photos: 500px

kenny o by Hugh Chaloner

Somewhat excited about 500px, a photo sharing site a bit like flickr but without the dross. I’m finding that flickr is full of the mediocre whereas 500px seems to have a freshness about it with really inspiring photographers uploading premium work. At less than a dollar a week I think I might make the switch to 500px for professional work and keep flickr for the family & holiday snaps.

photo: Killiney

Took a breath of air with Dogger here today, meandering down Killiney Beach with a warm wind at my back and a leaden sky overhead. I hadn’t been here for years and was quite surprised at how far the cliff has retreated, the erosion is pronounced.

I wish I’d brought a camera with me because the sky was so impressive, all I had was the iPhone, so that’s what you’re seeing above.

photo: close encounters

close encounters

Originally uploaded by Hugh_C

had an evening out with the lissome Sophie M and make-up artist Parima Barghgir on Sunday. I’d been meaning to shoot in this location again since making a time-lapse sequence here a year or two ago, and the opportunity came up, so we all grasped it. The location is beside the train station in Adamstown, near Lucan, west Dublin. It’s one of those new estates built towards the end of the boom, with an infrastructure the envy of west Dublin, only thing is though that it seems deserted. Nobody drove past during probably about 90 minutes shooting. Bizarre, there’s just nobody there.

Can’t say I’d like to live there myself mind you, the place is not very inviting, infrastructure notwithlstanding.

Anyway, here is Sophie in a dress of her own, a late substitute for a Claire Garvey piece we’d managed to leave behind in Parima’s house. She has a pair of strobes mounted on a stand a metre or so behind her, and some ambient fluorescent light from the tubes above. I’ve removed the stand in post, mostly hidden however behind Sophie. I’m pleased with the results.

Via Flickr:
model: Sophie Merry
mua: Parima Barghgir

photo: location location location

location test for upcoming urban shoot

photo: trust

mua: Paulina Kozior | model: .Anouska.

Technical stuff:

Bowens 500W head up high and to camera right. About 1/16th power through a medium softbox. Silver reflector under mua’s control below and to the left of model. SB600 on back wall at about 1/16th power. ISO 200, f/10 @ 1/160th.

photo: on being 1-dimensional in a 2-dimesional medium

make-up artist: Kate Waldron | model: Stephanie Quilligan, 1st Option

Being me, and nobody else, I’ve begun to examine where next might be in photography. I’ve become pretty handy at making images like you see above of the lovely Stephanie, and as satisfying as it is to make these I feel I need to get a bit further away from the subject, get a bit more dynamic in the image. I’ve been watching the output of a well-known photographer here in Dublin who produces pretty much the same image time and time again, albeit with different models and I don’t want to become that person. I don’t want to be 1-dimensional, I want variety, I want to move back, I want to be a bit more exciting. I want to do more of this:

make-up artist: Parima Barghgir | model: Sophie Merry

Pictured above is Sophie Merry, a wonderful collaborator and model, a photo-shoot on the South Wall in Ringsend with Parima Barghgir, a make-up artist I’d worked with previously. I feel that this is more interesting, funner as my daughter would say and a definitely a bit different from the beauty shot up top. I need a stylist though, because what I know about fashion could be written on the back of a Brian Cowen essay on charisma.

photo: new kit

Pictured above is Sophie Merry, dancer, model, mover extraordinaire, subject to a bit of experimentation with the new Bowens kit I picked up the other day. Used above is a single 500 head at about 1/16th or thereabouts into a 60cm square softbox. Need to learn this kit.

photo: new shoes

So I decided to go off and do a course in advanced photography, never having done much in the way of formal training in this career other than just going out and doing it. Early days in the course but it’s looking promising. I think the challenge of having to do assignments is, erm, interesting and what you’re looking at above is the fruit of my first assignment – to go out and shoot a portrait-style image which conforms to certain criteria. This may be a little too wide to conform to portraiture, but I like it on a few levels. First, it looks like Ben is enjoying himself, second, I like the proportions of the tiny people/lighthouse/giant child landing from the sky and third I like the perspective.

I’ll update here how the assignment was received.

photo: 28,000 items

I’ve been doing this beauty gig for over a year now, since April 09 or thereabouts on and off, and it looks like I’ve shot or post produced just about 28,000 items, one of which is Anouska above. Not your typical beauty shot maybe, but I like it. I hasten to add that the beauty stuff I do doesn’t generally have a manky frame ┬áposted all over it, but I thought I’d take a bit of artistic license in this case. Anouska is a wonderful model but she’s also a great photographer, her stuff can be seen here on flickr. I wish I had her youth and talent.

Anyway, yeah, 28,000 items is a lot, I suppose about a half of them are technically usable and of that? Maybe 10 percent artistically usable.

Got to work on that ratio …

photo: dichotomy

please switch o your images

Hell’s Bells! I’m not sure if what I’m about to try to articulate is a dichotomy or not but here goes …

Here I was last night, taking a few snaps of the very tall & beautiful Alyson above when I thought to myself: actually I’ve very little to do with this image, here’s the girl and her makeup artist, she’s doing her thing, they’re doing their thing and I’m just an observer, recording the event. Now the quality of that recording might be interpreted as artistic endeavour, but I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just good at working the camera and positioning it the right place at the right time with the right amount of light, maybe it’s because the clumsy schtick I babble to cover my nerves mollycoddles them into a sense of avuncular comfort and therefore a decent performance. Or maybe I have something indefinable called an Eye and know how and when to press the buttons to get a good looking picture? So many questions, so few answers. Why do I resort to Yiddish and me a Goy?

So is photography art or a science or both? Are they overlapping qualities?

I think there’s no distinct answer. A bit of both in reality. Although I have no particular training in photography other than my sister lending me her camera when I was about 15, teaching me what shutter speed meant and trusting me with it to the extent that I went off to some festival or other in England and took a load of photos. The camera returned intact. I figured out aperture myself. The technical side comes easy to me, I have that sort of brain for the most part, but also I have the confidence now to convince people I know what I’m doing. This amuses me (and others) no end.

The development of Eye comes with time, it’s not something you can book learn. There are guidelines I suppose but if you stick to them all the time your stuff becomes sterile and dull. I’m still searching for the Eye, maybe I have part of it but it’s an evolving thing, an evolution mirrored in the zeitgeist except I’m probably twenty years after the fact. So far after the fact that it has probably come back into fashion again. Lucky me!