Tag Archives: photography

Holly Brave’s the Shave for Cancer Charity.

#BraveTheShave

Today I had the privilege of going to the home of young Holly who was having her amazing hair shaved off to support others and raise money in the fight against cancer.

Amazing sacrifice for a young teenaged girl to do to raise money for the wonderful Macmillan Cancer Support charity.  Holly can be sponsored at the link below if you would like to help her raise funds towards her target.

 

https://bravetheshave.org.uk/shavers/holly-wright/

 

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The right print for the right job!

Many photographers offer a service to their clients where they have images on a disc, or usb memory stick, that they print for themselves.  There is nothing wrong with this – I too offer the images on a pen drive, but it does limit the chances of success of the client getting what they really want from the shoot and displaying it to it’s full glory on their wall!

When choosing a photographer to do some work does the client think about the initial price of the shoot above all else? Do photographer and client work together to produce something in particular?  Does the client have an idea of how they want the final product to look?  Would they know how to choose a reputable printer who didn’t leave them with faded images 2 years after purchase?  Does the photographer have experience of displaying their images in large gallery presentable format?

Take, for example, these three different formats of print taken from the shoot of Roxy in the milk bath recently.  The image below is an iPhone ‘snap’ of the images taken in overcast daylight.

All the prints below were taken from the same file, and all are beautifully printed by a premium printing company based in Germany.  They are expensive options for an art print  with the photograph on the right pricing up at approximately £1.20 per cm squared.  Doesn’t sound a lot but look at the arrow key on your keyboard and thats the approximate size and then add that up to the size of the product you want!  However as an art piece that is a respectable price and they are guaranteed for 5 years from purchase and ink colours (if displayed correctly) are guaranteed not to fade for 75 years!

All these products below are correct, and correctly printed.  The differing ‘looks’ are those individualities of the print style and choice of medium but you can see that the top left is a direct print under acrylic glass and is softer in focus.  The top right is super clear high definition print on gloss paper and defined and is slightly differently coloured, and the product at the bottom is mid way between the 2 above in clarity, but the effect of the print onto the aluminium itself gives it a different tone depending upon the angle it is viewed at.

What I am trying to say is that do you (whether you are the photographer or the client) know what is the best product for purpose?  Do you think that your photographer should be sufficiently qualified to guide the client in their options?  Would you pay top end for a qualified photographer who could guide your choices or are you guided by price?

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Top left is a direct print under acrylic glass, top right is an HD print on gloss paper, and bottom is a direct print on aluminium di-bond.

Milk Bath – Roxy

Whilst spending some quality time with my 12 year old we decided to do some milk bath photography with some fresh flowers (she loves to model!).

web_roxy_2646

The session was only half an hour at the most, mainly for comfort reasons rather than fun.  Wrinkled fingers are never a good look no matter how old you are!

I liked the look of including a few hints that this was an actual ‘thing”, and not done post production, and wanted the signs of the liquid being visible in the shot.  For this shoot I used a DSLR with a  a 50mm lens, a flashgun reflected off the ceiling and a white diffuser reflected off the ceiling.  It helped that the room was completely white (walls, ceiling and bathroom suite were white) so there was plenty of opportunity for the light to bounce.

A quick make up change and back in the bath probably wasn’t the best idea but it was so much fun we wanted to make the most of the time.  This time we added some funky colours with food dye at my daughter’s request.  It certainly looked different, but not sure that the wrinkled fingers were so lovely!

web_roxy_2762

I was slightly dubious about using the milk and wondered if it would smell?  Would it be slippery? etc., but I needn’t have worried.  In fact, my daughter’s hair and skin was lovely and soft after the shoot even after she had showered and washed her hair!

Not knowing exactly what properties, or problems, the milk might have on the skin I decided to do a little research.

