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Thread: Artistic vision

  1. #1
    Obsessive-compulsive... Steph_B's Avatar
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    Artistic vision

    I caught this guy in a moment of artistic creation.... His specialty are cats portraits (can you tell?). He has a small gallery near the Place du Tertre in Paris.

    In this scene, I found the light to be almost perfect for a very intimate portrait (for me a moment of artistic creation is always intimate). It's almost voyeuristic since I was creeping behind his back to take the pic.

    Some dodging and burning in PS + sharpening.

    Let me know what you think of this and if you have any suggestions for improving this shot.

    I am not used to BW photo nor street photography in general, so I could use any hint! Thanks!

    Details:
    F100 + 24-85 mm (80mm - F4.5); Delta 400

    Steph.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Artistic vision-14-preview.jpg  
    Last edited by Photo-John; 01-24-2005 at 09:07 AM. Reason: Featured Photo for the week of January 24th, 2005. Congratulations!

  2. #2
    GB1
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    Re: Artistic vision

    It's good under the circumstances, as you probably didn't want to disturb him by going insdie, and the light on his head is interesting. but what I can't get past is the 'ghosting' effects of the reflections.. It's tough because you got the best shot you could, but the reflections are pretty much everywhere and seriously distract.

    Maybe a polarizer would help to reduce or even eliminate the reflections.

    This is the type of shot that looks better in B&W than in color (in my opinion...). There will always be a market for them, even when the world goes 99 percent digital.

  3. #3
    Obsessive-compulsive... Steph_B's Avatar
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    Re: Artistic vision

    Thanks GB1 for your feedback....

    As you mentioned, I should have tried to take this shot also with the polarizer. However, I think that the reflection does add to the voyeuristic effect since it is obvious that I was out while he was in. My only regret is the white car that merges with his hand...

    I've never tried BW before. Do you think it is better to shoot BW directly or to shoot color and convert it later on? I've got the feeling that the only interest of BW is that you can take part of the all development+print process in a darkroom. If you shoot color, you can then play with the different channelsand maybe get a better overall result.

    I was also a bit disapointed with the amount of grain in the film, even though it had really good reviews. I guess I am too much used to Velvia. It also seems that I had to scan it with an exposure correction of + 1 stop to get darker tone (i.e. it was underexposed). I should have shot it at 320 instead of 400.

    I have a couple of other shots that I will be posting soon.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    Cheers,

    Steph.

  4. #4
    GB1
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    Re: Artistic vision

    Steph -

    That's a good question ("shoot BW or convert")... it really just depends on what you feel like doing. I find that pictures of people can look really good in B&W, esp thoughtful shots, fashion, head shots, etc. But others shots like sunsets etc must be shot in color.

    I've also noticed that the B&Ws are very grainy. If I had to guess I'd say it's because they stopped research and development on it many years ago... and just keep producing the small amts of film that the niche group wants using the old formulas. I guess that means that one has to shoot 125 ISO or lower to get low grain.

    gb

  5. #5
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    Re: Artistic vision

    I really like this shot. I think the ghosting adds a "depth" to the photo and does nto necessarily ditract form it. After initially focusing on the painter, I found myself studying the rest of the the image. For me, these types of images are intriguing and more than simple eye candy. They require exploration.

    The lighting is decent as well. It's perfect for BW but may be need a little contrast. If so, it's just a little. Nice work.

  6. #6
    Obsessive-compulsive... Steph_B's Avatar
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    Re: Artistic vision

    Quote Originally Posted by GB1
    That's a good question ("shoot BW or convert")... it really just depends on what you feel like doing. I find that pictures of people can look really good in B&W, esp thoughtful shots, fashion, head shots, etc. But others shots like sunsets etc must be shot in color.
    gb
    The infra-red HIE film from Kodack is on my Things-To-Try list. I know it gives amazing details and tones for portrait. It's a pimple-buster film!

    I've seen amazing BW portraits in magazines and expo. I just need to find good subjects and try my luck.

    The Delta 100 had way less grain, but still, there is no comparison with 100 ISO slide films. I will post one shot with Delta 100 for kicks!

    Thanks for your insights!

    Cheers,

    Steph.

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    Re: Artistic vision

    At first I didn't like the reflection and it distracted me, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it because it added a sense that maybe it's just your imagination and he's not actually there.

