Whilst out myself I came across some very interesting characters, one gentleman who seems a bit of a contortionist. Now i've witnessed people placing themselves inside boxes small enough to carry a chihuahua! 

I aint never seen a man who can literally invert his hips or bend his knees backwards...I just had to snap him...hence the title of this post. 

Other people I came across were also original in their performance, I can see street photography offering a lot to the street photographer in the future. 

These people give us material to photograph...long may it continue. 

I call this one British Politics quite an apt title I thought as we see the mask of a former Prime Minister shafting George Dubya Bush! 
I love the sense of fun in this shot, it is obviously done tongue in cheek, but it tells a story of a former decade.

The next shot of course is a shot of Lizzie and Charlie, I won't use their titles cos to be fair it isn't really them, but its another fun shot none the less.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Music Is The Answer

Hey y'all

Been a short while since we last met, lately been in the studio so will be posting my work from those sessions, am sure you will be more than impressed. I recently noticed when out togging how some people will multi-task, when doing something so for instance, people who go jogging, they listen to music...people who cycle; they listen to music too, (which I find totally irresponsible), from a road safety perspective.

So do photographers listen to music when they're shooting perhaps in the studio? Or maybe perhaps when they are out shooting street or urban landscapes...or even further afield to get the elusive iconic scene that will always be remembered and saleable for the future.

I know from my own experience I like to listen to certain music, when shooting street to get 'me' in the mood. Not in the mood? Then you need to get yourself in the mood; mood can be a key factor for your creativity. Most of the music I listen to varies, so for many of my landscape shots, I listen to dance music gets me up the 'hill'! For other shots of mine like the street shots am actually listening to classical, I love Beethoven, he is so inspirational or even try it for yourselves The Smiths okay, these maybe a bit dated but people watching is also a pastime, and watching people move chaotically while listening to these two genres, really adds a bit of mood to my creative mindset.

Not all of it is that though, I recently got back into listening to a lot more vocal stuff, bands like Schrimshire, Radiohead, or even these Grizzly Bear.

Looking at these examples we can see that specific lyrics, or even instruments can influence how you feel.

When I shot this latest work entitled Le Téléspectateur I was listening to Sinnerman A free download link is here for you to listen to the four track E.P I just find they're music inspirational and laid back like lounge music, with some great rhythms and nice beats.

So next time your out togging and your looking for inspiration, why not don your head candy, and let the tunes roll...this is entitled "The Reader", if you look closer at the image and look at the golden mean, the people within the frame follow a simple but chronological rule; in the distance, a young mother pushing a baby in a pram, then we have the singular adult then the elder lady reading and having a walker aid.

Simple but very effective, sometimes to do street photography, you have to really look at the subject, was this a decisive moment? Well yes to a certain degree, I waited for the mother to come into shot. You look at the leading line, the lady adds interest to the fore then in my typical linear composition, all people lead to the back of the frame nicely. Could I done much more with this shot, yes certainly I could of done without the storm clouds over what was a bright cold afternoon, although the clouds to add to the vignette for the framing.

The picture then has a sense of drama, though everything in the frame is relatively calm. One point about this shot, is how the people relate to each other, they come to this public place, for a bit of peace and quiet, to interact with society, to seek inspiration or to clear their thoughts or to stimulate ones mind. I've noticed that when am out shooting people in similar scenes, how they are totally absorbed in what it is they are actually doing. This is what really attracts me to street photography, people going about their lives.

It fascinates me. Here is some more music from STAC as recommended by Schrimshire.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Kevin Carter, Frank Fournier, Onwards And Upwards

How y'all been, I been a busy bee, well you may remember from a previous post regarding the actions of another photojournalist.

Well I hope you enjoyed my last two posts granted they were short and admittedly, they were two landscape shots. Hope you liked them both?

So one photojournalist I want to talk about is Kevin Carter, arguably the most controversial photographer the past century has known.

Kevin Carter was born in apartheid South Africa and grew up in a middle-class, whites-only neighborhood. As a child, he occasionally saw police raids to arrest blacks who were illegally living in the area. He said later that he questioned how his parents, a Catholic, "liberal" family, could be what he described as 'lackadaisical' about fighting against apartheid.

In 1994, South African photojournalist Kevin Carter won the Pulitzer Prize for his disturbing photograph of a Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture. That same year, Kevin Carter committed suicide.

Without the facts surrounding his death, this behaviour may seem surprising. But Carter received heaps of criticism for his actions. While in Sudan, near the village of Ayod, Carter found a small, emaciated toddler struggling to make her way to the food station. When she stopped to rest, a vulture landed nearby with his eyes on the little girl. Carter took twenty minutes to take the photo, wanting the best shot possible, before chasing the bird away.

The photo was published in The New York Times in March of 1993, and sparked a wide reaction. People wanted to know what happened to the child, and if Carter had assisted her. The Times issued a statement stating that the girl was able to make it to the food station, but beyond that no one knows what happened to her. Because of this, Carter was bombarded with questions about why he did not help the girl, and only used her to take a photograph.
The St. Petersburg Times in Florida said this of Carter: "The man adjusting his lens to take just the right frame of her suffering, might just as well be a predator, another vulture on the scene." Filmmaker Dan Krauss said, "In his famous picture of the vulture stalking the Sudanese girl, I began to see the embodiment of his troubled psyche. I believe Kevin did, too. In the starving child, he saw Africa's suffering; in the preying vulture, he saw his own face." Carter's daughter Megan responded to such comparisons with, "I see my dad as the suffering child. And the rest of the world is the vulture." Is this what led him to his death?

