Favorite Photographs 2010
As we close out 2010 here are a few of my favorite photographs with a line or two about why I like them.
My favorite subject matter is people, not posed but going about normal activities, in conversation, walking, working etc. I haven’t included any of those shots because I am not comfortable, at present, with posting likenesses on the web, even with permission. I am going to review this but I really want to think it through – I suspect that my compromise will be if they have a recognizable likeness on say, Facebook or Twitter I’ll ask their permission to use one in a post.
I like looking through the viewfinder and being surprised and this one did it. It was the first time that I’d ever looked through a very wide angle lens (efl 14mm) and everything seemed perfect, the stopped car and the clouds and clear sky behind the stop lights made this. I converted to black and white by editing the color channels hence the very dark ‘blue’ areas and straightened out some of the distortion.
It is easy to make certain things look good in black and white, newborn babies and old people being two such examples. Making nature look good in black and white without relying on repeating patterns is a killer though and this is probably the shot where I think that I came the closest to pulling it off.
This one was part of a project that I thoroughly enjoyed and got a lot of satisfaction from. I like this particular shot it because of the symbolism - the woman center-stage with the male figure lurking in the shadows. A sort of reverse Macbeth.
This one allows my inner 18 year old horror show freak full reign. It is a stalk of brussel sprouts but I flipped the image on its side to get the deformed spine aesthetic going. I was raised on the old British ultra low budget Hammer Horror films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and loads of other Brits who went on to become famous in the mainstream – Oliver Reid being one that springs to mind.
This is a tiny detail of a day lily but that is not why it is is here. It is a very simple image but it keeps a lot hidden, it is impossible to know what it is and it is also very difficult to get a sense of scale. This one definitely works for me on a very abstract level.
I am a sucker for distortion. Many photographers spend a lifetime fighting it while I actively search it out. This was taken at the same time as the image of the high st at the top of this post and the black and white conversion was done the same way but I didn’t touch the barrel distortion.
The brief was for a honey crisp apple that the looks as if it can be pulled out of the image and eaten. Not as easy as it sounds. I spent half a day trying every setup that I could from solid tungsten light in the basement to daylight in the studio to every room in my house. The set up that finally worked was the apple on the roof of our car, in the garage with flash bounced off the silver insulation bubble wrap type stuff on the ceiling. I put this one in because it represents a solution to a problem and I enjoy the problem solving side of photography as much as the art side.
This appeals to my love of the abstract in general and minimalism in particular. It is the same car as in the previous photo, a Mercury Sable. The visible parts are the edge of a door and the back of a wing mirror. It captures the dolphin like aesthetic that the car designers obviously liked using a tiny unrecognizable on its own part.
I love old movies and, to be honest, that is where a lot of my photography ideas originate. One thing that has always fascinated me is the differences in the parts of a shot that are out of focus. The technical term for this is bokeh. The quality of this is a direct function of the lense used, some convert highlights to bright well defined circles and others give more of a smeared type effect. This shot is matches my tastes exactly – blurred with a few not really sharply defined circles.
This could have been any one of literally hundreds of photographs that I’ve taken of food for recipe books over the past year. I actually find this type of photography very relaxing as the end result is very well defined i.e. image that makes one hungry.
This is Meg, my wife and she is great. Here is an example of how great she is; I have stopped telling her when I want/need a new piece of photographic equipment because I know that she will immediately work out what sacrifice she can make so that I can have it. Now I only make announcements when I know there is enough cash in the bank and even then I try to be as parsimonious as possible. She has been the one who has instigated every major equipment purchase as she has a knack of knowing when I have outgrown something about three months before it crosses my mind.
You can fill in your own caption for this one. All I will say is that this is Tabby and she is around 13 years old but decided to stop any further development at around the age of 6 months. She is very grumpy, not independent in the slightest, completely neurotic, not very bright (we have had bright cats) and extremely affectionate.