Jeff Brown Interview: Heads of State and Industry in Fluorescent Hues

Jeff Brown photography - Jeff Brown

Some photographers use light as a means to an end. Others like Jeff Brown perform with it. What may overwhelm somebody with an ineffectual sense of light’s fantastic, potent power seems to excite Brown. Constantly risking absurdity, he performs a high-wire act of vision, adding what may be three or four lights at any given time.

Many of the people Brown photographs are rich and famous, important and pretty, or all four and then some. They live their lives publicly. And they have public images to uphold. It’s no wonder why, when sitting for a portrait commissioned by a magazine or a newspaper, they perform a rehearsed self. But what’s going on in the portrait of Mitch McConnell above? Does Brown realize he’s illuminated the Senator from Kentucky down to the bone? Captured him as he is at the moment of a portrait: actor playing politician in what looks like a semi-ordinary grocery store, set in a fictional Kentucky town, where beer and sandwiches and pig-stuff are bought and sold.

While other portraits read as a profile of a person—capturing what’s simply given—Brown’s portraits wink at you, tipping you off that something else is happening. Because of the ridiculously energetic way he plays with light, color, and shadow, he creates portraits that somehow, someway feel more honest. They’re naked. Though not bare. You know you’re looking at a portrait made in the act. It’s as if you’re getting both the final photograph and a behind-the-scenes sketch. And if reality is increasingly judged by appearances, why can’t the truest portrait be the one that’s commissioned, rehearsed, and performed?

I spoke to Brown over email about his work and about his thoughts on photography.

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Photography Website

A to Z of a Photography Website

Digital photography and web development have progressed parallelly. Showcasing photos on your website is the best way to acquire a following. Building your own website is pretty easy nowadays, with tools such as Flash, Dreamweaver and content management systems like WordPress at your disposal. Sourcing content from social networking sites like Flickr, 500px, and Instagram onto your website is the best way to make it the hub of your online presence. This article aims at giving an insight into building photography website that rocks the house.

Photography Website

What are the characteristics of an excellent photography site?

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Rachel Roze Interview: Sicily Captured in An Uncanny, Surreal Light

contemporary photography artists - Rachel Roze

Nearly true but not truth, almost life-like and real but utterly false: There’s nothing neutral in how Rachel Roze one of the well-known contemporary photography artists uses her camera. Like any photograph, one of hers may appear like a document, one that seems willing, to tell the truth, but in reality, is put on. Another may seem unreal and strange but, when looked at for a while and taken in, seems closer to life than any photojournalist’s reportage.

As though caught in the charms of an impostor, you believe wholeheartedly in what you feel but know something is off. Working in a space between truth-telling and narrative gives her photos room to breathe. Here, a photo of a statue can hover between a casual snapshot and a deliberate staging. Was it her intention to make the statue’s eyes, lightened in a burst of flash, seem alive and knowing? Even the spidery way it holds its crucifix registers between two states: is this a motherly embrace or an intentional letting go?

“I think people should take everything with a grain of salt,” she says, “Rights and wrongs are blurred when it comes to art.” There are other photographs like this one in her We Were in Sicily series but most are simple captures: There are landscapes of Sicilian alleyways cut between dawn or dusk, kind portraits of young, carefree children, and blunt scenes of intimacy. Roze never reveals what’s romance, what’s ruse. It’s all made to look real.

I spoke with Roze over email about her photography.

The introduction was edited from what was originally published. 

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What Will Photography Be 10 Years From Now?

Photography is evolving over and over again. It has too many lovers; some are professionals; some have photography as their hobby; while some are just enthusiasts. Somehow, photography is hitched with many if not all. While keeping demand of its lovers alive, latest photography trends are playing a great role in shaping the future of photography. Cameras & lenses are becoming more sophisticated and easy to use, no matter if you are experienced or amateur.

While I was stuck at what more could be to photography in coming 10 years, I was quick to reach out to some of the photography experts…

Let’s hear it out from our experts on what they think photography could be in 10 years from now…

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A Guide To Clicking Exceptional Landscape Photographs

Literally put, Landscape Photography is a form of landscape art where the focus of the image is nature and natural landscapes. Usually what tourists would choose to be a scenic natural ‘background’ would be captured in its essence for it to be a landscape photo.

Landscape Photography - techniques for landscape

 



Image courtesy Pete Piriya

While a lot of people would just swap a picture of a lush green garden on their phones calling it landscape photography, all professional landscape photographers understand the importance of tuning their skills and knowledge – some time for years – to master the art of clicking masterpieces.

