Art

Nobody Does Abstract… (Three Photographs)

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I’ve said it before, and fairly recently, that nothing beats nature’s ability for the abstract. Many painters have tried, many famous, but it never looks quite so real or imposing as when it’s natural. There is great debate over whether photography is an art or not. I have always thought the answer was straightforward – great photographs are great art; bad photographs….just as it is with drawings, painting and sculpture.


Abstract (Two Photographs)

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These are the result of my working with hard contrast. When I saw these plants in the field I knew there was something I wanted to work with. I wanted to try some radical edits that take the original subject and make the results somewhat more abstract rather than realistic. Working with contrast and sharpening tools did the trick.


Field (Two Photographs)

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I think these would make good murals. They are the kind of photographs that calm the mind. The background is important and because it’s farther away from the subject than the camera is, I used a relatively small aperture. I got a great out of focus background even with a cropped sensor camera.


Mural (Two Photographs)

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I pass this mural often but only infrequently is it not obscured by cars. I like it because it’s hard to tell what is part of the mural or not. Composing a photograph that takes advantage of the mural but has context makes it your own take on what you see.


Bird Mural (Two Photographs)

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On the same walk as the photos I took for yesterday’s post, I came across this wall art. While it’s beautiful in colour, my eye saw that black and white was better at capturing the quiet of the neighbourhood and the details in the building and street.


Inuksuk (Three Photographs)

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The creator of this innovative piece gave it a common name of Noah. To me it looks like an Inuksuk, used by the Inuit to provide directions. In the far north you see them, often large and small and the symbol is on the flag of Nunavut. Here in an urban environment, using urban materials it made quite the impression. I’m a big fan of the alleyways of Montreal and their art work. My first post on WordPress was on that subject. In this case I took three photos of the installation before settling on the black and white you see here. I have included the colour shots just for interest sake.


Wall Art and “Personal Work” (Three Photographs)

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A Photo Editor, that is a person who hires photographers for commercial work was asked what they look at in a new photographer and one of those things mentioned was “personal work,” Work that is uninfluenced by creative direction of a magazine or advertising agency. Having been in photographic studios where the photographer was directed, I still think personal work and amateur photography is where the fun is even if you don’t make any money at it.


Purpose (Two Photographs)

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I may have shot this scene before but with the door open and with people in it. Just a lovely bit of scenery. I wanted to do it justice in both colour and black and white, though my preference is the black and white, given the detail and texture.

 


Wall Art (Two Photographs)

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These are two photographs I could not resist putting up. While I am doing a lot more black and white photography, colour has its allure. Both of these were taken in Montreal; the one of the food truck during the set up for a street fair.


No Two People (Three Photographs)

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No two people see the same photograph the same way. Everyone has their perspective. Our objective as photographers is to make a photograph that has impact. But frankly even a widely applauded photograph will not appeal to all and they may be the most vocal. It’s another reason to make photographs for yourself.


Hieroglyphics (Three Photographs)

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I have no idea how these came about, or why people carry chalk, or carve in concrete. I’m just grateful they do for my pleasure and my camera. Simple things for a complex world. Meaningful or not just a wonder. Happy Holidays!

 


Chairs

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This is part of an art installation on a major shopping street just a bit above where the busy shops are found. They are functional as well as art (though being metal I guess they would be very hot or very cold in our weather). I thought I’d add a bit of my own style to a part of the scene.


Street Art (Two Photographs)

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These two photographs could only be done in colour. The striking thing about them is the way in which the art stands out in spite of all the injurious things around it. I can only applaud the growth in quality street art, and the artists who work around all kinds of obstacles, while still managing great work. Most of the artwork I see does not last long before it is replaced by another piece of art.


Murals (Two Photographs)

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I was recently in Montreal, walking about taking photographs I came across this development and saw these murals. They are definitely out-of-the-way and off the main streets. Besides showing pride in community, at least one of the murals may show what the neighborhood looked like before modern developers arrived. I have tried in both photos to place the murals in context and not just show the murals alone.


