Monday, February 23, 2009

Faces & Figures

This coming weekend, the Arts & Heritage Council of New Jersey is opening there latest show entitled Faces & Figures.
Included in this show will be two pieces of mine, Golden Accent and Autumn.

Golden Accent is a self portrait of a project I was working on that incorporated using a Black and White image with just an accent of color. Setting the scene up myself (without a remote shutter release) each shot was quite time consuming. I had to pre-focus the camera onto the spot I will be placed. All the exposure settings also have to be set while I am behind the camera and not in front of it. A bit tricky, indeed. After I feel the settings are correct, I program the camera to the self-timer setting. Press the shutter, then scurry into my position before the shutter is released. Viola!

The image is in color, but converted to Black and White after in the computer. The hue of the "golden accent" is brought back into the image during the post production.

Autumn is a very dear friend of mine. She helped me many times - posing for me when I needed someone to fill in as a model. Surprisingly comfortable in front of the camera and a face the camera loves.

In this image, I wanted to study the gentle curves the face forms when a person smiles. the original title of the piece was "Gentle Curves", but in honor of my friend, it has been changed to Autumn for the show.

The Faces and Figures Exhibit will run from February 28, 2009 - April 4, 2009.
The Arts & Heritage Gallery

137 Sprint Street, Newton, NJ

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tweens and Photography

Having a photo session with a couple of "tweens" can be quite energetic!

Welcome to the tween years - or what use to be called "preteens".

Tweens are a generation of fashion conscious, fad loving, ipod listening,
'filled - with - attitude' youth. And what fun it is to get a couple of them together - as friends - for a photo session.

When photographing, there were times when I wasn't able to capture all the expressions, looks, attitudes that were being dished out. But it made for a lot of great spontaneous, spur of the moment shots. Many of these captures work really well together when grouped as a composite print - placing three or more images together. (as scene in the first image introducing this post)

I was also able to capture the more thoughtful and contemplative personalities of the girls. Often knowing exactly what to do in front of the camera, with just a little direction from me.

All in all, what a blast it is working with tweens. Many enjoy their spot light in front of the camera, especially when they have their best buddy nearby to get a smile or giggle out of them.

Oh and by the end of the session - I too, could sing all the words to David Archuleta or Miley Cyrus. (Yes, we did have their favorite ipod music playing in the background - over and over and over!)

I look forward to our next session!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Paying Tribute To......

In remembrance to the families, friends and people that lost their lives in the Continental flight 3407 incident February 12 th.

The circumstances hit very close to home in many regards. Upon hearing the news I was able to visualize at least 10 faces I know that commute on the Newark - Buffalo route.

Relief came over me when I discovered that I did not know any of the victims, but guilt soon followed that feeling.

Many people were effected tragically and that is saddening.

I will drop notes for the survivors that were on my mind that day.

I will also let the people in my life know how much I love and appreciate them, because life is too precious not to.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Remembering the Holocaust

Inspired by a recent book I read - Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosney - I paid homage to a holocaust memorial in Paris, France this week.

Sarah's Key is a haunting fictional seldom mentioned and little known story based on the July 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, forcibly held at the Velodrome d'Hiver (an indoor sports stadium), then the horror of being transported to Auschwitz (a Nazi death camp). This incident was done by the French authorities.

The roundup included over 13,000 Jewish families held at the Vel' d'Hiv. They had no lavatories and excruciating temperatures to endure in the sealed structure. The arrested Jews were kept there for eight days with only water and food brought by Quakers, the Red Cross and the few doctors and nurses allowed to enter.

For decades the French government declined to apologise for the role of the French policemen in the round up.

On July 1995, Jacues Chirac - president at the time - acknowledged the role that the state played in the persecution of Jews and other victims of the German occupation.

The stadium has since been demolished, and a monument commemorating this time in history stands in it's place.

Sculpted by Walter Spitzer, the statues stand on a curved base representing the cycle track of the stadium and facing the Eiffel Tower.

Represented in the sculpture is a family with a mother, child and husband.

An expectant mother with her husband.

A young child.

An elderly woman clutching a suitcase.

"The French Republic in homage to victims of racist and antisemitic persecutions and of crimes against humanity committed under the authority of the so-called 'Government of the State of France'"
My afternoon in Paris this week paying homage to victims of the Holocaust was cold, rainy, windy and gloomy. I think appropriate for reflection on this dark, sad, and shameful episode in history.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Political Art

Since it's creation, photography has been used in many forms. It has been a part of research, documentation, aesthetic appeal, family records, social study, and political statements.

Some images go beyond simple composition and technical accuracy - these images demand attention or expect a reaction from the viewer.
This form of expression can make some viewers uncomfortable, while others are inspired to see ideals or social views visually interpreted in such a way. So how do we, as individuals, interpret political art?

Many are influenced by our backgrounds, experiences and education. And still others react instinctively - forming an opinion and turning away. Other times, a viewer can misinterpret the message between photographer/artist and viewer.

How do you interpret Gloria Steinem's statement:

"The first problem for all of us - men and women - is not to learn but to unlearn"?

How is this statement viewed with the visual image of two Barbie dolls next to it? Do you have preconceived ideas about Gloria Steinem's feminist views and principles? All of these factors are taken in and evaluated when looking at this piece of political art.

Since I am the creator of this image I will tell you what my thoughts are and how I interpreted her statement..........

I believe the disproportion figure of the Barbie doll is an unrealistic image that is popular with young girls. This unrealistic view can be learned at a very young age, by the girls that play with this "toy", the boys that see this "toys" popularity, and the parents that encourage it by buying this "toy". As adults we continue to carry with us these impossible ideals about body figures - always dissatisfied with ourselves and trying to fit into this unachievable mold. This is because we can never attain this preconceived ideal of the perfect Barbie Doll Toy. This belief needs to be "unlearned" - but why do we need to "learn" this in the first place?

In a statement from artist and photographer Richard Rothstein he writes - " In a world where corporations, governments and organized religions spend trillions of dollars to control our perceptions and define our political, social and moral behavior, how can art not be seen as the most profound and liberating political statement of all?"

What would be your political statement?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Canine Photography

Quality pet photography is a growing interest among a number of animal lovers today. Specifically, dog photography is really an art in itself.

When planning a shoot with your furry client, especially show dogs, many factors are a concern. The color and texture of the coat, body position, and being able to capture that soft yet alert expression.

I recently met up with future show champion Isabell LeFevre. Izze, as she is more commonly known, comes from a long line of prize winning show dogs.
Her odds are quite favorable to follow in this prestigious line of champions. But does she have what it takes to set herself apart from the rest? I think she does - but I'm just her photographer for the day, not her judge in the show ring.

I feel comfortable around Izze, and I think we have established a comfortable rapport with each other. But it is still foolish to think that a one on one session with an any animal is going to be anything but chaos - so naturally Izze's owner is nearby to deliver commands, authority, and the occasional treat.

Irish Setters are one of the most distinctive Sporting breeds. Known for their silky chestnut or mahogany red coat, these dogs were bred as active, aristocratic bird dogs. Over two feet tall at the shoulder, the Irish is known for their style, powerful movement and clown-like personality! A gentle, lovable animal that is highly intelligent and very energetic. Their gentleness and happy personality make this dog an outstanding therapy dog as well as a loyal companion.

Future sessions with Izze are indeed in her and my future! Can't wait for the warmer weather girl! It's a busy show season ahead.

I think we will be seeing more of Miss Izze in the coming year...................................


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