The Empty Apple: A New York City Time-lapse
Photography Unfiltered Update
San Francisco’s famed Julia Morgan Ballroom – a study in timeless architectural beauty and unassailable elegance – is the backdrop for this image. Last year, I was generously invited to use this opulent ballroom as the site for a photo project, in which I recreated the unique glamor of Old Hollywood.
Here, a model in period wardrobe peers out the window, her vision assisted by the use of Galilean binoculars.
Powerful images engender an enduring effect not just because of their sheer technical mastery or absolute beauty, but more so because the photograph tells a story.
A pretty model might be nice or interesting for a viewer to look at, but unless something about her compels the viewer to ask questions – in this case, “What is she searching for?” or “What does she see?” – the image is ultimately forgettable.
Through the use of this prop, these history- and class-laden Galilean binoculars, the model invites a slew of questions that provoke the viewer to engage the photograph as a story whose conclusion they’re dying to discover.
The question on everyone’s mind must be: what hasn’t David Bergman done? With 11 covers for Sports Illustrated, including the coveted 2010 Super Bowl, and his distinction as official tour photographer for Bon Jovi, David gets a lot of game. He joins us live in the TWiT studio to discuss his now-famous GigaPan shot of Obama’s inauguration and shows viewers how he processes 600 frames of a GigaPan shot in a live software demo. Also, the music geek shares inside secrets on being a successful music tour photographer, and you won’t want to miss the moment he shocks Leo and me with his gigantic, $10G+ bazooka 600mm F4 Nikon lens.
Photographer and writer Guy Tal rises above the white-noise chatter of the blogosphere with his deeply subtle, radically humane reflections on artistic inspiration. Guy approaches life with a unique-order joie de vivre, and as a photographer, his landscape images lend vibrant and fresh energy into the medium. As a writer about the craft of photography, his profoundly philosophical and measured meditations stir my soul. It’s with great excitement that I present to you Guy’s guest contribution — in this moving, incisive essay, he explores why artists create and, alternatively, why we create excuses for our perceived imperfections. Ego and insecurity have no place in our lives, they are but self-fabricated delusions that only interfere with what’s really important in life: quality experiences endowed with truth and meaning.
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The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work.
Ever wonder what makes one image “better” than another? In some cases it may be obvious – one may have more compelling subject matter, another might suffer from poor technique, some benefit from fortuitous circumstances (“same place, but with a rainbow on top”) etc. Still, most of these can be canceled out through practice or luck. There is still that “something,” though — that elusive “je ne sais quoi” — that sets off great from good. It is why some can produce great work more consistently than others, even working in the same medium and with the same subjects and using the same tools.
Wolfie, a teenage basketball buff and the son of famed NYC-based interior architects Cortney and Robert Novogratz, of Sixx Design and popular reality show Home By Novogratz on HGTV. Last year, I did a 3-day East Coast residency with the family, documenting behind-the-scenes images of this very-cosmopolitan, 10-person clan.
With Wolfie, as with any athlete, the linchpin of capturing a striking, catch-you-off-guard image is the use of dramatic lighting. It accentuates the musculature of the human form, with light wrapping around the limbs to create eye-riveting shadow. Photographer Rick Sammon puts it best: “Light illuminates and shadows define.” For this particular portrait, I began the shoot with lots of complicated light rigging, and then completely cast-off the set-up as ultimately needless. In the end, the simplest set-up – in this case, a Profoto head with medium Chimera softbox was placed at a 45-degree angle on the right side and a white reflector on his left side –produced the Rembrandt-like effect you see here.
All of us, in our own small way, carry out heroic acts in our daily lives – sometimes, even just waking up in the morning and venturing forth into the world takes courage. Photojournalist Ron Haviv, this week’s TWiT Photo guest, however operates on a completely different playing field than most of us. From his exclusive coverage of the civil war in Yugoslavia to the genocide in Darfur, Ron has made it his life’s work to document conflict zones — often in areas of the world that are despicably brutal and violent — in order to educate others about social inequity and abuses of human rights. Watch the video to hear Ron discuss gaining access into conflict zones, being taken prisoner 3 times in the line of duty, and decompressing after an intense assignment.
Here are Ron’s top tips:
1. Research your stories.
2. Prepare for a multi-platform end result.
3. Use your aesthetics to create a bond with the viewer and the image.
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