Underground Cinema, 28 Days Later, and a Footscray warehouse.
Two music videos, 3 weddings, 1 workshop, and some weeks pounding the pavement around Europe with my lady. Somehow this bizarre mix of work and play managed to fall conveniently within a 6 week period. What a lucky gig. I didn’t shoot nearly as much as I wanted to, but here’s a few outtakes gathered along the way. All images shot on a Hasselblad 500Cm with Kodak Portra 400.
And here’s a little bit of a music video I was super lucky to work on with the Streets of Laredo crew. One nights shooting, then a good hard slog converting footage from a hacked Canon 5dMKIII. Such cowboys. Their tunes are really something else, so check them out here.
It’s been a while since i’ve gotten off my butt and posted a wedding – and what better one to start with than these legends.
Ash & Mark got hitched in beautiful Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York, and not being one to say no to another opportunity to head to the big apple, I was the lucky chap that got to hop over from the other side of the world to capture all the magic.
For more of my wedding work, check out www.olisansomweddings.com
Sarah and I just spent a few weeks overseas, for a mix of work and downtime. Mostly the second bit. Way overdue for someone in the real-world like her, and just a bit of icing on the cake for a jobless latte-sipping artist layabout like me.
I took along my 5D MKIII, and a brand spankin new Fuji XE-2 I won thanks to Capture Magazine. When I found out this was coming my way I pretty much assumed i’d be selling what I figured would be a bit of kit that couldn’t keep up with DSLR’s, and wouldn’t be all that versatile.
Don’t need more digital kit.
Thanks for comin, thanks for helping out with some rent.
That was before I did some tests at our studio and then found myself pulling it overseas as my MKIII backup. A week into doing some casual snapping around Europe, I knew it was responsive and light enough to use at a wedding, and that the files were giving what appeared to be more latitude than my 5DIII.
These aren’t curated images, they’re literally some mess around snaps, while I’ve been spending the time with my Hasselblad 500cm, but I couldn’t resist showing off what this little nugget of joy is capable of. All of these are taken on the Xe-2 with the 35mm 1.4 lens.
More and more i’ve been interested in getting the most malleable files out of the simplest gear, and i’m going to be interested in seeing whether those Fuji upstarts are the answer. So far the visible downside to me is the loss of shallow depth of field, but i’m pretty keen to see how the 56mm 1.2 and the 24mm 1.4 compare to what Canon has on the table. I’m pretty sure the 85L is probably going to stay untouchable.
Here’s a before and after. The image on the left is straight out of camera, and the image on the right has a 5-stop exposure reduction in Lightroom, and the file is cleaner than my MKIII files when correctly exposing for a scene like this.
What the foccaccia?
Maybe even crazier, these (except for the whack overexposed example above) were all taken in aperture priority mode: aka, basically, auto (shhhh). This thing is a metering-monster. Set-and-forget auto iso with a minimum desired shutter speed, and adjust exposure compensation dial to suit. Incredibubble.
I’ll be doing a bunch of more controlled comparisons when I get back just to see exactly how it stacks up with my Canon.
Jaira & Paul got hitched, and nearly didn’t tell anyone: what started out as a going-away party for them right before a lengthy trip overseas, ended up turning into a surprise backyard wedding, which later finished just where it started. But not before sparkler-lit dance off as a nod to Earth Hour, and a whole lotta cake.
And it was awesome.
To see this and some other weddings, visit www.olisansomweddings.com
Our trip to the Northern Territory was a good lesson in openness and access. A simple convo I had with a bouncer at a pub led to an important contact at an indigenous partnerships organisation, and from there an invitation to lunch with a large group of elders. And in between, randomly bumping into these fellas (them into us, actually), and hearing some great stories about the area we were in. All this just from getting away from the screen, asking, doing.
Aaannnd on that note, we’re off again now for a few days.
More on this set hopefully pretty soon.