And most of these photographers also agree with the need for such pictures to be taken from an environmentalism point of view. Continue reading →

Yolanda del Amo Interview: How Staged Photographs Reveal True Faces of Disconnect

staged photography artists - Undecided mornings

It’s in the eyes. It’s there, in those pools of brown, blue, of color, where everything ahead is first given. Either you fall back and look away or you accept and thrust in. The connection between two is violent, fitful. There’s panic. Undecided mornings. But a connection must begin somewhere: almost always, it’s in the eyes.

But when a connection weakens, what are the first hints?Archipelago, the Spanish, Brooklyn-based staged photography artists Yolanda del Amo’s seven-year series, explores how connections reveal themselves in a communal home and in the body itself. In her staged photographs, the language of intimacy, or approaching disconnect, arranges around who’s looking at whom and who’s not. It’s not enough to say that they’re looking away. It’s how they look. And why—what are they’re still searching for?

I spoke with Del Amo over email about her staged photography.

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Alex Fradkin Interview: Capturing New York’s Buildings in Hurricane Sandy’s Aftermath

Capturing Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath pictures with Alex Fadkin

Hurricane Sandy's aftermath pictures - Alex Fradkin

October 29 will mark three years since Hurricane Sandy battered through New York City. The superstorm was one of the worst in the city’s history, inundating some areas with water surges as high as fourteen feet, inflicting massive rain, and producing 79 mph wind gusts. And while most of the city was back to business relatively quickly, Lower Manhattan took longer to recover. In fact, for days after storm, the neighborhood—roughly south of 25th street—stayed without power, stuck in the dark.

It was during these pitch black nights that Alex Fradkin went exploring for photographs. His one point agenda was to capture hurricane Sandy’s aftermath pictures.

“It was so dark you could not see without a flashlight in many of the darkest streets,” he notes. “Looking up, the buildings appeared like dark canyon walls and stars were visible for a rare and brief time.” An architect before discovering photography, Fradkin knew that these buildings were designed with light in mind. To photograph them without their usual brilliance was perhaps to capture a truer face. “The architecture of Lower Manhattan…  was totally mute, deadened, and monolithic . . . rendered obsolete by a force much greater than the collective power of our species.”

I spoke to Fradkin over email about Dark Monoliths and about his ideas on photography.

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Teri Fullerton Interview: Giving the World Perspective Through Photography

landscape photography tips - Teri Fullerton

Landscape Photography Tips by Teri Fullerton

While in Barcelona, this past summer, Teri Fullerton, a Minneapolis-based photographer known for portraits of veterans returning from war, shifted her attention to a subject more often taken for granted than well shot. In photographing the landscape and how people—whether tourists, beach-goers, or other photographers—experience its beauty, she sought clear evidence of wonder.

Awe, the Small Self, the series started in Barcelona, is self-referential. Photographs of the landscape include portraits of other people shooting the same scene. “I was interested in observing other people looking and the complicated relationship between being and documenting,” she writes. The photographs also present a vast backdrop of ocean and sky. When seen from this scale, the body becomes small, the land more pronounced. “The world is infinitely large and man is a small player . . . [the camera] helps us appreciate our place in the world by paying close regard to it.”

I talked with Fullerton over email about her ideas on photography and Awe, the Small Self.

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Mastering the Art of Street Photography

mastering street photography - street photography
Of all the types of photography prevalent in current world, street photography has a niche of its own. It has a ton of ardent supporters & enthusiasts, who indulge in this genre of photography. So what is so special about this photography technique? Why would photographers think of shooting in the streets while they could have shot beautiful pictures in a serene location or in the confinements of a studio?
In this article, we will cover the intricacies and the motive behind shooting on the streets and also guide new street photographers the tips and tricks for a perfect shoot.

What is Street Photography?

Street photography is all about capturing random encounters. In this type of photography, you as a photographer can expose yourself to different situations and capture the raw emotions of everyday people, from all walks of life. It is not a necessity that you must shoot on a street or near an urban local, capturing pictures in public places too comes under this genre of photography. Continue reading →

Winning a National Geographic Award

Hayden Rossignol Interview: Winning a National Geographic Award At 12

Professional Wildlife Photography with Hayden Rossignol

Something about nature and viewing life through the eyes of the other creatures who call earth home is both breathtaking and eye-opening. But couple those powerful emotions with the perspective of someone who hasn’t even had their 13th birthday yet, and the world seems to become a better place.

As the oldest of three and a mother of two, my eyes are constantly being opened by those vastly younger than me. As we age, we often think that we have all this knowledge to impart when really, we can learn so much from the viewpoint of those half our age.

When I had the opportunity to conduct an interview with a professional wildlife photography expert, my mind instantly took me to someone I know very well.

His name is Hayden Rossignol, he’s a National Geographic Award winner, and he’s only 12 years old.

Oh yeah, and he’s my brother.

It’s a proud big sister moment to be sure. But more than that, my curiosity was irrevocably piqued.

