Archive | September, 2011

New Model – Guianna

29 Sep

I am currently in the process of finishing up some pieces for a juried art show, and my concept involved nudity. It was difficult finding models to pose nude, as is expected, so one night I was at Cafe Bohemia to see some local music and I found her: Guianna Brantley. She has the most beautiful skin, a big gorgeous head of kinky afro hair, and the biggest whitest smile I’ve ever seen. And she was super excited to do the shoot and wanted to get started immediately. So I called up trusty little Blackbird and we arranged a last-minute shoot in an awesome run down old building.

Blackbird did makeup and styled the whole shoot. For the nudes, we didn’t need much styling, but below are some photos with Blackbird’s designs. I had a floor lamp and one modeling lamp. And a diffuser. That’s it. We made use of a really dark, stuffy closet to do all these shots. We were sweating profusely because there was no air conditioning – or air flow at all for that matter, but this place is a photographer’s dream. Any artist’s dream! So many cool old things and places to explore.

Dance Performance

22 Sep

I attended an emerging artists dance piece at The Studio@620 a couple weeks ago, presented by Fletcher Dance Project, Travis Mesman, Erik Wagner, Tai White and The Academy of Ballet Arts. It was breathtaking. I took a lot of photos, so I figured I’d let the photos speak for themselves.

The Making of “Red Sea”

15 Sep

I was invited to participate in an art show at The Bricks in Ybor City last Saturday, September 10. I had done a couple shows with this group before; they are called Kick Start My Art. When I read the email with the concept of the show, I was super excited! The show was called Time Warp, and the concept was recreating a masterpiece. Each artist in the show had to choose a masterpiece from their favorite artist to recreate in whatever medium they chose.

Being a Gustav Klimt fanatic, of course it was only natural that I would choose “Sea Serpents” (shown below),which I have owned as a print for the better part of my life. Now I had to find my model, makeup artist, hair stylist and the rest of my team. And on top of that, figure out how to get all those little details that Klimt is so famous for. If you scroll to the bottom of this article, you can see the version that my team and I created.

This endeavor turned out to be much easier than I expected, because St. Petersburg is teeming with creative people. I put out a little message on Facebook to my friend, fellow photographer and super gorgeous, easy-to-work with model, AJ Flame. Since I posted it on her wall for all eyes to see, another wonderful artist, fashion designer Blackbird, saw the post and immediately messaged me, wanting to get in on the project. She was to be the stylist, and she brought with her hair and makeup artist Carey Hinrichs, and I had an aspiring photographer / videographer, Eva Hinckley, to assist as well as capture some footage of the shoot for a mini documentary.

So, our team was set! Now for location. I found a wonderful little studio in downtown St. Pete called Rhino Studios, and we rented that out for the night. We met a week before the shoot to discuss our approach, and decided that we would do a literal interpretation of the original artwork by Klimt, so we were going to stay as true as possible to the piece.

And then everyone worked their magic. I had my print of the original painting there with us, and we just taped it up on the wall and went to work. Carey did AJ’s makeup perfectly, and the hair was magical. I don’t know how she does it, but she whipped up AJ Flame in less than 45 minutes to look EXACTLY like the woman in the painting. Super-PRO!

Then for the styling part. Blackbird brought with her a suitcase full of buttons and baubles, beads and lace, so we just spread those out all over her gorgeous red quilt and went to work arranging the pieces in AJ’s hair, on her body and on the quilt. AJ was laying down in the same position as the woman in the painting.

I lit it up really bright with studio lights, as there aren’t really any shadows in the painting, and climbed up my 10 foot stepladder to get the arial shot of AJ laying on the quilt. And then we were done. I edited the photo a litte in Photoshop, then printed it, and transferred the ink onto a birch wood cradled box. I even made the box myself. That took a little while, but it looked super smooth and I was really proud of my craftsmanship.

The process to create this image had a lot of steps, and it probably took several hours total. But now I have this beautiful image that we all worked together on, and I think everyone is really pleased with the results.

When I arrived at the art show, I was really happy with how it looked on the wall. What a sense of joy, to work so hard on something, and then see the final product perfectly lit, sitting happily on a brick wall next to some other really beautiful art! Not to mention the fact that most of our team was there and they were SUPER excited because that was the first time they had seen the finished product. I’m proud of us. Below is the final piece we created.

Instagram Photoshop Actions

8 Sep

I-Phoneography has exploded with Instagram. It’s one of those phenomena that is both cool and scary at the same time. It’s cool because you can take a quasi-good photo with a handheld device that fits in your pocket, and then use an app to make that quasi-good photo look amazing. All with the touch of a button. So simple, even a monkey could do it. It’s really cool to browse the Instagram photos and see all the neat and beautiful photos people and monkeys are creating with this new tool.

What’s scary about it, is that as a photographer, I sometimes wonder what use will people have for me if they can make these awesome photos themselves? I’m sure this same question was asked with the advent of digital cameras in place of film cameras, which I, being of a digital generation, have grown up with. So, I am also going to embrace the iPhone and its easy apps, mainly because I enjoy the resulting images, but also because there is no sense in resisting the inevitable. And even though most photographers no longer use film as part of their core professional gear, there are a lot of photographers that still use film on a regular basis, because there really is something about film that you just can’t create with a digital camera. And I’m one of them.

So, I believe that photographers are safe, and that there is a certain amount of strength in the acceptance of and curiosity about i-Phoneography. Plus it really doesn’t matter how much I or any other photographer resist it. It’s here to stay. And something cooler and better is most certainly soon to follow. That’s just how the human race and technology work.

My hours and hours spent bent over a computer in Photoshop will not be in vain! In fact, I recently discovered some great Photoshop actions, created by Daniel Box, that you can use to make ANY photo Instagram-my. These Instagram Actions will transform your crappy photos into works of art, just like the iPhone!! See below for example of crappy photo turned cool. I used a webcam on my computer to snap this silly photo. My favorite action is Nashville. What’s yours?