Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photographers at Work: Martin Schoeller

I love to watch photographers at work. This youtube video is of Martin Schoeller working on set on his Bodybuilder series. It is revealing both in his lighting setup (which is only partly shown, but enough to guess) and how he talks with his sitters:

Martin Schoeller Photo Shoot

I found this video a while back on the strobist blog. I recommend that you also visit the link to it on that site. He has a breakdown of what you see at various points (although he missed one thing I noticed...try to guess) to help you diagnose the lighting set up -- plus the user comments are interesting as well:

Strobist Link to Behind the Scenes with Martin Schoeller

I think I like his typical style of detailed images with stark even lighting on celebrities better, but I must admit this was a good subject for him to explore.

Lastly, if you're interested, here is a link to the book on Amazon:

Female Bodybuilders

Fine Art TV

Fine Art TV is one of the sites I like:


There are short videos and you can learn a lot about photography.

Note: There's a certain let's say European flair to the site and fine art nudes may be sprinkled into sections like "portraits" or on the main page at times, rather than confined to the section of the site that deals with nudes. So, bottom line, use your best judement at work or with kidos present.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

William Eggleston in the Real World

Someone asked for more videos that show the Photographer in action. This is one of my favorites. Like the man himself, the film comes at the biography of an illusive man at the weird angle of just following him around with very little exposition. There are breaks that show his work and some up historical points in his career. I couldn't decide if the film was even functional as a biography -- tuned in from a strange place, like a David Lynch piece if it attempted realism while keeping one foot in the strange Lynchian alterverse. As a film, I watched it over and over. I understood very little about what made the man tick after watching the film, but I learned a great deal about being quietly driven to do something in a way that can't be easily explained in words.

Friday, August 14, 2009

44 Cool Images: Why it Sometimes Pays to Look at Your Flickr Stats

I like to use flickr, and I sometimes post my images to specific flickr groups whenever I want people of a particular bent to take a look at my images. By looking at the referring link stats in flickr, I can usually tell which Web sites are linking to my images.

I generally like when sites link to the work, but I do get pissed when they illegally appropriate the files -- maybe even modify them in a way I totally hate -- and then publish them on their commercial sites without talking to me or giving me attribution. But that's a completely different topic.... Although, it's nice when people link to me and tell me they are doing it, few people take the time to let you know when they are linking to you these days.

That's why you need to use an image sharing service that records referring links. As in this case, where my image was featured on the LIGHTING ESSENTIALS For Photographers site:

44 Very Cool Images from the LE Flickr Pool

Steve McCurry talks with NPR about the death of his chosen film, Kodachrome:

Listen to the NPR story

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Mindful Eye: Daily Critique

Essentially, The Mindful Eye is a revamped and refocused version of an old site called The Radiant Vista. It has a variety of interesting instructional content from a few differnt contributors and an impressive user community, but for me the best part about the site is the video daily critiques.

I've been following Craig Tanner since I went to a Rocky Mountain School of Photography weekend workshop (Craig no longer works with the school), and I think that The Mindful Eye Web site is probably the best place on the Web to find detailed, respectfully done, instructional critiques.

The critiques are not quite daily any more (if they ever were), but they are published frequently enough to keep me tuning in. There is a smattering of Eckart Tolle-inspired wisdom and philosophy of photography mixed in with some thoughts about gear and also some revelatory ideas about how the concept of Talent is mainly a myth.

Most of all, this section of The Mindful Eye Web site zooms in on an image and focuses with razor sharp precision on what's great about the image and what might be improved. The best lesson I've learned from the daily critique is how to critique in a way that empowers the photographer to take their work to the next level, rather than cutting them down.

I've also learned a lot from Craig's views on improvements. A typical critique talks about the all various considerations when capturing the image and also the image editing process. Usually, examples of post work improvements are made to the image by Criag and shown as examples during the course of the video critique -- along with the specifics on how the changes are made in Photoshop.