Image taken on 1920′s Gundlach Korona 4×5 field camera / Kodak TXP320
In August last year I spent a fortnight in New York. I was never really all that interested in the place, preferring to go the oh-so subversive route away from large cities when travelling, but enough people got in my ear about it, and with me being at a wedding in Boston it seemed only fair to fit a bit of time in to do the “New York thing”. It took all of about 5 minutes of being there to decide it was a place I could see myself living in.
It seemed pretty fitting to have my first crack at the ‘street photography thing’ with a TLR while there, so along came my Yashica and off we went. Nothing digital, nada, nix. The rewards were many: far less images to sort through, next to no editing needed, and all of the other good stuff that comes with shooting film, not least of which was an adventure with a wheelchair-bound veteran that took an interest in the camera i’d left on a cafe table.
All of these images were shot on a Yashica 635G TLR with Kodak Tri-X film, and other various Kodak film that expired over 50 years ago.
Big thanks to Raw Digital & Film lab for putting up with me sending them such archaic rolls of film.
It was super humbling to be named Capture Magazines 2014 Emerging Photographer of the Year for 2014. Picked from some 460 photographers, I was lucky enough to take out the portrait category also, as well as finalist places in both Documentary/Journalism and Wedding categories.
More than anything else I was stoked that a majority of the published images were shot on film – on the old Yashica 635, as well as a Hasselblad 500cm. Films used were a mix of Tri-X, HP-5, and 50 year expired secret-sauce.
There’s life in the old format yet.
Here’s a set of the images that were published.
I’m a bit of a gearhead at heart and always on the lookout for ways to mix new and old tools to create something new. So when I got into medium-format film photography last year, naturally one of the first things I did was get on the hunt to see if any kind of large-format digital camera existed, to create the depth and sense of 3d that only those bigger capture formats can.
That kinda hit a dead end, but led me to a guy on some car forum using panoramic stitching on vehicles with a telephoto lens to create the same kind of effect.
Since then I found out it’s existed in the form of a technique called “expansion” “bokeh panorama” or “brenizer method” over at least the last 6 years.
Ah well, can’t be everywhere first, but here’s my take on how I’ve worked out to shoot & edit them, and at the bottom, there’s a video that shows what happens when you take it to the extreme and create a (highly unnecessary, but whatevs) 540-image stitch.
The last three images after the video were panoramic stitches created on a Pentax 67II. It’s interesting to me that the same effect can be created using far less images on a native medium-format system.
I’ve gotten far wackier with this process, but i’ll share those images & processes a bit later on.
And here’s some shot on film, using a Pentax 67II with Tri-X, Fuji Acros, and Fuji 400H desaturated
Jai (www.freethebird.com.au) invited me to come shoot Monday morning before work, with Georgia & Joanna. I haven’t done much in the way of personal stuff for months, so couldn’t say no to greasing the cogs. All images taken with (very) expired film.
It’s been nearly a year since The Define School let me ramble in their journal.
Here’s the post below. I was reminded of it again when I snapped this image at a wedding last week. Telling the “full story” means finding things that aren’t obvious. This is something I focused on a whole lot in the workshops I ran recently in Perth & Melbourne: why going for the less obvious, and less instantly-gratifying ends up creating much more rewarding images.
There’s not much to this image outside of a bit of layering & convenient light, but you get the idea.
As a lazy musician, I’m fascinated by the dynamics of sound. By dynamics I mean volume and tone, and how they contribute to completing the story of a song. They make us feel something and require differing levels of listener effort to be properly appreciated.
I think music and photography are connected in important ways that aren’t often talked about. Understanding this connection can impact the types of images we deliver to our clients, contribute to creating our point of difference, and also help in developing our own photographic voice.
Let’s use a jazz venue as an example.
When you step inside a legitimate live jazz venue (which might resemble a cave, might be poorly signed, and will probably be pretty inaccessible), it’s soon apparent that the audience have to invest themselves in the show as much as the performer, through attention and respect. At some venues it’s even taboo to order from the bar mid-song.
