Today I wanted to share a favorite art piece of mine. This is a photograph by Yves Klein, a French artist who rose to prominence during the early-mid 20th century. He is known for a variation of blue that he invented, dubbed “Klein blue”, and also for his various contemporary artworks. The photograph above is called “saut dans le vide”, which translates to “leap into the void”. I actually have the phrase tattooed on my right shoulder blade. The phrase has connections to several different things. For one, it reminds me to take leaps in life, even if it’s a giant jump into the unknown. The phrase also calls to mind this photograph, of course, from which I borrowed it. I love Klein’s expression of fearlessness and hope, even though he’s catapulting himself into thin air . The photo was created by first photographing Klein leaping from the top of the building on to a soft pad below, and then placing Klein’s airborne body in a photo of the scene without the landing pad. “Saut dans le vide” is also a line from a favorite song of mine, “Nara”, by alt-j. I think it’s important to pay attention to the deeper meanings behind works of art and song lyrics. Artists have strong messages to impart to their audience, and clever ways of doing so.
Robert Lange is a hyperrealism artist whom I became familiar with in February when I attended a show at his art gallery in Charleston. I’ve been using oil paints since I was really young, and although I don’t paint hyper-realistically myself, I find this kind of work fascinating. I really admire the amount of skill, precision, and knowledge about paint and its behavior on a canvas that it takes to pull this style of painting off. These particular works of art relate to my passion for taking pictures because partial and full underwater photography is something I want to get into one day. I love the classic images of waves with a sunset poking through, and the clearest photos of water where you can see each and every drop clearly as they are flying through the air through the air. Underwater worlds have so much to offer in terms of beauty and color and visual interest. They make fantastic photo subjects, if you can afford the gear and spend the time learning how to shoot them. Lange’s paintings are done from such an interesting angle, and they look so realistic that at first glance one may think they were photographs. I think it’d be a lot of fun to try and reproduce this kind of watery scene with the lens of a camera.
This week I wanted to share one of my muses. Charlotte Abramow is a Belgian photographer whose work is pictured above. This particular project really caught my eye when I first saw it a couple of months ago, considering I’m currently doing a portraiture project with all female subjects and soft lighting. I absolutely love the way the photographer has lit her subjects in these photos. The extra diffused lighting with one side of the face in a bit more shadow than the other creates the pure, intimate mood that I’m going for with my own photographs. The soft pastel colors enhance the vibe of these photos as well, and notice how each model is wearing a shirt or jacket with some sort of collar. (Everything written on Ms. Abramow is in French…. so unfortunately I don’t have the clearest understanding of the ideas and reasons behind this project.) The conventional head-on portrait is not an easy project to tackle, as photographs with models posed this way often appear boring and expressionless, but I think Abramow nails it. The choices in lighting, wardrobe, and color scheme work together to create captivating works of art. To see the project how it was originally presented, check out her Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/charlotteabramow/
She actually has these photos as short videos, with the models completely still except for blinking their eyes. Her other work is beautiful as well!
With graduation in a little over a month, I’ve been putting in extra time working in the studio and the labs to churn out a few last pieces of quality work before our print portfolios are due. I’ve been having a blast with my final series, BARE. This has turned out to be a big project, only some of which will be shown in class on the day of the final, and I’ve been thinking about trying to exhibit the entire thing somewhere (professor Weintraub put this idea into my head yesterday). The photos shown above are some of the ones that made it into my vis com portfolio. The radiantly naturally beautiful models in them are my best friend, Frances Foster, and her girlfriend, Alexis Frazier. I’ll be using different photos, with these models and more, for my final series. I’m still contemplating how I want to present my final series, but I’m leaning towards four or five individual profiles, with their best photos spread out in a collage, and the model’s name and a personal statement somewhere in the collage. I am picturing this as a feature in a beauty or fine art magazine. I’m having fun going through the pictures I’ve taken so far, and I look forward to finishing up my last couple of shoots and putting this project together at the end of the month.
