Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

BlogTO Maps

August 13, 2009

BlogTo Maps

I was in Queen West yesterday and saw one of these BlogTO Maps in Tealish, and about ten other stores. So what you say? Glad you asked, I’ve got a few of my photos in there, that’s what! The maps are in awesome stores all over the city and even feature a few discounts as well as a bunch of cool places to check out in the area. If you are able to grab the West one look for my photos of Jezebel, The Red Light, Sweaty Betty’s, and Thieves Boutique.

Thanks for stopping by.




On Photography of North Korea

May 27, 2009

Mass dancing in Pyongyang - Eric LafforgueMass dancing in Pyongyang –  by Eric Lafforgue

It seems the world’s great powers cannot rid themselves of their Cold War doings. As you have undoubtebly heard, tension between North and South Korea (and the rest of the world) continues to increase, after North Korea conducted, and continues to conduct, nuclear and missile tests. North Korea has now taken things to the next level, declaring the Korean War armstice (1953) ineffective and threatening military action against South Korea.

Being a documentary photographer and having a particular interest  in areas of restricted access, I have planned to write a post about photography in North Korea for some time. Trips to North Korea are highly structured and everyone who visits it has a similar, if not identical, experience. I thus find the wide range of photography from North Korea very interesting, not only because of what it tells us of North Korea, but also of photography itself.

Here are a few links to work done in North Korea:

  • “DPRK” by travel photographer Eric Laffougue
  • “Secrets and Lies” as part of the project “Commrades Revisited” by photographer Thomas Van Houtryve
  • A discussion (video) by photographer Christopher Morris about his assignment to photograph North Korea
  • While not a photographic work, the North Korea episode of the Vice Guide To Travel, is facinating (be sure to watch all the parts)
  • Andreas Gursky also has some great images of North Korea but he doesn’t have a website so they are hard to find, here is a Google Images link

If you know of any other great photo essays or videos regarding North Korea, please let me know of them in the comments.


Andrew Moore

May 12, 2009

Avtovo_metro_station-St._PetersburgAvtovo metro station, St. Petersburg – © Andrew Moore

I am so excited by Andrew Moore’s exhibition at the Loggia Gallery, Koffler Centre of the Arts that I’m letting people know about it in anyway possible including this blog. I have looked through Moore’s gorgeous book Russia over a dozen times and everytime the images leap off the page as they did the first time.

Moore, a photographer and teacher at The School of Visual Arts in New York, has managed to capture contemporary Russia, in it’s post-Soviet struggle. His images reflect the super-power’s former glory and a longing for greatness. Shot in large-format the photographs offer exquisite detail in book form and I can only image (though not for long!) how gorgeous they must look on the wall.

You can see a good selection of images from the series as well as Moore’s other projects on his website.

The show runs from April 29 to June 30, check out the show link for more info.

This is probably the best show in CONTACT so don’t miss it!

The Final Push… before the final push.

March 17, 2009

© Eugen Sakhnenko

Bar Chef | © Eugen Sakhnenko 2009

So I have been working non-stop all this month; weekends, evenings, mornings! I’m currently finishing up two commissions; one product photography shoot for a cosmetic brush line and I’m also nearing the end of a project I’ve been working on for a couple months for BlogTO, which involves many interior shoots (see photo above).

I’ve also been doing research for my final personal project for this semester, that will involve shooting in parks across Toronto, I’m hoping to start shooting early next week if not this weekend. I’m working on a redesign of my website (for a class), and a ten page essay on “Mikhail Gorbachev’s foreign policy” for my History of the Cold War class that is due on Monday.

I’ve come to terms that my life will be in some sort of constant state of frenzy, which make it easier to deal with what seems like a million things due by next week. It’s also tons of fun and I’ve met lots of great people and seen some amazing spaces so I’m not complaining too much.

For the next few weeks, posts will probably be rare until I achieve some level of normalcy.

Cheers, hope everyone is enjoying the warmth that finally seems to be here.

About Work.

March 5, 2009

I realize that there has been a lack of posts lately, but it is not without reason. School is coming to an end (in about 6 weeks) so I have a ton of projects/essays and I have also been really busy work wise. March is going to be one hell of a month!

Speaking of work, I just read this article on Exposure Compensation which gave some statistics about artists and unemployment. Here is the gist of it:

Artists are unemployed at twice the rate of professional workers, a category in which artists are grouped because of their high levels of education. The artist unemployment rate grew to 6.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with 3.0 percent for all professionals.

There were a few things I thought about when I read this.

First of all, how does one consider an artist to be unemployed? Artists create work for themselves, technically an artist is one of the few members of society that can never be unemployed.

Second, what exactly is 6%? I guarantee that at least 80% of people in my program will never become artists and probably will never even work seriously as photographers of any kind. To me 6% unemployment is great, it means 94% of artists are employed. That figure is really reassuring for someone who one day might be an artist (professionally). 

This blog will resume it’s regular schedual, if one ever existed, as soon as possible, but at the moment I have to get back to work.

Website Thoughts

December 7, 2008

eugen_sakhnenko© Eugen Sakhnenko 2008

For a while now I’ve wanted to put some commercial style work onto my website, I’m mainly interested in 3 types of commercial work which is, editorial, architectural, and product. My issue however is that most of the images I have are from various school assignments and in the end when I put it all together, I reallize I don’t really have anything that’s worth showing in terms of a group of images. I haven 2 or 3 great images from each of those categories and the rest I don’t really care for. I also don’t feel that grouping them all together into one would be good as it wouldn’t be cohesive at all. 

