Thursday, 27 November 2008

Children's Portraits: Megan

On Sunday I had a portrait session with Megan. At just 8 weeks old, she is the youngest that I have photographed so far and I am really pleased with the results.

I found it a little bit tricky in terms of composition as she is too young to lift her head let alone sit upright but the shoot went well, she was also wearing red which reflected back onto her face.
Throughout the shoot Megan was very good and completely mesmerised by the lights and the camera.

Here are a few shots from the shoot...

Megan Megan Megan

FEEDBACK:
Megan's family were so pleased with the photographs that they have asked me to take the photos at her Christening too!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Wedding: Kelly & Paul

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of photographing Kelly & Paul's Wedding.
It was a small wedding but wonderfully organised and well planned down to the smallest of details and everything ran smoothly for the day.

I went to the bride's house for about 12 to photograph her preparation which also allowed plenty of time to capture the smaller details of the day.
The Wedding ceremony was held at the Town Hall in Leeds in the late afternoon so I was quite nervous about lighting (despite having done test shots) for the group photographs as I knew it would be getting dark by the end of the ceremony.

Despite it being bitterly cold and clear, thankfully it stayed dry all day and it wasn't as dark as I had anticipated.
Everything went well and I am really pleased with my photographs from the day.

Bride's Preparation Flower Girl's Shoes Flower Girl Bride & Groom

Monday, 10 November 2008

Smoke

I have been wanting to take some images of smoke for quite some time and just never seem to get round to it. I have seen quite a few photographs by others of smoke and they look very intriguing.
The smoke often looks similar to coloured liquid in water with the patterns that it makes.

So I tried taking the images a couple of different ways.
First I tried using a lamp to highlight the smoke. This didn't work too well. The lamp wasn't bright enough or as concentrated as I needed it to be causing the background to light up and discolour.
I would have tried with my flash gun, but I don't have an IR trigger for it or an off camera cable as the light needed to come from behind the smoke towards the camera slightly. At a shutter speed of 1/125, it was unlikely that I could set the flash off at exactly the right time while taking the photograph.

So, I gave in and used one of my studio flashes. Maybe a bit excessive, but it worked so I'm not complaining.

I edited several different versions of the final images and preferred the ones where I had inverted the colours, making the background white. I felt the smoke stood out better against a lighter background once it had been coloured.

Very simple technique but effective. Below is my favourite image.

Blue Smoke

Exhibition at East Street Arts

Below is West Burton Falls, one of my photographs that has been included in the 'Multitude' Exhibition at East Street Arts from the 7th - 23rd November 2008.

I'm really pleased as this is the first exhibition that I have contributed to and it will be nice to see how well it does.
I'm not expecting it to sell as most of the other works are paintings, etchings and sketches so a bit more 'arty' but if it does sell, it would certainly be a confidence boost.

I was a bit disappointed at the opening though. But only because of the photographs' location.
The one place I really didn't want to see it was at knee height in a corner and that was exactly where it was. Saying that, most of the smaller works were placed lower on the walls with larger works head height or higher so I don't think that the smaller works will catch as much attention as they could if they were placed in a more noticeable and prominent position.

The opening night was really busy too which I wasn't expecting as I hadn't seen any advertisment for the exhibition. I know that a few pieces sold on the opening weekend but there is still 2 more weeks to go.

There were some really nice other pieces at the opening. It was nice to see work from other local artists and I hope that I can contribute to more local exhibitions in the future.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Droplet Macros

Ok, so I was bored and wanted to play...

I love these shots, they look quite surreal and I just want to stare at them for ages.
I think this is because you don't often really stop to look at droplets of water - we are so used to seeing it running out of a tap or in the form of a river which makes these photographs quite intriguing.

The shots were so simple to take. The images are quite simply a biscuit tin sprayed with water. To get the colour and lighting effects, I used my flash gun (off camera) with an omni bounce and some coloured gels. The images were taken using a 50mm f1.8 prime lens and a variety of macro extension tubes.
So simple, yet so effective.

Blue  Droplets Pink & Green Droplets

There are more variations of these shots on my flickr page.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Image Analysis

Ok, so following on my previous post I am going to try to explain why I particularly like this image and why I selected it.

Thoughts and ramblings on critical stuff...

