#Art Photography

This Weekend I Am Sharing An Exhibition That is On Display But Not Available To The Public.

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Kick In It, Photo Cheryl. L. Guerrero

The exhibition, Distinction, is at the Photographic Center North West in Seattle, jurored by Kris Graves.

“Kris Graves (b. 1982 New York, NY) is an artist and publisher based in New York and London. He received his BFA in Visual Arts from S.U.N.Y. Purchase College and has been published and exhibited globally, including the National Portrait Gallery in London, England; Aperture Gallery, New York; University of Arizona, Tucson; Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon; and Brooklyn Museum, New York; among others. Permanent collections include the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Brooklyn Museum, New York; The Wedge Collection, Toronto; and Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania.

Currently, Kris is an Adjunct Professor at The New School / Parsons School of Design, New York and is the Director of Kris Graves Projects and Gallery (KGP), Brooklyn. KGP collaborates with artists to create limited edition publication and archival prints, focusing on contemporary photography and works on paper. KCP focuses their publishing efforts on stories that empower the long-forgotten and underrepresented. These stories deal with issues of race, policy, social awareness, feminism, culture, and wealth. The goal at KCP is to make books and prints affordable to every level of collector.” – lenscratch.com

Durban Beachfront in Covid 19 Lockdown

Durban beachfront in total Covid 19 lockdown.

Photo John Robinson

Durban Beachfront in Total Covid 19 Lockdown.

South Africa is taking the call of President Cyril Ramaposa seriously, freelance photographer John Robinson cycled the length of the Durban beachfront in total isolation, meeting no one except for a few security guards and police. The public pools of Wedge Beach now have a post-apocalyptic feel to them.

If you like what you have seen and read here, you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JohnRobinson or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

Camera & Coffee Sessions, Visual Devices in Photography

A Moment Caught, Needs Visual Devices to Work as a Photograph…

Public Space
The Ruth First Highway crosses over a public underpass at 29,48.7017S and 31,2.2682E. In the deep shade of the underpass, local recreational fishermen and their families spend hot weekend days picnicking and catching fish in the tidal water of the lagoon. The underpass connects a stony pier at one end of Durban’s eight-kilometre promenade and a grassed public park on the waterfront of the Umgeni River. The deep shadow of the overhead bridge straddles the intertidal area of the Umgeni River and is a breeding zone for much local sea life such as Upogebia Africana or mud prawns, and so many fish are attracted to this food source and so to are the local fishermen and their families.

Photo John Robinson

Order coffees.

Susan Sontag said a photograph is a three-dimensional moment in time that is seen and then captured and cropped into a two-dimensional frame. Though the three-dimensional moment is seen by the human eye the moment it is contained in the two-dimensional frame of the photograph it needs visual devices to work as a photograph for the same human eyes now gazing on it in it’s altered form.

The two-dimensional frame of photography is noticed the moment we take a camera up to our eye. The unframed world seen by the human eye is sharply cut into a small rectangle with defined edges and corners that is not natural to the normal human vision. These defined edges affect the final picture. You can emphasise the vertical with a portrait frame or you can emphasise the horizontal with a landscape frame. It is within this vertical portrait or horizontal landscape frame that we position the content of our photograph.

By positioning the main focus of our image using the general rule of thirds, we can be in a strong starting point in photography. By dividing the length and width of the camera’s rectangle viewfinder into thirds we have four points of pleasing visual strength. By placing the focus of the image on one of these points and not dead centre of the photograph the image will have more interest in the human eye.

Drink some coffee now.

The camera just faithfully records what is in front of the lens, the photographer must crop and use the defined edges of the image to hold the photograph together. The human eye can concentrate on an area of interest, the camera cannot…

Along with the edges of the frame and the rule of thirds, the photographer has a list of visual devices that will lead the eyes of the viewers of the photographer’s images.

A pattern in photography is made stronger when it is broken. Without a halt in the pattern, the photographer might as well just photocopy a piece of wallpaper. A crowd scene with a lone flagbearer makes a spot on which the human eye can rest. Without the flag bearer in the swirling crowd, the eye of the viewer will soon drift elsewhere.

A line in a photograph can be a divide between elements, a chain of elements that together form a visual linear link through a picture. A linear element leads the viewer’s eye around the image. A linear element can be straight, curved or jagged and can affect the overall feel of the photograph too.

We live in a world of colour. Photography heightens the effects of the colours that we are surrounded by and to some extent take for granted in our daily lives. Colour can link elements in our pictures. Warm colours like red and orange come out to the viewer while the cool colours like blues and greens move away from the viewer. The light by which we take our pictures is not neutral either, it can be hard or soft. Hard light heightens colour and soft light mutes the same. Colour is reflected by light and by doing so it takes on some of that colour in the end photographed quality.

Contrast is described as the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association. In photography, the strikingly difference can be light and dark, texture, colour or pattern.

