Dreaming with the camera

The following is a post written by Rommert Boonstra, a Dutch photographer and poet. He is known to be the one of the founders of imaginative photography in the Netherlands.

The post below is written in Dutch.

 

DROMEN MET DE CAMERA.

Over de wereld doen twee geruchten de ronde. Het ene luidt dat het einde der tijden nabij is en het andere dat we een gouden toekomst tegemoet gaan.
Een gouden toekomst vol ondergang en verval zou misschien een goed compromis zijn.
Blijft de vraag- Is er vooruitgang? Of gaan we met bekwame spoed achteruit? Lopen we hard of lopen we dood?

Er zijn in de geschiedenis van de wereld 39 Ferrarari’s 250 GTO geproduceerd. Ze gaan een stuk sneller dan de strijdwagen waarin Ben Hur zich verplaatste. Dat zou vooruitgang kunnen zijn. Behalve als je door zo’n Ferrari op topsnelheid geschept wordt. Voor de paarden had je misschien nog weg kunnen springen.

Ik heb ook bij de plofkip naar positieve ontwikkelingen geïnformeerd, bij een depressieve wegsmeltend ijskap, bij de glorieus oprukkende Sahel woestijn en bij een geleerde die net duizelig uit de deeltjesversneller tevoorschijn kwam. De antwoorden waren zeer divers.

Het grote voordeel van ondergang en verval is in ieder geval dat ze heilzaam zijn voor de kunst. Zie het prachtige werk van Edgar Verhoeven. Het sombere en het hilarische gaan hand in hand. Als we ten onder gaan, dan gaan we in ieder geval vol vrolijke verbazing ten onder.

If you are interested in Rommert Boonstra’s work, see the following link:

http://http://www.rommertboonstra.nl

Beyond Photography

A change is gonna come!

Photography is easy. No really…..I actually think that taking photographs is one of the most easy things to do. You point your camera (or phone) at a person/ object and push the button. That’s it! And you have an instant piece of reality frozen in time, at your disposal. Upload it to your social media of choice and you even have an audience of potentially millions of people. Peace of cake! My grandmother could do it, without any training. Well if she still would be alive that is. Actually billions of people do this on a daily base.

Hhhmmmmm…there must be a catch right?

Well what if you want to take pictures of ‘things’ that don’t exist. That only float around as a rudimentary vision in your brain? Where do you point your camera at? When are you going to press the button? When is the elusive decisive moment?

There is still some mystery left in this world and if you look carefully there is also some amazement to be experienced. But you have to look beyond the photograph as a document. Now that’s hard! To unveil a piece of (un)reality that you cannot take for granted. But still, there are some photographers who actually do just this.

This is where the book “Beyond Photography” comes in.

This book is a summary of 42 photographers in the Netherlands and Belgium who embrace imaginative photography for the last thirty years. It counts 280 pages and the book also contains four essays that discuss the theme “beyond photography”.  The limits of photography are being examined and stretched. The result are images that reach beyond the pure photographical. It’s a must read!

To me this book is rather special, because there are a whole lot of books that discuss documentary photography, but almost none that deal with imaginative photography. I think it’s time for something new.

Wait…can you hear that? Listen carefully…. a change is gonna come.

 

You’re a fake….

Lately I’ve been experimenting with 3D rendering and how to combine this with photography.

I use an open source program for my 3D experiments called  ‘Blender’. I have to say this is a really wonderful program. Although I cannot compare it to other professional 3D packages out there, because I haven’t used them, it’s a really powerful tool that can produce photo realistic images.

Photo realism you say? Well yes……if you are really good 3D rendering that is. This raises some philosophical questions, that I will discuss another other time, but for now I’d like to present you with a quiz. Can you determine which of these next five images are real photographs or are 3D renders? Which images are the fake photographs?  I will give you the answer next time, but for now:

 

Image 1:

 

Image 2:

 

Image 3:

 

Image 4:

 

Image 5:

 

Image 6:

 

If you know which images are real, post the answer in a comment below. Next week I’ll give you the answers and the people who made these images.

Michael Freeman’s: The Photographer’s Eye

Michael Freeman is a british photographer who specializes in Asian culture, architecture and archeology. He has worked for major international book publishers and magazines. He has also worked for the Smithsonian Magazine for more than three decades and published more than 40 assignment stories.

Not only is he a well known photographer but he is also a writer and journalist. His books contain photographs of himself, but he also writes on the subject of photography. One of these books is “The Photographer’s Eye” that I will discuss in this blog.

Very often you’ll find books that describe the technical aspects of the camera. Sort of ‘how to use’ books. Things like:

  • What kind of lens should you use
  • The effects of aperture and shutter speed
  • Color balance
  • The use of of camera flash light
  • etc.

 

This is all very useful stuff, but you rarely ever see books that focus on the less technical aspects of photography like for example, composition. It takes more than sharp focus and correct lighting to turn ordinary photographs into something special. So what does it take to take a good photograph? Although this is a question that cannot be answered so easily, if it can be answered at all, Michael Freeman does a good job in describing the basic principles of good composition. He gives insights into:

  • How to frame the image
  • Design principles like balance and tension in the framing
  • Viewing lines
  • Rhythm in the image
  • Color in composition
  • Perspective and depth
  • Intention of a photograph

The book tells you how to take better photographs. A framework of composition ideas if you will, that you can use to your own liking. These aren’t hard rules or anything, but it will make your understanding of what makes a picture work, larger. There’s also a chapter dedicated to the process in taking pictures, with cases studies.

 

I think this book fills a gap on the market and is a very good step into taking good photographs.

The only thing I was missing was how compositional rules contribute to the ideas that you want to communicate. A technically correct picture is a beginning, a good composition makes the photograph more powerful. But a photograph that conveys a specific idea or concept takes photography to another level. Perhaps I will save this subject for another blog, but in the meantime, I would like to know what you think that makes a good photograph?