This was an easy one. No appointments today.
That is actually rare. So we had a slow start. Some exercises, a black coffee, a long hot shower, a lunch and then we drove off to get our heads into nature.
Amazing how the kids react to this. Amazing how we react to this. To feel the energy levels rising. And for that matter, this was just a couple of kilometers/miles. Nothing too fancy. But still. We love getting out in nature to stock the energy levels and luckily the kids love getting out as well.
Back to school. Back to work.
The kids are back at school. After 5 days of school, they didn’t even want the weekend off: We want to go to school daddy! The girls already have their own tablet for a couple of years now, at home. Old ones I used to have. This year, my eldest daughter (7) started using a tablet at school. She loves it. Probably they will turn into gadget freaks like me.
From a photography perspective it was a quiet week for me. Not shooting much. A little.
Posting some questions regarding printer settings and whether or not to convert to .dng, for archival purposes. Trying to optimize the workflow. Still need to run through 7000+ images in Lightroom, as a housekeeping task. I’ll get there. Amazing to see the stuff you’ve done, the style you used to have; how you’re evolving. Nice. Embrace change.
This time my ever ongoing research; my hunger for inspiration has let me to Trent Parke. I recall doing some research on him years ago when I was taking my photography course, in 2006 or so. His work really got to me. I loved his images, the feeling it evoked. High contrast black and white. Really gritty stuff. I haven’t thought about him for years.
Just a couple of days ago I stumbled upon some article of him. Found an impressive documentary on him. I recall seeing it in 2006. It still inspires me like crazy. Looking forward to buying a book of this guy, probably ‘Minutes to midnight‘. I would love to have that one.
Trent works on multiple projects. Taking a massive amount of pictures, every day. He admits spending more than 100 rolls of film to get an iconic shot. Amazing.
Trent inspires me to work on series. I’ve already started doing that, with my ‘Slices’ project, but Trent makes me want to work harder. He inspires me to take bring my camera more often and to take way more photos.
Below some slices of the last couple of days, all taken with the X-T1 and the XF35mm1.4 lens. I really want to work on my skills to create a series of related photos and on the story telling part. In progress…
This Sunday my good friend Niels and I went to an exposition of Steve McCurry in Helmond, The Netherlands. I just love the work of Steve and I’m a fan of his work for years now.
A couple of years ago he gave a presentation in Amsterdam. Another friend notified me on the event, but I couldn’t get a ticket anymore. Fully booked. I ‘compensated’ this by buying a couple of his books, hardcover and a nice large format. I used to browse the books and put the book opened on a specific page on display in my living room. I actually mounted a bookshelf specifically for this purpose. I would change the page every couple of weeks. Such an inspiration, both the stories of Steve and his photos.
The exposition showed 132 of his photos, printed big, and mounted in black, wooden frames, which were beautifully light by a carefully placed spotlight. Amazing!
As we all know, photography is about emotion. It’s about the feeling it evokes. A lot of the photos I saw triggered a good feeling in me. A feeling of the beauty in the world. Or a feeling of hope. Sometimes this feels odd, because of the terrible circumstances of the subjects. I think that’s why I relate to the photos of Steve. I’m also focused on the good, the positive and the beautiful things around me / in this world. And even when the situation is not too nice, I’m always looking to make the most of the situation.
At some point I notice that some photos didn’t work quite well for me. For some it was the content / the subject and that’s fine, right? We can’t like everything. But I also noticed that some other photos did not work for me because of the technique, or actually the quality of the prints.
Most of the images contain some amount of noise/grain. This makes the scene a bit soft. It gives the photo some specific mood. Like a dream, or a memory being recalled.
Some other photos did not contain noise/grain. For me, these photos were just too clean. Too sharp. Too much details. Too much dynamic range. Too realistic. Too perfect.
This doesn’t work for me at all. These kind of photos do not evoke the emotion that the other photos of Steve do evoke. These photos being too perfect, did not resonate within me as the others did. Quite interesting!
One of the first images I made with my first Fujifilm camera, the X-M1, I loved instantly. Accidentally, I’ve set the ISO to 2000. I had put the XF35mm (also new to me) on and I was very curious about the shallow depth of field the lens could produce. I was curious about the bokeh. I think it is still my favorite photo of my wife. Partly because of de grain, the shallow DOF and the feeling of the details being ‘filtered’. I just love this ‘filtered reality’, the mood it evokes.
I’ve been aware of this for years. I’ve embedded this style in my post processing so that I can decide if I want to apply this mood, and how much of it I want to apply. Seeing the photos of Steve printed big, side by side made me realize even more why I don’t like photos that are just too clean, too perfect.
Now I’m going to think about this. How am I going to use this awareness in my own photography style. I know myself. This will be a lot of thinking, visualizing and doing the actual tests in camera.