Tokyo Special 1/10 – Tokyo Nights by Jon Siegel

Exactly one year ago I had just checked into my hotel in Tokyo along with my mum. The 10 days trip was a life changing one and I think about the city I love daily. For every day I was in Tokyo I will bring you a different photo series of the city, each photographer show casing their own view of an element unique to the city.

Seeing as we arrived as nightfall it’s only fair to start with the time in which Tokyo is at it’s best, night time.

This is part 1 – Tokyo Nights by Jon Siegel

I love the tones and colours used in this series, although we know it’s dark the city is still vibrant and energetic in its colours. The salary man having his dinner, the youth dressed to go out and the taxi man working on the roads of this eccentric city, Jon Siegel captures Tokyo from a non-alien view. Check out the full series here which comprises of over 170 photographs.

Bill Finger – Mininature sets & photography

Bill Finger‘s work might seem a little surreal at first, everything looks normal but something isn’t quite right?

That’s because Bill is photographing hand built miniature sets. Using his background in Film he creates these miniature worlds and photographs them. The subtlety is something to be admired, usually photographers who use mini sets want to scream in your face that this isn’t reality, but Bill’s technique goes a lot further in allowing the viewer to ponder on the uncanniness of the images before figuring out that these aren’t full scale.

As I undertake my long project in building 3D printed sets and photographing them Bill’s subtlety is something to bear in mind, although I must be realistic in using 3D printing I will tire trying to make it look “real”.

Mixing Black – Sun City Poms by Todd Antony

Often photographers and editors have a hard time choosing the black shade of black they want for an image, like painters some photographers avoid using absolute blacks due to the contrast and unrealistic feel, obviously this technique is only applied to relevant projects, some are enhanced by using absolute black. We rarely as people experience the colour black unless it’s man made, even our shadows aren’t absolute black.

Rather than simply hinting towards a colour Todd Antony completely changes his dark areas in this project Sun City Poms, when this technique is applied in the right circumstances it can make a photograph, this is one of those times making the images soft and quite flat, almost like sports cards and complimenting the bright colours.

‘Burnouts’ by Simon Davidson

Bringing destruction and beauty together Simon Davidson explores the sub-culture of burnout competitions. Whilst I admire most sub cultures just for the sheer dedication and love people put into their hobbies, this series takes burnouts from a destructive sport to almost angelic looking works of art. The combination of hard bold metal surrounded by smoke clouds almost makes it appear as if the cars are floating on clouds, lost in the moment and pure enjoyment.


“For the past six years I have been photographing the sub-culture of burnout competitions in Australia. The guys and girls who compete in the various competitions across Australia are a passionate bunch. As a photographer I enjoy the visual feast of a superb and powerful car on the black of the burnout pad juxtaposed against the softness of the tire smoke. In reality a burnout is extremely loud and aggressive but in the photos there is a sense of calm… poetic in a way.”

Star Trek by Bryan Pedrazzoli

I LOVE location cosplay, I briefly looked at how much impact the right landscape can have on an image and take cosplay photography to the next level in my post on ‘The Wild Places‘; Bryan Pedrazzoli has done the same with his Star Trek series, taking his subjects into an open rocky desert in America to mimic the ‘unknown planet’ style of the TV series, which often used landscapes like this.

One day I will capitalise on the rich landscapes in England and produce location shoots in order to push myself and the world of cosplay photography out of it’s convention centre boundaries, but for now work like Bryan Pedrazzoli’s will continue to inspire me.

Cosplay by: Jessica Lynn Gonzalez and Jim Logan.

Decotora by Tatsuki Masaru

In the summer of 1988 Tatsuki Masaru spent time with Japanese truckers who take part in the unique culture of decorating their trucks – DECOTORA. Masaru explores how they used decorating to turn a job that was perhaps an ends to a means into a hobby and passion they loved. Like all subcultures the dedication and devotion these truckers have is mind blowing and fascinating.

This Game We Play by Franck Bohbot

Franck Bohbot is a French photographer who recently moved to New York (April 2013), after moving to the big apple he created the series ‘This Game We Play‘.

Franck doesn’t give us much information on the project other than the title – leaving it to us to read what we like. As a UK resident where basketball is something you play at school for one term and little more, this series is reminiscent of American youth culture of the past. Whilst I assume (maybe wrongly) the courts are still used a lot, Francks desolate representations seem to be making a comment on the uncanny atmosphere of a “playing” area with no one on it, could this be a comment on today’s electronic youth culture? Kids not playing outside or a simple attempt at making beautiful imagery? Either way it is a thought provoking and visually stimulating project with a stillness and juxtaposition of busy cityscapes and desolate playing fields.

