Archive for May 2010

Calla Lilly, 1984 – Robert Mapplethorpe

May 28, 2010

As well as being notorious for his highly controversial nudes, Mapplethorpe was also renowned for his hauntingly beautiful still life shots of flowers. He generally shot orchids and calla lillies and generally in a 1:1 format.

The placement of the flowers was very deliberate and Mapplethorpe works with their lines and shadows to create images which are undeniably sensual- the stamen of the flower in many shots is exposed, proud and phallic, while in others, such as this photograph, the emphasis is on feminine curves.

I have experimented with flowers in my own folio & have tried to emulate pictures like this one- I specifically wanted to see if I could create an image with the same dramatic impact. I have concentrated on creating deep negative space and accentuating the textures and shape of the flower itself’

One aspect of still life photography that really appeals to me is the ability to really concentrate on a subject- it provides to opportunity to really manipulate what you are shooting in a way that is more difficult with other genres. It enables the photographer to devote their attention entirely to how they’d like to present the subject, how they’d like to use negative space, light and shadow.


Zoe Noir- by me

May 28, 2010

This is the first time I’ve used one of my images in my visual diary – I figure that if I have shot something I am really happy with, it deserves a spot here to remind me what it is that I like about it, and so what I should be aiming towards. I haven’t been shooting as much people based photography lately & haven’t really felt that engaged with what I have been shooting.

This image was shot in January this year, with a very creative and obliging model named Zoe – we shot lots of different types of photo, but this film noir inspired image was one of my favourite from the shoot. I love the dark shadows and silvery highlights.

Cow- SpY

May 28, 2010

SpY is a Spanish conceptual artist whose work usually occurs in the public domain.

I love the image above, the colour is fabulous and the concept is just so silly. We have a hard time taking cows seriously & they often form the noun in many pejorative metaphors, silly, stupid, stubborn, docile….the list is long.

I like the use of balloons in images where the negative space consists of organic and subdued colours- the contrast is really visually appealing & conceptually, balloons are interesting because they exist only to provide colour- they are like artificial flowers. I’ve been thinking about including balloons in some of my conceptual shots & I guess this shot is the kind of application I’d like to use them in.

Architecture Porn- Kala69 (from Flickr)

May 28, 2010

This photo was lifted from a Flickr group called Architecture Porn & was taken by a French Photographer whose Flickr handle is Kala69.

I chose it because I really like the use of  shadow and lighting to create a really surreal look- in fact I’m not convinced that these are not cardboard buildings!!

I think the shot has a film noir kind of aesthetic to it, or rather a faux film noir aesthetic- Sin City style- it’s moody and visually delicious.

Drifting Plateau Iceberg Piece- Gauthier Chapelle

May 28, 2010

I find it easier to connect with Antarctic landscapes than most- I find them very calming and lonely and almost otherworldly. This shot was taken by Gauthier Chapelle & I really like it’s minimalism & geometry.

I think there’s something amazing about the light in Antarctica- it’s really etherial and adds to the stillness of the landscape nicely. The side of the iceberg to left of frame is in shadow, so I suspect the sun is relatively direct- I think it would be an amazing place to shoot portraits.

Richaerd Avedon

May 26, 2010

I stumbled across some images by Richard Avedon the other day & was blown away by the movement he gets into his photographs – lovely curling limbs and sensual rhythms- I have no idea how he does this, except perhaps shoots his models as they move/dance/run/traipse across his frame. Lovely stuff!

Ellen Von Unwerth- From Revenge

May 21, 2010

I’ve encountered her work often but only recently became aware of who Ellen Von Unwerth is. A German photographer, famous for eroticised images of women, her style really resonates with me. Her photographs are often moody BDSM style shots, but they have a sense of mischief and humour that I find infectious.

This image belongs to a set called ‘revenge’ which is a narrative of three young women who spend a weekend with a baroness on her country estate. The image I have chosen juxtaposes the obvious sexuality of it’s subjects (open legged poses, a black glove, the models sitting in the gutter; a metaphor for sleaziness) against their apparent naivety.

They are shown eating fruit- this is also a metaphor for lost innocence and eating itself can be depicted as a sensual, indulgent activity.

I think this image oozes style yet still manages to confront the viewer with some very forthright and prurient themes.

In terms of camera craft, it’s a reasonably simple shot, the background is thrown out of focus very mildly & while not over exposed, there are some strong highlights in the hair and on the faces of the models. Visually the image’s strength lies in it’s composition and design- the resonance between the models is strong & the repetition of their legs creates a rhythm in an otherwise chaotic image.