I have just gotten around to editing a few of the photos I took during our Wild West adventure. Here are a few of them- one from Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, and two from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. A friendly stranger took the photo of the two of us, and I think she did a good job! I left my shooting mode on auto for most of the trip, because my first priority was to be there in the moment instead of messing with settings on my camera. We only had so much time in each place we went, and I wanted to soak it up as much as I could. I’ve photographed canyons and other rocky landscapes several times, and have learned from experience that all of the sunlight reflecting off of the pinnacles and mesas can make for very bright photos. But it’s amazing how just a little bit of toning and adjustment in Photoshop can make an otherwise overexposed and blown out photo look defined and contrasted.
Being out west with the love of my life made me all the more excited to move there one day. I love the beautiful natural landscape (so many photo ops), the accepting and tolerant culture, and the food (why is it so much better out there??), among other things! Forever grateful for this wonderful, adventurous woman and these opportunities to see the world with her.
For spring break this year, my girlfriend Christina and I went out west together. It was our first big trip together, and we had a blast. We landed in Las Vegas on Sunday, spent one night there, and then spent the following three days exploring Zion and Grand Canyon National Parks. Both of the parks were absolutely breathtaking. I had never been to either of them, and it was Tina’s first time at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I brought along my Canon Rebel, and I will be posting some of those pictures once I upload and work on them. We also used several disposable cameras, and I’m excited to see how those turn out. The old-fashioned look is always fun. The above photo was taken with my iPhone 6 and edited with the Afterlight app. We spent our last night again in Las Vegas before flying out the next morning and spending the weekend together Cincinnati, where Tina lives. I’m sad that spring break is over, but I can’t wait for more adventures with her!
I’ve always wanted to do a photography project showcasing natural female beauty. I hate the way women are portrayed in the media, from unobtainable beauty standards to limitations on what we can and can’t do with our bodies, personal lives, and career paths. This year I’ve been struggling to find my calling, and learning how to work in a professional lighting studio has definitely helped with that. I have found that I love photographing people in this setting, where I have complete control over the look and feel of the photos and can focus on creative display rather than journalistic story telling.
“Bare” is a project that I am putting together during my final semester of undergrad. I want to finish strong with something I am really proud of. I have had overwhelming interest in this project, and I’ve already photographed four lovely women. I plan to photograph many more, but for time’s sake probably only a few of them will make it into the package that I present as my final project. I will compile the rest of them in my portfolio, or maybe even in a separate book. I’ve decided to show a sneak peak of what I’m working on for my blog post this week. Pictured above is Mae, in a close-up, soft light portrait that I’m really proud of. Mae has been my favorite subject to photograph so far, as she is truly stunning with a completely bare face, and the camera was able to capture her innocence and beauty very well. I know Mae personally, but my other models so far have been strangers. It’s been a rewarding experience working with new people in this setting. I’m excited to continue with this project and see where it takes me.
This past weekend, I visited my girlfriend Christina in Cincinnati, OH. We try and see each other a couple of times as month. My parents’ jobs with the airlines definitely make that easier! Christina and I woke up one morning and the lighting in her room was perfect, so I asked if I could take a few window light portraits of her. The soft light coming through the blinds illuminates her face and eyes so well. I really like photographing natural beauty, because it is so underrepresented and under appreciated in the media today. I plan on doing an entire project centered around this theme, and I hope that Christina can participate because of her intense natural beauty. Portraiture is one of my favorite genres of photography, and I’m really looking forward to using the studio here at USC’s journalism school to practice using professional equipment to light my photographs.
I am feeling excited and a bit sentimental about my last semester at USC coming to a close. I started out as a biology major with plans to be a veterinarian, and here I am four years later, a budding graphic designer and photographer. This past year I have further developed my graphic design skills with a part-time job at the school of chemical engineering here at the university. I have also deepened my passion for photography as I begin to delve into the creative side of the art. Because I am a fine artist at heart, creative photography is much more suited to my skill set and interests than photojournalism. I look forward to a semester of developing my skills with lighting and other creative aids, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.
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