Tag Archives: artistic photography

Discover the Energy of the Lions

Blue Lion is the first in a dual picture set. Red lion is the other picture offered in the set . Meant to go together side by side, the details and colors of these two lions bring up the energies found in fire and water.

Both elements are clearly lions of the elemental world. They both contain a primal cleansing function and are equally feared by man. Lions represent the sheer force and power of nature in action and these statues summon an example of that ferociousness.

Blue Lion
Blue Lion
Red Lion
Red Lion

With the blue hue representative of the water element and the red hue a symbol of fire, we seek and find an energy balance between these giants of the natural world.

Whether you are seeking to enhance the Feng Shui flow of energy found in fire or water or just seeking a powerful dual statement of protection, these lions will look equally good protecting a doorway or projecting color into a room.

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How We Took A Flower From Ordinary To Extraordinary

As I mentioned last week, we are looking to take this photo of a typical tea rose and turn it into something fabulous. It is a good photo with the subject clearly

Tea Rose Original
How can we improve this?

defined and focused. But, it looks like thousands of other photographs of a tea rose.

Artistic is not really a word I would use to describe it as much as ordinary. Ordinary is not bad, but we are making art here!   Yet, it does have some artistic value. Centered in the shot, the rose falls in line with the traditional rule of thirds. However, there is too much space on the outside of the rose.

If you look at the white of the rose and the dirty white in the background you’ll discover that the rose tends to disappear into the background. If it wasn’t for the reddish tint on the tips of the petals, one might not even realize it is there. That is not good.  The answer is to crop the picture so that the flower becomes more focused as the one and only item for the viewer’s perusal.

Next, we need to create a mood for the picture. Since the subject is a flower, we can easily follow one of two routes for creating this mood. We can soften the flower by blurring it. This will give the flower a dreamy  like quality. Doing this kind of visualization reminds me of the Hallmark cards you see for sick people or weddings. In my opinion this is best done with a color photograph.

Or we choose the second mystical mood creator known in art as visual punch. This choosing of one technique over another, probably more than anywhere, is where the visual message of the artist gets to be expressed in photographic art. It’s a choice. You must factor in different element of the picture to make your choice wisely. Personally, I’m thinking this flower needs visual punch. Punch is power.

The reasoning behind this decision is the color of the flower. Since the shot happened during the mid afternoon with the harsh sunlight moving in and out of the clouds, I used a UV filter to act as a sort of sunglasses. I don’t like the amount of color I had to lose to make sure I capture the detail in the flower. Therefore, I chose the visual punch of a black and white image.

Further, the shot just doesn’t seem romantic and “soft” to me.  However, flowers always show a certain sense of passion and passion is power.  So, we have passion and visual punch able to combine into a true statement.  My vision of what route to take when creating this work is now complete.  Now we just need to visually bring it to life.

Since there is no color to attract the eye, we can only use the shading naturally provided by the sun and the colors as they turn from various colors to numerous shades of blackness. The result is a powerful visual image.

Pink Petal Tea Rose
Passion and Punch always work together.

The flower is actually enhanced in its detail by losing the color and the cropping helps bring out the graininess of the flowers leaves. The result is a powerful combination of light and dark, grainy and smoothness that will look good whether framed or printed on canvas.

We go from ordinary to extraordinary.

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The Birth of A Work of Photographic Art

A few weeks ago I did a post on the potential of photographic art using a before and after picture. The response was good enough to inspire me to do another.   So this week we will look at a before shot of a tea rose I captured in a garden one very hot, muggy, and sunny day.

Tea Rose Original
How can we improve this?

 

 

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As you can see, this is a nice shot of a tea rose. It also, unfortunately, looks like millions of other tea rose photographs. We want to change that. One of the ideas behind photographic art is the use of a picture as a canvas of sorts. We want to enhance the subject and give it the power that photography has as an art form.