An artist playing this kind of gig might liberally use that dynamic that’s usually taken for granted: volume. Instruments take on a completely different flavour when played- and then enjoyed- softly. The notes aren’t just quieter – they are of a completely different colour and character, and it helps give a better context to more intense parts of the song.
Usually, it’s only live that you get to enjoy this kind of musical storytelling at it’s best. Commercial radio just won’t play tracks that haven’t been heavily compressed to the same volume, because a Justin Bieber fan (sorry, beliebers) won’t sit there waiting for something “more exciting” to happen.
In removing that entire dynamic of volume and intensity, you lose colour, character, and context. It’s all thrown right out, and all three of those are so important to creating a deeper level of storytelling.
We can apply the idea of sound dynamics to photography, especially in the way we treat the viewer, and the way in which we approach dynamics: particularly light, mood, pose, and any other of the tools in our picture making arsenal of doom. We can make an image more layered and perhaps more complicated to work out, but then far more rewarding once the “code” has been cracked.
Older era painters were great at exploiting the more subtle dynamics in their work, when things were less disposable. What subtleties are we throwing out from our images in order to please everybody? What trends are we following that make us present easily digestible images instead of ones the client (or anyone for that matter) can look into deeper? So many fine-art images now are dodged and burned into pseudo HDR oblivion instead of being treated more delicately.
What if we gave everyone looking at our stuff just a bit more credit and encouraged them to approach and explore an image we’ve created?
We can actively choose to treat our viewer with a bit of respect by making them work to really “see” an image, instead of handing everything to them on a platter in the most dumbed-down way possible.
It’s not about making “dark” images- though sometimes, turning down the camera is a good start. It’s about developing a curiosity in all the different forms that light can take, how it’s affect on textures, skins, and expressions can be so drastically different by embracing experimentation and avoiding the default position of “this image must be instantly self-evident and leave nothing to chance.”
Throw out the term “correct exposure.”
Replace it with “correct exposure for the story I want to tell.”
Throw out the question, “What presets are you using?”
Replace it with, “What processing tools do I already have that I haven’t yet experimented with enough?”
It’s about what you’re seeing. By being more curious I really believe you can supercharge your eyes, and by extension, the kind of work you’re able to produce.
This is something that I’m still trying to work on for myself. I try to view as little imagery as possible (usually without much success) that comes from the wedding photography industry because there are way too many talented and awesome people producing work in styles so opposing to mine. It’s hard to look at them without feeling small or like I’m going about things the wrong way.
And that’s a real poison, because those thoughts wrongly distract you from letting your own voice come through strongly in your work.
Part of this piece might have sounded like I’m against imagery that’s super karate in-your-face, but the reality couldn’t be further from the truth: I’m just trying to zero in on dynamics that please me and work with the stories I want to tell.
And the best thing you can do is work out the same. There’s so much more that can be done.
So many images of mine are boxed away, collecting dust in the form of ancient blog posts, or messy clusters of folders.
So yesterday I threw up a simple site to hold a project started a couple of years ago. The aim was simply to experiment with light a bit more, via harassing pals at 7 in the morning.
Here’s a few that were done way back then. More will be added this year, if I get off my ass.
Another badass music video by maestros Oh Yeah Wow was released yesterday – I got to hang out getting behind the scenes photos. This one was a mammoth 26 hour day where director Darcy spent it all inside an elaborate prosthetic suit. Check the clip out at the bottom.
Stills are a mixture of digital, and Fuji Reala / Fuji 400h on the Pentax 67ii.
Last week, a brainwave descended forth to me from the clouds above imploring us to get down my good pal Johns lab guy to our new space, Castor & Pollux*, to show us the ins and outs of developing our own film. The legend said yes, brought a bunch of gear we didn’t already have, and off we went, making a glorious mess.
If you’re in Melbourne, drop me an email and come say hi.