It would seem that the milk fats and proteins are very good for the hair and that they have some moisturising properties on the skin.  They also contain those magical AHA’s that are always listed on premium priced skincare products!

http://www.dermatocare.com/blog/9-Benefits-of-using-Milk-on-Skin–know-from-dermatologist

http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/problems/treating/milk-baths2.htm

http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/information/health-factors/5-things-about-lactic-acid-skin-care.htm

http://www.herbhedgerow.co.uk/milk-natural-beauty-throughout-history/

As a note, bathing in milk is fine if you want to try it, unless you have a dairy allergy or wounds on the skin in which case this is not the project for you and I’ve popped a couple of links and articles below about the negative sides of milk and the body.

http://www.foodreactions.org/allergy/milk.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/14/dairy-skin-effect_n_7787546.html

http://www.dairyfree.me/symptoms.html

 

Retouching, from the view point of the retouchers!

http://fashionista.com/2011/12/has-retouching-gotten-out-of-control-professional-retouchers-dish-about-whats-getting-altered-what-isnt-and-why-it-happens

Zack, who works in the art department at a major magazine, added that “with the exception of maybe wrinkles being smoothed out, nearly all the retouching I’ve seen or done is to correct or change a choice made by another creative in the process….[like] I once had to change a subject’s wig color–a choice by the stylist–to one that made the shot more aesthetically pleasing.” Andrew, a retoucher with 20 plus years of experience did admit that he was once asked to alter a shot of Kate Moss to “flatten out a little bit of a curve where her pants were.” He’s also lifted bust lines and smoothed butts.

Obviously it happens, but it sounds like girls’ bodies are not altered so as to be unrecognizable. Tamara, another professional retoucher with decades of experience, said of her work with health and fitness pubs, “[We aren’t] over-slimming. Maybe just pushing in a little bit here and there where the camera might have exaggerated a side, but there still is a camera and there still is lens distortion, so sometimes itʼs just correcting that.” Whatʼs also ironic is that sheʼs “fixing” a lot of bad plastic surgery to make it look more natural. Too-bright tooth laminates and ubiquitous fake-looking hair extensions are also common issues.

What everyone agreed on is that photographers generally don’t spend as much time on shoots as they used to. The prevailing attitude seems to be, as Andrew said, “‘Oh donʼt worry about that theyʼll fix it in post-[production].ʼ” Tamara said the stylists will just pin up a garment and not iron anything because they know it can be taken care of later.

But with a little twist this video, by Buzzfeed (18 Unreal Magazine Photoshop Fails) is a comical look at some of the fails that the industry puts out accidentally.

https://www.facebook.com/BuzzFeedVideo?fref=photo

Its also interesting that the picture of Oprah Winfrey was highlighted as I used that example in my dissertation.

No Photoshop Movement – Michigan Times Article

Article by Emily Legleitner, Michigan Times.  Published 17/02/2014 which discusses the effects of companies (such as Aerie) and the effects that their ‘no photoshop’ movement may have.  Backed up by evidence from Jean Kilbourne (who has dedicated the last 40 years to studying the effects of media and advertising on body image) it discusses how these photoshopped images, although maybe only viewed fleetingly, have a lifetime effect on our thoughts subconsciously.  It touches upon the way that advertising campaigns affect men as well, through their depiction of masculinity and virility, focussing on the tougher side of men which can pose a threat to mens subconscious.   This is particularly interesting to me as it is something that has come up in group crit sessions about advertising being a subject that affects men and is not a purely female problem.

http://www.themichigantimes.com/article/2014/02/body-issues-problem-facing-young-adults

This is a good link to a New York Times opinion editorial on the subject of photoshop.

http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/1194838469575/sex-lies-and-photoshop.html

Links

Verily magazine

http://verilymag.com/about/

Jean Kilbourne

http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/beautyand-beast-advertising

PDF studyguide to go along with Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Me Softly 4 package on the effects of media on women.

https://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/241/studyguide_241.pdf

Shame

I’ve recently been looking at the subject of body shaming in a little more detail with reference to my project on ‘real women’ and the possible harmful effects of body enhancement using photoshop (or other editing software) in the media.

