Archives for Favorites

Snap The Whip

As photographers, we often have a tendency to become technicians vs artists. I think it is important that we study the work of the great painters – in addition to the great photographers – to keep ourselves well-rounded. I decided I would periodically post a blog entry about a painter or painting. I’m starting with one of my favorite American artists of the 19th Century – Winslow Homer and his classic “Snap the Whip.” As photographers, we are often hoping to tell a story with our images. This painting, done in 1872, is a fantastic example of storytelling. The children are playing a game called “snap the whip” where they try to keep their hands connected while they spin and snap the “whip” at the end. The painting came out at a time when little red schoolhouses, like the one in the background, were slowly starting to disappear across the country. It captures a slice of life that tells us how things were. This type of sentimental storytelling is a key component in creating an image that will stand the test of time and be admired for years to come. Although we have technology that allows us to capture more
Read More

The Investment Of Photography

Is Photography An Investment? A lot of times, you hear the word investment used very loosely. You have time investments, emotional investments, and of course – financial investments. Now everyone agrees that stocks and bonds are an investment, but is photography really an investment? I might be slightly biased, but I think it is a wonderful investment. Let’s say you had an extra $1000 sitting around the house and couldn’t decide how to spend it… I know, a good problem to have! Obviously, there are tons of options for you to choose from, but I’d like to just narrow it down to three. The first option would be something Dad would love – a 50” plasma TV for the den. Weekend football just got a whole lot better! Depending on how much television you watch, you could get a lot of enjoyment out of this over the next several years. Another option would be something Mom might vote for – a new sofa for the den. You could pick out something very traditional or maybe a really cool, trendy piece that will change to look of your den. The third option would be a portrait of your kids. Let’s say
Read More

Source of Inspiration

A photographer friend recently asked me about the inspiration behind my image, “Meet Me On The Trolley.” She had seen George Joy’s image, “The Bayswater Omnibus” and figured that was where I got the idea. “The Bayswater Omnibus” by Joy Amazingly, it is not where the idea originated. A client had requested a portrait in the style of her favorite artist – Frida Kahlo. We decided to recreate one of her most famous pieces, “The Bus.” When the day came to create the image, she decided she didn’t like how she looked in the traditional Indian outfit, so she opted for her wedding dress. It turned out great because it gave the shot such a sense of oddity and contrast. “The Bus” by Kahlo (top) my image below    If you look in the upper right corner of my painting, you will see a small version of Kahlo’s “Bus” – A subtle tip of the hat to the original image. The crazy thing is… as I look at all the images, mine actually looks more like the Joy painting than the Kahlo. There is a person in black standing at the edge of the image and a man with a
Read More

Cubes and Curves

During last year’s 40@Forty Project, I created a self-portrait in the Cubist style. It ended up being one of my favorite images from the whole year. I thought it would be fun to do another one -but with a twist. I set out to create another Cubist image, but with a female subject this time. Basically it would play off the contrast between the hard, square style of the genre vs the soft, curvy lines of the female model. I found a willing model, then shot a series of images. Here is what I came up with: I photographed the model in a variety of different poses and angles, then selected the best 4 or 5 images to work with. From there, I chopped the images up into pieces, warped them a bit, then assembled them onto one canvas. The hard part was figuring out exactly where to put them. I had to find a balance between keeping it more or less abstract, but not so scrambled that you couldn’t tell what it was. Once I was satisfied with the arrangement and composition, I adjusted the colors, added some texture overlays and ended up with the final layout. We had
Read More

Preparing Your Child For A Portrait Session

After putting it off for months and months, you’ve finally scheduled your child for a portrait session with a local photographer. What now? Believe it or not, the things you do BEFORE the session can have a huge impact on the results of the session itself. As a professional portrait photographer for over 14 years, I’ve seen it all – from very well-behaved kids to wild, crazy, out-of-control kids. The biggest problems, however, were usually caused by things that had nothing to do with the kid. Coaching Whatever you do, resist the urge to coach your child before the session. Working with them on their smile is just about the worst thing you can do. Chances are, your child already knows how to smile. By trying to teach them how to do it on command, you are increasing your odds of getting a really fake expression in the portrait. A good photographer knows how to get expressions out of kids – by interacting with them and making them laugh. If the child says “CHEEEEEEZE” every time I step behind the camera, I know I’m in for a long session. Haircuts Another popular strategy is to take your child in for
Read More

Portrait of an Artist

Jim Frederick, Artist I decided to kick of my Portrait Of The Artist series with a man I met at an art show last year. Jim’s work includes a wide range of styles, but I particularly liked his paintings that were dizzying combinations of vivid colors. My concept was to illustrate the artist as he is about to create. He sits in front of a blank canvas with the art inside his head – ready to be transfered to the canvas. I was thrilled with how it turned out and think it will be an excellent start to my series.
Read More

Week 40: Take A Bow

Whew…. I can’t believe it is finally here – the last week of the 40@Forty Project. It has been one of the toughest things I’ve ever taken on, but I’m thrilled with the images that have emerged. It was really tough to figure out how to end it – what concept should I save for the last week? Over the course of the project, I’ve done portrait tributes from Pablo Picasso to Norman Rockwell. For the big finale, I thought I would turn it around and create a self portrait that actually referenced one of my own works. “Take A Bow” has always been one of my all-time favorite images and seemed like the perfect curtain call for this 40 week performance.
Read More

Week 32: Red

Heather was flipping through a Richard Avedon book this weekend and was pointing out some of the images. There were quite a few where the subject was blurred and had crazy colors – very sixties-looking. Since following Heather’s suggestions is always a good idea, I had worked up an image in this psychedelic style. I took several images – all with me moving around to create blur – then I tried playing with the different colors. I finally came up with an ok image and started deciding how to crop it. I accidentally double-clicked on the face, causing the image to zoom in and crop very, very tight – much closer than I would have ever attempted. Strangely enough, I thought it was kind of cool. It almost has the abstract feel of the Week 26 image.
Read More

The Four Seasons

Back in May, I was helping out with the Westwood School’s Shakespeare play and loved how they were doing really complicated makeup on some of the kids. We decided to try and put together a portrait of several girls – all sporting different makeup. The summer, we gathered up a few brave models and my buddies Sami and Gusi went to work on their hair and makeup. Each girl was made to represent one of the four seasons. I photographed each of them individually on different colored backgrounds and intended to combine them later into one piece in Photoshop. At the end of the session, we did a group shot of all four – just for fun. Months later – when I finally got around to working on the images – I realized (for better or worse) that the group shot was actually the best image. I worked some Photoshop magic to give it a more painterly, antiqued look – which unfortunately makes it really hard to distinguish the different seasons. However, I loved the overall feel of the image and decided it was the one to keep anyways. Maybe someday I will go back and work with the individual
Read More