See the whole series here.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Jee Young Lee (Korea)

Korean photographer Jee Young Lee is the ultimate artisan – using her small studio space she spends weeks at a time coming up with concepts, creating props, putting the scenery together and making photos. Her inspiration comes from Korean Fables and events in her own life.

The outcome are these beautifully haunting images which are not just aesthetically pleasing on the surface – they must be very special to Jee Young Lee who spends weeks on end spent immersed in/ creating one idea within a small intricate space which must then be taken down to make room for the next concept. The process of creating and replacing adds a depth and respect to the artist and her images.

Jee Young Lee fulfills my ultimate ideal – locking myself away in a room creating and experimenting.
Read more about her work here: www.opiomgallery.com

Purikura scans

Today I was able to scan in large format images of the purikura stickers for my trading cards. All thats left to do is research the aesthetics of trading cards and test out some materials. I am really happy with these images, they are exactly what I had in mind, tacky, sickly, over the top and perfect for trading cards.

All images below ©Daisy Ware-Jarrett

Praktica at Twilight

I have been shooting with my Ilford sportsman recently with the intention to use it in Tokyo to shoot my final pieces, however I thought it would be best to take a back up camera just in case one gets stolen lost or breaks. So I opted for my second favoured film camera, My Praktica, it used to belong to my mum but she gave it to me when I gained an interest in photography. I used it a few times in first year but have rarely used it since.

However to my surprise I found it a lot better to work with, and more realiable that the ilford. Using my iPhone light meter app, I learned from the last 3 shoots I have done and took the reading so the vibrant lights were at level 5. The images and colours are a lot better than the ilford ones, the camera and myself just work better, it is less clunky and has more option for adapting. I also love the light glare it creates, something which the ilford does not.

I will now be using the Praktica as my primary camera and the ilford as my back up. I am also very impressed with the accuracy of the light meter app on my phone but will take a normal light meter to Tokyo as backup.

iPhone twilight

I have been using a light meter app on my iPhone to take readings for the film camera. It has really helped, one thing it has taught me today is at twilight to make the primary light level 5, that means you won’t get any over bright lights and the rest will fall into place. I also shot a lot of these images on my film camera, so once I print them tomorrow it would be interesting to see if the light meter on my phone is accurate. I really hope so as it is so handy to see the exposure as a basic starter. The iPhone wouldn’t be anything but a way of measuring light for this project as iPhones cannot pick up details within light at all.

Digital Rest

UK, 2012

We live in a society in which we passively communicate, and whilst many people see this as a negative thing, I don’t. I made this series to portray the emotion and comfort technology can bring us in relationships, long distance ones in particular. Each Image is named after the singular light source used in the image.

Izima Kaoru

Izima Kaoru is a Japanese photographer based in Tokyo, his ‘Landscape with a corpse’ series which spread over 13 years explores themes of death and beauty via depicting the fantasies and fears actresses and models have about death and then bringing that situation to a photograph. What makes the images so powerful is the juxtaposition between these beautiful women, their perfect appearances and the unusual surroundings.

©izima kaoru

Kaoru discusses how fear of death is one thing we all have in common and is a fear that he has too. His work is a visual exploration into this fear. What’s interesting is that in exploring death and subsequently religion Kaoru was unsatisfied with what the world had to offer, so turned to nature and produced the series ‘one sun’.

After fifteen years of exploring the macabre in his ongoing series Landscapes with a Corpse, Izima Kaoru looked to spirituality to ease his fear of death. Dissatisfied with what organized religion had to offer, he found his comfort in the natural world. The sun and its constancy in our existence proved to be his solace and inspiration.
http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=40526#.UUBTv2VU32E[/url]
Copyright © artdaily.org

©Izima Kaoru

‘One sun’ is a beautiful series, however ‘Landscape with a Corpse’ is more relevant to my project. By taking elements of reality and fantasies Kaoru creates a character and places them in a relatable scene, then positions the character so they resemble a corpse. This is something I need to start thinking about, I am always talking about how I will show consumerism as a poison so how will I do this? Without being cliche?

Here are some more images from Kaoru’s ‘Landscape with a corpse’ series.

©Izima Kaoru

 

©Izima Kaoru
©Izima Kaoru
©Izima Kaoru

 

 

Photo Art: The New World of Photography

Photo Art: The New World of Photography

Edited by Uta Grosenick & Thomas Seelig

photo (2)

I consider my photography Art, but this doesn’t have clear boundaries. I am looking at the photo as art to so how I can be influenced in my work and what makes a photo Art. This book seemed the perfect place to go to see some photo art and hopefully get some inspiration.