On a similar note I plan to use SimpleViewer for my commercial galleries, this would allow me to change and update them quickly without having to relink a ton of other page. I finally got around to figuring out how to put a SimpleViewer flash page into a regular HTML page, it turned out to be really simple (if you want to know how, see #11 here) and looks quite nice. All I have left to do now is get some images together.

I’m going to try and shoot a lot of product images over the break, as they are the most doable with limited resources, and perhaps try to con a few places into allowing me to shoot inside their buildings to get a nice amount of architecture images together. I’ll worry about the editorial shots once school is back on and I have access to more lights and things.


Boring Photos

August 18, 2008

©2008 `gilad

Often time’s friends or people I meet show me photographs, they find online or somewhere, which they think are great.  I’m grateful for this as sometimes it is truly good work, however 9 times out of 10 it is the same uninspired boring photos. Now I’m in no way saying that they are bad photos, most of the time they are good, well composed, nicely shot and edited photos. These are the pictures I looked and tried to imitate when I first started taking pictures.

The problem is that there is nothing beyond the picture. Most of these photos share the same set of visual gimmicks; reflections, strong leading lines, extremely shallow depth-of-field, angled light. You get a visual punch and that’s it. There is no other layer at which one can connect with the image. If ever there is a message the photographer is attempting to deliver it is often pretentious and overly obvious. The visual impact takes all the attention leaves the viewer empty.

I’m mainly interested in contemporary fine art / documentary photography and my favourite photographers manage to strike a delicate balance between beauty and message, but that’s for another post.

Starting Out

August 2, 2008

Being an amateur is difficult. Starting out in pretty much anything is guaranteed to be an uphill battle. This goes double for those of us perusing more creative career choices. I think there are two main issues that cause frustration for young photographers, passion and self-criticism.

Passion and self-criticism go hand in hand. I believe anyone who is truly passionate about their work is also extremely critical of it. While this is beneficial in that you are pushing yourself to constantly improve and create better work it can also be the source of much frustration when your work doesn’t live up to your own expectations.

To draw from my own experience, I look at a lot of photography.  Over several years I have narrowed down my taste to certain types of photographs that I enjoy and have a fairly concrete list of photographers I admire. I strive to create photos that I am interested in and, in the process, get a lot of inspiration from the work of others. In a sense I am directly competing with the photographers I look up to, whether they be fine art or commercial, I aim to create work that is, if not above, at least at the same level as theirs. The fact however is that I can’t.

Not because they were born with some sort of skill set that I lack, but because of experience. I often look at a photograph and wonder, how on earth did so-and-so create this image, not taking into consideration that that photographer has several decades of experience versus my three years. It is at this point that I become frustrated with myself and begin doubting myself. I am sure this happens to everyone and this belief has been reaffirmed by an email I received recently from a friend I go to school with.

The simple truth of the matter is that photography isn’t just about setting your exposure and hitting the shutter, that can be taught in a couple minutes. To create meaningful and beautiful images, one needs years of experience, by years I mean ten or twenty, not two or three. I feel deep down we all know this, however the need for instant success pushes it to the back of our minds. I have been in a bit of a photographic low myself lately and find that I am constantly reminding myself that I’m just starting out, taking my photographic baby steps so to say.  Only once you realize and acknowledge that you won’t magically start pumping out work at the level you wish to be at, can you begin to work towards that level.

Here is a great video on being an amateur that everyone should watch, it just goes to show that we are all in the same boat

Photographers You Should Know: Bernd and Hilla Becher

July 24, 2008

“Photographers You Should Know” is something that I aim to make a regular feature on this blog. Here I will profile well established or historically important photographers that I feel those interested in photography should know about. Originally it was my idea to start this section with a different photographer, however a recent interview posted Jörg Colberg’s Conscientious blog made me choose Bernd and Hilla Becher to start with.

© Bernd and Hilla Becher, large, steel storage tank, circa 1960s, silver gelatin print

Bernd and Hilla Becher were a German husband/wife photographic team. They began photographing together during the 60’s and have continued until the present. Bernd Becher passed away in 2007, yet his wife still continues their photographic work.

The Becher’s are known for their photographs of old industrial buildings and structures such as water towers,  gas tanks, and blast furnaces, to name a few. They used a typological approach to photography, where they photographed many different versions of something, for example blast furnaces, and later these various structures can be studied side by side to reach a better understanding of them.

“We studied this anonymous architecture, object after object, until we understood the enormous variety of the subject.”

Hilla Becher – Conscientious blog

This is perhaps what is so amazing about the Bechers, the sheer amount of things they photographed. Once set on a new type of structure, they would attempt to photograph as many variations of it as possible. In this regard their work serves as a historical archive of this aspect of life. Their influences however, go far beyond this.

Bernd Becher taught at the world famous Düsseldorf Academy. In this way he passed on the Becher’s aesthetics and ideas regarding art and photography. Current big name photographers that came from the “Becher School” include Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky, both of whose work borrows from the Bechers.  Their cold dead pan aesthetic can be found in much of today’s contemporary fine-art photography and is sure to influence generations of photographers to come.

If you have a moment read the great interview with Hilla Becher by Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, it is available in English at Conscientious. Big thanks go out for the translation. The interview gives a rare, brutally honest and at timesn I would sayn cold look into the life of two artists whose work was their life.