  8. #8
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    Re: Artistic vision

    Hi Todd! Long time no see! I hope you're fine and back on the forum with plenty of pics to share! To be honest, I was also away from PR for awhile as i moved to Cleveland and am still prettily much in the 'transition' phase with my new job and I don't have much time for playing around.

    I am glad that you liked my post. I am still fighting with the scanner to extract more info. The dynamic range is terrible.

    More contrast? I hear you!

    Cheers,

    Steph.

  9. #9
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    Blows Me Away

    Steph-
    This image blows me away. I wouldn't change a thing about it, except maybe to make a big print of it. I think it would be really nice to see a good 11x14 print of this. I feel like I'm missing the depth and details viewing it on the Internet.

    I love the reflection. Without the reflections it would be just another voyeristic photo. It would be a good photo, but the reflections move it into the realm of real ART for me. They give it a dreamy, multi-layered feeling and add to the timeless sense of the scene. They screen the action a little and make me look harder. That haze also helps protect us a little from the almost painful intimacy of the moment. I also note that there's nothing in this image to place it in any period. It could be a Cartier-Bresson. It's got some of that same early 35mm feel. And you certainly captured a "decisive moment."

    I find this photo almost painfully intimate. I want to reach out and touch the man on the shoulder. I find myself projecting my own feelings into this and that's wonderful. In my opinion that's one of the things a real piece of art does. It draws us in and makes us feel the scene. It's important to note that although the image is so intimate, the man is very anonymous. That makes it easy for the viewer to empathize. It looks lonely, but there's the love of the kittens. It's a powerful and archetpal scene, rich with symbolism and emotion.

    Thanks for posting this, Steph. I'm glad you had your camera and took the time and care to make this photo. You accomplished something very, very special here.
    Photo-John


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  10. #10
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    Re: Blows Me Away

    There's so much to look at in this photo, it's just amazing. I really like it!
    Currently playing with new S9500
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  11. #11
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    Re: Artistic vision

    Great photo Steph. I think the lighting is very pleasing and catching. Its what makes me look at it initially. Then upon observing the image, I get a sense of two opposite worlds reflecting one another. There is the intimate, serene world inside being in contrast to the busy, urban city street just outside. I think if anything, I might have wanted the reflections to be a bit weaker so I could get a better feel of the inside, but still fine. i like the grain, and b&w is what this shot is all about.
    Good work
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


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  12. #12
    Obsessive-compulsive... Steph_B's Avatar
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    Re: Blows Me Away

    Wow! Got myself a sticky!

    John, Hindey and Gary,
    Thank you all for your positive reinforcement !

    Oh, man ... John, you made my day...

    When I saw this guy in his gallery, I knew that there was a clear photographic potential there. He oriented spot lights directly on his work. And since we were already in the late afternoon, the light from the outside had subsided significantly. The subject of his painting and the subdued lighting inside his shop contrasted violently with the traffic and noise from the street. All in all, this was a great opportunity... was fun too! I am very happy to have been able to convey some feeling through this photograph.

    ...got to like cats, though!

    However, I wish the film had retained a little bit more details in the gray tones. Things are prettily much black or white. It seems that the Delta 400 is known for its harshness, even though it really depends on how the film was developped. My scanner probably shares the blame as well. Its dynamic range of 3.2 is a seriously limiting factor.

    Cheers,

    Steph.

  13. #13
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    Scanning Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by Steph_B
    However, I wish the film had retained a little bit more details in the gray tones. Things are prettily much black or white. It seems that the Delta 400 is known for its harshness, even though it really depends on how the film was developped. My scanner probably shares the blame as well. Its dynamic range of 3.2 is a seriously limiting factor.
    Steph-
    Try doing two scans and combining them with Photoshop layers. Do one scan for the highlights and one for the shadows. Combine them using Photoshop layers, placing the darker scan on top. Then use the eraser tool to selectively remove the dark, shadow areas on the top layer, allowing the more detailed shadows in the light scan to show through. That's an excellent way to get a lot more out of a low dynamic range scanner.
    Photo-John


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  14. #14
    Obsessive-compulsive... Steph_B's Avatar
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    Re: Scanning Technique

    Thanks John for your tip.

    Combining exposure is a technique I often have recourse to. I guess it is prettily much the only way to compensate for the lack of dynamic range of my scanner. While it is a rather lentghy process, the results can be quite amazing with print film.

    Another way would be of course to buy the new Minolta or Nikon scanner with multisampling.

    .... (sigh) I need another paycheck for that!

    Cheers,

    Steph.

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