 

As is right now, this photograph has some challenges we need to address. Namely, because of the bright sun, I used a photographic filter on the camera that works like a pair of sunglasses. The upside is this filter allows for more detail in bright light, the downside is that it mutes the colors.

 

I also want to bring out more detail. So visit us next week when I post the results of this tea rose and discover what type of artistic flair I will bring to the image.

 

In the meantime, form a mental image of what you think we can do with this rose.

 

Till next week!

 

Art Basel and Milo Moiré Exposure (Pun Intended)

Every year there is a huge art show in Basel, Switzerland known as Art Basel, this huge show brings in the collectors with very deep pockets to wander through a maze of art galleries. These aren’t your ordinary galleries either. They apply for and survive a tenuous juried selection process to be allowed in.

Individual artists are not allowed; only galleries.   However that does not stop certain performance

Painted Peacock
Painted Peacock

artists like naked artist Milo Moiré. That’s right, Moiré decided to strut her stuff, like some attention seeking peacock looking for a response, into the convention center naked.

Milo Moiré
Milo Moiré via Facebook

According to Artnet , when the convention authorities turned her away, and told to put some clothes on, she decided to take her performance to a local town square.   The daily patrons and tourists evidently got a real kick out of taking pictures with the nude artist. Well, at least the men did. Evidently, no women jumped at the chance to take selfies with her.  Go figure.

This left me wondering. How is she able to get away with walking around town naked? If you tried this in the states you would probably end up in a jail cell or at the least with a coarse wool blanket and a ticket for indecent exposure.

Well, according to Switzerland’s The Local it’s not a legal issue.

“In the canton of Basel-City, mere nudity in public is not prohibited,” Andreas Knuchel, city police spokesman, told 20 Minuten newspaper.

The “non-sexually motivated” baring of flesh in a public place is neither punishable by the criminal code or by cantonal law, Knuchel said.

If anyone is disturbed by the public display of nudity they can launch a complaint, which the public prosecutor would then have to examine, he said.”

Responses to this performance range from a few whistles to claiming it’s all just a really sad joke.  I’d love to show some pictures of the event but, after all art and nudity are always found together.  But, the truth is I have a hard time accepting this under the category of art.  It may have started out that way. But in the end it is nothing more than, for lack of a better word,  exhibitionist exposure.  (pun intended.)

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Red Crowned Crane: A Splash of Color Makes the Difference.

This incredible bird is a Red Crowned Crane. Cranes are birds of elegance and beauty that very few other species can match. The natural colors for the bird are simply a bright red crest on its head, a blackened color plumage to the face and a long, tall elegant body with further white plumage.

Red Crowned Crane
Red Crowned Crane

As you can see, it’s not very far off what this work intends to demonstrate. However, placing a black and white filter over the bird allows the bringing out of  finer nuances in the beak and head area. You see detail that would otherwise be lost to color. So, in an essence you gain parts of the image by promoting black and white.

This also works the other way around.  The black and white filtering of the image causes the background to disappear in a sea of darkness.  The result is a loss of distractions from the subject of the work and adding visual stimulus from the clashes of the white feathers of the bird against the black unseen background.

Normally, this opposition of black and white would take over the photo. But what makes this crane stand out, what grabs the viewer’s attention more than any other aspect, is the brilliant red color of its crest.

I took a chance by introducing the color to a black and white image.   Adding color to a black and white work of art has become very commonplace in photographic art communities. Generally though, like HDR style photographs, overproduction of these colored images has led to a bit of abuse.  More often than naught, the artist will color in a wide swath of the picture to try to highlight a large feature like a car or bus. Usually, the object takes up so much of the picture it becomes unclear why the artist changed it to black and white in the first place.  But in our case, the bird only needed that small flush of brilliancy.  So the overall effect of the color is a punch of visual impact that centers the bird as the sole object of attention. The impression is cleanly made.

To overdo the color in an image destroys the artistic flair of creating the black and white image in the first place.   It is proof of the concept that a little burst of color goes a long way to developing something special.

See the rest of the show here.

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