In closing we must remember that all of the above are just devices and not the subject of our photographs, these devices well used can make our pictures much stronger but they are never the subject matter of a photograph that has something to say for itself.

Finish off the coffee and have an open discussion.

If you like what you have seen and read here, you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JohnRobinson or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

 

Public Space

Public Space
Near 29,50.8123S and 31,2.2053E there is a open air gym. This gym is one of many city open air gyms in Durban, these gyms are free to use and are provided by the local council. The gyms are basic and work with the body weight of the user. The Durban beach front is the domain of the casual visitor during the day, in the late afternoons and evenings it is the domain of fitness groups who use the area for running, cycling, weight training and beach soccer.

Photos by John Robinson

Freedom Day Walk, Durban

On 27 April 2019 People Across Durban Celebrated 25 Years of Democratic Freedom in South Africa with a prayer walk on the beach front stopping for praise, declarations and an open air communion service on the sand. The walk was finished off with collecting litter off the Durban beaches. – John Robinson

Garage Salesman

Mark Cook Stands Out On The Pavement of ZK Mathews Road

Cook irks ill informed Durban city officials with his ‘willing seller willing buyer’ of private items from his home garage in Glenwood, Durban, South Africa.

On The Portrayal Of The Human Form

Durban's People, a young model on a street fashion photo set, Bulwar Park,  Glenwood, Durban, South Africa.
Durban’s People, a young model on a street fashion photo set, Bulwar Park, Glenwood, Durban, South Africa.

 

As A Narrative Photographer I Take Pictures Of What Is Around Me, I don’t go into a studio situation to get a picture of say ‘two people looking meaningfully into the middle distance’ or ‘someone next to a window in the morning light.’

I once saw the Oliver Stone film Salvador with two student friends, Hamish was studying commercial photography, Bruce was studying journalism and I was a interior design student. Salvador is a film about two photogs covering the war in Salvador in South America, I came out of the cinema hyped, telling Hamish that as a photographer he should do this type of work when he was finished with his diploma, Hamish just looked at me as though I was mad. Hamish went on to be a successful commercial photographer and I went onto scraping out a living as a narrative photographer. Though both Hamish and I use the same cameras, I seem to think quite differently about photography to Hamish as a commercial photographer. I never wanted to become a war photographer as in Salvador but I have perceived life as it is around me as a photographer.

As Hamish though I was mad, I too have had a hard time understanding the ways of some other photographers in the portrayal of the human form. I posted the following on a Facebook photographic group: What is it with some (group Name) photographers and young womans bottoms and boobs? I got 10 likes and 1 reaction and the comments ranged from because I like it, I can and a sarcastic don’t you know? to the quite defensive and the inclusion of the word pornography. One photographer’s model said “if you have it flaunt it.” 

Then there was also the inclusion of the word passion and the sense of the decisive moment which I as a narrative photographer can understand too, I now think that it is something about the personal thrill of the photographer concerned in getting a preconceived concept together. Maybe it’s the same way I get a thrill when a moment came together when I have done a portrait on the streets of Durban.

I think we all as photographers have our driving forces, some forces are exclusive to the different types of photography, and other forces are common to us all.

 

I Always Have An Hand Held Light Meter On Me

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Diagram courtesy of https://www.videomaker.com

Printing My Own Black And White Photographs in the Darkroom Taught Me a Bit about what my M6 camera and a bit of Kodak Tri X film could record for posterity. Learning about the importance of 18% grey, middle grey or zone V taught me about the importance of correct exposure in gaining from all the black & white film could give me no matter what light conditions I work in.

I have now given my Leitz enlarger away and no longer wet the floors of any darkroom floors; I now just do the ‘darkroom’ thing with a Nikon Coolscan V ED scanner, Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CS5 in my office. But my hand held Polaris light meter still ensures that the colour or black & white print film in my camera records the moment so close to how my eyes perceived it. A hand held light meter in incidence mode ensures that the high and low lights remain as just that. When I still worked my negatives in the darkroom, the negatives exposed with my hand held meter in incidence mode were much less hassle to work with. The empirical evidence in front of my eyes told me that it was much better to work with the available light then fight with it in the ‘darkroom’ or ‘lightroom’ as the process is commonly called now.

The hand held light meter in incidence mode meters the light in an as is way, deep shadows or blacks will remain as just that and high lights or whites will remain as is. If you a photographing someone in the dim shadows they will appear as such. When I am doing a portrait I sometimes reposition the subject to get some of the available highlights to fall across their face; I then take a light metering and shoot the portrait. Work with the light, don’t fight with it, you will get better pictures in the end.

Though I have given up on the darkroom, I have not stopped using colour and black & white film; and when I use film I use my Polaris light meter too.

This method of exposure gives me images that have all the tones from the highlights through to the deep dark shadows just as God gave them to us all.