Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rhythm of the rain

Human mind is constantly at works, even we see a still image, our brain through our eyes is always trying to decode the message the image is to convey, regardless if it is there, and I believe it is always there, although each unique individual will read it in his own way.
For example this image, taken inside a shower room – the running raindrops were in fact came down from the showerhead, but in reality, it is no different in motion as the common raindrops.  
The shot was taken with a Canon 1Ds III camera and a standard 50/1.2L lens, and due to the small space inside the bathroom and also because I don’t have other lighting equipment available at the moment of shoot, I was using a rather primitive, 10 years old Canon 580EX to mix with the available light from the shower room, and with a lower shutter speed, to give the falling raindrops a glimpse of light, as well as a catch light in those lovely yet piercing eyes.
Coming back to the subject.  When I was shooting the picture, intended to have the water came down from the showerhead, looking through the viewfinder, I can hear the song “Rhythm of the rain” between my ears.
This is not magic at works, just human nature!  Our brain constantly gives feedback to what’s coming into our eyes, when we see raindrops, we can almost listen to the sound of it, feeling the rain drops on us, water running down from our neck… or something else?


This is a portrait I took awhile ago, for young Victoria, thanks digital technology that I can have the original raw capture stored and developed it later, sometimes months or years later.
I would not defend if one says I like to photograph woman with little cloth, of course not, because it is not easy.  Not easy to make it nicely.
Pablo Picasso once said, “Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” Applies well here, there are images that clothes are unnecessary, and there are images that nudity is unnecessary.  It is not just finding a balance; it is about making a good image, making an image looked good.
Oscar Wilde said it the best, “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not the sitter.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Subjective and objective

Making a lingerie shot is without doubt very fun, and I would say this for both sexes, and for many reasons.
To being with, no one is perfect, even the best models. And therefore, with only lingerie, or what I prefer to call it intimate wears, is a great challenge to the person who wears it.  And a bigger challenge to wear it in front of other person, and yet more challenge to wear it and pose in front of a camera. To produce the shot with a challenging subject is always more fun for photographers, at least to me.
Then the intimate wear itself, and the example here, Hello Kitty.  When Yuko Shimizu created the now cult icon, Hello Kitty, back in 1974, she may not realize how big the cat will grow beyond her wildest dream. And funny enough, the original full name of Hello Kitty was Kitty White, and eventually the pink came into scene and now a part of it.  And the icon now appears on intimate wears.
Of course sex of all kinds can enjoy an image of intimate wear, but it is often to be seen by female for their purchase judgment, whereas more or less a material for man to fantasize, for most, not all.
To create an intimate wear to look comfortable, a bit of sexy is a complicate process.  The right lighting, the right focal length of lens is chosen, the model, how she poses, and also the intimate wear itself, the right facial expression…..all the lead to an image will be appreciate by man – the 3rd party, and loved by woman or girl – who pays (most of the time, at least for Hello Kitty), is a balance between subjective and objective. 


Confusion is a bad definition of something well mixed, at least for the image sample here. 
The image was taken at a shower room with running hot water that created the steam, the condensation, the drips, and the sweat on the model’s face. I would have to move around, and have the model moved around to get a clearance on the glass door that has enough opening for a shot like this.
Because of small space and the glass would easily reflect the light source so I was using a Canon 1Ds III mounted with a standard 50/1.2L lens, getting as close as I could, and use a shoe mounted Canon 580EX flash pointed backward to avoid the reflection of the burst.  The angle of light is controlled so that a little shade is created to give an extra dimension on the face as well as the water drops.
Thanks to the modern digital technology, with the instant review on the camera rear LED I was able to finish the image rather effectively and quickly. Will it be possible with film camera? Of course, but then either I need to depend on more luck, I might as well need some extra Polaroid

Friday, May 13, 2011

Color Photography

AndrĂ© Paul Guillaume Gide, winner of Nobel Prize in Literature once said, “The color of truth is gray.” May explained why even in the new millennium with all the technology and tools available, photographer around the world, of all ages, sexes and races, still attracted to black and white, particular so for the photojournalists.  But this post is not about arguing black and white and color, which I did a number of times in my blog.
Color to me in an option, and as the grayscale, color too, has many shades and hues and saturation.   Because it is very much a subjective issue, base on each ones preference, one may Google all possible definitions, and perhaps they are all right.  But to me, it is as simple as an option.
For example this image, taken for a lighting company, Lamptitude, was of course shot in color, with Phase One P65+ on Hasselblad H2 camera, de-saturate in the raw conversion.   Of course the image is taken with minimum color intended for later graphic application but also, a personal preference, a more understated approach would allow the image more room of imagination.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coffee break?

This shot is made during an advertising campaign shoot in Studio SOTA 96, with a lovely Brazilian model, Thais.
Model and photographer relationship is interesting.  It is interesting because the result of the image is heavily depended on the chemistry between the model and photography, which often they meet the first time on the spot, to produce work! And within a very short time, the two needs to becoming good friends, trust each other, rely on each other and help each other.  There is no real time to get familiarization, at least not by conventional means. So I often talk to my models, and between shoots – usually change of costume, make up, hair, accessories, or simply a coffee break.   Often times I also shoot a little more! To get them do whatever they prefer or I prefer, not really to get the pictures needed for the job, but often resulted better finished picture for the job. This one is such a shot.  Made with a Phase One P65+ on Hasselblad H2.

Monday, May 2, 2011


The explosion of Internet gives ways for virtually unlimited ways of presenting image works, with no end in sight.  The rise of social network has quickly rolls on everything in its way, the popularity overtaking old school marketing strategy and defines what is better and who to stay.
But has photography as an art being challenged? May be not.  Given its history, photography is still relatively new to society, what was considered good often became a very dated point of view. And in particular, like Karl von Clausewitz quoted: “Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.”
For example the black and white images, for example for the so-called lomography, and to add grains to perfect, clarity, sharp images, continue to happen in a time of best camera and lens ever made with all the digital editing tools.