©Valerie Belin

Belin’s work inspires me through it’s aesthetic nature, the lifeless faces and use of lighting make the models appear to be made of plastic.

©Rut Blees Luxemburg

Rut Blees Luxemburg’s images use the strange nature of twilight much like the photographer I have been looking at, the colours and light are beauitfuly and carefully composed.

©Izima Kaoru

Despite only finding 3 relevant photographers it was worth carrying that giant book for this one. Kaoru’s work is stunning, it has elements of Cindy Sherman and Mariko Mori, who create characters and places them in a story to make a comment on an issue in society. I will explore her work in more depth in a futur post once I have read up on her work and read interviews.

Adam Hinton – Lovin’ It

image (3)

Adam Hinton’s book ‘Lovin’ it’ initially caught my attention because of the book title. The iconic McDonalds catchphrase paired with the city lights instantly made me think about consumerism and advertising. The book is Hinton’s exploration of Shanghai, China. His work aims to comment on the drastic social changes occurring in Japan during 2004-2007 when these images were taken. Whilst acknowledging the benefits of technology and consumerist culture Hinton looks at how the speed of change is having a darker effect on Shanghai.

Some images are even paired with quotations from communist leader Mao Zedong. Who’s government rule led to the death of millions of citizens. Hinton uses these quotes to relate to China’s current situation to that of Hinton’s ruling. All the sudden drastic changes mean people and places get left behind.

The other aspect that drew me to this book is the styling. There is something quite surreal about the use of night/ twilight. Maybe it stems from the relationship between the content and the primary lighting coming from technology. I have explored this before in my series Digital Rest. Technology as a lighting source fascinates me, especially when it’s relative to the content.

“The neon lights from the shops and adverts produce this surreal manufactured environment which creates this feeling of hyper-reality.”
– A quote from An interview with photographer Adam Hinton by Nigel Warburton.

Hinton also explains how the lighting creates a hyper-reality, one of the key themes in my work, and from this book I can see that surreal nature that first drew me to the book does have an alternate/hyper reality feel to it. The use of night time and twilight paired with advertising lighting is something I need to explore more. Maybe through work that has nothing to do with consumerism. Detach the content and focus on how the styling effects the sincerity of the image.

In another interview Hinton talks more specifically about the consumerist influence of the project. You can read the full interview here.

 

Photography as Necessary Fiction … ?

Photography as Necessary Fiction

by Alex Subrizi

Screen Shot 2013-02-04 at 17.33.31

Before I begin to look at Alex Subrizi’s answer it is important to understand his background. Subrizi is a Photographer and writer, working in America, he’s had his work published in many international magazines and teaches worldwide too.

You can read the full answer here. I am just going to be picking out the relevant bits then discussing them.

it’s widely accepted that photographs are themselves narratives: stories in and of themselves. Perhaps the narrative quality of cinema, photography’s “second cousin”, helps to reinforce this view. But does a still photograph tell a story? Can any single image be an account of anything? If yes, I would argue it to be a terribly brief account. So brief that any number of different narratives could conceivably be said to flow into and out from that single image. What a photograph can instead do is support and reinforce a particular narrative, in the same way that any single image can.

It’s an interesting point that because photography is so instantaneous and desires no set physical time to see the story it therefore needs to reference other work to help establish the story. I am not sure if this is entirely right but it is relevant to my subject area. In fandom the same images, props, sounds are used over and over again, recreated. Like creative commons if you like. Everyone is using other peoples work to help reach the fan base they want. One classic example of this is in the series Spaced. Pegg’s love for all things sci-fi and geeky is continuously referenced, in this particular scene we see imagery taken from the Matrix and Scarface. It may not be Subrizi’s point exactly but I struggle to think of a photograph which intentionally does this to enhance the narrative and audience.

Some contemporary art photographers have even chosen to highlight the photograph’s neutrality with respect to narrative by deliberately photographing human subjects while they are speaking, as if to underscore the fact that although a story is being told right there in the picture, the medium of photography is powerless to transmit that story to us.

This point I completely don’t agree with. The photograph has as much power as the photographer can give it. In some cases a photo can be 100x more emotive than the story itself, it can even create stories out of nothing. I hate to think of photography as interrupting as this quote suggests. This is the sort of thing I aim to prove wrong through my final pieces. The image that springs to mind is the iconic portrait of Churchill. How anyone could see this image is powerless to transmit that story too us seems impossible to me.

Winston Churchill, 31 December 1941, Photograph by Yousuf Karsh, Ottawa, Canada

A cinematic work tells a story, moves horizontally across time, and puts most of its content, from soundtrack to lighting effects, in the service of its narrative’s forward movement. This movement seems natural to us, since we inhabit a world constantly in flux. A still image is something altogether different: a meditation on a single moment in thought or experience, something fixed and compact and exhibiting a quite unnatural urgency.

