A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
Going through my back catalog…an image from 2008 for a photography class…
This image is inspired by one of the early works by Piet Mondrian that I saw in a museum in Den Haag many years ago. It featured trees bent by the wind and immediately gave me a sense of the eternal battle with solitude.
I created the shot by building a stand from a paperclip and hot gluing it to the bent for. The paperclip was fed through a hole in the continuous paper and I lit it with a single 60 watt lightbulb to cast the specific shadow.
One of the approaches to changing up my photography game over the years is to experiment in lots of different directions. These experiments have always been more about finding out if there was something that connected for me rather than having a very precise target.
With this approach, I have found that there have been numerous blind alleys that didn’t resonate and a few paths that I keep returning to, as there’s just something that keeps pulling me in their direction. One such path is using the camera to create more abstract images, such as this…
This image from 2012 is an example of the abstract path that I called an exploration of kryptomorphaics; yes, I made the word up from the concepts of hidden (krypto) and changing the shape (morph) of what I saw in front of me. A lot of these images are whimsical, such as this one, where the bright bits of light among leaves allowed me to create a completely new form for them. Thus the title of this shot, as Gwragedd Annwn are beautiful water faeries.
The technique on this image is rather straightforward, as I did a simple tight, imperfect round motion with the barrel of the lens to create a more circular form during the 0.3 second exposure. This created the more dance-like movement of the light across a darker landscape, giving the illusion of water sprites flittering in front of us.
During my exploration I found many ways to create abstractions directly in my shots, and every once in a while I think of a new thing to try to see how it connects for me. As I used these various techniques there did come a point that I started ‘seeing’ the possibilities in various scenes that allowed me to create something interesting.
I’d love to hear of what your photographic explorations have created for you!
A special post this week as I took the plunge to the latest and greatest iPhone released and acquired an iPhone 14 Pro Max (in Deep Purple). If you’re a frequent mobile phone photographer, like me, it’s always nice to verify that the restore part of the backup/restore process works.
When I checked my albums, I came across this fun shot…
This photo was from the last concert that I attended pre-pandemic; it was Brit Floyd at the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA, on March 11, 2020. Brit Floyd shows are always amazing and you can see that the experience is both sound and vision!
In this week’s edition, I’m taking us back to a photo from 2014…
The fun here was to juxtapose the supremely creative Graffiti Anatomy art toy by Crew Design of Perth, UK, with another object that would balance the image. Luckily, I had this little blue vase that offset the predominant orange of the art toy and allowed for the curves to work together as well.
This shot was taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM lens. Studio lights were used and a product table to manage the reflection and background.
Complaining about Winter in New England is as common as going to Dunkin for your morning cup of coffee; of course, griping about the weather is part of our human condition! Sure, I’ve had Winter’s days that I’d rather not see, especially when having to clear the driveway for the second time to rid it of that heavy slush that passes for wintry mix.
Then there are those glorious days…
For me it doesn’t get any better than a sunny, cold day in Winter, when there’s a soft blanket of snow on the ground and the sky radiates with blue! This February day in 2015 was such a day and it frame Yoga Tree in all her glory!
Last week’s entry was all about highlighting structure, as only Nature can create. This week’s image is all about what humans create…
This image is from my 2019 visit to the wonderful city of Liverpool, England. When I get a chance, I enjoy watching my favorite premier league team play at Anfield Road. A long weekend in this great city never disappoints, as there are some rather fine restaurants in this area!
This image was captured using an iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Neuralcam app. This app is great fro taking a night HDR shot; it just takes a steady hand (or a railing to anchor one’s hand).
We had just enough snow over the past couple of days to make a lot of the trees look wonderful. It was the kind of snow that is just wet enough to create a coating on branches and pine needles (leaves are long gone by now), and not so wet that it created a significant hazard.
So I decided to spend a little time exploring what our local river, the Quinapoxet, looked liked and capture the following image along with an amount of video footage…
The Oakdale power station is operated by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) as part of its water supply network from the Quabbin Reservoir to the Wachusett Reservoir.
Even though the light wasn’t great for a nice sparkling snow shot, it was fun to take my DJI Mavic 3 out over the river and capture some shots.
Last I checked, I have taken at least 15,000 photos with my various iPhone versions over the years. While there are a lot of gratuitous snaps and recording of serial numbers among them, there’s a subset of images that I still like.
Here’s another one…
This shot was taken at the Wachusett Country Club in West Boylston on the last day of 2015. As I drive by it frequently, I stopped to take a look at the reflections of the Sun in the snow and its interplay with the glistening trees.
This shot was taken with an iPhone 5s and I toned the highlights down a bit and added a bit of sharpening and vignette to get a more pleasing image.