Benjamin Von Wong Interview: How to Achieve Hollywood-Sized Spectacle through Retouching and Imagination
You can’t ignore Benjamin Von Wong’s work. It’s impossible. Go ahead, try it. Look at these images, what do you think? His images always call me back, no matter how focused my attempt to look away. That’s their purpose. They’re images built for and from our times. Using today’s digital retouching powers to recreate scenes of fantasy and the surreal, Von Wong makes images designed to excite the fickle contemporary eye.
But keeping the eye’s attention isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time to pack Hollywood-sized spectacle into a single image, requiring work from a dedicated team of talented workers, all inspired to work their way to final product. And it makes sense that, before photography, Von Wong spent three and half years working as engineer. Only a person obsessed with details could pull off these highly impressive feats of digital imagination.
In this interview, Von Wong reveals how he got his start in photography, explains his approach to completing an image, and talks about how his unique work.
This video is horrifyingly funny. No wonder it’s been making the rounds recently. Even if this video is scripted, it’s an ingenious idea. Get a expensive lens, find a confident pro telling you how to swamp lenses on the quick, then have that same pro drop the lens at the very end. Fantastic. It’s a simple idea with funny results. And at the very least, it’ll help you remember that you can never be too safe!
Street photography lovers, another video series for your enjoyment. And this one’s absolutely fantastic (side note: an old friend once told me never to use qualifiers like absolutely unless you were in love; I guess in this case it makes sense, I do love street photography). Anyway, this video features the amazing Matt Stuart. In it, he talks about his approach to focusing manually, exposing without a light meter, and general theory about going out and shooting. I think you’ll enjoy it.
See for yourself!
“Being an introvert and a portrait photographer isn’t easy,” says French born photographer Anne-Marie Arpin, “I’m attracted to quiet, empty and desolate places. I feel better when there’s no one around.” Although Arpin is quick to confess her quiet nature and lonesome bent, she’s also capable of likening her hunt for light, shapes, and colors to that of a lion stalking its prey. Though these two descriptions seem at odds with each other, they perfectly characterize Arpin’s work. Her images are both severely quiet and deeply intense.
Because sometimes it’s the quietest listener who must suffer for intensity, even if below the surface. Their quiet natures become our conduits of feeling, absorbing and reflecting the moods around them. One only has to look at Arpin’s beautiful work to understand how being quiet allows one to connect with those notes often unheard, left for only those patient enough to listen. You’ll see work that’s both perfectly composed and hungry for blood.
In this interview, Arpin talks about how she got her start in photography, explains why her introversion helps and hurts her work, and reveals her approach to honest portraits.
Have you ever wanted to shoot in front of a cool, retro, RV. One of those slick jetstreams. But had trouble shooting against shiny surfaces with your speedlights? Well, you lucky son of a gun, we got you covered. Damien Lovegrove, who’s an awesome guy — intelligent to boot — and blessed with an accent that kills, just released this quick tutorial on shooting beside shiny surfaces. You’ll learn how to make best with his neat technique. Which is simple and takes no time at all.
If you’re a fan of photography, you know what a timelapse is. These little oddities of visual delight are found all over the photography universe. They pack a lot stimuli into a condensed bite. Best of all, they are usually scored to music that attacks like the worst night of Blitzkrieg. Fast, focused, intense. Personally, I love them, so here’s another one.This one’s about San Francisco. California’s precocious little child. Los Angeles’ hated cousin. That City by the Bay. And honestly it’s a great timelapse. The music’s memorable and the visuals are impressive. What more could you ask for?
When you imagine light in its various colors and weights, it’s easy to picture the moonish blue of twilight, or the purplish red of sunset. What’s harder to admire — or work with — is the harsh, direct light of midday. The light is unforgiving. It seems to enjoy overpowering shadow and detail, oppressing color and flattening distance, making pretty look pretty bad. Obviously, it’s not a favorite to work with among photographers.
Yet it is precisely this light that makes British landscape/portrait photographer Richard Burniston’s Wonder Valley images even more impressive. Taming it has allowed Burniston to showcase his vivid backdrops of ruin. Capturing the desert at its most stark, his images stay true what a desert announces. The colors will pop, the shadows solidify, and the mountains steady, like they do in real-life, as deep-chested calls to appreciate the simplicity of nearing oblivion.
In this interview, Burniston talks about how he got his start in photography, explains his approach to working with midday light, and reveals why he’s drawn to desert landscapes.
This is urban exploration photography: scouting sewers, hunting alleys, jumping up and around rooftops, for shots no one else wants to find. Oh, what a genre! I hope there are more photographers exploring this exciting approach to shooting. There’s so much space to experiment. Just check out this interview with Eirik Johnson to see what I mean. And watch this video to see what this genre is all about. It might make you an Urban Explorer too!
Street photography is my favorite genre of photography. It’s pure beauty. So here is a link to a free Street Photography ebook from one of the most passionate street photographers around, Eric Kim. And I know it’s old — ancient in internet time — but this link is for those who haven’t encountered it yet. Those who need some help getting over one of the hardest parts of street photography, the actual part of shooting candid portraits of strangers.
Don’t you wish there was an easy way to look cool in every photo you’re in? That way you’ll cut down on your untagging on facebook. Well, there is way. All you got to do is squinch! Squinch! Squinch! This portmanteau word (squint + pinch) is how you get from looking like a deer caught in the headlights to looking like A-List celebrity. From looking like Rob Ford to looking like George Clooney. The trick is all in the eyes. Squint a little and then pinch your lower eyelids up. According to this video, you’ll start looking cool, stylish, and Biebish almost every time.