Thinking (Three Photographs)

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While I don’t hesitate to take shots of things that interest me, I do like to think through where the shot might go both in camera and in processing. I was once told that the definition of a professional photographer is that they know exactly what the outcome will be. In that regard I think imagination is one thing and reality is another. And while I think through what I do I am not beholden to a fixed outcome. Professionals have clients they have to please, the rest of us have our own ideals to live up to. These photos took some time in camera (number of shots to get what I wanted) and then more time in processing to flesh out my thinking.


The Jellyfish In the Queen’s Lantern (Three Photographs)

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They replaced the Tower of the Victoria Building with the “Queen’s Lantern” and in the Lantern they have hung inflated animals tied to various exhibits. This is a jellyfish, the exhibit was on bio-luminescence. It’s still there. Regardless of how you look at this installation, it has a certain spooky nature, hence my deciding the photos looked better in B&W. In color they looked like something out of a science fiction movie.


The Iceberg (Three Photographs)

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This is the Iceberg by William (Bill) Lishman that sits outside the Canadian Museum of Nature. It seems these days that the sight lines to many public installations are marred by signs and such. In this case less so than for many others, but the sculpture is so large that as you can see in the last photograph, the photo must include more than just the museum as background. Even the publicity for the sculpture did not have photos of the entire sculpture. Here I have taken some details of the sculpture and a photo of the whole scene to show its immensity.


L’Odyssée

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L’Odyssée is the name of this work. I find it amusing. It’s in a park off a main street, facing a hotel that is linked to several government buildings. The photography was straight forward B&W. The artist duo Cooke-Sasseville describe this work below. I have had a chance to look at more of their work on-line and I like the whimsy. This work also makes for some great photography opportunities.

“A park is taken over by three oversized pigeons eyeing a Campbell’s soup can… These birds give the impression of not understanding how to open the can or not knowing that it contains a large amount of food. A reference to pop art and Andy Warhol, The Odyssey becomes the representation of the perceived impenetrable world for which contemporary art is often criticized.”


To the Left (Two Photographs)

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These were taken within a few feet of one another in a small town. Thematically, juxtapositions and commonalities can have impact. These two photos have one thing in common that links them regardless of subject. I have seen some great exhibits based on this premise. I suspect if these were in one room and on opposite walls, people would unconsciously connect them.


Yellow (Three Photographs)

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Understanding the color wheel, what colors are opposites and how colors work together helps with any kind of photography; even black and white where color filters remove that tonality from the photo. Camera styles and different films all interpret color differently. In addition computers and photographic quality paper are limited to the range of color they can portray. If your client is Coke and they want a specific copyrighted color for their ads this can be tricky. For the rest of us color is an element that has some flexibility and room for interpretation. Changing white balance or working with and using hue, saturation and luminance can be a good start to add a small personal touch. In these I have left the color as it was but boosted the contrast and lowered the highlights. That technique intensifies the color slightly.


Mood Part 2 (Two Photographs)

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On a day when the clouds were taking their time deciding to rain, I got these two shots within a few feet of each other. I wanted to make the point that mood is not just a factor of black and white but also color. I was looking for a London fog look (but not with a preset). I just took advantage of the light and a slightly lower exposure. Both photos while slightly edited, are essentially out of camera.


The Seven “Sins” of Photographers

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It is wonderful writing about something you have a passion for (translation: obsession). So it will come as no surprise to see a somewhat satirical post on the seven “sins” of photographers (not including obsession) not a few of which the author is himself guilty of.

  • The sin of restraint, wherein we continue to believe that there is a cost per click, rather than taking all the possible angles of a shot and ensuring we make the photograph we want.
  • The sin of lost perspective, wherein every shot is taken with the hubris of our own eye level without testing all the angles and perspectives.
  • The sin of misplaced emphasis, going overboard on the latest technique rather than adapting and seeking our own style.
  • The sin of omission, forgetting to take a camera with you whenever and wherever you go.
  • The sin of illiteracy, not reading the manual, not being on a consistent and constant learning path.
  • The sin of self-doubt, not sharing your work, getting criticism and learning from it.
  • The sin of tunnel vision, not trying new things.

Now that probably only touches the highlights of how we can misuse our carefully chosen camera and lenses, but you get the drift.


A Nod to Nature

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The Blues Shine Through

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David Maxwell

A Great Blues Pianist

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