Again I struggle with this. Just because something moves horizontally across time doesn’t mean it tells the story any better than a single image. Yes I think very few photographers successfully create fiction stories as well as a film can, but allowing the spectator to reflect on a single moment has it’s benefits too. It allows you to analyse everything get deeper and question everything within the frame. I am also 100% for anything what comes naturally to us, even is this writer doesn’t seem to think so.

In contrast to the horizontal movement of cinema, the movement of still photography is vertical, unfolding while going nowhere.

I would replace the word ‘nowhere’ with ‘everywhere’. Unlike cinema photography IS open ended, and doesn’t force the spectator to go down one route, it allows for each person to take it somewhere new, breaking it away from the linear narrative we are so familiar with and use our imaginations. It seems I don’t agree with this writer as much as I thought I would. I feel quite protective now, as though yes sometimes a story is better told through moving image, but equally some stories are better told through photography.

Brad Fulton: Science Fiction

A graduate of USC Film, brad fulton is concerned with creating atmospheric and memorable images within a single frame. brad fulton’s concept of “single frame cinema” first began as a personal challenge numerous years ago in order to incorporate the emotional and atmospheric depth found in a cinematic masterpiece within the photographic frame lines of his leica camera. over the years this obsession has been responsible for creating countless images forever branded on the brain of modern culture by avenue of numerous advertisements, imaging campaigns, and most recently in KILL YOURSELF – a 180 page book of brad’s iconic images.

 http://bradsamuelfulton.com/

On searching fiction photography I came across Brad Fulton. Who openly expresses his want to tell a fictional story within one image. I was particularly drawn to his science-fiction series as his love and understanding of sci-fi comes through. I really want to learn more about them, and about how he tackles telling a story with one image. Creating an alternate reality through photography/

©Brad Fulton
©Brad Fulton
©Brad Fulton
©Brad Fulton

I am going to contact Brian via email and explain my intentions and ask for his advice.

Phubu talks to Graham Macindoe

Graham Macindoe was a guest lecturer in the 2012 Phonar course, and returned this week to talk to our Phubu (The progress of Raw Format Exit show). His personal stories and experiences adds depth to his work, see below for my live notes made on Twitter during the talk.

You can watch the lecture here…

  1. @grahammacindoe. I photographed myself with whatever I could lay my hands on – during drug and alcohol problems #phonar #Rawfmt
  2. In the life I was in there was a lot of detachment. That’s why I’m trying to show. #Rawfmt #Phonar @grahammacindoe talking about his work.
  3. “What you see is what you can interpret it to be” @grahammacindoe talking about his images. #phonar #Rawfmt
  4. #Rawfmt #Phonar “I Always like to make the viewer think beyond the photograph”
  5. Missing persons by @grahammacindoe was covered by the new york times! Press follows where #phonar leads. #phubu
  6. @grahammacindoe keeping notes from times past to aid the visual memoir, revisit these notes-can lead to interesting view points of a project
  7. “I think I can put everything together to make a powerful body of work” – @grahammacindoe #Rawfmt #Phonar #phubu
  8. “…just taking pictures on the streets to get my eyes exercised” @grahammacindoe, #rawfmt #phubu

Makoto Aida continued

I looked briefly at Makoto Aida’s work here. Exploring his role in “Bye Bye Kitty” and his work. In doing this research I came across these images…

 

Aida is what I consider an activist photographer. Although he might not think it himself his work comments on the society he lives in a provokes change. Making the spectator question what they except as normal.

Japanese artist Makoto Aida used the form to make a biting commentary on how manga and anime objectifies the female form by drawing eyes on model’s breasts. When it’s not, the medium is people barely dodging a police fine for public indecency.
– http://kotaku.com/makoto-aida/

Kawaii is the dominant culture in Japan. How do you combat this or incorporate it in order to keep your work interesting?
It is a strange thing to say, but I did grow up among what they call “kawaii culture.” I say strange as we all take it for granted. I guess we’ve been exposed to such [kawaii] images without even realizing it. They are everywhere so, it’s always been in my subconscious. I do not take this whole thing too negatively, but still I am a man, I am not fanatically into what is considered kawaii in general. I guess you could say that I do incorporate the idea, or what I consider kawaii into my work unconsciously.
– http://hifructose.com/2012/12/19/exclusive-interview-with-makoto-aida/

Aida is known for his paintings rather than his photographs. It is hard to find text and information on his photographs, I will scouer the internet and try my best. If I can’t find anything I will have to put my own analysis skills to test.