Saturday, August 30, 2008


Bokeh: derived from Japanese bokeaji ボケ味, "blur" is a photographic term referring to the appearance of out-of-focus areas in an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field. Different lens bokeh produces different aesthetic qualities in out-of-focus backgrounds, which are often used to reduce distractions and emphasize the primary subject. (wikipedia)

So a kind of pleasing out-of-focus.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Self in Portraiture

I'm trying to branch away a bit from the self portraiture. Despite comments from people like Theo Boehm and generally good feedback on what I produce, I still have to work hard to defend this theme, and it is tricky. Anything about the "self" is seen as vain and self-obsessed. And when this is developed through a visual medium such as photography it becomes even more hightened because in our socity we interpret anything visually to do with "the body" as sexual. It is presumed that you are saying "i look great and therefore you should look at me". I'm not saying that.

I don't see why self portraiture is any different from writing a blog about my life, status updates on facebook, or generally just making myself visible in cyberspace. At the end of the day it's all about "Me". In fact I would argue the choice of photography is a lot less in your face, no spelling out what you mean just interpretation by others and you're not going to get any deep and meaningfuls about my life here! Self-portraiture is a means via which I can explore my new found hobby. I can use it to dabble with different styles and different topics, without feeling the pressure of producing something someone else is happy with. I don't think this type of vanity screams "look at me". In a wierd kind of schizophrenic way I take on the roles of both subject and photographer, trying to express something that is both about me and distant from me. In a way any photograph I take is about me, whether it is of me or not. It is my therapy, its what keeps me stable, it's what I do when I'm happy or when I'm sad, it's a constant when life can seem all over the place. But I never post a picture because I want you to sit up and take notice of me as a topic, or how I'm feeling, I post a picture because I believe it to be a good photograph.

But still I want to start diffusing my photography with other subjects. Why? Because I want to do it for me. It is not easy trying to direct another subject that you are photographing - friend or stranger. I always get this feeling of anxiety...are they getting annoyed with me, are they comfortable, will they like what I do, what if the photos don't come out ok? Portrait photography is a really hard skill for me that I want to develop, not so much in the technicalities (which I also have to work on) but in terms of confidence. Once I master it, you never know, may be I'll get some commissions and get that sexy telephoto lens and the flash lights I want!

So armed with camera, lenses, and a variety of vintage clothing (genuine Topshop and Primark) I embarked on the train to meet my friend at a countryside location to give it a whirl. The situation was helped by the fact that we have both been under quite a bit of stress lately and decided that we deserved a play date which also involved girl talk, DVDs and takeaway, so it wasn't all "sit like this" and "look this way", J took photos too so it was all fun and good. The theme was vintage, and this is what we came up with. Collaborative effort and a lot of fun and a lot learnt! More on our "tea party" theme to follow when I've done the post-processing. As usual the best are on my Flickr photosteam (along with a totally random spooky photo we did). These are the 'nearly' good enough ones to put up.

Photographs of me taken by Justine. All post processing done by me using Michelle Black's Vintage actions.

sighhhhh and instantly on posting to flickr she gets the "Add your photo to the HOT or NOT" pool" request. You will be blocked!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Portrait photography and using actions

I've been asked lately to do a few photoshoots for friends so I thought I should look at bit more into postprocessing portrait type photos. Mostly I've been looking at utilising pre-designed photoshop actions. Actions are simply a series of tasks that you play back on a single file or a batch of files - menu commands, palette options, tool actions, and so on. So rather than spending a age getting the perfect B&W effect you simply load your photo and 'play' an action to do the conversion for you. After the action has been done you can then tweak and adjust the individual layers that it creates to refine the effect to your own taste. The actions I have been using are Michelle Black's basic actions and they are stunning! So photoshoot 1 today with my favorite BaBa Charlotte produced the following types of results:

1. Chocolate BW Tint 2. Modern 3. Vintage Fade 4. Blue BW Tint

1. Epiphany BW 2. Dreamy BW 3. Bon Bon Glaze

1. Michelle's Classic BW 2. Antique 3. Vintage Glaze

Model with photographer (above) has been processed with Michelle's Extreme Bleach Out Glaze action. My favorite few can be seen on my Flickr Stream (thanks for letting me experiment on you Charlotte xxx).

More thoughts on baby photography....
The last few times I've photographed babies they have been very small. With an 8 month old cutie like Charlotte one needs a few more tricks up one's sleave. Peek-a-boo - very effective at getting baby to smile, but pretty difficult if it's just you, enlist the help of someone with a funny face to amuse them unless you are extra good at multitasking. Failing a person, cats are pretty good - babies like cats, just make sure its not in a biting mood. And just make sure they are comfy - I used a big double bed with pillows down the sides. They tend to topple a bit at 8 months!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Out take v.2

Not really anything new...this is just a photo that I didnt see from a trailer trash set done back in March. Failing to take anything worth posting I've been learning about action sets this week...abolutely love those produced by Michelle Black - this is her "vintage mode" ontop of my own black and white conversion. On my flicker I've posted a "High Key BW" version - again can't decide which is the best effect! Will try to post something new soon, I have lots of thoughts in my head but having difficulty executing them, mostly cant find the right locations.