There are many cases of body shaming that go on daily, from newspapers that criticise celebrities for being overweight, underweight, having pimples, looking tired, having grey hair, etc.  Sometimes it comes under the guise of being used as being aspirational to help people – possibly to lose weight, or have plastic surgery, etc.  Whatever the reason I feel that to make another person feel uncomfortable/unhappy in their own body is an unkind thing to do.

This article from Ellie Woodward, for Buzzfeed, has some really good examples of body shaming of celebrities in the media, and their responses.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/elliewoodward/times-celebrities-had-the-best-damn-responses-to-body-sha#.orrbgVLYRp

and this one

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3036838/Pink-SLAMS-Twitter-trolls-criticised-weight-following-cancer-benefit.html

My current photography project has profoundly changed the way i think and feel about people.  I have journeyed deep into my own mind to consider how I use instant judgement to make decisions about what a person is like, and how they live and whether I want to interact with them, without even knowing them.  It has changed the way I look at people as I hadn’t realised how superficial we are (I am!) as human beings in that we judge a person on what they are wearing and how their body looks rather than their personal traits and achievements.  Its a difficult thing to admit to, but the more you realise you are doing it the more you are able to change your behaviour.  I’ve corrected myself many times these last few months, and in the process have had many happy chats with people that I would never have interacted with before – my life is happier for having changed my attitude.

Part of the reason for doing my ‘Real Women’ photography project is to provide inspirational images for women to see what real bodies are like, and that all bodies are not the same, and that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ methodology for body shape and size and that we all have the right to look different and feel good looking different.

I have been awed and humbled by the women that have selflessly allowed me to photograph them as bare as they dared to provide inspiration for other women.  Rather than being a project that was a ‘fine art’ project about nude women’s bodies being viewed sexually, these images are aimed for a women’s gaze and more a bonding of sisterhood.  These brave ladies are not usually behind the camera, all have the usual insecurities about how people will view them, and yet each has bravely stepped forward and said … “This is me, I am a real women and I am proud of that.  Be proud to be you too.”

I came across this poem, The Journey, by Mary Oliver, which I found really inspiring.  It could be used as a metaphor for many different things/journeys in life, and in my mind it fits perfectly with the journey of feeling happy in your own skin.

The Journey

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice—

though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

“Mend my life!” each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations,

though their melancholy was terrible.

It was already late enough, 

and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice which you slowly recognised as your own,

that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,

determined to do the only thing you could do—

determined to save the only life you could save.

by Mary Oliver

Kim Lathe – The Bare Experience

Whilst searching through Kickstarter.com to see what photography projects are currently seeking funding I came across this photographer from South Dakota, USA.  She has been photographing men and women without their clothes and without using Photoshop and now has over 100 portraits that she wishes to make into a book and an exhibition.  In her kickstarter bid she says:

Why did you decide to do this BARE project?

As a photographer, I have done portraiture for people for years, and inevitably most people wanted me to “fix” things on their pictures in Photoshop – a double chin, blemishes, etc. etc. It intrigued and exasperated me to see so many people with so many self-perceived “flaws.” Everybody always want to hide something from the world, so I thought it would be interesting to ask people to bare themselves instead. I want to try and show people the beauty they already posses, even if they don’t look like the people we see in magazines and on TV.   

(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kimlathephotography/bare?ref=category)

I looked at her website (http://kimlathe.com/the-bare-experience/) and was surprised that her ideas are very similar to mine.  From this I can assume that this subject is something that is touching people all over the world and is something that is close to everybody’s heart.

Below are screen grabs of three of my favourite images from the slide show.  Love the fact that they are black and white and are as much to deal with shape and form as they are of portraits.

They remind me of some of the nude images by Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston.