Archive for March 2010

Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River – Peter Dombrovskis

March 23, 2010

The late Peter Dombrovskis was a German born photographer who was notable for photographing the Tasmanian Landscapes. The first time I saw this photograph was on a poster in one of the science rooms at my High School. I was transfixed by the silkiness of the water & the intrigue of the fog. If I had asked, my teacher probably would have told me that this photo was an integral part of the campaign that brought down the Fraser Government.

A key issue of the 1983 Federal election was the proposed damming of the Franklin River. Several major newspapers ran full pages ads featuring this photo with the caption; “would you vote for a party that would destroy this?” (The location where this shot was taken would have been flooded by the dam).

The ethereal texture of the water was achieved using a slow shutter speed & obviously a tripod. It’s either morning, or as is not uncommon in Tasmania, the morning mist hasn’t lifted, so the light is flat & diffused. Taking shots of moving water, I always like to change up the shutter speed to either freeze the movement or draw it out- this shot taken in Bangkok is shot at 1/2000 on a very sunny day- I really like how the jet’s of water are suspended in mid air.

0084 – Ailine Liefeld

March 16, 2010

This is another deviantArt image from a user called angelcurls. Angelcurls is a photographer from Germany named Ailine Liefeld, her dA gallery contains a plethora of beautiful portraits, many monochrome and many with lovely muted colours.

The shot above is really appealing to me, it’s such a classic portrait that captures a wonderful melancholy. I love the B&W conversion, it has a softness to it thatĀ  the lighting accentuates wonderfully. The light from left of frame adds so much atmosphere to the shot- I imagine the model sitting in a recording studio in the 1950’s; wholesome and handsome, but with a pervasive sadness.

Bliss- Charles O’Rear

March 12, 2010

I have to confess; I don’t feel any particular affinity with this photograph outside of it’s usual context, which is of course Windows XP’s default desktop. I thought I would include the image though because it has had astronomical reach & is instantly recognisable by millions of people.

Taken by Charles O’Rear, near Napa Valley in California in 1996 – it’s a pretty enough landscape which is also bland enough to become synonymous with a ubiquitous piece of software.

I can’t help wondering what I’d think of the image if I came across it in a gallery – it doesn’t seem to me that it could ever be anything but a stock shot for something clinical, but it’s a good reminder that behind every image is a story.

Terry Richardson- Obama and Batman & Robin

March 11, 2010

Terry Richardson is one of my favourite photographers. I first stumbles across him when Lee Jeans commissioned him to shoot a controversial billboard.

A quick google, and I discovered that he’s the man behind some awesome celebrity portraits that demystify and humanise his subjects. The shot of Obama is a perfect example- the enormous broad grin (in other shots Obama’s tie is loosened and he gives the camera a big thumbs up) and informality if the image add a lot of fun. Terry Richardson isn’t a charismatic looking guy, but he really must be to get the responses he does from his subjects.

I love the subversiveness of the Batman and Robin image- it’s so obvious, but the humour is undeniable- I like photography’s power to confront and challenge & I think Richardson does this in a very playful, cheeky way.

Candy Cigarette- Sally Mann

March 11, 2010

I don’t remember the first time I encountered this photo by Sally Mann but I do remember being confronted by it. I understand it’s a shot of her daughter from a book entitled Immediate Family.

I think it’s confronting because it forces me to think about transition and my own experience of this. Mann’s daughter poses with a confectionery cigarette, adopting a highly adult stance. Her expression is sullen and her right arm guards her body. I always wonder about the authenticity of shots like this, that exude such mood- was Mann following her children around with a camera, or was this shot highly directed?

Visually, the tones of the image really appeal to me and although the subject of the shot is centred, the figures on the chair and to the right of the frame disrupt the symmetry. The shot appears candid and I like the thought that I’m privy to a moment in time.

It’s a beautiful image and I admire Mann’s bravery as a photographer and a parent.

Gone – Zhang Jingna

March 10, 2010

So I’ve recently joined deviantArt and one of the artists I am following isĀ  a 21 year old Chinese photographer named Zhang Jingna. She has shot for Mercedes Benz, Ogilvy and Mather and Harper’s Bazaar. Not only this but she won a bronze medal in the 10m air rifle event at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Respect!

I’m sure I will post more of her wonderful images, but I wanted to start with this one because it’s a beautifully striking portrait. The image makes me think of Cosette from Le Miserable. I think the thing that engages me most is the expression- it’s vacant at first glance, but it’s so intense that you know there has to be more. The models eyes are hooded and her mouth betrays no emotion.

Dali Atomicus- Philippe Halsman

March 10, 2010

When I was about 14, Dali’s The Persistence of Memory became the first painting to really catch my eye and my imagination. It was my first encounter with surreal art and I loved the chaos it presented.

Dali Atomicus is one of my favourite images of all time. It encapsulates the chaos that must have been Dali’s mind. The photographer, Phillipe Halsman reportedly claimed that the act of leaping revealed his subject’s true selves.

When I first read that this shot took 6 hours, 28 jumps and a handful of assistants to nail, I was initially disappointed- to look at the picture, it seems as though it should have been spontaneous- a random and chaotic occurrence that was captured serendipitously. But it’s a good reminder for me that inspirational photographs require perspiration to produce.