However, Carter was working in a time when photojournalists were told not to touch famine victims for fear of spreading disease. Carter estimated that there were twenty people per hour dying at the food centre. The child was not unique. Regardless, Carter often expressed regret that he had not done anything to help the girl, even though there was not much that he could have done, in all actuality.

Carter is the tragic example of the toll photographing such suffering can take on a person. Along with his famous photograph, Carter has captured such things as a public necklacing execution in 1980s South Africa, along with the violence of the time, including shootouts and other executions. Carter spoke of his thoughts when he took these photographs: "I had to think visually. I am zooming in on a tight shot of the dead guy and a splash of red. Going into his khaki uniform, in a pool of blood in the sand. The dead man's face is slightly grey. You are making a visual here. But inside something is screaming, 'My God.' But it is time to work. Deal with the rest later. If you can't do it, get out of the game."

Carter's suicide is not a direct result of the Sudanese child, nor the accusations that he staged the scene, or criticisms that he did not assist her. Carter had spiralled into a depression, to which many things were a factor, his vocation as a photojournalist in 1980s Africa definitely a large part of it. Carter and his friends Ken Oosterbroek, Greg Marinovich, and Joao Silva longed to expose the brutality of Apartheid to the world. They captured the violence of South Africa so vividly that a Johannesburg magazine Living dubbed them "The Bang-Bang Club." The title stuck.

On April 18, 1994, only 6 days after Carter won the Pulitzer, the Bang-Bang Club made their way to Tokowa to photograph an outbreak of violence there. At around noon, Carter returned to the city, and heard later on the radio that Oosterbroek had been killed in the conflict, and that Marinovich had been seriously wounded. It was obvious to his friends that Carter blamed himself for Oosterbroek's death, and he even confided in his friends that he felt as though he "should have taken the bullet."

Oosterbroek's death hit Carter hard, and little things in his life began to fall apart. He was constantly haunted by the atrocities that he had witnessed through the years, and finally, on July 27, 1994, Carter backed his red Nissan truck against a blue gum tree, attached a garden hose to the exhaust pipe, and rolled up the window to his car. He turned on his Walkman™ and rested his head against his backpack until he died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carter has become a symbol in the arts. In music, Manic Street Preachers recorded a song about him, with his name as its title. In literature, Mark Z. Danielewski based his character Will Navidson off of Carter, and even described a photograph identical to Carter's Sudanese child in his novel. In theatre, the Junction Avenue Theatre Company uses the character of Saul to portray the difficulties of being a photographer in Apartheid South Africa in their play Tooth and Nail.

Excerpts from Carter's suicide note read: "I'm really, really sorry. The pain of life overrides the joy to the point that joy does not exist...depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... money for child support ... money for debts ... money! ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings & corpses & anger & pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners... I have gone to join Ken if I am that lucky."
Now if you think to yourself, how a photojournalist works and how can they do that, STOP and ask yourself this if it wasn't for photojournalism we would not have the facts of a society we live in!
I have not touched upon him, but Frank Fournier was another photojournalist who had pretty much the same treatment for his work in documenting the death of a girl named Omayra Sánchez.
Omayra Sánchez was a 13-year-old victim of the 1985 eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano, which erupted on November 13, 1985, in Armero, Colombia causing massive lahars which killed nearly 25,000.
Trapped for three days in water, concrete, and other debris before she died, Omayra captured the attention of the media as volunteer workers told of a girl they were unable to save. Videos of her communicating with workers, smiling and making gestures to video cameras circulated around the media. Her "courage and dignity" touched Frank Fournier and many other relief workers who gathered around her to pray and be with her.
After 60 hours of struggling, she died. Her death highlighted the failure of officials to respond promptly to the threat of the volcano and also the struggle for volunteer rescue workers to save trapped victims who would otherwise be quickly saved and treated.
Sánchez became famous for a photograph of her taken shortly before she died by photojournalist Frank Fournier. When published worldwide after the young girl's death, the image caused controversy because of the photographer's decision to take it and the Colombian government's inaction in not working to prevent the Armero tragedy despite the forewarning that had been available.

I look at these shots by both photographers and I have to say how incredible and privileged we really are to view this work.

Anyways I digress from these two most notable photographers, and share something with you of my own work. My book is halfway through, yes, yes partly the reason for being away for so long. Anyways I think my book will be inspirational for other photographers; I hope you will like the work, when completed so onwards and upwards as the saying goes.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ray of Light

Taken in the picturesque village of Capel Curig, the view was nothing short of amazing. This Welsh idyll always brings me back.

It is a recogniseable spot for those who go walking in the area. I loved the the burst of sunlight breaking through that dramatic sky.

If you would like to purchase any of my prints please get in touch.