Movie? Photography? Art?

This is a semi-oldie but a goodie… for those who haven’t seen it:

A fascinating and surreal piece of art… Paintings on walls/public spaces photographed and stitched together into a stop motion piece that really plays with the whole concept of photography in and of itself.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

New portfolios!

Since I’ve been doing a *ton* of work recently, I decided it was about time to update my portfolio on f/1.0

Kinda streamlined things a bit, lots of new work in the “people” section.

Check it out here or click on the “portfolio” link on the right

I’ve also decided to separate a lot of my personal work/projects onto flickr, rather than cluttering up the portfolio per-se – check out MY FLICKR STREAM here, and look for more updates in the weeks to come…

The black-and-white project – wrap up

Well, as September is “officially” over, my black and white project is technically done… although I have to say, it was actually quite enjoyable… kind of “getting back to my roots”.

I definitely found myself rusty at first… I find that shooting b/w definitely requires “seeing” the scene differently… very quickly though I fell back into my old habits from my film days, looking more at light/contrast/texture rather than color…

It’s amazing how some self imposed “restrictions” can really get you out of a rut creatively & doing things differently. Definitely going to be concentrating more on b/w in the near future (and I haven’t even gotten my 120 film processed yet!)

a quick gallery of some pics from the month too…

Joe McNally speaks at google

This is part of the “authors@google” series – Joe McNally, speaking at google.

Not only humorous and inspirational for aspiring photographers, but there are some real pearls of wisdom there. Definitely worth watching – over an hour, and I honestly wish it were longer.

Printing – Digital vs. Film and a paradigm shift.

I love prints, especially large prints.

one of the downsides
to me of digital imaging is that it lends itself to *not* printing your
work. Back in the “olden days” of film negatives, you *had* to print –
there was no image other than the print (I’m not counting slides) This
of course had downsides of it’s own – prints take up space, and are
harder to catalogue

but with the advent of digital, I feel like
more and more people are simply chosing not to print their images,
sharing them electronically via the internet and photosharing sites

And in some ways this is great. it is convenient, it
is quick, it is easy and it doesn’t cost anything. Prints are somewhat
more time consuming (if you do them yourself), require physical storage
space, and cost money.

but there is something wonderful about
the experience of looking at a rich 16″x20″ print, nicely matted and
framed that simply cannot be replicated by staring at a computer

Another advantage to printing is that digital noise and grain is not
*nearly* as offensive in prints as it is viewed 100% on a computer
screen. I hate it when someone will rant on and on about minute
differences in noise performance between x camera and y camera and iso
settings etc… and when I ask them how it looks in prints they admit
that they never actually *print* these images. Arrrrgh.

So do it! make some prints! there is no reason not too, it’s as easy
as uploading a file to mpix or such and ordering. Photobooks are good
too. it is simply amazing to me that I can get a nicely printed and
bound book of my photograhs for < $20. (I’ve been pretty impressed
with blurb) I feel like it’s pretty much made the old-school 4×6 print
album obsolete.

With so many options available, making printing easier than ever it is really a shame not to print your work!

On Photography and The Phantom Tollbooth

This is a story about why I take pictures. (one of the many reasons!)

At some point in our evolutions as photographers, I’m sure we have all said to ourselves “Why am I doing this?” What drives us to grab our cameras in the morning along with our jacket and shoes and make photographs?

What drives us to attempt to transcend the realm of the “snapshot” and to create “art” with our cameras?

The answer to this is as individual and unique as all of us – we each have our own answer(s), so allow me to share one of mine.

Whenever I ask myself that question (or someone else asks me!) the first thing that pops into my head is “The Phantom Tollbooth”

To explain: “The Phantom Tollbooth” is a book by Norton Juster, one of my favorite books when I was a child. It is ostensibly about a discontent young boy who one day discovers a mysterious tollbooth in his room, driving through which takes him into a strange “Alice-in-Wonderland” style alternate reality. All of his adventures however are rich with allegory, social commentary, satire and even philosophical and mathematical discussions on the nature of life and the universe. It is one of those childrens books that can still be appreciated by adults for it’s depth of meaning and richness of language and concept.

In particular when I think about why I photograph, I recall a particular chapter in the book that made a profound impact on me when I was young.

The passage begins with Milo (the protagonist) coming upon what appears to be a bustling metropolis – people running here and there, going to work, going home – busy busy busy. The strange thing is that there doesn’t seem to be any “city” visible – no buildings, no parks, no cars, nothing – they people are just running around in seemingly empty space. And this is what Milo learns about the city (quoted):

The City of Reality

“…the most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that. Then one day someone discovered that if you walked as fast as possible and looked at nothing but your shoes you would arrive at your destination much more quickly. Soon everyone was doing it. They all rushed down the avenues and hurried along the boulevards seeing nothing of the wonders and beauties of their city as they went.

No one paid any attention to how things looked, and as they moved faster and faster everything grew uglier and dirtier, and as everything grew uglier and dirtier they moved faster and faster, and at last a very strange thing began to happen. Because nobody cared, the city slowly began to disappear. Day by day the buildings grew fainter and fainter, and the streets faded away, until at last it was entirely invisible. There was nothing to see at all.”

Now when I read the book as a child, I thought that was just about the most awfully tragic thing I had ever heard, and it still stuck with me as a I grew older. I think too often we find ourselves in the positions of “racing from place to place, looking at our shoes” The hackneyed old “stop and smell the roses” cliche rings more true than ever in our increasingly hectic, fast paced lives. You can open any paper and find articles on how we are overworked, over-stressed, over-stimulated, over-everything-ed.

For me, photography is a way of “reframing” that state – of forcing me to slow down and actually *look* at the world around – not just with the eyes, but with the mind – with the heart. Whether I am looking at a flower, a beautiful landscape a model or whatever I want to make sure I *see* it. I refuse to let the city around me disappear.

The act of creating a photograph becomes a meditation on our true perception of life.

And that is why I photograph.