I had the chance to chat a bit with Hayden about his award, where it wound up, and his photography as a whole.

professional wildlife photography - Hayden Rossignol Photography

When did you first start getting interested in photography, and why?

One day my mom went outside to take pictures of a hummingbird. For some reason, at that moment, I wanted to try and so when I took some pictures of the birds.

My mom and dad really loved the pictures and how they turned out so they encouraged me to pursue it.

The reason I do professional wildlife photography is that I just really love taking pictures.

professional wildlife photography - heavily centered on nature

Your photography is heavily centered on nature (although I know you do portraits and other weddings, as well). What was it that prompted you to start in that area of photography instead of something else?

Honestly, I just love being outside and being able to get so close to the birds and animals in nature.

I can show people things that they can’t usually get to see. Spiders and bees are things that people don’t like to get close to, but they’re creatures that are really cool to me.

Being able to take a photo of these things and show them in their natural environment helps people to appreciate them. There are details that you can get with photography that we can’t get just with your eyes. It’s fun to be able to see animals and things in nature in their clearest details.

Talking with Hayden About His Nat Geo Award

professional wildlife photography - Award Winning Photograph

Okay, let’s move on to the topic everyone really wants to know about: Hayden’s National Geographic winning picture.

Few people can lay claim to an award from National Geographic.

Obviously, as his sister and a fellow photographer (and a writer with the chance to interview him), I was both thrilled and curious about how this possibility even presented itself.

Many are likely familiar with the National Geographic Magazine and brand. But few may know the kids side of the worldwide acclaimed brand.

National Geographic Kids is a segment of the better-known publication that is popular among the younger age group. However, it still reflects the same level of quality when it comes to its images and its photography contests.

The website runs something called the My Shot contest.

In this contest, others from the community can submit photographs that they believe are worthy of the win. From there, users can vote on which photos they want to see win.

The prize?

Winners of the My Shot contest not only receive the My Shot VP award, they also get to have their winning photographs hung in the Vice President Biden’s (U.S.A) residence in Washington D.C.

The award and the recognition would be enough to get anyone excited about keeping up their photography. But Hayden’s photo did much more than that.

The VP’s Wife, Dr. Jill Biden, gave him a shoutout on Twitter. That then sparked the local presses and led to Hayden being interviewed by a popular news channel in Portland, Oregon U.S.A.

professional wildlife photography - shoutout on Twitter

When I asked Hayden about it initially, he said it was both exciting and nerve-wracking (and who could blame him with that huge camera in his face?!)

After that, we talked a bit more about his winning photo.

 

professional wildlife photography - Hayden’s Winning Photograph birds

Where were you when you took that photo? 

I always love taking pictures while I’m at the beach so when my family and I went to Cannon Beach (a popular spot on the coast of Oregon).

We travel there often and I always go prepared with my camera in tow.

I started taking pictures of the seagulls and that’s how I got that shot.

 

professional wildlife photography - Hayden’s Winning Photograph future

You’re just about to turn 13, nevertheless, you’ve managed to accomplish a lot. What has photography taught you and where do you want to take things in the future?

Patience.

Professional wildlife photography has taught me patience, which isn’t something that come naturally to — no matter their age.

With my photography, sometimes you have to gain the trust of an animal in a very short period of time. Other times, you have to be very still for a very long time to wait for the clouds or the sun to be in a specific spot and wait for your window of opportunity to create that perfect snapshot.

I’ve done baby photography, group shots, and one wedding. For my photography, I want to expand into those areas and just keep on learning.

professional wildlife photography - Haydens

Let’s talk about a few fun things while we’re at it. What cameras do you own? What is your favorite and why? What is your favorite setting to shoot in?

I have a Canon rebel T3i and a little Nikon point-and-shoot.

I like them both for different reasons. I like my Canon because there are a lot more options there for getting that perfect photo. I have a lot of different lenses, and love using my macro lens for close up shots.

The point-and-shoot is that you can you have a zoom and wide angle built into it without changing lenses and it’s a lot lighter.

All and all, I prefer shooting in manual mode it gives me more control.

Lessons I Think Every Aspiring Photographer Can Take To Heart

professional wildlife photography - Portland Oregon 10

After talking with Hayden and watching him “work”, there were quite a few things that I took away.

First of all, age isn’t something that we should ever use to define skill or success. Just because someone is young doesn’t mean that they are less likely to accomplish big things when pursuing their passion in life.

Professional wildlife photography has of way of capturing the beauty of a moment or the awesomeness of an animal or insect. Great photos evoke great emotion, and you don’t have to be a seasoned photographer to get the photo that has “it”.

Lastly, we should encourage children to express themselves. We should support them in the hectic and bustling journey that is this life.

If you’d like to see more of Hayden’s work and support him in his professional wildlife photography, be sure to follow him on Facebook.

All images are owned by Hayden Rossignol.