Aug 8, 2016

m-i-a and going rogue

Lately I've been a bit missing-in-action regarding photography projects, but there's a simple reason for it. I had another attempt at using Blender. In the past I would regularly give it a try about once a year, for the last 5+ years. I figure that my practice, which is essentially visual art, would benefit from integrating rendering and motion, but this is easier said than done. 3D is a difficult endeavor that initially burns through countless hours with no payoff in sight. So this is a relatively huge step that follows Photography, Retouching, Vectors, and now this. Will hopefully start seeing useful outcomes soon.

Jun 10, 2016

Creative Hands

Idle hands are the devil's playthings. But for presentation purposes, art students and creatives alike know one go-to magician trick, that is, hands make great props that everyone can intuitively relate to. If you have an inanimate object or a concept, everything is better with the show of human hands. Apropos indicating a value proposition for ad space in magazine pages, it is one thing to say what you are offering but another thing to show it, with hands!

My first encounter with feature hands and plain backgrounds was via helping my creative and slightly more famous friend, let's call him Y. Since then and about two years of keeping my eye on The Loop for Inspiration to "borrow" from, hands are a constant recurrence, even if it's not really my go-to schtick. But today was different, as I had to nail it, solo. Yida yada, here is the setup that worked for me. Anyone who tried this trick-shot knows that the key is to get your head out of the way, while maintaining consistency casually.

BTW, recently I had a request from Michael at Art Monthly Mag for some pics.

... and some setup magic

May 27, 2016

Back in the 90s, after what was to become more or less the conclusion of my programming career, I picked up two books. One was on HTML, and the other on VRML. It was an exciting time. On the latter and VR, the future of that seems to always be meandering somewhere just around the corner away from the mainstream. On HTML however, that skill had proved itself to be routinely useful. I never developed it as a hardcore skill partly because, like all tech skills, it is a fast moving object and awkward to hang onto unless you work with it every single day.

Well on again, off again, on again, and I find myself excited about making "websites" again. The variation this time is to is to have a the website folder hosted on Google via GCP. I greatly appreciate this option, having previous experience with setting up LAMP stack servers from bare metal upwards, which used to be a big deal.

The other morning, over a cafeteria coffee at RNSH, I got the domain which I thought would be a fun thing to do. The alter ego thought bubble went something like notNEWMAN eXperiments dot com. So now, my first GCP site has a fun name, not just an IP.

This brings notnewmandotcom capabilities to also offer website work. I did not want to rush into this but it is what my clients and friends have been asking about it. So it begins. is a landing page for notNewmandotcom eXperiments, or a spin-off from the notnewmandotcom portfolio. In the first instance, it ticks two boxes: try Google Cloud Platform and build a supporting site for an upcoming exhibition.

continued ...

A number of my photography clients and friends had been asking if I also do web design, to which I generally replied with a concise No. I made a conscious choice a few years ago not to be chasing web work while I am chasing photography work, as it makes sense to specialize.

However, (since my 2016 feet-first plunge into the Google Cloud Platform) I am now happy to say, Yes. With GCP and Blogger I am in a comfortable position to offer a range of sensible website solutions to creatives and small business.

May 13, 2016

Ceramics photography for Kerrie Lowe Gallery

The Kerrie Lowe Gallery contacted to produce some photos for an upcoming exhibition. There is a sense of adventure in discovering what brings a new client to you, and what expertly specialities you can bring to them. In this instance I was asked to photograph ceramic works by two artists who shall remain nameless at this point in the interest of preventing pre show plot spoilers.

When photographing platters or plate-like-things you generally want to show a bit of top to indicate the general shape of what to expect and a bit of side to show the extent of the depth. The exception comes when there is noteworthy detail on the inside, then you just show the top, as that is the most informing perspective. To overcome the resulting sense of 2D flatness, we add a bit of 3D with shadows and reflections. Arty photos of plates and 2D objects will show them lifted on one side or even balancing on edge. Further, if the photo is to go into a publication, background options would be nice to have. Catalogue editors want just the objects, so the viewer can compare apples to apples removed from any original background. Magazine editors and some artists favour simple light grey backgrounds so the photo is self framing, separates from the page, gives a sense of weight, and enhances colour. Then went it comes to promotion material like postcards, we expect maximum occupancy and zing to fill the page area, with interesting lighting and some sense of semi natural curvature. And then there is the editorial style that looks like a readily achievable point-and-shoot job. So what to do? Bring it all! When trying to impress new clients we like to over-deliver, showing a set of options and see which direction they choose. SA

An alternative approach to the above concerns sets of objects, or collections of pieces. When photographing sets, consistency is the key. The overarching goal is to do away with distractions, styling, and background or scale inconsistencies (a side effect of subject centric photography) but still retain grounding when possible (typically by way of soft symmetrical shadows or reflections). All pics are similar together, but each piece is a work of art individually.


Apr 19, 2016

Ceramics by Leanne Berelowitz (5)

Recently Leanne came to me with two newly finished ceramic orbs to document. Last year she had the idea of taking a Before and After photo of one of them. This one in particular was to become larger version of Leanne's Golden Orb design. Leanne's second orb had been finished with fine details. We needed to capture it in its entirety, as usual, but it would also be nice to have the narrative-like details.