I know that my main area of weakness with uni work is critical analysis and actually showing my thought process to others. I do have one but I find it hard to explain as it is automatically done in my head and I’m not the best at explaining things.

I really struggle with Critical Studies and this is probably going to turn into a rant or wander off subject knowing me but I will try to explain. I find critical analysis very pretentious at times and rather pointless in the way that it is put across. I don’t believe that you have or need to be academically intellectual to produce wonderful and successful artwork. That may sound arrogant and narrow minded but there is reason to my madness – honestly, there is.

I also don’t believe that every artist, in fact probably not even half of them stop and think ‘I am going to make the model stand on a white rug because it signifies her purity’ before they take their image. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pick the white rug because it looks nice, lightens up that part of the image drawing more attention to the subject/main focal point or just because no other colour sits properly with the surroundings and the symbolism is later attached to the image.

The 10 years previous to the course, I worked in Marketing, Advertising and Buying.
Now you would think that critical analysis of images would be used in these fields but from my experiences, that is just not true and certainly not in the context that we are taught at uni and this is where I am having difficulty.

The companies that I worked for were all large and very well known locally, nationally and internationally. Companies included Christian Brann (International Mail Marketing), The Economic & Social Research Council, Swindon Borough Council and The National Trust so I wasn’t exactly working for small family-run companies with smaller agendas.

For instance, I was working with designers and other members of the department to produce advertising leaflets and flyers for local sports centres. Images are always used in these but they were chosen just because the department head liked them and though they looked nice. Seriously, that was the only reason. They didn’t portray accurately the customers that used the facilities which in turn, would put the average ‘Joe Bloggs’ with low self esteem off joining rather than build their confidence and show there are normal everyday people that use the facilities rather than just pretty models and super fit athletic types. After all, ‘Joe Bloggs’ was their target audience. That sounds more like marketing ethics I know, but it is still relevant.

More relevant to my most recent project, greetings cards from The National Trust. These do go through a selection process and each range of cards is selected for different reasons but the critical art analysis was never evident.
Selections made were based on property relevance, the previous years’ sales, the suppliers statistics, predicted future sales and the buyers personal opinions.
In 2 years, I never once witnessed or participated in a selection where the Buyer would say ‘I want this to be in the new range because the composition and ascetic quality is pleasing to the eye. The lighting is wonderful because it was shot at sunset which increases the emphasis of the shadows and the colours of the sky warms the tones making the image feel much more friendly, comforting and pleasing to the recipient’.

So, are you starting to see where I’m coming from?
I don’t mean to say that critical analysis is never used nor that it is completely useless, just that from 10 years experience in relevant fields, I have never witnessed it and so, suddenly having to do this is very difficult.

This also helps to explain why I make my photographic selections in the way that I do. To begin, I choose a fairly large selection of images based on what I prefer because of composition, lighting etc and then I narrow it down by asking others what they like most and why. I don’t often get much of a why though which is frustrating but at least I know what the majority like and therefore what should (in theory) be more to other people’s taste and saleable.

On the plus side, while I am writing this, it is starting to make me appreciate it more, although I still don’t see why it needs to be so academically written or spoken. I think that it is this element that makes me feel that it can be pretentious rather than helpful to your average everyday person. I would just rather people can understand what I’m talking about than trying to sound intellectual by using long words...it’s a bit like legal contracts...why can’t they just use plain English!

When someone says, ‘I like your photograph’ it’s nice to hear. But when someone says ‘I like your photograph because.....’ it is so much more complementary as they are acknowledging and giving you the recognition of the work behind the photograph.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Exhibition Contribution!

Two of my recent photographs from my Yorkshire Waterfalls collection are being displayed and will be available for sale in the 'Multitude' exhibition, presented by East Street Arts in Leeds.

The exhibition opens on Friday the 7th November and runs until the 23rd November 2008.
For further details of the Exhibition, please see the East Street Arts website.

I'm really looking forward to the exhibition as it is the first that has featured any of my work and with any luck, there will be more to come.

The photographs featured are the 2 shown below, both mounted and framed for the exhibition.

Hardraw Force, Yorkshire West Burton Falls

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About Me...

Photographer based in Dawlish, Devon. I'm available for weddings, portraits and commissions.

Please see my website for further details.


* Please note that all images in this blog are © Eleanor Stobbart unless stated otherwise. Please do not use these images without the permission of the copyright owner. *